Five things to watch out for in pharma and healthcare in 2020

Moneycontrol | December 27, 2019

It has been a mixed bag for pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors in 2019. Most companies tightened costs and focused on reducing debt. There has also not been any major disruptive policy action with the exception of trade margin caps on 42 cancer medications. Pharma and healthcare sectors are to some extent insulated from the general economic slowdown but a recessionary economy makes people go slow on elective surgeries. The domestic formulation business has now become a key driver of growth for Indian companies. In 2019 the Indian pharmaceutical market grew at 10 percent. Domestic formulation business is highly competitive, with large chunk of drugs under price controls, but large India drug makers are committing investments on expanding portfolios and building brands focused on chronic and lifestyle diseases.

Spotlight

Every day, healthcare organizations dispense a broad spectrum of medications. An essential yet often overlooked aspect of this drug delivery process is what to do with any unused medications.

Spotlight

Every day, healthcare organizations dispense a broad spectrum of medications. An essential yet often overlooked aspect of this drug delivery process is what to do with any unused medications.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Astellas and Sutro Biopharma Announce Worldwide Strategic Collaboration to Advance Novel Immunostimulatory Antibody-Drug Conjugates (iADCs)

Sutro Biopharma, Inc.; Astellas Pharma Inc. | June 28, 2022

Astellas Pharma Inc. and Sutro Biopharma, Inc. announced a worldwide, strategic collaboration and licensing agreement focused on the discovery and development of novel immunostimulatory antibody-drug conjugates. The collaboration leverages the unique cancer-fighting potential of iADCs as a novel modality, enabled by Sutro’s ability to engineer complex conjugated antibodies, and Astellas’ global oncology R&D expertise. “We are delighted to work with Astellas, a premier biopharmaceutical company with substantial expertise in immuno-oncology, on this novel modality. iADCs hold promise well beyond the existing success of ADCs. Sutro’s unique conjugation technology enables dual conjugations that site-specifically incorporate a potent cytotoxin that can directly kill tumor cells together with an immunostimulatory component that has the potential to locally prime an immune response to the patient’s particular tumor cells. We look forward to collaboratively exploring the potential of this approach to treat cold tumors and bring new drug therapies to patients who do not respond to existing immunotherapies.” William J. Newell, Sutro’s Chief Executive Officer Naoki Okamura, Chief Strategy Officer, at Astellas commented, "Astellas considers Immuno-Oncology as one of the Primary Focuses of its R&D strategy; our goal is to bring effective drugs to patients who do not respond to existing immune checkpoint inhibitors. Sutro is a leading company in the area of iADCs, a new modality, and has its own original iADC technologies. The strategic partnership with Sutro will help us expand our pipeline and widen the choice of cancer immunotherapies.” A key challenge with cancer immunotherapies, including immune checkpoint inhibitors, is the tumor microenvironment*1 within cold tumors creating barriers to immune cell infiltration and thus preventing the cure. The immune checkpoint inhibitors approved to date are efficacious as a monotherapy in only about 20% of cancer types, which vary widely*1. This strategic partnership will engage in the development of iADCs, a next generation modality with the potential for effective and efficient approaches for treatment of cold tumors so as to bring new drug therapies to patients who do not respond to existing therapies. An iADC, which combines an antibody with a small molecule compound that induces immunogenic cell death*2 in addition to an immune activating molecule, has the potential to boost the anti-cancer action. This partnership will enable Astellas and Sutro to mutually leverage strengths in their respective fields to accelerate iADC development for three distinct biological targets; Sutro will engage in research and preclinical studies to identify candidate compounds and then Astellas will pursue clinical development. Sutro has advanced technologies for linking drugs to antibodies and proprietary component parts, including candidate antibodies and linkable cytotoxins and immunostimulatory molecules. For development of iADCs, Astellas will utilize the strength of its global R&D and commercialization capabilities in the area of antibodies and the small molecular components. These iADCs may have the potential to provide new therapeutic options for treatment of cancers for which no broadly effective therapy is currently available. Under the terms of the agreement, Sutro will receive an upfront cash payment of US$90 million to develop iADCs for three biological targets and may be eligible to receive up to US$422.5 million in development, regulatory and commercial milestones for each product candidate, and tiered royalties ranging from low double-digit to mid-teens on worldwide sales of any commercial products that may result from the collaboration, subject to Sutro’s cost and profit sharing option for the United States. Sutro has the option to share in the costs and profits for developing and commercializing product candidates in the United States. If Sutro exercises this option for a particular product candidate, Astellas and Sutro will equally share the costs of such co-development and co-commercialization, with the resulting profits/losses from co-commercialization also shared equally in the United States.

