A 100B Dollars settlement? Or much less? Opioid payouts a mystery until J and J judge rules

Fiercepharma | July 23, 2019

After Johnson and Johnson failed in its latest bid to toss out the opioid suit playing out in an Oklahoma courtroom, the possibility of a settlement continues to grow. For analysts watching the case as a bellwether for other opioid suits, the question is how big the payout could get. Short answer: Who knows? Monday, a judge threw out J&J’s final attempt to dismiss the illegal marketing lawsuit it faces in Oklahoma over sales of its opioid products in the state. J&J, which prosecutors described as the “kingpin” of the state’s opioid epidemic in their closing arguments last week, argued its portrayal by the state as a public nuisance was invalid and violated its First Amendment rights. The bench judge and state attorney Brad Beckworth weren’t having it. "No man or woman has ever laid down their life for this country so that a pharmaceutical company could come out and lie or hook kids on opioids,” Beckworth said.

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Each year, in recognition of Girls’ Day in Austria, Sandoz invites young women to its Anti-Infectives site in Kundl, Austria, where they have the opportunity to meet scientists and gain hands-on experience in Sandoz laboratories as well as in the technical areas of the pharmaceutical industry.


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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Iktos and Teijin Pharma to Co-Develop New Technology for Small Molecule Drug Discovery

Iktos | April 07, 2022

Iktos, a company specialized in Artificial Intelligence for new drug design, and Teijin Pharma Limited, the core company of the Teijin Group’s healthcare business that provides comprehensive healthcare services to improve the quality of life, today announced a strategic collaboration agreement in Artificial Intelligence for new drug design. Under the agreement, Iktos generative modelling technology will be implemented and applied to several Teijin Pharma’s small molecule drug discovery projects to expedite the identification of potential pre-clinical candidates. Iktos and Teijin Pharma will collaborate in developing new AI technology aiming to bring further improvement and speed to the drug design process, leveraging Iktos’ proprietary know-how in AI for Computer Aided Drug Design (CADD) and complementing Teijin’s research and development capabilities. In the recent years, Iktos has emerged as one of the world leaders in AI for drug design, establishing multiple collaborations with renowned pharmaceutical companies and successfully developing the AI software platforms Makya™ for new drug design and Spaya™ for synthesis planning. Iktos’ generative AI technology, based on deep generative models, automatically designs virtual novel molecules presenting the desirable characteristics specified by the researchers. This approach brings unprecedented efficiency in the exploration of chemical space and produces innovative molecule designs with greater freedom to operate. It is a novel solution, validated through many collaborations, to one of the key challenges in drug design: the rapid identification of molecules that simultaneously satisfy multiple parameters, such as potency, selectivity, safety, and project-specific properties. Based on the recent drastic demographic change and increased health consciousness, Teijin Pharma is committed to providing healthcare solutions in the priority fields of bone, joint, rehabilitation, neurology, respiratory, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Creating innovative drugs is one of the company’s core business strategies and Teijin Pharma is now focusing on strengthening technological foundation for small molecule drugs that play major roles among the drug modalities for innovative drug discovery. "We are thrilled and proud to announce a strategic collaboration with Teijin Pharma, a leading company that contributes to society by providing advanced healthcare solutions. It is a major recognition for Iktos to be selected by Teijin Pharma as a strategic partner for implementation, development, and application of generative modeling technology for new drug design. Iktos has been a pioneer in the application of generative models for drug discovery and is recognized as a world leader in the technology space that has the potential to disrupt the way new therapeutics are designed.’’ “Our ultimate objective is to expedite drug discovery and achieve time and cost efficiencies for our global collaborators by using Iktos’s proprietary AI platform and know-how. We are confident that together with our Teijin collaborators, we will be able to develop new technology to bring further speed and efficiency to drug discovery.” Yann Gaston-Mathé, Co-founder and CEO of Iktos “We are delighted to create innovative new small molecule drugs together with Iktos,” said Ichiro Watanabe, President of Teijin Pharma. “We provide solutions in the field of demographic change and increased health consciousness and are focusing on the launch of new drugs. Iktos’ proprietary AI technology will dramatically accelerate our small molecule drug discovery. We continue to enhance patients' quality of life by providing new treatment options for diseases with high unmet needs.” About Iktos Incorporated in October 2016, Iktos is a start-up company specializing 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, the design of 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. About the Teijin Group Teijin is a technology-driven global group offering advanced solutions in the fields of environmental value; safety, security and disaster mitigation; and demographic change and increased health consciousness. Originally established as Japan's first rayon manufacturer in 1918, Teijin has evolved into a unique enterprise encompassing three core business domains: high-performance materials including aramid, carbon fibers and composites, and also resin and plastic processing, films, polyester fibers and products converting; healthcare including pharmaceuticals and home healthcare equipment for bone/joint, respiratory and cardiovascular/metabolic diseases, nursing care and pre-symptomatic healthcare; and IT including B2B solutions for medical, corporate and public systems as well as packaged software and B2C online services for digital entertainment. Deeply committed to its stakeholders, as expressed in the brand statement “Human Chemistry, Human Solutions,” Teijin aims to be a company that supports the society of the future. The group comprises more than 170 companies and employs some 20,000 people across 20 countries worldwide. Teijin posted consolidated sales of JPY 836.5 billion and total assets of JPY 1,036.4 billion in the fiscal year that ended on March 31, 2021.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Ankura Launches Pharmaceutical Data Integrity Solution

