Top Biopharma News for 06/12/2024

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Here are the latest stories being discussed in biopharma today:

Foresite Capital Closes $900M Sixth Fund, Backing Xaira and Alumis

Foresite Capital has successfully closed its sixth fund, amassing $900 million. This significant milestone, achieved despite a challenging fundraising environment, adds to the firm’s impressive portfolio of investments in life sciences startups such as Xaira and IPO-aspiring Alumis. CEO and founder Jim Tananbaum highlighted the scarcity of available capital, which he views positively for those who have secured funding.

China Biotech Ban Excluded from Defense Spending Bill

An effort to impose a ban on U.S. biotechnology companies from using certain Chinese suppliers has failed to gain traction as part of a broader defense spending bill, known as the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2025. The House Rules Committee reviewed over 1,000 amendments, ultimately advancing 350 for further discussion while excluding the proposed Biosecure Act.

Alzheon Raises $100M; Regeneron Ends Mid-Stage Trial

Alzheon has secured $100 million in a Series E funding round to support its Phase 3 study of ALZ-801 for early-stage Alzheimer’s disease, with potential manufacturing and commercialization in sight. Meanwhile, Regeneron has terminated a mid-stage trial for its antibody mibavademab in familial partial lipodystrophy patients. This decision does not affect other ongoing Phase 2 tests with the antibody.

Ultragenyx Reports Positive Phase 2 Data for Mereo-Partnered Drug

Ultragenyx, in collaboration with Mereo BioPharma, has presented encouraging Phase 2 data for their monoclonal antibody setrusumab, aimed at treating osteogenesis imperfecta—a rare genetic bone disorder. The study showcased a 67% reduction in the median annualized rate of fractures among 24 patients treated over a mean duration of 16 months. The promising results set the stage for the ongoing Phase 3 trial.

Avidity’s Early-Phase Data Boosts Plans for Rare Muscle Disease Drug

Avidity Biosciences has released promising early-phase data for its antibody-oligonucleotide conjugate, del-brax, targeting facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD). Preliminary results indicate more than 50% mean reductions in DUX4-regulated gene expression in muscle tissues among FSHD patients, prompting the company to expedite registration plans. Avidity’s stock surged by 26% following the announcement.

Verily Enters GLP-1 Business with New Cardiac and Metabolic Program

Verily, an Alphabet Inc. subsidiary, is launching Lightpath, a virtual program geared towards managing cardiometabolic diseases such as diabetes and obesity. The program will incorporate GLP-1 drugs alongside clinical teams comprised of endocrinologists, primary care providers, and coaches, augmented by AI tools. Targeting insurers and employers, Lightpath aims to supplement traditional insurance offerings with personalized healthcare solutions.

Focus: Life Science CDMO Agilent Cuts Over 180 Employees in California

Agilent Technologies, a leading life sciences CDMO, has announced layoffs involving more than 180 employees in California. The decision comes as part of a broader restructuring effort aimed at streamlining operations and optimizing resources within the company’s biopharma services division.