PHARMA TECH

BeiGene-Novartis PD-1 deal; Sinovac vaccine; Celltrion antibody COVID-19 data

Novartis | January 19, 2021

Novartis plunked down up to $2.2 billion for BeiGene's China-approved PD-1 drug tislelizumab to complement its own checkpoint inhibitor. Hear what BeiGene CEO John Oyler has to say about tislelizumab's position in and outside China. Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine reported confusing data from Brazil, raising doubt about its true efficacy. Celltron's anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody improved patients' outcomes in a phase 2/3 trial. And more.

Novartis paid $650 million upfront and committed up to $1.55 billion in milestones to license certain rights to BeiGene’s PD-1 inhibitor tislelizumab in major markets outside China. The Swiss pharma is not abandoning its own checkpoint inhibitor spartalizumab despite a recent phase 3 trial failure; instead, it views the two PD-1s as “complementary.”

BeiGene retains the right to co-market tislelizumab in North America. The Novartis deal gives the Chinese biotech a chance to get help “learning how to commercialize and build some capabilities” beyond China, BeiGene CEO John Oyler said in an interview. He believes the drug could compete in Asian-prevalent cancer types and its value in large indications will show over time. The CEO also believes the PD-1/L1 class has reached a pricing sweet spot in China where additional major price cuts aren’t likely.

Brazilian researchers first said Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine, CoronaVac, was 78% effective in a local phase 3 trial. But then, a few days ago, they released new data of just 50.4% efficacy. The gap was caused by the omission of “very mild” infections in the previous data. The misstep led to criticism of the trial organization, Brazil’s Butantan biomedical center, as well as suspicion about CoronaVac’s true efficacy. Turkey just authorized the shot for emergency use based on a reported 91.25% efficacy in an interim analysis of its local trial.

Spotlight

Substance use before the age of 25 can lead to brain damage and long term problems because the brain is not fully developed until people are in their mid-twenties. Youth are at a high risk when drinking alcohol as they are more likely to drink large amounts at one time. Teens are watching what you do as a parent and your behaviour affects them. Think about your own opinions and substance use, and what messages they are sending to your teen.

Spotlight

Substance use before the age of 25 can lead to brain damage and long term problems because the brain is not fully developed until people are in their mid-twenties. Youth are at a high risk when drinking alcohol as they are more likely to drink large amounts at one time. Teens are watching what you do as a parent and your behaviour affects them. Think about your own opinions and substance use, and what messages they are sending to your teen.

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PHARMACY MARKET

Valemetostat New Drug Application Submitted in Japan for Treatment of Patients with Adult T-Cell Leukemia/Lymphoma

