Shares in biotech stock Hemogenyx Pharmaceuticals (LSE:HEMO) are staging something of a rally as we move into the New Year. The stock bounced off a low of about 1.48 on 17 December and was trading at just under 1.99 at time of writing.
Powering the rally seems to be the new which emerged just before Christmas that Hemogenyx would be partnering with WuXi Advanced Pharmaceuticals to manufacture lentiviral vectors for a phase I trial of its HEMO-CAR-T program. It will be drawing on WuXi’s plasmid and lentiviral vector manufacturing platforms, including integrated testing, to accelerate its HEMO-CAR-T program, which is aimed at acute myeloid leukaemia.
“There’s an urgent clinical need for effective treatments for AML, and WuXi ATU is proud to manufacture and test the lentiviral vectors that Hemogenyx Pharmaceuticals requires to accelerate the beginning of its first clinical trial for this indication,” said Dr David Chang, CEO of WuXi ATU. “We hope that the HEMO-CAR-T programme will have a lasting impact for patients with AML.”
HEMO-CAR-T cells are made using Hemogenyx’ proprietary monoclonal antibody against a target on the surface of AML cells. This offers a potentially more benign and effective form of therapy that, if successful, could have a major impact on the treatment and survival rates of this form of leukaemia. This is being teed up as the company’s first therapeutic candidate to enter clinical trials, and WuXi ATU confirmed last month it has initiated the plasmid manufacturing process for Hemogenyx. It anticipates that it will file an Investigational New Drug application this year.
Subscribe for more stories like this, 8am weekdays - for free!
Blood disease treatment specialist
The company was founded in 2013 after Dr Vladislav Sandler, one of the company’s co-founders, postulated that cells similar to the progenitors that gave rise to blood stem cells during mammalian development continued to exist after birth. It became clear that this type of cell continues to exist in adults and could be used to help with the regeneration of the blood system.
Since 2013 Hemogenyx has passed several key milestones in the approvals process for its therapies including patents filed (e.g. for CDX antibodies in 2016). It began collaboration with Oxford University on cell therapy in 2017 and since then has added The Rockefeller University and Janssen Research & Development to the list of entities it works with. It is also working with a number of leading global pharmaceutical companies, although these remain undisclosed.
HEMO-CAR-T is just one of the therapies it is currently working on – the company is by no means a one short pony. For example, it is also researching CDX antibodies which show promise in efficiently eliminating malignant cells belonging to a subset of leukaemia.