AstraZeneca to shell out 12M Pounds in severance dispute with workers at former England plant

Fiercepharma | July 18, 2019

When AstraZeneca sold its Avlon, England plant to CDMO Avara in 2016, it was touted as a lifeline for the drugmakers 210 on-site employees who faced termination. Three years later, with the plant back on life support, AstraZeneca will have to pony up after those former employees said the British drugmaker didnt meet its contractual obligations. AstraZeneca will earmark £12 million to settle workers’ claims that the company refused to pay severance despite an agreement to honor “enhanced redundancy rights” if the plant closed within three-and-a-half years of the initial sale, according to the Financial Times. AstraZeneca said employees had been guaranteed severance pay in the event of a closure but that the drugmaker was not liable to cover that expense, FT said. AstraZeneca decided to set aside the funds after the bid deadline for the plant passed last week and redundancy costs for former employees had not materialized, according to company spokeswoman Michele Meixell. "AstraZeneca remained closely involved in helping secure a future for the Avlon site following the sale to Avara, which was made in good faith in 2016," Meixell said in a statement. "We have been engaged with the receivers since the company fell into administration." The skirmish between the Avlon workers and AstraZeneca follows Norman, Oklahoma-based Avara’s decision to put the troubled plant under bankruptcy earlier this year. In February, Avara, which manufactures on contract for AstraZeneca, said the loss of a major customer put the plant’s operations under strain, threatening the jobs of 270 employees on site.

Spotlight

Flow Cytometry is a critical and informative part of all phases of drug development. Knowing which assays to run at each critical stage gate, can streamline your journey to the successful development of your therapeutic.

Spotlight

Flow Cytometry is a critical and informative part of all phases of drug development. Knowing which assays to run at each critical stage gate, can streamline your journey to the successful development of your therapeutic.

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Curia and Replicate Bioscience Enter Strategic Collaboration to Create Groundbreaking Development Platform for Self-Replicating RNA (srRNA)

Curia | June 10, 2022

Curia, formerly AMRI, a leading contract research, development and manufacturing organization, and Replicate Bioscience, a company pioneering ways to prevent drug resistance in cancer and to treat autoimmune and inflammatory disorders and other diseases using self-replicating RNA (srRNA), today announced that they will collaborate on a robust development platform for Replicate’s srRNA therapeutics. As part of the collaboration, Curia’s experienced process development team will support the GMP production of Replicate Bioscience’s srRNA vectors up to eight-liter scale (8L), which can be used in Phase 1 through pivotal clinical trials. Curia’s global mRNA development and manufacturing facility is ISO-13485 certified and located near Boston, Massachusetts. This facility also supports innovators engaged in vaccine and other mRNA therapy development and manufacture through Phase 2 and 3, including GMP assays. Additional Curia facilities support manufacture of srRNA through commercial production scales. “Replicate’s approach to srRNA is unique, in that we create our own virally-derived synthetic vectors to customize srRNAs to deliver specific proteins,” said Replicate Co-founder and Chief Development Officer Andrew Geall, Ph.D., who previously has set up srRNA CMC frameworks for companies including Novartis, Synthetic Genomics, and Precision Nanosystems. “This customization has important therapeutic. advantages—versatility of application, lower dosing, and longer duration of therapeutic effect compared to other RNA modalities—but requires built-for-purpose processes to solve the challenges of manufacturing longer RNAs. Curia’s unprecedented expertise in process development and end-to-end integration of longer RNAs makes them a perfect partner for us as we transition from research into clinical development and the production of our srRNA for trials in patients.” “The manufacture of these longer mRNAs is more technically challenging than non-replicating mRNAs and to date we have succeeded with mRNAs up to 16,000 bases. Curia’s platform offers versatility and streamlined manufacturing times that can handle such complex molecules. Our collaboration with Replicate Bioscience is enabling us to create entirely new methods of manufacturing longer RNAs. We have built our platform from the ground up, using our combined experience in biologics and chemistry to create end-to-end solutions covering mRNA synthesis, lipid synthesis, formulation, and liquid nanoparticle fill-finish. We are proud to apply our capabilities and expertise to support the Replicate Bioscience team and its innovative approach.” Norman Garceau, Ph.D., Vice President, Global R&D Technology, Curia About Curia Curia, formerly AMRI, is a leading contract research, development and manufacturing organization providing products and services from R&D through commercial manufacturing to pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical customers. Curia’s 3,700 employees at 29 locations across the U.S., Europe and Asia help its customers advance from curiosity to cure. Learn more at CuriaGlobal.com. About Replicate Bioscience Replicate Bioscience, an ATP company, is designing and delivering srRNA immunotherapies to revolutionize the practice of medicine and improve and save lives. Replicate applies advanced srRNA technology in its work to prevent drug resistance in cancers. The company is also developing srRNA injections for sustained therapeutic protein expression to treat autoimmune and inflammatory disorders and other conditions. Replicate believes that srRNA will bring about the next big breakthroughs in RNA therapeutics and is working to realize the promise of srRNA for all patients.

