Tackling the Innovation Crisis in Drug Discovery and Development

Technology Networks | February 17, 2020

Arctoris Ltd has announced a formal partnership with Molecule in order to tackle the ongoing innovation crisis faced by drug discovery and development across both industry and academia. Through its fully automated drug discovery platform, Arctoris aims to enable researchers and biotechnological entrepreneurs to design and remotely execute advanced cell-based, molecular biology and biochemical assays. Together with Molecule’s distributed IP ownership platform, which enables stakeholders in drug development to collaborate and share ownership of the IP they are working to develop, Arctoris and Molecule intend to take strides towards making drug discovery and development faster, cheaper, less risk-prone, and more viable at all levels.

Spotlight

The PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test, also called PSA screening, evaluates a blood sample for elevated levels of the prostate-specific antigen. PSA is a protein that can indicate the presence of cancer in the prostate, which is a small gland below the bladder.

Spotlight

The PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test, also called PSA screening, evaluates a blood sample for elevated levels of the prostate-specific antigen. PSA is a protein that can indicate the presence of cancer in the prostate, which is a small gland below the bladder.

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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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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

Anokion Announces $35 Million Equity Investment from Pfizer

Anokion | October 19, 2022

Anokion SA, a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on treating autoimmune disease by restoring normal immune tolerance announced that Pfizer has made a $35 million equity investment in Anokion through the Pfizer Breakthrough Growth Initiative. In conjunction with the investment, Michael Vincent, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president and chief scientific officer, Inflammation & Immunology, Pfizer, has joined the company’s scientific advisory board, which will be announced later this year, and Allison Kean, M.D., executive director, Worldwide Business Development, Pfizer has joined Anokion’s board of directors as an observer. Separately, Anokion and Pfizer have entered into an agreement to leverage Pfizer’s development expertise and capabilities in support of the continued clinical development of KAN-101, Anokion’s lead candidate for the treatment of individuals with celiac disease. “We are excited about these agreements with Pfizer as they provide us with important resources and expertise to advance our KAN-101 clinical program and our earlier-stage pipeline. People living with autoimmune diseases like celiac disease need additional treatment options, and we are excited to work with Pfizer to potentially develop these utilizing our immune tolerance platform. We also look forward to leveraging Pfizer’s insights and capabilities in support of our Phase 2 clinical program in patients with celiac disease.” Deborah Geraghty, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Anokion “We believe Anokion has a unique opportunity to develop potential durable and disease-modifying treatment options for people with celiac disease and other immune-mediated disorders, and we look forward to supporting them in the continued development of KAN-101,” said Dr. Vincent. “The agreements announced today are yet another example of our commitment to collaborating with biotechs to accelerate compelling external science that could lead to true breakthroughs for patients.” Anokion intends to use a portion of the proceeds to fund its Phase 2 clinical program of KAN-101 for the treatment of individuals with celiac disease, a serious autoimmune disorder triggered by ingestion of gluten, for which there are no approved therapeutic treatments available. Data from Anokion’s Phase 1 ACeD study (Assessment of KAN-101 in Celiac Disease) were presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW) 2022, showing that treatment with KAN-101 was safe and tolerated, reduced T cell responses following gluten challenge, and demonstrated a dose-dependent inhibition of gluten-induced serum IL-2 (interleukin-2), a key disease biomarker that may correlate with the timing and severity of symptoms after gluten exposure in celiac disease. Based on favorable findings, Anokion is preparing to initiate patient dosing in a Phase 2 clinical trial in the second half of 2022, supported by Pfizer. About KAN-101 KAN-101 is an investigational therapy being evaluated as a treatment for individuals with celiac disease, a serious autoimmune disease triggered by ingestion of gluten, for which there are no approved therapeutic treatments available. KAN-101 is designed to induce tolerance to gliadin, a core component of gluten, through natural pathways in the liver. KAN-101 has been granted Fast Track designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of celiac disease. About Anokion Anokion SA is a clinical-stage Swiss biotechnology company that aims to make a meaningful difference in the lives of patients suffering from autoimmune diseases by restoring normal immune tolerance. The company is focused on both prevalent and rare autoimmune diseases, including celiac disease, multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes. Anokion’s distinct approach leverages the company’s immune-based platform, which targets natural pathways in the liver to restore immune tolerance and address the underlying cause of autoimmune disease.

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