The French start-up company Corteria Pharmaceuticals has raised €65 million in an oversubscibed Series A financing to progress its candidate therapies for heart failure. Announced on 7 September, the financing was co-led by Jeito Capital and Orbimed with participation from the existing investors Kurma Partners, Fountain Healthcare Partners, V-Bio Ventures, Invivo Capital, and Omnes Capital.
Sofinnova Investments has led a $90 million Series C financing round for Star Therapeutics Inc, the proceeds of which will support one of Star’s portfolio companies called Vega Therapeutics. Based in South San Francisco, US, Star is a biotechnology company consisting of subsidiary enterprises which are each focused on developing products based on specific areas of biology.
The first patient in a trial of a new radiopharmaceutical has been dosed – paving the way for a potentially new treatment for extensive stage small cell lung cancer, the developer Ariceum Therapeutics GmbH announced on 7 September. The Phase 1b study is taking place at the Murdoch University Health Center in Perth, Australia. It will investigate the safety and tolerability of a theranostic, or a diagnostic agent paired with the radiopharmaceutical product, 177Lu-satoreotide tetraxetan.
The private equity group Permira has made an offer to buy Ergomed Plc, a UK-based contract research organisation (CRO), for approximately £703 million. The offer represents a 32.4% premium to the three-month volume weighted average price per Ergomed share and will be executed through a newly incorporated company controlled by funds advised by Permira Advisors LLP. Ergomed has been listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange since 2014 when it raised £11 million through an initial public offering.
A Phase 3 trial of the kinase inhibitor Alecensa (alectinib) has shown a statistically significant improvement in disease-free survival in patients with early-stage anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) positive non-small cell lung cancer, Roche reported on 1 September. Alecensa is already approved for advanced ALK-positive lung cancer. The latest data have now shown effectiveness in an early disease setting as well. ALC-positive lung cancer is a molecular subset of non-small cell lung cancer with distinct pathological features.
Evotec SE reported a double-digit increase in group revenue for the first six months despite a serious disruption to its business from a cyberattack in the second quarter which affected productivity across the company. Direct costs from the incident were €39.3 million. But this was more than offset by new and continuing business at the start of the year generating revenue for the first six months of €383.8 million, up by 14% from a year earlier.
Novo Nordisk A/S’s weight loss drug semaglutide (Wegovy) has achieved significant reductions in heart failure-related symptoms in people with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction and obesity in the Phase 3 STEP HFpEF trial. Novo announced the trial results on 25 August. They were simultaneously published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The Phase 3 trial is one of more than 12 studies investigating semaglutide, a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist, at a dose of 2.4 mg per week.
Merck & Co Inc and its partner Eisai Co Ltd have discontinued a combination study of Keytruda and Lenvima in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma because it failed to show an improvement in overall survival compared with Keytruda and placebo, the companies announced on 25 August. Called LEAP-010, the Phase 3 trial was intended to explore whether the combination could improve treatment options for patients with recurrent head and neck cancer. The study enrolled 511 individuals.
Mysthera Therapeutics AG made its debut in Switzerland on 21 August with $3.5 million of seed capital and a plan to develop new therapies for autoimmune diseases. The company is being supported by Forty51 Ventures, a Basel-based venture capital firm focused on early-stage investments in biotech with a geographic emphasis on Switzerland, France and Germany.
Data from the first-ever efficacy trial of the shingles vaccine Shingrix in China have shown the product to be 100% effective. The trial included nearly 6,000 participants who were randomised to receive Shingrix or a placebo. No cases of shingles were reported amongst those receiving the vaccine compared with 31 cases in the placebo arm, the developer GSK Plc announced on 23 August.