Daiichi Sankyo | December 29, 2021

Daiichi Sankyo Company, Limited announced that it has submitted a New Drug Application to Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare for valemetostat, a potential first-in-class dual inhibitor of EZH1 and EZH2, for the treatment of patients with relapsed/refractory adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma. ATL is a rare and aggressive type of peripheral T-cell lymphoma that occurs with greater frequency in parts of Japan and other regions.1,2 Patients with ATL face a poor prognosis with current therapies.3 Nearly 90% of patients relapse after completing intensive first-line treatment, at which point there are few options available.1,4 The Japan NDA submission of valemetostat is based on pivotal phase 2 study results in Japanese patients with three aggressive subtypes of relapsed/refractory ATL, recently presented at the 2021 American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting. Valemetostat previously received Orphan Drug designation from the Japan MHLW for treatment of patients with relapsed/refractory ATL. “Valemetostat would potentially be the first dual inhibitor of EZH1 and EZH2 to be approved anywhere in the world and could provide a new type of targeted therapy option for patients with relapsed/refractory ATL, which represents one of the most significant unmet medical needs in Japan. Valemetostat is the fifth innovative oncology medicine from our pipeline to be submitted for regulatory approval in Japan in the past three years.” Wataru Takasaki, PhD, Executive Officer, Head of R&D Division in Japan, Daiichi Sankyo About Adult T-Cell Leukemia/Lymphoma Adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma is a rare and aggressive type of peripheral T-cell lymphoma that is caused by human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1.1 More than 3,000 new cases of ATL are diagnosed each year worldwide.5 ATL occurs with greater frequency in regions where the HTLV-1 virus is endemic including southwest Japan, Central and South America and central Australia.3 Cases are also observed in North America and Europe, and incidence of ATL is rising in non-endemic areas.3 In Japan, there are approximately 1,000 new ATL cases and over 1,000 deaths due to ATL annually.6 ATL has the poorest prognosis compared to other types of PTCL, with a five-year overall survival rate of about 14%.7 A median survival time of approximately eight months (252 days) was reported for patients in Japan with the most common acute ATL subtype.5 Treatment of ATL is based on subtype and consists primarily of intensive multi-drug chemotherapy regimens.3 Nearly 90% of patients relapse after completing intensive first-line treatment, at which point there are few options available.1,4 Additional therapies are needed to improve the prognosis of ATL in Japan and worldwide.1,3 About Valemetostat Valemetostat is a potential first-in-class dual inhibitor of EZH1 and EZH2 currently in clinical development in the Alpha portfolio of Daiichi Sankyo. A potent and selective small molecule inhibitor, valemetostat is designed to counter epigenetic dysregulation by targeting both the EZH1 and EZH2 enzymes.8 The valemetostat development program includes VALENTINE-PTCL01, a global pivotal phase 2 trial in patients with relapsed/refractory PTCL and ATL; a pivotal phase 2 trial in patients with relapsed or refractory ATL in Japan; and, a phase 1 study in patients with relapsed/refractory NHL in the U.S. and Japan. Valemetostat received ODD from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration for the treatment of PTCL in December 2021, ODD from the Japan MHLW for the treatment of relapsed/refractory ATL in November 2021 and SAKIGAKE Designation from the Japan MHLW for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed/refractory PTCL in April 2019. Valemetostat is an investigational medicine that has not been approved for any indication in any country. Safety and efficacy have not been established. About the Pivotal Phase 2 Study The pivotal, open-label, multi-center, single-arm phase 2 study evaluated efficacy and safety of valemetostat as monotherapy in patients with relapsed/refractory ATL who were previously treated with mogamulizumab or at least one systemic chemotherapy in case of intolerance/ contraindication for mogamulizumab and with no history of allogenic hematopoietic stem cell transplant. The primary endpoint is objective response rate assessed by independent efficacy assessment committee. Secondary endpoints include investigator-assessed ORR, best response in tumor lesions, complete remission rate, tumor control rate, time to response, duration of response, progression-free survival, overall survival and safety. A total of 25 patients were enrolled in the study in Japan. About Daiichi Sankyo Oncology The oncology portfolio of Daiichi Sankyo is powered by our team of world-class scientists that push beyond traditional thinking to create transformative medicines for people with cancer. Anchored by our DXd antibody drug conjugate technology, our research engines include biologics, medicinal chemistry, modality and other research laboratories in Japan, and Plexxikon Inc., our small molecule structure-guided R&D center in the U.S. We also work alongside leading academic and business collaborators to further advance the understanding of cancer as Daiichi Sankyo builds towards our ambitious goal of becoming a global leader in oncology by 2025. About Daiichi Sankyo Daiichi Sankyo is dedicated to creating new modalities and innovative medicines by leveraging our world-class science and technology for our purpose “to contribute to the enrichment of quality of life around the world.” In addition to our current portfolio of medicines for cancer and cardiovascular disease, Daiichi Sankyo is primarily focused on developing novel therapies for people with cancer as well as other diseases with high unmet medical needs. With more than 100 years of scientific expertise and a presence in more than 20 countries, Daiichi Sankyo and its 16,000 employees around the world draw upon a rich legacy of innovation to realize our 2030 Vision to become an “Innovative Global Healthcare Company Contributing to the Sustainable Development of Society.”

