San Diego biotech news from BioSpace, Xconomy, PR Newswire, Marketwired and other sources, click on headlines to read the full story.
University of California San Diego received $1.160 billion in sponsored research support in FY2017 (July1-June 30), a 3 percent increase from FY2016’s total of $1.126 billion. This marks the second consecutive year in which UC San Diego broke its own previous record. Overall, the university ranks 5th in the nation in sponsored research.
The CEO of a major U.S. pharmaceutical company was in the news this week, but for a change not because of the cost of drugs. Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier (pictured) was the first of what quickly became…
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The finalists in the Young Innovator category of the 2017 Xconomy Awards show that it’s never too early in life to start a company or invent a new technology. These four individuals (30 years of age…
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Biocept and UT Southwestern Medical Center Announce Clinical Study to Profile and Monitor Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Patients with ALK Rearrangements
Leading clinical investigator to utilize Biocept’s liquid biopsy tests for the detection of ALK rearrangements at baseline and to monitor treatment response and resistance mechanisms over time
SAN DIEGO, Aug. 17, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Biocept, Inc. (NASDAQ: BIOC), a leading commercial provider of liquid biopsy tests designed to provide physicians with clinically actionable information to improve the outcomes of cancer patients, announces it has entered into a clinical study agreement with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UT Southwestern Medical Center). Led by recognized oncologist and ALK mutation researcher Dr. Saad Khan, the study is designed to evaluate the clinical utility of Biocept’s Target Selector™ platform for patients diagnosed with ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer and treated with ALK-inhibitor therapy. A second arm of the study will evaluate patients with rare cancers such as anaplastic thyroid cancer to determine if driver mutations such as ALK rearrangements can be identified and treated with targeted therapy to improve patient outcomes.
“Identifying ALK rearrangements in patients with lung cancer has become important as new targeted therapies are available to help manage disease in patients harboring this type of alteration,” said Saad Khan, MD, Medical Oncologist and Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center. “We have designed this study to demonstrate the ability to rapidly identify ALK rearrangements, and to provide further evidence that patients with both non-small cell lung cancer and rare cancers harboring ALK alterations can benefit from targeted therapy and serial monitoring of ALK and other key alterations.”
“Demonstrating the clinical utility of our Target Selector™ platform in studies conducted by top researchers like Dr. Khan is important to expand the clinical adoption of our liquid biopsy offering in oncology,” said Biocept’s President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Nall. “We continue to evaluate our Target Selector™ platform in clinical studies in which the identification of ALK fusions and other alterations with our assays can help guide treatment decisions resulting in improved patient outcomes. Our Target Selector™ tests can be used to help physicians rapidly obtain the actionable information they need to design personalized treatment plans for their cancer patients.”
About ALK Rearrangements in Lung Cancer
The ALK gene encodes the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) protein, which belongs to a family of receptor tyrosine kinases involved in transmitting cell surface signals to the inside of the cell. In approximately 5% of non-small cell lung cancer patients, a portion of the ALK gene is abnormally rearranged when DNA is replicated during cell division. Fusion of ALK DNA sequences to another gene results in the disruption of normal ALK protein function, causing uncontrolled cell growth as is characteristic in cancer. Various ALK gene arrangements, or translocations, have been observed in NSCLC; the majority of variants involve gene fusions between the ALK and EML4 genes. Biocept’s Target Selector™ platform is able to identify ALK translocations in circulating tumor cells (CTCs) using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) probes that are also commonly used for molecular profiling in tissue. Non-small cell lung cancer patients who test positive for an ALK fusion are likely to respond to ALK inhibitor therapy such as Xalkori® (crizotinib). Biocept’s liquid biopsy testing may be used to identify ALK translocations to guide treatment decisions and selection of an appropriate targeted therapy.
Biocept, Inc. is a molecular diagnostics company with commercialized assays for lung, breast, gastric, colorectal and prostate cancers, and melanoma. The Company leverages its proprietary liquid biopsy technology to provide physicians with clinically actionable information for treating and monitoring patients diagnosed with cancer. Biocept’s patented Target Selector™ liquid biopsy technology platform captures and analyzes tumor-associated molecular markers in both circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and in circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA). With thousands of tests performed, the platform has demonstrated the ability to identify cancer mutations and alterations to inform physicians about a patient’s disease and therapeutic options. For additional information, please visit www.biocept.com.
