aTyr Pharma Announces Notice of Allowance for U.S. Patent for Anti-Neuropilin-2 (NRP2) Monoclonal Antibodies

On September 29, 2022 aTyr Pharma, Inc. (Nasdaq: LIFE), a biotherapeutics company engaged in the discovery and development of first-in-class medicines from its proprietary tRNA synthetase platform, reported that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has provided a Notice of Allowance for a patent covering methods for the use of anti-neuropilin-2 (NRP2) antibodies (Press release, aTyr Pharma, SEP 29, 2022, View Source [SID1234621562]). The patent application No. 16/376,979 titled, "Compositions and methods comprising anti-NRP2 antibodies," covers the use of a series of antibodies targeting NRP2 for differentiated therapeutic applications in the areas of cancer and inflammation.

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NRP2 is a cell surface receptor that plays multiple roles in neurodevelopment, maintaining cellular plasticity, cell migration, lymphatic development and regulating inflammatory responses in normal physiology. The blocking antibodies that aTyr has developed target distinct domains of NRP2, including those interacting with semaphorins, VEGF and certain chemokines.

"We are pleased with the USPTO Notice of Allowance for this patent covering compositions and methods comprising anti-NRP2 antibodies, including our investigational new drug (IND) candidate ATYR2810, which is the first patent to be granted to our intellectual property estate for this program," said Sanjay S. Shukla, M.D., M.S., President and Chief Executive Officer of aTyr.

A Notice of Allowance is issued after the USPTO makes the determination that a patent should be granted from an application. A patent from the recently allowed application is expected to be issued in the coming months.

aTyr’s global patent estate includes over 220 issued or allowed patents owned or exclusively licensed by aTyr and its Hong Kong subsidiary, Pangu BioPharma Limited, developed over a decade of research and development activities. This patent estate highlights aTyr’s unique leadership position in this emerging area of biology. These patents encompassed important new therapeutic modalities which underpin the broad pipeline of novel therapeutics in active development at the company.

Ventus Therapeutics Enters Exclusive Development and License Agreement with Novo Nordisk for NLRP3 Inhibitor Program

On September 29, 2022 Ventus Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company utilizing structural biology and a proprietary computational chemistry platform to identify and develop small molecule therapeutics across a broad range of diseases, reported that the company has entered into an exclusive worldwide license agreement with Novo Nordisk A/S to develop and commercialize candidates from Ventus’ portfolio of peripherally-restricted NLRP3 inhibitors (Press release, Ventus Therapeutics, SEP 29, 2022, View Source [SID1234621561]).

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"This is an important collaboration for Ventus that validates our structural biology capabilities to discover and develop highly differentiated molecules with novel chemical structures," said Marcelo Bigal, M.D., Ph.D., President and CEO of Ventus. "We believe Novo Nordisk is the ideal partner to advance our lead NLRP3 program in a broad range of systemic disease areas in which they have deep expertise, such as cardiometabolic diseases."

Under the terms of the agreement, Novo Nordisk will make an upfront payment of $70 million in cash to Ventus and provide research and development funding. In addition, Ventus will be eligible to receive up to an additional $633 million in potential clinical, regulatory, and commercial milestones as well as tiered royalties.

In exchange, Novo Nordisk will receive exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize Ventus’ lead NLRP3 inhibitor program for a broad range of diseases, including nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), chronic kidney disease, and other cardiometabolic conditions.

Ventus retains the right to develop NLRP3 inhibitors for certain systemic diseases, including specific inflammatory and respiratory diseases. In addition, Ventus retains worldwide rights to the company’s distinct brain-penetrant NLRP3 inhibitor program.

"NLRP3 is a biologically relevant target with significant potential across a number of liver, kidney, and cardiometabolic diseases," said Karin Conde-Knape, Senior Vice President of Global Drug Discovery at Novo Nordisk. "Ventus has developed a highly differentiated NLRP3 inhibitor program with best-in-class properties and compelling pre-clinical results. We are excited to partner with Ventus to advance this program to provide meaningful clinical benefit to patients within a broad range of diseases."

For more information about Ventus’ NLRP3 program and pipeline, visit

About NLRP3

NLRP3 is a member of a family of proteins known as inflammasome receptors and is integral in the formation of the NLRP3 inflammasome. Inflammasomes are multiprotein complexes that regulate the innate immune system and are involved in intracellular surveillance of danger signals that trigger an intense inflammatory response, via generation of IL-1β, IL-18 and lytic cell death termed as pyroptosis. Therapeutic inhibition of NLRP3 can, therefore, prevent the formation of the NLRP3 inflammasome, which in turn inhibits the production of IL-1β and IL-18. Aberrant activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome has been associated with systemic conditions, including fibrotic, dermatological, and rheumatological diseases, and figures prominently in several neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.

