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Pheno Therapeutics Announces Worldwide License From UCB to a Novel Program for Neurodegenerative Disease

By Pheno Therapeutics, Press Release, Private Companies
Press Release.

 

Preclinical program with potential for disease modifying therapeutic

Edinburgh, UK January 11 2023 – Pheno Therapeutics Limited., a biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of small molecule therapeutics that promote remyelination for the treatment of neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis, announced today it has entered into an exclusive worldwide license agreement with UCB. The agreement grants Pheno Therapeutics access and rights to develop, manufacture and commercialize a preclinical-stage program of novel small molecules designed to promote remyelination.

“Pheno Therapeutics utilized its proprietary human phenotypic screening platform to discover novel and tractable therapeutic targets to modulate oligodendrocyte biology and promote remyelination. This license allows us to accelerate a promising drug target towards clinical development,” said Fraser Murray, PhD., Chief Executive Officer of Pheno Therapeutics. “Together with our human neurological drug development expertise, there is significant opportunity for Pheno Therapeutics to fast-track this program towards clinical proof-of-concept studies and potentially deliver transformational drugs for the treatment of  demyelination diseases.”

“License agreements like this are a demonstration of the value UCB scientists and our partners are creating through strong research productivity, and we are confident that Pheno Therapeutics, with its expertise in phenotypic screening, stem cell technology and myelin biology, will develop this preclinical program  to its full potential,” said Dhaval Patel, Executive Vice President and UCB’s Chief Scientific Officer.

Pheno Therapeutics will make a one-time upfront payment and will be responsible for development, manufacturing and global commercialization. UCB will receive milestones and tiered royalties on net sales. Further financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

About the Program:

The preclinical program is a novel small molecule program designed to selectively modulate the activity of an undisclosed target that is preferentially expressed on human oligodendrocytes and is known to play a critical role in the biological pathway and process of myelination.  The therapeutic program is being developed by Pheno Therapeutics under an exclusive worldwide license from UCB.

About Pheno Therapeutics:

Pheno Therapeutics is a discovery and development focused biotechnology company developing small molecule therapeutics that boost the function of human oligodendrocytes and their natural ability to promote remyelination for the treatment of neurological diseases with high unmet medical need such as multiple sclerosis (MS).  MS is a devastating chronic disease with significant individual and societal impact that often manifests in young adults and is associated with a wide range of neurological symptoms which can progress to total physical and cognitive disability.  Pheno Therapeutics is seeking to promote remyelination and reverse the critical demyelination aspect of MS. MS demyelination occurs when the immune system attacks and damages the myelin sheaths that insulate and nourish axons and nerve fibres in the central nervous system, leading to multifocal demyelination, axonal injury and neurodegeneration. For more information on Pheno Therapeutics, please visit https://www.phenotherapeutics.com.

 

Contacts:

Fraser Murray, PhD.
Chief Executive Officer
Pheno Therapeutics
Fraser.Murray@PhenoTherapeutics.com

Katie Odgaard
Account Director
Zyme Communications
Katie.odgaard@zymecommunications.com

+44 (0)7787 502 947

F2G Announces FDA Filing Acceptance of New Drug Application for Olorofim for the Treatment of Invasive Fungal Infections

By F2G, Press Release, Private Companies
Press Release.

 

Application submitted under priority review with PDUFA target action date set for June 17, 2023

NDA submission is based on positive data from ongoing Phase 2b open-label study of oral olorofim in 100 patients with invasive fungal infections with limited or no treatment options

F2G is continuing preparations for a possible U.S. commercial launch of oral olorofim in 2nd half of 2023

PRINCETON, New Jersey, December 19, 2022 – F2G Inc. today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted for filing its New Drug Application (NDA) for olorofim for the treatment of invasive fungal infections in patients who have limited or no treatment options.

F2G has requested approval of the NDA under the Limited Population Pathway for Antibacterial and Antifungal Drugs (LPAD pathway) for a limited, well-defined population with invasive fungal infections and limited or no treatment options. Under the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA), the FDA has set a target action date of June 17, 2023

The NDA is supported by strong efficacy data and a good tolerability profile seen during treatment of the first 100 patients in the Phase 2b open-label study, all of whom had limited or no treatment options for either proven invasive fungal infection (including aspergilllosis, lomentosporiosis, scedosporiosis, Scopulariopsis infections, and refractory extrapulmonary coccidioidomycosis) or probable pulmonary invasive aspergillosis (Study 32, NCT03583164).

“Invasive fungal infections cause substantial morbidity and mortality, particularly among immunosuppressed patients, and can prove to be lethal in also healthy individuals when they get into deeper tissues. Effective therapies do not currently exist for some of these fungi. And even when therapies exist, some patients with invasive infections may be refractory or unable to tolerate existing antifungal treatments, thus underscoring the urgent need for new and effective treatments,” said John H. Rex, MD, chief medical officer of F2G. “Olorofim is a novel mechanism antifungal therapy from the newly discovered orotomide class. It provides a new option for patients who have exhausted treatment alternatives.”

Francesco Maria Lavino, chief executive officer of F2G, added,

“We are committed to addressing rare fungal infections, and the acceptance of filing of olorofim NDA for use in this well-defined and high-need population marks a major milestone toward our goal of bringing new options to these patients. We are building an experienced commercial team in preparation for U.S. launch, pending FDA approval. If approved, olorofim will be the first of a new class of antifungal drugs.”

Olorofim is the only antifungal medication to be awarded Breakthrough Therapy Designation by the FDA. Olorofim works through a novel mechanism of action, different from existing classes of antifungals, exerting fungal cell death through inhibition of the enzyme dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH) in the pyrimidine synthesis pathway. It is active in vitro against Aspergillus spp. (including azole-resistant and cryptic species), rare molds (e.g., Lomentospora prolificans, Scedosporium spp., Scopulariopsis spp.), and dimorphic fungi (e.g., Coccidioides spp.).

About Olorofim

Olorofim (formerly, F901318) is F2G’s leading candidate from the orotomide class and is currently being investigated in a Phase 2b open-label study in patients who have limited treatment options for difficult-to-treat invasive, rare fungal mold infections such as azole-resistant aspergillosis, scedosporiosis, lomentosporiosis, and other rare mold infections. F2G has initiated a global Phase 3 trial (“OASIS”) to compare treatment with olorofim versus AmBisome® followed by standard of care (SOC) in patients with proven or probable invasive fungal infection due to Aspergillus species (NCT05101187). Olorofim has received orphan drug designation from the FDA for the treatment of coccidioidomycosis, scedosporiosis (including lomentosporiosis), invasive Scopulariopsis, and invasive aspergillosis. Olorofim has also received orphan drug designation from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for the treatment of invasive aspergillosis, invasive scedosporiosis (including lomentosporiosis), and invasive Scopulariopsis. Olorofim has been granted Qualified Infectious Disease Product (QIDP) designation for invasive aspergillosis, invasive scedosporiosis, invasive lomentosporiosis, coccidioidomycosis, invasive disease due to Scopulariopsis species, and invasive fusariosis. Olorofim has received Breakthrough Therapy Designation for both “treatment of invasive mold infections in patients with limited or no treatment options, including aspergillosis refractory or intolerant to currently available therapy, and infections due to Lomentospora prolificans, Scedosporium, and Scopulariopsis species” and “treatment of Central Nervous System (CNS) coccidioidomycosis refractory or otherwise unable to be treated with standard of care therapy.” Olorofim is not approved by the FDA or any other regulatory agency.

