Major pharma companies including Novartis and Merck build federated learning platform for drug discovery

Venturebeat | September 17, 2020

Last June, 10 major pharmaceutical companies — Amgen, Astellas, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, GSK, Institut De Recherches Servier, Janssen, Merck, and Novartis — inked an agreement to build a shared platform called MELLODDY (Machine Learning Ledger Orchestration for Drug Discovery). In partnership with Nvidia, Owkin, and other tech partners, the group sought to leverage techniques like federated learning to collectively train AI on datasets without having to share any proprietary data.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Glaukos Announces Licensing Agreement with Attillaps Holdings, Inc.

Glaukos | September 20, 2021

Glaukos Corporation, an ophthalmic medical technology and pharmaceutical company focused on novel therapies for the treatment of glaucoma, corneal disorders and retinal diseases, announced today that it has entered into a licensing agreement with Attillaps Holdings, Inc. under which Attillaps has granted Glaukos a global exclusive license to research, develop, manufacture and commercialize Attillaps’ proprietary library of investigational pharmaceutical compounds that target the eradication of Demodex mites, which are the root cause of Demodex blepharitis and often associated with meibomian gland dysfunction and related ophthalmic diseases. Demodex blepharitis and Demodex-driven meibomian gland dysfunction are caused by an infestation of Demodex mites, the most common ectoparasite found on human skin. Demodex blepharitis is characterized by eyelid inflammation and irritation resulting in eyelid redness, discomfort and debris. Demodex-driven meibomian gland dysfunction is characterized by decreased lipid secretion into the tear film and is a leading cause of dry eye disease. Under the agreement, Glaukos has the exclusive global right to research, develop, manufacture and commercialize products using certain acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors for the treatment of ophthalmic diseases caused by Demodex mites. Attillaps’ lead compounds have demonstrated promising in-vitro results in preclinical settings. We are incredibly excited about the development and commercial prospects of our novel platform in various therapeutic applications, particularly in the ophthalmology sector. Glaukos is a world-class ophthalmic company, and we couldn’t envision a more compelling licensing partner to advance our platform as a potential solution for the many patients suffering from these challenging conditions that currently have no approved treatments. - Frank Spallitta, founder and chief executive officer of Attillaps About Attillaps Attillaps is a developmental-stage pharmaceutical company pioneering novel drug platforms for the treatment of ophthalmology and dermatology conditions such as rosacea and blepharitis, with other indications of interest that include meibomian gland dysfunction, atopic dermatitis, acne vulgaris, ocular rosacea and hidradenitis suppurativa. The proprietary unique applications of these AChE inhibitors limit systemic exposure, further increasing the known safety of these molecules while effectively targeting the cutaneous inflammation. About Glaukos Glaukos is an ophthalmic medical technology and pharmaceutical company focused on novel therapies for the treatment of glaucoma, corneal disorders and retinal diseases. The company pioneered Micro-Invasive Glaucoma Surgery, or MIGS, to revolutionize the traditional glaucoma treatment and management paradigm. Glaukos launched the iStent®, its first MIGS device, in the United States in 2012, its next-generation iStent inject® device in the United States in 2018, and most recently, the iStent inject W device in 2020. In corneal health, Glaukos’ proprietary suite of single-use, bio-activated pharmaceuticals are designed to strengthen, stabilize and reshape the cornea through a process called corneal collagen cross-linking to treat corneal ectatic disorders and correct refractive conditions. Glaukos is leveraging its platform technology to build a comprehensive and proprietary portfolio of micro-scale surgical and pharmaceutical therapies in glaucoma, corneal health and retinal disease.

