Merck, Rigaku to form molecular structure analysis technology collab

pharmatimes | June 07, 2019

Rigaku and Merck have announced plans to form a partnership to develop novel molecular structure analysis technology. The two companies are collaborating to develop commercially available lab solutions employing highly innovative crystalline sponge technology, under a new joint agreement. The technology will determine the absolute chemical structure of organic molecules and enables X-ray crystallography without crystallisation of the analyte. Merck have “licensed a new technology with the potential to help labs determine absolute chemical structure quickly, even for samples on a sub-microgram scale. Our innovation project is working on dedicated consumables that will simplify the technology to enable our customers to apply it,” said Isabel De Paoli, chief strategy officer at Merck. “With Rigaku, we have found an extremely competent partner to develop the best devices for the technology, and we are looking forward to working together on this project.” The companies say that the innovative approach of crystalline sponge technology can be applied to extremely small amounts of a substance, volatiles and other non-crystallisable compounds. The project simplifies the complex technology and makes it available to chemical and life science laboratories working with pharmaceuticals, fine chemicals or natural compounds that need to determine the molecular structure of substances.

Spotlight

What are we hoping for? That, like true champagne (happy weekend!), the Albert Project will lend a hand in the pioneering efforts to reduce dependencies on things like pharmaceuticals and costly emergency interventions plus improve quality of life.

Spotlight

What are we hoping for? That, like true champagne (happy weekend!), the Albert Project will lend a hand in the pioneering efforts to reduce dependencies on things like pharmaceuticals and costly emergency interventions plus improve quality of life.

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PHARMA TECH

Alimentiv, Satisfai Health, and Virgo Announce Partnership to use AI-driven technology to Enhance Clinical Trials in IBD and other GI Diseases