About F2G

F2G is a biotech company with operations in the UK, US, and Austria focused on the discovery and development of novel therapies to treat potentially life-threatening invasive fungal infections. F2G has discovered and developed a completely new class of antifungal agents called the orotomides which selectively target a key enzyme in the de novo pyrimidine biosynthesis pathway. This is a completely different mechanism from that of the currently marketed antifungal agents and gives the orotomides fungicidal activity against a broad range of rare and resistant fungal mold infections. For more information, please visit: www.f2g.com

Forward-Looking Statements

This announcement contains forward-looking statements. These statements are based on expectations in light of the information currently available, assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from these statements. Risks and uncertainties include general domestic and international economic conditions such as general industry and market conditions, and changes of interest rate and currency exchange rate. These risks and uncertainties particularly apply with respect to product-related forward-looking statements. Product risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, completion and discontinuation of clinical trials; obtaining regulatory approvals; claims and concerns about product safety and efficacy; technological advances; adverse outcome of important litigation; domestic and foreign healthcare reforms and changes of laws and regulations. Also, for existing products, there are manufacturing and marketing risks, which include, but are not limited to, inability to build production capacity to meet demand, lack of availability of raw materials and entry of competitive products. The company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Media Contact:

Gloria Gasaatura
LifeSci Communications
+1 646 970 4688
ggasaatura@lifescicomms.com

Aura Biosciences Announces Pricing of Public Offering of Common Stock

By Aura Biosciences, Press Release, Publicly Listed

Press Release.

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Aura Biosciences, Inc. (“Aura”) (Nasdaq: AURA), a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing a novel class of virus-like drug conjugate (VDC) therapies for multiple oncology indications, today announced the pricing of an underwritten public offering of 6,700,000 shares of its common stock at a price to the public of $12.00 per share. The gross proceeds from the offering to Aura are expected to be $80.4 million, before deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and other offering expenses. The offering is expected to close on or about December 5, 2022, subject to customary closing conditions. In addition, Aura has granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to 1,005,000 additional shares of common stock at the public offering price, less the underwriting discount.

SVB Securities, Cowen and Evercore ISI are acting as joint bookrunning managers for the offering and JMP Securities, a Citizens Company, and BTIG are acting as co-managers for the offering.

A shelf registration statement relating to the shares of common stock offered in the public offering described above was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) on November 1, 2022 and declared effective by the SEC on November 7, 2022. The offering is being made only by means of a written prospectus and prospectus supplement that form a part of the registration statement. A preliminary prospectus supplement and accompanying prospectus relating to the offering has been filed with the SEC and is available on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. A final prospectus supplement and accompanying prospectus will be filed with the SEC. When available, copies of the final prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus may also be obtained by contacting SVB Securities LLC, Attention: Syndicate Department, 53 State Street, 40th Floor, Boston, MA 02109, by telephone at (800) 808-7525, ext. 6105, or by email at syndicate@svbsecurities.com; Cowen and Company, LLC, c/o Broadridge Financial Solutions, 1155 Long Island Avenue, Edgewood, NY 11717, Attn: Prospectus Department, by telephone at (833) 297-2926, or by email at PostSaleManualRequests@broadridge.com; or Evercore Group L.L.C., Attention: Equity Capital Markets, 55 East 52nd Street, 35th Floor, New York, New York 10055; by telephone at (888) 474-0200, or by email at ecm.prospectus@evercore.com.

This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy the securities being offered, nor shall there be any sale of the securities being offered in any state or other jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to the registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such state or other jurisdiction.

About Aura Biosciences
Aura Biosciences, Inc. is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing virus-like drug conjugates (VDCs), a novel class of therapies, for the treatment of multiple oncology indications. Aura’s lead VDC candidate, belzupacap sarotalocan (bel-sar; AU-011), consists of a virus-like particle conjugated with an anti-cancer agent. Bel-sar is designed to selectively target and destroy cancer cells and activate the immune system with the potential to create long-lasting anti-tumor immunity. Bel-sar is currently in development for ocular cancers, and Aura has initiated a global Phase 3 trial evaluating first-line treatment of choroidal melanoma, a vision- and life-threatening form of eye cancer where standard of care with radiotherapy leaves patients with severe comorbidities, including major vision loss. Aura plans to pursue development of bel-sar across its ocular oncology franchise including for the treatment of patients with choroidal metastasis. In addition, leveraging Aura’s technology platform, Aura is developing bel-sar more broadly across multiple cancers, including in patients with non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC). Aura is headquartered in Boston, MA.

Forward-Looking Statements
Various statements in this release concerning the timing and completion of the public offering on the anticipated terms or at all may constitute forward-looking statements for the purposes of the safe harbor provisions under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended, and other federal securities laws. All such forward-looking statements are based on management’s current expectations of future events and are subject to a number of substantial risks and uncertainties, many of which are outside Aura’s control, that could cause actual results to differ materially and adversely from those set forth in or implied by such forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include fluctuations in Aura’s stock price, changes in market conditions and satisfaction of customary closing conditions related to the public offering, as well as those risks more fully discussed in the section entitled “Risk Factors” in the prospectus supplement and registration statement referenced above, Aura’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2021, filed on March 23, 2022 with the SEC and subsequent filings with the SEC including our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K. There can be no assurance that Aura will be able to complete the public offering on the anticipated terms. Accordingly, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. All such statements speak only as of the date made, and Aura undertakes no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, unless required by law.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20221130006201/en/

Contacts
Investors and Media:

Alex Dasalla
Head of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications
adasalla@aurabiosciences.com

Argot Partners
Matthew DeYoung
aura@argotpartners.com

Artax Biopharma Expands Company’s Scientific Advisory Board

By Artax Biopharma, Press Release, Private Companies
Press Release.

 

Company Welcomes James G. Krueger, M.D., Ph.D., and Ajay Nirula, M.D., Ph.D., Both Experts in T-Cell-Mediated Diseases.

Cambridge, MA, November 15, 2022 – Artax Biopharma, Inc., a clinical stage biotechnology company focused on transforming the treatment of T-cell-mediated diseases, today announces the Company is strengthening its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) with the appointments of James G. Krueger, M.D., Ph.D., and Ajay Nirula, M.D., Ph.D.

Artax Biopharma has an ongoing Phase 1 clinical trial evaluating AX-158, the Company’s first-in-class, oral small molecule immunomodulating agent that selectively acts at the T-cell receptor to lower self-antigen triggered cytokines, a known cause of autoimmune disease. Importantly, AX-158 has the potential to treat T-cell-mediated diseases without immunosuppression.

“We are honored to welcome global experts Drs. Krueger and Nirula to our Scientific Advisory Board, as they each bring unique research and extensive clinical experience across T-cell-mediated diseases,”

said D. Scott Batty, Jr., M.D., Artax Biopharma’s Chief Medical Officer.

“Drs. Krueger and Nirula bring a profound understanding of T-cell biology and pathophysiology and have success in bringing these effective treatments to patients who need them most. We are very grateful for their expert guidance and developmental insights as we progress AX-158 through clinical trials,”

Dr. Batty, Jr. added.

Dr. Krueger serves as Head of the Laboratory for Investigative Dermatology and as the D. Martin Carter Professor in Clinical Investigation and Dermatology at The Rockefeller University. He is co-director for the Center for Clinical and Translational Science at The Rockefeller University Hospital and has been serving as the Hospital’s Chief Executive Officer since July of 2008. Dr. Krueger uses psoriasis as a model to study inflammatory diseases that involve Th17 cells, a subset of T cells. His work has formed the scientific basis for the highly successful treatment of psoriasis with a range of biologic immune drugs that target the “Type 17” inflammatory immune axis.

