PHARMA TECH

Pfizer, BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine works in more contagious coronavirus variants

Pfizer | January 11, 2021

Newly emerged variants of the novel coronavirus have sparked a key question: Will existing COVID-19 vaccines be less effective against them? But scientists have preliminary data showing that may not be the case, at least for Pfizer and BioNTech’s shot.

Researchers from the University of Texas and Pfizer found that, in lab dishes, the vaccine was able to neutralize an engineered version of a variant, which bears an N501Y mutation in its spike protein. The finding was published in bioRxiv and hasn’t been peer-reviewed.

Variants of coronavirus with this mutation were first discovered in the U.K. and South Africa and immediately grabbed global attention because they are more contagious.
Currently available COVID vaccines—including Pfizer and BioNTech’s Comirnaty, or BNT162b2—target the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus behind COVID-19. The N501Y mutation improves the ability of the virus’ spike protein to bind to its receptor on human cells, making it easier to gain entry for infection.

To test whether Comirnaty worked against the mutation, the scientists collected antibodies from 20 vaccinated trial participants and compared their ability to kill off the engineered virus with the N501Y mutation to their ability to neutralize the strain on which Pfizer and BioNTech based Comirnaty.

Spotlight

The following overview highlights the critical role adequate and effective intellectual property rights protections and fair and equitable market access play in enabling biopharmaceutical innovators in the United States to research, develop and deliver valuable new medicines for patients who need them around the world. It describes serious and pressing intellectual property and market access barriers abroad and recommends steps the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and other federal agencies can take to address and resolve these barriers. The attached country profiles provide additional details and examples.

Spotlight

The following overview highlights the critical role adequate and effective intellectual property rights protections and fair and equitable market access play in enabling biopharmaceutical innovators in the United States to research, develop and deliver valuable new medicines for patients who need them around the world. It describes serious and pressing intellectual property and market access barriers abroad and recommends steps the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and other federal agencies can take to address and resolve these barriers. The attached country profiles provide additional details and examples.

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PHARMACY MARKET

Acorda Therapeutics Enters into License Agreement with Asieris Pharmaceuticals

Asieris | August 30, 2022

Acorda Therapeutics, Inc. announced that it has entered into a license agreement relating to its preclinical asset, Nepicastat, with Asieris Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology company headquartered in China. Under the terms of the agreement, Acorda will receive an upfront payment of $500,000, and up to an additional $7 million based on the achievement of regulatory milestones. Acorda will also receive a royalty on future net sales. Nepicastat is a small molecule drug and the license agreement provides for its development for all non-psychiatric indications and therapeutic uses. The asset has been held by Acorda’s U.S. subsidiary, Biotie Therapies, Inc. About Acorda Therapeutics Acorda Therapeutics develops therapies to restore function and improve the lives of people with neurological disorders. INBRIJA® is approved for intermittent treatment of OFF episodes in adults with Parkinson’s disease treated with carbidopa/levodopa. INBRIJA is not to be used by patients who take or have taken a nonselective monoamine oxidase inhibitor such as phenelzine or tranylcypromine within the last two weeks. INBRIJA utilizes Acorda’s innovative ARCUS® pulmonary delivery system, a technology platform designed to deliver medication through inhalation. Acorda also markets the branded AMPYRA® Extended Release Tablets, 10 mg. About Asieris Asieris Pharmaceuticals founded in March 2010, is a global biopharma company specializing in discovering, developing and commercializing innovative drugs for the treatment of genitourinary tumors and other related diseases. We strive to improve human health and help people live a more dignified life. We aim to become a global pharma leader that integrates R&D, manufacturing and commercialization in our areas of focus, as we provide best-in-class integrated diagnosis and treatment solutions for patients in China and worldwide.

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RESEARCH

Ora, Inc. Launches the Ora EyecupTM, a Revolutionary Ophthalmic Research Technology at Eyecelerator 2022

