Beverly Hills-based biopharma company Capricor Therapeutics Inc. made two announcements last month involving collaborative agreements.

On Jan. 12, Capricor said it had signed an agreement with Basel, Switzerland-based Lonza Group to jointly develop Capricor’s leading drug candidate for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy and complications arising from Covid-19.

 
Then on Jan. 19, Capricor announced a scientific journal publication stating positive results from its research collaboration with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center regarding the strength of Capricor’s platform of cardiac-derived cells and extracellular material for delivery of drug therapies.


Capricor’s agreement with Lonza aims to expand its manufacturing capacity for potential late-stage clinical trials and commercialization. Operations will begin with a tech-transfer to Lonza’s Houston lab, where Lonza will perform process development activities for late-clinical and commercial-scale manufacturing of Capricor’s main drug candidate, tentatively known as CAP-1002.


“As we continue to expand our manufacturing efforts for CAP-1002, our lead cell therapy product candidate, this collaboration with Lonza provides us with a partner which has world-class expertise in technology transfer and an established track record of commercializing biologics,” Capricor Chief Executive Linda Marbán said in a statement.


CAP-1002 is in a phase 2 clinical trial and has been granted an orphan drug designation (to treat diseases that are too rare to yield profits for therapies) for treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The drug is also in a phase 2 clinical trial in Covid-19 patients to treat excessive immune responses known as cytokine storms.


The research paper resulting from Capricor’s collaboration with Cedars was published in the international peer-reviewed journal Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine.

 
“This data from this publication is of significant importance to Capricor because it demonstrates our approach to enhance potency of cells by targeting select signaling pathways,” Marban said in the announcement. That in turn carries through to Capricor’s drug product candidates to treat specific diseases, she said.

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