Novartis ventures itself into developing new editing technology

Novartis has moved beyond CRISPR and CAR-T gene editing technology with its latest deal with Homology Medicines, aiming to improve upon its R&D work in the arena of cell and gene therapy. The deal involves Novartis using the gene editing technology of Homology for developing new treatments related to ophthalmic and hemoglobinopathy diseases. The financial details of the deal has not been revealed but there is an update that Homology will receive an upfront payment as well as an equity investment from Novartis. This has been done to advance the program and explore opportunities for this technology platform. The former also holds rights in the US related to commercialization and can share in the profits with Novartis related to the in vivo application of the technology in hemoglobinopathy program.

Bill Gates invests $50 million in Dementia Discovery Fund

Bill Gates is a billionaire, but also a philanthropic as he recently pledged to invest $50 million to a UK based discovery fund for the development of treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. The fund has been provided to the two year old DDF which is being run by SV Health, a venture capital firm and backed by Biopharma and medical charity organizations. The Alzheimer’s research is focused on discovering and developing drugs that might be able to modify this disease, as this arena has seen little success in past developmental efforts with a handful of drugs having limited efficacy. This time, one of the richest man in the world has provided his financial backing to provide another chance for development of dementia fighting drugs, as this fund will be used to recruit a CEO and direct efforts into driving scientific advisory board into this research arena.

In the latest round of funding, Arcus Biosciences gains help from Google Ventures

The Immuno-oncology startup, Arcus Bioscience, has generated a great amount of funding from Google’s venture arm to develop clinical programs for dual adenosine receptor agonist and PD-1 antibody for creating combinations that can help treat various cancer subtypes. The company gained around $107 million will help start the Phase I stage of clinical development of AB928 (first-in-class dual adenosine receptor antagonist) and has plans to evaluate AB122 (PD-1 antibody) in combination with the former to create better targeted therapies. Apart from these two, two more candidates, AB680 (CD74 inhibitor) and AB154 (TIGIT antibody) might also receive push towards clinical development.

Denali and Odonate Therapeutics seek funding by filing for IPOs

Denali Therapeutics is currently developing treatment strategies around 4 pathways of neurodegeneration and has filed to raise $100 million from Nasdaq under the symbol $DNLI. The company is currently working on 5-6 seed programs and its most advanced programs include one for Parkinson’s disease along with another that has a drug in Phase I development. On the other hand, Odonate Therapeutics is also seeking funds to develop oral chemotherapy drugs. This silent biotech is based in San Diego and was founded in 2013. The company plans to file in Nasdaq under $ODT.

Fosun Pharma acquires Gland Pharma as Khaitan and Troutman Sanders provide counsel

Under the domestic legal counsel of Khaitan & Co. and international legal counsel of Troutman Sanders, Fosun Pharma, on 3 October, acquired US-based Gland Pharma. This acquisition comes as the largest acquisition of an Indian company by a Chinese buyer. The Chinese Pharma company agreed in July 2016 to acquire an 86.08% stake in Gland Pharma for US$1.2 billion, but faced with a failure by the Indian government to consider and clear the deal, it had to settle for a 74% stake valued at US$1.1 billion.