Owkin’s machine learning tech to inform mesothelioma trials

pharmaphorum | October 09, 2019

A mesothelioma prognostic model from medical machine learning firm Owkin has been showcased in the journal Nature, and is being used to help further drug research into the often fatal disease. The paper, entitled “Deep learning-based classification of mesothelioma improves prediction of patient outcomes” describes Owkin’s technology called MesoNet, which has been trained using images from nearly 3,000 mesothelioma patients. Owkin used data from MESOBANK, a dataset containing images from several French institutions, and results were validated by experts in pathology at the renowned French Cancer Institute, Centre Leon Berard. As well as giving a prognosis, Owkin was able to use its deep learning technology to highlight regions of interest in the image associated with prognosis prediction. This has led to identification that helps explain different subtypes of the disease, the company said. Using insights from MesoNet, Owkin is working with pharma companies on selecting patients for clinical trials by identifying those who are best suited to try out new drugs in studies. Owkin is also collaborating with academic institutions, and has set up Owkin LOOP, a federated network of US and European academic centres, including Centre Leon Berard.

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Even before the 1980s, the notion of attaching a cytotoxic agent to a tumorspecific antibody captured the collective imagination of the international drug development community. Were antibodydrug conjugates (ADCs) the magic bullets everyone was looking for that could, among other things, cure cancer? The evolution of ADCs is a stunning example of how global research can sculpt a new technology, gradually refining it in ways no one initially imagined, often spurred by other discoveries that surface along the way.

Spotlight

Even before the 1980s, the notion of attaching a cytotoxic agent to a tumorspecific antibody captured the collective imagination of the international drug development community. Were antibodydrug conjugates (ADCs) the magic bullets everyone was looking for that could, among other things, cure cancer? The evolution of ADCs is a stunning example of how global research can sculpt a new technology, gradually refining it in ways no one initially imagined, often spurred by other discoveries that surface along the way.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

LTS takes next step in its Growth Journey with the acquisition of Tapemark Inc.

LTS Lohmann Therapie-Systeme AG | August 23, 2022

LTS LOHMANN Therapie-Systeme AG announces the closing of the acquisition of Tapemark Inc. located in St. Paul, MN, USA. This acquisition combines Tapemark, a world-class CDMO specialized in transdermal drug delivery systems and oral thin films as well as unit dose semi-solid drug and iontophoresis products with LTS, a leading pharmaceutical technology company that develops and manufactures innovative drug delivery systems such as Transdermal Patches Oral Thin Films and Micro Array Patches (MAP) for major Bio- /Pharmaceutical, Generic, and Consumer Health companies. With the acquisition, Tapemark´s St. Paul facility will become part of the worldwide operations network of LTS, along with LTS' existing facilities in Andernach, Germany and West Caldwell, NJ in the US. Bas van Buijtenen, CEO of LTS, commented, "We are very pleased to welcome the Tapemark team to the LTS family. This strategic acquisition demonstrates our commitment to continue to set the standard as the best CDMO in TTS and OTF and to strengthen our footprint in the US, the world's most important pharma market. We will offer an even more complete portfolio of drug delivery expertise and expanded manufacturing capabilities to our customers and their patients, and we are excited to welcome Tapemark's customers to LTS' global network. The acquisition strengthens our R&D capabilities in North America, allowing us to bring ever more innovation and development support to players developing innovative therapies and new drug delivery systems. With that, we're even better positioned to address our customers' desire for a single partner to support them from feasibility through commercialization. We are particularly pleased that such a talented team is joining our organization. I am delighted that Beau Garrett will be strengthening our Global Leadership Team in the role of SVP Strategy and Corporate Development. His track record as a leader successfully driving growth will bolster our LTS Growth Journey." "Joining LTS strengthens our ability to craft the best product development and manufacturing strategy to deliver complex drugs for our customers who ultimately bring these to market and help patients around the world. Having spoken to our customers, I know they are excited to benefit from the breadth of LTS's global technology portfolio, its product development capabilities, and the vast global network. Together, we will reach more pharmaceutical partners and ultimately help more patients. Personally, I am pleased our executive team is joining such a strong team at LTS. From the day I met Bas and several of the senior leaders at LTS, I knew this was the right fit for both companies, our employees, and our customers." Beau Garrett, CEO of Tapemark The transaction has obtained the necessary regulatory approvals and has closed as of August 19, 2022. Financial details of the transaction are not disclosed. Bourne Partners served as the exclusive financial advisor to Tapemark. About LTS LTS LOHMANN Therapie-Systeme AG is a leading pharmaceutical technology company that develops and manufactures innovative drug delivery systems such as Transdermal Patches and Oral Thin Films for the pharmaceutical industry. LTS maintains its leading position through the continuous refinement of its core TTS and OTF technologies and by advancing emerging drug delivery technologies, including Micro Array Patches for the transdermal delivery of large molecule, biological actives and vaccines. Founded in 1984, LTS operates today from three sites: in Andernach, Germany, West Caldwell, NJ, USA and St. Paul, MN, USA. LTS has also a representative office in Shanghai, China.

