Acerus Announces Private Placement and Refinancing Transactions

BioSpace | February 13, 2020

Acerus Pharmaceuticals Corporation Today announced that it has entered into agreements with First Generation Capital, Inc. (“First Generation”) in respect of an equity financing and debt-to-equity conversion by First Generation and with SWK Funding LLC (“SWK”) in respect of an amendment to the Company’s existing credit facility (the “SWK Facility”) with SWK (the “Refinancing Transactions”). First Generation is currently the Company’s largest shareholder and a lender to the Company and an entity owned and controlled by Mr. Ian Ihnatowycz, Chairman of the board of directors (the “Board”) of the Company. The Refinancing Transactions have been negotiated on an arm’s-length basis, including under the supervision of and upon a recommendation by, a special committee of the Board (the “Special Committee”) comprised of entirely independent directors unrelated to the parties involved. The Company is of the view that the Refinancing Transactions will have the effect of substantially recapitalizing Acerus and will allow it to focus on executing upon its strategic plan for the benefit of all stakeholders.

Spotlight

Recent reports of intrinsic contamination of drug products, including skin antiseptics in the United States have focused attention on the importance of strict adherence to established good manufacturing processes and the application of quality assurance measures in the manufacture of drug products. FDA investigations and recallsi, ii associated with these events have prompted concern from the Canadian scientific community and healthcare workers regarding the need for sterile antiseptic products.


Other News
PHARMA TECH

Novotech and Medidata expand partnership to continue advancements in clinical research

Medidata | June 16, 2022

Medidata, a Dassault Systèmes company, announced its renewed, expanded partnership with Novotech, a leading contract research organisation to continue scaling clinical studies in various therapeutic areas from 2022. Leveraging Rave EDC, Rave RTSM, eCOA and eConsent technology from Medidata, Novotech is equipped with flexible, configurable tools that can address clinical research needs at scale and facilitate accelerated drug and device development in Asia Pacific and the U.S. Since its partnership in 2018, Novotech has doubled its growth and has also acquired CRO companies in APAC and the U.S. as well as invested in advanced DCT and data companies to deliver a seamless CRO platform amidst the increasing demand for clinical trials services in the region. The partnership extends access to a suite of end-to-end solutions from Medidata Clinical Cloud, the industry's only unified platform dedicated to clinical research. It also underscores Medidata and Novotech's commitment to work collaboratively towards accelerating clinical trials and research efficiently, while improving clinical trial timelines and patient experiences. The Medidata Clinical Cloud is the only unified technology platform dedicated to clinical research, with solutions that leverage centralized data to address the holistic research process from start to finish. With the physical limitations and fragmentation of healthcare ecosystems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for digital integration for accelerated clinical development is crucial, and a unified platform allows for streamlined management of studies, sites, users, and access from a single location. "The pandemic has underscored the importance of redesigning how trials are run, with more stakeholders realising the vital role that technology plays in clinical development. Medidata is pleased to continue our strong partnership with Novotech and is dedicated to providing support in their acceleration of clinical studies. Working with leading technologies, we can deliver better patient experiences and accelerate drug development in the new normal in clinical research." Edwin Ng, Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific, Medidata Andries Claassen, Senior Director Biometrics, Novotech, added, "We are excited to continue our partnership with Medidata, with their sustained support in driving clinical research and business growth with customers. Novotech has always invested heavily in the latest technology to provide our clients with better data visibility for improved decision-making. Together, we will help sponsors deliver more efficient, effective, and scalable trials." Medidata is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dassault Systèmes, which with its 3DEXPERIENCE platform is positioned to lead the digital transformation of life sciences in the age of personalized medicine with the first end-to-end scientific and business platform, from research to commercialization. About Medidata Medidata is leading the digital transformation of life sciences, creating hope for millions of patients. Medidata helps generate the evidence and insights to help pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device and diagnostics companies, and academic researchers accelerate value, minimize risk, and optimize outcomes. More than one million registered users across 2,000+ customers and partners access the world's most trusted platform for clinical development, commercial, and real-world data. Medidata, a Dassault Systèmes company (Euronext Paris: FR0014003TT8, DSY.PA), is headquartered in New York City and has offices around the world to meet the needs of its customers. About Dassault Systèmes Dassault Systèmes, the 3DEXPERIENCE Company, is a catalyst for human progress. We provide business and people with collaborative 3D virtual environments to imagine sustainable innovations. By creating virtual twin experiences of the real world with our 3DEXPERIENCE platform and applications, our customers push the boundaries of innovation, learning and production to achieve a more sustainable world for patients, citizens, and consumers. Dassault Systèmes brings value to more than 300,000 customers of all sizes, in all industries, in more than 140 countries. 3DEXPERIENCE, the Compass icon, the 3DS logo, CATIA, BIOVIA, GEOVIA, SOLIDWORKS, 3DVIA, ENOVIA, NETVIBES, MEDIDATA, CENTRIC PLM, 3DEXCITE, SIMULIA, DELMIA, and IFWE are commercial trademarks or registered trademarks of Dassault Systèmes, a French "société européenne" (Versailles Commercial Register # B 322 306 440), or its subsidiaries in the United States and/or other countries. About Novotech Novotech is the leading Asia Pacific biotech specialist CRO with labs, phase I facilities, and drug development consulting services. Novotech has accumulated experience in over 3,700 clinical projects, including Phase I to Phase IV clinical trials and bioequivalence studies. Novotech is positioned to serve biopharmaceutical clients conducting clinical trials in Asia and globally and serves biotechs globally leveraging deep relationships built with hundreds of Asia-Pacific sites over the last 25 years. As of May 2022, Novotech has over 2,500 FTEs working across our offices in 12 geographies in Asia-Pacific and the United States.

