EU approval for Alexion's PNH drug Ultomiris

pharmatimes | July 04, 2019

The European Commission has approved Alexion Pharmaceuticals' Ultomiris (ravulizumab) for the treatment of some adults with the ultra-rare blood disorder paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria (PNH). The decision allows use of the drug – the first and only long-acting C5 complement inhibitor administered every eight weeks – in patients with haemolysis with clinical symptoms indicative of high disease activity, and also for those who are clinically stable after having been treated with Soliris (eculizumab) for at least the past six months. PNH is a chronic, progressive, debilitating, and potentially life-threatening ultra-rare blood disorder that can affect men and women without warning, with an average age of onset in the early 30s. In patients with PNH, chronic, uncontrolled activation of the complement system, a component of the body’s immune system, causes the destruction of red blood cells, which can lead to progressive anaemia, fatigue, dark urine, and shortness of breath. In the most severe cases, the condition can cause the formation of blood clots, potentially damaging vital organs and causing premature death. Data from a pivotal Phase III study showed that Ultomiris was non-inferior to Soliris (eculizumab) in complement inhibitor treatment-naïve patients with PNH, based on the co-primary endpoints of transfusion avoidance and normalisation of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) levels. "More than a decade after SOLIRIS was approved, Ultomiris provides a major step forward in the treatment of PNH," said Alexander Röth, Department of Haematology, West German Cancer Center, University Hospital Essen, Germany.

Spotlight

The drug that can be considered the first precision medicine entered the market in 1998, at a time when the concept was referred to as personalized medicine. Herceptin (trastuzumab) was first used for the treatment of a subgroup of breast cancer patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive (HER2+) tumors.

Spotlight

The drug that can be considered the first precision medicine entered the market in 1998, at a time when the concept was referred to as personalized medicine. Herceptin (trastuzumab) was first used for the treatment of a subgroup of breast cancer patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive (HER2+) tumors.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Ginkgo Bioworks and Novo Nordisk to Collaborate on Expression Systems for Pharmaceutical Products

Ginkgo Bioworks and Novo Nordisk, | June 08, 2022

Ginkgo Bioworks the leading horizontal platform for cell programming, announced a collaboration with Novo Nordisk, a leading global healthcare company, to create novel expression hosts for pharmaceutical products. hundreds of millions of people are living with diabetes, obesity, and other serious chronic diseases, putting a strain on individuals, families, and healthcare systems. More effective medicines could improve treatment options for these people. Using synthetic biology, Ginkgo and Novo Nordisk will collaborate to unlock the potential of expression systems, which may accelerate and enhance the discovery and development of Novo Nordisk's biological medicines. "Novo Nordisk is constantly pushing the boundaries for innovative tools to bring new treatments to people living with diabetes and other serious chronic diseases. Using synthetic biology and the reprogramming of expression system genomes, we have the potential to engineer biological systems that will expand the chemical space of biological medicines." Brian Vandahl, Senior Vice President, Global Research Technologies, Novo Nordisk "It's an honor to work with partners like Novo Nordisk that not only have an incredible range of critically important products, but that also provide us with the opportunity to do meaningful work that could help so many patients," said Jason Kelly, CEO and cofounder of Ginkgo Bioworks. "At Ginkgo, we are always on the lookout for projects that will have an outsized impact on people's lives and well-being. We're excited to be working with Novo Nordisk in our efforts to use biology to create better medicines for patients with chronic diseases." Under the terms of the partnership, Ginkgo and Novo Nordisk will launch a multi-year collaboration. Ginkgo will receive an upfront R&D fee and is eligible to receive milestone payments as the parties advance in the collaboration. About Ginkgo Bioworks Ginkgo is building a platform to enable customers to program cells as easily as we can program computers. The company's platform is enabling biotechnology applications across diverse markets, from food and agriculture to industrial chemicals to pharmaceuticals. Ginkgo has also actively supported a number of COVID-19 response efforts, including K-12 pooled testing, vaccine manufacturing optimization and therapeutics discovery.

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PHARMACY MARKET

WuXi Biologics Launches First Commercial Drug Product Facility for Pre-Filled Syringes

WuXi Biologics | June 06, 2022

WuXi Biologics a global CRDMO service company, announced it has successfully launched the GMP operation of its new drug product facility DP5 located in Wuxi, China. The DP5 is the ninth operational drug product facility in the global network of WuXi Biologics. The DP5 facility features an advanced isolator filling line for continuous and steady filling services, which offers multiple volume delivery options for pre-filled syringes including 1 mL Long, 1 mL, 2.25 mL and 3 mL. The maximum filling speed can reach 400 PFS/min to support 17 million syringes of drug products manufacturing every year. The increased manufacturing capacity at DP5 allows WuXi Biologics to provide global partners with faster and more robust end-to-end drug product services for their innovative products at different scales and stages. Compared to a traditional drug product filling line, DP5's state-of-the-art design and layout, single-use technology and automated equipment, significantly decrease the risk of contamination and maintain aseptic control required in the filling process. This process supports clients' products scale up to commercial capability and reliably delivers to patients under the highest quality standards which WuXi Biologics represents. "Pre-filled syringes have emerged as one of the fastest-growing choices for biologics dosage form as our partners seek new and more convenient biologics delivery methods. The GMP operation of DP5, our first commercial drug product facility for pre-filled syringes, not only demonstrates our commitment to global partners, but also marks an important milestone for WuXi Biologics to become one of the global leaders in drug product CDMO services. We'll continue to enable our clients to advance innovative biologics towards clinical trials, regulatory approvals, and commercialization to benefit patients worldwide." Dr. Chris Chen, CEO of WuXi Biologics About WuXi Biologics WuXi Biologics is a global Contract Research, Development and Manufacturing Organization offering end-to-end solutions that enable partners to discover, develop, and manufacture biologics – from concept to commercialization – for the benefit of patients worldwide. With over 10,000 skilled employees in China, the United States, Ireland, Germany, and Singapore, WuXi Biologics leverages its technologies and expertise to provide customers with efficient and cost-effective biologics discovery, development, and manufacturing solutions. As of the end of 2021, WuXi Biologics is supporting over 480 integrated client projects, including nine in commercial manufacturing.

