Humana calls Mallinckrodts Acthar a billion-dollar golden goose in 700M Dollars fraud lawsuit

FiercePharma | August 12, 2019

Mallinckrodt is getting burned on all sides as federal prosecutors scope out the drugmakers controversial H.P. Acthar Gel marketing and price hikes. Now, one of the largest U.S. insurers is looking to pile on. Humana overpaid for Acthar by 700 million dollars because of Mallinckrodts widespread campaign to stifle competition and pay doctors and patients to choose the pricey med, the insurer said in a new federal lawsuit in California. Humana accused Mallinckrodt of a complex, multipart scheme involving monopoly, bribery, racketeering, fraud, and other deceptive and unfair practices to fuel the drugs skyrocketing price increases and induce physicians to boost prescriptions. Mallinckrodt acquired Acthar in 2014 as part of a $5.6 billion purchase of Questcor, which has landed the U.K. drugmaker in a raft of legal problems since its buyout. Humana did not provide a statement on the lawsuit, citing a "longstanding policy not to comment on pending litigation." A Mallinckrodt spokesman could not be reached for comment by press time.

Spotlight

Pharmaceutical industry interest in biopharmaceuticals, cell therapies and, more recently, biosimilars has increased significantly1,2. In addition to targeting and treating disease more effectively than small molecule medicines, such products have the potential to generate higher revenues and are less likely to face competition when they go off patent3,4. However, unlike small molecule drugs, which can be easily transported, large molecule biopharmaceuticals are highly sensitive to temperature fluctuations and require special handling5. Large molecule drugs are also more expensive to develop and manufacture than small molecule products, which means any lost as a result of problems during transportation have a higher financial impact6. Similarly, transporting cell therapies is a challenge7. While hydrogelbased alternative technologies are being developed, the vast majority of cell therapies are still shipped as frozen stocks8.

Spotlight

Pharmaceutical industry interest in biopharmaceuticals, cell therapies and, more recently, biosimilars has increased significantly1,2. In addition to targeting and treating disease more effectively than small molecule medicines, such products have the potential to generate higher revenues and are less likely to face competition when they go off patent3,4. However, unlike small molecule drugs, which can be easily transported, large molecule biopharmaceuticals are highly sensitive to temperature fluctuations and require special handling5. Large molecule drugs are also more expensive to develop and manufacture than small molecule products, which means any lost as a result of problems during transportation have a higher financial impact6. Similarly, transporting cell therapies is a challenge7. While hydrogelbased alternative technologies are being developed, the vast majority of cell therapies are still shipped as frozen stocks8.

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PHARMA TECH

Sirona Biochem Signs International Partnership Agreement with Wanbang Biopharmaceuticals

