Merck and Pfizer’s Bavencio approved for renal cell carcinoma

Merck KGaA and Pfizer’s immunotherapy Bavencio (avelumab) has been approved by the FDA in combination with Pfizer’s Inlyta (axitinib) for the first-line treatment of patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC). The accelerated approval was based on positive results from the Phase III JAVELIN Renal 101 study, which showed the combination significantly lowered risk of disease progression or death by 31% and extended progression-free survival by 5.4 months for patients with advanced RCC compared with sunitinib. This is good news for a drug that has faced some challenges recently. In March, Merck and Pfizer discontinued an ovarian cancer trial for Bavencio. The decision was based on several emerging factors since the trial’s initiation, including interim results from the separate JAVELIN Ovarian 100 trial announced in December showing that Bavencio was unable to improve progression-free survival when used as a maintenance therapy. That failure came just a few weeks after Merck and Pfizer conceded defeat in another phase III study of Bavencio, the JAVELIN Ovarian 200 trial in platinum-resistant or platinum-refractory ovarian cancer.

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GoodRx and MedImpact Announce Program to Ensure Seamless Access to Affordable Prescriptions

Business Wire | September 14, 2023

GoodRx a leading resource for healthcare savings and information, and MedImpact, the independent pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) and health solutions company, announced a new savings solution designed to integrate GoodRx’s prescription pricing in a seamless experience at the pharmacy counter. Now, when an eligible MedImpact member fills a prescription for a generic medication, it will automatically compare their benefit and the GoodRx price and then deliver the lowest one. The amount paid will be applied to the member’s deductible. “This solution allows us to meet Americans where they are by providing them with low prices on their prescriptions without the need for them to compare costs on their own,” said Cynthia Meiners, Strategic Program Development Officer at GoodRx. “We are bringing together the best of what GoodRx does with the best of what MedImpact does to make it incredibly convenient for MedImpact’s members to start and stay on their prescribed treatments, and to fully integrate their clinical data. We truly feel the future of healthcare lies in these types of integrations.” The collaboration achieved by integrating GoodRx’s price comparison technology with MedImpact’s advanced technology platform allows both companies to deliver more savings without any additional work on the part of the consumer. In addition, members will benefit from the seamless data integration this program provides. Through MedImpact’s rigorous drug safety review, which includes thousands of health and safety checks, patients will be alerted about any negative drug interactions. “We are delivering to clients a full portfolio of health, wellness and savings solutions and we see this program as an important part of it,” Marcus Sredzinski, Pharm D, General Manager and MedImpact Senior Vice President. “This delivers hassle-free savings to members, while helping payers capture clinical and adherence data they may have otherwise missed.” GoodRx is actively working to access new lives by expanding its prescription savings reach by partnering with pharmacy benefit managers and their plan sponsors to collaboratively integrate into the insurance benefit market. Through these programs with CVS Caremark, Express Scripts, and MedImpact, GoodRx savings are seamlessly integrated at point-of-sale with three major PBMs that reach over 60% of insured lives. This new program will become available to eligible MedImpact members starting January 1, 2024. About GoodRx GoodRx is a leading resource for healthcare savings and information that makes healthcare affordable and convenient for all Americans. We offer consumers free access to transparent and lower prices for brand and generic medications, affordable and convenient medical provider consultations via telehealth, and comprehensive healthcare research and information. Since 2011, we have helped consumers save over $60 billion and are one of the most downloaded medical apps over the past decade. GoodRx periodically posts information that may be important to investors on its investor relations website at https://investors.goodrx.com. We intend to use our website as a means of disclosing material nonpublic information and for complying with our disclosure obligations under Regulation FD. Accordingly, investors and potential investors are encouraged to consult GoodRx’s website regularly for important information, in addition to following GoodRx’s press releases, filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) and public conference calls and webcasts. The information contained on, or that may be accessed through, GoodRx’s website is not incorporated by reference into, and is not a part of, this press release. About MedImpact For more than 30 years, MedImpact has been building, delivering, and reimagining pharmacy benefit solutions for healthcare payers who face complex and dynamic challenges. As the leading independent PBM, we offer clients the clarity they need to make care and cost decisions; control over a powerful suite of solutions that manage pharmacy spend; and confidence that comes from a proven PBM partner who is fully aligned with their goals and invested in their future.