Ankura | March 09, 2022

Ankura Consulting, LLC a leading global expert services and advisory firm announced the expansion of its Pharmaceutical and Biopharma Regulatory Compliance offering with the addition of a Pharmaceutical Data Integrity solution within the Data and Technology practice, bolstering its comprehensive client advisory capabilities. With this solution, Ankura has enhanced its team of experts to support pharmaceutical clients' compliance with the Data Integrity guidelines of multiple regulators through advanced digital technology. The offering includes Early Warning System (EWS), an automated platform to help identify data integrity anomalies in real-time and assist companies in performing forensic data integrity investigations and remediation for any regulatory action such as form 483, warning letter, and import alert. "In the endeavour to embrace industry 4.0, the pharmaceutical industry should explore giving up manual and fragmented means of managing compliance procedures and implement digital technologies in the quality control laboratories to proactively identify any data integrity (DI) gaps in real-time. EWS enables this transition and allows for early identification of any anomaly, falsification activities, and DI deviations from a regulatory compliance perspective," Amit Jaju, Senior Managing Director in Ankura's Data & Technology practice The EWS solution also solves the challenge of integrating multiple quality systems (such as CDS, NON CDS and LIMS) into one platform, enabling the quality control department to take advantage of the integrated monitoring capabilities and providing alerts for any non-compliant activities. It also provides the flexibility to customize and deploy the solution to an on-premises environment and customize the workflows and analytics models to each organization. "The cost of being non-compliant to data integrity can be a high-priced affair, and in many cases becomes difficult for companies and organizations to gain back the trust of regulators once breached. Many regulators now recommend appointing a qualified consultant for the investigation and remediation activity," said Paul Walker, Senior Managing Director in Ankura's Data & Technology practice. In light of this, Ankura's Data Integrity investigation and remediation offering is a pivotal tool to support clients in performing comprehensive data integrity analysis using big data and advanced analytical approach on 100% of the data as compared to the sample manual review approach followed in the industry." About Ankura Ankura Consulting Group, LLC is an independent global expert services and advisory firm that delivers services and end-to-end solutions to help clients at critical inflection points related to change, risk, disputes, finance, performance, distress, and transformation. The Ankura team consists of more than 1,700 professionals serving 3000+ clients across 55 countries who are leaders in their respective fields and areas of expertise. Collaborative lateral thinking, hard-earned experience, expertise, and multidisciplinary capabilities drive results and Ankura is unrivaled in its ability to assist clients to Protect, Create and Recover Value.

