Big changes for Coronado
NEW YORK—Coronado Biosciences Inc. has announced a change of name to Fortress Biotech Inc., just one of several developments announced recently, including a licensing agreement with NeuPharma Inc. and the formation of Mustang Therapeutics in conjunction with City of Hope.
Dr. Lindsay A. Rosenwald, chairman and CEO of the newly minted Fortress Biotech, stated, “We are very excited to rebrand the company Fortress Biotech, which we believe better reflects the future of the company. Over this past year, we launched six new companies with nine products and product candidates under development, ranging from preclinical to Phase 3-ready. Since restructuring the company a little over a year ago, our goal has been to build a diverse portfolio of subsidiary companies and product opportunities. We look forward to continuing to execute our vision to develop a diversified biopharmaceutical company with multiple products and multiple revenue streams.”
Fortress Biotech has also announced an exclusive license agreement with NeuPharma to develop and commercialize novel third-generation EGFR inhibitors on a worldwide basis outside of certain Asian countries. Under the terms of the agreement, Coronado will pay NeuPharma an upfront licensing fee as well as make development and sales-based milestone payments, and will pay a tiered single-digit royalty on net sales.
“We are very pleased to be collaborating with Fortress Biotech. This collaboration will greatly accelerate the global development and commercialization of our third-generation EGFR inhibitors,” said Dr. Shawn Qian, president and CEO of NeuPharma. The program is currently in preclinical development.
Rosenwald said, “Targeting EGFR mutations with third-generation covalently bound inhibitors has demonstrated clear activity in patients with non-small cell lung cancer carrying specific EGFR mutations, while avoiding the toxicity seen with first- and second-generation inhibitors that also target wild-type EGFR, which typically results in dose-limiting side effects. We believe the inhibitors developed by NeuPharma may have distinct advantages even over the current third-generation compounds in this class.” NeuPharma has a portfolio of these inhibitors, the most advanced of which could reach the clinic in the first half of 2016.
In addition to its name change and the agreement with NeuPharma, Fortress Biotech has also formed a new company, Mustang Therapeutics Inc., in conjunction with City of Hope, a private, not-for-profit clinical research center, hospital and graduate medical school located in Duarte, Calif. George Megaw, City of Hope’s director of the Office of Technology Licensing, stated, “We are delighted to partner with Fortress Biotech in the formation of Mustang Therapeutics. We’re impressed with the ability of their executive team to design and execute clinical trials in important medical conditions in a timely and expeditious manner. At City of Hope, our goal is to alleviate human suffering and disease, and we believe Mustang Therapeutics will be able to offer novel and effective therapies to cancer patients.”
Mustang Therapeutics will initially focus on the preclinical and clinical development, as well as commercialization, of proprietary chimeric antigen receptor (CAR-T) technology. This portfolio of CAR-T cells was developed by Dr. Stephen Forman, director of the T cell Therapeutics Research Laboratory at City of Hope and the Francis and Kathleen McNamara Distinguished Chair in Hematology and Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation there, and Dr. Christine Brown, associate director of the T cell Therapeutics Research Laboratory and an associate research professor.
“The development of chimeric antigen receptor T cells for serious, refractory cancers is a burgeoning field of oncology,” said Rosenwald. “The engineering of patients’ immune cells to treat cancers may have a dramatic effect in cancer therapy. We are excited to have formed this partnership with City of Hope and the laboratory of Dr. Stephen Forman.” The first two CAR-T cells from this partnership should, if all goes well, begin enrollment in human clinical trials at City of Hope this year.