Biotech Briefing: 3 San Diego Researchers Win Breakthrough Prizes

Biotech Briefing: Gates Foundation Supports Sirenas’ Marine Drug Discovery

December 12, 2017 Comments (0) Views: 297 Biotech, Biotech Briefing, Blog

Biotech Briefing: Ionis Licenses Huntington’s Disease Drug to Roche

Plus: Fate Therapeutics makes five announcements and Michael Pellini joins Section 32 Venture Fund

Reports + Research

Ionis Licenses Drug to Roche after Successful Phase 1/2a Huntington’s Trial

Roche exercised its option to license Ionis’ antisense drug after completion of a Phase 1/2a randomized, placebo-controlled dose escalation study in patients with Huntington’s disease. Data from the trial showed dose dependent reductions in the toxic mutant huntingtin protein. Carlsbad-based Ionis received a $45 million license fee from Roche. In addition, Ionis’ SVP and CBO Sarah Boyce was named a 2017 Fierce Woman in Life Sciences.


Fate Therapeutics: Five Announcements in One Week

In the past week, Fate announced the following: A collaboration with UC San Diego for iPSC-derived CAR NK cell cancer immunotherapies; first patient treated in ovarian cancer clinical trial; advancements in off-the-shelf T-cell immunotherapy; tech transfer and IND-enabling manufacturing; and  phase 1 clinical results and phase 2 initiation.


Metacrine Completes $22 Million Series B for NASH Clinical Studies

New investor NEA joined existing investors ARCH, Polaris, venVio, and Alexandria Venture Investments to give Metacrine $22 million for first-in-human clinical studies of MET409.  Metacrine is hoping that MET409 is a best-in-class FXR agonist, competing against Gilead’s FS-9674, currently in phase 2. Metacrine also has a first-in-class insulin sensitizer, which is currently under collaboration with Novo Nordisk.


Michael Pellini Joins Bill Maris at Section 32 Venture Fund

This fall, Bill Maris closed a $160 million fund to invest in healthcare, cryptocurrency, and other sectors, and located the fund in San Diego.  Now, Michael Pellini, former CEO and current chairman of Foundation Medicine, has joined the fund as managing partner.


Read + Listen

POW!  Podcast of the Week

KPBS Rad Scientist interviews Phil Baran, chair of the chemistry department at The Scripps Research Institute.  The discussion turns to his exploration of “molecules from the coast” as potential cancer treatments.

BOW!  Book of the Week

Continuing the theme of the ocean, I want to read Spirals in Time: The Secret Life and Curious Afterlife of Seashells.



It’s Happening Here

January 8–11
While it will not be in San Diego, many from the industry will be in San Francisco January 8–11 for meetings and events surrounding the annual JP Morgan Healthcare conference. BIO and Big3Bio have a webinar on December 13 to help navigate JPM18.

January 8–12
PepTalk: The Protein Science Week is one of the largest annual gatherings of protein science researchers in the world and it is taking place January 8–12 in downtown San Diego.


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