Globenewswire | July 20, 2023
Catalyst Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced the completion of its acquisition from Santhera Pharmaceuticals Holdings of an exclusive license for North America for vamorolone, a potential treatment for patients suffering with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The license is for exclusive commercial rights in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, as well as the right of first negotiation in Europe and Japan should Santhera pursue partnership opportunities. Additionally, Catalyst will hold North American rights for any future approved indications of vamorolone.
Vamorolone is a promising best-in-class dissociative anti-inflammatory steroid treatment for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy ("DMD"). In clinical studies, vamorolone demonstrated efficacy with a significant reduction of steroid-associated side effects and benefits for bone health, growth, and behavior, offering the potential to address an important unmet medical need in DMD patients. Vamorolone has received FDA Orphan Drug and Fast Track designations and has been granted a PDUFA action date of October 26, 2023.
"With the addition of vamorolone, we have accomplished another important milestone in the execution of our portfolio expansion strategy," stated Patrick J. McEnany, Chairman and CEO of Catalyst. "The license for vamorolone reflects our strategic focus on opportunities where we can not only apply novel technology to address critical unmet patient needs, but where we can leverage Catalyst's existing integrated capabilities and infrastructure to commercialize the drug efficiently. We believe that vamorolone, if approved, has the potential to deliver significant near and long-term value and to be a very meaningful advancement to the current standard of care paradigm for DMD patients."
Mr. McEnany continued, "Vamorolone fortifies our neuromuscular portfolio with an innovative therapy that, in clinical studies, demonstrated an enhanced safety and tolerability profile as compared to prednisone. We plan to include vamorolone for DMD patients in our Catalyst Pathways® specialty pharmacy program to help ensure that all patients have access to the full patient benefits of the program. Our planned strategy to facilitate access to vamorolone underscores our steadfast commitment to improving the lives of patients suffering from rare neurological conditions."
Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, or DMD, the most common form of muscular dystrophy, is a rare, fatal neuromuscular disorder characterized by progressive muscular dysfunction, leading to loss of ambulation, respiratory failure, and death. Corticosteroids are the current standard of care for treating DMD; however, this treatment is associated with significant side effect burdens. The U.S. prevalence for DMD is estimated to be between 11,000 and 13,000 patients. Of patients currently being treated for DMD, approximately 75% receive concomitant steroid treatment.
Vamorolone Commercial Operational Plan
Catalyst expects to launch vamorolone early in the first quarter of 2024, assuming regulatory approval on the PDUFA date of October 26, 2023. Catalyst anticipates minimal sales and marketing personnel expansion with fewer than 10 additional team members required, resulting from the exceptional synergy within its existing neuromuscular franchise. Catalyst plans to incorporate vamorolone for DMD into its Catalyst Pathways® specialty pharmacy program to ensure that patients have access to full patient benefits.
Vamorolone is an investigational drug candidate with a mode of action based on binding to the same receptor as glucocorticoids but modifying its downstream activity and as such, is considered a dissociative anti-inflammatory steroid drug [2-5]. This mechanism has shown the potential to 'dissociate' efficacy from steroid safety concerns, and therefore vamorolone could emerge as an alternative to existing corticosteroids, the current standard of care in children, adolescent, and adult patients with DMD. In the pivotal VISION-DMD study, vamorolone met the primary endpoint Time to Stand (TTSTAND) velocity versus placebo (p=0.002) at 24 weeks of treatment and showed a good safety and tolerability profile . The most commonly reported adverse events versus placebo from the VISION-DMD study were cushingoid features, vomiting, and vitamin D deficiency. Adverse events were generally of mild to moderate severity.
Vamorolone has been granted Orphan Drug status for DMD in the U.S. and Europe and has received Fast Track and Rare Pediatric Disease designations by the U.S. FDA and Promising Innovative Medicine (PIM) status from the UK MHRA for DMD. Vamorolone is an investigational medicine and is currently not approved for use by any health authority.
About Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy ("DMD") is a rare inherited X-chromosome-linked disease, which almost exclusively affects males. DMD is characterized by muscle inflammation and damage which are present at birth or shortly thereafter. Inflammation leads to fibrosis of muscle and is clinically manifested by progressive muscle degeneration and weakness. Major milestones in the disease are the loss of ambulation, the loss of self-feeding, the start of assisted ventilation, and the development of cardiomyopathy. DMD reduces life expectancy to before the fourth decade due to respiratory and/or cardiac failure. Corticosteroids are the current standard of care for the treatment of DMD.
About Catalyst Pharmaceuticals
With exceptional patient focus, Catalyst is committed to developing and commercializing innovative first-in-class medicines that address rare neurological and epileptic diseases. Catalyst's U.S. commercial product portfolio consists of FIRDAPSE® (amifampridine) Tablets 10 mg, approved for the treatment of Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome ("LEMS") for adults and children ages six to seventeen. In January 2023, Catalyst acquired the U.S. commercial rights of FYCOMPA® (perampanel) CIII, a prescription medicine approved in people with epilepsy aged four and older alone or with other medicines to treat partial-onset seizures with or without secondarily generalized seizures, and with other medicines to treat primary generalized tonic-clonic seizures for people with epilepsy aged 12 and older. Further, Canada's national healthcare regulatory agency, Health Canada, has approved the use of FIRDAPSE for the treatment of adult patients in Canada with LEMS.
