3 days, 5 approvals-Celgene, AbbVie, Roche meds push FDA tally to 23 for the year

FiercePharma | August 19, 2019

Lawmakers may have left the nations capital for summer vacation, but regulators at the FDA are staying busy. The agency churned out five approvals just last week from companies large and small and five more decisions are due by months end. Three of last weeks green lights opened the way for launches worth half a billion or more in annual sales. But the week started with a couple of OKs smaller on the sales side, if still significant for the organizations that developed them. Pretomanid, a tuberculosis med developed by the nonprofit TB Alliance, kicked things off Wednesday with an FDA nod in drug-resistant forms of the disease. On the same day, Philly-area pharma company Harmony Biosciences picked up its first FDA nod ever, passing agency gatekeepers with narcolepsy med Wakix. GlobalData pharma analyst Sarah Elsayed said she expects Wakix to pick up a “small share” of the $1.5 billion narcolepsy market. The drug is a “welcome addition” for doctors and patients, she said, but key opinion leaders told the firm they “believe that Wakix is not as effective" as Jazz Pharma's competing Xyrem, the analyst said. After those Wednesday approvals, the agency stayed busy Thursday and Friday. Regulators signed off on Roche’s targeted cancer drug Rozlytrek, Celgene’s myelofibrosis med Inrebic and AbbVie’s rheumatoid arthritis treatment Rinvoq in quick succession.

Spotlight

Brain and spinal cord tumors are rare. Unlike some other tumors, these are considered harmful and require treatment, even if they are benign, because they may grow and press on nearby areas of the brain.

Spotlight

Brain and spinal cord tumors are rare. Unlike some other tumors, these are considered harmful and require treatment, even if they are benign, because they may grow and press on nearby areas of the brain.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

NeuroBo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Dong-A ST Co. Ltd. Announce Strategic Collaboration

NeuroBo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. | September 16, 2022

