AbbVie, Sofinnova back USD 38 Million for Nitrome Biosciences

Nitrome Biosciences contemplates treating Parkinson’s disease and diabetes by targeting a new class of enzymes. The pharma raised USD 38 million from the Sofinnova Partners and AbbVie Ventures.

The San Francisco-based biotech is focusing at a family of enzymes it discovered called nitrases. It is working on treatments that aim these enzymes to decrease or even prevent, the progression of various diseases, commencing with Parkinson’s.

Sofinnova and AbbVie had led the USD 38 million series A, with Dementia Discovery Fund, Mission Bay Capital and Alexandria Venture Investments also pitching in. The proceeds will push Nitrome’s Parkinson’s program toward clinical proof-of-concept studies and bolster R&D efforts using Nitrome’s platform in other indications. The company is focused on other ageing-dependent diseases like other neurodegenerative disorders, heart disease and cancer, in addition to Type 2 diabetes.

Gilead, Kite ink natural killer agreement 

Although everyone eyes Gilead Sciences’ COVID-19 hopeful remdesivir, the company is still signing deals outside of infectious disease.

Through its USD 12.9 billion biotech acquire Kite Pharma, the Californian company has penned a new agreement with an almost unknown Australian biotech that is oNKo-innate.

The aim of the deal is for Gilead and Kite to tap into the biotech’s natural killer (NK) work to seek out new cell therapies and build on its CAR-T research. The deal will eye oNKo-innate use genome-wide screening techniques and its tech to quest new immune cell targets that enhance NK cell anti-tumour immunity and to create NK cell therapies.

oNKo-innate will screen and seek out targets to seed its internal immuno-oncology discovery programs on the Gilead side. oNKo-innate will create and evaluate NK constructs for Kite’s development of next-generation cell therapies.

Biogen targets Quarter 3 for aducanumab filing

Since when Biogen brought aducanumab, it is kept silent on its plans for the once-failed Alzheimer’s Disease. Now, the company is revealing the truth. It will finish the application in the third quarter.

The company has commenced submitting modules of a Biologics License Application (BLA) to the FDA and is preparing for a pre-BLA meeting with the agency scheduled for this summer. The analysts, who had previously estimated a potential 2020 approval, pushed their expectations out as far as 2022.

The announcement comes a week after life sciences data firm said that the filing and review of Biogen’s recombinant human monoclonal antibody (mAb) aducanumab is likely to take more than was anticipated. In a report, it was pointed out that many trials for Alzheimer’s meds are at risk of delays because most patients required to test these drugs are being told to self-isolate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reversing diabetes with CRISPR and patient-derived stem cells

Insulin injections can keep diabetes under control, but patients still face severe complications like kidney disease and skin infections. Transplanting pancreatic tissues comprising functional insulin-producing beta cells is of limited use, as donors are fewer and patients must take immunosuppressant drugs after that.

The scientists at Washington University in St. Louis have developed a way to make use of the gene-editing system CRISPR-Cas9 to edit a mutation in human-induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and then transform them into beta cells. The cells reversed preexisting diabetes in a lasting way when transplanted into mice as published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

While the researchers utilized the cells from patients with Wolfram syndrome, which is a rare childhood diabetes that is caused by mutations in the WFS1 gene, they put forward that the combination of gene therapy with stem cells could potentially treat other forms of diabetes as well.