Alimentiv Inc. | October 06, 2022

Alimentiv Inc. Satisfai Health, Inc and Virgo Surgical Video Solutions, Inc. announced a strategic partnership to revolutionize central reading, data capture, decision support, and patient recruitment in the clinical trial domain for Inflammatory Bowel Disease and allied GI conditions. Satisfai, a global leader in developing artificial intelligence solutions for gastroenterology, and Virgo, an industry leader in endoscopy video capture technology, will leverage their combined strengths to work in partnership with Alimentiv, a leading CRO in gastroenterology, to realize the full potential of AI-powered precision imaging in the GI clinical trials space. "This synergy of Satisfai and Virgo with Alimentiv is a positive development for patients with IBD and the drug development space. Clinical trials have many pain points, and this strategic partnership will enable advances in improving the efficiency of clinical trials and make some significant changes to how trials are run. We are delighted to enter this arrangement to bring the next generation of imaging technology to clinical trials in gastroenterology." Jeff Smith, CEO of Alimentiv "Artificial Intelligence in medicine is being increasingly adopted across various clinical specialties, with gastroenterology being one key field of use, particularly endoscopy," said Dr. Michael Byrne, CEO and founder of Satisfai Health, Clinical Professor of Medicine and gastroenterologist in Vancouver. "Working with Virgo, we are excited to bring AI-driven solutions to the IBD clinical trials arena. To be able to do so with Alimentiv — a leading Gastroenterology and imaging CRO—is a great opportunity. Our clear ambition is to change the clinical trial paradigm for IBD and other disease states such as Eosinophilic Esophagitis. As three groups working together, we are confident we can do so." "Combining Satisfai's marquis AI solutions with Virgo's HIPAA and SOC 2 compliant automated cloud video capture technology and Alimentiv's 21CFR11 compliant solutions, expansive site community, and imaging expertise is very powerful. We truly look forward to realizing this vision and bringing real-time, in-line AI solutions to GI clinical trials worldwide," said Matthew Schwartz, CEO and co-founder at Virgo. This partnership will facilitate Alimentiv's continued leadership in GI Clinical Trials through exclusive access to Satisfai's SmartScore Central Reading tool and Virgo's fully integrated, hands-free, cloud-based high-definition video-capture fleet. In addition, this will provide pharmaceutical and biotech sponsors with access to the ongoing development of novel endpoints, scoring methodologies, and scalable solutions geared toward bringing novel therapies to market faster. About Alimentiv Inc. Alimentiv is a global contract research organization (CRO) providing clinical trials, central image management, precision medicine, and real-world evidence services to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Headquartered in London, Ontario, Alimentiv employs more than 500 people across its operations in Canada, the United States, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America. The organization's unique model combines the efforts of internationally recognized academic researchers and operational experts to offer integrated solutions to customers. Over the past 20 years, Alimentiv has become a recognized expert in clinical trial design, central image management solutions, outcome measure development, and precision medicine for drug development in IBD. Today, Alimentiv provides services in more than 50 countries worldwide, collaborates with leading universities and academic institutions across the globe, and partners with many leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology organizations to bring new and improved treatment options to patients. Alimentiv is committed to investment in medical research and development, focusing on identifying barriers to drug development and pursuing solutions that advance IBD research. The research findings are operationalized into an efficient clinical trial methodology for clients that aligns with emerging regulatory standards. In collaboration with leading experts, Alimentiv has pioneered the development, validation, and standardization of outcome measures and technology, shaping the evolving clinical trial landscape for multiple indications and providing meaningful long-term consequences for patients, their treatment, and society. About Satisfai Health Satisfai is a leading medical solutions provider specializing in AI applications applied to large addressable markets in gastroenterology. Satisfai's solutions deliver real-time medical imagery analysis, providing clinicians with decision support intelligence that dramatically improves patient outcomes. Satisfai is supported by a highly respected board of medical clinicians and key opinion leaders who operate at the top of their fields in the many areas of gastroenterology. Satisfai enjoys a strong voice on academic panels, leading GI societies, and direct access to prominent industry players seeking to adopt new AI technologies in gastroenterology. About Virgo Virgo provides the leading cloud video capture, management, and artificial intelligence analysis platform for endoscopic medicine. Academic, integrated, and private practice healthcare providers use the Virgo platform to advance patient care through video-based research and training initiatives. Since launching, Virgo has helped physicians capture over 400,000 endoscopy procedures using industry-leading HIPAA, HITRUST, and SOC 2-compliant cloud service providers. Virgo also supports integration with all leading electronic health records systems. In 2021, Virgo launched a suite of tools called VirgoTrials, which help pharmaceutical trial sponsors and their participating trial sites accelerate patient recruitment and shorten the overall enrollment period for trials.

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PHARMACY MARKET

TC BioPharm Begins Dosing Phase 2B Clinical Study Evaluating its Lead Compound, OmnImmune®, in Patients with Acute Myeloid Leukemia

