Cambrex | September 05, 2022
Cambrex today announced the completion of the first phase of its $30 million investment in its small molecule active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturing facility in High Point, North Carolina. The newly constructed space adds analytical and chemical development laboratories totaling 30,000 square feet and provides future workspace for 85 analytical and chemical development scientists. These laboratories will support the development of APIs to be manufactured in the facility's current clinical manufacturing area, as well as the future expanded clinical manufacturing and commercial manufacturing suites.
"With the growing number of therapies in clinical development and trend toward more targeted therapeutics, including orphan drugs, this expansion is preparing Cambrex to support the growing demand for small-scale API manufacturing. Our expansion goes beyond providing capacity – it provides state-of-the-art technology and laboratory equipment, an energy efficient infrastructure, and an ideal space for our scientific experts to work side-by-side with our clients."
Tom Loewald, CEO, Cambrex
Phase 2 of the project is ongoing and will approximately double the facility's manufacturing capacity with the addition of clinical and commercial manufacturing suites with reactors up to 2,000 liters. The new commercial area will provide an ideal scale for the manufacturing of orphan drugs and niche therapies, while larger volume products developed at the facility can be manufactured commercially at one of Cambrex's larger scale facilities in Iowa and Sweden. This expansion follows Cambrex's 2021 investment in the Cambrex High Point continuous flow R&D center of excellence, including expanded capabilities for continuous flow process development, manufacturing, and scale up.
Cambrex continues to expand its capabilities and capacity across its North American and European network to meet the growing demand for outsourced product development and manufacturing services.
Cambrex is a leading global contract development and manufacturing organization that provides drug substance, drug product, and analytical services across the entire drug lifecycle. With over 40 years of experience and a growing team of over 2,300 experts servicing global clients from North America and Europe, Cambrex is a trusted partner in branded and generic markets for API and finished dosage form development and manufacturing.
Cambrex offers a range of specialized drug substance technologies and capabilities, including biocatalysis, continuous flow, controlled substances, solid-state science, material characterization, stability storage, and highly potent APIs. In addition, Cambrex can support conventional dosage forms, including oral solids, semi-solids, and liquids, and has the expertise to manufacture specialty dosage forms such as modified-release, fixed-dose combination, pediatric, bi-layer tablets, stick packs, topicals, controlled substances, sterile, and non-sterile ointments.
CASI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. | September 26, 2022
CASI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. a U.S. biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative therapeutics and pharmaceutical products announced that CASI Biopharmaceuticals Co., Ltd, a subsidiary of CASI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. entered into an Equity Transfer Agreement with Shenzhen Jiadao Gongcheng Equity Investment Fund, LLP pursuant to which CASI Wuxi agreed to transfer its equity interest in Juventas Biotechnology Co., Ltd. amounting to 12.0098% total Juventas equity to Jiadao Gongcheng for RMB 240.87 million. The Equity Transfer Agreement states there will be two even payment installments from Jiadao Gongcheng; one payment to be made after the Equity Transfer Agreement is signed and the second payment to be made after the completion of the equity transaction.
"We are confident in CNCT-19, and we expect Juventas to submit for NDA to the NMPA in 2022 for the B-ALL indication. CASI and Juventas will continue to maintain a working partnership, focusing on product launch and co-marketing for CNCT-19."
Wei-Wu He, Ph.D., CASI's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Dr. He continued, "The completion of the equity transfer transaction will strengthen CASI's balance sheet by providing CASI with sufficient cash to operate until, at least, the end of 2023. This transaction will allow CASI to advance the development of our other pipeline projects while augmenting the efforts of our sales and marketing team."
CNCT19 targets CD19, a B-cell surface protein widely expressed during all phases of B-cell development and a validated target for B-cell driven hematological malignancies. CD19- targeted CAR constructs from several different institutions have demonstrated consistently high antitumor efficacy in children and adults with relapsed B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia chronic lymphocytic leukemia and B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. CD19 antigen is the most frequently used target in the CAR-T cell therapy clinical trials for hematological malignancies such as leukemia and lymphoma. Juventas is responsible for the development of CNCT19. CASI and Juventas will co-commercialize CNCT19 under the direction of the program's joint steering committee.
About CASI Pharmaceuticals
CASI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a U.S. biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative therapeutics and pharmaceutical products in China, the United States, and throughout the world. The Company is focused on acquiring, developing, and commercializing products that augment its hematology oncology therapeutic focus as well as other areas of unmet medical need. The Company intends to execute its plan to become a leader by launching medicines in the Greater China market, leveraging the Company's China-based regulatory and commercial competencies and its global drug development expertise. The Company's operations in China are conducted through its wholly-owned subsidiary, CASI Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd., located in Beijing, China. The Company has built a commercial team of more than 100 hematology and oncology sales and marketing specialists based in China.
Juventas is a biopharmaceutical company headquartered in China dedicated to the development and commercialization of cell therapies globally. Utilizing innovative and integrated technology platforms, the company has developed a diverse pipeline of cellular immunotherapies for treatment of hematological malignancies, solid tumors, and other non-oncological conditions both in China and globally. At present, the company is conducting two pivotal clinical trials of CNCT19 for treating adult r/r-B-ALL and r/r-B-NHL in China. CNCT19 has the potential to become the first launched domestically developed CD19 CAR-T therapy in China and the first CAR-T product for the treatment of adult R/R B-ALL in China.
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.
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.