Ebola vaccine from Merck takes step toward US approval

BioPharma Dive | September 17, 2019

While Merck's Ebola vaccine isn't yet approved in the U.S. or Europe, the drugmaker has been providing extensive supplies of investigational doses at the request of the WHO. According to the company, Merck has shipped more than 245,000 1 milliliter doses of V920 to the international health agency, with another 190,000 available.  V920 is part of the international community's response to the outbreak of Ebola in the northwest corner of the DRC. The number of reported cases per week has come down from a peak several months ago, but remains high. "While the intensity of the outbreak shows signs of easing in some areas and total case numbers are decreasing, it is too soon to tell if this trend will continue," the WHO noted in its Sept. 10 situation report. As the outbreak persists, Merck has begun preparation to increase supply of investigational V920 in consultation with the WHO, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Merck aims to produce 650,000 doses in phases over the next six to 18 months.

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IntegriChain Partners with PurpleLab to Enhance Pharmaceutical Channel Data for More Accurate GTN Forecasting and Accruals

IntegriChain | November 18, 2022

IntegriChain, delivering pharma's only comprehensive technology, data, consulting, and outsourcing platform for data-driven commercialization, announced a strategic data partnership with PurpleLab, a healthcare technology company delivering analytics to drive real-world evidence decision-making. As a first step to this partnership, IntegriChain will incorporate PurpleLab prescription drug claims data to address challenges in visibility to demand and inventory that has resulted from evolving pharmaceutical channels for new specialty pharmaceutical products. "As the Pharma industry has shifted to more fragmented non-retail therapies such as specialty lite and specialty self- and HCP-administered products, distribution channels are more diverse and complicated. These new channels have visibility gaps that create unreasonable risk of errors in gross-to-net forecasting and accrual management. PurpleLab data – covering more than 350 million patient lives, 4 billion annual claims, and 98% of payers – enhances our ability to deliver true demand and inventory visibility, more accurate gross-to-net forecasting and accruals, and most importantly data-driven commercialization for specialty products to Pharma commercial and financial teams." Gary Palgon, IntegriChain's General Manager and Senior Vice President, Data Solutions With this partnership, IntegriChain will seamlessly integrate PurpleLab pharmacy and medical claims data into the ICyte platform and the Inventory Analytics product, improving demand and inventory visibility to actual dispensing volumes at the site of dispense or administration. This data integration will deliver a more accurate depiction of demand attributed to individual outlets, ensuring a closer alignment between net sales and demand at a channel and more accurate pipeline inventory calculations. In addition, IntegriChain will deliver increased fidelity of national and subnational datasets for targeting by incorporating PurpleLab data into ICyte's unblinding process. The seamless addition of PurpleLab data into the ICyte Platform will be generally available in ICyte Inventory Analytics in January 2023. Additional future data enhancements will be announced in due course. About ICyte Data Solutions IntegriChain offers a full suite of channel data products, including: Channel Data Aggregation: Aggregation of all channel and distribution datasets including ExFactory Sales, Distributor Inventories, Demand, and Returns to deliver the highest quality master data, including industry-leading data science and enrichment algorithms to deliver end-to-end views of product distribution. Inventory Analytics: Manufacturers have few existing measures of the inventory held in retail stores, distribution centers, and third-party returns processors. IntegriChain Inventory Analytics reports 100% of inventory in the retail channel, even in pharmacy stores and distribution centers that do not report their inventories. Distribution Contract Management: Distribution Contract Management is a single, auditable application for managing all aspects of trade partner agreements. Configurable trade partner scorecard functionality features payment adjudication, custom pay-for-performance metrics, payment roll forward, and top- and bottom-line functionality adjustments. Channel Data Consulting Services: Based on IntegriChain pioneering the field of channel data aggregation, stewardship, and advanced analytics, the Channel Insights and Optimization practice delivers Market Demand Analysis, Class of Trade, Downstream Inventory Analytics, Returns Forecasting, and Revenue Analytics consulting services to Pharma manufacturers of all types and sizes. About PurpleLab PurpleLab is a healthtech company with a mission to spur value-driven innovation in healthcare to improve outcomes for patients. HealthNexus™, the company's no-code analytics platform empowers life sciences, payers, providers and other stakeholders with real-world evidence to solve conventional and emerging challenges faster and more cost effectively. About IntegriChain IntegriChain delivers pharma's only comprehensive technology, data, consulting, and outsourcing platform for market access departments. We provide the strategy and operational execution for data-driven product commercialization and market access. More than 400 manufacturers rely on our consulting expertise and ICyte Platform to orchestrate their prescription management, patient data management, inventory and demand visibility, enterprise GTN technology, and platform insights. ICyte is the first and only platform that unites the financial, operational, and commercial data sets required to support commercialization and access in the era of specialty and precision medicine.

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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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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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