Pharma giant Roche gets US go-ahead for Covid-19 antibody test

The guardian | May 03, 2020

Swiss drug maker Roche Holding AG says it has received emergency use approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for an antibody test to help determine if people have ever been infected with the coronavirus. Governments, businesses and individuals are seeking such blood tests to help them learn more about who may have had the disease, who may have some immunity and to potentially craft strategies to end lockdowns that have battered global economies. Roche had previously pledged to make its antibody test available by early May and to boost production by June to “high double-digit millions” per month.

Spotlight

Sleep loss increases the experience of pain. However, the brain mechanisms underlying altered pain processing following sleep deprivation are unknown. Moreover, it remains unclear whether ecologically modest night-to-night changes in sleep, within an individual, confer consequential day-to-day changes in experienced pain. Here, we demonstrate that acute sleep-deprivation amplifies pain reactivity within human (male and female) primary somatosensory cortex yet blunts pain-reactivity in higher-order valuation and decision-making regions of the striatum and insula cortex. Consistent with this altered neural signature, we further show that sleep deprivation expands the temperature range for classifying a stimulus as painful, specifically through a lowering of pain thresholds.

Spotlight

Sleep loss increases the experience of pain. However, the brain mechanisms underlying altered pain processing following sleep deprivation are unknown. Moreover, it remains unclear whether ecologically modest night-to-night changes in sleep, within an individual, confer consequential day-to-day changes in experienced pain. Here, we demonstrate that acute sleep-deprivation amplifies pain reactivity within human (male and female) primary somatosensory cortex yet blunts pain-reactivity in higher-order valuation and decision-making regions of the striatum and insula cortex. Consistent with this altered neural signature, we further show that sleep deprivation expands the temperature range for classifying a stimulus as painful, specifically through a lowering of pain thresholds.

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PHARMA TECH

Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals Reports Data Showing Novel Drug Candidate is First-in-class B55α/PP2A Activator

Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals | October 14, 2022

Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals Inc. a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing a new class of medicines to treat neurodegenerative, autoimmune and other diseases, today announced the publication of a scientific article in the peer-reviewed Journal of Neuroinflammation highlighting additional data supporting the unique mechanism of action of EHP-101, the company’s first-in-class drug candidate for the treatment of systemic sclerosis and multiple sclerosis. Titled “A cannabidiol aminoquinone derivative activates the PP2A/B55α/HIF pathway and shows protective effects in a mouse model of traumatic brain injury”, the paper was co-authored by Eduardo Muñoz, MD, PhD, EHP’s Chief Scientific Officer. The publication demonstrates that VCE-004.8, the active pharmaceutical ingredient of EHP-101, is a highly specific activator of the B55a subunit of the protein phosphatase, thus activating the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) pathway. This first-in-class activator of the HIF pathway via modulation of B55a provides a new mechanism to treat diseases where vascular integrity is compromised. Therefore, these findings support the use of EHP-101 for the treatment of SSc and MS, and illustrate the potential of VCE-004.8 for acute disorders including traumatic brain injury and stroke. “The results of Dr. Muñoz’s work, as published in this prestigious journal, validate EHP-101’s unique ability to address key disease factors associated with the complex pathophysiology of fibrotic and demyelinating diseases such as SSc and MS through complementary specific mechanisms of action,” Alain Rolland, Pharm.D., Ph.D., COO of EHP EHP is currently conducting a Phase 2a clinical study to evaluate the safety, tolerability, and preliminary efficacy of EHP-101 in SSc patients. The Company has also met the regulatory requirements to start a Phase 2 clinical trial of EHP-101 for MS. About Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals Inc. Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals is developing novel product candidates for the treatment of CNS, autoimmune, and other diseases. The Company has two families of patented new chemical entities that have been created through rational drug design to affect validated receptors and pathways in the body which are pertinent to targeted diseases. Its first drug product candidate, EHP-101, is in a Phase 2a study for the treatment of systemic sclerosis, a severe form of scleroderma, and has met regulatory requirements to start a Phase 2 study for multiple sclerosis. EHP-101 has received Orphan Drug Designation in the US and EU, as well as Fast Track status by the US FDA for systemic sclerosis. The Company’s second product candidate, EHP-102, is in non-clinical development with IND-enabling studies and is focused on treating Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease. EHP-102 has received Orphan Drug Designation in the US and EU for Huntington’s disease.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

