700% Price Spike Spurs UK to Allege Four Pharma Companies Agreed to Restrict Competition

raps.org | May 23, 2019

700% Price Spike Spurs UK to Allege Four Pharma Companies Agreed to Restrict Competition
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on Thursday alleged that Focus Pharmaceuticals, Medreich, Alliance Pharmaceuticals and Lexon have breached UK and EU law by entering into anti-competitive agreements that restricted the supply of the nausea and dizziness drug prochlorperazine.Under two alleged agreements discovered by CMA, Alliance Pharmaceuticals supplied prochlorperazine exclusively to Focus Pharmaceuticals. And Focus paid Lexon a share of the profits and Lexon then shared these payments with Medreich, CMA alleged.But prior to the agreements, Lexon and Medreich had been jointly readying a launch of another prochlorperazine product. And even though Medreich obtained a license to supply prochlorperazine in January 2014, it did not supply the product until November 2017.The allegations follow CMA's finding that the prices paid for prochlorperazine by the National Health Service (NHS) between December 2013 and December 2017 rose by about 700% from £6.49 ($8.23) per pack of 50 tablets to £51.68 ($65.50). From 2014 to 2018, the annual costs incurred by the NHS for prochlorperazine also increased from about £2.7 million ($3.4 million) to about £7.5 million ($9.5 million), but the number of medicine packages dispensed fell.Ann Pope, CMA senior director of antitrust, said: “The NHS should not be denied the opportunity of benefitting from an increased choice of suppliers, or lower prices, for important medicine.”The four companies now have the chance to tell their side of the story before a final CMA decision.Alliance said in a statement Thursday that peak sales of prochlorperazine topped out in 2015 at £1.9m ($2.4 million) and sales totaled less than £0.2m ($0.25m) in 2018.

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DEBIOPHARM INVESTS IN VERISIM LIFE'S $15M SERIES A ROUND TO ADVANCE AI-ENABLED DRUG RESEARCH

Debiopharm International SA | January 11, 2022

Debiopharm a Swiss biopharmaceutical company, announced their co-investment in California-based start-up VeriSIM Life's $15 Million Series A Round to advance their mission to accelerate drug development via technology powered by artificial intelligence. VeriSIM Life's computational platform reduces time and cost of drug development as well as reduces the need for animal testing that, in the vast majority of cases, does not translate well to humans. Debiopharm's co-investment in VeriSIM contributes to the growth plan of the start-up and will help to expand and establish transformational partnerships with industry and academia using their first-in-class 'virtual drug development engine' BIOiSIM™. The investment aligns with Debiopharm's focus to invest in digital health solutions that improve the cancer patient journey, transform pharmaceutical R&D, and shift healthcare towards a more patient-centric approach. With the financing round led by Morpheus Ventures, Debiopharm Innovation Fund joins new investors including Colorcon Ventures along with existing investors OCA Ventures, Intel Capital, Serra Ventures and Susa Ventures. Founded in 2017 by Jo Varshney, DVM and PhD alongside a cross-functional team of pharmaceutical scientists, software engineers and AI/ML and simulation experts, the start-up offers a range of translational-based solutions, customized for pre-clinical and clinical programs. "We're moving into a time where AI-based technology will play a critical role in drug development. We absolutely need to reduce the time, costs & risks of drug development in order to be more efficient – that's exactly what the BIOiSIM™ is proven to do. The value of using this AI-based platform is the potential decrease in the need for animal testing and the acceleration of the pre-clinical, translational stage, helping drug research companies to more quickly select which early-stage medicines will most likely benefit patients and cure their disease." Tanja Dowe, CEO of the Debiopharm Innovation Fund More than 90% of drugs tested in animals fail to pass human clinical trials, resulting in delayed development and high costs. VeriSIM's BIOiSIM platform, driven by AI and machine learning (ML), de-risks R&D decisions by providing meaningful insights much earlier in the drug development process with unprecedented accuracy and scalability. VeriSIM's platform solves this decade-old translatability problem within the drug development phase and ensures clinical success of drugs intended for highly unmet needs. With its first-in-class platform, VeriSIM is transforming the way pharmaceutical and biotech companies address the most challenging diseases impacting humankind. About VeriSIM Life VeriSIM Life has developed a sophisticated computational platform that leverages advanced AI and ML techniques to significantly improve drug discovery and development by greatly reducing the time and money it takes to bring a drug to market. BIOiSIM is a first-in-class 'virtual drug development engine' that offers unprecedented value for the drug development industry by narrowing down the number of drug compounds that offer anticipated value for the treatment or cure of specific illnesses or diseases. The program not only reduces the time and cost of drug discovery and development, it also greatly reduces the need for animal testing that, in the vast majority of cases, does not translate to humans. Debiopharm's commitment to patients Debiopharm develops, manufactures and invests in innovative therapies and technologies that respond to high unmet medical needs in oncology and bacterial infections. We aim to provide strategic funding and guidance for companies with Smart Data & Digital Health solutions with the ambition to change the way drugs are developed and the way patients are treated. Our growing portfolio company achievements includes 18 FDA clearances or CE marks and 2 IPOs. Since 2018 Debiopharm has invested over USD 120 million, typically leading the investment rounds of its 16 portfolio companies.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Iktos and The University of Dundee, Drug Discovery Unit (DDU) Announce a Collaboration to Use AI for Drug Design and Retrosyntheis

