Sanofi bags rights to Revolution’s SHP2 cancer drug

Sanofi has paid $50 million to work with Revolution Medicines on the development of cancer drugs against SHP2. The partners plan to move small molecule SHP2 inhibitor RMC-4630 into the clinic later this year. Sanofi has also committed to covering the R&D costs of the joint SHP2 program and paying out up to $500 million in development and commercial milestones. RMC-4630, is due to enter a first in human trial. The drug could target a range of indications, but Sanofi has singled out one disease in its discussions of the collaboration.

Pfizer, Lilly tout positive tanezumab data, but safety questions remain

Pfizer and Eli Lilly on Wednesday announced positive topline results for their osteoarthritis pain drug tanezumab in a Phase 3 trial of 698 patients.The study showed a statistically significant improvement in pain, physical function and patient overall assessment of osteoarthritis. No further details of the data were disclosed at this time.Safety data showed that 1% of patients discontinued due to adverse events, the companies said. Rapidly progressing osteoarthritis occurred in less than 1.5% of tanezumab-treated patients — but not at all in the placebo patients — while no events of osteonecrosis were seen.

Ascentage third round garners $150M for apoptosis cancer drugs

Chinese biotech Ascentage has raised another $150 million for its pipeline of drugs designed to induce programmed cell death in cancer, which should keep it going for three years, according to its co-founder and CEO. Its portfolio is currently headed by BCL-2/BCL-xL dual inhibitor APG-1252 for small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and other solid tumors and IAP inhibitor APG-1387, for which preliminary safety data were presented at this year’s ASCO meeting. Slightly further back in development are a selective BCL-2 inhibitor called APG-2575 for B-cell cancers and MDM2-p53-targeting drug APG-115 for acute myeloid leukemia and chronic lymphocytic leukemia, as well as three ‘next-generation’ kinase inhibitors in development for the Chinese market only. The latest round takes the total raised by Ascentage to date to $240 million.

Celgene, Takeda invest in intratumoral microdosing firm Presage

Celgene and Takeda have invested in Presage Biosciences. The company also announced that Dr Richard Klinghoffer, is new chief executive. Dr Klinghoffer will take over CEO responsibilities from Nathan Caffo, who is now senior corporate advisor. Presage wants to provide a bridge between preclinical and phase 1 to enable drug developers to find out how their drugs perform in humans without spending as much time and money. Companies have explored the use of such a bridge, known as phase 0 for years, but Presage has a different take.