NeuroBo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Dong-A ST Co., Ltd. announced that they have entered into a conditional exclusive license agreement for NeuroBo to develop and commercialize DA-1241 and DA-1726, which are currently being evaluated for the treatment of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis obesity and type 2 diabetes. DA-1241 is a novel G-Protein-Coupled Receptor 119 agonist, which promotes the release of key gut peptides GLP-1, GIP and PYY, which, in turn, play an important role in glucose metabolism, lipid metabolism and weight loss. DA-1241 is a synthetic, selective small molecule, suitable for oral administration and has been shown to be well tolerated in phase 1 studies. Further, its multimodal mechanism appears to induce strong anti-NASH effects, supported by potential best-in-class efficacy, as demonstrated in pre-clinical studies. DA-1726 is a novel oxyntomodulin analogue functioning as a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor and glucagon receptor dual agonist. OXM is a naturally-occurring, 37-amino acid peptide hormone that is released from the gut after ingestion of a meal, activating both the GLP-1 and glucagon receptors, prompting reduced food intake as well as an increase in energy expenditure, potentially resulting in superior body weight loss compared to selective GLP-1 receptor agonists. The beneficial effects of this dual mechanism of DA-1726 on weight loss compared to selective GLP-1 activity has been demonstrated in animal models. Additionally, DA-1726 has shown the ability to improve hepatic steatosis, inflammation and fibrosis when compared to the GLP-1 agonist, semaglutide in these same models. Under the license agreement, NeuroBo will be responsible for global development, regulatory and commercial activities other than for certain Asian-Pacific geographies. Dong-A will manufacture clinical supplies and initial commercial supplies of the product at its manufacturing facility in Korea. "The acquisition of these two cardiometabolic assets marks a seismic shift for NeuroBo, providing us with a highly promising, diversified pipeline with several upcoming value inflection points in the NASH and obesity space -- areas with enormous market opportunity," stated Gil Price, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of NeuroBo. "Through this agreement, Dong-A, one of our largest shareholders, has reaffirmed its commitment to remain a long-term strategic partner of NeuroBo. Dong-A is dedicated to our success and we are grateful it has also committed to provide continued support to facilitate the clinical development of the licensed assets. Once the transaction has closed, which is contingent upon certain closing conditions, we will be uniquely positioned to initiate a phase 2a study of DA-1241 in NASH in the first half of 2023, with data expected in the second half of 2024. We also intend to initiate a phase 1a safety study of DA-1726 in the first half of 2023, for which data is expected in the second half of 2023. We are truly excited about the prospects of NeuroBo as we transition to a cardiometabolic company across the large and growing markets of obesity and NASH." "We are highly enthusiastic about this opportunity to accelerate development of our novel treatments in partnership with NeuroBo. Dong-A plans to continue to strengthen its R&D capability and to seek additional collaboration opportunities to establish ourselves in the US market", Min Young Kim, Chief Executive Officer of Dong-A About the Proposed Licensing Transaction Under the terms of the license agreement, Dong-A will receive an upfront payment of $22 million in Series A convertible preferred stock, which will automatically convert into common stock upon receipt of requisite stockholder approval, and will be eligible to receive commercial- and regulatory-based milestone payments, dependent upon the achievement of specific regulatory and commercial developments. Dong-A will also be entitled to single digit royalties on net sales of the two assets. Dong-A has also agreed to commit $15,000,000 toward financing the assets, subject to NeuroBo's ability to obtain additional financing under the terms of the license agreement. The license agreement has been approved by the board of directors of NeuroBo. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2022, subject to obtaining third party financing for development of the assets and other customary closing conditions. About NeuroBo Pharmaceuticals NeuroBo Pharmaceuticals, Inc., is a clinical-stage biotechnology company historically focused on therapies for neurodegenerative, infectious, and, upon closing of the license agreement, cardiometabolic diseases. Its therapeutics programs currently include ANA001, an oral niclosamide formulation, which is in Phase 2/3 clinical trials to treat patients with moderate coronavirus disease (COVID-19); NB-01 for the treatment of painful diabetic neuropathy; NB-02 for the treatment of symptoms of cognitive impairment and to modify the progression of neurodegenerative diseases associated with the malfunction of tau protein; and gemcabene currently being assessed as an acute treatment for COVID-19 in combination with ANA001. NeuroBo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. About Dong-A Dong-A ST Co. is a leading healthcare company in South Korea with a business focus on developing, manufacturing and distributing pharmaceutical products and medical devices worldwide. Dong-A has successfully developed and marketed several products globally and continues to develop prospective clinical candidates. Dong-A also provides licensed-in and licensed-out drugs, and medical devices, including high-technology medical devices, custom-made products, and sets of artificial cardiac circuits for use in open-heart surgery. Dong-A has over 5,500 employees including 2,300 in the pharmaceutical sector. Dong-A was founded in 1932 and is headquartered in Seoul, South Korea.

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RESEARCH

Ora, Inc. Launches the Ora EyecupTM, a Revolutionary Ophthalmic Research Technology at Eyecelerator 2022

Ora, Inc. | September 29, 2022

Ora, Inc., the world's leading ophthalmology clinical research firm, has formally launched a revolutionary mobile research platform, Ora EyeCupTM, which promises to transform patient data capture through high-resolution imaging, artificial intelligence (AI) analysis, and real-time patient feedback. The Ora EyeCupTM, a finalist in the Most Valuable Clinical Technology Award category at the Reuters Events Pharma Awards USA 2022, will be presented by Dr. Gustavo De Moraes, Chief Medical Officer at Ora, at this year’s Eyecelerator Conference in Chicago, IL, September 29th. The Ora EyeCupTM platform is a powerful combination of hardware and software — a smartphone attachment and software application which allows patients to take high-resolution images of their eyes and track disease signs and symptoms remotely. With over 138,000 images captured to date, 98% are considered gradable by researchers and AI. Post-capture processing utilizes AI-powered image analysis for precise clinical assessments of ocular redness, tear film stability, and corneal health. Along with this, the Ora EyeCupTM ensures protocol adherence through compliance assurance diaries for both symptom tracking and therapy dosing. “At Ora, our technologists have spent the past two years developing this revolutionary system to capture patient data and provide a deeper understanding of therapeutic effect. The result is a trailblazing technology that captures high quality therapeutic data and improves the likelihood of study success.” Dr. De Moraes About Ora, Inc. Ora is the world's leading full-service ophthalmic drug and device development firm with offices in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Asia. For over 40 years, we have proudly helped our clients earn more than 55 product approvals and create vision beyond what they see. We support a wide array of organizations, from start-ups to global pharmaceutical and device companies, to efficiently bring their new products from concept to market. Ora's pre-clinical and clinical models, unique methodologies, and global regulatory strategies have been refined and proven across thousands of global projects. We bring together the world's most extensive and experienced team of ophthalmic experts, R&D professionals, and operations management to maximize the value of new product initiatives. Think ophthalmology, think Ora.

