Pharmaceutical companies limit competition from generic alternatives by producing their own, new report says

Mic | August 09, 2019

Generic drugs are supposed to be affordable. They are a service to people who cant afford the name brands but still need essential medications for everything from pain relief to allergy prevention. Big drug companies already have the ability to keep these cheaper alternatives off pharmacy shelves for years, but a new report from Kaiser Health News identified a way that drug makers are now using a workaround known as "authorized generics" to limit competition from generic alternatives while keeping prices high and turning a profit. Typically when a generic version of a drug comes to market, it is only made available after a company's patent protection has expired. That protection lasts for 20 years. After that, other companies can produce alternative versions of the medication. These drugs typically have the same active ingredients, purpose of use, dosage form, strength and intended effect for people who use them but may have slightly different aspects about them. For example, Flonase is a popular brand-name allergy medication but generic alternatives of the drug, fluticasone propionate, are produced and made available under labels like CVS or Walgreens. Generics can use different inactive ingredients to create a different flavors or bring down the cost with cheaper fillers. These modifications have to be tested and approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration before they are allowed to be sold to consumers.

Spotlight

Anticipating the most needed drug in the future is a key role of pharmaceutical companies and recent years have seen a big shift in focus to cancer treatments, which are expected to make up almost one fifth of all drug sales by 2024.

Spotlight

Anticipating the most needed drug in the future is a key role of pharmaceutical companies and recent years have seen a big shift in focus to cancer treatments, which are expected to make up almost one fifth of all drug sales by 2024.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Merck Enters Collaboration and Option to License Agreement with Nerviano Medical Sciences to Develop Next-Generation PARP1 Selective Inhibitor

Merck | September 22, 2022

Merck, a leading science and technology company, announced a collaboration agreement with licensing option with Nerviano Medical Sciences S.r.l. for the next-generation highly selective and brain-penetrant PARP1 inhibitor, NMS-293. NMS-293 has strong potential in combination with a wide variety of DNA-damaging agents, including systemic or targeted chemotherapy or with DNA damage response inhibitors, in numerous tumor types. NMS-293 is in early clinical development for the treatment of patients with BRCA-mutated tumors as a single agent and in combination with temozolomide in recurrent glioblastoma. “Building on the therapeutic impact that PARP inhibitors have had over the last several years, we believe this new PARP1 program, if successful, could fill a significant unmet need for patients unresponsive to existing PARP inhibitors with an improved hematological adverse event profile. The work of NMS to discover and advance this next generation PARP1 selective inhibitor coupled with our deep expertise in developing therapies which modify DNA damage response mechanisms, creates a strong foundation to further develop this investigational therapy for patients.” Victoria Zazulina, M.D., Head of Development Unit Oncology for the Healthcare business of Merck PARP is key in the repair of DNA damage, and PARP inhibitors have been shown to be highly efficacious in the treatment of patients with tumors deficient in homologous recombination repair, such as breast, ovarian, prostate and pancreatic cancers with BRCA-mutations. Under the current agreement, Merck will make early payments (up-front and option exercise fees) of up to $65 million to NMS. Furthermore, NMS will receive payments for the achievement of certain development, regulatory and commercial milestones and tiered royalties on net sales by Merck. Upon exercise of the option, NMS will grant to Merck the exclusive rights to research, develop, manufacture, and commercialize NMS-293. During the option period, NMS and Merck will collaborate on the clinical development of NMS-293, with NMS designing, sponsoring, conducting, and funding global clinical trials. About NMS-293 NMS-293 is an orally available small molecule inhibitor of PARP1 and is currently in early clinical development for the treatment of patients with BRCA mutated tumors as single agent and with recurrent Glioblastoma (GBM), a brain tumor with very high medical need, in combination with temozolomide (TMZ). About Merck Merck, a leading science and technology company, operates across life science, healthcare and electronics. More than 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 generated sales of € 19.7 billion in 66 countries.