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PHARMA TECH

Therorna completes Series A financing to accelerate pipeline development and clinical transformation of circRNA-based platform

Therorna Inc. | June 21, 2022

Therorna Inc., a China-based biotech company specialized in the development of cutting-edge circular RNA technology-based new vaccines and therapies, announced the completion of a US$42 million Series A financing round. The round was co-led by a well-known industrial investment firm and MSA Capital, with participation from Sherpa Healthcare Partners, 3H Health Investment, and existing investors Quan Capital and Cenova Capital, demonstrating their continuous commitment to supporting Therorna's growth. With the new funding, Therorna plans to accelerate the build-out of its technology platform and the development of its product pipeline, as well as the clinical trials, regulatory applications, and international collaborations. Therorna was founded in Beijing in April 2021. The company focuses on leveraging its proprietary circRNA technology platform to develop next-generation vaccines and innovative therapies. The company has established a strong pipeline of novel prophylactic and therapeutic drugs aiming to address high unmet medical needs. When combined with the previously completed angel and pre-A rounds, the company has to date raised over US$60 million. "We really appreciate the support of our investors. As the world continues to suffer from the COVID-19, scientists are obliged to shoulder the responsibility to provide scientific solutions to end this pandemic. We are devoted to accelerating the clinical application of our circRNA-based vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 and its variants." The scientific founder of Therorna, Professor Wensheng Wei Therorna Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Daniel Tang commented, "I am very grateful for the support of our new and existing investors in this financing round. The successful completion of this round will play a key role in helping Therorna accelerate the development of a new broad-spectrum COVID-19 vaccine and the discovery of additional novel therapies for a variety of diseases. Our team will continue to spare no effort to advance the circRNA platform technology to develop the next-generation of breakthrough therapies and quickly deliver meaningful social benefits." MSA Capital founder and managing partner Yu Zeng added, "We are confident in the potential of circRNA technology for drug development in the area of protein expression and regulation. Compared with linear RNA, circRNA boasts breakthroughs in expression, stability, immunogenicity, and production. In terms of the technology, Chinese scientists have proven their internationally recognized capabilities at innovation and efficient transformation. MSA Capital is impressed by Therorna's strong team of scientists and entrepreneurs. As a serial entrepreneur, Professor Wei has deep expertise in gene editing and circRNA technology application, and Therorna's management team has rich experience in drug R&D and industrial management. MSA Capital will make use of its resources to support the expansion of Therorna in international markets." Sherpa Healthcare Partners investment VP Dr. Changzu Cai said, "mRNA drugs have achieved notable success in the application of COVID-19 vaccines, but challenges in terms of side effects remain to be addressed. Linear RNA is easily degraded and its application beyond vaccines is still under exploration. Thanks to its unique structure, the circRNA as a tool for protein expression has been proven to maintain a relatively stable protein expression level in vivo for a longer time, which is expected to further expand the application scenarios of RNA therapy. The team led by Professor Wei is leveraging their experience in applying circRNA as a gene editing tool to support the development of the circRNA expression tool. The proprietary circularization method developed by Therorna has demonstrated its advantages in terms of dosage, and activation of cellular immunity by being first applied in COVID-19 vaccines. We are pleased to continue supporting the efforts of Wei Lab in converting innovations into benefits for patients and communities, while looking forward to transforming Therorna into a platform-based circRNA technology-focused company with an international presence." 