SELLAS Life Sciences Presents Poster at 2022 SOHO Meeting Highlighting Bioequivalence Data for GFH009 Formulations

On September 29, 2022 SELLAS Life Sciences Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: SLS) ("SELLAS" or the "Company"), a late-stage clinical biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of novel therapies for a broad range of cancer indications, reported that data from a bioequivalence study for GFH009, its potent, highly selective, clinical-stage small molecule that inhibits cyclin-dependent kinase 9 (CDK9) (Press release, Sellas Life Sciences, SEP 29, 2022, View Source [SID1234621560]). In the ongoing Phase 1 clinical trial of GFH009 monotherapy in patients with relapsed/refractory hematologic conditions, including acute myeloid leukemia and lymphoma, GFH009 is administered intravenously as a solution. The bioequivalence study was performed to evaluate the effect of different formulations on GFH009’s preclinical pharmacokinetic (PK) profile. Dr. Dragan Cicic, MD, Senior Vice President, Clinical Development, of SELLAS, presented the findings at this year’s Meeting of the Society of Hematologic Oncology (SOHO) in a poster titled "Pharmacokinetics and Bioequivalence of Two Formulations of GFH009 Maleate Injection in Sprague Dawley Rats."

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The solution for GFH009 was originally developed with the pH of 4.5 (acidic). Human blood has a physiological pH of around 7.35 to 7.45. The closer a drug is to this physiological state, the less acidic and irritating it is for patients. In a four-week rat study, GFH009 was tested at 2.0 mg/kg, 4.0 mg/kg and 8.0 mg/kg. At 4.0 mg/kg, drug exposure approached efficacy, which formed the rationale for the dose selection for the presented PK study. Rats were randomly assigned to group one (pH 4.5) or group two (pH 6.0) and matched by sex and body weight. Each rat received a single dose of GFH009 (4.0 mg/kg) at pH 4.5 or pH 6.0 intravenously in the tail vein at a volume of 5.0 mL/kg. The PK profiles of both GFH009 formulations (pH 4.5 and pH 6.0) were found to be comparable, supporting the application of the pH 6.0 formulation in the ongoing Phase 1 clinical trial.

"At pH 6.0, GFH009 is closer to the physiological pH – thus, it is less acidic – and the drug’s behavior remains comparable to that at pH 4.5," said Dr. Cicic. "As a result, this study allowed us to explore a range of dosing strategies for patients, which helped with dose preparation and administration. The improved formulation also decreased the potential for the infusion reaction and made dosing more well-tolerated after multiple doses or long-time infusion."

Ayala Pharmaceuticals to Host Key Opinion Leader Webinar on Desmoid Tumors

On September 29, 2022 Ayala Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: AYLA), a clinical-stage oncology company focused on developing and commercializing small molecule therapeutics for patients suffering from rare tumors and aggressive cancers, reported that it will host a key opinion leader (KOL) webinar on unmet medical needs and evolving treatment landscape of desmoid tumors on Thursday, October 6, 2022, at 8:00 am ET (Press release, Ayala Pharmaceuticals, SEP 29, 2022, View Source [SID1234621559]).

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The webinar will include presentations by Professors Bernd Kasper, MD, Ph.D., from the Mannheim University Medical Center, and Robin Jones, MD, from The Royal Marsden Hospital and Institute of Cancer Research. Prof. Kasper will discuss the current treatment landscape for desmoid tumors and Prof. Jones will review the positive data from Part A of the ongoing Phase 2/3 RINGSIDE trial of AL102 that were presented at ESMO (Free ESMO Whitepaper) 2022.

Ayala management will provide a company update. A live Q&A session will follow the formal presentations. To register for the event, please click here.

Professor Robin Jones is Head of the Sarcoma Unit at The Royal Marsden Hospital and Team Leader in Sarcoma Clinical Trials at The Institute of Cancer Research. Professor Jones received his medical training at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital and his oncology training at The Royal Marsden. Between 2010 and 2014 he was Head of the Sarcoma Program at the University of Washington/Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. His research focuses on developing novel therapies for soft tissue sarcomas and he is currently working on a number of trials of investigational agents as well as laboratory-based studies.

Professor Bernd Kasper is Chair of the Mannheim Cancer Center (MCC) at the Mannheim University Medical Center. Professor Kasper received his MD from Heidelberg University in 2000 and also studied at the Imperial College School of Medicine, Jules Bordet Institute in Brussels, and in South Kerala, India. He has a lifetime professional dedication to patient care and research in soft tissue sarcomas, desmoid-type fibromatosis, and gastrointestinal stromal tumors and is the Principal Investigator of several national and international trials.

