ADA: J&J's struggling Invokana slashes heart, kidney risks in latest trial win

fiercepharma | June 11, 2019

ADA: J&J's struggling Invokana slashes heart, kidney risks in latest trial win
Johnson & Johnson and its fellow SGLT2 drugmakers are all working to show benefits for patients with kidney disease. But in that group, J&J can tout data its rivals don’t have. Tuesday at the American Diabetes Association annual meeting, J&J’s Janssen unit rolled out a new analysis from kidney outcomes trial Credence. The study showed Invokana could produce benefits across diabetic chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients with or without known cardiovascular disease. “What we saw were very consistent findings both on the renal endpoints and on the cardiovascular endpoints in these patients,” said Jim List, Janssen’s cardiovascular and metabolism R&D head. The findings make the latest subanalysis “perhaps the most intriguing or exciting” of the bunch, List said, pointing out that, “it’s the first time for an SGLT2 that there’s been some solid evidence of a cardiovascular benefit for patients without known cardiovascular disease.”

Spotlight

Today it takes many years to translate scientific evidence from discovery into health care practice. Stakeholders are likely losing time, money, and opportunities to improve health outcomes, as well as chances to revive the global competitiveness of the US. In the recent Health Sciences Dbriefs webcast, Improving health outcomes: The future of medical research and development, we asked approximately 1,400 professionals for their views and opinions on the future of medical research and development (R&D).


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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Deargen Annonuces Patent Application for a TNBC Target Novel Drug Candidate Using AI

Deargen Inc. | December 23, 2021

Deargen, a company specializing in the development of novel NCE drugs using artificial intelligence, announced on the 22rd that it had discovered and synthesized a new anticancer target compound using its own AI platform and had already applied for a patent for it. Deargen has the technology to predict candidates for a novel drug without the 3D structure data of proteins. Deargen's technology, which uses amino acid sequence data rather than the structure information of proteins, possesses global-level differentiated artificial intelligence technology that enables the rapid development of novel drugs even for proteins whose 3D structure has not yet been identified. "The new compound for which we have applied for a patent this time is a first-in-class candidate, and we plan to develop a therapeutic agent targeting triple-negative breast cancer. TNBC is an area where there are few novel drugs available and it is difficult to find innovative targets, so it is a disease with a high demand for new therapeutics…Deargen confirmed the efficacy of the new compound discovered through in-vitro experiments." An official from Deargen Also, the substance that Deargen discovered through this study is an NCE. An NCE refers to a new chemically synthesized drug, which requires a great deal of time and money because it is difficult to develop such a drug that has not been previously approved by the FDA. However, it is within an area with high needs by many global pharmaceutical companies as it has the advantage of being able to receive market monopoly rights for 5 years in the U.S. and 10 years in Europe after product approval. In particular, Deargen's achievements are significant in that it discovered the new compound in a shorter time than the existing novel drug discovery process through its collaboration of advanced AI and in-house experts for novel drug development. The target discovery and substance design process, which usually takes about 3 to 4 years in the existing traditional drug development process, was carried out in just 10 weeks, and it took merely 2 weeks for target discovery and 8 weeks for substance design and synthesis. Currently, Deargen is establishing a large-scale R&D center. With this R&D center, the plan is to further shorten the period of the discovery of candidates by efficiently managing the time required for designing and synthesizing substances. The R&D center will be in charge of fast verification of substances by conducting the design and synthesis verification of substances under joint research with Deargen's internal pipeline, along with the production of high-quality data. Daniel Bae, Chief Business Officer of Deargen said : "We plan to continuously derive new substances with patentability through our synthesis research center, which will be established in the first half of next year. We plan to not only build our own pipeline centered on anticancer drugs, but also to introduce various business models with our partners that go beyond the existing joint research contracts." He also said, "Deargen plans to establish its position among global AI drug developers as a company specializing in NCE drug development, from target discovery to compound design and synthesis." About Deargen Inc. Established in December 2016, Deargen is an AI-based drug discovery and development company. In February 2020, the company released study results on predicting the development of COVID-19 treatments. Candidate compounds for treating COVID-19 predicted by Deargen include remdesivir, which was first approved as an emergency therapy. The company conducts research on and owns core AI technologies in-silico, such as 'prediction of bio-markers', 'selection of disease targets', and 'extraction of candidate substances for new drugs', utilizing techniques of meta analysis of genome big data and its unique AI technologies. Building on these outcomes, the company is developing new drugs in collaboration with multiple pharmaceutical companies and research institutions, demonstrating its outstanding technology capabilities as being named as top awardees at the ILSVRC, a world-prominent deep-learning competition, and Dream Challenge, an international AI-based new drug development competition.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Omnicell Completes Acquisition of ReCept

