Vaccine heroes? COVID-19 pitfalls, pricing put pharma on the spot

Fiercepharma | June 16, 2020

Pharma is looking to reset its image with COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, but landmines loom—with pricing likely the biggest. The halo from pharma’s rapid response in research and discovery—and the hope that a vaccine or effective treatments will allow the world to return to some sort of normal—has propelled the industry’s reputation at an all-time high. Forty percent of Americans say their opinion of the pharma industry has turned positive during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to The Harris Poll. However, pricing lurks just beyond the lab. Just this week in media, one well-known pundit posited in a Forbes column that the industry’s reputation hinges on the pricing of Gilead Sciences' treatment remdesivir, while another touted Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla’s promise to not price its vaccine too high in part because “people will not forget if you do that.”

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PHARMA TECH

Armata Pharmaceuticals Announces Clearance of IND for Prosthetic Joint Infections

Armata Pharmaceuticals, Inc | August 02, 2022

Armata Pharmaceuticals, Inc. a biotechnology company focused on pathogen-specific bacteriophage therapeutics for antibiotic-resistant and difficult-to-treat bacterial infections, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cleared Armata's Investigational New Drug application for AP-SA02 in prosthetic joint infection. The company is initiating start-up activities for the Phase 1b/2a trial that will explore the safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetics of intravenous and intra-articular doses of AP-SA02 as an adjunct to standard of care antibiotics in subjects with PJI. "Prosthetic joint infection is one of the most serious complications of prosthetic joint implantation. Staphylococcus aureus is a dominant pathogen that drives the need for surgical intervention and prolonged courses of antibiotic therapy. The ability of S. aureus to create biofilms that are refractory to standard of care antibiotics highlights the need for a novel therapy. Phage therapy may fill this need for PJI patients as phage have demonstrated the ability to disrupt biofilm and work synergistically with antibiotics." Dr. Mina Pastagia, Armata's Senior Vice President of Clinical Development "Armata is excited to explore AP-PA02 in patients who suffer from complicated joint infections that don't respond adequately to standard of care antibiotics. PJI is a logical extension of our diSArm trial which is targeting complicated S. aureus bacteremia," said Brian Varnum, Chief Executive Officer of Armata. "With this IND approval, Armata now has four active clinical programs. Today marks an important development milestone for Armata and its investors who set a course three years ago to transform phage therapy from a promising new technology to one that is explored in rigorous clinical settings." In addition to evaluating AP-SA02 in PJI and bacteremia due to S. aureus, Armata has advanced AP-PA02 into the Phase 2a component of the SWARM-P.a. study which targets chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections in people with cystic fibrosis (CF). In February, the company gained IND clearance for AP-PA02 in a second indication, non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis targeting patients with chronic P. aeruginosa infections in a Phase 2 trial. About Armata Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Armata is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the development of precisely targeted bacteriophage therapeutics for the treatment of antibiotic-resistant and difficult-to-treat bacterial infections using its proprietary bacteriophage-based technology. Armata is developing and advancing a broad pipeline of natural and synthetic phage candidates, including clinical candidates for Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and other pathogens. In addition, in collaboration with Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, Armata is developing proprietary synthetic phage candidates to target an undisclosed infectious disease agent. Armata is committed to advancing phage with drug development expertise that spans bench to clinic including in-house phage specific GMP manufacturing.

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PHARMACY MARKET

Acorda Therapeutics Enters into License Agreement with Asieris Pharmaceuticals

Asieris | August 30, 2022

Acorda Therapeutics, Inc. announced that it has entered into a license agreement relating to its preclinical asset, Nepicastat, with Asieris Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology company headquartered in China. Under the terms of the agreement, Acorda will receive an upfront payment of $500,000, and up to an additional $7 million based on the achievement of regulatory milestones. Acorda will also receive a royalty on future net sales. Nepicastat is a small molecule drug and the license agreement provides for its development for all non-psychiatric indications and therapeutic uses. The asset has been held by Acorda’s U.S. subsidiary, Biotie Therapies, Inc. About Acorda Therapeutics Acorda Therapeutics develops therapies to restore function and improve the lives of people with neurological disorders. INBRIJA® is approved for intermittent treatment of OFF episodes in adults with Parkinson’s disease treated with carbidopa/levodopa. INBRIJA is not to be used by patients who take or have taken a nonselective monoamine oxidase inhibitor such as phenelzine or tranylcypromine within the last two weeks. INBRIJA utilizes Acorda’s innovative ARCUS® pulmonary delivery system, a technology platform designed to deliver medication through inhalation. Acorda also markets the branded AMPYRA® Extended Release Tablets, 10 mg. About Asieris Asieris Pharmaceuticals founded in March 2010, is a global biopharma company specializing in discovering, developing and commercializing innovative drugs for the treatment of genitourinary tumors and other related diseases. We strive to improve human health and help people live a more dignified life. We aim to become a global pharma leader that integrates R&D, manufacturing and commercialization in our areas of focus, as we provide best-in-class integrated diagnosis and treatment solutions for patients in China and worldwide.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

