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

fiercepharma | June 11, 2019

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.”

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Cambrex to Acquire Snapdragon Chemistry, a Leader in Continuous Flow API Development Services

Cambrex | November 22, 2022

Cambrex, a leading global contract development and manufacturing organization providing drug substance, drug product, and analytical services across the entire drug lifecycle, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Snapdragon Chemistry, a leading US-based provider of chemical process development services to a broad range of emerging and established biopharma customers. Snapdragon specializes in active pharmaceutical ingredient batch and continuous flow process development, utilizing state-of-the-art automation technology and proprietary equipment to solve complex process and analytical development challenges. The team of scientists and engineers apply deep process understanding afforded by data-rich experimentation to design and rapidly execute efficient GMP and non-GMP manufacturing processes. With R&D and manufacturing headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts, Snapdragon's 74 employees come with strong ties to the local scientific community, with 31 PhD scientists on staff. "The acquisition of Snapdragon will accelerate our growth in the area of continuous flow process development and manufacturing, complementing our recent organic investments in our High Point, North Carolina facility. With R&D and manufacturing capabilities in the heart of Boston's biopharma hub, Snapdragon will continue to focus on solving their customers' most difficult process development challenges." Tom Loewald, CEO of Cambrex "We are excited to be joining Cambrex, a company with over 40 years of drug substance development and manufacturing expertise," said Matt Bio, CEO of Snapdragon. "Partnering our best-in-class process development capabilities with Cambrex's larger scale manufacturing facilities in North America and Europe is a natural fit, both for our employees and our customers." Snapdragon recently opened its second facility, a new 51,000-square-foot facility to manufacture experimental pharmaceutical products for human clinical trials. The new facility expanded the company's capacity for supplying clinical intermediates and drug substances. The transaction is expected to close following the completion of customary regulatory approvals. This will be Cambrex's second acquisition within a year along with Q1 Scientific, consistent with its strategy to expand its portfolio of specialized solutions for pharmaceutical development and manufacturing. About Cambrex Cambrex is a leading global contract development and manufacturing organization that provides drug substance, drug product, and analytical services across the entire drug lifecycle. With over 40 years of experience and a growing team of over 2,300 experts servicing global clients from North America and Europe, Cambrex is a trusted partner in branded and generic markets for API and finished dosage form development and manufacturing. Cambrex offers a range of specialized drug substance technologies and capabilities, including biocatalysis, continuous flow, controlled substances, solid-state science, material characterization, and highly potent APIs. In addition, Cambrex can support conventional dosage forms, including oral solids, semi-solids, and liquids, and has the expertise to manufacture specialty dosage forms such as modified-release, fixed-dose combination, pediatric, bi-layer tablets, stick packs, topicals, controlled substances, sterile, and non-sterile ointments.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Iterative Scopes Receives FDA Clearance for AI-Assisted Polyp Detection Device SKOUT™

