BioInItaly Newsletter

La vetrina del biotech italiano all’estero


13 nov, 2017

Kedrion and Cerus enter distribution agreement for Intercept in Italy 
Kedrion Biopharma and Cerus Corporation (NASDAQ:CERS) announced that they have entered into an agreement for the distribution in Italy of the full complement of Intercept Blood System products. Kedrion Biopharma will initially distribute Intercept for platelets and plasma and later, when the product has been awarded CE marking, also Intercept for red blood cells.
Intercept Blood Systems is designed to reduce the transfusion transmitted infection risk by inactivating a broad range of pathogens including chikungunya, which is spread by the bite of the Aedes mosquito. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has reported several chikungunya outbreaks in Italy (2007) and in France (2010, 2014, and 2017) and, most recently, in the Lazio region of Italy, where it has resulted in a temporary halt of blood donations in Rome. 
Under the terms of the agreement, Kedrion Biopharma will be the sole distributor for the Intercept Blood Systems in Italy and will be responsible for promotion, sales, deployment, and red cell introduction for Intercept in the future. More info:

leadxpro and Axxam enter into a collaboration on a GPCR lead discovery project
Axxam Spa and leadXpro AG announce a collaboration for the discovery of novel small molecule lead compounds for a newly discovered GPCR involved in inflammatory processes.
In the collaboration, Axxam and leadXpro will combine their expertise in assay development, high throughput screening, membrane protein generation, structure determination and application of biophysical methods to investigate the interaction of small molecule ligands with challenging membrane protein drug targets to facilitate the discovery and optimization of novel lead molecules. 
Michael Hennig (CEO, leadXpro) said: “We’re excited to complement our capabilities on structure-based drug discovery with the strength of Axxam in assay development and screening. The funding support from Eurostars significantly facilitates this collaboration between the companies.” Chiara Liberati (Director, Discovery Research, Axxam) said: “This recently discovered GPCR needs joint efforts in order to identify bioactive small molecules able to modulate it. The complementary skill sets of both companies in the GPCR field are necessary to fully explore the therapeutic potential of this fascinating target”. More info:

Genenta Science has raised $8M (€7M) in the Series B fundraising round 
Genenta Science has raised $ 8M (€ 7M) in the Series B fundraising round to continue investigating its use of hematopoietic stem cells to treat cancer. Based in Milan, Genenta can add € 7M to the € 10M secured in Series A of fundraising. Italian, British and Swiss private investors led the investment, and it will allow the biotech to start a second tumor indication, adding to their current target multiple myeloma.
More info:

Axxam enters into research collaboration with Sanofi in the field of neurodegeneration
Axxam S.p.a announced the start of a research collaboration with Sanofi designed to further optimize a number of lead series of small molecules targeted against a range of diseases of the central nervous system (CNS). 
The program, initiated at Axxam via a High Throughput Screen (HTS) of the Axxam small molecule screening library, yielded a number of tractable hit series. Subsequent multi-parameter optimization identified potent and selective molecules with high CNS exposures and showed promising results in disease-relevant pharmacology models.
Following an initial evaluation phase in-house, Sanofi and Axxam will continue the program under a joint research agreement with activities to be carried out at Axxam and Sanofi research facilities. If successful, Sanofi has an option to enter into a subsequent licensing agreement based on the research. 
More information is available at

SCID Treatment Funded in UK
The UK's National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has approved GlaxoSmithKline's gene therapy for severe combined immunodeficiency due to adenosine deaminase deficiency (ADA-SCID).
For GSK's Strimvelis, patients' CD34+ cells are reprogrammed to express ADA to treat the condition. Patients with ADA-SCID are kept in isolation to protect them from infections. The European Commission approved the therapy, born from the Italian partnership between GSK / Telethon / Ospedale San Raffaele, in 2016.