Weekly Quick Hits (Greater Philly) – Week of June 19, 2023

By Mark Terry
June 23, 2023

The Philadelphia region includes all of Delaware and South New Jersey, which is one of the largest and fastest-growing clusters of the life sciences. Here’s a look at the region’s top stories for the week.

Funding, Awards and Collaborations

Integral Molecular Awarded $1 Million by Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Integral Molecular was awarded $1 million via the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The funding will be used to support continued expansion of Integral Molecular’s new headquarters and buildout of its Pandemic Research Center.

In the Clinic

MTTI Announces Favorable 3-Year Follow-up for EBTATE 

West Chester, Pa.-based Molecular Targeting Technologies, Inc. (MTTI), reported favorable results from a 3-year follow-up of EBTATE against metastatic gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. EBTATE is the first patented long-acting peptide targeting radiotherapeutic drug, which selectively targets somatostatin receptor 2 (SSTRS).

BMS’ Breyanzi Offers Durable Responses in R/R Follicular Lymphoma and Mantle Cell Lymphoma

Presenting at the 2023 International Conference on Malignant Lymphoma (ICML), Bristol Myers Squibb reported primary analysis data from two pivotal studies, TRANSCEND FL and TRANSCEND NHL 001, both evaluating Breyanzi (lisocabtagene maraleucel) in relapsed refractory follicular lymphoma (FL) and r/r mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), respectively. The company indicated the drug delivered deep and durable responses.

Arbutus Dosed 1st Patient in Additional Arm of Phase IIa Hepatitis B Trial

Warminster, Pa.-based Arbutus Biopharma dosed the first patient in the additional treatment arm of the AB-729 Phase IIa triple combination trial. The expanded arm includes a PD-1 monoclonal antibody, Bristol Myers Squibb’s Opdivo (nivolumab). The objective of the additional arm is to evaluate if a low dose of Opdivo in combination with the booster doses of Vaccitech’s VTP-300 will further stimulate immune-mediated reduction of HBsAg after the initial treatment with AB-729 and ongoing nucleotide analogue therapy in patients with chronic hepatitis B. The company also presented preliminary data from the trial at the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) Congress.

MTTI Points to Promising One-Year Follow-Up on EBTATE Treatment for Kidney Cancer Patients

West Chester, Pa.-based Molecular Targeting Technologist (MTTI) announced positive 1-year follow-up date on EBTATE for treatment of gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors without amino acid pretreatment. The research was published in Clinical Nuclear Medicine.

Madrigal Presents Phase III NASH Data

Conshohocken, Pa.-based Madrigal Pharmaceuticals presented Phase III MAESTRO-NASH data for resmetirom at the European Association for the Study of Liver Congress (EASL 2023). The new data demonstrated the drug helped NASH patients achieve significant improvements compared to placebo in liver fat, liver stiffness, liver enzymes, liver volume, spleen volume, and multiple atherogenic lipids/lipoproteins.

New Products

CSL Behring Announced 1st Patient Received Hemgenix for Hemophilia B

CSL Behring, based in King of Prussia, Pa., reported the first patient had received the FDA-approved Hemgenix (etranacogene dezaparvovec-drib) for hemophilia B in the U.S. It is the first and only gene therapy for adults with hemophilia B with currently use factor IX prophylaxis therapy, or have current or historical life-threatening bleeding, or have repeated, serious spontaneous bleeding episodes.

Research Roundup

Interius Presented Strong Preclinical Data in B-Cell Program

Presenting at the Cellicon Valley 2023 Meeting in Philadelphia, Interius BioTherapeutics reported promising preclinical data that demonstrated the potential of its INT2104 program to generate biologically active CAR cells directly in vivo for treatment of B-cell malignancies. It expects to present non-human primate data from multiple studies in July.

Penn Research: RNA Nanoparticle Therapy Halts Spread of Incurable Bone Marrow Cancer

Researchers with the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Science and Innovation in Bioengineering developed an RNA nanoparticle therapy that prevents multiple myeloma from spreading and mutating. The treatment switches off a cancer-attracting function in blood vessels, preventing multiple myeloma cells from traveling along typical pathways it uses to spread.

Penn Research: New DNA Sequencing Method

Researchers with the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine developed a new approach to map specific DNA markings called 5-methylcystosine (5mC). These markings regulate gene expression and play significant roles in health and disease. The techniques have the potential for use in liquid biopsies and early cancer detection.

Wistar Research: New Insight into How Cancer Metastasizes to the Brain

Researchers at The Wistar Institute published research demonstrating that astroctyes, a type of brain cell, play a significant role in promoting brain metastasis by recruiting a subpopulation of immune cells. Astrocytes are star-shaped cells that help create connections between neurons. In mouse models, the researchers found that when the astrocytes encountered cancer cells, they activated type I interferon pathways.

Regulatory and Advocacy

CDC Recommends GSK’s Arexvy for RSV Prevention in Adults 60 and Older

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted to recommend the use of GlaxoSmtihKline’s Arexvy (respiratory syncytial virus vaccine, adjuvanted) in adults 60 and older using shared clinical decision making. The vaccine contains recombinant glycoprotein F stabilized in the prefusion conformation, which is combined with GSK’s proprietary AS01E adjuvant.