Novartis backs brolucizumab with new head-to-head Eylea trial

pharmaphorum | September 09, 2019

Novartis is launching a head-to-head trial of its experimental brolucizumab therapy for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) against Bayer/Regeneron’s Eylea, the market leader. The TALON trial in the wet form of AMD will compare brolucizumab against Eylea (aflibercept) on a range of measures, including visual acuity and treatment interval duration, to see if it can outperform Bayer and Regeneron’s drug. An FDA verdict on brolucizumab is due shortly based on two earlier trials – HAWK and HARRIER – and the company is hoping to launch its new therapy before the end of the year in the US. Brolucizumab is a follow-up to Novartis’ blockbuster AMD therapy Lucentis (ranibizumab), which has been competing toe-to-toe in the AMD market with Eylea for several years. Novartis reported sales of $2 billion for Lucentis last year, with its marketing partner Roche adding another $1.7 billion in US sales. In comparison, Regeneron posted $4 billion revenues from the US while Bayer made $2.1 billion in ex-US Eylea sales. Brolucizumab is seen as Novartis’ big chance to claim back dominance of the wet AMD market, which has seen first-to-market Lucentis progressively caught up and overtaken by Eylea over the last few years, and the company spent a priority review voucher in order to get the FDA review done as quickly as possible.

Spotlight

Watch Jon Sutch, PhD, Senior Manager, Formulation Development and Sanjay Konagurthu, PhD, Senior Director, PDS Global Science & Technology, both with Patheon, as they evaluate how spray drying techniques can be leveraged to address low solubility challenges in drug development.

Spotlight

Watch Jon Sutch, PhD, Senior Manager, Formulation Development and Sanjay Konagurthu, PhD, Senior Director, PDS Global Science & Technology, both with Patheon, as they evaluate how spray drying techniques can be leveraged to address low solubility challenges in drug development.

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Astellas and Sutro Biopharma Announce Worldwide Strategic Collaboration to Advance Novel Immunostimulatory Antibody-Drug Conjugates (iADCs)

Sutro Biopharma, Inc.; Astellas Pharma Inc. | June 28, 2022

Astellas Pharma Inc. and Sutro Biopharma, Inc. announced a worldwide, strategic collaboration and licensing agreement focused on the discovery and development of novel immunostimulatory antibody-drug conjugates. The collaboration leverages the unique cancer-fighting potential of iADCs as a novel modality, enabled by Sutro’s ability to engineer complex conjugated antibodies, and Astellas’ global oncology R&D expertise. “We are delighted to work with Astellas, a premier biopharmaceutical company with substantial expertise in immuno-oncology, on this novel modality. iADCs hold promise well beyond the existing success of ADCs. Sutro’s unique conjugation technology enables dual conjugations that site-specifically incorporate a potent cytotoxin that can directly kill tumor cells together with an immunostimulatory component that has the potential to locally prime an immune response to the patient’s particular tumor cells. We look forward to collaboratively exploring the potential of this approach to treat cold tumors and bring new drug therapies to patients who do not respond to existing immunotherapies.” William J. Newell, Sutro’s Chief Executive Officer Naoki Okamura, Chief Strategy Officer, at Astellas commented, "Astellas considers Immuno-Oncology as one of the Primary Focuses of its R&D strategy; our goal is to bring effective drugs to patients who do not respond to existing immune checkpoint inhibitors. Sutro is a leading company in the area of iADCs, a new modality, and has its own original iADC technologies. The strategic partnership with Sutro will help us expand our pipeline and widen the choice of cancer immunotherapies.” A key challenge with cancer immunotherapies, including immune checkpoint inhibitors, is the tumor microenvironment*1 within cold tumors creating barriers to immune cell infiltration and thus preventing the cure. The immune checkpoint inhibitors approved to date are efficacious as a monotherapy in only about 20% of cancer types, which vary widely*1. This strategic partnership will engage in the development of iADCs, a next generation modality with the potential for effective and efficient approaches for treatment of cold tumors so as to bring new drug therapies to patients who do not respond to existing therapies. An iADC, which combines an antibody with a small molecule compound that induces immunogenic cell death*2 in addition to an immune activating molecule, has the potential to boost the anti-cancer action. This partnership will enable Astellas and Sutro to mutually leverage strengths in their respective fields to accelerate iADC development for three distinct biological targets; Sutro will engage in research and preclinical studies to identify candidate compounds and then Astellas will pursue clinical development. Sutro has advanced technologies for linking drugs to antibodies and proprietary component parts, including candidate antibodies and linkable cytotoxins and immunostimulatory molecules. For development of iADCs, Astellas will utilize the strength of its global R&D and commercialization capabilities in the area of antibodies and the small molecular components. These iADCs may have the potential to provide new therapeutic options for treatment of cancers for which no broadly effective therapy is currently available. Under the terms of the agreement, Sutro will receive an upfront cash payment of US$90 million to develop iADCs for three biological targets and may be eligible to receive up to US$422.5 million in development, regulatory and commercial milestones for each product candidate, and tiered royalties ranging from low double-digit to mid-teens on worldwide sales of any commercial products that may result from the collaboration, subject to Sutro’s cost and profit sharing option for the United States. Sutro has the option to share in the costs and profits for developing and commercializing product candidates in the United States. If Sutro exercises this option for a particular product candidate, Astellas and Sutro will equally share the costs of such co-development and co-commercialization, with the resulting profits/losses from co-commercialization also shared equally in the United States.