Dr. Krueger earned his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and his Ph.D. degree in Virology and Cell Biology from The Rockefeller University. He received his medical degree from Cornell University Medical College, where he also completed an internship in internal medicine and a residency in dermatology. Dr. Krueger is board certified in dermatology by the American Board of Dermatology and has been the recipient of numerous notable academic and industry honors throughout his career.

Dr. Nirula is Senior Vice President, Immunology, for Eli Lilly and Company based at the Lilly Biotechnology Center in San Diego. Dr. Nirula joined Eli Lilly in 2015 and is responsible for the Company’s discovery, research, and early phase clinical development in immunology. He has also served as the medical leader for Eli Lilly’s work during the COVID pandemic that led to emergency authorization for the Company’s multiple therapeutic neutralizing antibodies. Prior to joining Eli Lilly, Dr. Nirula held leadership positions at Amgen, and at Biogen Idec, and was involved in several research programs and regulatory filings spanning diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, and vasculitis.

Dr. Nirula earned his undergraduate degree in molecular biology from UC Berkeley, his medical degree from UCLA School of Medicine, and his Ph.D. degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. He subsequently joined the faculty in the Division of Rheumatology at UCSF Medical Center. Dr. Nirula has published extensively in premier peer-reviewed medical journals such as The New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, and Nature Immunology.

 

Drs. Krueger and Nirula are welcomed by Artax’s current SAB members:

  • Balbino Alarcón, Ph.D., Artax Founder and Program Director at the National Research Council of Spain (CSIC) and Head of TCR-mediated Signal Transduction Laboratory;
  • Raif Geha, M.D., James L. Gamble Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Chief of the Allergy/Immunology/Rheumatology and Dermatology Division at Children’s Hospital in Boston;
  • Menno de Rie, M.D., Vice-Chair of the Department of Dermatology of the Amsterdam University Medical Centres /University of Amsterdam since 2012;
  • Lawrence Steinman, M.D., Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, Pediatrics, and Genetics at Stanford University; and
  • Cox Terhorst, Ph.D., Professor of Immunology at Harvard Medical School and Chief, Immunology at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

 

About Artax Science and Immunomodulation

Artax believes immunomodulation – selective targeting of specific functions and operations of the immune system – holds great potential to address tremendous unmet need in immunology. Our investigational immunomodulating agents act directly at the T-cell receptor (TCR) to selectively target inappropriately activated areas of the immune system, thus eliminating a cause of T-cell-driven diseases while not impacting a patient’s ability to effectively fight foreign pathogens and infections.

T-cells are the central, critical cells orchestrating the immune response, protecting the body against foreign pathogens, infections and malignancy while importantly not reacting to an individual’s tissues and organs. The TCR activates and controls the many functions and responses of the T-cell, serving a critical role for both healthy immune system and T-cell response.

Dysregulated TCR signaling results in increased cytokine signaling, a root cause of T-cell-mediated diseases, including autoimmune diseases. In addition to autoimmune diseases, T-cell-mediated diseases include T-cell malignancies, and induced T-cell pathologies where therapeutic treatments result in unwanted immune reaction side effects. Such induced T-cell immune reactions include stem cell transplants resulting in acute graft-versus-host-disease, and immuno-oncology treatments resulting in immune-related-adverse events. This central role of dysregulated TCR signaling across several disease states therefore makes the TCR a highly attractive target for therapeutic intervention.

 

About AX-158

AX-158 is a first-in-class, oral, small molecule immunomodulating agent in clinical development for the treatment of T-cell-mediated diseases. The immunomodulatory effect of AX-158 is designed to safely return the immune system to a state of rebalance without immunosuppression.

AX-158 is a highly specific (SH3.1 domain) inhibitor of Nck, a protein that naturally amplifies T-cell signaling caused by self-antigens at the TCR. AX-158 inhibits Nck at the TCR, resulting in less TCR activation and lowered self-antigen triggered cytokines, including Th-1, Th-17 and Th-2 type cytokines. High levels of such various cytokines are associated with a broad set of T-cell mediated autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and many others. Importantly, preclinical data suggests AX-158 is not immunosuppressive, and so does not impact the immune system’s ability to mount a strong response to foreign pathogens and infections.

 

About Artax Biopharma

Artax Biopharma is a clinical-stage biotechnology company transforming the treatment of T-cell-driven diseases through innovative small molecules that modulate the immune system. Artax’s disruptive science holds broad potential to treat T-cell-mediated diseases such as autoimmune diseases, induced T-cell pathologies (such as acute graft-versus-host disease, and immune-oncology treatment-related adverse events), and T-cell malignancies, while simultaneously allowing the body to fight foreign pathogens and infections. For more information, please visit www.artaxbiopharma.com and connect with us on LinkedIn.

 

Contacts:
Media:
Linda Phelan Dyson, MPH
Corporate Communications
lpdyson@verizon.net
M: 973-986-5973

Karen LaRochelle, MBA
Chief Business Officer
Artax Biopharma
klarochelle@artaxbiopharma.com

Aura Biosciences Reports Third Quarter 2022 Financial Results and Provides Clinical Development and Operational Highlights

By Aura Biosciences, Press Release, Publicly Listed

Press Release.

Announced the Global Phase 3 Trial Design with Suprachoroidal Route of Administration of Belzupacap Sarotalocan in Early-Stage Choroidal Melanoma

First Patient Dosed in the Phase 1 Study Evaluating Belzupacap Sarotalocan for the Treatment of Non-Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer

 

BOSTON, MA – November 10, 2022 – Aura Biosciences Inc. (NASDAQ: AURA), a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing a novel class of virus-like drug conjugate (VDC) therapies for multiple oncology indications, today reported financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2022 and provided clinical development and operational highlights.

“We are encouraged by the meaningful clinical advances that we have made in both our ocular and urologic oncology programs in the third quarter,”

said Elisabet de los Pinos, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Aura.

“Aligning with regulatory agencies on the global Phase 3 trial design with suprachoroidal administration following positive Phase 2 data are key milestones supporting our goal of having the first approved vision preserving therapy for patients with early-stage choroidal melanoma. In addition, successfully dosing a first patient in non-muscle invasive bladder cancer is a meaningful achievement as we expand our platform into broad oncology indications.”

 

Recent Pipeline Developments

Belzupacap Sarotalocan (bel-sar) is being developed for the first-line treatment of early-stage choroidal melanoma (CM), a life-threatening rare disease with no approved therapies.

Aura finalized the global Phase 3 design in alignment with regulatory agencies and selected suprachoroidal (SC) route of administration to evaluate the efficacy and safety of bel-sar in early-stage CM. The Phase 3 trial is randomized and masked and will include three arms, where the primary analysis will compare bel-sar to sham. Aura is planning to enroll approximately 75 adult patients with early-stage CM, including patients with indeterminate lesions and small choroidal melanoma. Patients will be enrolled with documented growth as an enrichment strategy intended to increase the efficiency of the trial and which will include an adaptive design to further increase the probability of success.

Positive interim Phase 2 data evaluating SC administration of bel-sar for the first-line treatment of patients with early-stage CM were presented at AAO 2022. The results, with an average of six-months follow up in patients that received three cycles of therapy in Cohorts 5 and 6, showed a statistically significant reduction in the tumor growth rate (-0.296 mm/yr, p = 0.0007) compared to each patient’s documented growth rate at study entry, and an 88.9% (8/9) tumor control rate. In addition, the visual acuity preservation rate was 88.9% (8/9) in these cohorts, with the majority of patients being at high risk for vision loss with tumors close to fovea or optic disk. The overall safety profile of bel-sar was favorable, with no dose-limiting toxicities or treatment-related serious adverse advents reported as of August 19, 2022. There was no posterior inflammation and only mild anterior inflammation (Grade 1) in 20% of the patients. Treatment-related adverse events (AEs) were predominantly mild and resolved quickly without sequalae.

