Flamingo and Dynacure Merge to Create RNA Therapeutics Company Focused on Clinical Oncology
March 2, 2023
Rare Daily Staff
Flamingo Therapeutics and French biotech Dynacure said the companies have signed a definitive merger agreement to combine their pipelines and expertise to create a leading oncology company.
The merger comes after a failed trial of Dynacure’s lead product candidate, DYN101, an investigational antisense oligonucleotide product candidate designed to be a disease-modifying medicine for treatment of the majority of myotubular and centronuclear myopathies (CNM) in both adult and pediatric patients living with this rare life-threatening disorder.
Flamingo is pioneering RNA-targeted therapies for oncology with state-of-the art chemistries and a clinical-stage pipeline targeting undruggable transcription factors and splice variants. The company will retain the name of Flamingo and be headquartered in its Belgian lab in Leuven. Dynacure’s CEO Stéphane van Rooijen will lead the combined company. Flamingo’s CEO Michael Garrett will become the combined company’s chief operating officer.
The combined company will advance Flamingo’s lead programs: danvatirsen in a phase 2 trial in head and neck cancer (danvatirsen in combination with pembrolizumab) and other indications; and FTX-001 targeting MALAT-1 in cancer, which is IND ready. In addition, Flamingo’s current investors Kurma Partners and PMV made a further investment in the company.
Danvatirsen is an antisense oligonucleotide that selectively targets STAT3 and has shown clinical activity in two phase 2 clinical studies. Danvatirsen binds to STAT3 mRNA, inhibiting translation of the transcript. The therapeutic effect of STAT3 suppression results in reduction of tumor cell growth as well as activation of anti-tumor immunity mediated by the tumor micro-environment.
Currently, danvatirsen is planned to continue phase 2 clinical development for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma to advance the program through key clinical milestones and data readouts. In addition, the combined company will also advance FTX-001, Flamingo’s most advanced long non-coding RNA program that targets MALAT-1, through readiness for phase 1 in solid tumors. LncRNAs are a large and untapped class of disease-causing targets within the “dark matter” of the human genome.
“The merger of Flamingo and Dynacure is a great strategic fit for both companies, leveraging a wealth of RNA therapeutic expertise and cancer drug development, and combining teams to create a stronger organization,” said Stéphane van Rooijen, CEO of Flamingo. “With our well-defined clinical strategy and operational plan, we are focused on creating value for all stakeholders, including patients, clinicians, and our investors. We plan to continue to execute upon our clinical strategy with the combined company and team in place.”
Photo: Stéphane van Rooijen, CEO of Flamingo
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