Zenas BioPharma Submits Investigational New Drug Application in China for ZB001 for the Treatment of Thyroid Eye Disease

WALTHAM, Mass. and SHANGHAI, China, May 15, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Zenas BioPharma, a global biopharmaceutical company committed to becoming a leader in the development and commercialization of immune–based therapies for patients in need around the world, today announced the submission of an investigational new drug (IND) application to the China National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) for the initiation of a Phase 1/2 clinical study of ZB001 for the treatment of Thyroid Eye Disease (TED). This study is designed to evaluate the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and preliminary efficacy of ZB001.

"The ZB001 IND submission to the NMPA marks a significant milestone for Zenas," said Hua Mu, MD, PhD, Chief Executive Officer at Zenas. "There are currently no approved therapies for TED patients in China. Treatment options are limited and often involve high doses of steroids associated with serious side effects or surgical intervention. ZB001 has the potential to change the treatment paradigm for TED patients in China."

ZB001 is a differentiated humanized monoclonal antibody targeting insulin–like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF–1R) for the treatment of TED. TED is a debilitating autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and fibrosis within the orbit of the eye, which can cause double vision, pain, and potential blindness. Patients with severe disease often require multiple remedial surgeries to the orbit, eye muscles and eyelids.

Zenas BioPharma licensed the exclusive rights to develop, manufacture and commercialize ZB001 (Viridian VRDN–001) and other compounds targeting IGF–1R in non–oncology indications in the greater area of China from Viridian Therapeutics, Inc. (Viridian) in October 2020. In October 2021, Viridian submitted an IND for VRDN–001 to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and in December 2021 initiated a Phase 1/2 clinical trial to evaluate proof of concept in TED patients in North America.

About Zenas BioPharma

Zenas BioPharma is a global biopharmaceutical company based in the USA and China committed to becoming a leader in the development and commercialization of immune–based therapies for patients in the US, China and around the world. Zenas is rapidly advancing a deep pipeline of innovative therapeutics that continues to grow through our successful business development strategy. Our experienced leadership team and network of business partners drive operational excellence to deliver potentially transformative therapies to improve the lives of those facing autoimmune and rare diseases. For more information about Zenas BioPharma, please visit www.zenasbio.com and follow us on Twitter at @ZenasBioPharma and LinkedIn.

Investor and Media Contact:
Joe Farmer
Zenas BioPharma
IR@zenasbio.com


Youths’ Strident Voices Demand an End to Child Labour

Lucky Agbavor, a former child labourer from Ghana, shared personal testimony of his life at the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour as a former child labourer. Credit: Cecilia Russell/IPS Children forced into child labour are robbed of their childhoods with dire consequences the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour. Credit: Cecilia Russell/IPS

Lucky Agbavor, a former child labourer from Ghana, shared personal testimony of his life at the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour as a former child labourer. Credit: Cecilia Russell/IPS

Children forced into child labour are robbed of their childhoods with dire consequences the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour. Credit: Cecilia Russell/IPS

By Fawzia Moodley
Durban, May 15 2022 – Children’s voices took centre stage at the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour, which kicked off in Durban, South Africa, on May 15, 2022. Their voices resonated with the saying: “Nothing about us without us.”

The conference takes place at a time when child labour has increased worldwide since 2016 and amid a looming deadline to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development goal of eliminating child labour by 2025.

An estimated 160 million kids are held in labour bondage, with the prediction of a further nine million more joining their ranks due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic crisis in many parts of the world.

Lucky Agbavor, a former child labourer from Ghana, caused a stir with his testimony of being roped into child labour at the tender age of four when his poverty-stricken mother sent him to live with a relative in a fishing village. While his mother thought he was being educated and cared for, the little boy was forced to work on a boat and almost died. Later he was sent to another relative.

“He took me to carry beams, load it in the forest,” the youth recalled. He managed to go to school, but working and studying were tough. He returned home after failing his basic education certificate in 2012.

“I came back home, and things were very rough,” he said.

But Lucky managed to get through high school by earning money selling ice cream, and today he is proof that anything is possible.

“In between, I put in all the efforts,” he said. Thanks to a Pentecostal Church scholarship, Lucky was able to study BSc in nursing.

“I hope to become one of the renowned nurses in Ghana,” he told the awestruck audience.

Thatho Mhlongo, a Nelson Mandela Parliament ambassador, was unequivocal.

“Child labour is not a rumour; it’s real as it’s happening worldwide. I have personal experience. I have witnessed a very close friend of mine having to work and fend for his family.”

She praised the conference organisers for inviting children and hearing their voices.