Read More

VIEWS AND ANALYSIS

Innovent and IASO Bio Present Updated Data of BCMA CAR-T Cell Therapy (Equecabtagene Autoleucel) at EHA 2022

Innovent Biologics | June 13, 2022

Innovent Biologics, Inc. a world-class biopharmaceutical company that develops, manufactures and commercializes high-quality medicines for the treatment of oncology, autoimmune, metabolic, ophthalmology and other major diseases, and IASO Biotherapeutics a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company engaged in discovering, developing, and manufacturing innovative cell therapies and antibody products, today jointly announced that the updated data from phase 1/2 study of Equecabtagene Autoleucel (Innovent R&D code: IBI326, IASO Bio R&D code: CT103A), a fully-human anti-B cell maturation antigen chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy for the treatment of relapsed and/or refractory multiple myeloma (R/R MM), was presented in the form of an oral presentation at the 27th European Hematology Association Annual Meeting in Vienna on June 9-12, 2022. The updated data from the Phase 1/2 study with a longer duration of follow-up in more patients has showed durable and deepening efficacy, manageable safety and long-term in vivo persistence, indicating that Equecabtagene Autoleucel has the potential to be a breakthrough therapy for patients with R/R MM. The updated data is from the 14 clinical sites involved in the Phase 1/2 clinical study of Equecabtagene Autoleucel (ChiCTR1800018137, NCT05066646) in the treatment of patients with R/R MM. As of the data cutoff date of January 21, 2022, 79 patients received recommended phase 2 dose of 1.0×106 CAR-T cells/kg with the median follow-up of nine months (range 1.2, 19.6) and median prior five lines of therapy (range 3,23). Among the 79 patients, 34.2% (27/79) had high-risk cytogenetic abnormalities, 34.2%(27/79)had extramedullary multiple myeloma (EMM), and 15.2%(12/79)had received prior CAR-T therapy. Equecabtagene Autoleucel demonstrated a favorable and manageable safety profile: Among the 79 patients, 94.9% (75/79) experienced cytokine release syndrome (CRS). The majority experienced 1~2 CRS, and no patient experienced grade 3 CRS. The median time to CRS onset was six days after infusion, and the median duration of CRS was five days. Only two patients experienced immune effector cell-associated neurotoxicity syndrome (ICANS), including one patient who experienced grade 1 ICANS and one who experienced grade 2 ICANS. All patients with CRS or ICANS have recovered. Equecabtagene Autoleucel showed favorable and durable efficacy: Among the 79 patients, the overall response rate (ORR) was 94.9% (75/79), with "89.9% (71/79)" of those patients achieving very good partial response (VGPR) or deeper responses, and the complete response/stringent complete response (CR/sCR) rate was 68.4% (54/79). Equecabtagene Autoleucel also demonstrated favorable efficacy in 10 patients with EMM, achieving an ORR of 100% (10/10) and a CR/sCR rate of 90.0% (9/10). In all 79 patients, 92.4% (73/79) achieved minimal residual disease (MRD) negativity, all CR/sCR subjects achieved MRD negativity, and the median duration of MRD negativity was not reached. Equecabtagene Autoleucel demonstrated favorable efficacy in patients who had received prior CAR-T therapy: Among the 12 patients who previously received CAR-T therapy, the ORR was 75.0% (9/12), with 41.7% (5/12) of those patients achieving CR/sCR. Equecabtagene Autoleucel demonstrated robust expansion and prolonged persistence: The expansion of Equecabtagene Autoleucel in peripheral blood reached the peak at a median of 12 days, with a median Cmax of 92,000 copies/ug DNA. Equecabtagene Autoleucel was still detectable in 62.3% (38/61) and 53.3% (8/15) of the subjects