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PHARMA TECH

Silverback Therapeutics and ARS Pharmaceuticals Announce Merger

Silverback Therapeutics and ARS Pharmaceuticals | July 22, 2022

Silverback Therapeutics, Inc. and ARS Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced that the companies have entered into a definitive agreement under which ARS will merge with Silverback in an all-stock transaction. The combined company will focus on the potential regulatory approval and commercialization of neffy, ARS’s investigational epinephrine nasal spray for the treatment of Type I allergic reactions including anaphylaxis. The combined company is expected to have approximately $265M in cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities at closing. Upon stockholder approval, the combined company is expected to operate under the name ARS Pharmaceuticals and trade on the Nasdaq Capital Market under the ticker symbol “SPRY.” The merger is currently expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2022. Type I severe allergic reactions are serious and potentially life-threatening events that can occur within minutes of exposure to an allergen and require immediate treatment with epinephrine, the only FDA-approved medication for these reactions. While epinephrine autoinjectors have been shown to be highly effective, there are well published limitations that result in many patients and caregivers delaying or not administering treatment in an emergency situation. These limitations include fear of the needle, lack of portability, needle-related safety concerns, lack of reliability, and complexity of the devices. There are approximately 25 million people in the United States who experience Type I severe allergic reactions. Of those, only 3.3 million currently have an active epinephrine autoinjector prescription, and of those, only half consistently carry their prescribed autoinjector. Even if patients or caregivers carry an autoinjector, more than half either delay or do not administer the device when needed in an emergency. ARS designed neffy to provide injection-like absorption of epinephrine, in a small, easy-to-carry, easy-to-use, rapidly administered, and reliable nasal spray device. With its needle-free administration, neffy may help eliminate the anxiety and hesitation associated with using an autoinjector. “We are extremely pleased to announce this proposed merger with Silverback, which we believe enables ARS to maximize the paradigm-changing opportunity of neffy. neffy is on the cusp of achieving what has not been possible before – the ability to deliver epinephrine with comparable pharmacokinetics to an intramuscular injection, but with a simple to administer nasal spray. We have completed a comprehensive registration program with neffy and based on a favorable pre-NDA meeting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”), we are preparing to submit our New Drug Application (“NDA”) in the third quarter of 2022. This merger positions ARS and our experienced team to execute on the potential launch of neffy in 2023 by providing the requisite capital needed for launch. ARS was founded with a mission of solving many of the issues that patients and caregivers express about their epinephrine autoinjectors. Today is an important step toward bringing this novel treatment to patients and caregivers to improve their treatment options for these serious and potentially life-threatening allergic reactions.” Richard Lowenthal, M.Sc., MSEL, co-founder and chief executive officer of ARS Data across three registration studies supports that neffy should meet all clinical endpoints recommended by regulators and that its pharmacokinetics are within the range of approved efficacious epinephrine injection products. In addition, neffy has been well-tolerated to date with more than 500 individuals having received at least one dose, and many with repeat administration. The majority of adverse events in clinical trials were mild in nature and comparable to injection products. Based on the totality of data, ARS is preparing to submit its NDA for neffy for use in adults and pediatric patients who are 30 kg or greater in the third quarter of 2022. If approved, ARS is planning to launch neffy in the United States in 2023. “This transaction represents the result of a thorough and thoughtful strategic review process by Silverback,” said Laura Shawver, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Silverback. “ARS is an exciting late-stage company with compelling clinical data demonstrated with neffy, a path to near-term commercialization in a large and dissatisfied market, and an expert team with proven experience in launching and commercializing market-leading nasal spray products, such as NARCAN. I believe we have found the optimal partner to provide value for our stockholders, and even more so, the potential to transform treatment for millions of people with or at-risk for Type I severe allergic reactions.” About the Proposed Merger Under the terms of the merger agreement, assuming that Silverback’s net cash at closing is $240 million, Silverback equity holders are expected to own approximately 37% of the combined company and pre-merger ARS equity holders are expected to own approximately 63% of the combined company on a fully-diluted basis on a treasury stock method. The percentage of the combined company that Silverback’s equity holders will own as of the close of the transaction is subject to certain adjustments as described in the merger agreement, including the amount of Silverback’s net cash at closing. Upon closing of the transaction, Silverback will be renamed ARS Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and will be headquartered in San Diego, California. Richard Lowenthal, M.S., MBA, will serve as chief executive officer and president of the combined company. The merger agreement provides that the Board of Directors of the combined company will be comprised of ten members, including seven from ARS and three from Silverback. The merger agreement has been approved by the Board of Directors of each company, and the transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2022, subject to approvals by the stockholders of each company and other customary closing conditions. About Silverback Therapeutics, Inc. Silverback Therapeutics, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on leveraging its proprietary ImmunoTAC technology platform to develop systemically delivered and tissue targeted therapeutics for the treatment of chronic viral infections, cancer, and other serious diseases. Silverback’s platform enables the strategic pairing of proprietary payloads that modulate key disease modifying pathways with monoclonal antibodies directed at specific disease sites. Silverback Therapeutics is located in Seattle, Washington.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

