Novartis’ Mayzent could preserve mobility in MS patients

PharmaTimes | September 12, 2019

Novartis has announced that Mayzent (siponimod) may preserve mobility and brain volume in patients with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS). The post hoc data analysis showed that the drug could delay median time to EDSS seven - the point at which wheelchair-dependence is reached - by an average of 4.3 years in patients. These results mean that the average time to when patients require a wheelchair could be extended from 12 years to 16.3 years. The data, presented at the 2019 Congress of The European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis, also found that the treatment significantly reduced the loss of cortical grey matter and thalamic volume at one and two years, demonstrating the potential value of Mayzent as a treatment for the debilitating disorder. “Our purpose at Novartis is to deliver treatments that can make a real difference to people’s lives.These latest data support siponimod’s place as an effective therapy for  some of the estimated 38,000 people in the UK living with SPMS,” said Dr Mark Toms, chief scientific officer, Novartis UK.

Spotlight

From their diet to their diseases, koalas are pretty special. Now researchers have sequenced the koala’s genome, unlocking the secrets that make these fuzzy fellas so unique. The genome is revealing everything from how koalas cope with munching poisonous eucalyptus leaves, to how they respond to chlamydia infections. The hope is that these insights will not only help us understand these fascinating marsupials, but also aid conservation efforts across Australia.

Spotlight

From their diet to their diseases, koalas are pretty special. Now researchers have sequenced the koala’s genome, unlocking the secrets that make these fuzzy fellas so unique. The genome is revealing everything from how koalas cope with munching poisonous eucalyptus leaves, to how they respond to chlamydia infections. The hope is that these insights will not only help us understand these fascinating marsupials, but also aid conservation efforts across Australia.

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PHARMA TECH

Armata Pharmaceuticals Announces Clearance of IND for Prosthetic Joint Infections

Armata Pharmaceuticals, Inc | August 02, 2022

Armata Pharmaceuticals, Inc. a biotechnology company focused on pathogen-specific bacteriophage therapeutics for antibiotic-resistant and difficult-to-treat bacterial infections, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cleared Armata's Investigational New Drug application for AP-SA02 in prosthetic joint infection. The company is initiating start-up activities for the Phase 1b/2a trial that will explore the safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetics of intravenous and intra-articular doses of AP-SA02 as an adjunct to standard of care antibiotics in subjects with PJI. "Prosthetic joint infection is one of the most serious complications of prosthetic joint implantation. Staphylococcus aureus is a dominant pathogen that drives the need for surgical intervention and prolonged courses of antibiotic therapy. The ability of S. aureus to create biofilms that are refractory to standard of care antibiotics highlights the need for a novel therapy. Phage therapy may fill this need for PJI patients as phage have demonstrated the ability to disrupt biofilm and work synergistically with antibiotics." Dr. Mina Pastagia, Armata's Senior Vice President of Clinical Development "Armata is excited to explore AP-PA02 in patients who suffer from complicated joint infections that don't respond adequately to standard of care antibiotics. PJI is a logical extension of our diSArm trial which is targeting complicated S. aureus bacteremia," said Brian Varnum, Chief Executive Officer of Armata. "With this IND approval, Armata now has four active clinical programs. Today marks an important development milestone for Armata and its investors who set a course three years ago to transform phage therapy from a promising new technology to one that is explored in rigorous clinical settings." In addition to evaluating AP-SA02 in PJI and bacteremia due to S. aureus, Armata has advanced AP-PA02 into the Phase 2a component of the SWARM-P.a. study which targets chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections in people with cystic fibrosis (CF). In February, the company gained IND clearance for AP-PA02 in a second indication, non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis targeting patients with chronic P. aeruginosa infections in a Phase 2 trial. About Armata Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Armata is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the development of precisely targeted bacteriophage therapeutics for the treatment of antibiotic-resistant and difficult-to-treat bacterial infections using its proprietary bacteriophage-based technology. Armata is developing and advancing a broad pipeline of natural and synthetic phage candidates, including clinical candidates for Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and other pathogens. In addition, in collaboration with Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, Armata is developing proprietary synthetic phage candidates to target an undisclosed infectious disease agent. Armata is committed to advancing phage with drug development expertise that spans bench to clinic including in-house phage specific GMP manufacturing.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Curia and Replicate Bioscience Enter Strategic Collaboration to Create Groundbreaking Development Platform for Self-Replicating RNA (srRNA)

