Ultra-Rare to Rare: Two Execs Talk About Alexion's Shift

biospace | May 09, 2019

Alexion Pharmaceuticals is a company focused on ultra-rare diseases, although it is working on a shift into rare diseases. This may sound like something of a minor shift, but it represents developing drugs for more diseases with larger patient populations. The company’s success has been built primarily on its Soliris (eculizumab), a complement inhibitor. The drug has been approved for paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), atypical Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (aHUS) and for generalized Myasthenia Gravis (gMG). Soliris, as well as the company’s next-generation complement inhibitor, Ultomiris, underline the company’s expertise in complement-related diseases. The complement system is part of the immune system made up of about 30 different proteins. As such it plays a role in numerous diseases at some level, and alone in several diseases, including PNH, aHUS and others.

Spotlight

Vaccination programmes have had a significant impact on reducing mortality and morbidity throughout life from numerous infectious diseases, saving 2 to 3 million lives worldwide every year. Effective vaccination programmes alleviate pressure on health systems and budgets. This, in turn, allows freeing resources for other areas of the healthcare system, as well as for investment in medical innovation. Several vaccines are key to protecting patients affected by underlying chronic conditions. Such vaccines contribute to reducing the burden of medical complications in these patient groups, thereby also helping to address issues of poly-medication.

Spotlight

Vaccination programmes have had a significant impact on reducing mortality and morbidity throughout life from numerous infectious diseases, saving 2 to 3 million lives worldwide every year. Effective vaccination programmes alleviate pressure on health systems and budgets. This, in turn, allows freeing resources for other areas of the healthcare system, as well as for investment in medical innovation. Several vaccines are key to protecting patients affected by underlying chronic conditions. Such vaccines contribute to reducing the burden of medical complications in these patient groups, thereby also helping to address issues of poly-medication.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Labcorp Plans Laboratory Expansion in Japan Through BML Collaboration

Labcorp | July 04, 2022

Labcorp a leading global life sciences company, announced that it is enhancing its central laboratory presence and drug development capabilities in Japan through an expansion of CB Trial Laboratory, the central laboratory co-managed by Labcorp Drug Development and BML, a leading Japanese provider of clinical laboratory testing services. Extending their strategic relationship that dates back more than a decade, Labcorp Drug Development and BML will begin work on a new laboratory facility in the city of Kawagoe, Saitama, expanding capacity and services for pharmaceutical and biotechnology clients. This will bolster Labcorp Drug Development’s central laboratory services offerings in Japan and sets the stage for a continued acceleration of companion diagnostic capabilities. “Labcorp Drug Development remains committed to growing its Japanese operations and services through continued expansion and partnerships. Broadening our work with BML and increasing our laboratory footprint means we will be able to offer shorter turnaround times, superior in-country sample management and full lab testing services for global clinical trials in Japan. This will benefit patients, clients and health care providers by providing them with the information needed to make key decisions.” Honggang Bi, senior vice president and head of Asia-Pacific for Labcorp Drug Development The new facility will be located near BML’s General Laboratory in Kawagoe where the current CB Trial Laboratory is located, providing over 4,000 square meters of dedicated space for global clinical trials managed by Labcorp Drug Development. The new space will be greater than five times the size of the current facility, with additional capabilities such as genomics, microbiology and companion diagnostics in addition to expanded offerings in current lab capabilities including flow cytometry, immunology, and anatomical pathology and histology. Completion of the expanded laboratory is expected by early 2025. Through the planned laboratory expansion, Labcorp will advance biomarker and esoteric testing services, expand its companion diagnostics portfolio and deepen the integration with its clinical development services. In addition, the company will be able to intensify its focus on cell and gene therapy research and development, part of a broader commitment to precision medicine and fortifying the company’s position as an oncology leader. “In collaborating with Labcorp, we are able to offer our pharmaceutical and biotechnology clients access to both comprehensive clinical laboratory testing and drug development opportunities,” said Dr. Kensuke Kondo, president of BML. “The laboratory expansion provides additional capabilities and capacity and opens the door to enriched services, more resources and better outcomes for our clients and patients.” Labcorp and BML have successfully provided central laboratory services for global clinical trials in Japan since 2010 through kit production, sample logistics and laboratory operations at CB Trial Laboratory. Their partnership agreement was renewed in 2020. About Labcorp Labcorp is a leading global life sciences company that provides vital information to help doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, researchers, and patients make clear and confident decisions. Through our unparalleled diagnostics and drug development capabilities, we provide insights and accelerate innovations to improve health and improve lives. With over 75,000 employees, we serve clients in more than 100 countries. Labcorp reported revenue of $16 billion in FY2021.

