Archive: Company News

Company News: Study Demonstrates Micromet’s Blinatumomab Produces High Single-Agent Activity in Patients with Relapsed Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

75% of patients achieved a complete remission, with no evidence of remaining leukemic cells in blood or bone marrow
– Data add to a growing body of clinical evidence demonstrating blinatumomab’s potential to be used across the course of the disease

Data to be presented tomorrow at the 16th Annual Meeting of the European Hematology Association (EHA) in London, UK, show that Micromet’s blinatumomab produced a high complete remission rate in adult patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) who had relapsed following treatment with standard therapy. 1 Blinatumomab is the most advanced of a new class of agents called BiTE® antibodies, designed to harness the body’s T cells to kill cancer cells.

Interim results from this phase 2 single-arm trial showed that 75% of patients (9 of 12) achieved a complete remission (CR) or CR with partial recovery of blood counts (CRh*) following treatment with blinatumomab.  All nine responding patients achieved a complete molecular response, or had no evidence of leukemic cells in their bone marrow, a key prognostic factor for patient survival.  Notably, four patients with genetic abnormalities typically associated with poorer outcomes all achieved a CR or CRh*.

Current treatment for Philadelphia negative relapsed/refractory ALL consists of combinations of toxic chemotherapy drugs that in the majority of cases fail to drive the disease into remission.  In more than 30 years, no new drug has been approved for use in this setting, leaving physicians with few options to improve long-term patient outcomes other than variations in the dose and schedule of old drugs with limited efficacy.  With current approaches, complete remission rates range from 17-45%. 2-6 Standard chemotherapy is associated with a mortality rate of up to 23%. 7 The average five-year survival rate for adult ALL patients after first relapse is 7%. 5

 

Click here to read the abstract

 

References:

  1. Topp, M.S. et. al. Haematologica. 2011; abstract no. 844
  2. Kantarjian H, et al. Cancer. 2010;116:5568–5574.
  3. Advani AS, et al. Br J Haematol. 2010;151(5):430.
  4. Oriol A, et al. Haematologica. 2010;98(4):589-596.
  5. Fielding  A, et al. Blood. 2007;109(3):944-950.
  6. O’Brien S, et al. Cancer. 2008;113:3186–3191.
  7. Bassan R, et al. J Clin Oncol. 2011;29(5):532-543.

Company News: SuppreMol Obtains Option to In-License Antibody Against Interleukin 3 for Rheumatoid Arthritis

SuppreMol GmbH, a privately held biopharmaceutical company developing innovative therapeutics for the treatment of autoimmune diseases, today announced that it has closed an agreement to in-license an antibody directed against interleukin 3 (IL-3), which has been developed by the Molecular Immunology research group led by Prof. Dr. Matthias Mack at the University of Regensburg.

IL-3, a growth factor primarily produced by activated T cells, stimulates growth and differentiation of monocytes, basophils and other leukocyte populations from the bone marrow in an immune response. Recently, the team of Prof. Mack was able to demonstrate that IL-3 plays an important role in the onset of Rheumatoid Arthritis, an autoimmune disease characterized by a chronic inflammation of the joints and other organs affecting up to one percent of the population in the industrialized world. The disease commonly leads to significant disability and reduction in the quality of life and is connected with significant costs for patients and the health care systems.

Therapy with an antibody-based IL-3 inhibitor, either in early stages or during flares and exacerbations, may provide a new class of treatment for patients suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Further details can be found here.

 

Company News: Curetis AG Successfully Increases Series A Round to EUR 24.5 Million

Curetis AG, an innovative molecular diagnostics company focusing on the development and commercialization of in-vitro diagnostic products for infectious diseases, today announced an extension of its Series A financing, bringing the total size of the round to € 24.5 million. CD-Venture joined the funding as a new investor, while all of Curetis’ existing VC investors participated in the round. Several private investors also continued to co-invest.

Following the appointment of Oliver Schacht, PhD, as the new CEO of Curetis last month, this financing transaction is the first step towards funding next year’s commercial launch and roll-out of the Unyvero product platform together with the first CE marked IVD test cartridge for pneumonia and antibiotic resistances in Europe. The additional funds will allow Curetis to pursue a more aggressive strategy towards initiating a US clinical trial in H2-2011 with a goal of filing for FDA approval in 2012. This Series A financing positions Curetis as a solidly funded molecular diagnostics company with near-term commercial-stage products and its unique platform solution addressing a clear unmet medical need in the rapid diagnosis of infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance.

Curetis’ CEO Oliver Schacht will present an update on the company at the upcoming BioEquity 2011 in Paris. The presentation is scheduled for May 23, 2011, at 5:00 pm CET, Room Pont de Sully.

Further details can be found here.

 

Company News: biocrea and Pfizer Jointly Presented Details on Novel PDE10 Inhibitors at the 241st ACS National Meeting & Exposition

– Novel treatment opportunities for CNS diseases –

biocrea, a biopharmaceutical company focusing on novel treatments for disorders of the central nervous system (CNS), today reported details on the design and synthesis of novel, brain-penetrating phosphodiesterase-10 (PDE10) inhibitors developed in collaboration with Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE). The data were featured in joint presentations[1] with Pfizer at the recent 241st ACS National Meeting & Exposition, an event organized by the American Chemical Society (ACS).

The data demonstrated that the scientists at Pfizer and biocrea were able to eliminate undesired activity on adenosine receptors and to considerably improve the compounds´ physicochemical properties and potency. The team had started with initial high-throughput hits characterized by low potency and selectivity. Further lead optimization led to a number of compounds with very robust activity in a range of preclinical models of anti-psychotic efficacy. Moreover, these PDE10 inhibitors produced low levels of catalepsy, suggesting a minimal risk for the induction of side-effects involving the extrapyramidal system (EPS), the most common adverse reaction observed with anti-psychotic drugs.

Phosphodiesterases (PDEs) have been identified as key regulators of intracellular cyclic nucleotide levels in the brain. Mechanistically, PDE10 inhibition has two major benefits, mimicking, (1) the effects of antagonists of the dopamine-2 receptor, the current standard treatment for psychosis, and (2) the effects of agonists of dopamine-1 receptors, which may decrease the side-effect liabilities while contributing to a pro-cognitive profile.

 


[1] Malamas M et al., 241st ACS National Meeting & Exposition Abstract 65 – Imidazo[1,5-a]quinoxalines as selective PDE10A inhibitors for the treatment of schizophrenia, http://redir.ec/Qr3C; Malamas, M. et al., 241st ACS National Meeting & Exposition Abstract 66 – Benzo[e]imidazo[5,1-c][1,2,4]triazines as selective PDE10A inhibitors for the treatment of schizophrenia, http://redir.ec/pl1Q


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