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Tris Pharma Announces Development of a Very Low Sodium and Once-Nightly Oxybate Formulation

Tris Pharma, Inc. | July 28, 2022

Tris Pharma, Inc. a fully integrated pharmaceutical company with a robust portfolio of CNS products announced that it has successfully developed an oxybate formulation for the treatment of cataplexy or excessive daytime sleepiness n patients 7 years of age and older with narcolepsy that has the potential to be significantly advantageous to existing approved therapies, such as Jazz Pharmaceuticals' blockbuster XYWAV® and XYREM® franchise. The Tris oxybate formulation is believed to provide an advantage over approved therapies by utilizing Tris's proprietary LiquiXR technology platform and our newly developed RaftWorks design to provide a unique oxybate formulation offering both once-nightly dosing, and very low sodium content. The Tris oxybate formulation is investigational and not yet approved by any regulatory agency. Both XYWAV® and XYREM® require twice a night dosing – once at bedtime and again 2.5 to 4 hours later for the second dose. Further, XYREM contains an express warning based on its high sodium content and associated risk to patients with heart failure, hypertension or impaired renal function. The Tris oxybate formulation seeks to improve on existing therapies by providing convenient once per night dosing, and significantly reduced sodium content such that it will contain less than 100 mg of sodium per 9.0 gm of maximum sodium oxybate equivalent dose. Based on the significant potential advantage the Tris oxybate formulation could provide over existing available therapies, Tris is pursuing an Orphan Drug Designation for its unique oxybate formulation. In a human clinical study, Tris established about 100% bioavailability for one dose of its formulation against two doses of XYREM at 4.5 gm each, equivalent to the 9.0 gm maximum dose of sodium oxybate. If approved, the Tris product will provide significant advantages in that patients will not have to wake up in the middle of the night to take a second dose and will have all the benefits of a very low sodium product. The Tris oxybate product achieved its clinical objectives by combining two distinct proprietary Tris technologies: the LiquiXR platform, and the newly developed RaftWorks design. Working together, these unique formulation platforms provide an interpenetrating network raft in-situ, in which sodium-free drug particles are entrapped in a raft that allows for extended release of the active ingredient. Many drugs, such as oxybate, are poorly absorbed because they have a narrow window of absorption within the human gastro-intestinal tract. The RaftWorks approach permits a slow and extended release of oxybate from a floating raft in-situ, thereby facilitating absorption of the active ingredient within the targeted area in the gastro-intestinal tract. Further, the raft disintegrates at a predetermined time due to the trigger mechanism that is built into the formulation. "This unique formulation design by Tris scientists potentially achieves drug delivery capabilities that have never previously been achieved within our industry. We are looking to build on this approach and develop extended-release formulations for other drugs that are limited by their narrow window of absorption." Ketan Mehta, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Tris About Narcolepsy Narcolepsy, a chronic and disabling neurological disorder that affects the stability of sleep and wakefulness, is characterized primarily by excessive daytime sleepiness, with or without episodic loss of muscle tone usually triggered by strong emotions during wakefulness (cataplexy) 1-4. Additional symptoms can vary by person and may include disrupted nighttime sleep, and REM-sleep phenomena (sleep paralysis, hallucinations). The exact number of individuals with narcolepsy in the United States is unknown. Several studies have estimated the prevalence of narcolepsy in the United States to be approximately 1 (range: 0.6 to 1.6) in 2,000 people 2,4-6. There is currently no cure for narcolepsy; treatment of symptoms includes medications and lifestyle modifications 1. About Tris Pharma Tris is a fully integrated, innovation-driven CNS company that provides a differentiated approach to target unmet medical needs, including the application of novel technologies designed to enhance patient benefits across therapeutic categories. Tris's CNS portfolio includes treatments for pain; addiction; spasticity in multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy; narcolepsy; and ADHD.

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QHP Capital Acquires Lexitas Pharma Services

Lexitas and QHP Capital | July 08, 2022

QHP Capital the management company for NovaQuest Private Equity announced its acquisition of Lexitas Pharma Services a full-service ophthalmology contract research organization supporting biopharmaceutical and medical device clinical trials. Since 2011, Lexitas has provided clinical trial and medical strategy solutions to biopharmaceutical and medical device companies developing ophthalmic products. The Company provides end-to-end support and development expertise in the anterior and posterior segments of ophthalmology. Lexitas has conducted clinical trials for dry eye disease, glaucoma, cataract, uveitis, pediatric myopia, diabetic macular edema, age-related macular degeneration, and retinitis pigmentosa, among others. The Company’s therapeutic area expertise, relationships with ophthalmic KOLs, and network of high-performing research sites has led to strong outcomes for its international customer base. “For the past decade, Lexitas has had the incredible opportunity and privilege to partner with talented companies with amazing science as they develop their ophthalmic drugs and devices. Partnering with the QHP team brings deep expertise and domain knowledge that is going to allow Lexitas to improve and increase the scope, quality, and efficiency of our capabilities. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with QHP and are excited at the prospect of getting safe and efficacious ophthalmic drugs to patients efficiently and quickly,” George Magrath, M.D., CEO of Lexitas “Lexitas is an excellent fit with QHP’s philosophy and strategy of providing strategic capital to growing clinical trial services providers in niche, specialized therapeutic areas,” said Vern Davenport and Jeff Edwards, Partners at QHP. “We look forward to supporting the Lexitas team as they continue to build out their capabilities and provide best-in-class ophthalmic drug development services.” Additionally, Lexitas appointed Jeanne Hecht as Executive Chairwoman of the Board. Jeanne is a seasoned ophthalmology CRO industry executive having previously served as CEO of Ora, an ophthalmic CRO, where she expanded Ora’s international presence, introduced new lines of business, and furthered its goals along numerous strategic paths. About Lexitas Lexitas is a full-service ophthalmic biopharmaceutical solutions company focused on providing end-to-end eyecare support and exceptional service to biopharma and medical device clients globally. About QHP Capital QHP Capital, L.P. is the management company for NovaQuest Private Equity NQPE is a private equity firm that invests in lower middle market healthcare companies primarily in North America. The Firm invests in services and technology companies where a strategic partner and operating resources can accelerate growth, targeting companies in healthcare and pharmaceutical services industries. NQPE invests in the form of buyouts, growth equity, and recapitalizations.

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