Key industry partnerships advancing drug discovery

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Otsuka Pharmaceutical and Ionis Pharmaceuticals

Otsuka Pharmaceutical and RNA therapy company Ionis have entered into a licence agreement for Otsuka to acquire exclusive marketing rights to Ionis’ hereditary angioedema (HAE) drug candidate donidalorsen in Europe.

Donidalorsen is an investigational ligand-conjugated antisense (LICA) medicine designed to target the prekallikrein, or PKK, pathway. A Phase II study demonstrated donidalorsen reduced HAE attack rate by a mean of 96%. Ionis is currently conducting two Phase III multicentre studies.

Makoto Inoue, President and Representative Director of Otsuka Pharmaceutical commented: “Otsuka is committed to the development of drugs for rare diseases such as autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). Through this collaboration with Ionis, if regulatory approval is received, we look forward to bringing donidalorsen to patients in Europe to address the unmet medical needs of patients with HAE.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Otsuka will pay Ionis an upfront payment of $65 million, plus payments based on achievement of regulatory and sales milestones.

“We are excited to collaborate with Otsuka given their proven results in bringing rare disease medicines to patients in Europe,” said Brett Monia, Ionis Chief Executive Officer. “This agreement is aligned with our strategy to initially focus our commercialisation efforts on the US market. We are encouraged by the product profile of donidalorsen to date and look forward to reporting pivotal topline Phase III results in HAE in the first half of next year.”

Atropos Health and SEQSTER

Real-world data company Atropos Health and SEQSTER, a provider of patient-centric healthcare data technology, have partnered to accelerate patient registries in clinical research.

The collaboration will advance the speed-to-insight for many underrepresented populations served by registry-based research.

“Our partnership with Atropos Health furthers our commitment to progressing healthcare with novel technology and providing real-world data and rapid evidence generation accessible to both patients and partners,” said Ardy Arianpour, Co-founder and CEO of SEQSTER. “Now, we can deliver real-time, real-world data and layer in AI to accelerate drug discovery and provide deep insights for our pharma and health system customers.”

Dr Brigham Hyde, Co-founder and CEO of Atropos Health, added: “With SEQSTER, we add the ability not only to support analysis of registry data to the growing variety of real-world data sources available on the Atropos Health Evidence Network, but we can also support health system and life science customers’ ability to rapidly stand up registries to support a variety of initiatives.”

Shionogi and Swedish Orphan Biovitrum

Shionogi and Swedish Orphan Biovitrum (Sobi) have signed a distribution agreement for antibiotic Fetcroja (cefiderocol) in Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Latvia and Lithuania.

According to the agreement, Sobi will promote and commercialise cefiderocol in the markets, while Shionogi will act as marketing authorisation holder.

Huw Tippett, Chief Executive Officer, Shionogi BV, the subsidiary of Shionogi in Europe, said: “We are delighted to collaborate with Sobi to accelerate patient access within Europe to our innovative antibiotic, cefiderocol for patients suffering from multi drug resistant Gram-negative infections with limited treatment options. Collaborating with industry partners is fundamental to how Shionogi accelerates patient access and improved treatment outcomes in infectious disease across the healthcare community.”

Konstantin Bakaykin, Sobi’s Vice President and General Manager for CEER & Japan, said: “We are looking forward to bringing this life saving antibiotic to the patients in need. We are excited to enter into this partnership with Shionogi, a company sharing the same patient centric values as Sobi and look forward to launching cefiderocol from 2024.”

Anagenex and Nimbus Therapeutics

Anagenex and Nimbus Therapeutics have initiated a research collaboration to discover small molecule drugs for multiple challenging targets.

The companies plan to apply Anagenex’s AI driven parallel biochemistry platform to generate billions of experimentally measured datapoints for each of Nimbus’ nominated targets.

Anagenex will use the resulting data to train proprietary AI models that will generatively design 100 million new target-specific molecules to experimentally probe structure activity relationships to identify selective and potent drug candidates.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Nimbus, one of the original and most successful computationally aided drug discovery and development companies,” commented Nicolas Tilmans, CEO of Anagenex. “We’re very excited to join forces with them in attacking new targets beyond oncology a few hundred million compounds at a time.”

Peter Tummino, Nimbus’ Chief Scientific Officer, said: “At Nimbus, we have prioritised important but difficult-to-drug targets across multiple therapy areas. This new collaboration with Anagenex perfectly complements our broader efforts across early discovery to advance new small molecule medicines against these targets with the goal of improving patients’ lives.”

Nimbus recently revealed data from an ongoing Phase I/II study of its HPK1 inhibitor NDI-101150, which showed clinical benefit in patients with solid tumours.

SimBioSys and UT Southwestern

TechBio company SimBioSys has announced a collaboration with UT Southwestern to develop cancer biomarkers for immunotherapy.

The Chan Lab at UT Southwestern will enhance PhenoScope’s tumour bank with spatial transcriptomic data and provide bioinformatic analytic expertise. Dr Isaac Chan, an Assistant Professor in UT Southwestern’s Departments of Internal Medicine and Molecular Biology, will be the primary advisor for the collaboration. His research focuses on immunotherapies for patients with breast cancer.

“Understanding the tumour microenvironment is key for developing more personalised cancer therapies that can deliver improved outcomes while reducing toxicity for each patient,” said Dr Chan. “SimBioSys’ PhenoScope platform exposes the intricacies of the tumour microenvironment through its multi-modal data integration and spatial biophysical analysis capabilities, unveiling new insights to help accelerate more individualised drug development.”

“We are honoured to be collaborating with UT Southwestern, a leading cancer research institution, and Dr Chan,” said Tushar Pandey, Co-founder and CEO of SimBioSys. “The Chan Lab’s modeling work has been revolutionary, and we are excited about our ability to help further their research with PhenoScope’s capabilities to further realise our collective vision of developing biologically relevant digital twins from clinical, molecular and imaging data for enhanced treatment prediction.”

SimBioSys is one of the founding members of the CancerX initiative to boost innovation in the fight against cancer.

Diana Spencer, Senior Digital Content Editor, DDW

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