Tekmira gets new name, will focus on hepatitis B drug development | FDA grants breakthrough designation to Bristol-Myers' HIV drug | EU approves Amgen's cholesterol drug
 
July 22, 2015
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Tekmira gets new name, will focus on hepatitis B drug development
Tekmira Pharmaceuticals announced it will rename itself Arbutus Biopharma Corp. following its acquisition of OnCore Biopharma. The combined company will focus on the development of a chronic hepatitis B treatment and will suspend all activities related to the Ebola vaccine TKM-Ebola. A specific business unit will be created to concentrate on non-hepatitis B programs. BioSpace (San Francisco) (7/20)
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Health Care & Policy
FDA grants breakthrough designation to Bristol-Myers' HIV drug
Bristol-Myers Squibb's investigational HIV drug BMS-663068 has been designated a breakthrough therapy by the FDA for use in previously treated patients and those who have developed resistance to other therapies. The designation was granted based on data from a midstage trial. A late-stage trial is underway. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (7/21)
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EU approves Amgen's cholesterol drug
The European Commission has granted approval to Amgen's Repatha, or evolocumab, as a treatment for patients with genetic predisposition to high cholesterol and those who are intolerant or insufficiently responsive to statins. The approval was based on trial data showing the drug yielded about a 55% to 75% reduction in LDL cholesterol in patients with primary hyperlipidemia and mixed dyslipidemia, and about a 15% to 30% reduction in patients with high-risk homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, compared with placebo. Reuters (7/21), PharmaTimes (U.K.) (7/21)
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Exelixis' kidney cancer drug performs well in late-stage trial
A late-stage trial found that Exelixis' Cometriq, or cabozantinib, was associated with longer overall survival and a 42% reduction in death or disease progression risk among patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma, compared with everolimus. Cometriq is already approved to treat medullary thyroid cancer. BioSpace (San Francisco) (7/20)
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Janssen to support Forge Therapeutics' pilot study
Forge Therapeutics' pilot study of its chemistry platform designed to discover novel metalloprotein inhibitors will receive funding from Janssen's research-and-development unit. Financial terms were not disclosed. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (7/21)
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Company & Financial News
Horizon raises offer for Depomed
Horizon Pharma has increased its all-stock bid for Depomed to $33 a share, up from $29.25 earlier this month. Depomed's directors said the previous offer was not in its shareholders' interest. The New York Times (single-article access for SmartBrief readers) (7/21)
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Discovery Laboratories targets $35M from stock offering
Warrington, Pa.-based Discovery Laboratories hopes to secure $35 million in a public stock offering. The firm will use part of the money to support the development of its midstage Aerosurf therapy, which is designed to treat premature infants with respiratory distress syndrome. American City Business Journals/Philadelphia (7/20)
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Exact Sciences announces public stock sale
Exact Sciences announced Monday that it is selling 7 million shares in a public offering to raise funds for the commercialization of its Cologuard colorectal cancer test. Funds generated from the stock sale will also be used as working capital and for product development. GenomeWeb Daily News (free registration) (7/20)
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Food & Agriculture
Monsanto's R&D site in India expanded
Monsanto inaugurated its newly expanded vegetable seed research-and-development site located near Bengaluru. The company plans to soon introduce a white cauliflower variety and a new variety of tomato that has a longer shelf life. The Hindu Business Line (India) (7/21)
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Industrial & Environmental
Levulinic acid commercial scale production has begun, firm announces at World Congress
The commercial scale production of levulinic acid, a biomass-derived chemical that can be used as a replacement for petroleum-based products in various sectors, has been initiated by GFBiochemicals in Caserta, Italy, the company announced during the BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology in Montreal. "A fundamentally lower price range is now possible using our unique technology. This will give access to previously undiscovered market segments," GFBiochemicals Chief Commercial Officer Marcel van Berkel said. PlasticsToday.com (7/21)
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News From BIO
Summer 2015 BIO Therapeutic Newsletters
The BIO Emerging Companies Section Policy Team has compiled the latest news to keep you informed on the action in Washington with respect to the disease category on which your company is focused. Topics covered comprise: Allergy/Infectious Disease/Antiviral; Cardiology/Pulmonology/Blood; Nephrology/Endocrinology/Metabolism/Gastroenterology; Neurology/CNS; Oncology; and Rheumatology/Anesthesia/Inflammation/Pain. BIO has included updates from biotech stakeholders around Washington, including Congress, FDA, NIH, and patient organizations. Access our Summer 2015 Therapeutic Newsletters.
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