Forward-Looking Statements Disclaimer Statement
This news release contains forward-looking statements that are based upon current expectations or beliefs, as well as a number of assumptions about future events. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements and the assumptions upon which they are based are reasonable, we can give no assurance that such expectations and assumptions will prove to be correct. Forward-looking statements are generally identifiable by the use of words like “may,” “will,” “should,” “could,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “believe,” “intend” or “project,” or the negative of these words or other variations on these words or comparable terminology. To the extent that statements in this news release are not strictly historical, including, without limitation, statements as to our ability to improve the outcomes of cancer patients, the success of the UT Southwestern Medical Center study and its ability to meet its objectives, our ability to further validate our liquid biopsy technology, and our ability to increase the clinical adoption of our testing services, such statements are forward-looking, and are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The reader is cautioned not to put undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, as these statements are subject to numerous risk factors as set forth in our Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings. The effects of such risks and uncertainties could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements contained in this news release. We do not plan to update any such forward-looking statements and expressly disclaim any duty to update the information contained in this press release except as required by law. Readers are advised to review our filings with the SEC at www.sec.gov
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SOURCE Biocept, Inc.
Appoints Biotech Industry Veteran Graham Cooper to Board of Directors
SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 17, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — UNITY Biotechnology, Inc. (“UNITY”), a privately held biotechnology company creating therapeutics that prevent, halt, or reverse numerous diseases of aging, today announced the closing of an additional $35 million in Series B financing. This second close of the Series B, in addition to the initial close in fall of 2016, brings the total amount of this financing to $151 million.
The UNITY Series B financing ranks among the largest private financings in biotech history. New Series B investors include INVUS Opportunities, Three Lakes Partners, Cycad Group, COM Investments, and Pivotal Alpha Limited. These new investors join the Series B led by longtime life science investors ARCH Venture Partners, Baillie Gifford, Fidelity Management and Research Company, Partner Fund Management, and Venrock. Other investors include Bezos Expeditions, Vulcan Capital, Founders Fund, WuXi PharmaTech, and Mayo Clinic Ventures. Proceeds from this financing will be used to expand ongoing research programs in cellular senescence and advance the first preclinical programs into human trials.
UNITY also announced that Graham Cooper has joined UNITY’s board of directors. Mr. Cooper was previously the chief financial officer of Receptos, which was acquired by Celgene in 2015 for $7.8 billion.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have attracted someone of Graham’s experience and judgment to help us shape our mission of attacking diseases of aging and fundamentally reshaping human healthspan,” said Keith Leonard, UNITY chairman and CEO. “The incredible investor support matched with the progress in preclinical development has us on track to initiate clinical trials in 2018 with our first senolytic drug.”
“UNITY pairs a huge market opportunity with highly compelling biology and a proven and experienced management team. We continue to attract both a highly skilled team and deep financial backing to match the potential,” said Robert Nelsen, UNITY board member and co-founder and managing director of ARCH Venture Partners, UNITY’s founding investor.
About Cellular Senescence and Senolytic Medicines
Healthy cells that experience stress can enter a state known as cellular senescence. In this state, cells stop dividing and profoundly alter their metabolism, appearance, and interactions with their environment. Cellular senescence is a critical anti-cancer system, as it stops potentially damaged cells from growing out of control. However, senescent cells can accumulate in the body as we age, secreting growth factors, proteases, and inflammatory factors that disrupt normal tissue function. This may be a contributor to the chronic inflammation observed in many age-related diseases.
Based on recent discoveries in the rapidly advancing field of cellular senescence, UNITY is developing a new class of therapies for diseases of aging called senolytic medicines. These medicines are designed to selectively eliminate senescent cells linked to diseases of aging, such as osteoarthritis, glaucoma, and atherosclerosis. Recent studies published in Science, Nature, and Nature Medicine demonstrate how the selective elimination of senescent cells may prevent, delay, or even reverse diseases of aging.