Sirona Biochem Corp. | November 28, 2022

Sirona Biochem Corp. announces that, subsequent to the LOI, Sirona and Wanbang Biopharmaceuticals have signed an expanded, international partnership agreement to collaborate on licencing Sirona’s SGLT2 inhibitor, TFC-039, as a pharmaceutical treatment in both animal and human health. The agreement adds human health to the partnership as a result of new licencing opportunities currently in due diligence. Wanbang and Sirona initially signed a licensing agreement for TFC-039, whereby Wanbang obtained the rights to develop the compound as a diabetes treatment in China and Sirona retained the global rights. Sirona has since been in discussions with animal health companies to advance TFC-039 as a treatment for diabetes and chronic kidney disease in companion animals. SGLT2 inhibitors provide an opportunity to treat inflicted animals with an oral medication as opposed to the traditional method of daily insulin injections. More recently, Sirona has entered into due diligence with a large pharmaceutical company with a regional interest in developing the compound for human diabetes. Together, Sirona and Wanbang share extensive knowledge and scientific results of TFC-039. Partnering will significantly increase the speed to third-party partnerships and commercialization. The shared data spans over 12 years of research and development, and includes in vitro and in vivo preclinical work, multiple clinical studies, advanced manufacturing process development and the ability to commercially manufacture TFC-039. “We have a long-standing relationship with Wanbang and are excited to combine our two companies’ expertise to license TFC-039. Wanbang has invested millions of dollars into the clinical stage research and development of the manufacturing processes for TFC-039. These pieces of data are critical to large organizations and will greatly increase the opportunities to move forward. The probability of a successful licensing agreement has been made much stronger by leveraging our alliance with Wanbang. We have had a successful year building Sirona’s pipeline, with positive movement on all projects and we’re looking forward to continuing this success with our SGLT2 inhibitor as well as our antiviral and anti-aging projects in 2023.” Dr. Howard Verrico, CEO About Wanbang Biopharmaceuticals and Fosun Pharmaceuticals Wanbang Biopharmaceuticals develops, manufactures, and markets drugs with indications for chronic disease treatment, antibiotics, and other endocrine diseases in China. Founded in 1981, the company is headquartered in Xuzhou, China, and is a subsidiary of Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group. Fosun is a leader in the pharmaceutical industry and is regarded as one of the top five domestic pharmaceutical companies in China. About Sirona Biochem Corp. Sirona Biochem is a cosmetic ingredient and drug discovery company with a proprietary platform technology. Sirona specializes in stabilizing carbohydrate molecules with the goal of improving efficacy and safety. New compounds are patented for maximum revenue potential. Sirona’s compounds are licensed to leading companies around the world in return for licensing fees, milestone fees and ongoing royalty payments. Sirona’s laboratory, TFChem, is located in France and is the recipient of multiple French national scientific awards and European Union and French government grants.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Stevanato Group and Gerresheimer AG Announce Collaboration on the Development of an Innovative Ready-To-Use Vial Platform

Gerresheimer and Stevanato Group | September 08, 2022

Stevanato Group S.p.A. a global provider of drug containment, drug delivery and diagnostic solutions to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and life sciences industries, and Gerresheimer AG, a leading global provider of healthcare & beauty and drug delivery systems for pharma, biotech and cosmetics, announce that they have jointly developed a high-end Ready-To-Use (RTU) solution platform with an initial focus on vials, based on Stevanato Group’s market-leading EZ-fill® technology. This collaboration is projected to help customers gain efficiencies, improve the quality standard, increase speed to market, reduce total cost of ownership (TCO) and help mitigate supply chain risk. Stevanato Group and Gerresheimer AG are addressing rising demand for RTU vials in the market and the partnership serves as a market enabler to fully support customers’ evolving needs and establish a gold standard in the industrial filling process. The collaboration aims to make RTU vials a standard, available to a wide number of pharma companies globally – offering premium quality solutions to patients and reducing complexity for pharma operations. The new solution will be available to other players in the market to standardize fill-finish operations from early phase drug development to commercialization. The new RTU solution platform from Stevanato Group and Gerresheimer AG will share the same secondary packaging, production process and sterilization method, ensuring consistent available capacity and a reliable double sourcing to the pharmaceutical industry. A hallmark of the new RTU platform is a significant reduction in particles, improving the overall quality and performance of the RTU solutions. In addition, customers can count on a high-end solution made by two major players in the drug containment industry with a long history of innovation. The new jointly developed vial platform and trademark will be presented in detail to the market at the CPhI Worldwide in Frankfurt in November 2022. “Our EZ-fill® vial platform is the market’s most established choice for pre-sterilized containers, and this enhanced version for RTU vials will bring to the market its full potential in terms of quality, flexibility and value for Pharmaceutical Companies and CMOs. Through our collaboration with Gerresheimer AG we are responding to market demand, and we expect to achieve another important milestone in creating a reliable ecosystem to support, accelerate and de-risk the conversion from bulk to EZ-fill® vials already underway in the market.” Mauro Stocchi, Chief Business Officer at Stevanato Group “The new developed RTU vial platform stands out in terms of quality, TCO and sustainability and takes the use of RTU solutions like vials and, in the future, cartridges to a new level,” said Dr. Lukas Burkhardt, Member of the Management Board of Gerresheimer AG. "Due to the strong reduction of the particle load, the quality is significantly increased. Our new innovative solution will convince the market to significantly accelerate the conversion from bulk to RTU vials.” About Stevanato Group Founded in 1949, Stevanato Group is a leading global provider of drug containment, drug delivery and diagnostic solutions to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and life sciences industries. The Group delivers an integrated, end-to-end portfolio of products, processes and services that address customer needs across the entire drug life cycle at each of the development, clinical and commercial stages. Stevanato Group’s core capabilities in scientific research and development, its commitment to technical innovation and its engineering excellence are central to its ability to offer value added solutions to clients. About Gerresheimer AG Gerresheimer AG is the global partner for pharmaceutics, biotech, healthcare, and cosmetics with a very broad product range for pharmaceutical and cosmetic packaging solutions and drug delivery systems. The company is an innovative solution provider from concept to delivery of the commercial product. Gerresheimer achieves its ambitious goals through a high level of innovative strength, industrial competence and concentration on quality and customer focus. In developing innovative and sustainable solutions, Gerresheimer relies on a comprehensive international network with numerous innovation and production centers in Europe, America and Asia. Gerresheimer produces close to its customers worldwide with around 11,000 employees and generated annual revenues in 2021 of around EUR 1.5b. With its products and solutions, Gerresheimer plays an essential role in people's health and well-being.