Iktos | December 20, 2021

Iktos, a company specialized in Artificial Intelligence for new drug design, and The Drug Discovery Unit (DDU), School of Life Sciences, The University of Dundee, focused on the discovery of therapeutics for neglected diseases and the translation of novel biology through small molecule drug discovery, announced entering a collaboration to apply Iktos’s generative modelling artificial intelligence (AI) technology in one of DDU’s drug discovery programs. Under the agreement, Iktos will apply its de novo ligand and structure-based generative modelling technologies, its AI-based retrosynthesis analysis and planning tool Spaya™, and know-how complementing DDU’s drug discovery capabilities to expedite the identification of potential pre-clinical candidates and to identify additional novel chemical matter with suitable properties. The DDU was established in 2006 to respond to a lack of drug targets identified for neglected tropical diseases being translated into therapeutics for diseases impacting the poorest people in the world. The DDU translates basic science into lead compounds to validate putative drug targets, to use as tools to investigate disease pathways and, when appropriate, advance to pre-clinical drug candidates for multiple diseases, e.g. TB and cancer. Iktos’s AI technology, based on deep generative models, helps to bring new insights and directions into the drug discovery process based on a comprehensive data-driven chemical structure generation technology. This technology automatically designs virtual novel molecules with all of the characteristics of a successful drug molecule. This approach, validated through Iktos’s other collaborations, is a novel solution to one of the key challenges in drug design: rapid identification of molecules that simultaneously satisfy multiple parameters, such as potency, selectivity, safety, and project-specific properties. This approach uniquely enables the exploration of chemical space and produces innovative molecule designs with greater freedom to operate. Iktos has recently diversified its R&D efforts into the development of an AI technology for retrosynthesis. Identifying and selecting synthetic pathways is one of the most challenging and time-consuming tasks in synthetic and medicinal chemistry. Iktos has developed AI based retrosynthesis analysis and planning tool Spaya™ by harnessing the power of data-driven retrosynthesis algorithm for systematic exploration and prioritisation of synthetic routes for a desired compound in minutes. “We are thrilled to be working with Iktos to drive our projects towards drug candidates. Iktos AI platform combined with our own in-house computational and medicinal chemistry design teams provide a powerful combination for innovative new drug design.” Professor Paul Wyatt, Head of the DDU “We are thrilled and proud to join forces with DDU with the aim to help in the discovery of therapeutics for neglected diseases and the translation of novel biology through small molecule drug discovery,” commented Yann Gaston-Mathé, President and CEO of Iktos. “Pleased to have earned DDU’s trust, we are confident that together with DDU and their established R&D partners, we will be able to identify promising novel chemical matter and solve complex multiparametric optimisation problems. The feedback from DDU’s research team will be highly valuable as we improve our product offerings. Our strategy has always been to tackle challenging problems alongside our collaborators where we can demonstrate value generation for new and on-going drug discovery projects.” About DDU The Drug Discovery Unit (DDU) (est. 2006) within the School of Life Sciences at The University of Dundee is a fully integrated, Biotech-style, drug discovery centre working across multiple disease areas. The DDU collaborates with partners to translate world-class biology research into novel drug targets and candidate drugs to address unmet medical need. About Iktos Incorporated in October 2016, Iktos is a French start-up company specialized in the development of artificial intelligence solutions applied to chemical research, more specifically medicinal chemistry and new drug design. Iktos is developing a proprietary and innovative solution based on deep learning generative models, which enables, using existing data, to design molecules that are optimized in silico to meet all the success criteria of a small molecule discovery project. The use of Iktos technology enables major productivity gains in upstream pharmaceutical R&D. Iktos offers its technology both as professional services and as a SaaS software platform, Makya™. Iktos is also developing Spaya™, a synthesis planning software based upon Iktos’s proprietary AI technology for retrosynthesis.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

