The Readout Damian Garde & Meghana Keshavan

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Using antibodies to ward off coronaviruses

Betting vaccines won't be enough to stop a future pandemic caused by coronaviruses, Tillman Gerngross, the Dartmouth bioengineering professor behind the biotech Adimab, has launched a new company. Called Adagio Therapeutics, it's focused on antibodies to protect against the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus, as well as future coronaviruses that might leap from animals. 

The startup has already engineered three antibodies that can neutralize a number of coronaviruses, STAT’s Damian Garde writes. The company has so far raised $50 million in venture capital to launch — and expects to file paperwork for clinical studies later this year. 

“If you look at coronaviruses, they’ve spilled over into human populations three times over the last two decades,” Gerngross said, citing the outbreaks of SARS, MERS, and SARS-CoV-2. “How likely is it that there will be another coronavirus pandemic in the next 10 years? Twenty years? I don’t think it’s a question of if, but of when.”

Read more.

Biotech is hard. It also takes a long time

Witness Corbus Pharmaceuticals, which as STAT’s Adam Feuerstein reports, is within weeks of announcing results from a Phase 3 study investigating a drug to treat patients with a chronic, connective tissue disease. 

If you don’t remember much about the Corbus drug called lenabasum, it’s probably because the Phase 2 study was completed four years ago. This is a pivotal moment for Corbus, so now’s a good time to reexamine the old lenabasum data and get you up to speed on the study design and expectations for the Phase 3 readout. 

Read more.

What do we want from a coronavirus vaccine? 

Can the U.S.’s Covid-19 response be saved? And how can the field of medicine address structural racism? 

We discuss all that and more this week on “The Readout LOUD,” STAT’s biotech podcast. First, we dig into the latest coronavirus vaccine data from Moderna. Then, our colleague Helen Branswell joins us to talk about our country's disastrous response to Covid-19 and experts’ takes on how to fix it. Finally, Rachel Issaka, a physician in Seattle, calls in to talk about her experience with structural racism in academic medicine and what should be done about it. 

Listen here.

Nanoparticle-based biosensors to track drug efficacy

Glympse Bio, a Cambridge, Mass.-based startup, is developing nanoparticle-based biosensors meant to supplant traditional biopsies. The idea is to help drug makers gauge whether their drugs are improving a patient’s condition. 

The company, which has raised more than $45 million in venture funding, will have its first biosensors tested in Gilead’s clinical trials for NASH, STAT’s Kate Sheridan writes. Its technology works by injecting patients with nanoparticles that interact with enzymes called proteases that signal how a disease is progressing. 

Read more.


More reads

  • As Amazon builds new health ventures, Haven struggles to gain ground. (STAT
  • Novartis to provide drugs for Covid-19 patients to poor countries at cost, but fails to disclose pricing. (STAT)

Thanks for reading! More next week,


Friday, July 17, 2020


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