Ora, Inc. | September 29, 2022

Ora, Inc., the world's leading ophthalmology clinical research firm, has formally launched a revolutionary mobile research platform, Ora EyeCupTM, which promises to transform patient data capture through high-resolution imaging, artificial intelligence (AI) analysis, and real-time patient feedback. The Ora EyeCupTM, a finalist in the Most Valuable Clinical Technology Award category at the Reuters Events Pharma Awards USA 2022, will be presented by Dr. Gustavo De Moraes, Chief Medical Officer at Ora, at this year’s Eyecelerator Conference in Chicago, IL, September 29th. The Ora EyeCupTM platform is a powerful combination of hardware and software — a smartphone attachment and software application which allows patients to take high-resolution images of their eyes and track disease signs and symptoms remotely. With over 138,000 images captured to date, 98% are considered gradable by researchers and AI. Post-capture processing utilizes AI-powered image analysis for precise clinical assessments of ocular redness, tear film stability, and corneal health. Along with this, the Ora EyeCupTM ensures protocol adherence through compliance assurance diaries for both symptom tracking and therapy dosing. “At Ora, our technologists have spent the past two years developing this revolutionary system to capture patient data and provide a deeper understanding of therapeutic effect. The result is a trailblazing technology that captures high quality therapeutic data and improves the likelihood of study success.” Dr. De Moraes About Ora, Inc. Ora is the world's leading full-service ophthalmic drug and device development firm with offices in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Asia. For over 40 years, we have proudly helped our clients earn more than 55 product approvals and create vision beyond what they see. We support a wide array of organizations, from start-ups to global pharmaceutical and device companies, to efficiently bring their new products from concept to market. Ora's pre-clinical and clinical models, unique methodologies, and global regulatory strategies have been refined and proven across thousands of global projects. We bring together the world's most extensive and experienced team of ophthalmic experts, R&D professionals, and operations management to maximize the value of new product initiatives. Think ophthalmology, think Ora.

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PHARMA TECH

Apollomics Inc., a Late-Stage Clinical Biopharmaceutical Company to be Listed on Nasdaq Through Business Combination

Apollomics, Inc. | September 15, 2022

Apollomics Inc. a late-stage clinical biopharmaceutical company, and Maxpro Capital Acquisition Corp. announced a definitive agreement for a business combination that would result in Apollomics becoming a publicly traded company on the Nasdaq Global Market. The business combination is expected to close in the first quarter of 2023 and Apollomics is expected to be listed on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “APLM.” Apollomics’ broad pipeline of drug candidates includes late-stage clinical assets for the treatment of patients with difficult-to-treat cancers. Apollomics’ mission is to develop assets in critically important areas of unmet need. The Company’s leading drug candidates address certain subpopulations within lung cancer and leukemia. Globally, both lung cancer and leukemia affect over 2 million people annually. The Company is dedicated to discovering and developing oncology therapies of different mechanisms of action to inhibit cancer. Its diverse portfolio of innovative drug candidates for treating difficult-to-treat cancers includes precision therapy targeting tumors with specific mutations, as well as assets addressing broader cancer conditions. The Company’s pipeline of nine clinical, preclinical and discovery drug candidates has the potential to improve treatment of a number of tumor types. Upon the closing of the transaction, Apollomics will continue to be led by current Chairman and CEO, Dr. Guo-Liang Yu, Ph.D., a serial entrepreneur, and his team. Dr. Yu is a pharmaceutical researcher with more than 300 patents. “Apollomics’ announcement represents the next major milestone on our journey to provide solutions for patients with difficult-to-treat cancers,” Dr. Yu said. “We anticipate that the funds available to us from this transaction will help us accelerate development of our oncology pipeline.” Apollomics expects results from its global Phase 2 multi-cohort clinical trial of vebreltinib in NSCLC and other solid tumors with cMET dysregulation in 2023, which the Company believes may support its first New Drug Application (“NDA”) with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) while generating clinical data for different indications. In addition, the Company expects to complete patient recruitment of its uproleselan Phase 3 study in China in 2023. “Our goal was to find an exciting company with a growing pipeline of innovative product candidates that could positively affect the lives of millions of people. Our team is excited to combine with Apollomics as it has met and exceeded all our key selection criteria. Together with Apollomics, Maxpro will do everything we can to support the Company’s vision of treating patients with difficult-to-treat cancers.” Moses Chen, CEO of Maxpro About Apollomics Inc. Apollomics Inc. is an innovative clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of oncology therapies with the potential to be combined with other treatment options to harness the immune system and target specific molecular pathways to inhibit cancer. Apollomics currently has a pipeline of nine drug candidates across multiple programs, six of which are currently in the clinical stage of development. Apollomics’ lead programs include investigating its core product, vebreltinib (APL-101), a potent, selective c-Met inhibitor for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer and other advanced tumors with c-Met alterations, which is currently in a Phase 2 multicohort clinical trial in the United States, and developing an anti-cancer enhancer drug candidate, uproleselan (APL-106), a specific E-Selectin antagonist that has the potential to be used adjunctively with standard chemotherapy to treat acute myeloid leukemia and other hematologic cancers, which is currently in Phase 1 and Phase 3 clinical trials in China. About Maxpro Capital Acquisition Corp. Maxpro is a blank check company formed for the purposes of effecting a merger, capital share exchange, asset acquisition, share purchase, reorganization, or similar business combination with one or more businesses in the healthcare and technology industries. In October 2021, Maxpro consummated a $103.5 million initial public offering of 10.35 million units (including the underwriters’ full exercise of their over-allotment option), each unit consists of one share of Class A common stock and one redeemable warrant, each warrant entitles the holder to purchase one share of Class A common stock at a price of $11.50 per share. EF Hutton, division of Benchmark Investments LLC, served as the sole book-running manager of Maxpro’s initial public offering.

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