Thatho also acknowledged the South African government’s efforts to support children who were affected by the recent floods in KwaZulu Natal, which claimed hundreds of lives and left many people homeless

“Transparency, respect and inclusiveness and children understand the implications of their choices,” she reminded the audience, including South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, two Nobel Peace Laureates and high-profile delegates from the labour movement.

While the children’s narratives were moving, government, labour, business, and NGOs dealt with the challenges of fighting the scourge of child labour and finding ways to meet the 2025 deadline to end the practice in a world hit by wars, displacement, and the pandemic.

Vice President of Workers Federation and Cosatu leader Bheki Ntshalintshali questioned how when the “world Is three times richer, 74% are denied a social grant.”

“Poverty leaves children vulnerable,” he said.

Ntshalintshali called for a “new social contract” to end child labour, noting that four out of five children were forced to work in the agricultural sector in sub-Saharan Africa.

Jacqueline Mugo, of the Federation of Kenya Employers, acknowledged that it was crucial, though not easy, to reverse the increased child labour trends.

“No doubt it is even more crucial than the previous conferences to succeed and galvanise to end child labour … If we fail to address the root causes, we won’t surely succeed,” she said.

Children forced into child labour are robbed of their childhoods with dire consequences the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour. Credit: Cecilia Russell/IPS

Children forced into child labour are robbed of their childhoods with dire consequences the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour heard. Credit: Cecilia Russell/IPS

2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi, who has been fighting child labour in India and elsewhere for 40 years, remained upbeat despite the setbacks.

He noted that while the wealth of the world had increased, yet the plight of the children had worsened.

“I am angry because of the discriminatory world order, and the still age-old racial mindset. We cannot eradicate child labour without eliminating it in Africa. We know what the problem is and what is the solution. What we need is, as Madiba said, (for) concerted action is courage,” Satyarthi said, referring to South Africa’s first democratic president Nelson Mandela.

He said it was time to rise above partisan politics, adding that it was possible to reduce child labour once again.

Nosipho Tshabalala facilitated a discussion on child labour where Stefan Löfven, former Prime Minister of Sweden, spoke about the challenges of the labour market and supply chains and how we could use climate transition to create jobs.

Leymah Gbowee, another Nobel laureate, did not pull any punches when it came to Africa’s dismal record of child labour.

She slammed African governments who paid lip service to the goal of eradicating the abuse of children.

“When the cameras are off, suddenly politics come into effect … Africa is responsible; our governments are not blameless,” she said, reminding politicians that “our children are key to any policy, not the politics.”

Minister of Employment and Labour Thulas Nxesi was also critical, saying: “We pass resolutions, grand plans but no implementation.”

But he also defended SA, saying the country provided safety nets for vulnerable children through grants and free meals a day

ILO DG, Guy Ryder, called for a human-centred approach to end child labour.

“Child labour occurs in middle-income countries … always linked to poverty and inequality. More than two-thirds of the work of children happens alongside their families,” Ryder said.

These children were then excluded from education.

Representative of the UN in the African continent Amina Mohammed, and chair of the UN SDGs, said via a hologram: “Child labour is quite simply wrong. The ILO has a critical role in this work.

She noted that a “lack of education opportunity fuels child labour”.

Saulos Klaus Chilima, Vice President of Malawi, called for urgent action, saying: “We will we get there. We will achieve what we desire to achieve. I believe we can overcome.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his address, commended the ILO for being at the forefront of global efforts to eradicate the practice of child labour.”

“Child labour is an enemy of our children’s development and an enemy of progress. No civilisation, no country and no economy can consider itself to be at the forefront of progress if its success and riches have been built on the backs of children,” he said.

Ramaphosa said South Africa was a signatory to the Convention of Children because “such practices rob children of their childhood”.

He noted that while for many people, child labour “conjures sweatshops … there is a hidden face it is the children in domestic servitude to relatives and families.”

“We call on all social partners to adopt the Durban Call to action to take practical action to end child labour. We must ensure by all countries ILO convention against child labour; universal action to universal social support,” Ramaphosa said.

IPS UN Bureau Report

 


!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?’http’:’https’;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+’://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js’;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, ‘script’, ‘twitter-wjs’);  

This is one of a series of stories that IPS will publish during the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour in Durban, South Africa.