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PHARMACY MARKET

CASI PHARMACEUTICALS ANNOUNCES EXIT OF JUVENTAS INVESTMENT TO STRENGTHEN BALANCE SHEET

CASI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. | September 26, 2022

CASI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. a U.S. biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative therapeutics and pharmaceutical products announced that CASI Biopharmaceuticals Co., Ltd, a subsidiary of CASI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. entered into an Equity Transfer Agreement with Shenzhen Jiadao Gongcheng Equity Investment Fund, LLP pursuant to which CASI Wuxi agreed to transfer its equity interest in Juventas Biotechnology Co., Ltd. amounting to 12.0098% total Juventas equity to Jiadao Gongcheng for RMB 240.87 million. The Equity Transfer Agreement states there will be two even payment installments from Jiadao Gongcheng; one payment to be made after the Equity Transfer Agreement is signed and the second payment to be made after the completion of the equity transaction. "We are confident in CNCT-19, and we expect Juventas to submit for NDA to the NMPA in 2022 for the B-ALL indication. CASI and Juventas will continue to maintain a working partnership, focusing on product launch and co-marketing for CNCT-19." Wei-Wu He, Ph.D., CASI's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dr. He continued, "The completion of the equity transfer transaction will strengthen CASI's balance sheet by providing CASI with sufficient cash to operate until, at least, the end of 2023. This transaction will allow CASI to advance the development of our other pipeline projects while augmenting the efforts of our sales and marketing team." About CNCT-19 CNCT19 targets CD19, a B-cell surface protein widely expressed during all phases of B-cell development and a validated target for B-cell driven hematological malignancies. CD19- targeted CAR constructs from several different institutions have demonstrated consistently high antitumor efficacy in children and adults with relapsed B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia chronic lymphocytic leukemia and B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. CD19 antigen is the most frequently used target in the CAR-T cell therapy clinical trials for hematological malignancies such as leukemia and lymphoma. Juventas is responsible for the development of CNCT19. CASI and Juventas will co-commercialize CNCT19 under the direction of the program's joint steering committee. About CASI Pharmaceuticals CASI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a U.S. biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative therapeutics and pharmaceutical products in China, the United States, and throughout the world. The Company is focused on acquiring, developing, and commercializing products that augment its hematology oncology therapeutic focus as well as other areas of unmet medical need. The Company intends to execute its plan to become a leader by launching medicines in the Greater China market, leveraging the Company's China-based regulatory and commercial competencies and its global drug development expertise. The Company's operations in China are conducted through its wholly-owned subsidiary, CASI Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd., located in Beijing, China. The Company has built a commercial team of more than 100 hematology and oncology sales and marketing specialists based in China. About Juventas Juventas is a biopharmaceutical company headquartered in China dedicated to the development and commercialization of cell therapies globally. Utilizing innovative and integrated technology platforms, the company has developed a diverse pipeline of cellular immunotherapies for treatment of hematological malignancies, solid tumors, and other non-oncological conditions both in China and globally. At present, the company is conducting two pivotal clinical trials of CNCT19 for treating adult r/r-B-ALL and r/r-B-NHL in China. CNCT19 has the potential to become the first launched domestically developed CD19 CAR-T therapy in China and the first CAR-T product for the treatment of adult R/R B-ALL in China.

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