Astellas Pharma Inc. | September 30, 2022
Astellas Pharma Inc. announced the European Medicines Agency has accepted for regulatory review the company's marketing authorization application for fezolinetant, an investigational oral, nonhormonal compound seeking approval for the treatment of moderate to severe vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause. VMS, characterized by hot flashes and/or night sweats, are common symptoms of menopause.1,2
"More than half of women 40 to 64 years of age experience hot flashes during menopause, with limited nonhormonal treatment options. The EMA's acceptance of our MAA for fezolinetant brings us one step closer to advancing a potential first-in-class nonhormonal treatment option for women in Europe who experience VMS associated with menopause, similar to the FDA acceptance of our NDA for women in the U.S."
Ahsan Arozullah, M.D., M.P.H., Senior Vice President and Head of Development Therapeutic Areas, Astellas
The MAA is supported by results from the BRIGHT SKY™ program, which included three Phase 3 clinical trials that collectively enrolled over 2,800 women with VMS across Europe, the U.S. and Canada. Results from the SKYLIGHT 1™ and SKYLIGHT 2™ pivotal trials characterize the efficacy and safety of fezolinetant for the treatment of moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause. Data from the SKYLIGHT 4™ safety study further characterizes the long-term safety profile of fezolinetant. Within the MAA, Astellas proposes a 45 mg daily dose, which is subject to the EMA's review.
Fezolinetant is an investigational nonhormonal selective neurokinin 3 receptor antagonist. The safety and efficacy of fezolinetant are under investigation and have not been established.
This acceptance will have no impact on Astellas' financial forecasts of the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2023.
About the BRIGHT SKY™ Phase 3 Program
The BRIGHT SKY pivotal trials, SKYLIGHT 1™ and SKYLIGHT 2™ enrolled over 1,000 women with moderate to severe VMS. The trials are double-blinded, placebo-controlled for the first 12 weeks followed by a 40-week treatment extension period. Women were enrolled at over 180 sites within the U.S., Canada and Europe. SKYLIGHT 4™ (NCT04003389) is a 52-week double-blinded, placebo-controlled study designed to investigate the long-term safety of fezolinetant. For SKYLIGHT 4, over 1,800 women with VMS were enrolled at over 180 sites within the U.S., Canada and Europe.
About VMS Associated with Menopause
VMS, characterized by hot flashes and/or night sweats, are common symptoms of menopause.1,2 Worldwide, more than half of women 40 to 64 years of age experience VMS with rates in Europe ranging from 56% to 97%.3,4,5 The prevalence of moderate to severe VMS in postmenopausal women in Europe has been reported at 40%.6 VMS can have a disruptive impact on women's daily activities and overall quality of life.1
Fezolinetant is an investigational oral, nonhormonal therapy in clinical development for the treatment of moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause. Fezolinetant works by blocking neurokinin B (NKB) binding on the kisspeptin/neurokinin/dynorphin (KNDy) neuron to moderate neuronal activity in the thermoregulatory center of the brain (the hypothalamus) to reduce the frequency and severity of moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause.7,8,9 The safety and efficacy of fezolinetant are under investigation and have not been established. There is no guarantee the agent will receive regulatory approval or become commercially available for the uses being investigated.
Astellas Pharma Inc. is a pharmaceutical company conducting business in more than 70 countries around the world. We are promoting the Focus Area Approach that is designed to identify opportunities for the continuous creation of new drugs to address diseases with high unmet medical needs by focusing on Biology and Modality. Furthermore, we are also looking beyond our foundational Rx focus to create Rx+® healthcare solutions that combine our expertise and knowledge with cutting-edge technology in different fields of external partners. Through these efforts, Astellas stands on the forefront of healthcare change to turn innovative science into value for patients.
Alira Health and Artisan Healthcare Consulting | September 07, 2022
Alira Health, a patient-centric, global health care advisory, clinical research and technology company, announced the acquisition of Artisan Healthcare Consulting, a US-based consulting firm that provides strategic insights to healthcare companies. Artisan serves 12 of the top 15 pharmaceutical companies in the US, supports the C-Suite of leading biotechnology companies, and has deep expertise in over 30 therapeutic areas.
