PHARMA TECH

BenchSci Named a Deloitte Technology Fast 50™ Company as Impact on Drug Discovery Grows

BenchSci, Deloitte Technology Fast 50™ | November 23, 2021

BenchSci, an emerging global leader in machine learning applications for novel medicine development, announced it ranks 19th among the country’s fastest-growing technology companies in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50™.

The program awards companies for their rapid revenue growth, entrepreneurial spirit, and bold innovation, and consists of public and private companies in the tech sector which have transformed the industry. 

This recognition is a confirmation of our groundbreaking work to bring novel medicine to patients faster. Our machine learning technology decodes and organizes the world’s most comprehensive biomedical dataset like a Ph.D. scientist. As a result, we eliminate experiments that delay progress and drain research budgets in the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies.  This award reflects the value we’re bringing not only to our customers’ research productivity but to all of us who benefit from healthcare innovation.”


 Liran Belenzon, CEO, BenchSci

To qualify for the Tech Fast 50™, companies must have been in business for at least four years, have revenues of at least $5 million, be headquartered in Canada, own proprietary technology, conduct research and development activities in Canada, and invest a minimum of five percent of gross revenues in Research and Development.

Founded in 2015, BenchSci has rapidly grown its customer base since launching commercially in 2017. In addition to powering research in over 4,300 academic labs, BenchSci is an indispensable tool for preclinical R&D in 15 of the top 20 global pharmaceutical companies. A remote-first company with headquarters in Toronto, BenchSci is a leader in biomedical machine learning and continuously invests in researching and developing AI-powered tools to help scientists run more successful experiments.

“I am thankful for the innovation and commitment of our team members that enable scientists to accelerate drug discovery,” continues Belenzon. “We are honored with the trust our customers place in us as we build the next generation of products that will continue to transform R&D.”  

About the Deloitte Technology Fast 50™ program
The Deloitte Technology Fast 50 program is Canada’s pre-eminent technology awards program.

Celebrating business growth, innovation and entrepreneurship, the program features distinct categories, including the Technology Fast 50 ranking, Enterprise Fast 15, Clean Technology, and Companies-to-Watch. The program also recognizes companies within the North American Technology Fast 500 ranking, identifying technology companies in the United States and Canada. The 2021 program sponsors include Deloitte, RBC, EDC, Miller Thomson, Clarity Recruitment, and Lafond. 

About BenchSci
BenchSci’s vision is to bring novel medicine to patients 50% faster by 2025. We’re achieving it by empowering scientists with the world’s most advanced biomedical artificial intelligence to run more successful experiments. Backed by F-Prime, Gradient Ventures (Google’s AI fund), and Inovia Capital, our platform accelerates science at 15 top-20 pharmaceutical companies and over 4,300 leading research centers worldwide. We’re a Deloitte Tech Fast 50 and CIX Top 10 Growth company, certified Great Place to Work®, and top-ranked company on Glassdoor. 



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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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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Athira Pharma Advances Phase 2/3 LIFT-AD Clinical Study of Fosgonimeton in Mild-to-Moderate Alzheimer’s Patients

