Purdue Pharma prepares for bankruptcy

Health Exec | September 04, 2019

Purdue Pharma, the maker of popular opioid OxyContin, is preparing to file for bankruptcy before the end of September if the company doesn’t reach a settlement over thousands of lawsuits against the company for its role in the opioid abuse epidemic, Reuters reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The news comes just after it was reported a settlement with Purdue Pharma was fetching between $10 billion and $12 billion. The settlement would close the thousands of lawsuits against the pharma company and also extradite the Sackler family as the owners. Purdue Pharma has become the face of blame for many of the thousands of opioid overdose deaths in the U.S., and OxyContin has handed the Sacklers billions in profits. The company and the Sacklers have denied accusations that their actions and marketing tactics helped fuel the U.S. opioid crisis. In 2018, 68,000 people died from opioid overdose.

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An excipient is a substance formulated alongside the active ingredient of a medication, included for the purpose of long-term stabilization, bulking up solid formulations that contain potent active ingredients in small amounts.

Spotlight

An excipient is a substance formulated alongside the active ingredient of a medication, included for the purpose of long-term stabilization, bulking up solid formulations that contain potent active ingredients in small amounts.

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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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PHARMA TECH

Sirona Biochem Signs International Partnership Agreement with Wanbang Biopharmaceuticals

Sirona Biochem Corp. | November 28, 2022

Sirona Biochem Corp. announces that, subsequent to the LOI, Sirona and Wanbang Biopharmaceuticals have signed an expanded, international partnership agreement to collaborate on licencing Sirona’s SGLT2 inhibitor, TFC-039, as a pharmaceutical treatment in both animal and human health. The agreement adds human health to the partnership as a result of new licencing opportunities currently in due diligence. Wanbang and Sirona initially signed a licensing agreement for TFC-039, whereby Wanbang obtained the rights to develop the compound as a diabetes treatment in China and Sirona retained the global rights. Sirona has since been in discussions with animal health companies to advance TFC-039 as a treatment for diabetes and chronic kidney disease in companion animals. SGLT2 inhibitors provide an opportunity to treat inflicted animals with an oral medication as opposed to the traditional method of daily insulin injections. More recently, Sirona has entered into due diligence with a large pharmaceutical company with a regional interest in developing the compound for human diabetes. Together, Sirona and Wanbang share extensive knowledge and scientific results of TFC-039. Partnering will significantly increase the speed to third-party partnerships and commercialization. The shared data spans over 12 years of research and development, and includes in vitro and in vivo preclinical work, multiple clinical studies, advanced manufacturing process development and the ability to commercially manufacture TFC-039. “We have a long-standing relationship with Wanbang and are excited to combine our two companies’ expertise to license TFC-039. Wanbang has invested millions of dollars into the clinical stage research and development of the manufacturing processes for TFC-039. These pieces of data are critical to large organizations and will greatly increase the opportunities to move forward. The probability of a successful licensing agreement has been made much stronger by leveraging our alliance with Wanbang. We have had a successful year building Sirona’s pipeline, with positive movement on all projects and we’re looking forward to continuing this success with our SGLT2 inhibitor as well as our antiviral and anti-aging projects in 2023.” Dr. Howard Verrico, CEO About Wanbang Biopharmaceuticals and Fosun Pharmaceuticals Wanbang Biopharmaceuticals develops, manufactures, and markets drugs with indications for chronic disease treatment, antibiotics, and other endocrine diseases in China. Founded in 1981, the company is headquartered in Xuzhou, China, and is a subsidiary of Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group. Fosun is a leader in the pharmaceutical industry and is regarded as one of the top five domestic pharmaceutical companies in China. About Sirona Biochem Corp. Sirona Biochem is a cosmetic ingredient and drug discovery company with a proprietary platform technology. Sirona specializes in stabilizing carbohydrate molecules with the goal of improving efficacy and safety. New compounds are patented for maximum revenue potential. Sirona’s compounds are licensed to leading companies around the world in return for licensing fees, milestone fees and ongoing royalty payments. Sirona’s laboratory, TFChem, is located in France and is the recipient of multiple French national scientific awards and European Union and French government grants.

