Interesting article about Dr. Casas, a physician epidemiologist at the VA Boston Healthcare System and faculty member at Harvard Medical School. His team used genetic research to identify drugs (approved or in clinical development) that could be repurposed for early management of COVID-19 infection. The research found that drugs targeting proteins IFNAR2 and ACE2 could be beneficial in this treatment. IFNAR2 is a target for treating multiple sclerosis and other CNS disorders, and ACE2 is a target to reduce the inflammatory response in patients with severe respiratory disorders. It will be exciting to see the effects of this research on the treatment of early COVID-19 infection, with the hope of reducing patient hospitalizations.
Great news that Aprea has received Orphan Drug designation for eprenetapopt for treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) to add to the Fast Track designation granted in November 2020! The drug is intended to reactivate the mutant tumor suppressor protein, p53, which is the most frequently mutated gene in human cancer that occurs in approximately 50% of all tumors. A mutation of p53 is often associated with treatment resistance and lower survival rates. This drug has also previously received Breakthrough Therapy, Orphan Drug and Fast Track designations from FDA for the treatment of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), as well as Orphan Drug designation from the European Commission for MDS, AML and ovarian cancer. It will be exciting to watch the development of this therapy!
Very excited that Nuvalent achieved Series A financing with Deerfield Management to fund their innovative and targeted small-molecule kinase inhibitor oncology programs. The initial program, a potential best-in-class ROS1-selective inhibitor, NUV-520, will be aimed at patients with advanced NSCLC, and particularly patients who have developed resistance to standard treatment. Their proprietary discovery efforts and internal expertise are providing a deep pipeline of molecules intended to address the challenges of resistance and selectivity in oncology therapy.
Interesting article introducing the newest CDMO to service the Boston biotech community. Northway Biotech, in business since 2004 in Lithuania (formerly Northway Biotechpharma) held a virtual grand opening for their 40M facility in Waltham, MA, which boasts a 30,000 sq/ft cGMP manufacturing and process development plant with a focus on cell-line development, drug substance manufacturing, aseptic filling, and analytical method development/quality control. They will provide a new choice to customers developing both microbial and mammalian biologics, and we wish them success!