AZTherapies, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company developing therapeutics to extend brain health, today announced the acquisition of Smith Therapeutics, a private biopharmaceutical company with a shared goal of targeting neuroinflammation to treat neurodegenerative disease. Smith Therapeutics’ Founder and Chief Executive Officer Philip Ashton-Rickardt, Ph.D., has joined the senior leadership team at AZTherapies as Senior Vice President of Immunology. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Smith Therapeutics’ proprietary research platform focuses on the use of modified T cells to restore a healthy balance of inflammatory and regulatory cells in the brain. To date, Smith has successfully engineered immunosuppressive T regulatory (Treg) cells with Chimeric Antigen Receptors (CARs) targeting brain glial cells. Previous research has demonstrated the ability of Tregs to dampen microglial activity and reduce neuroinflammation in models of neurodegeneration, suggesting their potential utility in the treatment of diseases including Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), and others.
“This acquisition represents a meaningful step forward for us as we continue to strengthen our leadership position in the development of therapies targeting neuroinflammation to stop or slow the progression of neurodegenerative diseases,” said David R. Elmaleh, Ph.D., Founder, CEO, and Chairman of AZTherapies. “We are excited to be working with Philip as we add this cutting-edge technology to our portfolio of innovative programs. An esteemed immunologist and inventor of the technology, Philip brings unparalleled expertise to the company and we look forward to advancing this CAR-Treg program further into IND-enabling studies and into clinical development as rapidly as possible.”
Dr. Ashton-Rickardt commented on the acquisition and his appointment: “Our shared rationale of targeting neuroinflammation as the root cause of neurodegenerative disease makes this acquisition a great strategic fit for us. With AZTherapies’ expertise in drug development and clinical trial execution, we believe that together, we are well positioned to advance our CAR-Treg technology and fundamentally change neurodegenerative disease progression.”
Prior to launching Smith Therapeutics in 2017, Dr. Ashton-Rickardt was Chair in Immunology at Imperial College London, Visiting Professor, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology at the University of Chicago. His work has been recognized by his peers through the award of tenure from The University of Chicago and by his fellow citizens as a recipient of the Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from President Bill Clinton. He has published more than 65 peer-reviewed papers in more than 30 academic journals (including Cell, Science, Immunity, and Nature Immunology), has served as an editor for several academic journals, and has been a member of grant review boards globally. Dr. Ashton-Rickardt received a B.Sc. in Biochemistry from the University of London, King’s College with honors, a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Edinburgh, and completed post-doctoral work at the University of Edinburgh and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Molecular Biology and Molecular Immunology, respectively.
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From :businessinsuranceU.S. commercial property/casualty rates rose 5% on average in the fourth quarter of 2019, up from 4% in the third quarter, reflecting insurers’ intent to continue to increase prices across most lines, online insurance exchange MarketScout Corp. said Monday.“Auto rate increases have been up all year long; however D&O (directors & officers) and professional rate increases have spiked significantly in the fourth quarter,” Richard Kerr, CEO of MarketScout Corp. said in a statement.Insurers are carefully analyzing their property exposures using catastrophe modeling tools, he said. “We expect many of the major property catastrophe insurers to curtail their 2020 writings in California brush and East and Gulf Coast wind areas. Naturally, this will result in higher rates to insureds,” Mr. Kerr said.D&O liability rates increased by 8.25%, while commercial auto increased 8% in the quarter, and professional liability rates were up 6%, and umbrella/excess rates were up 5.5%, according to MarketScout.Commercial property rates increased 5.25% in the quarter, and business interruption rates were up 5%, while all other lines showed smaller increases, except for workers compensation, where rates fell 1%, MarketScout said.By industry class, transportation and habitational saw the highest average rate increases at 9% and 8.25% respectively, MarketScout said.Large accounts – those with $250,001 to $1 million in premium – saw a rate hike of 5.5% in the fourth quarter, as did jumbo accounts, which have more than $1 million in premium. Small accounts – those with up to $25,000 in premium – were up 5%, while medium accounts – those with $25,001 to $250,000 in premium – were up 4.5%.The “steady trend” of upward rates reflects insurers’ plans to continue increasing prices across all lines except for workers compensation, MarketScout said.Organizer：China Insurance Digital & AI Development 2020Web:http://en.zenseegroup.com/p/560573/Contact:Ann 021-65650305
