Agenus (AGEN) announced that a lead product candidate is selected under its license and research collaboration with Merck, which is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada.
Merck has selected a lead antibody candidate and several backup antibodies, discovered by Agenus, to an undisclosed Merck checkpoint target.
Agenus received a $2 million milestone payment from Merck.
According to the terms of the agreement, Merck is responsible for all future product development expenses and Agenus is eligible to receive up to $100 million in milestone payments, as well as royalties on worldwide product sales.
Agenus said that this step represents an important validation of Agenus’ discovery platform and expertise and adds to its successes in discovering antibodies for a broad range of targets, including challenging ones.
“Our integrated monoclonal antibody discovery platforms have successfully identified unique antibodies for a wide range of therapeutic targets. This discovery engine provides Agenus the opportunity to bring innovative single-agent and combination immuno-oncology therapies to patients whose cancers are not adequately treated with current approaches.”
Agenus is referred to in the new Prohost Companion Letter called Le CompaGnon that will be posted on the Prohost website Saturday (tomorrow) morning.
GLOBAL BLOOD THERAPEUTICS
Global Blood Therapeutics (GBT) — a clinical stage biopharmaceutical firm that focuses on discovering and developing products for blood-based disorders with significant unmet need.
The firm’s lead product candidate GBT440 is an oral, once-daily therapy for sickle cell disease (SCD). The firm is evaluating GBT440 in healthy subjects and in SCD patients in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind Phase 1/2 clinical trial.
In the NEWS
GBT440 Boosted Hemoglobin Production in a Small Study on Patients with Sickle Cell Disease.
Results from its ongoing Phase 1/2 GBT440-001 study in sickle cell disease (SCD)further support the firm’s plans to develop GBT440 as a potential disease-modifying therapy for SCD. The data was presented at the European Hematology Association’s (EHA) 21st Congress in Copenhagen. The presentation, which included a poster of 90-day data from a cohort of patients in the Phase 1/2 study who were taking 700 mg/day of GBT440 and 28-day results from three dosing cohorts of GBT440 (abstract #P371).
Data on the pharmacokinetics (PK) and pharmacodynamics (PD) of GBT440 are being highlighted in a separate poster presentation (abstract #P370).
“The new GBT440 clinical data continue to support the hypothesis that GBT440 inhibits sickle hemoglobin (HbS) polymer formation, allowing it to potentially stop red blood cell hemolysis, improve blood flow and transform the treatment of the disease.”
That’s what Dr. Paul Telfer, consultant in hematology and pediatric hematology at Barts Health NHS Trust and a senior lecturer in hematology at Queen Mary, University of London. He said, “Based on the data we have seen to date, GBT440 has the potential to be a once-daily treatment that could improve the devastating clinical course of sickle cell disease.”
All Sickle Cell Disease patients have shown a positive hematologic response. Additionally, a rapid and durable reduction in hemolytic anemia and sickling has been shown over 90 days. According to Ted W. Love, M.D., chief executive officer of GBT, “The data continue to support the inhibition of polymerization of sickle hemoglobin through increased oxygen affinity as the mechanism of action of GBT440. Dr. Love added, “Overall, the data collected to in study GBT440-001 indicate that we have a drug candidate that we can move into a pivotal trial later this year. We look forward to discussing the design of that trial with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.”
The news is great, no doubt about it. It just needs to be replicated in Phase 3 trials and, according to what we read and observed, the odds of success are much better than those of failure.
Patients who took the full dose of the drug had a production of normal hemoglobin, which is malformed in sickle cell disease. Good news also is that the hemoglobin remained elevated over 90 days.
For more detailed information about the trials and of the results click: HERE
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