Athira Pharma, Inc. | October 18, 2022

Athira Pharma, Inc. a late clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing small molecules to restore neuronal health and slow neurodegeneration, today announced that following an unblinded interim efficacy and futility analysis, an independent data monitoring committee recommended continuation of the LIFT-AD study of fosgonimeton in patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease. The committee also determined that, with the additional enrollment of fewer than 150 patients for a total enrollment of less than 300 patients without background therapy the study will be well powered for the primary endpoint given the preliminary effect size observed. The primary endpoint of LIFT-AD is the Global Statistical Test, an unweighted composite score comprising measures of cognition and function. Results from the completed exploratory ACT-AD Phase 2 study showed a favorable safety profile and suggested positive effects on measures of cognition function and neurodegeneration in patients taking fosgonimeton without background therapy. Guided by these results, the Company proactively amended LIFT-AD to focus on patients not on background therapy. The unblinded interim analysis was then conducted in approximately 100 patients not on background therapy to corroborate observations from ACT-AD and ensure LIFT-AD is well powered to determine the effect of fosgonimeton on clinically meaningful and commercially relevant endpoints. “The results from the data monitoring committee’s unblinded analysis give us confidence in a potentially positive outcome for LIFT-AD, as stringent evaluation criteria were applied based on validated and clinically meaningful cognitive and functional outcomes. This analysis supports the potential clinical benefits of fosgonimeton treatment and underscores the rationale for continued development of this promising new therapy.” Hans Moebius, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Medical Officer of Athira “We are very excited by the results of this independent review as we believe they mitigate the risk of the fosgonimeton development plan, support the potential clinical benefit of fosgonimeton and inform the sample size needed to achieve success with LIFT-AD,” said Mark Litton, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Athira. “We are now targeting to complete enrollment in mid-2023 and report topline data in early 2024. Importantly, we have a strong balance sheet to execute our plans through key data readouts and beyond. Moving forward, we remain keenly focused on advancing this novel investigational therapy with the hope of positively impacting the lives of millions of Alzheimer’s patients. “Our goal with fosgonimeton is to demonstrate its ability to improve cognition and function and to ultimately provide neuroprotection. The ACT-AD study suggested these benefits, and the results of the LIFT-AD interim analysis corroborate those findings,” added Dr. Litton. “We believe any drug that can demonstrate neuroprotection could become a treatment of choice for mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s patients.” About the LIFT-AD Clinical Study LIFT-AD is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study of fosgonimeton for patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Patients are randomized across two dose groups and one placebo group on a 1:1:1 basis to receive a subcutaneous injection of fosgonimeton or placebo once daily over a treatment course of 26 weeks. The primary endpoint for LIFT-AD is the Global Statistical Test, an unweighted composite score comprising measures of cognition (Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive Subscale and function. Additional information on the LIFT-AD study can be found at: NCT04488419. About Fosgonimeton Fosgonimeton is a small molecule designed to enhance the activity of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and its receptor, MET, to impact neurodegeneration and regenerate brain tissue. The function of the HGF/MET receptor system may be impaired in the brain under conditions of neurodegeneration. In addition to Alzheimer’s disease, fosgonimeton has the potential to address the broader dementia population, including Parkinson’s disease dementia and Dementia with Lewy bodies, as the mode of action focuses on network recovery and synaptic signal transmission in the brain. The ACT-AD trial was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01AG06268. The information presented in this press release is solely the responsibility of Athira and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. About Athira Pharma, Inc. Athira Pharma, Inc., headquartered in the Seattle, Washington area, is a late clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing small molecules to restore neuronal health and slow neurodegeneration. Athira aims to provide rapid cognitive improvement and alter the course of neurological diseases with its novel mechanism of action. Athira is currently advancing its pipeline of therapeutic candidates targeting the HGF/MET neurotrophic system for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease dementia, Dementia with Lewy bodies and neuropsychiatric indications.

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PHARMACY MARKET

Jacobio Pharma to Collaborate with Merck on Clinical Trial of JAB-21822 in Combination with Cetuximab

Jacobio Pharma | October 13, 2022

Jaco Jacobio announced it has entered into a clinical trial collaboration agreement with Merck on clinical study of combination therapy between Jacobio's KRAS G12C inhibitor JAB-21822 and Merck's epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor Erbitux®. This clinical study aims to evaluate the efficacy of JAB-21822 in combination with cetuximab in patients with KRAS G12C-mutated colorectal cancer. Jacobio is the sponsor of the combination study, and Merck will provide cetuximab for clinical trials in China and Europe under the collaboration agreement. "Our preclinical studies have shown that the combination of JAB-21822 and cetuximab can enhance the anti-tumor activity of JAB-21822 inhibitors in colorectal cancer tumor models, regressing tumors and delaying tumor regrowth after drug discontinuation. We look forward to new treatment options for patients through our collaboration with Merck," Dr. WANG Yinxiang, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Jacobio About JAB-21822 JAB-21822 is a KRAS G12C inhibitor independently developed by Jacobio. Jacobio has initiated a number of Phase I/II clinical trials in China, the United States and Europe for patients with advanced solid tumors, including monotherapy for STK11 co-mutated non-small cell lung cancer first-line treatment; combination therapy with SHP2 inhibitor, PD-1 monoclonal antibody and cetuximab. About ERBITUX®. ERBITUX is an IgG1 monoclonal antibody targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). As a monoclonal antibody, the mode of action of ERBITUX is distinct from standard non-selective chemotherapy treatments in that it specifically targets and binds to the EGFR. This binding inhibits the activation of the receptor and the subsequent signal-transduction pathway, which results in reducing both the invasion of normal tissues by tumor cells and the spread of tumors to new sites. It is also believed to inhibit the ability of tumor cells to repair the damage caused by chemotherapy and radiotherapy and to inhibit the formation of new blood vessels inside tumors, which appears to lead to an overall suppression of tumor growth. Based on in vitro evidence, ERBITUX also targets cytotoxic immune effector cells towards EGFR-expressing tumor cells. ERBITUX has obtained market authorization in over 100 countries worldwide for the treatment of RAS wild-type metastatic colorectal cancer and for the treatment of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. Merck licensed the right to market ERBITUX, a registered trademark of ImClone LLC, outside the U.S. and Canada from ImClone LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Eli Lilly and Company, in 1998. About Jacobio Jacobio Pharma is committed to developing and providing new and innovative products and solutions to improve people's health. Our pipeline revolves around novel molecular targets on six major signalling pathways: KRAS, immune checkpoints, tumor metabolism, P53, RB and MYC. We aim for our key projects to be among the top three in the world. Our vision is to become a global leader recognized for our impact in drug R&D together with our partners. Jacobio has R&D centers in Beijing, Shanghai and Boston with our Induced Allosteric Drug Discovery Platform (IADDP) and our iADC Platform.

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