About UNITY Biotechnology
UNITY Biotechnology is developing therapeutics that increase healthspan by preventing, halting or reversing diseases of aging. UNITY’s initial focus is on creating senolytic medicines to selectively eliminate senescent cells and thereby treat age-related afflictions such as osteoarthritis, atherosclerosis, eye diseases, and kidney disease. Backed by a group of visionary investors, UNITY’s world-class management team has experience building companies and developing medicines together: the team has collectively moved more than 90 therapeutic candidates into human clinical trials and developed 13 FDA-approved medicines. UNITY’s mission is to build a future in which it doesn’t hurt to be old — a future in which people stay healthy and mobile long into old age. More information is available at www.unitybiotechnology.com.
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SOURCE UNITY Biotechnology
SillaJen Announces Collaboration with the National Cancer Institute for Development of Combination Therapy with SillaJen’s pexastimogene devacirepvec (Pexa-Vec) Oncolytic Immunotherapy
SAN FRANCISCO and SEOUL, Korea, Aug. 16, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — SillaJen, Inc., (KOSDAQ:215600), a clinical-stage, biotherapeutics company focused on the development of oncolytic immunotherapy products for cancer, today announced that it has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), for the development of a combination therapy for colorectal cancer (CRC). Under the CRADA, SillaJen will collaborate with Tim Greten, M.D., to evaluate the combination of SillaJen’s lead clinical candidate, pexastimogene devacirepvec (Pexa-Vec), with anti-PDL1 and anti-CTLA4 antibodies in an early phase clinical trial in patients with advanced stage CRC.
“We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with Dr. Greten in the development of this promising combination therapy,” said Eun Sang Moon, chief executive officer of SillaJen.
Dr. Greten is Senior Investigator in the Thoracic and Gastrointestinal Oncology Branch of NCI’s Center for Cancer research and an expert in GI Oncology and tumor immunology. Dr. Greten received his training in Medical Oncology, Gastroenterology and Hepatology in Germany and has been performing basic and translational research studies in tumor immunology for more than 20 years. He is currently studying novel immune based approaches to treat patients with primary hepatobiliary tumors and patients with tumors of the GI tract metastasizing into the liver.
“Treatment options for advanced colorectal cancer are a significant unmet medical need globally. To date, there has been no approval for checkpoint inhibitor therapy for the vast majority of patients with CRC,” stated James Burke, M.D, Chief Medical Officer of SillaJen. “Therefore, investigation of the potential for Pexa-Vec to “prime” or sensitize CRC to check point inhibitor therapy is an exciting opportunity to further extend immunotherapy to this substantial number of patients without curative or immunotherapeutic options. We believe this trial being conducted in collaboration with Dr. Greten and the NCI will provide an excellent opportunity to assess this potential.”
Under the terms of CRADA, Dr. Greten will recruit and treat patients at the NCI on the jointly developed protocol, and NCI will handle the management of this trial. SillaJen will supply Pexa-Vec for the clinical trial while PD-L1 and CTLA-4 antibodies will be provided by a third party to NCI under a separate CRADA. Further, in depth assessment of tumor biopsies and other collected patient samples will be conducted to assess the immune modulating potential of Pexa-Vec given concurrently with checkpoint inhibitor therapy. This CRADA will provide SillaJen access to NCI’s scientific and clinical expertise to facilitate development of Pexa-Vec for the benefit of public health.
Patients interested in enrolling please contact NCI’s toll-free number 1-800-4-Cancer (1-800-422-6237) (TTY: 1-800-332-8615) and/or the Web site: https://trials.cancer.gov
About Pexa-Vec and the SOLVE Platform
Pexa-Vec is the most advanced product candidate from SillaJen’s proprietary SOLVE™ (Selective Oncolytic Vaccinia Engineering) platform. The vaccinia strain backbone of Pexa-Vec has been used safely in millions of people as part of a worldwide vaccination program, and over 300 cancer patients have been treated with Pexa-Vec to date. Pexa-Vec was engineered to target common genetic defects in cancer cells by deleting its thymidine kinase (TK) gene, thus making Pexa-Vec dependent on the cellular TK expressed at persistently high levels in cancer cells. Pexa-Vec is also engineered to express GM-CSF protein. GM-CSF complements the cancer cell lysis of the product candidate, leading to a cascade of events resulting in tumor necrosis, tumor vasculature shutdown and sustained anti-tumoral immune attack. Pexa-Vec has been shown to be effective when delivered both intratumorally and systemically by intravenous administration. Pexastimogene devacirepvec (Pexa-Vec) is currently being evaluated in a worldwide Phase 3 clinical trial for advanced primary liver cancer, and more information can be found at: http://www.pexavectrials.com.