MilliporeSigma Invests $ 286 Million in U.S. Drug Safety Testing Capacity

MilliporeSigma | November 16, 2022

MilliporeSigma, the U.S. and Canada Life Science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, announced that its Life Science business sector is investing more than $ 286 million in its biosafety testing capacity at the company's site in Rockville, Maryland, USA. This will significantly increase the company's ability to conduct biosafety testing and analytical development services. Biosafety testing and analytical development are critical and fundamental requirements of the drug development and commercialization process to ensure the safety of medicines. Global demand for these services is growing at a double-digit rate. "MilliporeSigma is harnessing its broad portfolio of modern technologies and enabling services to help ensure the safety of the world's medicines. These significant investments in Rockville and other sites across our global network will help us meet growing demand for the robust testing studies that biologics manufacturers depend upon to comply with stringent regulatory guidelines. This is a prime example of our focus on sustainable growth in areas with strong underlying upwards dynamics." Belén Garijo, Chair of the Executive Board and CEO of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany "This is the largest investment in contract testing in Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany's history. Our Rockville campus has a long track record of testing for both traditional and novel therapies. We have been driving innovation in biosafety testing for 75 years and this expansion enables our Life Science business sector to lead in shaping the future of testing," said Matthias Heinzel, Member of the Executive Board of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany and CEO Life Science. "We thank the State of Maryland and Montgomery County, Maryland, for their collaboration in making this new campus a reality for our employees and clients. Together, we are impacting life and health with science." The BioReliance® contract testing portfolio from MilliporeSigma provides best-in-class biosafety testing and analytical development methods for both traditional and novel therapies. The new state-of-the-art, 250,000-square-foot facility at MilliporeSigma's Rockville site will house biosafety testing, analytical development, viral clearance suites, and cell bank manufacturing services. Currently, about 600 employees work at the site. Over the next four years, the expansion will create more than 500 new jobs. With more than 30 years of drug development, material science and process technology expertise, Millipore® CTDMO Services offerings span pre-clinical development to commercial manufacturing, including testing, across multiple modalities including mAbs, highly potent active pharmaceutical ingredients, antibody-drug conjugates, viral vector therapies, mRNA, and lipid nanoparticle formulation. Contract testing and the newly formed Millipore® CTDMO Services are part of the Life Science Services business unit, which together with the Process Solutions business is one of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany's "Big 3" growth drivers. The company aims to increase its Group sales to approximately € 25 billion by 2025. Recently, the company's Life Science business sector announced investments in Martillac and Molsheim, France; Shanghai, China; Sheboygan and Verona, Wisconsin, USA; Cork, Ireland; Wuxi, China; Carlsbad, California, USA; Jaffrey, New Hampshire and Danvers, Massachusetts, USA; Buchs, Switzerland; and Darmstadt, Germany. These expansions are part of an ambitious, multi-year program. It aims to increase the capacity and capabilities of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany's Life Science business sector to support the growing global demand for lifesaving medications and to make significant contributions to public health. About the Life Science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany The Life Science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, which operates as MilliporeSigma in the U.S. and Canada, has more than 26,000 employees and more than 55 manufacturing and testing sites worldwide, with a portfolio of more than 300,000 products focused on scientific discovery, biomanufacturing and testing services. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, operates across healthcare, life science and electronics. Around 60,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people's lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene-editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. In 2021, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany generated sales of € 19.7 billion in 66 countries. The company holds the global rights to the name and trademark "Merck" internationally. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany operate as EMD Serono in healthcare, MilliporeSigma in life science, and EMD Electronics. Since its founding in 1668, scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to the company's technological and scientific advances. To this day, the founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company. All Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany news releases are distributed by email at the same time they become available on the EMD Group website. In case you are a resident of the U.S. or Canada please go to www.emdgroup.com/subscribe to register again for your online subscription to this service as our newly introduced geo-targeting requires new links in the email. You may later change your selection or discontinue this service.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Accord BioPharma Partners with StoryMD to Deliver Advanced Prostate Cancer Educational Content to Clinicians and Patients