Aura dosed the first patient in a Phase 1 clinical trial of bel-sar for the treatment of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) an area of high unmet need with approximately 80,000 patients diagnosed in the U.S. every year. Aura received Fast Track Designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in Q2.

The Phase 1 multi-center, open-label clinical trial is expected to enroll approximately 23 adult patients. The trial is designed to assess the safety and tolerability of bel-sar as a single agent. The primary endpoint of the Phase 1 clinical trial is the incidence and severity of treatment- related AEs and serious adverse events and the incidence of dose-limiting toxicities. Aura expects to report initial Phase 1 data in 2023.

Beyond early-stage CM, the Company continues to build its ocular oncology franchise, with the goal of having choroidal metastasis, an unmet medical need with no approved therapies, as the second ocular indication. Aura plans to file an IND for choroidal metastasis with the FDA in Q4 of 2022.

Preclinical data supporting bel-sar’s broad tumor targeting potential and immune mediated mechanism of action was presented at the 22nd EURETINA Congress. Preclinical results highlighted bel-sar’s targeted cytotoxicity towards tumor cells derived from the most common cancer types known to metastasize to the choroid, supporting its potential use for the treatment of choroidal metastases, a key second ocular oncology indication. The presentation also included preclinical data that supported the activity of bel-sar as a single agent as well as in combination with checkpoint inhibitors, highlighting the possibility to treat not only primary tumors in the eye but also potentially distant metastases by an abscopal effect.

 

Recent Event

Aura hosted a virtual Investor Day on October 3, 2022. The program included preclinical data on bel- sar as a single agent and in combination with checkpoint inhibitors, two-year visual acuity data from the retrospective matched case control study of bel-sar vs. plaque radiotherapy, and interim data from the ongoing Phase 2 trial evaluating SC administration in early-stage choroidal melanoma. Aura’s executive management team was joined by ocular oncology leaders Dr. Carol Shields, Chief of the Ocular Oncology Service at Wills Eye Hospital and Professor of Ophthalmology at Thomas Jefferson University; Dr. Martine Jager, Professor of Ophthalmology, Leiden University, and Past President of the International Society of Ocular Oncology and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology; and Dr. Ivana Kim, Director of the Ocular Melanoma Center, Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School. The webcast is available here.

 

Third Quarter 2022 Financial Results

As of September 30, 2022, Aura had cash and cash equivalents and marketable securities totaling $111.5 million. Aura believes its current cash and cash equivalents and marketable securities are sufficient to fund its operations into 2024.

Research and development expenses increased to $11.3 million for the three months ended September 30, 2022 from $6.4 million for the three months ended September 30, 2021, primarily due to ongoing preclinical costs, manufacturing and development costs for bel-sar, and higher personnel expenses from growing headcount.

General and administrative expenses increased to $4.8 million for the three months ended September 30, 2022 from $2.5 million for the three months ended September 30, 2021. General and administrative expenses include $1.1 million and $0.4 million of stock-based compensation for the three months ended September 30, 2022 and 2021, respectively. The increase was primarily driven by personnel expenses, as well as increases in general corporate expenses related to operating as a public company.

Net loss for the three months ended September 30, 2022 was $15.9 million compared to $8.8 million for the three months ended September 30, 2021.

 

About Aura Biosciences

Aura Biosciences, Inc. is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing virus-like drug conjugates (VDCs), a novel class of therapies, for the treatment of multiple oncology indications. Aura’s lead VDC candidate, belzupacap sarotalocan (bel-sar; AU-011), consists of a virus-like particle conjugated with an anti-cancer agent. Bel-sar is designed to selectively target and destroy cancer cells and activate the immune system with the potential to create long-lasting anti-tumor immunity. Bel-sar is currently in development for ocular cancers, and Aura has initiated a global Phase 3 trial evaluating first-line treatment of choroidal melanoma, a vision- and life-threatening form of eye cancer where standard of care with radiotherapy leaves patients with severe comorbidities, including major vision loss. Aura plans to pursue development of bel-sar across its ocular oncology franchise including for the treatment of patients with choroidal metastasis. In addition, leveraging Aura’s technology platform, Aura is developing bel-sar more

broadly across multiple cancers, including in patients with non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC). Aura is headquartered in Boston, MA.

For more information visit aurabiosciences.com, or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

Forward Looking Statement

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended, and other federal securities laws. Any statements that are not statements of historical fact may be deemed to be forward looking statements. Words such as “may,” “will,” “could”, “should,” “expects,” “intends,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “predicts,” “projects,” “seeks,” “endeavor,” “potential,” “continue” or the negative of such words or other similar expressions that can be used to identify forward-looking statements. These forward looking statements include express or implied statements regarding Aura’s future expectations, plans and prospects, including, without limitation, statements regarding the therapeutic potential of bel-sar for the treatment of cancers including choroidal melanoma, non-muscle invasive bladder cancer and choroidal metastases; any express or implied statements regarding the Company’s expectations for the Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical trials of bel-sar for early-stage choroidal melanoma; and Aura’s expectations regarding the estimated patient populations and related market opportunities for bel-sar.

The forward-looking statements in this press release are neither promises nor guarantees, and investors should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements because they involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors, many of which are beyond Aura’s control and which could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, an improved quality of life of patients after treatment with bel-sar; a potential paradigm shift in the approach to the treatment of choroidal melanoma; the urgent need for a vision preserving targeted therapy; the potential of bel-sar compared to the existing standard of care for patients with choroidal melanoma; uncertainties inherent in clinical trials and in the availability and timing of data from ongoing clinical trials; the expected timing for submissions for regulatory approval or review by governmental authorities; the risk that the results of Aura’s clinical trials may not be predictive of future results in connection with future clinical trials; the risk that interim data from ongoing clinical trials may not be predictive of final data from completed clinical trials; whether Aura will receive regulatory approvals to conduct trials or to market products; whether Aura’s cash resources will be sufficient to fund its foreseeable and unforeseeable operating expenses and capital expenditure requirements; risks, assumptions and uncertainties regarding the impact of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic on Aura’s business, operations, strategy, goals and anticipated timelines; Aura’s ongoing and planned pre-clinical activities; and Aura’s ability to initiate, enroll, conduct or complete ongoing and planned clinical trials. These risks, uncertainties, and other factors include those risks and uncertainties described under the heading “Risk Factors” in Aura’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and in subsequent filings made by Aura with the SEC, which are available on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. Except as required by law, Aura disclaims any intention or responsibility for updating or revising any forward-looking statements contained in this press release in the event of new information, future developments or otherwise. These forward-looking statements are based on Aura’s current expectations and speak only as of the date hereof and no representations or warranties (express or implied) are made about the accuracy of any such forward-looking statements.

 

Investor and Media Contact:

Alex Dasalla – adasalla@aurabiosciences.com
Head of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications

Argot Partners

Matthew DeYoung
aura@argotpartners.com

Aura Announces Global Phase 3 Trial Design with Suprachoroidal Route of Administration Based on Positive Phase 2 Interim Data of Belzupacap Sarotalocan in Early-Stage Choroidal Melanoma

By Aura Biosciences, Press Release, Publicly Listed
Press Release.