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PHARMACY MARKET

WuXi Biologics Launches First Commercial Drug Product Facility for Pre-Filled Syringes

WuXi Biologics | June 06, 2022

WuXi Biologics a global CRDMO service company, announced it has successfully launched the GMP operation of its new drug product facility DP5 located in Wuxi, China. The DP5 is the ninth operational drug product facility in the global network of WuXi Biologics. The DP5 facility features an advanced isolator filling line for continuous and steady filling services, which offers multiple volume delivery options for pre-filled syringes including 1 mL Long, 1 mL, 2.25 mL and 3 mL. The maximum filling speed can reach 400 PFS/min to support 17 million syringes of drug products manufacturing every year. The increased manufacturing capacity at DP5 allows WuXi Biologics to provide global partners with faster and more robust end-to-end drug product services for their innovative products at different scales and stages. Compared to a traditional drug product filling line, DP5's state-of-the-art design and layout, single-use technology and automated equipment, significantly decrease the risk of contamination and maintain aseptic control required in the filling process. This process supports clients' products scale up to commercial capability and reliably delivers to patients under the highest quality standards which WuXi Biologics represents. "Pre-filled syringes have emerged as one of the fastest-growing choices for biologics dosage form as our partners seek new and more convenient biologics delivery methods. The GMP operation of DP5, our first commercial drug product facility for pre-filled syringes, not only demonstrates our commitment to global partners, but also marks an important milestone for WuXi Biologics to become one of the global leaders in drug product CDMO services. We'll continue to enable our clients to advance innovative biologics towards clinical trials, regulatory approvals, and commercialization to benefit patients worldwide." Dr. Chris Chen, CEO of WuXi Biologics About WuXi Biologics WuXi Biologics is a global Contract Research, Development and Manufacturing Organization offering end-to-end solutions that enable partners to discover, develop, and manufacture biologics – from concept to commercialization – for the benefit of patients worldwide. With over 10,000 skilled employees in China, the United States, Ireland, Germany, and Singapore, WuXi Biologics leverages its technologies and expertise to provide customers with efficient and cost-effective biologics discovery, development, and manufacturing solutions. As of the end of 2021, WuXi Biologics is supporting over 480 integrated client projects, including nine in commercial manufacturing.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

AMPLICORE, INC. ANNOUNCES US FDA CLEARANCE OF FIRST INVESTIGATIONAL NEW DRUG APPLICATION (IND) AND ADDITION OF EXPERIENCED FINANCIAL LEADER TO BOARD

Amplicore, Inc. | July 15, 2022

Amplicore Inc., a Mason, OH-based, early-stage biopharmaceutical company specializing in the development of minimally invasive therapeutic solutions for musculoskeletal disorders, today announced that the Food and Drug Administration has cleared their first application for AM3101, a novel treatment to promote healing of acute meniscal tears. The move enables the initiation of a Department of Defense-sponsored phase 1/2b clinical study in concert with the University of Cincinnati. The FDA clearance marks the company's transition into a clinical stage company. In addition to AM3101, the company's pipeline also includes AM1101, which is being developed for osteoarthritis, and AM2101, with an indication to treat degenerative disc disease. "We are very proud to announce the clearance for AM3101. Despite their commonality, service men and women have limited treatment options for acute meniscal tears. While suturing is often the most frequent approach, the failure rate for surgery is quite high due to the limited reparative capacity of much of the tissue. Our research has found that our Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) provides pain relief and promotes regeneration of the meniscus, as well as several other structurally related joint tissues. In this way, the transition of Amplicore into a clinical stage company represents a critical development for all patients suffering from musculoskeletal conditions." Chief Executive Officer/Founder Dr. James Lin Amplicore also announced the addition of Steve Schrader to its advisory board. A high-impact financial leader with three decades of experience in corporate finance, Schrader has held Chief Financial Officer positions in a variety of industries, including an international auto glass company, a private healthcare company, a Fortune 500 public utility, and a NASDAQ-listed startup. Throughout his career, Steve has increased revenue and raised over $1.3 Billion in capital for companies. He has also taken two firms from start-up to manufacturing. Schrader will advise on financial planning and fundraising efforts. "Amplicore is a leader in developing injectable therapeutics for musculoskeletal disorders. I am excited to join the board during this pivotal time as they work to close their Series A investment round, and I look forward to being a part of their future success." ABOUT AMPLICORE, INC. Amplicore, Inc. is an early-stage biotech start-up company based on technology developed in the laboratory of CEO/Founder Dr. Chia-Ying Lin at the University of Cincinnati. Headquartered in Mason, OH, the company is dedicated to developing novel injectable therapeutics to serve unmet medical needs for degenerative musculoskeletal disorders. Unlike current therapies that focus solely on palliative treatment, Amplicore is also taking a regenerative approach to treating these disorders. The company's lead products, AM3101, AM1101, and AM2101, address significant deficiencies in the current standard of care for the treatment of acute meniscal tear, osteoarthritis, and degenerative disc disease, respectively. Amplicore's overall mission is to translate scientific innovation into effective but minimally invasive products that can be easily delivered to patients.

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