From :insurancejournalIt was a relatively quiet year for the Southeast in terms of major catastrophes compared with 2018 when Hurricane’s Michael and Florence caused major damage in the region. This year, Hurricane Dorian sideswiped the Southeast coast and made landfall on the Outer Banks of North Carolina but most of the area was spared. Still, Aon said economic damage in the U.S. and Canada was poised to approach a combined $1.5 billion.Florida spent the year recovering from Hurricane Michael, which was upgraded to a Category 5 storm by NOAA in April. Florida officials have repeatedly called on the insurance industry to speed up the recovery process, with nearly 12% of claims still open a year after the storm hit.Organizer：China Insurance Digital & AI Development 2020Web:http://en.zenseegroup.com/p/560573/Contact:Ann 021-65650305
From:businessinsuranceeinsurance renewals at Jan. 1, 2020, mainly saw single-digit increases, with some exceptions, according to reports by reinsurance brokers released Thursday.Willis Re, the reinsurance brokerage of Willis Towers Watson PLC, and Guy Carpenter & Co. LLC, a unit of Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc. both reported that year-end reinsurance renewals varied by account and region, but the retrocessional reinsurance was under pressure.Rates on line for property catastrophe reinsurance programs remained stable and property per risk pricing was driven by individual program performance, the Willis report said.Although some Lloyd’s of London syndicates took firm positions on rate increases and the London market authorized capacity decreased, that capactiy was replaced by new capital and a strong supply from other markets, Willis Re said.U.S. loss-free accounts renewed at flat to up 10% while those with losses saw increases of 10% to 50%, the Willis Re report said, which was among the largest increases. Property catastrophe accounts without losses renewed at flat to up 5%, while loss hit accounts were up 10% to 20%, Willis Re said.According to the Guy Carpenter report, the brokerage’s global property catastrophe rate on line index rose 5% in 2019.According to the Willis Re report, other large increases were seen in Central and Eastern Europe, where property programs with losses saw increases of 5% to 20%, and Canada, where such accounts renewed up 10% to 40%.Most other regions and countries saw property increases in the single or low double digits, the report said.The Jan. 1 renewals saw some “difficult” negotiations, according to a letter in the report from James Kent, global CEO, Willis Re.The Guy Carpenter report said the reinsurance market was “asymmetrical,” adding “this is certainly not a one-size-fits-all market” and while overall capacity remained adequate, “allocated capacity tightened notably in stressed classes.”Dedicated reinsurance capital rose 2% in 2019 and the year saw approximately $60 billion in global insured catastrophe losses, according to Guy Carpenter, which was significantly lower than 2017 and 2018.Alternative capital, however, contracted by approximately 7% percent “as investors were more cautious with new investments after assessing market dynamics and pricing adequacy,” Guy Carpenter said.The retrocession market “was challenged … by trapped capital, a lack of new capital and continued redemptions from third-party capital providers,” a statement issued with the Guy Carpenter report said.However, significant retrocession providers returned to the market in the past two weeks, Willis Re said.Organizer：China Insurance Digital & AI Development 2020Web:http://en.zenseegroup.com/p/560573/Contact:Ann 021-65650305
Major information technology companies in India are running the risk of termination of their $1 billion contracts following Boeing Co.’s decision to halt the production of its 737 Max jets, MoneyControl reported citing the Business Standard. Companies like Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., Infosys Ltd., HCL Technologies Ltd., Cyient Ltd. and L&T Technology Services Ltd. have outsourcing contracts with Boeing or its suppliers and Boeing’s jet crisis is expected to affect these IT companies in the short run.From:businessinsuranceOrganizer：China Insurance Digital & AI Development 2020Web:http://en.zenseegroup.com/p/560573/Contact:Ann 021-65650305
France-based eyewear maker Essilor International S.A. has discovered fraudulent activities at one of its factories in Thailand that could cause €190 million ($213 million) in financial losses to the company, The Irish Times reported citing Reuters. The company has filed complaints in Thailand and has fired all the involved employees. It hopes to recover the losses from frozen bank accounts, insurance and lawsuits.Organizer：China Insurance Digital & AI Development 2020Web:http://en.zenseegroup.com/p/560573/Contact:Ann 021-65650305