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PHARMA TECH

assisTek Announces New Partnership with Medical Device Technology Creator, Strados Labs

assisTek Inc | June 21, 2022

assisTek, based in Doylestown, PA, has announced its latest partnership with Philadelphia based Strados Labs. Strados Labs is known for their creation of cutting-edge smart technology medical devices for respiratory illnesses. assisTek, has been a longtime leader in the eSource industry across various therapeutic areas, over 900+ Global clinical Trials and offers an array of services for the electronic collection of clinical data. Their technology offerings include eCOA, ePRO, eConsent, BYOD modules and an extensive reputation for their custom solutions to support clinical trial teams worldwide. "We are very excited to announce this partnership and are looking forward to working together with Strados to provide another way for clinicians and patients to gather novel information during their trials. By making the integration seamless into our current eDiary offerings, this paired technology will allow for better patient engagement and more efficient information gathering, with the ultimate goal of improved data for cures and treatment of these conditions," explains Richard Gastineau, CEO of assisTek. Strados Labs is a medical technology company developing smart sensor platforms that utilize machine learning and proprietary algorithms to detect and predict compounding conditions associated with serious, chronic respiratory diseases to improve the lives of patients globally. "We are grateful and proud to solidify our partnership with assisTek. They have been a leader in integrating technology and data collection in clinical trials for over 20 years," said Strados Labs Director of Business Development, Shane Krauss. "We look forward to working with their experienced and knowledgeable team in clinical trials by helping them scale their digital therapeutics using our clinically validated measures for wheeze, cough, and other adventitious breath sounds, or CABS—which is something no other cleared device can measure." The Company developed a first-of-its-kind smart sensor platform for respiratory health, RESP®. Strados recently received FDA Class II 510(k) clearance for home use of its first product, RESP®, its second FDA clearance in less than 18 months. RESP® was also granted a CE Mark late last year. The Company is developing a robust pipeline algorithm to support and address other chronic diseases, as well as chronic disease management pathways. Strados will continue to target asthma, COPD and infectious respiratory diseases (COVID, RSV, and more)—with plans to add heart failure and pediatrics later this year. The Company is based in Philadelphia and is a privately held company.

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PHARMACY MARKET

Inozyme Pharma Announces Partnership with Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine to Advance Newborn Screening for Genetic Diseases

