Author Archives: Russo Partners

Russo Partners Prepares for BIO-Europe 2013


BIO-EuropeThis week Russo Partners prepared for BIO-Europe 2013, held November 4-6 in Vienna, Austria. BIO-Europe is Europe’s largest partnering conference, with this year’s conference expected to draw upwards of 3,000 industry attendees from over 40 countries, representing close to 1,800 companies for three days of high level networking.  

Several client companies will present at the event, including Cempra, a company developing differentiated antibiotics, Ambrx and Sutro, which have developed technologies to create improved antibody drug conjugates, S1 Biopharma, a company advancing a drug for female sexual dysfunction, and CureVac, a company developing mRNA-based therapeutics, as well as others.

Russo Partners is conducting proactive media outreach in preparation of the event to industry focused publications, including those based in Europe.

Feel free to drop us a line if you are planning on attending the conference, and to see the full list of attending companies, click here.

Data on Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Anti IL-6 Antibody, Clazakizumab, Developed by Alder Biopharmaceuticals, to Be Presented at the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) 2013 Annual Meeting

This week, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company announced new data on the investigational anti-IL-6 antibody clazakizumab in adult patients with moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis and an inadequate response to methotrexate will be highlighted at the 2013 annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), taking place from October 25-30 in San Diego, Calif.

This asset was developed by Alder Biopharmaceuticals, and partnered with Bristol-Myers Squibb in 2009 in a deal worth $85 million up front and an additional $764 million in potential milestone payments. The therapeutic was developed using Alder’s yeast-based production technology, Mab Xpress, which enables the production of high quantities of antibodies.

Alder’s technology allows this class of therapeutics to enter disease areas that have previously been inaccessible for antibodies, such as migraine and cardiovascular disease.  Alder is advancing an antibody therapeutic developed using this technology, ALD403, which targets the calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) and holds promise for treating migraine. This therapeutic is currently in Phase 2 study.

Russo Partners worked with Bristol-Myers Squibb’s communication team to develop news releases and speaking points surrounding this data announcement. Read more about the upcoming data in the news release below.

News release

Avielle’s Carnival Raises Approximately $12,000 for The Avielle Foundation

This weekend in San Diego, The Avielle Foundation hosted Avielle’s Carnival, a family friendly fundraising event featuring circus performers, carnival games, an inflatable slide, face painting, a silent auction, cupcake walks and more. Over 500 people were in attendance, raising approximately $12,000 for the non-profit foundation. The funds raised will be distributed to researchers through the Avielle Foundation’s grants program.

Jennifer Hensel and Jeremy Richman with their daughter Avielle, 6, who was killed last year at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Jeremy Richman and Jennifer Hensel with their daughter Avielle, 6, who was killed last year at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The Avielle Foundation is a non-profit focused on raising funds to support brain health research into the causes of violence. Its founders, Jeremy Richman, Ph.D., and Jennifer Hensel, created the foundation after the devastating loss of their six year old daughter, Avielle, in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.

Drawing on their scientific backgrounds, Dr. Richman and Ms. Hensel saw a need for brain health research into the underlying drivers of violent behavior, an area of research where still little is known. Once scientists have a better understanding of the biological and environmental factors associated with these pathologies, steps can be taken to prevent violent acts before they occur. This could potential be through therapeutic interventions as well as policies that facilitate counseling and education about warning signs.

Russo Partners secured coverage of Avielle’s Carnival in advance of the event in the form of a front-page article in the U-T San Diego. Read the article below to learn more about the aims of The Avielle Foundation and the story behind its founding.

U-T San Diego

StemCells, Inc. Receives FDA Authorization to Expand Spinal Cord Injury Trial to the United States


Last week, StemCells, Inc. received FDA authorization to expand its spinal cord injury trial to the United States.

The arrival of this Phase 1/2 study, which is currently ongoing in Switzerland and Canada and involves patients with chronic spinal cord injury, will significantly ease the travel burden for North American patients. Early results from the trial have been promising, showing two patients had gains in sensory function, first seen at 6 months and persisting 12 months after transplantation. No safety issues have been seen.