AbbVie Secures Positive CHMP Opinion for Risankizumab (SKYRIZI®) for the Treatment of Adults with Moderate to Severe Crohn's Disease

AbbVie | September 19, 2022

AbbVie announced the European Medicines Agency's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use adopted a positive opinion recommending the approval of risankizumab for the treatment of adults with moderately to severely active Crohn's disease who have had inadequate response, lost response or were intolerant to conventional or biologic therapy. "We continue to raise the bar in researching treatments for immune-mediated gastroenterological conditions through more stringent and innovative clinical trial design, such as the first time a Phase 3 trial has reported co-primary endpoints, endoscopic response and clinical remission. With the recent CHMP recommendation for risankizumab in Crohn's disease, we're getting closer toward helping patients find sufficient disease control for this disruptive condition." Neil Gallagher, M.D., Ph.D., vice president, development, chief medical officer, AbbVie AbbVie's application for the approval of risankizumab in Crohn's disease is supported by data from three Phase 3 clinical trials — ADVANCE, MOTIVATE (induction studies) and FORTIFY (maintenance study).1,2 Across all three studies, significantly more patients treated with risankizumab achieved the co-primary endpoints of endoscopic response and clinical remission.1,2,5-10 This includes statistically significant improvements in these endpoints at week 12 compared to placebo with 600 mg intravenous infusions for the ADVANCE and MOTIVATE induction studies.1,8,9 Additionally, a significantly greater proportion of patients treated with risankizumab 360 mg subcutaneous injections achieved endoscopic response and clinical remission at 52 weeks compared to placebo (patients treated with placebo after risankizumab induction) in the FORTIFY maintenance study.2,10 Safety results of risankizumab in Crohn's disease were consistent with the known safety profile of risankizumab, with no new safety risks observed.1,2,8-13 "Living with Crohn's disease can pose many challenges and significantly impact a patient's health-related quality of life," said Marc Ferrante, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium. "Risankizumab could be an encouraging option for adult patients that continue to have moderately to severely active Crohn's disease and I look forward to the European Commission's final decision." Use of risankizumab in Crohn's disease is not approved in the European Union, and its safety and efficacy remain under evaluation. Risankizumab (SKYRIZI) is part of a collaboration between Boehringer Ingelheim and AbbVie, with AbbVie leading development and commercialization globally. About Crohn's Disease Crohn's disease is a chronic, systemic disease that manifests as inflammation within the gastrointestinal tract, causing persistent diarrhea and abdominal pain.3,4 It is a progressive disease, meaning it gets worse over time in a substantial proportion of patients or may develop complications that require urgent medical care, including surgery.3,4 Because the signs and symptoms of Crohn's disease are unpredictable, it causes a significant burden on people living with the disease—not only physically, but also emotionally and economically.14,15 About the ADVANCE and MOTIVATE Inductions Studies, and the FORTIFY Maintenance Study1,2,8-10 The three Phase 3 studies are multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies to evaluate the efficacy and safety of risankizumab 600 mg and 1200 mg as induction therapy, and risankizumab 180 mg and 360 mg as maintenance therapy in subjects with moderately to severely active Crohn's disease. Topline results of the ADVANCE and MOTIVATE induction studies were announced in January 2021 and