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PHARMACY MARKET

Halozyme Announces Positive Clinical Data of its High-Volume Auto-Injector Demonstrating Successful Rapid Subcutaneous Drug Delivery

PR Newswire | October 19, 2023

Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. announced positive results of a clinical study demonstrating subcutaneous administration of 10 mL of a representative biologic product co-formulated with its ENHANZE® drug delivery technology, in approximately 30 seconds. In the study, the biologic was delivered with Halozyme's proprietary high-volume auto-injector (HVAI) in healthy volunteers. The injection was delivered successfully to all 23 participants and was well tolerated. "To our knowledge, this is the first clinical study of its kind," said Mike LaBarre, chief technical officer of Halozyme. "Traditional subcutaneous auto-injector delivery methods are typically limited to volumes less than 2 mL or require long delivery times at slow rates for higher volumes. By enabling rapid subcutaneous injection of high volumes of biologic products, our ENHANZE drug delivery technology in combination with our proprietary HVAI has the potential to improve the patient experience for multiple therapies." In the study, a representative biologic, immunoglobulin 10%, was delivered to 23 healthy volunteers. The primary endpoint of the study was achieved with all subjects receiving the completed dose with HVAI, demonstrating that 10 mL of a representative biologic product can be rapidly delivered using Halozyme's ENHANZE® and HVAI technologies. Data Highlights 96% of participants stated that they would be willing to receive the injection again. 90% of participants indicated feeling either no pain or mild pain immediately after injection. Erythema, swelling, and induration were generally minimal to mild and resolved by 90 minutes or less. Biologics delivered subcutaneously through auto-injectors are typically restricted to doses of 1-2 mL. This limitation is caused by hyaluronan, a molecule that inhibits fluid dispersion in the subcutaneous space. Halozyme's ENHANZE® drug delivery technology is based on a proprietary recombinant human hyaluronidase PH20 (rHuPH20), an enzyme that locally degrades hyaluronan in the subcutaneous space. This temporarily increases the permeability of the tissue under the skin, allowing space for the biologic to enter, enabling it to be rapidly dispersed and absorbed into the bloodstream. "These results support our continued dedication to providing innovative drug delivery options to patients," said Helen Torley, chief executive officer of Halozyme. "Our ENHANZE drug delivery and HVAI technologies have the potential to rapidly deliver large volume therapeutics subcutaneously with the potential for meaningful clinical benefits." Halozyme's HVAI is available to partners for clinical use. About Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. Halozyme is a biopharmaceutical company bringing disruptive solutions to significantly improve patient experiences and outcomes for emerging and established therapies. As the innovators of the ENHANZE® drug delivery technology with the proprietary enzyme rHuPH20, Halozyme's commercially-validated solution is used to facilitate the delivery of injected drugs and fluids in order to reduce the treatment burden to patients. Having touched more than 700,000 patient lives in post-marketing use in seven commercialized products across more than 100 global markets, Halozyme has licensed its ENHANZE® technology to leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies including Roche, Takeda, Pfizer, AbbVie, Eli Lilly, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Alexion, argenx, Horizon Therapeutics, ViiV Healthcare and Chugai Pharmaceutical. Halozyme also develops, manufactures and commercializes, for itself or with partners, drug-device combination products using its advanced auto-injector technology that are designed to provide commercial or functional advantages such as improved convenience and tolerability, and enhanced patient comfort and adherence. The Company has a commercial portfolio of proprietary products including XYOSTED®, TLANDO® and NOCDURNA® and partnered commercial products and ongoing product development programs with several pharmaceutical companies including Teva Pharmaceutical, Pfizer and Idorsia Pharmaceuticals.

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PHARMACY MARKET

Iambic Therapeutics Announces Close of Oversubscribed $100 Million Series B Financing to Advance AI-Discovered Therapeutics into Clinical Development