 

BOSTON, MA – November 10, 2022 – Aura Biosciences Inc. (NASDAQ: AURA), a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing a novel class of virus-like drug conjugate (VDC) therapies for multiple oncology indications, today announced that it has initiated startup activities for the global Phase 3 trial. After presenting positive interim data at the American Academy of Ophthalmology from its ongoing Phase 2 trial, Aura has aligned with regulatory agencies and finalized the design of the global Phase 3 trial. The trial will evaluate the efficacy and safety of belzupacap sarotalocan (bel-sar) with suprachoroidal administration, for the first-line treatment of early-stage choroidal melanoma (CM).

“Finalizing the study design and selecting the optimal route of administration for the Phase 3 trial are key milestones in progressing towards a potential approval for bel-sar as a first-line vision preserving therapy in patients with early-stage choroidal melanoma,” said Dr. Cadmus Rich, Chief Medical Officer of Aura Biosciences. “We are pleased to have aligned with regulatory agencies on the overall Phase 3 trial design, including the primary and key secondary endpoints. We remain focused on improving the standard of care for patients with early-stage choroidal melanoma, a life-threatening disease that has no approved therapies.”

The Phase 3 trial has a three arm randomized and masked design, where the primary analysis will compare bel-sar to sham. Aura is planning to enroll approximately 75 adult patients with eary-stage CM, including patients with indeterminte lesions and small choroidal melanoma. Patients will be enrolled with documented growth as an enrichment strategy intended to increase the efficiency of the trial which will include an adaptive design to further increase the probability of success.

 

About Aura Biosciences

Aura Biosciences, Inc. is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing virus-like drug conjugates (VDCs), a novel class of therapies, for the treatment of multiple oncology indications. Aura’s lead VDC candidate, belzupacap sarotalocan (bel-sar; AU-011), consists of a virus-like particle conjugated with an anti-cancer agent. Bel-sar is designed to selectively target and destroy cancer cells and activate the immune system with the potential to create long-lasting anti-tumor immunity. Bel-sar is currently in development for ocular cancers, and Aura has initiated a global Phase 3 trial evaluating first-line treatment of choroidal melanoma, a vision- and life-threatening form of eye cancer where standard of care with radiotherapy leaves patients with severe comorbidities, including major vision loss. Aura plans to pursue development of bel-sar across its ocular oncology franchise including for the treatment of patients with choroidal metastasis. In addition, leveraging Aura’s technology platform, Aura is developing bel-sar more broadly across multiple cancers, including in patients with non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC). Aura is headquartered in Boston, MA.

For more information, visit aurabiosciences.com, or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

Forward Looking Statement

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended, and other federal securities laws. Any statements that are not statements of historical fact may be deemed to be forward looking statements. Words such as “may,” “will,” “could”, “should,” “expects,” “intends,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “predicts,” “projects,” “seeks,” “endeavor,” “potential,” “continue” or the negative of such words or other similar expressions that can be used to identify forward-looking statements. These forward looking statements include express or implied statements regarding Aura’s future expectations, plans and prospects, including, without limitation, statements regarding the therapeutic potential of bel-sar for the treatment of cancers including choroidal melanoma; any express or implied statements regarding the Company’s expectations for the Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical trials of bel-sar; and Aura’s expectations regarding the estimated patient populations and related market opportunities for bel-sar.

The forward-looking statements in this press release are neither promises nor guarantees, and investors should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements because they involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors, many of which are beyond Aura’s control and which could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, an improved quality of life of patients after treatment with bel-sar; a potential paradigm shift in the approach to the treatment of choroidal melanoma; the urgent need for a vision preserving targeted therapy; the potential of bel-sar compared to the existing standard of care for patients with choroidal melanoma; uncertainties inherent in clinical trials and in the availability and timing of data from ongoing clinical trials; the expected timing for submissions for regulatory approval or review by governmental authorities; the risk that the results of Aura’s clinical trials may not be predictive of future results in connection with future clinical trials; the risk that interim data from ongoing clinical trials may not be predictive of final data from completed clinical trials; whether Aura will receive regulatory approvals to conduct trials or to market products; whether Aura’s cash resources will be sufficient to fund its foreseeable and unforeseeable operating expenses and capital expenditure requirements; risks, assumptions and uncertainties regarding the impact of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic on Aura’s business, operations, strategy, goals and anticipated timelines; Aura’s ongoing and planned pre-clinical activities; and Aura’s ability to initiate, enroll, conduct or complete ongoing and planned clinical trials. These risks, uncertainties, and other factors include those risks and uncertainties described under the heading “Risk Factors” in Aura’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and in subsequent filings made by Aura with the SEC, which are available on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. Except as required by law, Aura disclaims any intention or responsibility for updating or revising any forward-looking statements contained in this press release in the event of new information, future developments or otherwise. These forward-looking statements are based on Aura’s current expectations and speak only as of the date hereof and no representations or warranties (express or implied) are made about the accuracy of any such forward-looking statements.

Investor and Media Contact:
Alex Dasalla
Head of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications
adasalla@aurabiosciences.com

Argot Partners
Matthew DeYoung
aura@argotpartners.com

Aleta Biotherapeutics Receives Innovation Passport Designation for Biologic CAR T-Cell Therapy Engager ALETA-001

By Aleta Biotherapeutics, Press Release, Private Companies
Press Release.

 

Designation Intends to Accelerate Regulatory Review Process and Facilitate U.K. Patient Access to Medicines for Seriously Debilitating and Life-Threatening Diseases

ALETA-001 Was Developed to Address the Urgent Unmet Need of Patient Relapse After CD19-Targeted CAR T-Cell Cancer Treatment

NATICK, Mass., November 7, 2022 – Aleta Biotherapeutics (Aleta), a privately held immuno-oncology company with novel biologic CAR T engagers that work in synergy with cell therapies to improve outcomes for patients, announces that the U.K. Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has granted an Innovation Passport under the Innovative Licensing and Access Pathway (ILAP) for Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy Engager candidate ALETA-001 for the treatment of patients suffering from the B-cell malignancies, non-Hodgkin lymphoma a (NHL) and Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), and who have failed to respond or have relapsed post-CD19 CAR T-cell therapy. ALETA-001 is expected to enter clinical development in 2023 with Cancer Research UK’s Centre for Drug Development sponsoring and conducting a Phase 1/2a clinical trial.

The Innovation Passport is the first step in the ILAP process, triggering the MHRA and its partner agencies, including The All Wales Therapeutics and Toxicology Centre (AWTTC), National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), and the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC), to chart a roadmap for regulatory and development milestones to enable faster patient access to medicines in the U.K. To receive an Innovation Passport, a medicine must address conditions that are life-threatening or seriously debilitating, and there must be an existing significant patient or public health need.

“This designation for our biologic CAR T-cell therapy engager ALETA-001 marks an important step in addressing the high unmet need for patients who relapse or progress following CD19-targeted CAR T-cell therapy for blood cancers, such as lymphoma and leukemia,”

stated Paul Rennert, Co-Founder, Acting Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientific Officer, Aleta Biotherapeutics.

“In collaboration with our partner Cancer Research UK, we are excited to move ALETA-001 forward to potentially transform the lives of patients living with blood cancers,”

continued Rennert.

Dr. Nigel Blackburn, Cancer Research UK’s Director of Drug Development, stated,

“We are so pleased to receive this designation for ALETA-001, which reboots CAR T-cell therapy by bridging a patient’s circulating CD19-targeted CAR T-cells to cancer cells expressing CD20.

While CAR T-cell therapy has revolutionized hard-to-treat blood cancer outcomes, a majority of patients will see their cancer return, and this is where the critical potential of ALETA-001 exists. ALETA-001 is a promising approach to address this significant treatment gap for patients who currently lack effective options.”