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PHARMA TECH

Confo Therapeutics Enters Collaborative Agreement with Regeneron

Confo Therapeutics | December 01, 2021

Confo Therapeutics announced that it has entered into a collaborative agreement with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. whereby Confo’s technology platform, which uses conformationally selective VHH antibodies – ConfoBodies® – to stabilize GPCRs in disease-relevant conformations, will be applied with the goal of enabling the discovery of novel therapeutic antibody drug candidates. The agreement will leverage Confo’s expertise in addressing two GPCR targets for which functional antibodies are needed. Confo will be entitled to an upfront payment, research funding, and potential clinical, regulatory, and commercial payments. Further details regarding the agreement have not been disclosed. Confo’s ConfoBody-based technology platform aims to overcome the limitations of drug discovery on GPCRs, the largest and most diverse group of membrane receptors targeted by approximately 30% of all commercialized drugs. “With ten medicines approved by regulatory authorities, Regeneron is regarded in our industry as one of the most effective antibody discovery and development companies, with a successful track record of translating scientific insight into effective and innovative treatments. Working with them underscores the significant potential of our technology platform, in particular our new application to generate antibody drug candidates, and its promise to unveil GPCR drug targets and overcome a range of limitations of current approaches,” Cedric Ververken, Chief Executive Officer of Confo Therapeutics Christel Menet, Chief Scientific Officer of Confo Therapeutics added: “We value this opportunity to showcase the strength of this new addition to our technology suite and participate in what we hope will be the development of successful new antibody-based therapies. Parallel to this, we continue on our own drug development path, and drive innovative small molecule and biological therapeutics into our own pipeline.” About Confo Therapeutics Confo Therapeutics’ unparalleled technology stabilizes functional conformations of GPCRs to uncover a wide range of previously inaccessible drug targets. This platform combined with the pharmacologic and biologic insight it provides, allows Confo to build a multi-indication pipeline of drug candidates with the vision of transforming therapeutic outcomes for patients with severe illnesses lacking disease-modifying treatments. Confo Therapeutics was spun out of Vrije Universiteit Brussel and VIB in 2015. Supported by international life-science focused investors and led by an experienced team of entrepreneurial professionals and scientists from successful biopharmaceutical companies, Confo Therapeutics benefits from the rich scientific and innovative ecosystem in Belgium.

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RESEARCH

Moderna and Medison Pharma Collaborate to Commercialize Moderna's COVID-19 Vaccine in Central Eastern Europe and Israel

Moderna | June 08, 2021

Moderna, Inc., a biotechnology company that pioneered messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics and vaccines, and Medison Pharma, a leading commercial partner for highly innovative therapies in international markets, announced today a new agreement to commercialize the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine in Central Eastern Europe and Israel. Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Slovakia, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Serbia, Ukraine, Moldova, Albania, Bosnia, and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Israel are among the nations included by the pact. "We are excited to work with Moderna in 20 markets, covering over 175 million people across the whole Central Eastern Europe region and in Israel," stated Meir Jakobsohn, Medison Pharma's Founder and CEO. "With Moderna's ground-breaking mRNA vaccine and Medison's international commercialization platform for highly innovative treatments, our collaboration is a perfect fit." "We value this new collaboration with Medison Pharma to ensure the successful launch of our mRNA COVID-19 vaccine," stated Corinne Le Goff, Pharm.D., M.B.A., Chief Commercial Officer of Moderna. "By delivering our vaccines in collaboration with our partners, we stay consistent in our commitment to fighting the pandemic." About Medison Pharma Medison is a global pharmaceutical company that focuses on commercializing highly innovative therapies in international markets. Medison offers a full range of integrated services for companies looking to establish a presence in international markets, drawing on a 25-year track record and collaborations with major biotech companies. Medison also has a corporate venture arm with a dedicated research and evaluation team with significant scientific and commercial expertise. About Moderna Moderna has evolved from a science research-stage company advancing programs in the field of messenger RNA (mRNA) to an enterprise with a diverse clinical portfolio of vaccines and therapeutics across six modalities, a broad intellectual property portfolio in areas such as mRNA and lipid nanoparticle formulation, and an integrated manufacturing plant. Moderna maintains alliances with a diverse range of domestic & global government and commercial collaborators, allowing for the pursuit of both ground-breaking science and rapid manufacturing scale.

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