Dr. Vince O’Neill, Chief Medical Officer of BioXcel Therapeutics, says company potentially breaking new ground in cancer treatment.

BRANFORD: BioXcel Therapeutics (“BTI”), a research stage [founded in 2005], announced a research collaboration with San Francisco based the publicly traded Nektar Therapeutics [Nasdaq: NKTR] with a $6 billion market cap, research/development stage bio-tech.

The companies will “explore the novel combination of Nektar’s NKTR-214, a CD122-biased agonist, and BTI’s BXCL701, a small molecule immune-modulator and DPP 8/9 and FAP inhibitor, for the treatment of multiple oncology indications.”

According to the companies, the goal of this collaboration is to leverage “the complementary mechanisms of NKTR-214 and BXCL701 to boost the body’s own immune system and overcome local immunosuppressive mechanisms in the tumor microenvironment. The collaborative research studies will evaluate the potential of the therapies in preclinical mouse models of pancreatic and prostate cancer.”

bioscience roadmapNEW HAVEN: Two New Haven based biotechs, Melinta Therapeutics [Nasdaq:MLNT] and Biohaven [NYSE:BHVN] have both just begun new clinical trials.

Melinta Therapeutics, Inc. which has developed the FDA approved antibiotic Baxelda, to treat MRSA and other skin infections, has initiated a Phase 2 clinical study of topical Radezolid for the treatment of mild-to-moderate acne vulgaris.

The Melinta study will enroll approximately 48 individuals with moderate-to-severe facial acne vulgaris. The company hopes to demonstrate that the twice daily application will create at least an “almost clear” condition. The study is expected to complete enrollment in the second half of 2018.


naderNEW HAVEN: Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. [NASDAQ: ALXN] is adding some bioscience chops to its board appointing Francois Nader, M.D.

The company says “Nader is an accomplished leader in the biopharmaceutical industry with a proven track record of building and transforming companies, launching rare disease therapies, and creating significant shareholder value.”

Just last week in an editorial recognizing the gaps in Alexion’s board, Business New Haven, called for an expansion of bioscience experience on the board, as the company seeks to create a new drug pipeline, dependent on licensing and or acquisitions.

Screen Shot 2017 11 07 at 1.27.39 PMA Branford life sciences company is working to take the guesswork out of cancer treatments with technology that may predict how patients will respond to drugs before being exposed to them. For more>>>




Daniel Wechsler.melinta
Melinta new CEO Daniel Wechsler was appointed in late October to helm the newly public company.

NEW HAVEN: Melinta Therapeutics Inc. [NASDAQ:MLNT], is now a public company it began trading on the Nasdaq on November 6 and the stock priced opened at $12.80 per share, with a company valuation of approximately $130 million. The company went public in a merger with the previous public Cempra of Chapel Hill, NC, also a bioscience company focusing on antibiotics.

Melinta is a “commercial-stage company” developing “novel" antibiotics to treat serious bacterial infections. Dan Wechsler was appointed as Melinta’s new president and chief executive officer on October 31. The company says the company’s executive leadership team is comprised of seven executives from Melinta and two executives from Cempra.

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John Houston former Chief Science Officer was appointed CEO in September as the company prepares to head into a clinical trial.

NEW HAVEN: Arvinas LLC, founded by Chief Scientific Officer Yale bioscience researcher and Business New Haven Health Care Hero Dr. Craig Crews announced the selection of its first candidate for clinical development as a novel treatment for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC).

ARV-110 is an orally bioavailable small molecule PROTAC (PROteolysis TArgeting Chimera) designed to target and induce the degradation of the androgen receptor (AR) protein, which plays a prominent role in the development of mCRPC.

John Houston, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Arvinas, said "we believe that our first clinical candidate from our protein degradation platform will offer a novel therapeutic modality to patients with mCRPC, adding “we are on track to initiate a clinical study of the AR PROTAC in mCRPC patients in the second half of 2018."

According to the company “ARV-110 works by hijacking the cancer cell's natural and selective process for controlling protein levels to efficiently target androgen receptor proteins for degradation and elimination. In contrast to the traditional competitive process of target inhibition, degradation by PROTACs is iterative and can overcome increases in endogenous ligand and target expression, or mutations in the target.”

Screen Shot 2017 11 07 at 9.48.38 AMNEW HAVEN: Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. [Nasdaq:ACHN]  announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted orphan drug designation to ACH-4471 for the treatment of paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria [PNH]. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products (COMP) issued a positive opinion on ACH-4471 for orphan status in the European Union (EU) for the treatment of PNH, as well.

The orphan drug news comes on the heels of a decision by Johnson & Johnson [NYSE: JNJ] to discontinue a development partnership with Achillion for its Hepatitis C Drugs. The outcome of clinical trials for the Achillion drugs in combination with J&J proved effective in curing certain varieties of Hep C. The Hep C market has existing drugs that also cure the disease.

Achillion stock soared to $15.90 in 2015 on the status of the treatment and prior to news of the collaboration in 2015 which brought more than $250 million in cash into the company. Currently the company has a market capitalization of $586 million and  a $4 share price. The company lost just under $20 million in the third quarter but still has more than $350 million in cash and securities.