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PHARMA TECH

Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals Reports Data Showing Novel Drug Candidate is First-in-class B55α/PP2A Activator

Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals | October 14, 2022

Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals Inc. a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing a new class of medicines to treat neurodegenerative, autoimmune and other diseases, today announced the publication of a scientific article in the peer-reviewed Journal of Neuroinflammation highlighting additional data supporting the unique mechanism of action of EHP-101, the company’s first-in-class drug candidate for the treatment of systemic sclerosis and multiple sclerosis. Titled “A cannabidiol aminoquinone derivative activates the PP2A/B55α/HIF pathway and shows protective effects in a mouse model of traumatic brain injury”, the paper was co-authored by Eduardo Muñoz, MD, PhD, EHP’s Chief Scientific Officer. The publication demonstrates that VCE-004.8, the active pharmaceutical ingredient of EHP-101, is a highly specific activator of the B55a subunit of the protein phosphatase, thus activating the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) pathway. This first-in-class activator of the HIF pathway via modulation of B55a provides a new mechanism to treat diseases where vascular integrity is compromised. Therefore, these findings support the use of EHP-101 for the treatment of SSc and MS, and illustrate the potential of VCE-004.8 for acute disorders including traumatic brain injury and stroke. “The results of Dr. Muñoz’s work, as published in this prestigious journal, validate EHP-101’s unique ability to address key disease factors associated with the complex pathophysiology of fibrotic and demyelinating diseases such as SSc and MS through complementary specific mechanisms of action,” Alain Rolland, Pharm.D., Ph.D., COO of EHP EHP is currently conducting a Phase 2a clinical study to evaluate the safety, tolerability, and preliminary efficacy of EHP-101 in SSc patients. The Company has also met the regulatory requirements to start a Phase 2 clinical trial of EHP-101 for MS. About Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals Inc. Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals is developing novel product candidates for the treatment of CNS, autoimmune, and other diseases. The Company has two families of patented new chemical entities that have been created through rational drug design to affect validated receptors and pathways in the body which are pertinent to targeted diseases. Its first drug product candidate, EHP-101, is in a Phase 2a study for the treatment of systemic sclerosis, a severe form of scleroderma, and has met regulatory requirements to start a Phase 2 study for multiple sclerosis. EHP-101 has received Orphan Drug Designation in the US and EU, as well as Fast Track status by the US FDA for systemic sclerosis. The Company’s second product candidate, EHP-102, is in non-clinical development with IND-enabling studies and is focused on treating Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease. EHP-102 has received Orphan Drug Designation in the US and EU for Huntington’s disease.

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