Acasti Pharma Inc., of Laval, Quebec, is acquiring Grace Therapeutics Inc., of East Brunswick, N.J., in an all-stock deal. Following the transaction, Acasti’s shareholders will own approximately 55% of the new company, while Grace’s shareholders will own the other 45%. The combined company is expected to have approximately $64 million in cash at closing. The company will be led by Acasti’s current CEO, Jan D’Alvise, who will serve as president and CEO of the combined company.
Antibe Therapeutics Inc., and Antibe Holdings Inc., both of Toronto, have agreed to combine the companies in an amalgamation transaction. Shareholders of Antibe Holdings will receive shares of Antibe Therapeutics, which will unify the intellectual property underlying Antibe’s pipeline. At closing shareholders of Antibe Holdings will own approximately 11.4% of Antibe Therapeutics. The transaction is expected to close on or about May 31, 2021.
Bavarian Nordic A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, said the U.S. government exercised its final $12 million option under the $202 million order for Jynneos (smallpox and monkeypox vaccine, live, non-replicating) that was awarded in April 2020. The doses will be manufactured during 2021.
Cantargia AB, of Stockholm, signed a letter of intent with the Spanish Breast Cancer Group to run a phase I/II study testing nadunolimab (CAN-04), an antibody targeting interleukin-1 receptor accessory protein, in patients with triple-negative breast cancer. Cantargia plans to submit the protocol for the study of up to 120 patients in the second quarter of 2021.
Crispr Therapeutics AG, of Zug, Switzerland, and Nkarta Inc., of South San Francisco, established a three-year collaboration agreement to research, develop and commercialize CRISPR/Cas9 gene-edited cell therapies for cancer. The deal covers two CAR NK cell products, one targeting CD70 tumor antigen and the other target to be determined. The companies will equally share all research and development costs and profits worldwide on products related to the collaboration. As part of the deal, Nkarta will also obtain a license allowing it to edit five gene targets with CRISPR gene editing technology in an unlimited number of its own NK cell therapy products. Nkarta will pay Crispr undisclosed milestone payments and royalties on net sales for Nkarta’s additional products.
Cyxone AB, of Malmö, Sweden, started preclinical studies for its multiple sclerosis drug candidate, T-20K, starting with selecting a contract manufacturing organization to produce larger quantities of the oral drug. Cyxone also plans to start testing a subcutaneous formulation of the drug in the second quarter of 2021. The company is also developing biomarkers for both administration forms.
Defence Therapeutics Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, started trading on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker DTC on May 7, 2021.
Galapagos NV, of Mechelen, Belgium, has refocused its pipeline, including selecting preclinical SIK2/3 inhibitor '4876 to develop further; selecting chitinase inhibitor ’4617 to progress to phase II in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF); stopping development of its other IPF molecule, ’1205; stopping further work on ‘4059 for metabolic disease; and discontinuing early research efforts in metabolic diseases and osteoarthritis. The changes will save the company €150 million (US$182 million), with roughly half of the savings realized in 2021. Galapagos expects to use between €580 million and €620 million of its cash in 2021. The company had €5.1 billion in cash and current financial investments on 31 March 2021.
HTL Biotechnology, of Paris, established a memorandum of understanding with the Terasaki Institute for Biomedical Innovation (TIBI) to explore the creation of a joint research program focused on biomaterials for translational projects. TIBI will contribute its expertise on microneedle and bioprinting technologies, while HTL will add its expertise in biopolymers for aesthetics, dermatology, ophthalmology, rheumatology, tissue engineering and drug delivery applications.
Ibio Inc., of Bryan, Texas, reported data from IND-enabling toxicology studies of IBIO-201, a spike protein-based COVID-19 vaccine, which produced no adverse effects at the low or high doses. Ibio is also developing IBIO-202, an N protein-based COVID-19 vaccine. Preclinical results for IBIO-202 are expected early in the company’s first fiscal quarter of 2022.
Inozyme Pharma Inc., of Boston, presented preclinical data on INZ-701, a potential treatment for ABCC6 deficiency, at the virtual European Calcified Tissue Society Annual Congress. The enzyme replacement therapy produced dose-dependent increases in plasma pyrophosphate levels at two weeks and eight weeks. Doses of 2 mg/kg and 10 mg/kg reduced calcium in muzzle skin biopsies of mice by 68% and 74%, respectively (p<0.01).
Kempharm Inc., of Celebration, Fla., said the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration classified serdexmethylphenidate, a prodrug of d-methylphenidate, as a schedule IV controlled substance. Kempharm’s attention deficit hyperactivity disorder treatment, Azstarys, which contains 70% serdexmethylphenidate and 30% d-methylphenidate, is classified as a schedule II controlled substance.
Nexturn Bio Inc., a subsidiary of Seoul, South Korea-based Nexturn Bioscience Co. Ltd. has taken a 50% stake in Rosvivo Therapeutics Inc., of Reno, Nev., which is developing RSVI-301, a microRNA designed to regenerate pancreatic beta cells in patients with diabetes.
Oncology Pharma Inc., of San Francisco, licensed a program for small-molecule inhibitors of NR2F6 nuclear receptor from Regen Biopharma Inc., of La Mesa, Calif. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
Ontochem GmbH, of Halle, Germany, assigned its drug discovery technologies and assets, including its drug discovery collaboration with San Jose, Calif.-based Anixa Biosciences Inc., to Molgenie GmbH, of Stuttgart, Germany. Molgenie and Anixa will continue to develop the preclinical antiviral therapy against SARS-CoV-2.
Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Co. Ltd., of Osaka, Japan, and Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals Co. Ltd., of Suzhou, China, said they entered an asset purchase agreement with Roivant Sciences Ltd., of London and Basel, Switzerland, to acquire exclusive development and marketing rights in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan for multiple Sinovant development compounds. Sinovant will assign the license agreement for lefamulin with Nabriva Therapeutics Ireland DAC, of Dublin, to Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals (Suzhou), which then acquires exclusive development and marketing rights in greater China for lefamulin. Sumitomo also will acquire the rights in for vibegron, RVT-802, and rodatristat ethyl from Sinovant.
Wuxi Biologics, of Shanghai, said it completed acquisitions of a Bayer AG manufacturing facility in Wuppertal, Germany, the Pfizer Inc. manufacturing facilities in Hangzhou, China as well as Cmab Biopharma Group, a CDMO. Under the acquisition agreement signed in December with Bayer, Wuxi took over the operations and assets of the German facility. In March, Wuxi closed the acquisition of biologics drug substance and product facilities in Hangzhou. Wuxi acquired 100% interest of CMAB, which will be renamed as Wuxi Biologics (Suzhou) and operate as a wholly owned subsidiary.
Xcelerate Inc., of Mauldin, S.C., said it signed a nonbinding letter of intent to pursue a business combination with HS Pharmaceuticals LLC, of Greenville, S.C. Over the past 14 years, HS developed a platform of technologies centered around its silicate particle research. Its research, in conjunction with universities and research facilities, led to developments in immunotherapy alternatives, topical therapies to combat infection and bacteria as well as bone regeneration. Xcelerate said it will now determine how and in what structure HS Pharmaceuticals’ research and intellectual property would fit within the Xcelerate business plan.