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PHARMA TECH

Advaxis and Ayala Pharmaceuticals Enter into Merger Agreement

Advaxis and Ayala Pharmaceuticals | October 20, 2022

Ayala Pharmaceuticals, Inc. a clinical-stage oncology company focused on developing and commercializing small molecule therapeutics for patients suffering from rare tumors and aggressive cancers and Advaxis, Inc. a biotechnology company devoted to the discovery, development and commercialization of immunotherapies based on a technology which uses engineered Listeria monocytogenes, today announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement. The merger would result in a combined company that will focus predominantly on the development and commercialization of Ayala’s lead program AL102 for the treatment of desmoid tumors and Advaxis’s candidate ADXS-504 in development for prostate cancer. Kenneth A. Berlin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Advaxis, said, “Advaxis took a thorough approach in our quest to find the right partner with the right products. This merger is expected to enhance Advaxis’s portfolio of clinical assets, with Ayala’s proprietary gamma secretase inhibitors that are being developed as targeted therapies for rare and aggressive tumors. Ayala’s lead candidate, AL102, is currently being investigated in the Phase 2/3 RINGSIDE study in desmoid tumors, which we believe will accelerate the stage of product development for the combined company dramatically. We are particularly excited about very promising interim data from RINGSIDE, which showed that AL102 monotherapy had meaningful anti-tumor activity with tumor shrinkage in the majority of patients that appeared to be deepening over time. The combined management team has extensive commercial and R&D experience, and we believe we have the cash to advance the combined portfolio through key milestones in 2023, including longerterm data from Part A of RINGSIDE, clarity on the registration path for AL101 in recurrent/metastatic adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) and initial clinical and PSA data from the Phase 1 trial of ADXS-504 in prostate cancer. We believe that this transaction will also help drive our efforts to return to a Nasdaq listing and enhance our ability to access capital.” “We are pleased to announce the proposed merger with Advaxis, which is expected to provide our pipeline and AL102 with additional financial resources as well as additional infrastructure in the U.S. The two companies have a shared mission to develop innovative therapies to improve the lives of patients with cancer and I believe we have found a good partner to advance our pipeline and create value for our stakeholders.” Roni Mamluk, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Ayala Consummation of the merger is subject to certain closing conditions, including, among other things, approval by the stockholders of Ayala. At the closing of the merger, Ayala will be delisted from The Nasdaq Global Market. The combined company’s common stock is expected to begin trading on the OTCQX at the effective time of the merger, subject to Advaxis’ planned efforts to have the stock of the combined company listed on Nasdaq, as to which no assurances can be made. About Ayala Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Ayala Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a clinical-stage oncology company focused on developing and commercializing small molecule therapeutics for patients suffering from rare tumors and aggressive cancers. Ayala’s approach is focused on predicting, identifying and addressing tumorigenic drivers of cancer through a combination of its bioinformatics platform and next-generation sequencing to deliver targeted therapies to underserved patient populations. The company has two product candidates under development, AL101 and AL102, targeting the aberrant activation of the Notch pathway with gamma secretase inhibitors to treat a variety of tumors, including adenoid cystic carcinoma and desmoid tumors. AL102 has received Fast Track Designation from the U.S. FDA and is currently in the Phase 3 portion of a pivotal study for patients with desmoid tumors. AL101 has received Fast Track Designation and Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. FDA and is currently in a Phase 2 clinical trial for patients with ACC bearing Notch activating mutations. About Advaxis, Inc. Advaxis, Inc. is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of proprietary Lm-based antigen delivery products. These off-the-shelf immunotherapies are a significant advancement in immunotherapy as they integrate multiple functions into a single therapy by directing antigen presenting cells to stimulate T-cells and other components of the immune system, while reducing tumor protection in the tumor microenvironment, facilitating the elimination of tumors. The company has two programs in the clinic: ADXS-503 for late-stage lung cancer and ADXS-504 for early-stage prostate cancer.

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