Omnicell, Inc. | December 30, 2021

Omnicell, Inc. a leading provider of medication management solutions and adherence tools for health systems and pharmacies, has completed the previously announced acquisition of ReCept Holdings, Inc. The addition of ReCept’s specialty pharmacy management services for health systems, provider groups, and federally qualified health centers expands Omnicell’s Advanced Services portfolio to address the growing and complex specialty pharmacy market. ReCept provides implementation and managed services for health systems and other provider organizations to optimize their specialty pharmacy programs and the related pharmaceutical aspects of patient care. This total solution supports on-site management, including payor contracting, staffing, licensing, quality assurance, 340B administration, and preferred pricing agreements designed to improve margin and profitability, while keeping the patient at the center of care. “ReCept’s specialty pharmacy management services capabilities naturally complement Omnicell’s intelligent infrastructure, giving us deeper expertise to address the growing market need for managing complex specialty medications as part of a broader, more comprehensive medication management strategy,” Randall Lipps, chairman, president, CEO, and founder of Omnicell Under the terms of the purchase agreement, the acquisition price was $100 million, subject to customary adjustments, as provided for in the agreement and plan of merger. The ReCept business that is being acquired recorded annual recurring revenue of $24 million (unaudited) for the 12 months ended September 30, 2021, and is expected to accelerate Omnicell’s Advanced Services revenue growth. Omnicell used cash on its balance sheet to fund the transaction, which is expected to be accretive to Omnicell’s non-GAAP EBITDA beginning in the first quarter of 2023. About Omnicell Since 1992, Omnicell has been committed to transforming the pharmacy care delivery model to dramatically improve outcomes and lower costs. Through the vision of the autonomous pharmacy, a combination of automation, intelligence, and technology-enabled services, powered by a cloud data platform, Omnicell supports more efficient ways to manage medications across all care settings. Over 7,000 facilities worldwide use Omnicell automation and analytics solutions to help increase operational efficiency, reduce medication errors, deliver actionable intelligence, and improve patient safety. More than 60,000 institutional and retail pharmacies across North America and the United Kingdom leverage Omnicell's innovative medication adherence and population health solutions to improve patient engagement and adherence to prescriptions, helping to reduce costly hospital readmissions.

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PHARMA TECH

CSL Limited announces tender offer to acquire Vifor Pharma Ltd

Vifor Pharma Group | December 15, 2021

Global biotechnology leader CSL Limited and Vifor Pharma Ltd, a global specialty pharmaceutical company with leadership in iron deficiency, nephrology & cardio-renal therapies, announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement for CSL to acquire Vifor Pharma for an aggregate equity value for Vifor Pharma of US$ 11.7 / CHF 10.9 billion. CSL has offered to acquire Vifor Pharma in an all-cash tender offer of US$179.25 per share, payable in U.S. dollars.1 The offer assumes a dividend of CHF 2 expected to be declared at the AGM of 26 April, consistent with past practice. The tender offer represents an implied premium of approximately 61% to the unaffected closing price of Vifor Pharma on 1 December 2021 and a 47% premium to Vifor Pharma’s unaffected 1-month VWAP as of 1 December 2021.2 Patinex AG, Vifor Pharma’s largest shareholder holding 23.2% has agreed to tender its shares into the offer. The Transaction remains subject to the conditions and further terms including: Minimum acceptance rate of 80% of all Vifor Pharma shares on a fully diluted basis; and further customary offer conditions, including regulatory approvals. The tender is currently expected to commence around 18 January 2022 and the transaction is expected to complete around mid-2022. The Board of Directors of Vifor Pharma considers that the proposed transaction respects the interests of all stakeholders and is unanimously recommending the offer to shareholders. There is committed financing for the deal and a strong commitment to pursue regulatory clearances. “Vifor Pharma's strategy has been to focus towards continuing being a market leader in iron deficiency, nephrology and cardio-renal therapies. The offer provides an excellent strategic opportunity for Vifor Pharma to optimize future market opportunities from a position of strength and to create substantial value for all stakeholders.” Jacques Theurillat, Chairman of the Board of Directors Vifor Pharma Group The transaction will enable Vifor Pharma to leverage CSL’s global reach, balance sheet and capabilities to bring more products to patients within its key categories. The transaction also enables Vifor Pharma to accelerate growth in cardiovascular-metabolic, renal and transplant. Centerview Partners UK LLP is acting as exclusive financial advisor to Vifor Pharma on the transaction. IFBC have been retained as Fairness Opinion providers by the Vifor Pharma Board of Directors. About Vifor Pharma Group Vifor Pharma Group is a global pharmaceuticals company. It aims to become the global leader in iron deficiency, nephrology and cardio-renal therapies. The company is a partner of choice for pharmaceuticals and innovative patient-focused solutions. Vifor Pharma Group strives to help patients around the world with severe and chronic diseases lead better, healthier lives. The company develops, manufactures and markets pharmaceutical products for precision patient care. Vifor Pharma Group holds a leading position in all its core business activities and consists of the following companies: Vifor Pharma and Vifor Fresenius Medical Care Renal Pharma Vifor Pharma Group is headquartered in Switzerland, and listed on the Swiss Stock Exchange About CSL CSL is a leading global biotechnology company with a dynamic portfolio of life-saving medicines, including those that treat hemophilia and immune deficiencies, as well as vaccines to prevent influenza. Since our start in 1916, we have been driven by our promise to save lives using the latest technologies. Today, CSL — including our two businesses, CSL Behring and Seqirus- provides life-saving products to more than 100 countries and employs more than 25,000 people. Our unique combination of commercial strength, R&D focus and operational excellence enables us to identify, develop and deliver innovations so our patients can live life to the fullest.

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RESEARCH

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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Spotlight

Today it takes many years to translate scientific evidence from discovery into health care practice. Stakeholders are likely losing time, money, and opportunities to improve health outcomes, as well as chances to revive the global competitiveness of the US. In the recent Health Sciences Dbriefs webcast, Improving health outcomes: The future of medical research and development, we asked approximately 1,400 professionals for their views and opinions on the future of medical research and development (R&D).

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