topline results of the FORTIFY maintenance study were announced in June 2021. About SKYRIZI® (risankizumab) SKYRIZI is an interleukin-23 (IL-23) inhibitor that selectively blocks IL-23 by binding to its p19 subunit.11,16 IL-23, a cytokine involved in inflammatory processes, is thought to be linked to a number of chronic immune-mediated diseases, including Crohn's disease.11,16 The approved dose for SKYRIZI for moderate to severe plaque psoriasis and active psoriatic arthritis in the European Union is 150 mg (either as two 75 mg prefilled syringe injections or one 150 mg prefilled pen or prefilled syringe) administered by subcutaneous injections at week 0 and 4 and every 12 weeks thereafter.11 The use of risankizumab in Crohn's disease is not approved in the European Union and its safety remains under review with the global regulatory authorities. Phase 3 trials of SKYRIZI in psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are ongoing.12,13,17 EU Indications and Important Safety Information about SKYRIZI® (risankizumab)11 SKYRIZI is indicated for the treatment of moderate to severe plaque psoriasis in adults who are candidates for systemic therapy. SKYRIZI, alone or in combination with methotrexate is indicated for the treatment of active psoriatic arthritis in adults who have had an inadequate response or who have been intolerant to one or more disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs. SKYRIZI is contraindicated in patients with hypersensitivity to the active substance or to any of the excipients. SKYRIZI may increase the risk of infection. In patients with a chronic infection, a history of recurrent infection, or known risk factors for infection, SKYRIZI should be used with caution. Treatment with SKYRIZI should not be initiated in patients with any clinically important active infection until the infection resolves or is adequately treated. Prior to initiating treatment with SKYRIZI, patients should be evaluated for tuberculosis (TB) infection. Patients receiving SKYRIZI should be monitored for signs and symptoms of active TB. Anti-TB therapy should be considered prior to initiating SKYRIZI in patients with a history of latent or active TB in whom an adequate course of treatment cannot be confirmed. Prior to initiating therapy with SKYRIZI, completion of all appropriate immunizations should be considered according to current immunization guidelines. If a patient has received live vaccination (viral or bacterial), it is recommended to wait at least 4 weeks prior to starting treatment with SKYRIZI. Patients treated with SKYRIZI should not receive live vaccines during treatment and for at least 21 weeks after treatment. The most frequently reported adverse reactions were upper respiratory infections. Commonly (greater than or equal to 1/100 to less than 1/10) reported adverse reactions included tinea infections, headache, pruritus, fatigue and injection site reactions. About AbbVie in Gastroenterology With a robust clinical trial program, AbbVie is committed to cutting-edge research to drive exciting developments in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), like ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. By innovating, learning and adapting, AbbVie aspires to eliminate the burden of IBD and make a positive long-term impact on the lives of people with IBD. About AbbVie AbbVie's mission is to discover and deliver innovative medicines that solve serious health issues today and address the medical challenges of tomorrow. We strive to have a remarkable impact on people's lives across several key therapeutic areas: immunology, oncology, neuroscience, eye care, virology, women's health and gastroenterology, in addition to products and services across our Allergan Aesthetics portfolio.

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