Accord BioPharma | September 21, 2022

Accord BioPharma, the U.S. specialty division of Intas Pharmaceuticals, Ltd., focused on development of oncology, immunology, and critical care therapies, announced today a partnership with StoryMD. The StoryMD platform is a single, unified, personalized digital health information portfolio that curates the most relevant, visually rich content based on a patient's condition. Accord BioPharma has signed on as StoryMD's very first corporate partner, to support StoryMD's advanced prostate cancer content, allowing Accord BioPharma to provide a comprehensive, user-friendly tool to help patients and their caregivers navigate advanced prostate cancer, just in time for prostate cancer awareness month this September. "At Accord BioPharma, we recognize the need to go beyond biology – and beyond our responsibility of drug development – to help change the clinician and patient experience at all touchpoints in the care continuum where we can," said Chrys Kokino, President of U.S. BioPharma at Accord BioPharma. "StoryMD exemplifies that mission by providing clinicians with clear, easy-to-understand visuals, videos, and health information that help their patients understand their disease journey. Partnering with StoryMD on their advanced prostate cancer content felt like a natural fit given our recent drug launch." In March of this year, Accord BioPharma announced the U.S. launch of CAMCEVI® (leuprolide) 42mg injection emulsion for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer in adults. CAMCEVI should not be used in patients with hypersensitivity to GnRN, GnRH agonist analogs as anaphylactic reactions to these drugs have been reported in the medical literature. Accord BioPharma is heading all commercial initiatives in the U.S. and Canada. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the New Drug Application (NDA) of CAMCEVI from Foresee Pharmaceuticals on May 25, 2021. Through a vast library of curated, clinically accurate disease-state information, graphics, and videos, StoryMD enables physicians to share an easy-to-understand disease journey with patients at the point of care, which can help increase patient retention of information and engagement, improve physician efficiency, and reduce the amount of misinformation patients may seek out on their own. "Accord BioPharma is making efforts to provide important patient and provider education in pursuit of our aim to offer latest treatment options to patients of advanced prostate cancer and we look forward to our collaboration with StoryMD to provide comprehensive and user-friendly tools for patients and care givers" said Binish Chudgar, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Intas Pharmaceuticals Ltd, which is the parent company of Accord BioPharma. "Every once in a while, you meet a person and a partner who has a vision. Chrys Kokino has that vision to go beyond drug development and sees the value in advancing technology rather than being afraid of it. And that's exactly what we want – partners who recognize the gap in communication between physicians and patients and who want to work together to close that gap and fill an unmet need." Alexander Tsiaras, CEO and Founder at StoryMD On the importance of prostate cancer awareness, Tsiaras said, "I have a family member who works in the medical field, and when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, it was amazing how little he knew. Cancer is such a confusing and overwhelming disease – 'Do I wait and watch? Should I be aggressive in treatment?' So, even for the most educated among us, it is a scary moment. Accord BioPharma and StoryMD are working together to go beyond offering patients drug options to impart knowledge and serve as a trusted resource." About Accord BioPharma Accord BioPharma, the U.S. specialty division of Intas Pharmaceuticals, Ltd., seeks to provide affordable, accessible, patient-centric therapies in oncology, immunology, and critical care. With a focus on improving the patient's experience, Accord BioPharma goes beyond the biology of medicine to see disease from the patient's perspective and develop high-quality therapies that impact patient's lives. The founders of Accord BioPharma have dedicated their time, passion, and resources to focusing on specialty care and treatments, proactively developing better ways of working, and delivering enhanced therapies. About CAMCEVI® CAMCEVI® injection emulsion is the first-ever ready-to-inject sterile formulation of leuprolide mesylate for subcutaneous injection that comes in a pre-filled syringe with no mixing required. In an open-label, single-arm study of 137 adults who received 42mg of CAMCEVI on Day 0 and Week 24, CAMCEVI offered consistent testosterone suppression to castrate levels (less than or equal to 50ng/dL) after the initial injection, from Week 4 to Week 48.1 CAMCEVI should not be used in patients with hypersensitivity to GnRH or GnRH analogs due to possible anaphylactic reactions.

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