3H Health partner Dr. Minchuan Wang said, "circRNA has better stability and long-lasting expression with a potential for creating a new RNA therapy platform. The combination of Professor Wei's team with strong technical expertise in circRNA and the management team established at an earlier stage of the company with members having rich experience in promoting the adoption of new technologies will help accelerate the clinical transformation of circRNA. We are honored to support Therorna in this financing round, and we will work with the company's team, and their new and existing investors, to help the company assume a leadership role in the realm of circRNA, providing patients with pioneering therapies and addressing unmet clinical needs." Exclusive financial advisor for this transaction and CEC Capital Managing Director, Echo Zhang commented, "circRNA has attracted widespread attention as an emerging technology for RNA drugs. Therorna is expected to take the lead in advancing the technology into clinical applications. We are honored to help Therorna complete this round of financing, and we believe that Therorna will lead the development of the global circRNA sector." About MSA Capital Founded in 2014, MSA Capital is an independent global private equity and venture capital firm with over $2.0 billion under management. The firm manages capital from the world's top sovereign wealth funds, international asset managers, pension funds, university endowments, fund of funds and family offices, as well as China's leading new economy entrepreneurs. MSA actively partners with outstanding entrepreneurs in China and other technology markets to build leading, innovative companies that aim to deliver strong financial returns and meaningful, positive impact. The firm is headquartered in Beijing, with resident teams in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Middle East, North Africa and the United States. About Sherpa Healthcare Partners Sherpa Healthcare Partners ("Sherpa") was founded in 2018, the founders previously worked together in one of China's leading venture capital firms, built and led its professional medical investment team since 2011, set up the dedicated healthcare investment fund and responsible for healthcare investment. The founders have been teamed together in close co-operation, built on shared values, mutual trust, and complementary capabilities. Sherpa has now become an influential healthcare VC firm in the industry. Sherpa has invested in leading companies in many key areas, such as Pharma, GeneTech, MedTech and Medical services. From 2011 to 2020, the team has gone through 4 vintage year cycles of multiple U.S dollar funds and RMB funds and made 100 investments. Sherpa has the honor to work with many outstanding entrepreneurs and grow together with them. About 3H Health Investment 3H Health Investment is a Hong Kong and Shanghai based healthcare venture capital firm. It focuses on unmet medical needs and invests in emerging fields of science and medicine to deliver breakthroughs to patients. Leveraging its extensive resources with clinical institutions, industry partners and policy institutes, 3H builds leading innovative healthcare companies together with its partners. About Quan Capital Quan capital is a life sciences venture capital firm with strong China expertise and global capabilities. We discover, incubate, and grow next-generation life science companies in early and growth stage, worldwide. Our portfolio companies pioneer differentiated therapies and enabling technologies to address major human diseases with high unmet medical needs. Quan has offices in Shanghai, Menlo Park and Boston. Our investment professionals combine their strong expertise in both science and business with their diverse experiences in global drug development and healthcare investments, and they leverage their broad network worldwide to help maximize the company's value across geographies and development stages. Visit www.quancapital.com to learn more about us. About Cenova Capital Cenova Capital is one of the earliest healthcare funds dedicated to early and growth-stage investments in the life sciences and healthcare sectors in China. Since inception in 2010, Cenova Capital now has six funds under management with investments in over 80 companies in pharmaceuticals, medical devices,healthcare services and digital heath. Cenova Capital's investors are mainly large domestic and international institutional investors including Asian sovereign wealth investors, government institutions, insurance companies, financial institutions and multinational companies. About CEC Capital CEC Capital is a leading Chinese FA with a focus on the global TMT, consumption and health sectors. In addition to investment banking, CEC Capital is managing a RMB fund and a dollar fund with offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and it also has a license to the US securities market. The healthcare industry is an advantageous industry that CEC Capital is concerned about. Meanwhile, CEC Capital has the largest and most professional health investment banking team in China with the most complete industry chain.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Suvoda and N-SIDE Announce Agreement to Deliver Integrated Clinical Trial Optimization and IRT Solutions for Real-Time Demand Planning

