Alto, a pharmacy start-up, just raised $250 million from SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 and others

Alto Pharmacy has raised $250 million from investors including SoftBank’s second Vision Fund, three people familiar with the matter told CNBC. The investment has already been approved by the Vision Fund’s investment committee, meaning it’s a done deal, the sources said. It also marks one of the first handful of known bets from the SoftBank’s new fund. The deal values the company at more than $700 million, according to one of the people. SoftBank’s Vision Fund has already done just over half a dozen deals in the health and life sciences sector, including 10x Genomics, which subsequently went public, and employer health-focused Collective Health. It has several venture partners dedicated to the space, with Silicon Valley-based Deep Nishar taking the most active interest in health care.

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PR Newswire | January 08, 2024

Isomorphic Labs, a digital biology company with a mission to redefine drug discovery using the power of artificial intelligence, today announced that it has entered into a strategic research collaboration with Eli Lilly and Company. This marks Isomorphic Labs' first pharmaceutical partnership. Under the terms of the agreement, Isomorphic Labs will partner with Lilly to discover small molecule therapeutics against multiple targets and will receive an upfront cash payment of $45 million. Isomorphic Labs is eligible to receive up to $1.7 billion in performance-based milestone payments, excluding the upfront payment and any subsequent tiered royalties of up to low double digits on net sales. "We're thrilled to embark on this partnership and apply our proprietary technology platform, the next generation of AlphaFold, and access to massive computing power to Lilly's development programs," said Demis Hassabis, CEO and founder of Isomorphic Labs. "The focus we share on advancing groundbreaking drug design approaches and appreciation of state-of-the-art science makes this partnership particularly compelling." Isomorphic Labs operates autonomously within Alphabet, with its own dedicated resources and exclusive focus on the application of AI to drug discovery. The company is reimagining the entire drug discovery process from first principles with an AI-first approach, working to build powerful new predictive and generative models of biological phenomena to anticipate how drugs will perform and design novel molecules. Building on the success of AlphaFold and working in collaboration with Google DeepMind, Isomorphic Labs has made remarkable progress in developing the Next Generation of AlphaFold. This new iteration of AlphaFold expands beyond proteins to include small molecules and nucleic acids. Through deep integration of this next generation AlphaFold with other breakthrough AI models developed at Isomorphic Labs, the company is able to better understand the underlying biological mechanisms of drug targets, and rationally design novel therapeutics. ABOUT ISOMORPHIC LABS Isomorphic Labs is an autonomous subsidiary of Alphabet that was launched from Alphabet's DeepMind in 2021 to build on the success of AlphaFold, the company's groundbreaking work in protein folding. That work was heralded as the 'Breakthrough of the Year' by Science and 'Method of the Year' by Nature in 2021. Based in London and now with a second location in Lausanne, Switzerland, Isomorphic Labs was founded and is led by AI pioneer Demis Hassabis, who also co-founded and leads Google DeepMind. As pioneers in digital biology, the company's mission is to use AI to accelerate drug discovery and ultimately find cures for some of humanity's most devastating diseases. Using its AI-first approach to drug discovery and biology, the company's ambition is to advance a new era of medical breakthroughs.

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PHARMA TECH

Performance Validation Joins ValGenesis Partner Program as Service Partner for the U.S. Market

PR Newswire | January 24, 2024

ValGenesis Inc., the market leader in enterprise validation lifecycle management systems (VLMS), and Performance Validation, Inc. a 100% employee-owned company serving the life sciences industry since 1988, have partnered to deliver unique compliance-focused digital validation solutions for life sciences companies in the US. Performance Validation is an industry leader with over 30 years of experience in analyzing, identifying, and testing the most critical elements of the manufacturing process for FDA-regulated industries. The company provides environmental mapping, commissioning, qualification, computer system validation, and quality system consulting services. ValGenesis is the industry innovator of digitized validation. The company's platform, which includes its flagship VLMS offering, is used in over 100,000 GMP systems worldwide, helping life sciences companies advance their digital transformation strategy, enforce compliance, and enable standardization with 100% digital, risk-based validation software. In this partnership, Performance Validation will implement and manage next-generation digital validation tools developed by ValGenesis, including ValGenesis VLMS and VLMS Express, a simplified cloud-based digital validation solution for startups and midsized companies. ValGenesis and Performance Validation are providing an integrated governance approach to further strengthen risk and compliance across their customers' manufacturing processes. "We are excited to partner with Performance Validation. Their extensive experience and our industry benchmarked digital validation platform can help life sciences companies implement their digitization plans efficiently according to Industry 4.0 standards," says Bo Olsen, ValGenesis' SVP of Partners. "By establishing a clear strategy that addresses their risk and compliance implications upfront, we can assure them of true business transformation." "Performance Validation is thrilled to embark on this collaborative journey with ValGenesis, leveraging our extensive experience and knowledge of digital validation solutions. It's a powerful combination – our hands-on validation experience and their innovative digital tools. For our clients in the life sciences, this means more efficient, streamlined, and compliant solutions. We're not just adapting to Pharma 4.0; we're helping our clients lead the way in digital transformation," says Brad Henry, Vice President of Service Lines at Performance Validation. ABOUT PERFORMANCE VALIDATION Performance Validation (PV) is a global validation partner for pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers. Headquartered in Indianapolis, IN, we specialize in turning compressed timelines into compliant ones using innovative, adaptive approaches that balance production realities with strict regulatory requirements. Our best-in-class, cGMP-compliant services cover diverse needs from fully managed CQV to on-demand temperature mapping, smoke studies, software assurance, and more. With a dedicated team consisting of more than 95% engineers, we work closely with regulators and equipment suppliers to keep validation ahead of production curves and keep quality moving forward. ABOUT VALGENESIS ValGenesis, Inc. is the creator of an innovative software platform that serves as a foundation for managing compliance-based validation activities in life sciences companies. ValGenesis, Inc. is the provider of the first enterprise application that manages the corporate validation lifecycle process. This solution is fully compliant with U.S. FDA 21 CFR Part 11 and Annex 11 requirements. As the first fully paperless solution for electronic management of validation execution and approval, ValGenesis was selected by an industry peer review committee to receive the Parenteral Drug Association (PDA) New Innovative Technology Award in 2005.

