AbbVie leverages Dragonfly’s NK cell immunotherapy technology

Pharmaceutical Technology | November 21, 2019

US-based Dragonfly Therapeutics has announced it has signed a multi-target collaboration with AbbVie to advance immunotherapies created using its Tri-specific Natural Killer (NK) cell engager Therapies (TriNKET) technology for autoimmune and oncology indications. AbbVie has made an undisclosed upfront payment to Dragonfly, and has agreed to future success-based milestone and royalty payments. As a result of the agreement, AbbVie will have the option to license exclusive, global rights to develop and commercialise products created using Dragonfly’s TriNKET technology. AbbVie senior vice-president of R&D and chief scientific officer Tom Hudson said: “AbbVie is committed to delivering improved treatment options to our patients by investing in ground breaking technologies and platforms. “The Dragonfly team has made impressive progress in developing their platform and demonstrating the potential of their technology to potentially treat a variety of diseases.” Dragonfly co-founder and chief executive officer Bill Haney added: “AbbVie is a global leader in treating chronic immune-mediated diseases, and transforming standards of care for people living with cancer. “We look forward to working with the AbbVie team to advancing new treatment options for patients.” Dragonfly’s TriNKET technology binds to receptors on both the cancer and NK cells, stimulating these immune cells to be aware of the cancer, kill the cancer cell and notify other immune cells of the existence of the cancer, so that they too will begin to attack it.

Spotlight

The Center for Connected Health Policy’s (CCHP) Fall 2018 release of its report on “State Telehealth Laws and Reimbursement Policies” offers policymakers, health advocates, and other interested health care professionals a freshly redesigned summary guide of telehealth-related policies, laws, and regulations for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Spotlight

The Center for Connected Health Policy’s (CCHP) Fall 2018 release of its report on “State Telehealth Laws and Reimbursement Policies” offers policymakers, health advocates, and other interested health care professionals a freshly redesigned summary guide of telehealth-related policies, laws, and regulations for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

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PHARMA TECH

European Medicines Agency Accepts Astellas' Marketing Authorization Application for Fezolinetant

Astellas Pharma Inc. | September 30, 2022

Astellas Pharma Inc. announced the European Medicines Agency has accepted for regulatory review the company's marketing authorization application for fezolinetant, an investigational oral, nonhormonal compound seeking approval for the treatment of moderate to severe vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause. VMS, characterized by hot flashes and/or night sweats, are common symptoms of menopause.1,2 "More than half of women 40 to 64 years of age experience hot flashes during menopause, with limited nonhormonal treatment options. The EMA's acceptance of our MAA for fezolinetant brings us one step closer to advancing a potential first-in-class nonhormonal treatment option for women in Europe who experience VMS associated with menopause, similar to the FDA acceptance of our NDA for women in the U.S." Ahsan Arozullah, M.D., M.P.H., Senior Vice President and Head of Development Therapeutic Areas, Astellas The MAA is supported by results from the BRIGHT SKY™ program, which included three Phase 3 clinical trials that collectively enrolled over 2,800 women with VMS across Europe, the U.S. and Canada. Results from the SKYLIGHT 1™ and SKYLIGHT 2™ pivotal trials characterize the efficacy and safety of fezolinetant for the treatment of moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause. Data from the SKYLIGHT 4™ safety study further characterizes the long-term safety profile of fezolinetant. Within the MAA, Astellas proposes a 45 mg daily dose, which is subject to the EMA's review. Fezolinetant is an investigational nonhormonal selective neurokinin 3 receptor antagonist. The safety and efficacy of fezolinetant are under investigation and have not been established. This acceptance will have no impact on Astellas' financial forecasts of the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2023. About the BRIGHT SKY™ Phase 3 Program The BRIGHT SKY pivotal trials, SKYLIGHT 1™ and SKYLIGHT 2™ enrolled over 1,000 women with moderate to severe VMS. The trials are double-blinded, placebo-controlled for the first 12 weeks followed by a 40-week treatment extension period. Women were enrolled at over 180 sites within the U.S., Canada and Europe. SKYLIGHT 4™ (NCT04003389) is a 52-week double-blinded, placebo-controlled study designed to investigate the long-term safety of fezolinetant. For SKYLIGHT 4, over 1,800 women with VMS were enrolled at over 180 sites within the U.S., Canada and Europe. About VMS Associated with Menopause VMS, characterized by hot flashes and/or night sweats, are common symptoms of menopause.1,2 Worldwide, more than half of women 40 to 64 years of age experience VMS with rates in Europe ranging from 56% to 97%.3,4,5 The prevalence of moderate to severe VMS in postmenopausal women in Europe has been reported at 40%.6 VMS can have a disruptive impact on women's daily activities and overall quality of life.1 About Fezolinetant Fezolinetant is an investigational oral, nonhormonal therapy in clinical development for the treatment of moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause. Fezolinetant works by blocking neurokinin B (NKB) binding on the kisspeptin/neurokinin/dynorphin (KNDy) neuron to moderate neuronal activity in the thermoregulatory center of the brain (the hypothalamus) to reduce the frequency and severity of moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause.7,8,9 The safety and efficacy of fezolinetant are under investigation and have not been established. There is no guarantee the agent will receive regulatory approval or become commercially available for the uses being investigated. About Astellas Astellas Pharma Inc. is a pharmaceutical company conducting business in more than 70 countries around the world. We are promoting the Focus Area Approach that is designed to identify opportunities for the continuous creation of new drugs to address diseases with high unmet medical needs by focusing on Biology and Modality. Furthermore, we are also looking beyond our foundational Rx focus to create Rx+® healthcare solutions that combine our expertise and knowledge with cutting-edge technology in different fields of external partners. Through these efforts, Astellas stands on the forefront of healthcare change to turn innovative science into value for patients.