About SillaJen’s Regional Partners for Pexa-Vec
Transgene S.A. (Euronext: TNG), part of Institut Mérieux, is a publicly traded French biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing targeted immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases. Transgene’s programs utilize viral vector technology with the goal of indirectly or directly killing infected or cancerous cells. The Company’s two lead clinical-stage programs are: TG4010 for non-small cell lung cancer and Pexa-Vec for liver cancer. The Company has several other programs in clinical and pre-clinical development. Transgene is based in Strasbourg, France, and has additional operations in Lyon, as well as satellite offices in China and the U.S. Additional information about Transgene is available at www.transgene.fr.
About Lee’s Pharma
Lee’s Pharmaceutical Holdings Limited is a research-based biopharmaceutical company listed in Hong Kong with over 20 years operation in China’s pharmaceutical industry. It is fully integrated with strong infrastructures in drug development, manufacturing, sales and marketing. It has established extensive partnership with over 20 international companies and currently has 14 products in the market place. Lee’s focuses on several key disease areas such as cardiovascular, oncology, gynecology, dermatology and ophthalmology. Lee’s development program is lauded with 47 products stemming from both internal R&D efforts and collaborations with US, European and Japanese companies and aspiring to combat diseases such as liver cancer and pulmonary hypertension. The mission of Lee’s is to become a successful biopharmaceutical group in Asia providing innovative products to fight diseases and improve health and quality of life. Additional information about Lee’s Pharmaceutical is available at www.leespharm.com.
SillaJen, Inc. is a South Korean based biotechnology company headquartered in Busan South Korea, with satellite offices in Seoul, South Korea and San Francisco, CA. The company is focused on the development and commercialization of oncolytic immunotherapy products using the SOLVETM platform, including its lead product Pexa-Vec, which is currently in Phase 3 trials for the treatment of advanced primary liver cancer. Additional information about SillaJen is available at www.sillajen.com.
This press release contains certain forward-looking statements regarding, among other things, statements relating to goals, plans and projections regarding the Company’s financial position, results of operations, market position, product development and business strategy. Such forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and involve inherent risks and uncertainties, including factors that could delay, divert or change any of them, and could cause actual outcomes and results to differ materially from current expectations. No forward-looking statements can be guaranteed and actual results may differ materially from such statements. The information in this release is provided only as of the date of this release, and SillaJen undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this release on account of new information, future events, or otherwise, except as required by law.
SillaJen Public Relations Department, Seoul
Cook Williams Communications, Inc.
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SOURCE SillaJen, Inc.
Trovagene’s PLK1 Inhibitor PCM-075, in Preclinical AML Data, Significantly Enhances the Efficacy of a FLT3 inhibitor in Combination Therapy
Human AML xenograft with FLT3 mutation shows PCM-075 in combination with Quizartinib resulted in 96% tumor growth inhibition with tumor regression
SAN DIEGO, Aug. 16, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Trovagene, Inc. (NASDAQ: TROV), a precision medicine biotechnology company, today announced positive data from a preclinical in-vivo study examining the combination of their PLK1 inhibitor, PCM-075, with a leading investigational FLT3 Inhibitor. This FLT3 mutant xenograft model shows PCM-075 in combination with Quizartinib resulted in 96% tumor growth inhibition versus monotherapy with Quizartinib (81%) or PCM-075 (76%). This research data is planned for future publication.
“Thirty percent of patients with AML harbor a FLT3 mutation. This represents an opportunity for combination therapy with PCM-075,” said Bill Welch, CEO of Trovagene. “We are encouraged by this initial preclinical data as we continue to identify potential combination therapies using PCM-075 within diverse AML patient populations.”