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PHARMA TECH

House Rx to Launch Specialty Drug Dispensing Inside Rheumatology Clinics By Partnering with Three Leading Practices

House Rx | August 04, 2022

House Rx, the platform for medically integrated dispensing of specialty medications, announced it has partnered with three new rheumatology clinics to integrate in-house specialty drug dispensing – also known as medically integrated dispensing (MID) – into the clinics' operations. The three practices are: Arizona Arthritis & Rheumatology Associates (AARA), Arthritis & Osteoporosis Consultants of the Carolinas (AOCC), and Arthritis Associates of Tennessee and represent an additional 68 providers that will dispense specialty medications through the House Rx platform, bringing the total number of providers on House Rx's platform to 137. While MID has grown in oncology, House Rx's partnership with these practices is one of the first to bring the model to rheumatology care. "It's very exciting to partner with key thought leaders in rheumatology to bring medically integrated dispensing to this specialty. Each one of these practices is a leader in their region, and we look forward to partnering very closely with them to define a new standard for a better patient experience and improved outcomes for patients living with rheumatic diseases." Ogi Kavazovic, Co-Founder and CEO of House Rx By bringing specialty dispensing into the physician's office, the partnership with House Rx aims to dramatically improve the specialty medication experience for patients. The MID care model provides a seamless and efficient way for patients to receive prescribed therapies directly from their doctor – which research has demonstrated improves outcomes, including quality of life and increased survivability, when contrasted with the Pharmacy Benefit Manager-controlled specialty pharmacy approach. "This partnership will increase patient satisfaction by providing prescription medication in-house, and House Rx's technology and expertise will help us achieve this," said Prakash Viswanathan, CFO of AARA. "It is motivating to help trailblaze a new path in rheumatology and be one of the first practices to bring specialty medication dispensing under our roof, making it far easier and quicker for patients to get the medications they need." "We couldn't be more excited about this partnership, which will bring immediate benefits for our patients," said Scott Gilomen, CEO of AOCC. "Having managed an oncology practice earlier in my career, I've seen first-hand the advantages of the MID model and look forward to how House Rx's approach to MID will propel the rheumatology field forward – with our practice at the forefront." "The House Rx model will transform how rheumatology care is delivered, making it more coordinated and improving our patients' experience," said Beth Simpson, DO and managing physician partner at AATN. "We look forward to our patients not being on hold for hours on end waiting to speak with a specialty pharmacy. Instead, they'll speak immediately with House Rx's integrated team of pharmacy experts who understand their rheumatologic conditions." While the concept of dispensing specialty medications in rheumatology is not new — a handful of clinics attempted dispensing in the past but ultimately were unsuccessful due to a lack of technological and operational support — House Rx's model approaches in-office dispensing in a new way. By providing clinics with specialized technology and operational support from pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who work integrated with the clinic, practices can keep the service under their roof while reducing the heavy lifting of implementing and maintaining a successful MID program. In addition, clinics can repurpose staff resources normally spent on prior authorizations and financial assistance for patients to focus on direct patient care or other activities critical to the viability and financial independence of community rheumatology clinics. About House Rx House Rx is a healthcare technology and services company focused on making specialty medication more accessible and affordable. The company partners with specialty clinics across the country to help these community clinics offer medically integrated dispensing, bringing together clinical and pharmacy expertise to better serve patients, lower the cost of care, and create a better experience for patients and their caregivers. Learn more at www.houserx.com. About Arizona Arthritis & Rheumatology Associates With 19 physicians, 30 advanced practice providers, and 10 clinics around the state of Arizona, AARA is one of the largest rheumatology practices in the country bringing world-class expertise to patients managing autoimmune conditions. A member of the American Rheumatology Network, and always at the forefront of rheumatology care, AARA has led the way in addressing the rheumatologist workforce shortage by integrating advanced practice providers into their practice, which has allowed the practice to scale clinical operations and meet the demand of a growing patient population. About Arthritis & Osteoporosis Consultants of the Carolinas Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, AOCC has 10 physicians and 5 advanced practice providers caring for patients across two clinics. Combining years of experience in private practice, academic teaching and clinical research, the clinic staff provides highly individualized and state-of-the-art care. About Arthritis Associates Founded in 1975, Arthritis Associates has been at the forefront of rheumatological care in Chattanooga, TN and is the only practice in the area treating both adult and pediatric patients. Arthritis Associates has an excellent, experienced and knowledgeable team including skilled nurses who can administer intravenous treatments onsite, supervised by a board-certified rheumatologist.

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