Deals in brief
TScan and Novartis partner to develop cancer therapies
Biopharmaceutical firm TScan Therapeutics has signed an agreement with Novartis to discover and develop therapies for the treatment of cancer.
The companies aim to work on TCR-engineered T-cell therapies for solid tumours. TScan’s platform will identify cancer antigens that could be targeted by TCR-based treatments.
As part of the deal, TScan will find and characterise TCRs while Novartis will hold an option to licence and develop TCRs for up to three new targets.
Furthermore, Novartis will have rights of first negotiation for more targets and TCRs resulting from the alliance. TScan may develop TCRs that act on targets not licensed by Novartis.
TScan Therapeutics president and CEO David Southwell said: “As one of the only companies able to efficiently discover novel cancer antigens that can be targeted with TCR-based therapies, we are delighted to be collaborating with Novartis to develop important TCR treatments.
“We see expansive potential for our platform and this collaboration gives us the opportunity to work with Novartis to develop novel TCR therapies, while at the same time preserving our ability to develop our own proprietary pipeline in both liquid and solid tumours.”
Under the agreement, Novartis will pay an upfront technology access fee and research funding of $30m to TScan.
TScan is also eligible for clinical, regulatory and sales milestone payments, as well as royalties on net sales for each product.
Earlier this month, Novartis entered an agreement with Aurobindo Pharma USA to terminate their deal covering the Sandoz US generic oral solids and dermatology businesses.
The deal was subject to closing conditions and the decision on termination comes after failing to secure the US Federal Trade Commission approval within timelines.
Insilico and Boehringer to use AI for drug targets discovery
Insilico Medicine has partnered with Boehringer Ingelheim to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) technology to identify potential therapeutic targets. Under the collaboration, Insilico’s generative machine learning technology and Pandomics Discovery Platform will be used to discover drug targets across various disease areas.
Blackstone and Alnylam enter $2bn drug development deal
Blackstone has agreed to provide up to $2bn to accelerate the development of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals’ RNA interference (RNAi) drugs across various debilitating diseases.
The strategic alliance is based on Blackstone’s acquisition of 50% of royalties owed to Alnylam on sales of inclisiran worldwide.
Inclisiran is an investigational, subcutaneous RNAi therapeutic for hypercholesterolemia, being reviewed by the US Food and Drug Administration.
If approved, the drug could help to reduce LDL cholesterol, a key risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Arrakis Therapeutics signs drug discovery deal with Roche
Arrakis Therapeutics has signed a collaboration and licence agreement with Roche to identify RNA-targeted small molecule (rSM) drugs against various targets in different therapeutic areas. The programme will leverage Arrakis’ RNA-targeted small molecule drug discovery platform, which combines RNA bioinformatic and structural tools, chemical libraries, RNA-specific assays and RNA-guided medicinal chemistry.
Vir selects Samsung Biologics to produce Covid-19 antibodies
Immunology company Vir Biotechnology has selected South Korea-based Samsung Biologics for large-scale production of antibodies to potentially treat Covid-19.
Under the terms of the alliance, Samsung Biologics will offer manufacturing services for Vir’s monoclonal antibody (mAb) programme targeting the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.
Oxford Biomedica joins consortium for coronavirus vaccine
UK-based gene and cell therapy group Oxford Biomedica has become part of a consortium focussed on the development, scale-up and production of a Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine candidate. Led by Jenner Institute, University of Oxford, the consortium involves the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC), Cobra Biologics, Pall Life Sciences and Halix.
Indian Immunologicals, Griffith University to develop Covid-19 vaccine
Vaccine manufacturer Indian Immunologicals and Griffith University in Australia have partnered to develop a potential vaccine candidate against Covid-19.
The partners intend to create a live attenuated vaccine using codon de-optimisation technology, which would offer longer protection with a single dose.