TC BioPharm | November 23, 2022

TC Biopharm a clinical stage biotechnology company developing platform allogeneic gamma-delta T cell therapies for cancer today announced the dosing of its first three patients within its Phase 2b clinical trial of OmnImmune®, an allogeneic unmodified cell therapy focused on treating Acute Myeloid Leukemia. The initial 5 patients in the trial are deemed a "safety cohort", spaced two weeks apart with safety review by an oversight board to confirm no drug related toxicity issues, subsequent to 5 patients being dosed the study will advance to open enrollment. This safety cohort is in line with TCBP's step-wise clinical trial advancement, moving from donor matching in the Phase 1b to a universal donor model with no HLA matching of donor to patient. "The launch of our Phase 2B trial is a key milestone in the development of our lead therapeutic, OmnImmune®, for patients with AML and for TC BioPharm's emerging pipeline of 'off-the-shelf' gamma-delta T cell therapies. This study design includes a 5 patient safety cohort prior to open enrollment, we expect to complete the safety cohort before the end of 2022. The next step in the study is a 19 patient interim review, which will allow TCBP to review dosing and increase dosing to a higher level should our team deem it necessary for efficacy, or we can elect to maintain our current dosing level of 7x10^7 or 700 million cells per dose. We look forward to moving ahead with our Phase 2b trial with a target for open enrollment in January 2023, as well as our efforts to expand our clinical efforts in the US in the first half of 2023." Bryan Kobel, CEO of TC BioPharm TC BioPharm's Phase 2B trial, dubbed ACHIEVE, will enroll adults diagnosed with AML who have either relapsed or are refractory to prior treatments as well as a cohort for patients with myelodysplastic syndromes conditions that can occur when the blood-forming cells in the bone marrow become abnormal. The trial is expected to enroll approximately 37 patients. About TC BioPharm PLC TC BioPharm is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of gamma-delta T cell therapies for the treatment of cancer with human efficacy data in acute myeloid leukemia. Gamma-delta T cells are naturally occurring immune cells that embody properties of both the innate and adaptive immune systems and can intrinsically differentiate between healthy and diseased tissue. TC BioPharm uses an allogeneic approach in both unmodified and CAR modified gamma-delta T cells to effectively identify, target and eradicate both liquid and solid tumors in cancer. TC BioPharm is the leader in developing gamma-delta T cell therapies, and the first company to conduct phase II/pivotal clinical studies in oncology. The Company is conducting two investigator-initiated clinical trials for its unmodified gamma-delta T cell product line - Phase 2b/3 pivotal trial for OmnImmune® in treatment of acute myeloid leukemia using the Company's proprietary allogenic CryoTC technology to provide frozen product to clinics worldwide. TC BioPharm also maintains a robust pipeline for future indications in solid tumors as well as a significant IP/patent portfolio in the use of CARs with gamma-delta T cells and owns our manufacturing facility to maintain cost and product quality controls.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Novo Nordisk to acquire Forma Therapeutics and expand presence in sickle cell disease and rare blood disorders