PCM-075 is a highly-selective adenosine triphosphate (ATP) competitive inhibitor of the serine/threonine polo-like-kinase 1 (PLK 1) enzyme, which is over-expressed in multiple hematologic malignancies, as well as solid tumors such as adrenocortical, breast, prostate, ovarian, lung, gastric and colon cancers. PCM-075 is orally bioavailable and has been explored in an initial Phase 1, open-label, dose-escalation safety study in patients with advanced metastatic solid tumor cancers. Trovagene plans to initiate clinical trials of PCM-075 in AML, since it has significant advantages over prior PLK1 inhibitors evaluated in this indication, including a higher selectivity, greater potency, oral bioavailability and shorter half-life.
About Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a hematologic malignancy in which myeloid lineage cells of the bone marrow cease to differentiate appropriately, resulting in a marked increase in the number of circulating immature blast cells. As a consequence, the counts of mature red blood cells, platelets, and normal white blood cells decline, causing fatigue, shortness of breath, bleeding, and increased susceptibility to infection. Patients harboring mutations in the FLT3 receptor tyrosine kinase have a particularly poor prognosis; however, significant progress has been made by the emergence of a variety of targeted inhibitors capable of suppressing FLT3 signaling. This has prompted the development of second-generation FLT3 inhibitors, led by Quizartinib (Daiichi Sankyo), which has demonstrated enhanced FLT3 specificity and have been generally well tolerated in clinical trials. Molecular insights provided by FLT3 inhibitors have shed light upon the variety of mechanisms underlying the acquisition of resistance and have provided a rationale supporting the use of combination regimens with other emerging targeted therapies.
About Trovagene, Inc.
Trovagene is a precision medicine biotechnology company developing oncology therapeutics for improved cancer care by leveraging its proprietary Precision Cancer Monitoring® (PCM) technology in tumor genomics. Trovagene has broad intellectual property and proprietary technology to measure circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) in urine and blood to identify and quantify clinically actionable markers for predicting response to cancer therapies. Trovagene offers its PCM technology at its CLIA/CAP – accredited laboratory and plans to continue to vertically integrate its PCM technology with precision cancer therapeutics. For more information, please visit https://www.trovagene.com.
Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements may be identified by the use of words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “forecast,” “estimated” and “intend” or other similar terms or expressions that concern Trovagene’s expectations, strategy, plans or intentions. These forward-looking statements are based on Trovagene’s current expectations and actual results could differ materially. There are a number of factors that could cause actual events to differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements. These factors include, but are not limited to, our need for additional financing; our ability to continue as a going concern; clinical trials involve a lengthy and expensive process with an uncertain outcome, and results of earlier studies and trials may not be predictive of future trial results; our clinical trials may be suspended or discontinued due to unexpected side effects or other safety risks that could preclude approval of our product candidates; uncertainties of government or third party payer reimbursement; dependence on key personnel; limited experience in marketing and sales; substantial competition; uncertainties of patent protection and litigation; dependence upon third parties; our ability to develop tests, kits and systems and the success of those products; regulatory, financial and business risks related to our international expansion and risks related to failure to obtain FDA clearances or approvals and noncompliance with FDA regulations. There are no guarantees that any of our technology or products will be utilized or prove to be commercially successful, or that Trovagene’s strategy to design its liquid biopsy tests to report on clinically actionable cancer genes will ultimately be successful or result in better reimbursement outcomes. Additionally, there are no guarantees that future clinical trials will be completed or successful or that any precision medicine therapeutics will receive regulatory approval for any indication or prove to be commercially successful. Investors should read the risk factors set forth in Trovagene’s Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016, and other periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. While the list of factors presented here is considered representative, no such list should be considered to be a complete statement of all potential risks and uncertainties. Unlisted factors may present significant additional obstacles to the realization of forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements included herein are made as of the date hereof, and Trovagene does not undertake any obligation to update publicly such statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances.
VP, Corporate Communications
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SOURCE Trovagene, Inc.
The University of California San Diego has been ranked the 15th best university in the world by the 2017 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU). UC San Diego was also named the world’s third best public college. The campus was named the world’s fourth best public college and nationally, UC San Diego was recognized as the country’s 13th best university.
The investment comes on the heels of World Trade Center San Diego’s selection of CureMatch as one of 15 top San Diego companies
SAN DIEGO, Aug. 15, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — CureMatch, a digital health company focusing on personalized medicine and combination therapy in oncology, today announced that it has closed its bridge round to Series A financing.