who completed 6-months and 12-month follow-ups after infusion. Soluble BCMA in peripheral blood of patients rapidly declined after Equecabtagene Autoleucel infusion and persistently remained below the detectable limit. Equecabtagene Autoleucel has low immunogenicity: 16.5% (13/79) of the subjects tested anti-drug antibody (ADA)-positive after Equecabtagene Autoleucel infusion. Among them,1.3% (1/79) tested ADA-positive before Equecabtagene Autoleucel infusion, and 2.5% (2/79) tested ADA-positive within three months. Prof. Chunrui Li, MD, PhD, from Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science & Technology, stated "Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell therapy is a revolutionary new pillar in cancer treatment. In our previous studies, Equecabtagene Autoleucel has shown excellent efficacy and manageable safety profiles. Its CAR structure contains fully human single-chain fragment variables (scFvs) to bypass potential anti-CAR immunogenicity of the host while retaining antitumor activity. At the 27th EHA conference, we updated the data on the efficacy and safety of Equecabtagene Autoleucel in R/R MM patients with longer median follow-up extended to 9.0 months, the CR/sCR deepened to 68.4%, compared with the CR/sCR of 58.2% with a median follow-up of 7.0 months, which were released at 63rd ASH conference in 2021. The updated data showed long-lasting safety and deepening efficacy of Equecabtagene Autoleucel. We are glad that Equecabtagene Autoleucel also shows favorable efficacy on patients who have relapsed after receiving prior CAR-T therapy. This has meaningful clinical value and is worthy of further exploration in the clinic to potentially bring forth new hope to patients with R/R MM." About Multiple Myeloma (MM) Multiple Myeloma is a deadly blood cancer that often infiltrates the bone marrow causing anemia, kidney failure, immune problems, and bone fractures. For multiple myeloma patients, common first-line drug treatments include proteasome inhibitors, immunomodulatory drugs, and alkylating agents. While treatment may result in remission, most patients will inevitably enter the relapsed or refractory stage as there's currently no cure. As a result, there is a significant unmet need for patients with relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma. In the United States, MM accounts for nearly 2% of all cancer cases, and more than 2% of cancer-related deaths. According to Frost & Sullivan, the number of new MM cases in the United States rose from 30,300 in 2016 to 32,300 in 2020 and is expected to increase to 37,800 by 2025. Additionally, the total number of patients diagnosed with MM increased from 132,200 in 2016 to 144,900 in 2020 and is expected to rise to 162,300 by 2025. In China, the number of new MM cases rose from 18,900 in 2016 to 21,100 in 2020 and is expected to increase to 24,500 by 2025. The total number of patients diagnosed with MM in China increased from 69,800 in 2016 to 113,800 in 2020 and is expected to rise to 182,200 by 2025. About Equecabtagene Autoleucel Equecabtagene Autoleucel is an innovative therapy co-developed by Innovent and IASO Bio, with a fully-human anti- BCMA CAR-T cell therapy which uses lentivirus as a gene vector to transfect autologous T cells. The CAR contains a fully-human scFv, CD8a hinge and transmembrane, and 4-1BB-mediated co-stimulation and CD3ζ activation domains. Based on rigorous screening and comprehensive in vivo and in vitro evaluation, Equecabtagene Autoleucel is proven to have potent and rapid anti-myeloma activity and outstanding safety, efficacy, and persistence results.

Read More

BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Ligand Pharmaceuticals Announces Inducement Grants Under NASDAQ Listing Rule 5635(c)(4)