Inozyme Pharma Inc. | June 17, 2022

Inozyme Pharma, Inc. a clinical-stage rare disease biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics for the treatment of abnormal mineralization, today announced a partnership with Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine (RCIGM) to advance and evaluate a novel newborn screening technology to facilitate diagnosis of genetic diseases. The partnership includes several leading genomics, biotechnology companies and patient advocacy groups and focuses specifically on a diagnostic and precision medicine guidance tool called BeginNGS™, which incorporates rapid Whole Genome Sequencing (rWGS®) to currently screen newborns for approximately 400 genetic diseases. “Newborn screening will be essential to identifying and initiating timely intervention in children with rare genetic disorders like GACI (generalized arterial calcification of infancy) as we advance INZ-701 through clinical testing. We look forward to working with Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine, and with the BeginNGS consortium, to advance the use of this promising screening technology.” Catherine Nester, vice president, physician and patient strategies at Inozyme Pharma RCIGM is in a pilot evaluation that aims to supplement existing newborn screening protocols at birthing hospitals throughout the United States. The pilot program’s goal is for BeginNGS to become the genetic disease screening standard, with testing expanding to approximately 1,000 [disorders] and sequencing of 3.7 million newborns annually. Founding members of the public-private BeginNGS consortium include Inozyme, Alexion, Travere Therapeutics, and several patient advocacy groups that are helping to advance this program. “RCIGM helped pioneer the use of rWGS for diagnosis of genetic disease in intensive care settings,” said Stephen Kingsmore, MD, DSc, president and CEO of RCIGM. “With the proven clinical utility of diagnostic rWGS , we are using that experience to screen, diagnose, and help treat genetic conditions at or before onset of symptoms. Through a public-private consortium of leading organizations such as Inozyme, and advocacy groups in pediatrics, genetics, biopharma, biotech, and information technology, we aim to scale newborn sequencing to every life-threatening childhood genetic disease, RCIGM believes now is the time to end the diagnostic and therapeutic odyssey for all children with treatable genetic diseases.” BeginNGS developed through a research collaboration with Alexion; AstraZeneca’s Rare Disease group; Illumina, Inc.; TileDB; Fabric Genomics; and Genomemon, which uses rWGS to diagnose and identify treatment options for genetic conditions before symptoms begin. This approach represents an advance over current pediatric uses of rWGS that focus mainly on children who are already critically ill. Once a diagnosis is made, BeginNGS uses Genome-to-Treatment (GTRx™), a tool that provides immediate treatment guidelines to help physicians understand genetic conditions and their available treatment options. Addressing the Need for Enhanced Newborn Screening Tools Traditional newborn screening is one of the most successful public health programs in the United States. Of nearly 4 million babies born annually, 98 percent are tested in the first days of life. The BeginNGS test identifies serious childhood diseases that have effective treatments. States currently screen for only 31 to 76 of the hundreds of severe, childhood genetic diseases that have available treatments. Adding a new condition to the screening protocol is slow (5 to 6 years per condition), laborious, and costly. In the last decade, WGS has increased in speed, diagnostic performance, and scalability. BeginNGS will not replace the current biochemical newborn screening paradigm; rather, it is designed to complement the newborn screening processes and infrastructure that are already in place. “We are thrilled at the prospect of newborn screening to assist in early identification of infants affected by ENPP1 Deficiency and ABCC6 Deficiency via Inozyme’s collaboration with Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine. Early diagnosis is crucial to improving a baby’s chances of survival and long-term health if they have these rare and devastating diseases,” said Christine O’Brien and Liz Molloy, co-presidents of GACI Global. About Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine is transforming pediatric critical care by advancing disease-specific healthcare for infants and children with rare disease. Discoveries at the Institute are enabling rapid diagnosis and targeted treatment of critically ill newborns and pediatric patients at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego and a growing network of more than 60 children’s hospitals nationwide. The vision is to expand delivery of this life-changing technology to enable the practice of Rapid Precision Medicine™ at children’s hospitals across the nation and the world. RCIGM is a non-profit, research institute embedded within Rady Children’s Hospital and Health Center. About Inozyme Pharma Inozyme Pharma, Inc. is a clinical-stage rare disease biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics for the treatment of diseases of abnormal mineralization impacting the vasculature, soft tissue, and skeleton. Through our in-depth understanding of the biological pathways involved in mineralization, we are pursuing the development of therapeutics to address the underlying causes of these debilitating diseases. It is well established that two genes, ENPP1 and ABCC6, play key roles in a critical mineralization pathway and that defects in these genes lead to abnormal mineralization. We are initially focused on developing a novel therapy, INZ-701, to treat the rare genetic diseases of ENPP1 and ABCC6 Deficiencies. INZ-701 is currently in Phase 1/2 clinical trials for the treatment of ENPP1 Deficiency and ABCC6 Deficiency.

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