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PHARMACY MARKET

Walgreens Boots Alliance Completes Majority Share Acquisition of CareCentrix

Walgreens Boots Alliance and CareCentrix | September 01, 2022

Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. announced it has completed its previously announced majority share acquisition of CareCentrix, Inc.—the leading independent home-centered platform that coordinates care to the home for health plans, patients and providers. The majority investment in CareCentrix accelerates Walgreens Health’s capabilities in delivering quality healthcare across a spectrum of settings including primary care, specialty pharmacy care, post-acute care and home care. By bringing together Walgreens trusted health services and community presence with CareCentrix’s technology-enabled, care-at-home solutions, the partnership better addresses the needs of people with complex or chronic conditions as they transition out of the hospital. CareCentrix’s advanced data analytics capabilities enable highly personalized care plans to help people transition to the right site of care, prioritizing care in the home when appropriate. This approach supports both care quality and value by reducing hospital readmissions and improving patient satisfaction and outcomes. “We created Walgreens Health to reimagine local healthcare and wellbeing for all. This partnership advances our ability to address the needs of people across care settings immediately following hospital discharge. Our collaboration with CareCentrix is one of the many ways we are expanding on our pharmacy and patient expertise to surround individuals with care when and how they need it.” Roz Brewer, CEO, WBA Healthcare services delivered after discharge, including care delivered in the home, are one of the fastest growing segments in healthcare today. Caring for patients from the hospital to the home represents more than $75 billion in annual healthcare costs for payers, providers and patients. “The most challenging part of the healthcare journey is the last mile – extending healthcare delivery into people’s homes,” said John Driscoll, CEO, CareCentrix. “Together with Walgreens Health, CareCentrix is able to combine Walgreens trusted community presence with our powerful technology-enabled care to better address patients’ unique health needs in their homes.” In addition to home-based care, CareCentrix connects patients to appropriate providers and sites of care post-discharge, utilizing a predictive analytics platform, HomeFirst Analytics. This level of customization also includes pairing patients with care transition teams that support patient engagement for 90 days post-discharge to improve quality metrics. Walgreens Health will continue to advance capabilities that integrate CareCentrix data analytics and home care expertise with WBA’s portfolio of health solutions to identify and close care gaps, as well as coordinate patient care across conditions, settings and provider networks. These capabilities will enable Walgreens to support medication reconciliation for CareCentrix patients transitioning from hospital to home and provide primary care options to patients when needed, including Village Medical physicians and advanced practice providers. CareCentrix will also play a critical role in Walgreens Health integrated offerings to manage population level risk for benefits management and post-acute spend and outcomes. CareCentrix manages care for 19 million members through approximately 7,400 provider locations, and empowers more people to live, heal and age at home. By partnering with health plans and health systems, CareCentrix has reduced total cost of care for members by 20 percent, including a greater than 11 percent reduction in emergency department usage and a 23 percent reduction in skilled nursing costs. This investment gives WBA majority ownership of CareCentrix, investing approximately $330 million for 55 percent of the company at an $800 million valuation, net of debt, with the option to acquire the remaining equity interests in the future. In WBA’s fiscal year 2021, CareCentrix delivered pro forma sales of $1.5 billion. Following the completion of the investment, CareCentrix will continue to operate as an independent company under its current executive leadership. Sidley Austin LLP acted as lead legal advisor for WBA, along with Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. Citi acted as financial advisor for CareCentrix, Inc., and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP acted as lead legal advisor. About Walgreens Boots Alliance Walgreens Boots Alliance is an integrated healthcare, pharmacy and retail leader serving millions of customers and patients every day, with a 170-year heritage of caring for communities. A trusted, global innovator in retail pharmacy with approximately 13,000 locations across the U.S., Europe and Latin America, WBA plays a critical role in the healthcare ecosystem. The company is reimagining local healthcare and well-being for all as part of its purpose – to create more joyful lives through better health. Through dispensing medicines, improving access to a wide range of health services, providing high quality health and beauty products and offering anytime, anywhere convenience across its digital platforms, WBA is shaping the future of healthcare. WBA has more than 315,000 team members and a presence in nine countries through its portfolio of consumer brands: Walgreens, Boots, Duane Reade, the No7 Beauty Company, Benavides in Mexico and Ahumada in Chile. Additionally, WBA has a portfolio of healthcare-focused investments located in several countries, including China and the U.S. About CareCentrix CareCentrix offers value-based home solutions to payors and health systems to help more of their members access the home care they need, when they need it. Through a single platform, CareCentrix coordinates multiple, complex home care needs for over 19 million members through a national network of approximately 7,400 provider locations, resulting in a simplified patient and physician experience. For over 25 years, CareCentrix’s focus on the whole person has improved continuity of care, reduced unnecessary readmissions and unnecessary emergency department utilization, and has delivered positive financial results for health plans. With proprietary HomeFirst Analytics to stratify risk and optimize care delivery, CareCentrix takes on the complexities of care coordination and management of care in the home to provide our clients with essential insights into care at home. CareCentrix has been named one of Fierce Healthcare’s 2022 “Fierce 15” companies and FORTUNE’s Best Workplaces for Aging Services.

