Evotec, Chinook Therapeutics to Advance Chronic Kidney Diseases Therapy Market

Evotec and Chinook Therapeutics have collaborated to develop and discover precision medicine therapies for patients with chronic kidney diseases (CKD). The duo plans to jointly identify, characterize and validate novel mechanisms and discover and develop precision medicines.

The deal will help leverage Evotec’s proprietary PanOmics platform that incorporates enhanced throughput proteomics, high throughput transcriptomics, and cell imaging with PanHunter, which is Evotec’s unique integrated data analysis platform. Chinook will have access to the NURTuRE cohort study along with other proprietary patient biobanks and Evotec’s multi-omics integration platform, and the company plans to potentially deliver targeted therapies in rare kidney diseases such as IgA nephropathy and glomerular diseases.

To sum it, Chinook will manage clinical development and commercialization of product candidates while Evotec will be eligible for an undisclosed upfront payment, research funding, progress-dependent milestone payments, and tiered royalties on net sales for targets identified through the collaboration. 

HitGen & UPPTHERA Collaborate for Drug Delivery Research 

HitGen has entered into a collaboration for drug discovery research with UPPTHERA to identify small molecule Hits against previous known-to-be undruggable targets and novel E3 ligase. 

HitGen plans to apply its platform technology based on the design, synthesis, and screening of DNA-encoded libraries (DEL) for the discovery of compounds to bind to specific targets. UPPTHERA will have exclusive rights to those compounds, as per the agreement, for further development. 

In return, HitGen will receive an upfront payment, success fee, license/milestone fee from UPPTHERA, details of which remain undisclosed. 

Junshi & AstraZeneca To Commercialize Toripalimab in China

Biopharmaceutical company Junshi Biosciences has collaborated with AstraZeneca to form an exclusive promotion deal for toripalimab in China for the Urothelial Carcinoma indications. The collaboration will grant AZ the opportunity to commercialize the therapy in the geography for all approved indications and to be approved in non-core areas.

The collaboration will help introduce innovative drugs into the Chinese pharmaceutical market. Further, Junshi Biosciences and AstraZeneca plan to explore other emerging markets and actively expand the length and breadth of their future deals and collaborations.

Toripalimab is the first domestic anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody that received approval for marketing in China. So far, Toripalimab has been granted 1 Breakthrough, 1 Fast Track, and 3 Orphan Drug Designations by the FDA to treat mucosal melanoma, nasopharyngeal carcinoma, and soft tissue sarcoma.

Artiva Raises USD 120 M to Advancing Allogeneic NK Cell Therapy Pipeline

Artiva Biotherapeutics, an oncology-focus pharmaceutical company, announced the closing of its Series B financing round, raising a total sum of USD 120 million. The proceeds are collected to advance its allogeneic NK cell therapy development programs as well as augment ongoing research and development activities. 

As per the company, its manufacturing platform supports large-scale production and cryopreservation of off-the-shelf, allogeneic NK cell therapies and proprietary CAR-NK and NK-specific gene-editing technologies. The cell therapies use the innate anti-tumor biology and safety features of NK cells and target anti-cancer activity through CARs or ADCC enhancement through therapeutic antibody or innate-cell engager combination therapy. Its lead candidate, AB-101, an ADCC enhancer NK-cell therapy, is currently in a Phase I/II study combined with rituximab for the treatment of relapsed or refractory B-cell lymphomas

The financing was led by new investor Venrock Healthcare Capital Partners along with Acuta Capital Partners, Cormorant Asset Management, EcoR1 Capital, Franklin Templeton, Janus Henderson Investors, Logos Capital, RTW Investments, LP, Surveyor Capital, and others also participating in the financing. Existing investors, such as 5AM Ventures, RA Capital Management, and venBio Partners, along with strategic partners GC LabCell and GC, also participated.