Curia | June 10, 2022

Curia, formerly AMRI, a leading contract research, development and manufacturing organization, and Replicate Bioscience, a company pioneering ways to prevent drug resistance in cancer and to treat autoimmune and inflammatory disorders and other diseases using self-replicating RNA (srRNA), today announced that they will collaborate on a robust development platform for Replicate’s srRNA therapeutics. As part of the collaboration, Curia’s experienced process development team will support the GMP production of Replicate Bioscience’s srRNA vectors up to eight-liter scale (8L), which can be used in Phase 1 through pivotal clinical trials. Curia’s global mRNA development and manufacturing facility is ISO-13485 certified and located near Boston, Massachusetts. This facility also supports innovators engaged in vaccine and other mRNA therapy development and manufacture through Phase 2 and 3, including GMP assays. Additional Curia facilities support manufacture of srRNA through commercial production scales. “Replicate’s approach to srRNA is unique, in that we create our own virally-derived synthetic vectors to customize srRNAs to deliver specific proteins,” said Replicate Co-founder and Chief Development Officer Andrew Geall, Ph.D., who previously has set up srRNA CMC frameworks for companies including Novartis, Synthetic Genomics, and Precision Nanosystems. “This customization has important therapeutic. advantages—versatility of application, lower dosing, and longer duration of therapeutic effect compared to other RNA modalities—but requires built-for-purpose processes to solve the challenges of manufacturing longer RNAs. Curia’s unprecedented expertise in process development and end-to-end integration of longer RNAs makes them a perfect partner for us as we transition from research into clinical development and the production of our srRNA for trials in patients.” “The manufacture of these longer mRNAs is more technically challenging than non-replicating mRNAs and to date we have succeeded with mRNAs up to 16,000 bases. Curia’s platform offers versatility and streamlined manufacturing times that can handle such complex molecules. Our collaboration with Replicate Bioscience is enabling us to create entirely new methods of manufacturing longer RNAs. We have built our platform from the ground up, using our combined experience in biologics and chemistry to create end-to-end solutions covering mRNA synthesis, lipid synthesis, formulation, and liquid nanoparticle fill-finish. We are proud to apply our capabilities and expertise to support the Replicate Bioscience team and its innovative approach.” Norman Garceau, Ph.D., Vice President, Global R&D Technology, Curia About Curia Curia, formerly AMRI, is a leading contract research, development and manufacturing organization providing products and services from R&D through commercial manufacturing to pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical customers. Curia’s 3,700 employees at 29 locations across the U.S., Europe and Asia help its customers advance from curiosity to cure. Learn more at CuriaGlobal.com. About Replicate Bioscience Replicate Bioscience, an ATP company, is designing and delivering srRNA immunotherapies to revolutionize the practice of medicine and improve and save lives. Replicate applies advanced srRNA technology in its work to prevent drug resistance in cancers. The company is also developing srRNA injections for sustained therapeutic protein expression to treat autoimmune and inflammatory disorders and other conditions. Replicate believes that srRNA will bring about the next big breakthroughs in RNA therapeutics and is working to realize the promise of srRNA for all patients.

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PHARMA TECH

assisTek Announces New Partnership with Medical Device Technology Creator, Strados Labs

assisTek Inc | June 21, 2022

assisTek, based in Doylestown, PA, has announced its latest partnership with Philadelphia based Strados Labs. Strados Labs is known for their creation of cutting-edge smart technology medical devices for respiratory illnesses. assisTek, has been a longtime leader in the eSource industry across various therapeutic areas, over 900+ Global clinical Trials and offers an array of services for the electronic collection of clinical data. Their technology offerings include eCOA, ePRO, eConsent, BYOD modules and an extensive reputation for their custom solutions to support clinical trial teams worldwide. "We are very excited to announce this partnership and are looking forward to working together with Strados to provide another way for clinicians and patients to gather novel information during their trials. By making the integration seamless into our current eDiary offerings, this paired technology will allow for better patient engagement and more efficient information gathering, with the ultimate goal of improved data for cures and treatment of these conditions," explains Richard Gastineau, CEO of assisTek. Strados Labs is a medical technology company developing smart sensor platforms that utilize machine learning and proprietary algorithms to detect and predict compounding conditions associated with serious, chronic respiratory diseases to improve the lives of patients globally. "We are grateful and proud to solidify our partnership with assisTek. They have been a leader in integrating technology and data collection in clinical trials for over 20 years," said Strados Labs Director of Business Development, Shane Krauss. "We look forward to working with their experienced and knowledgeable team in clinical trials by helping them scale their digital therapeutics using our clinically validated measures for wheeze, cough, and other adventitious breath sounds, or CABS—which is something no other cleared device can measure." The Company developed a first-of-its-kind smart sensor platform for respiratory health, RESP®. Strados recently received FDA Class II 510(k) clearance for home use of its first product, RESP®, its second FDA clearance in less than 18 months. RESP® was also granted a CE Mark late last year. The Company is developing a robust pipeline algorithm to support and address other chronic diseases, as well as chronic disease management pathways. Strados will continue to target asthma, COPD and infectious respiratory diseases (COVID, RSV, and more)—with plans to add heart failure and pediatrics later this year. The Company is based in Philadelphia and is a privately held company.

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