Genentech Signs Billion Dollar Deal with Sosei Heptares and Skyhawk

Genentech Inks Deal With Skyhawk And Sosei

Introduction

Genentech and Convelo Therapeutics collaborated to accelerate their discovery of the drugs to deal with different targets, such as the patients who are suffering from neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis (MS). The two companies decided to work together to discover the therapies for MS as well as other myelin disorders. According to the deal, Convelo will receive an undisclosed upfront payment and also some support during the search from Genentech. 

Since the financial terms of Convelo were not disclosed, Genentech decided to enter into another deal whose worth is $1 billion today. The deal was between Genentech and Japan-based Sosei group. They joined hands in the discovery of novel medicines that would modulate G Protein-Coupled Receptor GPCR targets.

Genentech inks discovery deals with Skyhawk, Convelo

Genentech made a deal of $100 million ($1 billion) biobucks with G Protein-Coupled Receptor (GPCR) specialist Sosei Heptares and under this deal; both the companies will work on new meds that modulate GPCR targets. According to Nature, it is believed that between one third and one-half of all marketed drugs act by binding to GPCRs. If this is true, then it completely explains why Genentech was interested in this target.

They decided to focus on two things; one focused on cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, and the other focused on neurological disorders.

For this purpose, Sosei Heptares will combine its GPCR focused structure bases drug design with Genentech’s experiment and Skyhawk will use its Sky STAR technology to find out about small molecules that can modulate RNA splicing and treat numerous oncology and neurological disorders. 

Moreover, the good news is that Genentech is now going to discover both oncology and neurodegeneration and promises to develop market drugs for multiple diseases. In exchange, it only demands the promise of future payments and royalties. 

This agreement proves to be very helpful and exclusive for Genentech all over the world, as it gets the license to develop potential therapeutics that is directed to multiple targets. On the other hand, Skyhawk receives an upfront payment and gets the eligibility to receive all the future payments and royalties. This agreement also says that, if anything happens to clinical development or commercialization, Genentech would be held responsible for that. 

The Genentech collaboration comes to two months after Skyhawk teamed up with Takeda Pharmaceutical and after a year, it penned $60 million with Celgene, and now they could license up to five new drug candidates from the deal. 

As for the deal with Convelo, both Genentech and Convelo will work on new therapies for a better treatment that might revive fatty substances which not only protects but also gives a covering on nerve fibers that appears just like some coating. 

According to James Sabry,

“We believe that GPCRs are that class which plays a great role to cure many diseases. Thanks to Sosei Heptares, because of him, there are more and more drugs being discovered every year, his outstanding capabilities accelerated the discovery of drugs.”

Mallinckrodt and Silence Therapeutics Partner up for RNAi

At first, you need to have a little introduction to these two companies. They both are pharmaceuticals. They provide medicines and research related to medicine. What are they and what do they do? Here’s the introduction.

Mallinckrodt

An Irish–tax registered manufacturer, known as Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals of specialty pharmaceuticals, generic drugs, and imaging agent in 2017 generated 90% of sales from the U.S. healthcare system. With such a large network, it is one of the finest and leading pharmaceuticals.

Silence Therapeutics

A biotechnology company that develops therapeutic gene technology based on RNA interference. They are responsible and have major involvement in developmental research of targeted RNAi therapeutics for the treatment of serious diseases.

What is RNAi?

RNAi or RNA Interference is a biological process in our internal body. RNA interferes with RNA to cut it down from double-stranded RNA to single and then to further more pieces. This process inhibits gene expression or translation by targeting RNA and neutralizing it. 

Mallinckrodt and Silence Therapeutics Partnership

Mallinckrodt is the finest and leading pharmaceutical you can find. With such a vast network, it has the power to change, the power to reach out and help maximum. The one problem they were facing was lack of research and information about RNAi. Silence Therapeutics had all the knowledge of RNAi. With that knowledge, you could even treat deadly cancerous diseases. You may have guessed it until now.

One of the ten principles of microeconomics says Trade can make everyone better off. So, Mallinckrodt holding power to reach out and change and Silence Therapeutics with the information made a deal and became partners.

There were some noticeable points made at the time of their partnership. Some of them are mentioned below.

•    This partnership will allow Silence’s platform in the field of RNAi technology to advance. With more advancement, new ways would come out to solve deadly diseases.