AL102 is being evaluated in the ongoing RINGSIDE pivotal Phase 2/3 clinical trial in desmoid tumors. Positive interim results from Part A, the Phase 2 segment of this study, were presented at ESMO (Free ESMO Whitepaper) 2022, showing efficacy across all cohorts, with early tumor responses that deepened over time. AL102 was well tolerated, which could allow for long term treatment of patients. The company has initiated Part B of RINGSIDE (Phase 3), as well as enrolling patients in an open label extension study.

About the RINGSIDE study
The RINGSIDE pivotal Phase 2/3 study is a randomized global multi-center trial. Part A of the study is evaluating the efficacy, safety, tolerability, and tumor volume by MRI after 16 weeks of AL102 in patients with desmoid tumors. It enrolled 42 patients and is evaluating 3 doses of AL102. Patients who participated in Part A are eligible to enroll into an open-label extension study at the Part B selected dose of 1.2 mg daily, and long-term efficacy and safety will be monitored.

Part B of the study, the Phase 3 segment, has been initiated. This is a double-blind, placebo-controlled segment enrolling up to 156 patients with progressive disease, comparing AL102 at 1.2 mg once daily to placebo. The primary endpoint for Part B is progression-free survival (PFS) with secondary endpoints including objective response rate (ORR), duration of response (DOR), tumor volume reduction, and patient-reported Quality of Life (QOL) measures. For more information on the RINGSIDE Phase 2/3 study with AL102 for the treatment of desmoid tumors, please visit and reference Identifier NCT04871282 (RINGSIDE).

About Desmoid Tumors
Desmoid tumors, also called aggressive fibromatosis or desmoid-type fibromatosis, are rare connective tissue tumors that typically arise in the upper and lower extremities, abdominal wall, head and neck area, mesenteric root, and chest wall with the potential to arise in additional parts of the body. Desmoid tumors do not metastasize, but often aggressively infiltrate neurovascular structures and vital organs. People living with desmoid tumors are often limited in their daily life due to chronic pain, functional deficits, general decrease in their quality of life and organ dysfunction. Desmoid tumors have an annual incidence of approximately 1,700 patients in the United States and typically occur in patients between the ages of 15 and 60 years. They are most commonly diagnosed in young adults between 30-40 years of age and are more prevalent in females. Today, surgery is no longer regarded as the cornerstone treatment of desmoid tumors due to a high rate of recurrence post-surgery and there are currently no FDA-approved systemic therapies for the treatment of unresectable, recurrent or progressive desmoid tumors.

ImmunoGen Presents Comprehensive Updates for Mirvetuximab Soravtansine Combination Data in Ovarian Cancer at IGCS

On September 29, 2022 ImmunoGen, Inc. (Nasdaq: IMGN), a leader in the expanding field of antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) for the treatment of cancer, reported several data presentations for mirvetuximab soravtansine (mirvetuximab) at the 2022 International Gynecologic Cancer Society (IGCS) Annual Global Meeting in New York City (Press release, ImmunoGen, SEP 29, 2022, View Source [SID1234621558]). The presentations include: consolidated efficacy and safety data from a Phase 1b/2 study evaluating mirvetuximab in combination with Avastin (bevacizumab) in folate receptor alpha (FRα)-positive recurrent ovarian cancer; the final analysis of a Phase 1b/2 study evaluating mirvetuximab in combination with carboplatin in patients with recurrent FRα-positive platinum-sensitive ovarian cancer; and the clinical benefit of mirvetuximab as a monotherapy in the SORAYA study. Two trial in progress posters from the mirvetuximab program will also be presented.

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"We are pleased with the impressive anti-tumor activity and tolerability that these mirvetuximab doublets have generated in recurrent ovarian cancer," said Anna Berkenblit, MD, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of ImmunoGen. "As we await the potential FDA approval of mirvetuximab this year, we are focused on establishing mirvetuximab as both the combination agent of choice and the new standard of care as a monotherapy in folate receptor alpha positive ovarian cancer."

Lead Author: David O’Malley, MD
Date/Time: October 1, 2022, 3:55 – 5:25 PM ET
Abstract: #496

The safety and efficacy of mirvetuximab in combination with bevacizumab were evaluated in 126 patients with recurrent FRα-positive ovarian cancer. The primary endpoint for the study is confirmed objective response rate (ORR) as assessed by RECIST v1.1 and secondary endpoints include duration of response (DOR) and progression-free survival (PFS).