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PHARMA TECH

House Rx to Launch Specialty Drug Dispensing Inside Rheumatology Clinics By Partnering with Three Leading Practices

House Rx | August 04, 2022

House Rx, the platform for medically integrated dispensing of specialty medications, announced it has partnered with three new rheumatology clinics to integrate in-house specialty drug dispensing – also known as medically integrated dispensing (MID) – into the clinics' operations. The three practices are: Arizona Arthritis & Rheumatology Associates (AARA), Arthritis & Osteoporosis Consultants of the Carolinas (AOCC), and Arthritis Associates of Tennessee and represent an additional 68 providers that will dispense specialty medications through the House Rx platform, bringing the total number of providers on House Rx's platform to 137. While MID has grown in oncology, House Rx's partnership with these practices is one of the first to bring the model to rheumatology care. "It's very exciting to partner with key thought leaders in rheumatology to bring medically integrated dispensing to this specialty. Each one of these practices is a leader in their region, and we look forward to partnering very closely with them to define a new standard for a better patient experience and improved outcomes for patients living with rheumatic diseases." Ogi Kavazovic, Co-Founder and CEO of House Rx By bringing specialty dispensing into the physician's office, the partnership with House Rx aims to dramatically improve the specialty medication experience for patients. The MID care model provides a seamless and efficient way for patients to receive prescribed therapies directly from their doctor – which research has demonstrated improves outcomes, including quality of life and increased survivability, when contrasted with the Pharmacy Benefit Manager-controlled specialty pharmacy approach. "This partnership will increase patient satisfaction by providing prescription medication in-house, and House Rx's technology and expertise will help us achieve this," said Prakash Viswanathan, CFO of AARA. "It is motivating to help trailblaze a new path in rheumatology and be one of the first practices to bring specialty medication dispensing under our roof, making it far easier and quicker for patients to get the medications they need." "We couldn't be more excited about this partnership, which will bring immediate benefits for our patients," said Scott Gilomen, CEO of AOCC. "Having managed an oncology practice earlier in my career, I've seen first-hand the advantages of the MID model and look forward to how House Rx's approach to MID will propel the rheumatology field forward – with our practice at the forefront." "The House Rx model will transform how rheumatology care is delivered, making it more coordinated and improving our patients' experience," said Beth Simpson, DO and managing physician partner at AATN. "We look forward to our patients not being on hold for hours on end waiting to speak with a specialty pharmacy. Instead, they'll speak immediately with House Rx's integrated team of pharmacy experts who understand their rheumatologic conditions." While the concept of dispensing specialty medications in rheumatology is not new — a handful of clinics attempted dispensing in the past but ultimately were unsuccessful due to a lack of technological and operational support — House Rx's model approaches in-office dispensing in a new way. By providing clinics with specialized technology and operational support from pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who work integrated with the clinic, practices can keep the service under their roof while reducing the heavy lifting of implementing and maintaining a successful MID program. In addition, clinics can repurpose staff resources normally spent on prior authorizations and financial assistance for patients to focus on direct patient care or other activities critical to the viability and financial independence of community rheumatology clinics. About House Rx House Rx is a healthcare technology and services company focused on making specialty medication more accessible and affordable. The company partners with specialty clinics across the country to help these community clinics offer medically integrated dispensing, bringing together clinical and pharmacy expertise to better serve patients, lower the cost of care, and create a better experience for patients and their caregivers. Learn more at www.houserx.com. About Arizona Arthritis & Rheumatology Associates With 19 physicians, 30 advanced practice providers, and 10 clinics around the state of Arizona, AARA is one of the largest rheumatology practices in the country bringing world-class expertise to patients managing autoimmune conditions. A member of the American Rheumatology Network, and always at the forefront of rheumatology care, AARA has led the way in addressing the rheumatologist workforce shortage by integrating advanced practice providers into their practice, which has allowed the practice to scale clinical operations and meet the demand of a growing patient population. About Arthritis & Osteoporosis Consultants of the Carolinas Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, AOCC has 10 physicians and 5 advanced practice providers caring for patients across two clinics. Combining years of experience in private practice, academic teaching and clinical research, the clinic staff provides highly individualized and state-of-the-art care. About Arthritis Associates Founded in 1975, Arthritis Associates has been at the forefront of rheumatological care in Chattanooga, TN and is the only practice in the area treating both adult and pediatric patients. Arthritis Associates has an excellent, experienced and knowledgeable team including skilled nurses who can administer intravenous treatments onsite, supervised by a board-certified rheumatologist.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