•    The agreement provides Mallinckrodt with an exclusive worldwide license for one preclinical asset that targets a specific protein in the complement pathway, C3 (SLN500), and an option for up to two additional assets with different complement protein targets

•    $20 million upfront payment, long-term development, commercial milestones, and royalties on net sales will be received by Silence.

This collaboration will allow both companies to develop an RNAi drug. This drug would be a group of proteins that are involved in the immune system to fight different diseases. These proteins play an important role in the development of inflammation.

These proteins are also considered to contribute to the pathogenesis of many diseases, including autoimmune diseases. This would change the medical world and show it a better path to find more ways to fight deadly diseases.

Not only will this partnership help in the medical field but would also leave an impact on other companies to indulge themselves in these healthy partnerships to produce the best possible outcome. The business world is a dirty place, and it needs to have examples like these.

Inventor of CRISPR, Feng Chang is Targeting Alzheimer’s

Crispr Pioneer Is Aiming Towards Brain Diseases

In recent news, a CRISPR pioneer, Feng Zhang, from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard has started up his own pharma company. Dubbed as Beam Therapeutics, it has made headlines because Zhang has collected up to USD 222 million for research funds and development. Zhang largely focusing on editing gene structure and has recently released a ground breaking invention that is expected to be able to manipulate RNA in genes.

This may equip researchers and scientists to one find cures for different brain diseases, such as the likes of Alzheimer’s. The system developed by Zhang and his co-workers is commonly known as RNA Editing for Specific C to U Exchange, or RESCUE for short. Keep reading to find out everything to know about this new invention and what we can expect.

1.    How does it work?

In their research journal, Zhang and his colleagues explain exactly how this new technology works. To put it simply, the technology works inside the cells of the body and alters the gene responsible for late-onset Alzheimer’s to a non-pathogenic form. Previously, the method used for this purpose caused the DNA to split at certain points, posing the risk of altering the DNA chains permanently.

Zhang’s invention targets RNA instead of DNA by using a muted version of another enzyme. To get into the particular, ‘RESCUE’ targets on the base chains of RNA called Cytosine. Cytosine can then be converted into Uridine, which can help manipulate the process of protein synthesis or similar processes that have to do with the genetic restructuring. 

2.    The science behind the project

Speaking in terms of brain disease, as aforementioned, RESCUE can alter the genetic structure in RNA to alter the variant that poses a risk of Alzheimer’s to a non-pathogenic state. According to Zhang and his team, this removes the risk of late-onset Alzheimer’s altogether. RESCUE and RNA editing can also be used to reverse certain synthesis processes to promote healing of wounds. RESCUE largely works on the principle of altering RNA and activates certain hormones in the body to help further the process.  

3.    Future Projections

Taking inspiration from Zhang’s model, other companies and research groups have also begun work on similar technologies. For the future, researchers are confident that these cures can be extended to help with other diseases as well, including Parkinson’s and Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. There is still plenty more work that needs to be done on RESCUE itself before it can be used practically. Zhang has said that clinical trials are still a little way down the road. This is because there is a very specific set of technologies needed to develop RESCUE.

Conclusion   

Even though CRISPR technology and RESCUE has some ground to cover before it can be used on people, it is a step in the right direction when it comes to the fight against brain diseases. However, using advanced programming and enhancing the precision of RNA editing, some promising results can be expected shortly.

Gene Therapy for Hemophilia has Early Success

Early Success for Hemophilia Gene Therapy

Diseases that are genetically inherited are a little tricky to deal with. Since they don’t manifest themselves early on and have the potential to absolutely skip a generation, complications are bound to arise. Furthermore, more complications hinder progress if such diseases have a high-risk factor.

On the top shelf of such diseases, hemophilia is arguably the worst one. Hemophilia results in the recipient not being able to produce any blood clots. Since blood clotting is necessary for the prevention of bleeding, the victim is always under risk from any sort of threat, whether it is external or internal.

What causes hemophilia?

Hemophilia is mainly caused by irregularities and mutation of the Factor VIII gene. This is arguably the most important factor for blood clotting. In patients diagnosed with hemophilia, this gene is missing. Furthermore, hemophilia is passed on from one generation to the other, rather than being contagious or airborne.