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PHARMA TECH

Exclusive Agreement: Specialised Therapeutics & Ascendis Pharma to Distribute Three Endocrinology Therapies in Australia & Select SE Asia Countries

PR Newswire | January 08, 2024

Independent biopharmaceutical company Specialised Therapeutics Asia Pte Ltd (ST) has added three new endocrinology therapies to its specialist portfolio, following an exclusive distribution agreement with Danish company Ascendis Pharma A/S. Under the terms of the agreement, ST will commercialise Ascendis Pharma's weekly injectable paediatric human growth hormone treatment SKYTROFA (lonapegsomatropin), hypoparathyroidism treatment YORVIPATH (palopegteriparatide) and investigational achondroplasia therapy TransCon CNP (navepegritide). The agreement spans ST's key regions of Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, and Vietnam. Two of the products included in this agreement are already internationally approved: Once-weekly SKYTROFA is a human growth hormone (hGH) approved in the United States for the treatment of paediatric patients aged >1 years weighing >11.5 kg with growth failure due to inadequate secretion of endogenous growth hormone (GH)1 and in the European Union for growth failure in children and adolescents aged from 3 to 18 years due to insufficient endogenous growth hormone secretion (growth hormone deficiency [GHD]). YORVIPATH is a first-in-class parathyroid hormone (PTH) replacement therapy to treat chronic hypoparathyroidism, a rare and potentially serious condition where the body produces no or abnormally low levels of PTH. It is approved in the European Union for the treatment of adults with chronic hypoparathyroidism. The third product – TransCon CNP – is in development by Ascendis Pharma for the treatment of achondroplasia (ACH), the most common genetic form of skeletal dysplasia and resulting disproportionate short stature, following successful Phase 2 trial results. Australian endocrinologist Dr Veronica Preda noted that YORVIPATH would be the first specialist therapeutic option for Australian patients living with hypoparathyroidism. "Hypoparathyroidism can seriously impact quality of life and has potentially life-threatening consequences," Dr Preda said. "To have an option that is able to treat the underlying cause of the disease, moving beyond standard oral calcium and active Vitamin D, is a great step forward." Announcing the partnership, ST Chief Executive Officer Carlo Montagner said this agreement was an important company milestone, signalling ST's expansion into both endocrinology and paediatric medicine. Mr Montagner commented: "We are delighted to have been selected as Ascendis Pharma's exclusive partner for commercialising their portfolio in Oceania and these South-East Asia countries and look forward to launching these critical endocrinology products in our regions as soon as possible. "All three products are valuable inclusions to our broad therapeutic pipeline and our international business, as we continue to leverage our substantial experience commercialising specialist medicines across multiple regions. "We look forward to working with endocrinologists across our territories to make these endocrine therapies available to all eligible patients who may benefit." Ascendis Pharma Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer Camilla Harder Hartvig said ST had been selected to launch the endocrinology portfolio in these countries based on its strong track record commercialising specialist products in multiple regions. "We are delighted to partner with Specialised Therapeutics to broaden the reach of our endocrinology rare disease portfolio, contributing to our shared goal of making a meaningful difference for patients facing unmet medical needs," she said. About Specialised Therapeutics Founded in 2007, Specialised Therapeutics is the region's largest independent specialty pharmaceutical company, providing new therapies and technologies to patients in Australia, New Zealand and across Southeast Asia. Headquartered in Singapore, ST partners with global pharmaceutical, biotech and diagnostic companies to bring novel healthcare opportunities to patients who are impacted by a range of diseases. ST has built a strong track record of success, navigating complex regulatory, reimbursement and commercialisation environments in its diverse regions. The ST mission is to provide specialty therapies where there is an unmet need. The company's broad therapeutic portfolio currently includes novel agents in oncology, haematology, CNS, neurology, endocrinology, ophthalmology and supportive care, although it is not confined to these areas. ST is a member of the World Orphan Drug Alliance (WODA).

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