Business Wire | October 10, 2023

Iambic Therapeutics a biotechnology company developing novel therapeutics from its unique generative AI discovery platform, today announced the closing of an oversubscribed $100 million Series B financing co-led by Ascenta Capital and Abingworth, and also including new investors NVIDIA, Illumina Ventures, Gradiant Corporation, and independent board member Bill Rastetter. Existing investors also participated, including Nexus Ventures, Catalio Capital Management, Coatue, FreeFlow, OrbiMed, and Sequoia Capital. As part of the Series B, Iambic is delighted to welcome two new board members, Evan Rachlin, M.D., from Ascenta Capital and Kurt von Emster from Abingworth. “At Iambic, our world-class team has combined physics and AI to create a differentiated drug discovery platform that achieves a step-change in the speed and success rate for delivering best-in-class and first-in-class development candidates to clinic,” commented Tom Miller, Ph.D., Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Iambic. “With the Series B funding, we intend to advance multiple AI-discovered candidates into the clinic and expand our pipeline, demonstrating how the Iambic platform can deliver better therapeutics to patients in less time, with optimized target product profiles for greater likelihood of clinical success.” “We were struck by the originality of these molecules, offering distinctive approaches in both deeply validated and more novel biological pathways,” added Evan Rachlin, M.D., Co-founder and Managing Partner of Ascenta Capital. “Iambic’s platform enables a more creative and expansive exploration of how to treat diseases with profound unmet needs. We are delighted to partner with Tom and his extraordinary team in translating these thoroughly tested medicines into humans.” “Abingworth is proud to support the remarkably talented team at Iambic in its drive to revolutionize drug discovery and speed to the market with highly selective drugs,” said Kurt von Emster, Managing Partner and Head of Life Sciences at Abingworth. “AI-driven technologies, including methods that Iambic and NVIDIA researchers have built together, are charting a new path for researchers in the discovery of new therapeutic candidates,” said Rory Kelleher, Director of Healthcare and Life Sciences at NVIDIA. “NVIDIA-accelerated computing and software are helping industry pioneers like Iambic drive scientific breakthroughs and our continued collaboration aims to speed innovation in drug discovery.” “We believe technology innovations powered by advanced computing and omics-derived data insights will transform drug discovery and pave the way for the next wave of groundbreaking medicines,” said Ron Mazumder, Ph.D., MBA, Partner of Illumina Ventures. “Iambic’s physics-informed machine learning approach has yielded promising lead candidates with superior profiles in record time.” Since its 2021 Series A financing, Iambic has rapidly built its AI-driven discovery platform, which unifies state-of-the-art, physics-informed machine learning and experimental automation, and has demonstrated the platform’s success in identifying therapeutic candidates with differentiated drug profiles. In addition to building out a deep bench of AI and drug-discovery experts, Iambic has discovered two candidates to advance into the clinic: IAM-H1, a highly selective and brain-penetrant inhibitor of HER2 and its oncogenic mutants, and IAM-C1, a potential first-in-class selective dual CDK2/4 inhibitor to address unmet needs in terms of therapeutic window and treatment resistance in cell-cycle-driven cancers. Further, Iambic has extended its leadership position in the AI community, creating methods such as NeuralPLexer and OrbNet to drive its discovery platform. With the funds raised in the Series B, Iambic intends to advance multiple candidates into clinical development, expand its pipeline with additional candidates with best-in-class and first-in-class potential, and continue to innovate and build next-generation AI and automation technologies for drug discovery. It plans to leverage NVIDIA technology such as the NVIDIA DGX Cloud AI supercomputing platform and the NVIDIA BioNeMo cloud service to accelerate discovery. The company retains the technology created under its prior name of Entos Inc., adopting the new name of Iambic Therapeutics to reflect its transition to a company with the additional capability of clinical development of candidates identified through its AI-driven discovery platform. About the Iambic Therapeutics Physics-Informed AI-Driven Discovery Platform The Iambic Therapeutics AI-driven platform was created to address the most challenging design problems in drug discovery, incorporating the most current AI technologies and purpose-built tools from Iambic. The integration of physics principles into the platform’s AI architectures improves data efficiency and allows molecular models to venture widely across the space of possible chemical structures. The platform’s algorithms enable identification of new chemical mechanisms for engaging difficult-to-address biological targets, discovery of defined product profiles that optimize therapeutic window, and exploration of the chemical space to discover candidates for development with highly differentiated properties. Through close integration of AI-generated molecular designs with automated experimental execution, Iambic completes design-make-test cycles on a weekly cadence. About Iambic Therapeutics Founded in 2019 and headquartered in La Jolla, California, Iambic Therapeutics is disrupting the therapeutics landscape with its unique AI-driven drug-discovery platform. Iambic has assembled a world-class team that unites pioneering AI experts and experienced drug hunters with strong track records of success in delivering clinically validated therapeutics. The Iambic platform has been demonstrated to deliver high-quality, differentiated therapeutics to clinic with unprecedented speed and across multiple target classes and mechanisms of action. The Iambic team is advancing an internal pipeline of clinical assets to address urgent unmet patient needs.

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