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PHARMA TECH

Asahi Kasei Pharma to Sponsor Research for Drug Discovery Research and Technology: Open Innovation 2023

Asahi Kasei | October 17, 2022

Asahi Kasei Pharma, subsidiary of diversified Japanese multinational company Asahi Kasei, is publicly calling for new proposals for drug development research as part of its efforts for open innovation to promote pharmaceutical research and development through enhanced cooperation with universities, research institutes and enterprises around the world. The application period begins at 5:00 a.m. GMT on January 5, 2023 and ends at 8:00 a.m. GMT on February 28, 2023. Asahi Kasei Pharma established its Open Innovation Department in October 2016 with the mission to further strengthen and enhance global licensing and alliance-building activities, and has since funded around 5 proposals per year on average with a total of over 20 funded proposals for state-of-the-art pharmaceutical drug developments as well as collected a wealth of creative new ideas. The Open Innovation team is seeking to fund innovative proposals from researchers around the world for up to US$200,000 per year, per project for this upcoming round in 2023. Asahi Kasei Pharma will then pursue joint research opportunities with the drug discovery researchers together with their parent institutions in hopes to create new innovative drugs for diseases that currently have unmet needs or pioneer new platform technologies for drug discovery. Asahi Kasei Pharma has demonstrated a successful track record in developing new drugs in the realms of autoimmune, renal, neurological, and bone disease, so the organization can provide the greatest contribution from correlating research areas and subjects. "Asahi Kasei Pharma believes that nobody should have to give up what they would like to do because of illness. We believe great science comes from working together, and we are excited for the opportunity to accomplish this mission with researchers all over the world.” Osamu Matsuzaki, Primary Executive Officer and Head of R&D and Business Development at Asahi Kasei Pharma Open Innovation works to establish research collaborations related to innovative drug targets and candidate drug compounds up to the preclinical stage as well as advanced drug discovery technologies. Advancements in exploring a new mechanism of action for treating refractory autoimmune disease is one of the most promising outcomes of the research so far, with many more on the horizon. Asahi Kasei believes that these continued efforts to advance drug discovery and research technology will further contribute to life and living for people around the world. About Asahi Kasei The Asahi Kasei Group contributes to life and living for people around the world. Since its foundation in 1922 with ammonia and cellulose fiber businesses, Asahi Kasei has consistently grown through the proactive transformation of its business portfolio to meet the evolving needs of every age. With more than 46,000 employees around the world, the company contributes to a sustainable society by providing solutions to the world's challenges through its three business sectors of Material, Homes, and Health Care. Its health care operations include devices and systems for acute critical care, dialysis, therapeutic apheresis, transfusion, and manufacture of biotherapeutics, as well as pharmaceuticals and diagnostic reagents.

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