Catabasis Pharmaceuticals snaps up HAE antibody in buyout; Gladstone, UCSF scientist spearhead launch of neuro research center

A few months after finally admitting defeat on their failed Duchenne MD program, Catabasis Pharmaceuticals is heading in a new direction with the purchase of Quellis Biosciences and their lead antibody for hereditary angioedema.

Catabasis shared the news on Friday that they’re buying out Quellis, a rare disease-focused biotech that was unveiled over a year ago by Chris Garabedian and Perceptive Advisors’ PXV Fund. With it, Catabasis is snapping up QLS-215, a monoclonal antibody inhibitor of plasma kallikrein. The candidate is currently in preclinical development — but won’t be for long, according to Catabasis.

In addition to the buyout, the Boston-based biotech closed a $110 million private placement to fund the completion of IND-enabling, Phase Ia and Phase Ib/II studies.

Catabasis and Quellis are keeping the terms of their deal under wraps. But after the acquisition and private placement, Catabasis expects to have a cash runway through 2023.

The company plans on filing an IND application for QLS-215 in the first half of 2022, and reading out initial Phase I results by the end of 2022. If all goes well, they hope to launch a Phase Ib/II trial in 2023, with initial results by the end of that year.

Back in October, Catabasis acknowledged a final failure for its Duchenne MD drug edasalonexent. Three years earlier, CEO Jill Milne and the crew insisted they found reason for hope in data from a failed study, and that it justified a try in Phase III. After the primary, change in baseline on the North Star Ambulatory Assessment, and the secondary on timed function tests both came up short of statistical significance, Catabasis killed the effort — leaving them with one other drug in the pipeline, a preclinical program on autophagy.

Gladstone, UCSF scientist spearhead launch of neuro research center

Drug hunters and developers working in neurological diseases will now have a new place to turn to for insights.

The Gladstone-UCSF Center for Neurovascular Brain Immunology is launching with a $2.5 million donation and neuroimmunologist Katerina Akassoglou as the founding director.

“Historically, neurological diseases have been classified as being only degenerative, inflammatory, or vascular,” she said in a statement. “But we now know, given recent insights from clinical research and the failure of many clinical trials, that this classification cannot explain how diseases start and progress, nor has it been able to identify the best potential drug candidates.”

By integrating basic and clinical research on vascular biology, immunology and neuroscience, scientists at the new center aim to shed light on overlapping mechanisms behind diseases like multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and traumatic brain injury — and have implications extending as far as neonatal brain injury, epilepsy, infectious diseases and psychiatric disorders.

Add it all together, Akassoglou said, and their approaches in imaging and drug discovery may just “transform biomedicine.”

To uncover the role of vascular abnormalities in the brain, they will bring together basic and clinical experts and develop new molecular diagnostics, while testing new therapies and biomarkers.


Catabasis Pharmaceuticals snaps up HAE antibody in buyout; Gladstone, UCSF scientist spearhead launch of neuro research center