In June 2021, Aleta Biotherapeutics and Cancer Research UK announced a collaboration in which Cancer Research UK’s Centre for Drug Development will fund, sponsor, and conduct the first-in-human Phase 1/2a clinical trial of ALETA-001, which will be led by Dr. Sridhar Chaganti’s Cellular and CAR T-cell therapies team at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham UK. In the Cancer Research UK-sponsored trial, patients with B-cell lymphoma/leukemia who have received CD19-targeted CAR-T cell therapy but did not achieve a complete response or who relapsed from a complete response will be enrolled. Aleta retains all rights to further develop and commercialize ALETA-001.

 

About Biologic CAR T-Cell Therapy Engager (CTE) ALETA-001

ALETA-001 is an off-the-shelf preclinical biologic program developed to treat and prevent cell therapy relapse of existing CD19-targeted CAR T-cell therapies, termed CAR19 T cells. ALETA-001 bridges CAR19 T cells to a second antigen, CD20. ALETA-001 binds to B-cell lymphomas and leukemias expressing CD20 antigens and restores tumor expression to CD19. ‘Recoating’ CD20-expressing cancer cells to express CD19 addresses the critical issues of tumor CD19 antigen loss and density and holds the potential to restore potent killing in patients who are no longer responding to previously administered, circulating CD19-targeted CAR T-cell therapy due to reduction or loss of tumor CD19 expression. In June 2021, Aleta and Cancer Research UK announced a collaboration in which Cancer Research UK will fund, sponsor, and conduct the Phase 1/2a clinical trial of ALETA-001.

 

About Aleta Biotherapeutics

Aleta Biotherapeutics is an immune-oncology company with a portfolio and platform of novel off-the-shelf biologic CAR T engagers (CTEs) that work in synergy with cell therapies to improve outcomes for patients. Aleta’s CTEs bridge CAR T-cell therapies to target multiple tumor antigens, binding to existing tumor antigens and changing the tumor antigen expression to match the CAR T receptor. Aleta’s CTEs address the critical issues of tumor antigen loss, density and heterogeneity, which optimizes the potential for potent killing by separately administered cell therapies, including existing CAR19 T-cell therapies.

ALETA-001 and ALETA-005 are designed to treat and prevent cell therapy relapse of circulating CAR19 and B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) T-cell therapies by restoring tumor antigen expression to match CAR T receptors. ALETA-004 is Aleta’s first CTE program to bind CTEs to multiple tumor antigens and fundamentally change tumor cell antigen expression, thereby bridging the tumors to match a specific CAR T-cell therapy. In the case of ALETA-004, Aleta’s CTE changes the expression of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), a non-B cell tumor, to express CD19, which allows the potential for CAR CD19 cell therapies to treat AML. http://www.aletabio.com

 

About Cancer Research UK’s Centre for Drug Development

Cancer Research UK has an impressive record of developing novel treatments for cancer. The Cancer Research UK Centre for Drug Development has been pioneering the development of new cancer treatments for 25 years, taking over 140 potential new anti-cancer agents into clinical trials in patients. It currently has a portfolio of 21 new anti-cancer agents in preclinical development, Phase I or early Phase II clinical trials. Six of these new agents have made it to market including temozolomide for brain cancer, abiraterone for prostate cancer and rucaparib for ovarian cancer. Two other drugs are in late development Phase III trials. www.cruk.org.uk/cdd

Contacts:

Media:
Linda Phelan Dyson, MPH
973-986-5973
lpdyson@verizon.net

Karen LaRochelle, MBA
Chief Business Officer
Aleta Biotherapeutics
klarochelle@aletabio.com

PIC Therapeutics Completes $35 Million Series A Financing to Develop Treatments for Drug-Resistant Breast Cancer

By PIC Therapeutics, Press Release, Private Companies
Press Release.

 

Financing Round Led by OrbiMed with participation from Lumira Ventures, Harrington Discovery Institute and existing investors Advent Life Sciences and Belinda Termeer

Therapy development focused on addressing a fundamental mechanism in cancer-driving oncogenes

Natick, Mass. – October 19, 2022 – PIC Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to developing life-changing medicines for patients with cancer, today announced the closing of a $35 million Series A financing led by OrbiMed. Other new investors participating in this financing include Lumira Ventures and Harrington Discovery Institute. The company’s existing investors including Advent Life Sciences and Belinda Termeer also participated and provided initial seed financing instrumental to meeting key milestones.

Proceeds from the financing will be used to advance the company’s development-stage small molecule drug, an allosteric protein translation modulator targeting eIF4E, into first-in-man, first-in-mechanism clinical studies in advanced metastatic breast cancer. The proceeds will also support expansion of the company’s pipeline of emerging oncology indications.

PIC Therapeutics is targeting a fundamental mechanism at the convergence of many oncogenic signaling pathways that results in apoptotic cancer cell death while sparing normal cells. Allosteric modulation of eIF4E offers many advantages to previous approaches, and simultaneously addresses multiple drivers of pharmacology, allowing the company’s small molecules to truly drive differential CAP dependent translation in target cells.

Preclinical studies show that PIC compounds modulate, but do not block, protein translation. PIC compounds mechanistically modulate cellular proteomes, leading to rapid and significant reduction in cancer cell viability via apoptosis. Inducing apoptosis rather than senescence is an important distinguishing feature of PIC’s approach to this elusive target.

“This financing from a committed and distinguished investor syndicate, which includes new and existing investors, underscores the progress we’ve made to advance our lead program toward our goal of cancer therapies that broadly address cancer-driving oncogenes via a fundamental mechanism in protein translational modulation”

said Katherine Bowdish, Chief Executive Officer of PIC Therapeutics.

“We are well positioned to build a leading mechanistic-based oncology company that brings promising science to cancer patients with drug resistant tumors.”

“We are excited to partner with PIC Therapeutics as they build a differentiated targeted oncology company, and we look forward to supporting the team as they work towards achieving key development goals over the coming years,”

said Tal Zaks, Partner of OrbiMed Advisors.

“Founded on the scientific work of Dr. Gerhard Wagner at Harvard University and Dr. Nahum Sonenberg at McGill University, PIC Therapeutics has developed a truly novel approach for eIF4E, an important target in resistant cancers. We are pleased to work with the PIC team and its investors to enable new frontiers in targeted mechanistic oncology with the potential to transform the treatment paradigm for cancer patients”

commented Gerry Brunk, Managing Director of Lumira Ventures.

 

About PIC Therapeutics

PIC Therapeutics is a biotechnology company pioneering the discovery and development of first-in mechanism, first-in-class small molecule medicines focused on fundamentally changing how we treat cancer by developing therapeutics that modulate protein translation. PIC Therapeutics targets a “master switch” of cancer signaling pathways, selectively impacting oncogene protein production by altering the Pre-Initiation Complex (PIC) that drives their mRNA translation. PIC Therapeutics’ selective approach modulates cancer cell proteomes, impacting multiple dysregulated oncogenic drivers leading to a powerful new generation of cancer-treating therapeutics. Our agents offer the opportunity to address both drug resistance and tumor heterogeneity, issues that plague many existing treatments.

For more information visit www.pictherapeutics.com. PIC is guided by a dedication to improving cancer patient outcomes and to realizing the potential of our programs to their benefit.