Key findings:

In the overall population, mirvetuximab plus bevacizumab demonstrated an ORR of 44% (95% CI, 35.6-53.6), a median DOR of 11.8 months (95% CI, 8.3-13.7), and median PFS of 8.2 months (95% CI, 6.8-9.9).
Clinical activity was observed across all levels of FRα expression, with an ORR of 52% (95% CI, 38.6–64.5), 39% (95% CI, 25.8–53.9), and 31% (95% CI, 9.1–61.4) in high, medium, and low expression, respectively.
In the bevacizumab-naïve population, anti-tumor activity was seen with an ORR of 58% (95% CI, 44.9-70.9), a median DOR of 11.8 months (95% CI, 8.3-12.9), and median PFS of 9.7 months (95% CI, 8.2-13.2).
The safety profile of mirvetuximab plus bevacizumab reflects the profile of each agent as a monotherapy; the most common treatment-related adverse events (TRAEs) were low-grade, including diarrhea (59% all grade; 2% grade 3), blurred vision (56% all grade; 1% grade 3), and fatigue (51% all grade; 4% grade 3).
"Current treatments for patients with recurrent ovarian cancer are, unfortunately, characterized by limited efficacy and challenging side effects," said David O’Malley, MD, Professor, Director of Gynecologic Oncology at the Ohio State University and the James Cancer Center. "With activity across a broad range of FRα expression regardless of prior treatment, these data support mirvetuximab plus bevacizumab as an effective combination choice for those patients who are eligible for treatment. I look forward to further evaluating this promising and novel combination in the platinum-sensitive maintenance setting in the randomized Phase 3 GLORIOSA study."

Lead Author: Kathleen N. Moore, MD
Date/Time: October 1, 2022, 2:05 – 2:35 PM ET
Abstract: #499

A final analysis of the Phase 1b/2 FORWARD II study evaluating the safety, tolerability, and preliminary activity of mirvetuximab and carboplatin in patients with FRα-positive recurrent platinum-sensitive ovarian cancer was conducted.

Key findings:

In the overall efficacy evaluable patient group, the ORR was 71% (12 of 17); 18% (n=3) of patients had a CR and 53% (n=9) had a partial response.
Patients receiving mirvetuximab 6 mg/kg AIBW and carboplatin AUC5 had an ORR of 89%, median DOR of 12.1, and median PFS of 16.5 months.
Patients with medium/high FRα-expressing tumors had an ORR of 80%, median DOR of 24.2, and median PFS of 15.0 months across all escalation cohorts
The safety profile of mirvetuximab plus carboplatin reflects the safety profile of each agent as a monotherapy.
These findings support the evaluation of mirvetuximab plus carboplatin in Trial 420, a single-arm, Phase 2 study of mirvetuximab plus carboplatin in platinum-sensitive ovarian cancer patients with low, medium, or high expression of folate receptor alpha.

Lead Author: Robert L. Coleman, MD
Date/Time: September 30, 2022, 8:05 – 9:05 AM ET
Abstract: #376

SORAYA is a single-arm study of mirvetuximab in patients with platinum-resistant ovarian cancer whose tumors express high levels of FRα and who have been treated with one to three prior regimens – at least one of which included bevacizumab. Previously undisclosed waterfall plots will be presented.

Key findings:

Mirvetuximab monotherapy resulted in clinically meaningful anti-tumor activity in patients with FRα-high platinum-resistant ovarian cancer: 71% of patients experienced tumor reduction, 51% had disease control (complete response, partial response, or stable disease for ≥12 weeks), and preliminary overall survival, with 46% of events reported, was 13.8 months.
Safety and tolerability of mirvetuximab are consistent with that observed in previous studies; adverse events were primarily low-grade gastrointestinal and ocular events that generally resolved with supportive care or, if needed, dose modifications and the discontinuation rate due to TRAEs was 9%.
Mirvetuximab demonstrated a favorable benefit-risk profile in patients with FRα-high platinum-resistant ovarian cancer and has the potential to be a practice-changing, biomarker-driven therapy.
Trial in progress posters from ImmunoGen’s PICCOLO (Abstract #1556) trial of mirvetuximab in recurrent platinum-sensitive ovarian cancer and a Phase 2 (Abstract #1566) investigator-sponsored combination trial of mirvetuximab with Keytruda (pembrolizumab) in patients with microsatellite stable recurrent or persistent endometrial cancer will also be presented.

Additional information can be found at

Mirvetuximab soravtansine (IMGN853) is a first-in-class ADC comprising a folate receptor alpha-binding antibody, cleavable linker, and the maytansinoid payload DM4, a potent tubulin-targeting agent, to kill the targeted cancer cells.