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PHARMACY MARKET

Pfizer Completes Acquisition of Biohaven Pharmaceuticals

Pfizer and Biohaven Pharmaceuticals | October 04, 2022

Pfizer Inc. announced the completion of its acquisition of Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding Company Ltd., the maker of NURTEC® ODT an innovative migraine therapy approved for both acute treatment and prevention of episodic migraine in adults. The acquisition brings to Pfizer a portfolio of promising calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor antagonists including Rimegepant Approved in the United States under the trade name NURTEC® ODT, in adults for both the acute treatment of migraine with or without aura and the preventive treatment of episodic migraine Approved in the European Union under the trade name VYDURA® for both the acute treatment of migraine with or without aura in adults and the preventive treatment of episodic migraine in adults who have at least 4 migraine attacks per month Zavegepant New Drug Application for intranasal spray for the acute treatment of migraine under U.S. Food and Drug Administration review, with a Prescription Drug User Fee Act goal date in 1Q 2023 "We are proud to build on Pfizer’s legacy of delivering breakthrough medicines for patients living with complex pain disorders. The success of NURTEC® ODT coupled with Biohaven’s CGRP pipeline will strengthen Pfizer’s innovative Internal Medicine pipeline through 2030, and beyond. Combined with Pfizer’s global reach, this acquisition increases our potential to bring new treatment options to patients with migraine – a disease which affects over 1 billion people worldwide. Aamir Malik, Executive Vice President, Chief Business Innovation Officer, Pfizer Pfizer acquired all of the outstanding shares of Biohaven not already owned by Pfizer for $148.50 per share in cash, for a total transaction consideration of approximately $11.6 billion. As a result of the acquisition, Biohaven became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pfizer. Effective immediately prior to the closing of the acquisition, Biohaven completed the spin-off of Biohaven Ltd. distributing Biohaven Ltd.’s shares to Biohaven’s shareholders. Biohaven Ltd., a new company that retained Biohaven’s non-CGRP development stage pipeline compounds, holds the Kv7 ion channel activators, glutamate modulation, and myostatin inhibition platforms, preclinical product candidates, and certain corporate infrastructure assets excluded from the Pfizer acquisition. Pfizer, a Biohaven shareholder, received a pro rata portion of Biohaven Ltd.’s shares in the distribution and owns approximately 3% of Biohaven Ltd. Biohaven Ltd. will continue to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “BHVN”. About Migraine Worldwide, more than one billion people suffer from migraine, which predominately affects women.i Findings from the 2019 Global Burden of Disease study indicate that migraine is one of the worlds leading causes of disability.ii Migraine is characterized by debilitating attacks lasting four to 72 hours with multiple symptoms, including pulsating headaches of moderate to severe pain intensity that can be associated with nausea or vomiting, and/or sensitivity to sound and sensitivity to light. About Rimegepant Rimegepant targets a key component of migraine by reversibly blocking CGRP receptors, thereby inhibiting the biologic cascade that results in a migraine attack. Rimegepant was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the trade name Nurtec® ODT for the acute treatment of migraine in adults in February 2020 and for the preventive treatment of episodic migraine in adults in May 2021. Nurtec® ODT is taken orally as needed, up to once daily for acute treatment, and every other day for preventive treatment. The maximum dose in a 24 hour period is 75 mg. About Zavegepant Zavegepant is a third generation, high affinity, selective and structurally unique, small molecule CGRP receptor antagonist from the NOJECTION® Migraine Platform and the only CGRP receptor antagonist in clinical development with both intranasal and oral formulations. The FDA has accepted for review a New Drug Application (NDA) for zavegepant nasal spray, with a PDUFA date in 1Q 2023. About Pfizer: Breakthroughs That Change Patients’ Lives At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly improve their lives. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacture of health care products, including innovative medicines and vaccines. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with our responsibility as one of the world's premier innovative biopharmaceutical companies, we collaborate with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world. For more than 170 years, we have worked to make a difference for all who rely on us.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Novo Nordisk to acquire Forma Therapeutics and expand presence in sickle cell disease and rare blood disorders