Ligand Pharmaceuticals | August 02, 2022

Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated announced that effective August 1, 2022, Ligand’s Board of Directors approved the grant of non-qualified stock option awards to purchase an aggregate of 90,073 shares of its common stock, 5,000 restricted stock units and 4,000 performance stock units the target level to six non-executive employees. The options were granted on August 1, 2022, and the grant date for the RSUs and the PSUs will be the date on which Ligand files a Form S-8 Registration Statement to register the shares pursuant to Ligand’s 2022 Employment Inducement Plan. The awards were granted under the Inducement Plan as employment inducement awards pursuant to NASDAQ Listing Rule 5635(c)(4). The Inducement Plan is used exclusively for the grant of equity awards to individuals who were not previously employees of Ligand, or following a bona fide period of non-employment, as an inducement material to such individuals’ entering into employment with Ligand, pursuant to Nasdaq Listing Rule 5635(c)(4). The options have an exercise price of $89.70 per share, which is the closing price of Ligand’s common stock on The Nasdaq Global Select Market on August 1, 2022. The stock options have a term of ten years and will vest over four years, with 12.5% of the shares vesting six months after the employee’s commencement of employment and the balance of the shares vesting in 42 equal monthly installments thereafter, subject to the grantee’s continued service on such vesting dates. The RSUs will vest over three years on the first three anniversaries of the grantee’s commencement of employment, subject to continued service through each applicable vesting date. The PSUs will vest based on the achievement of certain total shareholder return objectives and the completion of the contemplated spin-off of OmniAb, Inc. from Ligand. The number of shares earned under the PSUs may be up to 6,500 in the aggregate if maximum performance levels are achieved. About Ligand Pharmaceuticals Ligand is a revenue-generating biopharmaceutical company focused on developing or acquiring technologies that help pharmaceutical companies discover and develop medicines. Our business model creates value for stockholders by providing a diversified portfolio of biotech and pharmaceutical product revenue streams that are supported by an efficient and low corporate cost structure. Our goal is to offer investors an opportunity to participate in the promise of the biotech industry in a profitable, diversified and lower-risk business than a typical biotech company. Our business model is based on doing what we do best: drug discovery, early-stage drug development, product reformulation and partnering. We partner with other pharmaceutical companies to leverage what they do best (late-stage development, regulatory management and commercialization) ultimately to generate our revenue. Ligand’s OmniAb® technology platform is a patent-protected transgenic animal platform used in the discovery of fully human monoclonal and bispecific therapeutic antibodies. The Captisol® platform technology is a patent-protected, chemically modified cyclodextrin with a structure designed to optimize the solubility and stability of drugs. Ligand’s Pelican Expression Technology® is a robust, validated, cost-effective and scalable platform for recombinant protein production that is especially well-suited for complex, large-scale protein production where traditional systems are not. Ligand has established multiple alliances, licenses and other business relationships with the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies including Amgen, Merck, Pfizer, Sanofi, Janssen, Takeda, Gilead Sciences and Baxter International.

Read More

BUSINESS INSIGHTS

SCA Pharma Names Louis Pace as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Information Officer

SCA Pharma | July 15, 2022

SCA Pharma, a nationally recognized leader in the 503B compounding pharmaceuticals outsourcing industry providing quality, service, and value to hospitals nationwide, has announced today the addition of Louis Pace as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Information Officer. Pace brings over 30 years of experience serving several successful private equity backed businesses in functional and P&L leadership roles. Most recently, Mr. Pace served as Chief Financial Officer at Orchid Orthopedic Solutions where he successfully led strategy deployment efforts that focused on growth and profitability improvement. "I am extremely excited to welcome Louis to the team and to partner with him as we continue to accelerate growth at SCA Pharma. SCA Pharma is committed to providing innovative solutions for our 503B customers that help health systems manage their drug supply chain and pharmacy operations more efficiently. That evolution requires a more strategic and diversified approach, which suits Louis' background. Louis will manage our finance and accounting teams as well as our information technology strategy. He will concentrate on prioritizing internal and external business opportunities." Scott Luce, CEO of SCA Pharma "I am looking forward to working with the exceptional team at SCA Pharma. I am excited to build on SCA Pharma's current success and be a part of the company's future growth," said Louis Pace. Mr. Pace holds an AB in Economics from Harvard University and an MBA from Northwestern Kellogg Graduate School of Management. About SCA Pharma SCA Pharma is a nationally recognized leader in the FDA 503B outsourcing industry, specializing in providing the highest quality sterile admixture services and pre-filled syringes to hospital and health-care facility pharmacies. The company serves all therapeutic areas of pharmacy — including critical care, labor and delivery, anesthesia, and pain management — and maintains a wide portfolio of products, including ready-to-use and drug-shortage medications.

Read More

Spotlight

Recent reports of intrinsic contamination of drug products, including skin antiseptics in the United States have focused attention on the importance of strict adherence to established good manufacturing processes and the application of quality assurance measures in the manufacture of drug products. FDA investigations and recallsi, ii associated with these events have prompted concern from the Canadian scientific community and healthcare workers regarding the need for sterile antiseptic products.

Resources