FiercePharmaPolitics—Gilead CEO sees COVID-19 changing the drug pricing conversation

Welcome to the FiercePharma political roundup, where each Monday we’ll highlight developments in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere that could affect drug pricing and how drugmakers operate. With less than six months to go until the U.S. elections, the pharma industry finds itself in a different position than expected at the start of the year. While many predicted a tense year as candidates went on the attack, the pandemic has taken the spotlight. And instead of being an easy target, pharma companies have found a chance to shine. On Gilead Sciences' first-quarter conference call, Mizuho analyst Salim Syed pointed out that rhetoric around pharmaceuticals and drug pricing has been “pretty negative” in recent years. So, the analyst wondered aloud whether that has changed as Gilead and other drugmakers charge forward with potential COVID-19 therapies.

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PHARMACY MARKET

BioMap Establishes a Strategic Collaboration with Sanofi to Co-Develop AI Modules to Accelerate Drug Discovery for Biotherapeutics

Business Wire | October 17, 2023

BioMap announced a groundbreaking strategic collaboration with Sanofi to co-develop cutting-edge AI modules for biotherapeutic drug discovery leveraging BioMap’s AI platform. “As the largest foundational model-based approach within life sciences, we are thrilled to collaborate with Sanofi and leverage the potential of BioMap’s cutting-edge AI engine to help solve complex problems associated with new protein therapies to drive drug discovery,” said BioMap’s Chief Technology Officer, Le Song. “We have built what is essentially a biological map of proteins using data sets from public and private sources to inform our foundational models. Utilizing automation and integrated workflows to enhance the collection of high-quality data, we can catalyze the process of new hit discovery and lead optimization.” Traditional AI methods require vast amounts of labeled data to make accurate predictions. However, in life science, labeled data are often in short supply. BioMap’s foundational models are revolutionizing AI in biology by enabling one large model, trained on ubiquitous unlabeled data, to inform multiple downstream task models. This approach enables superior prediction from limited data in a range of therapeutic areas, including immunology, neurology, oncology, and rare diseases. Leveraging BioMap’s custom-built foundational models and world-leading AI expertise, as well as Sanofi’s proprietary data, computational innovations in protein engineering, and deep biologics development experience, both parties aim to create advanced AI models and protein Large Language Models that will enable biologics design and multiparametric optimization. "By combining Sanofi’s proprietary data sets, digital infrastructure, AI and data science capabilities, and drug development expertise with BioMap’s protein Large Language Models, high-performance computing, and deep understanding of AI, we can optimize the process of discovery and development of breakthrough biotherapeutics,” said Matt Truppo, Global Head of Research Platforms at Sanofi. “Our collaboration with BioMap further underscores Sanofi’s commitment to becoming the first pharma company powered by artificial intelligence at scale.” Under the terms of the agreement, BioMap will receive an upfront cash payment and near-term payments for reaching module development milestones from Sanofi. BioMap will be eligible to receive payments of over $1 billion based on achievement of pre-clinical development, clinical development, regulatory, and commercial milestones. About BioMap Founded in 2020 by Robin Li and Wei Liu, BioMap is a disruptive life science AI company responsible for building xTrimo, the first and largest protein-centric large language model platform. Their technology allows scientists to model life more accurately, from proteins to a system level, and extract novel insights and predictions from limited data. Supported by an international, cross-functional team of over 300 experts, BioMap is solving critical, protein-related drug development problems and charting a course to radically improve patients’ lives.

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PHARMACY MARKET

Tris Pharma Secures First ex-US Authorizations for Quillivant ER Oral Suspension and Quillivant ER Chewable Tablet for the Treatment