Novo Nordisk | September 02, 2022

Novo Nordisk and Forma Therapeutics, Holdings Inc. announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Novo Nordisk will acquire Forma Therapeutics for $20 per share in cash, which represents a total equity value of $1.1 billion. Forma Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on transforming the lives of patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) and rare blood disorders. The acquisition of Forma Therapeutics, including its lead development candidate, etavopivat, is aligned with Novo Nordisk’s strategy to complement and accelerate its scientific presence and pipeline in hemoglobinopathies, a group of disorders in which there is abnormal production or structure of the hemoglobin protein in the red blood cells. “Novo Nordisk has worked for more than 40 years to develop and deliver transformative medicines to patients around the world with rare and devastating diseases. By adding Forma’s differentiated approach to address unmet needs for patients, we are taking a step forward in enhancing our sickle cell disease pipeline,” said Ludovic Helfgott, executive vice president and head of Rare Disease at Novo Nordisk. “We have an ambition to build a leading portfolio with standalone and combination treatments to tackle the complications and underlying causes of sickle cell disease.” Etavopivat, an investigational oral, once-daily, selective pyruvate kinase-R (PKR) activator, is being developed to improve anemia and red blood cell health in people with SCD, a seriously debilitating, life-threatening and life shortening disease. Etavopivat is currently being evaluated in a global phase 2/3 clinical trial (Hibiscus) in patients with SCD, and in a phase 2 trial (Gladiolus) in patients with transfusion-dependent SCD and another inherited hemoglobinopathy called thalassemia. “Today’s announcement is an exciting milestone that accelerates Forma’s purpose to transform the lives of patients with sickle cell disease and other serious hematological diseases,” said Frank D. Lee, president and chief executive officer of Forma. “Novo Nordisk will partner closely with the sickle cell community to amplify our impact for patients around the world who urgently need new treatment options. We look forward to working together with Novo Nordisk to serve as a trusted partner to our communities and to advance innovation, access and health equity for patients.” The transaction will not impact Novo Nordisk’s previously communicated operating profit outlook for 2022 or the ongoing share buy-back program. Novo Nordisk will fund the acquisition from financial reserves. About the transaction Under the terms of the agreement, Novo Nordisk will initiate a tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares of Forma Therapeutics’ common stock at a price of $20 per share in cash (or aggregated value of $1.1 billion) and a premium of 92% to Forma Therapeutics’ volume-weighted average price per share over the past 30 days ended August 31, 2022. The transaction has been unanimously approved by the Forma Therapeutics Board of Directors. The closing of the tender offer will be subject to certain conditions, including the tender of shares representing a majority of Forma Therapeutics’ outstanding shares, receipt of applicable regulatory approvals and other customary conditions. Upon the successful completion of the tender offer, Novo Nordisk’s acquisition subsidiary will merge into Forma Therapeutics, and any shares of common stock of Forma Therapeutics not tendered into the offer will receive the same USD per share price payable in the tender offer. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2022. In addition, certain affiliates of RA Capital Management, L.P., which collectively own approximately 19% of Forma Therapeutics’ outstanding shares, have entered into a support agreement pursuant to which they committed to tender their shares in the tender offer. Novo Nordisk is represented by Moelis & Company UK LLP as financial advisor and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP as legal advisor. Forma Therapeutics is represented by Centerview Partners LLC as financial advisor and Goodwin Procter LLP as legal advisor. About sickle cell disease Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a chronic and progressive inherited disorder associated with a decrease in the health and lifespan of red blood cells. People living with SCD have red blood cells that are crescent shaped, rendering them inflexible, fragile, and unable to effectively deliver oxygen. The health of these sickle red blood cells is impaired and characterized by reduced cellular energy, poor deformability, decreased membrane repair, and increased adhesion. Around 17 million people worldwide live with SCD, including approximately 100,000 people in the United States, as well as approximately 30,000 in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. SCD can cause serious health problems, including anemia, fatigue, episodes of pain known as vaso-occlusive crises (VOCs), and chronic, progressive end-organ damage. Despite recent advances in treatment, most patients with SCD still suffer from pain crises, lifelong disability, reduced quality of life, and shortened life expectancy. About etavopivat Etavopivat is an investigational, once-daily, selective pyruvate kinase-R (PKR) activator designed to be a disease-modifying therapy with the potential to improve red blood cell health and transform the lives of people living with SCD. Employing a multimodal approach, etavopivat works by activating the red blood cell’s natural PKR activity to decrease levels of the metabolite 2,3-DPG, allowing sickle hemoglobin to hold on to oxygen longer, resulting in decreased polymerization, hemolysis, and sickling. Etavopivat-mediated PKR activation also increases adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels, to improve red blood cell function, which can lead to improved deformability, capacity for membrane repair, red blood cell health, and lifespan. Together, these effects are anticipated to improve the health of sickle red blood cell and lead to a reduction in anemia, hemolysis, vaso-occlusive crises, and end organ damage. In a phase 1 trial, etavopivat improved anemia and red blood cell health and appeared to have a safe and well-tolerated profile, demonstrating a potential to improve the lives of patients with SCD, including increases in hemoglobin, improvements in red blood cell health, and decreases in vaso-occlusive crises (VOCs). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted etavopivat Fast Track, Rare Pediatric Disease and Orphan Drug designations. Additionally, etavopivat was granted Orphan Drug designation from the European Commission based on a positive opinion from the Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products of the European Medicines Agency for the treatment of patients with SCD. About Forma Therapeutics Forma Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the research, development and commercialization of novel therapeutics to transform the lives of patients with rare hematologic diseases and cancers. Forma Therapeutics R&D engine combines deep biology insight, chemistry expertise and clinical development capabilities to create drug candidates with differentiated mechanisms of action focused on indications with high unmet need. Our work has generated a broad proprietary portfolio of programs with the potential to provide profound patient benefit. About Novo Nordisk Novo Nordisk is a leading global healthcare company, founded in 1923 and headquartered in Denmark. Our purpose is to drive change to defeat diabetes and other serious chronic diseases such as obesity and rare blood and endocrine disorders. We do so by pioneering scientific breakthroughs, expanding access to our medicines, and working to prevent and ultimately cure disease. Novo Nordisk employs about 50,800 people in 80 countries and markets its products in around 170 countries.

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