When it comes to cancer drug deals, one hot protein family is raking in billions

FiercePharma | August 21, 2019

Hot cancer drugs have driven some of the biggest biopharma deals over the last decade, and thats certainly true of two of this years biggest transactions- Eli Lillys 8 billion dollars Loxo Oncology buy and Pfizers 11.4 billion dollars Array BioPharma acquisition. But the science behind those mergers speaks to a much larger trend in pharma M and A one that has spawned nearly 100 billion dollars in deals since 2010, according to a new analysis from SVB Leerink. Almost 40 Percent of the total value of pharma deals completed in that timeframe centered on drugs that inhibit kinases, which are proteins that are involved in cell signaling and can drive cancer, the analysts discovered. The Loxo deal brought Vitrakvi, which inhibits the kinase NTRK, into Lilly’s product line, along with two investigational kinase inhibitors. Array offers Pfizer the BRAF inhibitor Braftovi and the MEK blocker Mektovi. Vitrakvi has the potential to bring in $1 billion in sales, some have estimated, and positive data on combination treatments with Braftovi and Mektovi have generated blockbuster hopes for those drugs as well. And two new kinase inhibitors were approved in the past week, Roche's Rozlytrek for lung cancer and myelofibrosis treatment Inrebic from Bristol-Myers Squibb’s newly acquired Celgene.

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Astellas and MBC BioLabs Announce Astellas Future Innovator Prize to Help Biotech Start-ups Accelerate Early Drug Discovery and Research Efforts

Astellas Pharma Inc. | September 20, 2022

Astellas Venture Management LLC a wholly-owned venture capital subsidiary of Astellas Pharma Inc. and Mission Bay Capital BioLabs a life-science incubator, today announced their collaboration on the "Astellas Future Innovator Prize" formerly known as the Astellas Golden Ticket competition. Building on over three successful years, the competition offers entrepreneurial scientists or emerging biotechnology start-ups one year's priority usage of MBC BioLabs' state-of-the-art lab facility and access to Astellas' research and development (R&D) capabilities and business leaders. With a shared commitment to discovering and advancing innovative science for the potential future benefit of patients worldwide, AVM and MBC BioLabs are continuing their partnership to support scientists and early-stage companies to accelerate their novel therapeutic programs, modalities or platforms. The 2022 competition will prioritize innovative research that compliment Astellas' Focus Area Approach and pipeline. "We are truly thrilled to host the Astellas Future Innovator Prize again this year. Through our long-term collaboration with MBC BioLabs, we aim to create an environment that encourages innovation to thrive. The Astellas Future Innovator Prize enables us to provide biotech companies with expertise and capabilities to turn an innovative idea into a real solution, which could transform the lives of patients in need around the world." William Watt, President, AVM "We are pleased to continue our partnership with Astellas to uncover the innovators of tomorrow," said Douglas Crawford, MBC BioLabs General Manager. "The past winners of the Astellas Future Innovator Prize show what can be achieved by combining Astellas' support, advice and expertise with our laboratory incubator, and we are excited to see the result of our ongoing collaboration." Entrepreneurial scientists, emerging life-science and biotechnology start-ups have until November 4, 2022 to enter the Astellas Future Innovator Prize. About the Astellas Future Innovator Prize at MBC BioLabs Astellas is offering up to two prizes for pioneering scientists with innovative research that complements Astellas' areas of interest in alignment with its Focus Area Approach and pipeline, including Blindness & Regeneration, Mitochondria, Genetic Regulation, Immuno-Oncology, Cell Therapy, and other areas. The 2021 Astellas Future Innovator Prize winners were Vcreate and Weatherwax Biotechnologies, chosen for the potential of their innovations to deliver therapeutic advances for unmet medical needs and their potential synergy with Astellas' Focus Area Approach. About Astellas Venture Management LLC AVM is the wholly-owned venture capital organization within Astellas, dedicated to supporting pre-clinical, cutting-edge science that can bring VALUE to patients. For over 15 years, AVM has provided equity investments to private, early-stage companies developing therapeutic programs and platform technologies, helping them to advance their innovations faster. AVM is a strategic investor, making investments in science that will enhance the current Astellas R&D pipeline or that could catalyze new directions in discovery research. About Astellas Astellas Pharma Inc. is a pharmaceutical company conducting business in more than 70 countries around the world. We are promoting the Focus Area Approach that is designed to identify opportunities for the continuous creation of new drugs to address diseases with high unmet medical needs by focusing on Biology and Modality. Furthermore, we are also looking beyond our foundational Rx focus to create Rx+® healthcare solutions that combine our expertise and knowledge with cutting-edge technology in different fields of external partners. Through these efforts, Astellas stands on the forefront of healthcare change to turn innovative science into value for patients. About MBC BioLabs MBC BioLabs is dedicated to helping life-science startups succeed. By renting space as small as a single bench and providing these entrepreneurial scientists with access to millions of dollars of equipment, MBC BioLabs allows companies to be fast, focused, and frugal. It has three sites: one in the Dogpatch neighborhood in San Francisco and two campuses in San Carlos, California. Each site has a complete molecular biology core facility that allows companies to do experiments on day one. MBC BioLabs has partnerships with leading pharmaceutical and life-science companies as well as a built-in venture capital firm, Mission BioCapital. These partnerships provide entrepreneurs with valuable insights about where to focus their efforts and accelerates the innovation pipeline. Since opening in 2013, MBC BioLabs has helped launch and grow 290 companies. These companies have brought 58 programs to the clinic, produced 13 approved diagnostics, and raised over $14 billion.

