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Forty Seven springs out of the blocks ahead of IPO

Published on 07/06/18 at 12:15pm

Forty Seven, a spinout from Stanford University, has had a busy few days – first announcing that it had filed for an IPO and then by releasing data from two proof-of-concept studies.

The biotech is looking to generate $115 million from the IPO to progress its lead candidate, 5F9.

In the two studies, the monoclonal antibody, designed to target the CD47 receptor, was tested in patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and follicular lymphoma (FL). The treatment is initially being tested alongside rituximab.

The data are impressive enough to justify the biotech’s decision to file for an IPO and then take the data to ASCO; in patients with DLBL, overall response rate was 40% and complete response rate of 33%, in FL this was 71% and 43% respectively.

“Despite recent advancements, there remains a paucity of safe and effective therapies for patients with r/r NHL, especially for patients who are ineligible for transplantation or new cell therapies,” said Sonali Smith, Elwood V. Jensen Professor in Medicine, an investigator for the study. “These preliminary data suggest that 5F9 may offer patients with DLBCL and FL a new treatment option that is both safe and easy to administer, and that can rapidly induce benefit, with a majority of responding patients showing clinical activity at first assessment with several complete remissions, despite being refractory to multiple prior regimens. I am excited to continue evaluating 5F9 in the Phase 2 portion of this trial, as we learn more about the clinical utility of this potentially transformative agent.” 

5F9 works, according to the biotech, by blocking the “don’t eat me” signal used by cancer cells to avoid being destroyed by macrophages. It has already been granted a Fast Track designation by the FDA in relapsed or refractory DLBL and FL.

The team has already looked to expand the use of the candidate by signing a combination treatment collaboration with Merck KGaA for use alongside its immunotherapy treatment, Bavencio, and is also looking at use of the candidate as a monotherapy.

Ben Hargreaves

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