PRNewswire | July 13, 2023
Ginkgo Bioworks which is building the leading platform for cell programming and biosecurity, today announced the completion of the pilot phase of their previously announced partnership with Novo Nordisk, a leading global healthcare company, to develop expression systems for pharmaceutical products. With the pilot phase completed and the first milestone achieved, the two companies will now move into the development phase to work towards making a more effective production process. Achievement of the first milestone included extensive modification and testing of a microbial expression system to understand the impact of the modifications on key performance parameters.
"Ginkgo's achievement of the first milestone has both excited and inspired us, giving us the confidence to move into the next phase of this ambitious project," said Brian Vandahl, Senior Vice President, Global Research Technologies at Novo Nordisk. "This progress is a strong indicator of the potential we have to engineer biological systems that will expand the chemical space of biological medicines."
"We're excited to continue our work with Novo Nordisk to help provide innovative treatment options for patients with diabetes, obesity, and other serious chronic diseases," said Jason Kelly, CEO and co-founder, Ginkgo Bioworks. "The next phase of this project will build on our existing microbial design, engineering, and phenotyping expertise while expanding Ginkgo's capabilities in genome-scale design and engineering. We believe this work will enable us to support even more pharmaceutical products, helping to achieve better outcomes for patients."
About Ginkgo Bioworks.
Ginkgo Bioworks is the leading horizontal platform for cell programming, providing flexible, end-to-end services that solve challenges for organizations across diverse markets, from food and agriculture to pharmaceuticals to industrial and specialty chemicals. Ginkgo's biosecurity and public health unit, Concentric by Ginkgo, is building global infrastructure for biosecurity to empower governments, communities, and public health leaders to prevent, detect, and respond to a wide variety of biological threats.
PRNewswire | August 11, 2023
Capital Rx, the health technology company changing the way prescription drugs are priced and patients are cared for in America, has received a strategic investment from Memorial Hermann Health System, a non-profit health system committed to creating healthier Houston communities. Memorial Hermann joins Capital Rx's existing investors in supporting the development of JUDI®, the new standard for backend claims processing platforms in the pharmacy benefit management (PBM) industry, and the overall growth of Capital Rx's full-service PBM and pharmacy benefit administration (PBA) platform as a service (PaaS) solution.
"We're thrilled to have the investment support of Memorial Hermann as we work to modernize this country's claims processing infrastructure and deploy our aligned customer model to more employers, unions, municipalities, and other payers to create enduring change," said AJ Loiacono, Co-Founder & CEO of Capital Rx. "It's especially rewarding because we share the same values and prioritize community, compassion, credibility, and having the courage to be innovative in everything we do."
Capital Rx's JUDI brings exponential operational efficiency and control to Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial plans and prescription claims processing. A modern, open, and scalable platform, JUDI allows for seamless communication and data integration between vendors and across the continuum of care. Importantly, its intuitive design and workflows save time, allowing health systems and other payers to allocate resources more efficiently and toward what matters most: caring for patients and members in the communities and populations they serve.
"As we assessed the health care ecosystem for innovative capabilities to help accelerate the evolution of the pharmacy service model and prescription claims processing, Capital Rx's vision for a framework that prioritizes efficiency and allows for exceptional patient care set the company apart for investment consideration," said Feby Abraham, Ph.D., Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer at Memorial Hermann. "Capital Rx's platform is focused on bringing clarity and consistency to drug prices, broadening access to medication, and helping its clients control pharmacy costs, all without sacrificing member service and patient outcomes."
The Health Management Academy's Strategic Partnership Alliance, which explores new venture and investment opportunities on behalf of a group of the country's largest health systems, identified Capital Rx as a mission-aligned disruptor with next-generation technology for its members, including Memorial Hermann.
About Memorial Hermann Health System
Charting a better future. A future that's built upon the HEALTH of our community. This is the driving force for Memorial Hermann, redefining health care for the individuals and many diverse populations we serve. Our 6,700 affiliated physicians and 32,000 employees practice the highest standards of safe, evidence-based, quality care to provide a personalized and outcome-oriented experience across our more than 260 care delivery sites. As one of the largest not-for-profit health systems in Southeast Texas, Memorial Hermann has an award-winning and nationally acclaimed Accountable Care Organization, 17* hospitals, and numerous specialty programs and services conveniently located throughout the Greater Houston area. Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center is one of the nation's busiest Level I trauma centers and serves as the primary teaching hospital for McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. For more than 115 years, our focus has been the best interest of our community, contributing nearly $500 million annually through school-based health centers and other community benefit programs. Now and for generations to come, the health of our community will be at the center of what we do – charting a better future for all.
Memorial Hermann Health System owns and operates 14 hospitals and has joint ventures with three other hospital facilities, including Memorial Hermann Surgical Hospital First Colony, Memorial Hermann Surgical Hospital Kingwood, and Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Hospital-Katy.
About Capital Rx
Capital Rx is a healthcare technology company changing the way prescription drugs are priced and patients are cared for in America. As a Certified B Corp™, Capital Rx is executing its mission through an efficient Single-Ledger Model™ that increases visibility and reduces variability in drug prices. The company's cloud-native enterprise pharmacy platform, JUDI®, connects every aspect of the pharmacy ecosystem, servicing over 2.4 million members for Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial plans.