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PHARMA TECH

European Medicines Agency Accepts Astellas' Marketing Authorization Application for Fezolinetant

Astellas Pharma Inc. | September 30, 2022

Astellas Pharma Inc. announced the European Medicines Agency has accepted for regulatory review the company's marketing authorization application for fezolinetant, an investigational oral, nonhormonal compound seeking approval for the treatment of moderate to severe vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause. VMS, characterized by hot flashes and/or night sweats, are common symptoms of menopause.1,2 "More than half of women 40 to 64 years of age experience hot flashes during menopause, with limited nonhormonal treatment options. The EMA's acceptance of our MAA for fezolinetant brings us one step closer to advancing a potential first-in-class nonhormonal treatment option for women in Europe who experience VMS associated with menopause, similar to the FDA acceptance of our NDA for women in the U.S." Ahsan Arozullah, M.D., M.P.H., Senior Vice President and Head of Development Therapeutic Areas, Astellas The MAA is supported by results from the BRIGHT SKY™ program, which included three Phase 3 clinical trials that collectively enrolled over 2,800 women with VMS across Europe, the U.S. and Canada. Results from the SKYLIGHT 1™ and SKYLIGHT 2™ pivotal trials characterize the efficacy and safety of fezolinetant for the treatment of moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause. Data from the SKYLIGHT 4™ safety study further characterizes the long-term safety profile of fezolinetant. Within the MAA, Astellas proposes a 45 mg daily dose, which is subject to the EMA's review. Fezolinetant is an investigational nonhormonal selective neurokinin 3 receptor antagonist. The safety and efficacy of fezolinetant are under investigation and have not been established. This acceptance will have no impact on Astellas' financial forecasts of the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2023. About the BRIGHT SKY™ Phase 3 Program The BRIGHT SKY pivotal trials, SKYLIGHT 1™ and SKYLIGHT 2™ enrolled over 1,000 women with moderate to severe VMS. The trials are double-blinded, placebo-controlled for the first 12 weeks followed by a 40-week treatment extension period. Women were enrolled at over 180 sites within the U.S., Canada and Europe. SKYLIGHT 4™ (NCT04003389) is a 52-week double-blinded, placebo-controlled study designed to investigate the long-term safety of fezolinetant. For SKYLIGHT 4, over 1,800 women with VMS were enrolled at over 180 sites within the U.S., Canada and Europe. About VMS Associated with Menopause VMS, characterized by hot flashes and/or night sweats, are common symptoms of menopause.1,2 Worldwide, more than half of women 40 to 64 years of age experience VMS with rates in Europe ranging from 56% to 97%.3,4,5 The prevalence of moderate to severe VMS in postmenopausal women in Europe has been reported at 40%.6 VMS can have a disruptive impact on women's daily activities and overall quality of life.1 About Fezolinetant Fezolinetant is an investigational oral, nonhormonal therapy in clinical development for the treatment of moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause. Fezolinetant works by blocking neurokinin B (NKB) binding on the kisspeptin/neurokinin/dynorphin (KNDy) neuron to moderate neuronal activity in the thermoregulatory center of the brain (the hypothalamus) to reduce the frequency and severity of moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause.7,8,9 The safety and efficacy of fezolinetant are under investigation and have not been established. There is no guarantee the agent will receive regulatory approval or become commercially available for the uses being investigated. About Astellas Astellas Pharma Inc. is a pharmaceutical company conducting business in more than 70 countries around the world. We are promoting the Focus Area Approach that is designed to identify opportunities for the continuous creation of new drugs to address diseases with high unmet medical needs by focusing on Biology and Modality. Furthermore, we are also looking beyond our foundational Rx focus to create Rx+® healthcare solutions that combine our expertise and knowledge with cutting-edge technology in different fields of external partners. Through these efforts, Astellas stands on the forefront of healthcare change to turn innovative science into value for patients.