OPTEL ACQUIRES PHARMA TRACK-AND-TRACE UNIT OF KÖRBER

OPTEL Group | January 12, 2022

OPTEL GROUP, already a world leader in supply chain traceability, is expanding its expertise and global reach with the recent acquisition of the track-and-trace unit of the Körber Business Area Pharma, formerly known as Traxeed, based in Germany. Körber is a leading international technology group. The acquisition, announced today, will allow OPTEL to leverage the unit's expertise in pharmaceutical and agrochemical track-and-trace technologies, provide the company with a second foothold in the European marketplace and contribute to its diversification plans. "Creating a strong presence in the German market is key to the success of our strategic objectives because Germany is a well-established manufacturing hub, with a strong history of developing innovative manufacturing efficiency solutions and Industry 4.0 technologies," Louis Roy, founder and president of OPTEL "We are pleased that we have found a solid and future-oriented new owner with a broad international market access, from whose global network and years of experience in the highly specialized track-and-trace sector customers will clearly benefit. We are furthermore convinced that the new strategic owner can open up attractive development opportunities for the team," said Dr. Jürgen Krebs, Chief Technology Officer and Chief Operating Officer in the Körber Business Area Pharma. The acquisition allows OPTEL to welcome highly skilled pharma track-and-trace experts from Körber, complementing OPTEL's existing strengths in traceability, vision technologies, software and hardware. Furthermore, it will solidify and expand the company's presence in the European market by providing a second base of operations after Limerick, Ireland. In addition to the acquisition, a close collaboration between OPTEL and Körber's Business Area Pharma is planned in the future. The two companies plan to sign a partnership agreement whereby OPTEL becomes Körber's preferred partner for track-and-trace solutions for the pharmaceutical industry. Since its founding in 1989, OPTEL has become the world's foremost provider of track-and-trace solutions to the pharmaceutical industry. Its acquisitions in recent years have positioned it as the only company with the ability to provide complete, full-stack supply chain traceability. The Canadian multinational has since diversified into other industries, including consumer-packaged goods, metals and minerals, and agrochemicals. The acquisition of the track-and-trace unit of the Körber Business Area Pharma is expected to accelerate further expansion. ABOUT OPTEL OPTEL is a leading global provider of traceability systems whose goal is to use its innovative technologies to build a sustainable world through the Intelligent Supply Chain. OPTEL is the only company with the ability to offer complete end-to-end traceability, providing granular data at every step of the supply chain – from raw materials to the consumer and beyond. Founded in 1989, OPTEL is a Certified B Corporation headquartered in Canada, with facilities in Ireland, India and Brazil, as well as employees worldwide. ABOUT KÖRBER We are Körber – an international technology group with about 10,000 employees, more than 100 locations worldwide and a common goal: We turn entrepreneurial thinking into customer success and shape the technological change. In the Business Areas Digital, Pharma, Supply Chain, Tissue and Tobacco, we offer products, solutions and services that inspire. We act fast to customer needs, we execute ideas seamlessly, and with our innovations we create added value for our customers. In doing so, we are increasingly building on ecosystems that solve the challenges of today and tomorrow. Körber AG is the holding company of the Körber Group.

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Stallergenes Greer Strengthens Precision Medicine Approach in Allergen Immunotherapy With Imperial College London Research Collaboration

Stallergenes Greer | January 17, 2022

Stallergenes Greer, a global healthcare company specialising in allergen immunotherapy (AIT), today announced that the company has entered into a research collaboration on the discovery of biomarkers of AIT efficacy with Imperial College London, a global top ten university with a world-class reputation in science, engineering, business and medicine. This long-term research collaboration, which combines the long-standing expertise of Stallergenes Greer in AIT with the prestigious research capabilities of Imperial College London, aims to push the boundaries of allergic patient care by identifying biomarkers of AIT efficacy and expanding the knowledge of the pathophysiology of allergic diseases and their treatment with AIT. “We are thrilled about this collaboration with Imperial College London which will contribute to both deciphering the mode of action of AIT and identifying key markers that can be used in the routine practice of allergology for the benefit of patients and healthcare practitioners. Based on the understanding of specific phenotypes and the responses of patients with allergies, allergologists will be able to tailor treatment modalities with the right dosing at the right time for each individual. This underscores our commitment to advancing precision medicine for allergy sufferers”, Amer Jaber, Executive VP Operations Europe and International and President of Stallergenes SAS “This research collaboration is a remarkable opportunity for a fruitful partnership between Imperial College London, a pioneer and world-leading university in the biomarker field, and Stallergenes Greer. It will build on the recent advances of biomarker research to further develop precision medicine in AIT for the benefit of patients with allergic diseases,” said Dr Mohamed Shamji, Head of the Immunomodulation and Tolerance Group, Imperial College London. The results of this research collaboration will be shared in international congresses and peer review publications. About Allergen Immunotherapy Allergies are the most prevalent and fastest growing chronic diseases in the industrialised world, affecting over one billion people worldwide. Allergen immunotherapy uniquely alters the natural course of respiratory allergies. It is the only therapeutic class capable of modifying disease progression and potentially preventing the onset of the disease by inducing tolerance in the immune system. About Stallergenes Greer Headquartered in London (UK), Stallergenes Greer Ltd is a global healthcare company specialising in the diagnosis and treatment of allergies through the development and commercialisation of allergen immunotherapy products and services. Stallergenes Greer Ltd is the parent company of Greer Laboratories, Inc. About Imperial College London Imperial College London is one of the world's leading universities. The College's 20,000 students and 8,000 staff are working to solve the biggest challenges in science, medicine, engineering, and business. Imperial is University of the Year 2022 in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide. It is the world’s fifth most international university, according to Times Higher Education, with academic ties to more than 150 countries. Reuters named the College as the UK's most innovative university because of its exceptional entrepreneurial culture and ties to industry.

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Spotlight

Drug discovery is undergoing a transformation powered by advances that provide more knowledge from biological assays, allow for screening orders of magnitude more molecules and enable smarter selection of compounds. We are on the cusp of having previously unimaginable amounts of information about each target and many more targets to prosecute.

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