 

About OrbiMed

OrbiMed is a leading healthcare investment firm, with approximately $18 billion in assets under management. OrbiMed invests globally across the healthcare industry, from start-ups to large multinational corporations, through a range of private equity funds, public equity funds, and royalty/credit funds. OrbiMed seeks to be a capital provider of choice, providing tailored financing solutions and extensive global team resources to help build world-class healthcare companies. OrbiMed’s team of over 130 professionals is based in New York City, San Francisco, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Herzliya, and other key global markets.
www.orbimed.com

 

About Lumira Ventures

Lumira Ventures is a North American healthcare venture capital firm whose companies have brought dozens of biomedical innovations to patients worldwide over the past two decades. Lumira invests across multiple stages, sectors and therapeutics areas, partnering with mission-driven entrepreneurs and co-investors to build transformative healthcare companies. Lumira has offices in Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver and Boston. For more information please visit www.lumiraventures.com

 

Contacts

Matt Burke
mattdavidburke@gmail.com

Aura Biosciences Announces Interim Phase 2 Data Evaluating Suprachoroidal Administration of Belzupacap Sarotalocan (AU-011) for the First-Line Treatment of Patients with Early-Stage Choroidal Melanoma Presented at AAO 2022

By Aura Biosciences, Press Release, Publicly Listed
Press Release.

 

BOSTON – (BUSINESS WIRE) – Oct. 3, 2022 – Aura Biosciences Inc. (NASDAQ: AURA), a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing a novel class of virus-like drug conjugate (VDC) therapies for multiple oncology indications, today announced that interim Phase 2 data evaluating the safety and efficacy of suprachoroidal (SC) administration using its first VDC product candidate, belzupacap sarotalocan (AU‑011), for the first-line treatment of patients with early-stage choroidal melanoma (indeterminate lesions and small choroidal melanoma (IL/CM)), were presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) 2022 Annual Meeting held September 30-October 3, 2022, in Chicago, IL.

“The Phase 2 interim safety and efficacy data that was presented at AAO is very encouraging for patients with primary choroidal melanoma, as the majority of patients are diagnosed with early-stage disease and have no vision-preserving treatment options. Interim data showed a statistically significant reduction in tumor growth rate and a robust tumor control response with a high rate of visual acuity preservation at the therapeutic regimen,”

said Dr. Ivana Kim, Director of the Ocular Melanoma Center, Massachusetts Eye and Ear.

“Belzupacap sarotalocan offers a favorable safety profile supporting the potential to become the first vision-preserving treatment for early-stage choroidal melanoma, where patients have had to rely on radiotherapy for the last few decades.”

“Preliminary analysis of the data from the Phase 2 trial using suprachoroidal administration supports tolerability up to three cycles of therapy and shows a dose-dependent anti-tumor response. The results provide further clinical evidence to support the potential use of belzupacap sarotalocan as a novel targeted therapy in patients with early-stage disease with this targeted route using suprachoroidal administration,”

said Dr. Cadmus Rich, Chief Medical Officer and Head of R&D of Aura Biosciences.

“We believe that the data to date provides proof of concept for an additional intraocular route of administration and further supports belzupacap sarotalocan’s target product profile.”

The presentation can be accessed on the Company’s website: link

Interim Safety and Efficacy Data from the Ongoing Phase 2 Trial with SC Administration

This Phase 2 trial (NCT04417530) is assessing the safety and preliminary efficacy of single- and multiple ascending-doses of belzupacap sarotalocan up to three cycles of treatment via SC administration for the first-line treatment of early-stage choroidal melanoma (IL/CM). A total of 20 adult patients have been enrolled in the trial including the single dose Cohorts 1-3 (n=6) and multiple dose escalation Cohorts 4-6 (n=14). Cohorts 5 and 6 received up to three cycles of therapy, which was considered the therapeutic regimen for evaluation. One patient in Cohort 5 (n=3) received two cycles of therapy and two patients in Cohort 5 received three cycles of therapy (40 μg/dose). All patients from Cohort 6 (n=8) received three cycles of therapy at the highest dose (80 μg/dose). One patient from Cohort 6, who discontinued after one cycle due to unrelated serious adverse events (SAEs), is not included. All patients in Cohorts 5 and 6 had active growth at study entry, as an enrichment strategy to evaluate preliminary efficacy. This group of patients with active growth treated at the therapeutic regimen of three cycles was evaluated for tumor growth rate, tumor control, and visual acuity preservation as the defined clinical endpoints to evaluate preliminary efficacy. These endpoints have been discussed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and are planned to be used in the pivotal program. The results, with an average of six months follow up in patients that received three cycles of therapy in Cohorts 5 and 6, showed a statistically significant reduction in the tumor growth rate (-0.296 mm/yr, p = 0.0007) compared to each patient’s documented growth rate at study entry, and an 88.9% (8/9) tumor control rate. In addition, the visual acuity preservation rate was 88.9% (8/9) in these cohorts, with the majority of patients being at high-risk for vision loss with tumors close to fovea or optic disk.

The overall safety profile of belzupacap sarotalocan was generally favorable, with no dose-limiting toxicities or treatment-related SAEs reported as of August 19, 2022. There was no posterior inflammation and only mild anterior inflammation (Grade 1) in 20% of the patients. Treatment-related AEs were predominantly mild and resolved without sequalae. We believe these interim results indicate that belzupacap sarotalocan may offer a targeted vision preserving therapy for the first-line treatment of primary CM, where 80% of patients are diagnosed early and have no approved therapies to date.

Details for the Virtual Investor Day:

The Company will host a virtual Investor Day today at 11:30 a.m. Eastern Time to discuss belzupacap sarotalocan, its first VDC product candidate, for the first-line treatment of patients with early-stage choroidal melanoma. The Company’s executive management team will be joined by three distinguished ocular oncology thought leaders:

  • Carol Shields, MD, Chief of the Ocular Oncology Service at Wills Eye Hospital and Professor of Ophthalmology at Thomas Jefferson University (USA)
  • Ivana Kim, MD, MBA, Director of the Ocular Melanoma Center, Massachusetts Eye and Ear & Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School (USA)
  • Martine Jager, MD, PhD, Professor of Ophthalmology, Leiden University (Netherlands) & Past President of the International Society of Ocular Oncology and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology

To access the virtual Investor Day, please dial (888) 660-6585 (U.S. and Canada) or (929) 203-0858 (international) at least 10 minutes prior to the start time and refer to conference ID 9748492. A live video webcast will be available in the Investor section of the Company’s website at https://ir.aurabiosciences.com/events-and-presentations. A webcast replay will also be available on the corporate website at the conclusion of the call.

About Aura Biosciences

Aura Biosciences, Inc. is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing virus-like drug conjugates (VDCs), a novel class of therapies, for the treatment of multiple oncology indications. Aura’s lead VDC candidate, belzupacap sarotalocan (Bel-Sar; AU-011), consists of a virus-like particle conjugated with an anti-cancer agent. Belzupacap sarotalocan is designed to selectively target and destroy cancer cells and activate the immune system with the potential to create long-lasting anti-tumor immunity. Belzupacap sarotalocan is currently in development for ocular cancers, with an ongoing Phase 2 dose escalation clinical trial evaluating first-line treatment of choroidal melanoma, a vision- and life-threatening form of eye cancer where standard of care with radiotherapy leaves patients with severe comorbidities, including major vision loss. Aura plans to pursue development of belzupacap sarotalocan across its ocular oncology franchise including for the treatment of patients with choroidal metastasis. In addition, leveraging Aura’s technology platform, Aura is developing belzupacap sarotalocan more broadly across multiple cancers, including in patients with non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC). Aura is headquartered in Boston, MA.