To date, seven patients from Germany, Norway, Italy, Israel, Canada and the United States have been transplanted at Balgrist University Hospital in Zurich. StemCells is now focused on opening up trial sites in the United States. Information about the clinical trial is available at the website of the National Institutes of Health at

Russo Partners secured coverage of the announcement across industry publications, including Scrip, as well as regional publications, including the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Francisco Business Times. Read more about this announcement in the San Francisco Chronicle article below.

San Francisco Chronicle    

Sutro Biopharma Prepares for Data Presentation at the World ADC Summit

ambrxadcThis year the antibody drug conjugate (ADC) space has taken off like wildfire, with over 30 ADCs now in clinical trials, a number that only continues to grow. Demonstrating this surge of interest, the World ADC Summit will kick off in San Francisco on October 14, featuring leaders in ADC development from more than 40 organizations discussing best practices for designing and developing the optimal ADC.

Sutro BiopharmaTrevor Hallam, Ph.D., chief scientific officer of San Francisco-based Sutro Biopharma, will be presenting data at the conference involving an ADC developed using the company’s cell-free protein synthesis technology, at 11 am PT on Tuesday, October 15 in a presentation titled “Producing Homogeneous ADCs with Combination Warheads”.

Sutro’s technology enables hundreds of protein variants to be created and systematically screened, enabling a best-in-class ADC to be selected and significantly shortening development times. In 2012 Sutro formed a partnership with Celgene to develop ADCs and bispecific antibodies using this technology, worth up to $500 million if all milestones are met.

Russo Partners is handling media outreach surrounding the presentation, and secured coverage of Sutro ahead of the conference with Xconomy. Feel free to let us know if you are planning on attending the conference, and in the meantime you can learn more about Sutro’s technology in the article below.


Russo Partners to Attend the 12th Annual BIO Investor Forum

ImageThis week Russo Partners continued preparations for the 12th annual BIO Investor Forum, to be held October 8-9 in San Francisco. This conference explores new investment trends and opportunities, with a focus on early and mid-stage private as well as emerging public companies that are poised for growth in the coming year.

Several client companies will present at the event, including private firms Ambrx, S1 Biopharma, and public companies Ambit Biosciences, Sernova and ZIOPHARM Oncology.

Russo Partners will be present at the conference, focused on attending client presentations, connecting clients to key members of the biotech industry or investment community for networking purposes as well as other activities.

Feel free to drop us a line if you are also planning on attending the conference, and perhaps we can meet in person. To see the full list of attending companies, click on the list below.

BIO Investor Forum: Attending Companies

Sernova’s Cell Pouch (TM) and Sertolin (TM) Hold Promise for Treating Diabetes

A major advance for the treatment of Type 1 diabetes has been the development of a procedure for transplanting islet cells, which are responsible for producing insulin, called the Edmonton Protocol. However, while this procedure has had success in treating diabetics, it is limited by several factors.

During this procedure many of the islet cells die due to their placement into a harsh environment, which is not ideal as the only current source of these cells are deceased donors, and  their loss potentially results in the need for additional operations. The Edmonton Protocol is also very expensive (approximately $100,000), and patients must take immunosuppressant drugs indefinitely following the procedure.

To overcome these limitations, Sernova has developed a device that provides a natural environment for the islet cells, called a Cell PouchTM. Approximately the size of a matchbook, this device promotes the survival of the islet cells and is placed under the skin in a simple, inexpensive procedure.

In addition, Sernova is also developing a cell therapy that protects the islet cells from destruction by the immune system, called SertolinTM. This enables patients to either reduce or eliminate the use of immunosuppression drugs following their transplant. Combining the Cell Pouch with Sertolin overcomes many of the limitations of the Edmonton Protocol, improving treatment for diabetics.

 Russo Partners has worked to secure coverage of Sernova’s technology across international, national, industry and regional publications. Read more about the company’s approach in the article below from the Financial Times.

Financial Times