Novo Nordisk | September 02, 2022

Novo Nordisk and Forma Therapeutics, Holdings Inc. announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Novo Nordisk will acquire Forma Therapeutics for $20 per share in cash, which represents a total equity value of $1.1 billion. Forma Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on transforming the lives of patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) and rare blood disorders. The acquisition of Forma Therapeutics, including its lead development candidate, etavopivat, is aligned with Novo Nordisk’s strategy to complement and accelerate its scientific presence and pipeline in hemoglobinopathies, a group of disorders in which there is abnormal production or structure of the hemoglobin protein in the red blood cells. “Novo Nordisk has worked for more than 40 years to develop and deliver transformative medicines to patients around the world with rare and devastating diseases. By adding Forma’s differentiated approach to address unmet needs for patients, we are taking a step forward in enhancing our sickle cell disease pipeline,” said Ludovic Helfgott, executive vice president and head of Rare Disease at Novo Nordisk. “We have an ambition to build a leading portfolio with standalone and combination treatments to tackle the complications and underlying causes of sickle cell disease.” Etavopivat, an investigational oral, once-daily, selective pyruvate kinase-R (PKR) activator, is being developed to improve anemia and red blood cell health in people with SCD, a seriously debilitating, life-threatening and life shortening disease. Etavopivat is currently being evaluated in a global phase 2/3 clinical trial (Hibiscus) in patients with SCD, and in a phase 2 trial (Gladiolus) in patients with transfusion-dependent SCD and another inherited hemoglobinopathy called thalassemia. “Today’s announcement is an exciting milestone that accelerates Forma’s purpose to transform the lives of patients with sickle cell disease and other serious hematological diseases,” said Frank D. Lee, president and chief executive officer of Forma. “Novo Nordisk will partner closely with the sickle cell community to amplify our impact for patients around the world who urgently need new treatment options. We look forward to working together with Novo Nordisk to serve as a trusted partner to our communities and to advance innovation, access and health equity for patients.” The transaction will not impact Novo Nordisk’s previously communicated operating profit outlook for 2022 or the ongoing share buy-back program. Novo Nordisk will fund the acquisition from financial reserves. About the transaction Under the terms of the agreement, Novo Nordisk will initiate a tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares of Forma Therapeutics’ common stock at a price of $20 per share in cash (or aggregated value of $1.1 billion) and a premium of 92% to Forma Therapeutics’ volume-weighted average price per share over the past 30 days ended August 31, 2022. The transaction has been unanimously approved by the Forma Therapeutics Board of Directors. The closing of the tender offer will be subject to certain conditions, including the tender of shares representing a majority of Forma Therapeutics’ outstanding shares, receipt of applicable regulatory approvals and other customary conditions. Upon the successful completion of the tender offer, Novo Nordisk’s acquisition subsidiary will merge into Forma Therapeutics, and any shares of common stock of Forma Therapeutics not tendered into the offer will receive the same USD per share price payable in the tender offer. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2022. In addition, certain affiliates of RA Capital Management, L.P., which collectively own approximately 19% of Forma Therapeutics’ outstanding shares, have entered into a support agreement pursuant to which they committed to tender their shares in the tender offer. Novo Nordisk is represented by Moelis & Company UK LLP as financial advisor and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP as legal advisor. Forma Therapeutics is represented by Centerview Partners LLC as financial advisor and Goodwin Procter LLP as legal advisor. About sickle cell disease Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a chronic and progressive inherited disorder associated with a decrease in the health and lifespan of red blood cells. People living with SCD have red blood cells that are crescent shaped, rendering them inflexible, fragile, and unable to effectively deliver oxygen. The health of these sickle red blood cells is impaired and characterized by reduced cellular energy, poor deformability, decreased membrane repair, and increased adhesion. Around 17 million people worldwide live with SCD, including approximately 100,000 people in the United States, as well as approximately 30,000 in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. SCD can cause serious health problems, including anemia, fatigue, episodes of pain known as vaso-occlusive crises (VOCs), and chronic, progressive end-organ damage. Despite recent advances in treatment, most patients with SCD still suffer from pain crises, lifelong disability, reduced quality of life, and shortened life expectancy. About etavopivat Etavopivat is an investigational, once-daily, selective pyruvate kinase-R (PKR) activator designed to be a disease-modifying therapy with the potential to improve red blood cell health and transform the lives of people living with SCD. Employing a multimodal approach, etavopivat works by activating the red blood cell’s natural PKR activity to decrease levels of the metabolite 2,3-DPG, allowing sickle hemoglobin to hold on to oxygen longer, resulting in decreased polymerization, hemolysis, and sickling. Etavopivat-mediated PKR activation also increases adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels, to improve red blood cell function, which can lead to improved deformability, capacity for membrane repair, red blood cell health, and lifespan. Together, these effects are anticipated to improve the health of sickle red blood cell and lead to a reduction in anemia, hemolysis, vaso-occlusive crises, and end organ damage. In a phase 1 trial, etavopivat improved anemia and red blood cell health and appeared to have a safe and well-tolerated profile, demonstrating a potential to improve the lives of patients with SCD, including increases in hemoglobin, improvements in red blood cell health, and decreases in vaso-occlusive crises (VOCs). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted etavopivat Fast Track, Rare Pediatric Disease and Orphan Drug designations. Additionally, etavopivat was granted Orphan Drug designation from the European Commission based on a positive opinion from the Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products of the European Medicines Agency for the treatment of patients with SCD. About Forma Therapeutics Forma Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the research, development and commercialization of novel therapeutics to transform the lives of patients with rare hematologic diseases and cancers. Forma Therapeutics R&D engine combines deep biology insight, chemistry expertise and clinical development capabilities to create drug candidates with differentiated mechanisms of action focused on indications with high unmet need. Our work has generated a broad proprietary portfolio of programs with the potential to provide profound patient benefit. About Novo Nordisk Novo Nordisk is a leading global healthcare company, founded in 1923 and headquartered in Denmark. Our purpose is to drive change to defeat diabetes and other serious chronic diseases such as obesity and rare blood and endocrine disorders. We do so by pioneering scientific breakthroughs, expanding access to our medicines, and working to prevent and ultimately cure disease. Novo Nordisk employs about 50,800 people in 80 countries and markets its products in around 170 countries.

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