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PRACTICE MANAGEMENT

Aprecia Announces New Leadership Team

Aprecia Pharmaceuticals | October 21, 2021

Kyle Smith has been named President and Chief Operating Officer of Aprecia Pharmaceuticals, LLC, effective immediately. Mr. Smith is a 10-year veteran with Aprecia and has served as Vice President of Operations for the past 3 years. As President and Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Smith will be responsible for leading day-to-day business activities. Aprecia has further strengthened its leadership team by promoting Patrick Staudt to Vice President of Operations, effective immediately. A 14-year veteran of Aprecia, Mr. Staudt has led the East Windsor, NJ manufacturing operations for more than 10 years and has demonstrated the talent and experience to lead expected, expansive growth through multiple technology platforms. Mr. Smith and Mr. Staudt have been cornerstones of Aprecia's history of technology and manufacturing innovation. They have been key contributors in establishing the company as the leader in the development and manufacturing of pharmaceutical products through 3D-Printing. Their experiences with Aprecia have helped craft the company culture and 3DP pharmaceutical manufacturing innovation, and their contributions have created a momentum which continues to accelerate through important partnerships and novel products. "As Aprecia's technology platforms expand and industry partnerships advance, Aprecia requires additional talent and resources to meet these growing demands, We are fortunate to have these seasoned technology experts and corporate leaders to promote and guide the organizational growth well into the future." Chris Gilmore, Aprecia's Chief Executive Officer Mr. Kyle Smith holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Miami University, and a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. Mr. Patrick Staudt holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical/Medical Engineering from Drexel University. About Aprecia Founded in 2004, Aprecia received the first and only FDA approved three-dimensionally-printed (3DP) pharmaceutical product approval in 2015. Aprecia uses its ZipDose® Technology to create rapidly disintegrating oral dosage forms that are easy to take and easy to administer. Without compression during the 3DP manufacturing process, engineered and coated particles such as taste masking and modified release are possible on large dose products (over a 1000mg). Aprecia directly owns a patent estate for novel 3DP machines and pharmaceutical 3DP applications. It licenses its exclusive technology platform to pharmaceutical partners as a means to extend product lines, improve patient reach and experience, and address FDA requirements as a pediatric delivery form.

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PHARMACY MARKET

Aizon Launches GxP AI Bioreactor Application for the Pharma Industry

Aizon | February 02, 2021

Aizon launches its Bioreactor Application, the pharma industry's first predictive analysis and profound knowledge management application. The Aizon Bioreactor Application adds the bioreactor process to the "Smart Manufacturing" transformation that is accelerating across the Pharma and Biotech industry. Aizon is extraordinarily able to achieve GxP compliance and give an audit trail from the start of the process. The turnkey application allows pharmaceutical and biotech companies to leverage rich datasets generated during upstream manufacturing to identify and accurately anticipate deviations and results potentially leading to countless dollars in expense savings, diminished danger, and additional income potential gain. Intended to work with both persistent and took care of batch bioreactors, the Aizon Bioreactor Application gives a profound understanding of the client's bioprocess manufacturing lifecycle. The application leverages specialized Edge AI and contextualization, which is a prerequisite to make the data actionable. Contextualized data is harnessed, analyzed, and visualized through a persona-based lens for faster root cause analysis (RCA), real-time monitoring, and predictive insight across any number of bioreactor units and manufacturing sites. AI models for bioreactor analytics are ready for use within the application or can be configured by customers within the GxP cloud-based application. “It is clear that biotech and pharmaceutical companies need an accessible, industry-specific tool that accelerates their path to value. Customers seek a seamless way to analyze complex data sets in real-time and to predict with accuracy the yield from bioreactor units that span multiple sites and global regions,” said Pep Gubau, CTO, Aizon. “Biotech and pharmaceutical companies can now more easily leverage the power of AI/ML in a GxP environment with an end-to-end lifecycle governance of data, models, and applications in order to understand and optimize bioreactor processes in commercial manufacturing.” Aizon’s CEO, John Vitalie adds, ”Our focus is to empower customers to innovate and rapidly achieve their targeted outcomes without the overhead burden of tracking changes, revalidation, and on-going development to maintain compliance. By building the process knowledge framework, compliance, and scalability into the application, customers benefit significantly from the streamlined industrialization of their digital solutions. We see that this is key for pharma and biotech to realize the vision of smart manufacturing and accelerate their progress toward realizing the promise of the adaptive plant.” About Aizon Aizon is an enterprise software provider that transforms manufacturing operations with the use of advanced analytics, artificial intelligence, and other smart factory technologies focused on optimizing production within Pharma and other highly regulated industries. The Aizon AI platform and native GxP based applications seamlessly integrate unlimited sources of structured and unstructured data to deliver actionable, real-time insights across all manufacturing sites. Aizon brings deep domain expertise and works closely with Global System Integrators and technology partners to provide enterprise solutions to customers.

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