Suvoda LLC | May 13, 2022

Suvoda LLC, a global clinical trial technology company that specializes in complex studies in therapeutic areas such as oncology, central nervous system, and rare disease, today announced they have entered into an agreement to partner with N-SIDE — a deeptech company that empowers organizations in the clinical trials industry to make better decisions and optimize the use of critical resources.  To date, the two companies have successfully partnered on more than 100 clinical trials in drug development, activating machine learning based on real-time data and increased efficiency in trial supply. Suvoda's IRT enables the implementation of optimized resupply strategies with adapted IRT algorithms that seamlessly integrate N-SIDE's forecasting and mathematical optimization recommendations. This results in significant cost savings through reduced drug wastage and accelerated trial timelines. Partnership Delivers Faster Start and Flexible Supply Strategy The most successful forecasting and optimization strategies consider the end-to-end supply chain, including impact assessments of trial design decisions. Efficient strategies — like the ones jointly deployed by N-SIDE and Suvoda — must be carefully evaluated and implemented, and have the flexibility to adapt in real-time to the unknowns that come with clinical trials. "As global clinical trials grow more complex, clinical trial professionals need the right partners and tools to help them gain control and account for the 'what ifs' as quickly as possible. N-SIDE has a history of excellence in clinical supply optimization that is unrivaled in the industry, and Suvoda is known for delivering clinical trial technology solutions that are built to manage change quickly. Our seamless integration and deep expertise will enable study teams to focus on other day-to-day decisions, while giving them peace of mind in their drug supply strategy." Anthony Encarnacao, Vice President, Global Partnerships for Suvoda This partnership allows for the inclusion of a flexible IRT solution during the development of the trial protocol, giving Suvoda greater visibility into the supply chain parameters based on the protocol discussions and finalization. Moving IRT more upstream in the startup process helps mitigate the risks and time constraints associated with last minute IRT implementations. Clients also gain access to N-SIDE's real-time monitoring of recruitments, demands, and inventories, supported by Suvoda's data. Coupled with N-SIDE's optimization, sponsors and CROs will experience an expedited IRT contracting, set-up, and build process, with greater optimization after study go-live. "In a world where decisions are made every day by different teams, with different objectives, it is easy to forget the impact that decisions have outside of one's team," explains Amaury Jeandrain, head of BD engineering at N-SIDE. "We connect clinical operations, supply chain, manufacturing, and IRT to ensure a global optimum that reduces drug waste while increasing patient centricity and accelerating trial timelines. And, working with partners like Suvoda, who understand this challenge and are able to bring flexibility and efficiency within their solutions, is a big step towards this objective." About Suvoda Suvoda is a global clinical trial technology company that specializes in complex, life-sustaining studies in therapeutic areas like oncology, central nervous system (CNS), and rare disease. Founded in 2013 by experts in eClinical technologies, Suvoda empowers clinical trial professionals to manage the most urgent moments in the most urgent trials through advanced software solutions delivered on a single platform. Headquartered outside Philadelphia, Suvoda also maintains offices in Portland, OR, Barcelona, Spain, Bucharest, Romania and Tokyo, Japan. The company consistently boasts a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of close to 70, far exceeding the technology industry average of 50, and has been selected by trial sponsors and CROs to support more than 1000 trials across 65 countries. About N-SIDE N-SIDE is a deeptech company that empowers organizations in the life sciences to make better decisions and optimize the use of critical resources. We're doing so by combining deep industry expertise with applied mathematics and artificial intelligence into easy to use and cutting-edge software that transforms uncertainty and complexity into clear decisions. We have been an active player in clinical trial supply chain management for over 20 years and work with the majority of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies. With our software solution, the N-SIDE Suite, and expert services, we streamline the clinical supply of pharmaceutical and biotech companies by accelerating clinical plans, mitigating risks and curbing drug waste. We empower clinical leaders to make better, faster, and safer decisions for patients waiting for life-changing medications. Our successes on over 10,000 trials include an average of 20%-60% of drug waste and cost reduction, with no delays due to drug shortages and an acceleration of 2-6 months of clinical trial timelines.

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Spotlight

Each year, in recognition of Girls’ Day in Austria, Sandoz invites young women to its Anti-Infectives site in Kundl, Austria, where they have the opportunity to meet scientists and gain hands-on experience in Sandoz laboratories as well as in the technical areas of the pharmaceutical industry.

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