Treating Hemophilia

Sangamo Therapeutics has been conducting experiments and trial to discern the root causes and how to go about treating them. Due to the high-risk factor, not many patients are a part of this meticulous process. Patients that were the high dosage of medicinal drugs were repeatedly tested and kept track of and showed a consistent level of Factor VIII.

The experiments have been successful as far as the gene concentration is concerned. The major player, Factor VIII, manifested itself perfectly in its patients and functioned normally. However, some patients reported some minor side-effects and discomfort, where one patient claimed low blood pressure and fever about six hours after dosage.

The dosage also referred to as SB-525, is arguably one of the breakthroughs that the biotechnological company has made in a while. Showing immense promise, this is arguably said to serve as a pivotal role in the development of this novel gene therapy technique which is bound to tackle rival hemophilia gene therapies.

What lay ahead?

As of yet, no statement can be issued without certainty. However, two of the main players in this industry are Sangamo therapeutic and Bio Marin Pharmaceutical. Confident of their ability and building off of results that the others publish, it is argued that major development and progress is expected to materialize in about the next 18 months. Till then, the main run-through of the trial would have been run.

However, as far as goodwill is concerned, it is of tantamount importance to understand and realize the fact that both of the companies are competing to tap into a unique market. Since the issue of definite hemophilia gene therapy hasn’t been completely addressed yet, the first individual to go to the open market wins. This gives both of these pioneers enough incentive to accelerate their research methodologies so that substantial information is obtained.

Another player in this scientific rat race is Spark Therapeutics, who claims that their therapy would include a very low dosage which would have the same effect. Claiming to hold a conference in mid-2019, Spark ensures that their product will be unparalleled and might perhaps be the final solution.

Chemistry Teacher Is Now a Billionaire

Chemistry Teacher Is Now A Billionaire

A chemistry teacher turned billionaire, you may be wondering how this is possible, but one Zhong Huijuan has done it. After leaving her job as a chemistry teacher, Huijuan decided to move into the pharmaceutical business. As it turns out, it was the right call. Huijuan now has a net worth that lies in the billions.

She graduated in July of 1982 with an undergraduate in Chemistry from the Jiangsu Normal University. In the early 90s, she started her career teaching chemistry at the middle school level. However, soon after in ’95, she founded her pharma group. There is no denying that this is a truly inspiring tale of hard work, dedication, and perseverance, keep reading to find out how she was able to achieve this success. 

Zhong Huijuan’s Pharmaceutical Company

Huijuan’s ‘Hansoh Pharmaceutical Group Co.’ is the sole largest manufacturer of psychotropic drugs in the People’s Republic of China. The company is all set to be introduced to the pharma market in Hong Kong with an estimated net worth of USD 10.4 billion. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, since Huijuan holds about 68% of the stakes, she is entitled to a fortune of a whopping USD 7.9 billion. 

The company itself researches on and is a major producer of drugs in six different types of pharmaceutical areas. Also, the company makes half of its annual revenue from their drugs that are used in cancer treatments.

Family Business

This may come off as even more shocking, but Huijuan isn’t the richest person in her family as of yet. Her husband, Sun Piaoyang, is the founder of Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine Co. which has a net worth of USD 9.3 billion.

Based in Shanghai, the company excels in manufacturing anti-tumor medicines and has been established as a successful part of the pharmaceutical world for two whole decades. The couple, both 58 and 60 respectively, is all set to be dubbed as one of the world’s richest ‘pharma families’. 

Future Prospects in the World of Healthcare

In recent years, it has been seen that health care budget and spending has skyrocketed in China, reaching about USD 853 billion in total from USD 3.5 billion in the calendar year of 2014. This number is further predicted to reach up to 9.4 trillion Yuan in the year 2023. Some longtime investors of Hansoh and their official spokesperson has predicted that with Hanson’s current IPO, Zhong Huijuan is all set to become the third richest person in China.   

Conclusion

Perhaps the best thing about Hansoh’s Pharma Group is its synergy with Hengrui Medicines; the two in collaboration are bound to bring some new products in the industry. According to a Bloomberg Intelligence Analyst, the two pharma groups are mainly focusing on R&D distribution, and this is sure to bring Huijuan’s company more into the forefront. Not only that, it will allow Hansoh to have a distinct advantage of over competitors in the market so that they can make a mark!