Business Wire | September 26, 2023

Tris Pharma, Inc. (Tris), a commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on ADHD, pain, addiction and neurological disorders, today announced that Health Canada has authorized the use of Quillivant® ER (extended release) for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children ages 6 to 12. Quillivant ER will be available as both an oral suspension and chewable tablet (known in the United States as Quillivant XR® and QuilliChew ER®, respectively). Quillivant ER is the first once-daily, long-acting, chewable and oral suspension formulations of methylphenidate to be approved for the treatment of ADHD in Canada. “Children with ADHD around the world need medications that provide fast-acting and long-lasting relief in a range of formulations that are easy for them to take. Since the launch of our Quillivant XR product in the United States, we have been approached by potential partners to make our portfolio of ADHD products available around the world,” said Ketan Mehta, founder and chief executive officer at Tris Pharma. “We are truly delighted by this milestone, which will make this important medication available to millions of patients in Canada.” Ontario-based KYE Pharmaceuticals, Inc. will make Quillivant ER Oral Suspension and Quillivant ER Chewable Tablets available to patients in Canada beginning in Q1 2024. Tris will manufacture Quillivant ER in the United States and export to KYE Pharmaceuticals for Canadian patients. ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders diagnosed among children. Many therapies approved to treat ADHD have well-established and significant drawbacks, including early symptom rebound, limited duration of release and efficacy, delayed onset, inability to customize or control titration, and patient difficulty taking the medications (e.g., children unable to swallow a tablet). In Canada, Quillivant ER is authorized for administration to children aged 6 to 12 diagnosed with ADHD as a once-daily liquid suspension or as a chewable tablet to overcome the difficulty of swallowing pills while still achieving the duration needed to control ADHD symptoms for the desired timeframe. Quillivant ER has demonstrated onset of action as soon as 45 minutes through 12 hours post-dose, providing consistent, continuous delivery throughout the day. Quillivant ER Oral Suspension allows for personalized dosing with ease of titration and the Quillivant ER chewable tablets are scored tablets, which are ideal for pediatric patients, providing additional flexibility in dose administration with the most dosing options available in an extended-release methylphenidate tablet. Tris developed both formulations using the company’s proprietary LiquiXR® technology. “Quillivant ER has the potential to address a significant unmet market need in the treatment of ADHD by overcoming drawbacks associated with many other ADHD medications, particularly among children,” said John McKendry, president at KYE Pharmaceuticals. “Our strategic partnership with Tris allows us to apply our extensive regulatory and commercial expertise to ensure this unique ADHD medication is made available to patients in Canada.” About Tris Pharma Tris Pharma is a privately held, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical company that is applying its drug development capabilities and proprietary technologies to transform the treatment of ADHD, pain and neurological disorders, including addiction and diseases of the central nervous system. Tris is an established commercial organization with a robust portfolio of best-in-class ADHD products and a promising pipeline of differentiated, near-term drug candidates. More information is available at www.trispharma.com and on LinkedIn @TrisPharma. About KYE Pharmaceuticals Kye Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a private company headquartered in Mississauga, Canada focused on bringing medications to the Canadian market which fulfill clinically significant and unmet needs. KYE has licensed many innovative products and was founded on an entrepreneurial spirit that optimizes our team’s strengths and brings unique value to our partners, Canadian healthcare professionals, and most importantly, patients across Canada.

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PHARMA TECH

Cordis Announces the Completed Acquisition of MedAlliance

PR Newswire | October 03, 2023

Cordis, a worldwide leader in the development and manufacturing of interventional cardiovascular and endovascular technology, today announced that it has completed the acquisition of MedAlliance, a Switzerland-based developer of drug-eluting balloon technology. This acquisition adds a key growth driver to the company's coronary and peripheral vascular portfolios as we expect SELUTION SLR™ (Sustained Limus Release) Drug-Eluting Balloons (DEB) will be the first Sirolimus DEB to market in key geographies. SELUTION SLR™ DEB technology is designed to balance both safety and efficacy with its use of MicroReservoirs made from biodegradable polymers intermixed with the anti-proliferative drug Sirolimus. The MicroReservoirs control the sustained release of the drug and is designed to provide the longest and most effective pharmacokinetic release profile of any device on the market. SELUTION SLR™ DEB has demonstrated early efficacy across studies in both the coronary and peripheral vasculature and is now being studied in 4 FDA IDE trials to gain US market access. "This acquisition is key in advancing Cordis' legacy of cardiovascular innovation," said Shar Matin, CEO of Cordis. "We are creating leverage by joining the MedAlliance team and their world-class innovation with the reach and breadth of Cordis' global infrastructure. This combination will add value to millions of patients and clinicians, revolutionizing vascular care." Ron Waksman, a cardiologist at the Washington Hospital Center and Primary Investigator of the SELUTION SLR™ DEB Coronary De Novo study added, "Cordis introduced the first coronary drug-eluting stent to the market over twenty years ago. SELUTION SLR™ DEB has a similar opportunity to improve the health of patients and revolutionize the way clinicians deliver vascular care." "The Cordis acquisition will accelerate access to this breakthrough technology for patients suffering from coronary and peripheral disease around the globe," said Jeffrey B. Jump, Founder, Chairman and CEO of MedAlliance. "The team set out to disrupt the coronary and peripheral markets and provide physicians with a new safe and effective technology. The arsenal of SELUTION SLR™ DEB clinical data is designed to change medical practice and improve patient outcomes." About Cordis Cordis is a worldwide leader in the development and manufacturing of interventional vascular technology with a more than 60-year history of pioneering breakthrough cardiovascular technologies to treat millions of patients. With a reputation for clinical acumen, training, and service, Cordis established a legacy of innovation in high-quality and minimally invasive cardiovascular products and built a strong global footprint with operations in more than 70 countries around the world. Cordis is backed by private equity firms Hellman & Friedman and KKR. About MedAlliance MedAlliance is headquartered in Nyon, Switzerland. It specializes in the development of ground-breaking technology and commercialization of advanced drug device combination products, initially for the treatment of coronary and peripheral artery disease. The SELUTION SLR™ DEB, is a novel sirolimus-eluting balloon platform technology.

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