CureMatch is the only company to offer a data-driven report that scores combinations of cancer drugs that are tailored for individual patients. The report is generated using CureMatch’s Decision Support System, which can analyze millions of cancer treatment options with its proprietary algorithms and evidence-based, custom-curated databases of genomics and proteomics information.
CureMatch was founded less than two years ago, launched its product earlier this year, and has been seeking seed investment as it expands sales and marketing efforts. The bridge round was oversubscribed, with Serra Ventures and tech entrepreneur Phil Trubey as major investors. CureMatch is now starting discussions with Series A investors.
Serra Ventures is a venture capital firm investing in early stage information technology, and devices/instrumentation technologies. Phil Trubey founded Websense, Inc. (now Forcepoint), which was acquired by Raytheon in 2015 for $1.8 billion.
“CureMatch represents a unique, breakthrough opportunity in the treatment of cancer, a disease that touches all of our lives in some way,” said Steve Beck, Managing Partner at Serra Venture’s San Diego office. “The company’s solution resides at the intersection of precision medicine and actionable intelligence extracted from big data. We’re confident that the CureMatch team is poised to lead the way in personalized cancer treatment, and we are thrilled to add them to the Serra Ventures’ portfolio.”
“I’ve been following CureMatch’s remarkable progress over the past several months, and am very impressed by their team and their unique technology,” said Phil Trubey. “I believe that this company is going to have a tremendous impact on how cancer is treated.”
In addition to its success in attracting financing, CureMatch has also been recognized as one of the top startups in San Diego. Last week CureMatch was selected as one of 15 companies in World Trade Center San Diego’s prestigious MetroConnect program, which provides assistance and a $10,000 award to help companies expand global sales. Previously, CureMatch was selected by the San Diego Venture Group as one of its 2017 Cool Companies. SDVG’s list of Cool Companies are those determined to be “venture-ready” and among the “fastest-growing, most exciting startups in Southern California.” In the past two months, CureMatch has been featured on the KUSI Evening News in its weekly segment “Health Living”, as well as Xconomy, the San Diego Business Journal, Hatch Magazine, NBC 7 San Diego, and many other media outlets.
“CureMatch is at a point of its growth where our partnership with Serra Ventures will help us to further accelerate the deployment of our personalized cancer treatment technology,” said Blaise Barrelet, CEO of CureMatch. “This will allow us to improve patient outcomes now instead of tomorrow.”
CureMatch™, Inc. is a San Diego-based digital health company focused on personalized medicine and combination therapy in oncology. CureMatch’s Decision Support System guides oncologists in the selection of cancer drugs that are customized for individual patients based on their molecular tumor profile. CureMatch enables oncologists to become experts in personalized medicine by providing them with actionable intelligence towards advanced cancer treatment options. For more information, visit www.curematch.com
Metacrine Announces Collaboration on Development of FGF1 Variants for Glucose Lowering and Improving Insulin Sensitivity
SAN DIEGO, Aug. 15, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Metacrine, Inc., an innovative biotechnology company focused on drug development for metabolic diseases, announced it has entered a collaboration with Novo Nordisk A/S to develop Fibroblast Growth Factor 1 (“FGF1”) variants for glucose lowering and insulin sensitization.
Metacrine began work on FGF1 following a 2014 seminal study published in the journal Nature, which demonstrated the ability of FGF1 to lower glucose and improve insulin sensitivity in preclinical diabetes models. Metacrine has made significant progress with protein engineering work to improve the pharmaceutical properties of FGF1.
“We are very pleased to be working with Novo Nordisk, a clear global leader in diabetes and diabetes-related disease complications,” said Ken Song, MD, President and CEO of Metacrine. “Combining the knowledge and experience of Novo Nordisk with Metacrine’s capabilities ensures an ideal path forward for the FGF1 program, with the opportunity to develop a first-in-class therapeutic to treat patients who have diabetes and other conditions related to insulin resistance.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Metacrine will continue to be responsible for certain research activities to further develop and characterize novel FGF1 variants. Novo Nordisk will have an option to license the FGF1 program upon achievement of certain research milestones. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Metacrine is a privately held biotechnology company headquartered in San Diego, CA. The company is focused on efficiently developing innovative drugs that materially benefit patients with metabolic disease. For more information, visit www.metacrine.com.
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SOURCE Metacrine, Inc.