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PHARMA TECH

KiOmed Pharma and Hansoh Pharma Announce License Agreement for KiOmedinevsOne in China’s Mainland, Macau and Taiwan

KiOmed Pharma and Hansoh Pharma | September 27, 2022

KiOmed Pharma, a Belgian biotechnology company with a focus on the development, manufacture and distribution of safe and effective medical devices based on a medical-grade highly pure natural chitosan-derivative, and Hansoh Pharmaceutical Group Company Limited a leading biopharmaceutical company in Asia, today announced a license agreement for the development and commercialization of KiOmedinevsOne, a carboxymethyl chitosan injection that has been launched in Europe for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis, in China’s mainland, Macau and Taiwan. Under the terms of the agreement, KiOmed will receive an upfront payment and will be eligible to receive development, regulatory and commercial milestones of up to € 66 million, as well as tiered royalties on future product sales. Hansoh will receive exclusive rights to develop and commercialize KiOmedinevsOne and its future extensions in the territory. KiOmed retains the right to develop and commercialize KiOmedinevsOne in all other global markets. Osteoarthritis is a progressive and disabling disease affecting about 250 million people worldwide. According to a recent epidemiology report, the prevalence of knee osteoarthritis in China is 8.1%. As the population in China is aging rapidly, disease burden caused by knee osteoarthritis continues to rise while safe and effective treatment options are still lacking. “We are very excited to partner with Hansoh Pharma, one of the largest biopharmaceutical entities in Greater China. We believe that with Hansoh’s impactful presence in China, their support will be essential to bring this long-acting treatment to the large population of patients suffering from osteoarthritis in China. We launched KiOmedinevsOne last year in several regions of Europe, and the feedback we continue to receive from osteoarthritis patients and physicians is great. With just one single injection to the knee, it can provide symptoms relief including pain, stiffness, and function improvement for more than 6-month. It is the world-first next generation non-animal sourced chitosan injection with a potential safety advantage over animal-sourced chitosan,” added Dr. Houtaï Choumane, CEO and Managing Director of KiOmed. Mr. François Blondel, Founder and Executive Chairman of the Board of KiOmed Pharma “KiOmed is a leader and an expert in developing natural chitosan products to fulfill unmet medical needs in different spaces. Osteoarthritis negatively impacts an individual’s quality of life and creates a large burden for the patients and their families. We are very glad to see KiOmed’s product (KiOmedinevsOne) will help to solve this problem,” said Eliza Sun, Executive Director of the Board of Hansoh Pharma. “We are also very excited to partner with them and bring this unique product to much needed patients in China.” About KiOmedinevsOne KiOmedinevsOne is a new generation single injection for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis based on world-first exclusive animal free KiOmedine® CM-Chitosan. KiOmedine® CM-Chitosan is a highly purified polysaccharide derived from Agaricus Bisporus (button mushroom) and a patented technology made in Belgium, resulting from years of research and innovation. Different from hyaluronic acid, KiOmedinevsOne has dual mechanism of action to tackle osteoarthritis discomfort and other symptoms by reducing oxidative stress and enhancing joint lubrication. Clinical studies have shown that after a single injection of KiOmedinevsOne, significant pain reduction was observed within 2 weeks and the WOMAC pain score was reduced by 66%, with a long-lasting osteoarthritis symptom reduction for at least 6 months. KiOmedinevsOne is a regulated health product which bears the CE mark under this regulation. It has been launched in Europe in 2021. About KiOmed Pharma Based in Belgium, KiOmed Pharma has a history of innovation and expertise in exclusive natural chitosan chemistry. The company develops a unique pipeline of medical devices that address unmet medical needs in high impact pathologies and major social burdens such as osteoarthritis, skin aging and ophthalmology. KiOmed Pharma's innovative pipeline is based on a solid building block exclusive technology: KiOmedine®, a medical-grade highly pure natural chitosan-derivative. About Hansoh Pharmaceutical Group Hansoh Pharma one of the largest biopharmaceutical companies in China, is committed to discovering and developing life-changing medicines to help patients conquer serious diseases and disorders.

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