The acquisition of Artisan strengthens and extends Alira Health’s Market Access and Management Consulting advisory practices in North America and globally. Clients of Alira Health and Artisan Healthcare Consulting now have access to the full breadth of advisory offerings from both firms. Alira Health clients can leverage Artisan’s deep expertise in brand strategy and analytics, new product differentiation, US market access, go-to-launch strategies, and product lifecycle management. Artisan Healthcare Consulting clients can benefit from Alira Health’s clinical operations, real-world evidence, and patient-centric technology offerings, including decentralized clinical trials (DCT), patient support programs (PSP) and digital therapeutics (DTx).
“Artisan Healthcare Consulting is recognized for delivering the highest level of strategic and quantitative analysis to help healthcare leaders act decisively across their business. Artisan Healthcare Consulting’s leadership has decades of experience serving as a long-term partner to healthcare executives. We welcome them to the Alira Health team.”
Jean-Francois Ricci, Chief Access Officer at Alira Health
“We are delighted to join a company with such a broad and complementary set of capabilities,” said Bob Delise, CEO and Founder of Artisan Healthcare Consulting. “It is a pleasure to work with our new colleagues, and we now have access to an international team of strategists and experts who can help our customers succeed. We embrace Alira Health’s mission to humanize healthcare and look forward to offering new capabilities to all our clients.”
Artisan Healthcare Consulting partners Bob Delise, Brad Ship, and Greg Wolfe will join Alira Health’s global consulting leadership team as they continue to work with their long-term clients.
About Artisan Healthcare Consulting, Inc.
Artisan Healthcare Consulting Inc. was founded in 2009 on the principle that outstanding client service differentiates a great consulting firm from a good one. Artisan provides strategic and analytic advice to a wide range of healthcare product companies. Artisan works across the biopharma industry to help clients steer emerging therapies through clinical development, launch them successfully, and drive success throughout the life cycle of their products.
About Alira Health
Alira Health is an international patient-centric, global health care advisory, clinical research, and technology company, whose mission is to humanize healthcare. We work with healthcare and life sciences organizations looking for support across their entire solutions lifecycle. From development to medical care, we complement our clients’ expertise with a full spectrum of services including research and clinical development solutions, technology-powered consulting, and real-world evidence.
Our integrated and multidisciplinary team of over 600 scientists, strategists, economists, clinicians, and biostatisticians collaborate across our North American, European, and Asian offices and advise 80% of the top 50% of MedTech companies and 75% of the top 50% of Pharma companies.
Merck | September 22, 2022
Merck, a leading science and technology company, announced a collaboration agreement with licensing option with Nerviano Medical Sciences S.r.l. for the next-generation highly selective and brain-penetrant PARP1 inhibitor, NMS-293. NMS-293 has strong potential in combination with a wide variety of DNA-damaging agents, including systemic or targeted chemotherapy or with DNA damage response inhibitors, in numerous tumor types. NMS-293 is in early clinical development for the treatment of patients with BRCA-mutated tumors as a single agent and in combination with temozolomide in recurrent glioblastoma.
“Building on the therapeutic impact that PARP inhibitors have had over the last several years, we believe this new PARP1 program, if successful, could fill a significant unmet need for patients unresponsive to existing PARP inhibitors with an improved hematological adverse event profile. The work of NMS to discover and advance this next generation PARP1 selective inhibitor coupled with our deep expertise in developing therapies which modify DNA damage response mechanisms, creates a strong foundation to further develop this investigational therapy for patients.”
Victoria Zazulina, M.D., Head of Development Unit Oncology for the Healthcare business of Merck
PARP is key in the repair of DNA damage, and PARP inhibitors have been shown to be highly efficacious in the treatment of patients with tumors deficient in homologous recombination repair, such as breast, ovarian, prostate and pancreatic cancers with BRCA-mutations.
Under the current agreement, Merck will make early payments (up-front and option exercise fees) of up to $65 million to NMS. Furthermore, NMS will receive payments for the achievement of certain development, regulatory and commercial milestones and tiered royalties on net sales by Merck. Upon exercise of the option, NMS will grant to Merck the exclusive rights to research, develop, manufacture, and commercialize NMS-293.
During the option period, NMS and Merck will collaborate on the clinical development of NMS-293, with NMS designing, sponsoring, conducting, and funding global clinical trials.
NMS-293 is an orally available small molecule inhibitor of PARP1 and is currently in early clinical development for the treatment of patients with BRCA mutated tumors as single agent and with recurrent Glioblastoma (GBM), a brain tumor with very high medical need, in combination with temozolomide (TMZ).
Merck, a leading science and technology company, operates across life science, healthcare and electronics. More than 60,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. In 2021, Merck generated sales of € 19.7 billion in 66 countries.