QHP Capital Acquires Lexitas Pharma Services

Lexitas and QHP Capital | July 08, 2022

QHP Capital the management company for NovaQuest Private Equity announced its acquisition of Lexitas Pharma Services a full-service ophthalmology contract research organization supporting biopharmaceutical and medical device clinical trials. Since 2011, Lexitas has provided clinical trial and medical strategy solutions to biopharmaceutical and medical device companies developing ophthalmic products. The Company provides end-to-end support and development expertise in the anterior and posterior segments of ophthalmology. Lexitas has conducted clinical trials for dry eye disease, glaucoma, cataract, uveitis, pediatric myopia, diabetic macular edema, age-related macular degeneration, and retinitis pigmentosa, among others. The Company’s therapeutic area expertise, relationships with ophthalmic KOLs, and network of high-performing research sites has led to strong outcomes for its international customer base. “For the past decade, Lexitas has had the incredible opportunity and privilege to partner with talented companies with amazing science as they develop their ophthalmic drugs and devices. Partnering with the QHP team brings deep expertise and domain knowledge that is going to allow Lexitas to improve and increase the scope, quality, and efficiency of our capabilities. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with QHP and are excited at the prospect of getting safe and efficacious ophthalmic drugs to patients efficiently and quickly,” George Magrath, M.D., CEO of Lexitas “Lexitas is an excellent fit with QHP’s philosophy and strategy of providing strategic capital to growing clinical trial services providers in niche, specialized therapeutic areas,” said Vern Davenport and Jeff Edwards, Partners at QHP. “We look forward to supporting the Lexitas team as they continue to build out their capabilities and provide best-in-class ophthalmic drug development services.” Additionally, Lexitas appointed Jeanne Hecht as Executive Chairwoman of the Board. Jeanne is a seasoned ophthalmology CRO industry executive having previously served as CEO of Ora, an ophthalmic CRO, where she expanded Ora’s international presence, introduced new lines of business, and furthered its goals along numerous strategic paths. About Lexitas Lexitas is a full-service ophthalmic biopharmaceutical solutions company focused on providing end-to-end eyecare support and exceptional service to biopharma and medical device clients globally. About QHP Capital QHP Capital, L.P. is the management company for NovaQuest Private Equity NQPE is a private equity firm that invests in lower middle market healthcare companies primarily in North America. The Firm invests in services and technology companies where a strategic partner and operating resources can accelerate growth, targeting companies in healthcare and pharmaceutical services industries. NQPE invests in the form of buyouts, growth equity, and recapitalizations.

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