MediPharm Labs Enters into $6.2M Purchase Agreement for the Sale of Australian Facility

MediPharm Labs Corp. | July 12, 2022

MediPharm Labs Corp. a pharmaceutical company specialized in precision-based cannabinoids, has entered into a Share Purchase Agreement with OneLife Botanicals PTY for the sale of MediPharm Labs Australia Pty Ltd a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, for a minimum value of $6.9M AUD. The Agreement is subject to routine conditions and is anticipated to close within 90 days. The Agreement includes the assets of MPLA, specialized licensing, operational knowledge, and Australian and New Zealand customers currently served from that facility. All international contracts outside of Australia and New Zealand will remain with MediPharm Labs and be serviced from our Barrie GMP facility. In July 2021, MediPharm Labs was the first purpose-built cannabis facility to receive a pharmaceutical Drug Establishment License. Awarded by Health Canada, this license is recognized in over 50 countries as part of the Pharmaceutical Inspection Co-operation Scheme. At this time, the Company has completed a review of its international manufacturing platform and identified significant potential savings in moving all domestic and international manufacturing to the Canadian facility. After an extensive sale process, the Agreement with OneLife Botanicals was identified as a strategic fit for both parties. OneLife Botanicals is an emerging leader in Australia region for cannabis-based wellness and medical products, with plans to launch OTC CBD products across Australia. Purchasing the MPLA facility expedites OneLife Botanicals' timing to commercialization. The Company and OneLife Botanicals will also enter into a transition services agreement to allow for the two companies to smoothly transition products and services produced in the facility, and to work together on future commercial opportunities. David Pidduck, CEO of MediPharm Labs commented, "This sale represents a major milestone for MediPharm Labs as it continues to focus on rightsizing the business to achieve profitability. As we look to maintain our strong cash balance, this transaction paired with corporate restructuring completed in June 2022 should allow us to reduce our quarterly burn rate as we improve sales. I want to personally thank our Australian team. This group of professionals are trailblazers in the Australian and international medical cannabis market, achieving major milestones such as multiple customer product launches and our first deliveries to Germany. OneLife Botanicals is gaining one of the most capable medical cannabis manufacturing teams in Australia." "This purchase aligns and expedites the strategic aim of our organization to produce high quality medicinal cannabis products by integrating manufacturing into the end-to-end supply chain. The integration of a fully operational facility brings forward our objectives to take our products and brand to the market. OneLife Botanicals CEO Andrew Grant Our company undertook extensive research in considering this important acquisition and is highly confident about the capabilities and capacity of the operation to manufacture products in accordance with all compliance and quality standards. The integration of this business with our existing cultivation facility facilitates savings in capital investment, access to operational efficiencies and establishes us as a significant supplier in the Australian medicinal cannabis industry. We intend to build on the existing customer base and develop additional product distribution opportunities to become a formidable participant in the market." About MediPharm Labs Founded in 2015, MediPharm Labs specializes in the development and manufacture of purified, pharmaceutical-quality cannabis concentrates, active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and advanced derivative products utilizing a Good Manufacturing Practices certified facility with ISO standard-built clean rooms. MediPharm Labs has invested in an expert, research driven team, state-of-the-art technology, downstream purification methodologies and purpose-built facilities with five primary extraction lines for delivery of pure, trusted and precision-dosed cannabis products for its customers. Through its wholesale and white label platforms, MediPharm Labs formulates, develops processes, packages and distributes cannabis extracts and advanced cannabinoid-based products to domestic and international markets. In 2021, MediPharm Labs received a Pharmaceutical Drug Establishment Licence from Health Canada, becoming the only company in North America to hold a domestic Good Manufacturing Licence for the extraction of natural cannabinoids. The Company carries out its operations in compliance with all applicable laws in the countries in which it operates. About OneLife Botanicals Onelife Botanicals is a niche producer of medicinal cannabis in Melbourne, Australia. The company has a passion for developing and producing products that provide a range of health benefits and assist in treating a range of specific health conditions. The company operates an existing cultivation site with extensive Infrastructure, including fit for purpose glasshouses for growing Medicinal Cannabis in a controlled environment. The glasshouses facilitate the optimum growing environment through temperature and climate control, allowing natural sunlight to be maximized in a protected and secure environment. The Directors and stakeholders are focused on identifying and exploring market opportunities, along with embracing innovation in the production processes. The success of the business is able to be achieved with an extensive Research and Development program, aimed at staying ahead of changes in growing methods, technological solutions and product applications, along with advanced automation ensuring that we minimize operating expenditure and maximise quality control.

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