Alarm Bells for Africa, Child Labour in Agriculture Requires Urgent Action

Child Rights Advocate and 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Kailash Satyarthi urged participants at the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour, organised by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Durban, South Africa, to put their efforts to eliminate child labour back on track. Credit: Cecilia Russell/IPS

Child Rights Advocate and 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Kailash Satyarthi urged participants at the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour, organised by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Durban, South Africa, to put their efforts to eliminate child labour back on track. Credit: Cecilia Russell/IPS

By Sania Farooqui
Durban, May 15 2022 – The Global Estimate on Child Labour estimates 160 million children are in child labour worldwide – an increase of 8.4 million children in the last four years – with millions more at risk due to the impacts of COVID-19.

The report, jointly released by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and UNICEF in 2021, warned that in sub-Saharan Africa, population growth, recurrent crises, extreme poverty and inadequate social protection measures have led to an additional 16.6 million children in child labour over the past four years. 

One of the key findings in the report included the state of the agriculture sector, which accounts for 70 percent of children in child labour (112 million), followed by 20 percent in services (31.4 million) and 10 percent in industry (16.5 million). The prevalence of child labour in rural areas (14 percent) is close to three times higher than in urban areas (5 percent).

Andrews Tagoe

Andrews Tagoe

In an exclusive interview given to IPS News, Andrews Tagoe, Board Member of the Global March Against Child Labour and the Deputy Secretary-General of the General Agricultural Workers Union, says child labour in Africa alone is more than the rest of the world combined. While the majority are in agriculture, other areas are equally very important.

“We have a big challenge at hand and Africa needs a lot of strategies to tackle it right away.

“Addressing child labour is not a benevolent issue, it is the right of the people in rural communities to have their children in school. Child labour free zones have proven and provided solutions. For example, the government of Ghana has adopted this method – a child labour free zone and child labour free community and friendly villages. However, this concept needs more investment to continue making improved participation of communities and structures to address the issue of child labour in the country,” Tagoe says.

The Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index (CRI) report shows that the fifteen South African Development Community (SADC) member states lost about $80 billion in 2020 due to lower-than-expected growth, which is equivalent to around $220 for every SADC citizen.

“The analysis estimates that this economic crisis could take more than a decade to reverse, erasing all hope of countries meeting their national development plan targets to reduce poverty and inequality by 2030. The report says that many SADC member governments are still showing considerable commitment to fighting inequality – but still, nowhere near enough to offset the huge inequality produced by the market and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Among the key messages in the African Economic Outlook 2021 report, is that an estimated 51 million people on the continent could fall into poverty. “Today’s non-poor households, maybe tomorrow’s poor households, 50.2 percent of the people in Africa most vulnerable to staying in poverty live in East Africa.”

There is something that we are not doing well, if the number of child labour is so high, we must change our ways, says Tagoe.

“By working together, we have begun to see some way forward, but what we have seen is that in the allocation of resources, either not being sent to the right places or when they are not enough, that still remains a big challenge.”

“We are calling for huge, massive investments in the national plans of the country, we are also calling for a community-based approach – by working with Global March, agricultural unions and their grassroots organizations. It is important to note that it’s not just about the investment, but also about the allocation of the resources, enough money has been invested into fighting child labour, but where does that money go? How is it spent? These are important questions. More money needs to go into strategies that are working and looking into community development. We have been able to develop systems and strategies. We have been able to chart and map friendly villages and labour free zone, which shows what happens when proper investment is done, it creates the potential for child labour free communities and living.

“We want to address child labour in a way that it empowers the parents to take care of their own children, we want to address child labour in a way that it promotes improvement of community leaders, so they can pronounce their communities to be child labour free zones,” says Tagoe.

The ongoing 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour organised by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Durban, South Africa brings together experts from around the world who are leading the way in tackling child labour to reinvigorate international cooperation and to call for commitments that will genuinely realize freedom for every child.

Speaking during the conference’s opening plenary, Child Rights Advocate and 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Kailash Satyarthi urged rich nations to play their role in fighting the increasing global dilemma.

“You cannot blame Africa. It is happening because of the discriminatory world order. It is still the age-old racial discriminatory issue. We cannot end child labour without ending child labour in Africa. I refuse to accept that the world is so poor that it cannot eradicate the problem (of child labour),” Satyarthi said.

Child labour continues to be one of the worst end results of extreme poverty and inequality, children who are trapped in child labour deserve their right to education, health, clean water and sanitation.

“All of us must work together so that the prediction of these harrowing numbers doesn’t come true. We are very ashamed that the numbers are so high in Africa, and we must work hard to bring them down. All promises made to the children must be made to come true,” says Tagoe.

This is one of a series of stories that IPS will publish during the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour in Durban, South Africa.

IPS UN Bureau Report

 


!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?’http’:’https’;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+’://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js’;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, ‘script’, ‘twitter-wjs’);