For more information, visit aurabiosciences.com, or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Forward Looking Statement

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended, and other federal securities laws. Any statements that are not statements of historical fact may be deemed to be forward looking statements. Words such as “may,” “will,” “could”, “should,” “expects,” “intends,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “predicts,” “projects,” “seeks,” “endeavor,” “potential,” “continue” or the negative of such words or other similar expressions that can be used to identify forward-looking statements. These forward looking statements include express or implied statements regarding Aura’s future expectations, plans and prospects, including, without limitation, statements regarding the therapeutic potential of belzupacap sarotalocan for the treatment of cancers including choroidal melanoma; any express or implied statements regarding the Company’s expectations for the Phase 2 clinical trial belzupacap sarotalocan; and Aura’s expectations regarding the estimated patient populations and related market opportunities for belzupacap sarotalocan.

The forward-looking statements in this press release are neither promises nor guarantees, and investors should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements because they involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors, many of which are beyond Aura’s control and which could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, an improved quality of life of patients after treatment with belzupacap sarotalocan; a potential paradigm shift in the approach to the treatment of choroidal melanoma; the urgent need for a vision preserving targeted therapy; the potential of belzupacap sarotalocan compared to the existing standard of care for patients with choroidal melanoma; uncertainties inherent in clinical trials and in the availability and timing of data from ongoing clinical trials; the expected timing for submissions for regulatory approval or review by governmental authorities; the risk that the results of Aura’s clinical trials may not be predictive of future results in connection with future clinical trials; the risk that interim data from ongoing clinical trials may not be predictive of final data from completed clinical trials; whether Aura will receive regulatory approvals to conduct trials or to market products; whether Aura’s cash resources will be sufficient to fund its foreseeable and unforeseeable operating expenses and capital expenditure requirements; risks, assumptions and uncertainties regarding the impact of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic on Aura’s business, operations, strategy, goals and anticipated timelines; Aura’s ongoing and planned pre-clinical activities; and Aura’s ability to initiate, enroll, conduct or complete ongoing and planned clinical trials. These risks, uncertainties, and other factors include those risks and uncertainties described under the heading “Risk Factors” in Aura’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and in subsequent filings made by Aura with the SEC, which are available on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. Except as required by law, Aura disclaims any intention or responsibility for updating or revising any forward-looking statements contained in this press release in the event of new information, future developments or otherwise. These forward-looking statements are based on Aura’s current expectations and speak only as of the date hereof and no representations or warranties (express or implied) are made about the accuracy of any such forward-looking statements.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20221003005309/en/

Investor and Media:
Alex Dasalla
Head of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications
adasalla@aurabiosciences.com

Argot Partners
Matthew DeYoung
aura@argotpartners.com

Aura Biosciences Announces First Patient Dosed in Phase 1 Study Evaluating Belzupacap Sarotalocan (AU-011) for the Treatment of Non-Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer

By Aura Biosciences, Press Release, Publicly Listed
Press Release.

 

BOSTON – (BUSINESS WIRE) 28.09.2022 – Aura Biosciences Inc. (NASDAQ: AURA), a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing a novel class of virus-like drug conjugate (VDC) therapies for multiple oncology indications, today announced the first patient has been dosed in a Phase 1 study evaluating belzupacap sarotalocan, the Company’s first VDC product candidate, for the treatment of Non-Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer (NMIBC).

“Dosing of the first patient in this Phase 1 study is an exciting key milestone both for Aura and for the field of urologic oncology, as approximately 70% of patients with bladder cancer globally are diagnosed early with NMIBC,”

said Dr. Cadmus Rich, Chief Medical Officer and Head of R&D of Aura Biosciences.

“There have been no major advances in the early treatment of NMIBC in over two decades. We look forward to presenting initial Phase 1 data in 2023 and advancing the development of a potential new therapeutic option for patients with a high unmet medical need.”

The Phase 1 multi-center, open label clinical trial is expected to enroll approximately 23 adult patients with NMIBC. The trial is designed to assess the safety and tolerability of belzupacap sarotalocan as a single agent. The primary endpoint of the Phase 1 clinical trial is the incidence and severity of treatment-related adverse events and serious adverse events and the incidence of dose-limiting toxicities. Aura anticipates presenting initial Phase 1 data in 2023. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Fast Track designation for belzupacap sarotalocan in June 2022. The opportunity for more frequent interactions with Division of Oncology at the FDA and the potential for Priority Review will be valuable as belzupacap sarotalocan advances further into clinical development in patients with NMIBC.

 

About Aura Biosciences

Aura Biosciences, Inc. is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing virus-like drug conjugates (VDCs), a novel class of therapies, for the treatment of multiple oncology indications. Aura’s lead VDC candidate, AU-011 (belzupacap sarotalocan), consists of a virus-like particle conjugated with an anti-cancer agent. Belzupacap sarotalocan is designed to selectively target and destroy cancer cells and activates the immune system with the potential to create long-lasting anti-tumor immunity. Belzupacap sarotalocan is currently in development for ocular cancers, and Aura plans to pursue development of belzupacap sarotalocan across its ocular oncology franchise including for the treatment of patients with choroidal metastasis. In addition, leveraging Aura’s technology platform, Aura is developing belzupacap sarotalocan more broadly across multiple cancers, including in patients with non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC). Aura is headquartered in Boston, MA.

For more information, visit aurabiosciences.com, or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

Forward Looking Statement

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended, and other federal securities laws. Any statements that are not statements of historical fact may be deemed to be forward looking statements. Words such as “may,” “will,” “could”, “should,” “expects,” “intends,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “predicts,” “projects,” “seeks,” “endeavor,” “potential,” “continue” or the negative of such words or other similar expressions that can be used to identify forward-looking statements. These forward looking statements include express or implied statements regarding Aura’s future expectations, plans and prospects, including, without limitation, statements regarding the therapeutic potential of belzupacap sarotalocan for the treatment of cancers including choroidal melanoma, choroidal metastases and NMIBC and expectations with respect to the timing or results of the clinical development of belzupacap sarotalocan for any cancer indication.

The forward-looking statements in this press release are neither promises nor guarantees, and investors should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements because they involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors, many of which are beyond Aura’s control and which could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, an improved quality of life of patients after treatment with belzupacap sarotalocan; a potential paradigm shift in the approach to the treatment of choroidal melanoma; the urgent need for a vision preserving targeted therapy; the potential of belzupacap sarotalocan compared to the existing standard of care for patients with choroidal melanoma; uncertainties inherent in the conduct and outcomes of clinical trials and in the availability and timing of data from ongoing clinical trials; the expected timing for submissions for regulatory approval or review by governmental authorities; the risk that the results of Aura’s clinical trials may not be predictive of future results in connection with future clinical trials; whether Aura will receive regulatory approvals to conduct trials or to market products; whether Aura’s cash resources will be sufficient to fund its foreseeable and unforeseeable operating expenses and capital expenditure requirements; risks, assumptions and uncertainties regarding the impact of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic on Aura’s business, operations, strategy, goals and anticipated timelines; Aura’s ongoing and planned pre-clinical activities; and Aura’s ability to initiate, enroll, conduct or complete ongoing and planned clinical trials. These risks, uncertainties, and other factors include those risks and uncertainties described under the heading “Risk Factors” in Aura’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and in subsequent filings made by Aura with the SEC, which are available on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.

Except as required by law, Aura disclaims any intention or responsibility for updating or revising any forward-looking statements contained in this press release in the event of new information, future developments or otherwise. These forward-looking statements are based on Aura’s current expectations and speak only as of the date hereof and no representations or warranties (express or implied) are made about the accuracy of any such forward-looking statements.

 

Contacts

Investor and Media:
Alex Dasalla
Head of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications
adasalla@aurabiosciences.com

Argot Partners
Matthew DeYoung
aura@argotpartners.com