Iterative Scopes | September 23, 2022

Iterative Scopes, a pioneer in precision medicine technologies for gastroenterology, and Provation, the premier software and SaaS provider of clinical productivity and workflow automation solutions, announced that SKOUT™ has received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for adults undergoing colorectal cancer screening or surveillance. SKOUT, a real-time computer-aided polyp detection device developed by Iterative Scopes, uses advanced computer vision technology designed to recognize suspicious tissue and provide real-time feedback to gastroenterologists. The device was evaluated in the largest U.S.-based multicenter clinical study for a computer aided polyp detection (CADe) device completed to date, which determined that SKOUT significantly improved overall adenoma detection in screening and surveillance colonoscopy compared to standard colonoscopy.1 In March 2021, Provation and Iterative Scopes entered a partnership focused on delivering artificial intelligence-based solutions to healthcare providers and researchers. Provation is a market leader in gastrointestinal (GI) documentation, with more than 3,500 customer facilities including 80% of the top academic and large health systems, and the company will act as an exclusive distributor of SKOUT to help broaden the technology’s reach among the country’s top GI-focused organizations. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and Europe,2 3 due in part to the high volumes of adenomas – approximately 26%4 – that endoscopists miss when conducting a colonoscopy. In its registration trial, SKOUT was found to improve adenoma detection, as measured by adenomas per colonoscopy (APC). Furthermore, increased detection was not limited to diminutive polyps. Higher APC rates have been shown to lead to improved patient outcomes; a recent study showed that the incidence of colorectal cancer within three years of examination decreases with higher APC rates.5 “Even among the best endoscopists, there is room for improvement in adenoma detection, which can impact patient outcomes. We are enthusiastic about the fact that even gastroenterologists with an already high baseline rate of adenoma detection demonstrated an improvement with SKOUT. Now that SKOUT is FDA-cleared, clinicians will be able to better detect adenomas with more efficiency, and ultimately change the standard of gastrointestinal care.” Sloane Allebes Phillips, VP of Clinical Operations at Iterative Scopes SKOUT is indicated as a computer-aided detection tool to assist qualified and trained endoscopists in identifying potential colorectal polyps during colonoscopy examinations in adult patients undergoing colorectal cancer screening or surveillance. SKOUT demonstrated a 27% relative increase in the detection of adenomas per colonoscopy, with an average of one additional adenoma resected for every 4.5 patients examined. Importantly, in the proximal colon, SKOUT demonstrated a 44% relative increase in 5-9 mm polyp detection, and a 29% relative increase in 5-9 mm polyp detection overall.1 These results validate the need for technological advancements that can help improve colonoscopies, and SKOUT’s artificial intelligence capabilities position it to do so. “Knowing that patients can walk away from their appointment with the confidence that they received a high quality and detailed colonoscopy is what excites us most about SKOUT’s FDA clearance,” said Aasma Shaukat, MD, MPH, Robert M. and Mary H. Glickman Professor of Medicine and Gastroenterology at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, and a primary investigator on the SKOUT registration study. “Confidence and peace-of-mind on behalf of providers and patients alike will allow clinicians to provide stronger recommendations and solutions for their patients.” “We are thrilled that our partner Iterative Scopes has received FDA clearance for their AI-Assisted Polyp Detection device, SKOUT. We have been very impressed with its study results and are eager to share our vision for integrating this technology into our solutions,” said Daniel Hamburger, CEO at Provation. “SKOUT is a true game-changer for the field of gastroenterology, and we can’t wait to start seeing its impact on patient care.” SKOUT’s intuitive user interface seamlessly integrates with existing clinical workflows and does not increase total procedure or withdrawal time.1 When a potential polyp is detected, the system calls attention to the polyp on the procedure monitor by drawing a blue bounding box around it and tracking the polyp as it moves on the screen. If a medical tool enters the frame, the bounding box automatically disappears to avoid obstructing the physician’s view during polyp removal. About Iterative Scopes Iterative Scopes is a pioneer in the application of artificial intelligence-based precision medicine for gastroenterology with the aim of helping to optimize clinical trials investigating treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The technology is also designed to potentially enhance colorectal cancer screenings. Its powerful, proprietary artificial intelligence and computer vision technologies have the potential to improve the accuracy and consistency of endoscopy readings. Iterative Scopes is initially applying these advances to impact polyp detection for colorectal cancer screenings and working to standardize disease severity characterization for inflammatory bowel disease. Longer term, the company plans to establish more meaningful endpoints for GI diseases, which may be better predictors of therapeutic response and disease outcomes. Spun out of MIT in 2017, the company is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. About Provation Provation is a leading provider of healthcare software and SaaS solutions for clinical productivity, care coordination, quality reporting, and billing. Our purpose is to empower providers to deliver quality healthcare for all. Provation’s comprehensive portfolio spans the entire patient encounter, from pre-procedure through post-procedure, with solutions for physician and nursing documentation anesthesia documentation patient engagement, surgical care coordination, quality reporting, and billing capture order set and care plan management and EHR embedded clinical documentation. Provation has a loyal customer base, serving more than 5,000 hospitals, surgery centers, and medical offices, and 700 physician groups globally, including 19 of the top 20 U.S. hospitals. In 2021, Provation was acquired by Fortive Corporation, a Fortune 1000 company that builds essential technology and accelerates transformation in high-impact fields like workplace safety, engineering, and healthcare.

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PHARMACY MARKET

ICON selected by BARDA to conduct anthrax vaccine clinical trial

ICON plc | October 07, 2022

ICON plc. a world-leading healthcare intelligence and clinical research organisation, announces that it has been selected by the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority part of the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response in the Department of Health and Human Services to execute an anthrax vaccine clinical trial. BARDA is providing funding to the Government and Public Health Solutions team at ICON to develop and execute a clinical trial that will evaluate the immune response to the next-generation anthrax vaccine AV7909. The team will support the evaluation of AV7909 immunogenicity kinetics by conducting clinical trial activities including but not limited to project management, clinical operations and quality assurance. ICON has extensive experience in supporting vaccine clinical trials. It has participated in over 160 vaccine studies in the past five years. ICON’s vaccine clinical research professionals are therapeutically aligned with a leadership team that brings more than 200 years of combined experience in vaccine clinical development for commercial businesses, government, NGOs and multinational health organisations. “We are pleased to have been selected to execute this important clinical trial. The potential for an anthrax attack is still a very real and serious threat, and we are proud to be playing our part to increase the understanding of treatment options for anthrax exposure, ultimately supporting human health.” Edward Wright, President, ICON Government and Public Health Solutions This clinical study will inform operational logistics and use of AV7909 should an anthrax emergency occur. The clinical studies will not expose participants to anthrax. The trial will enrol healthy adults aged 18 and older and will be conducted in the United States starting in early 2023. BARDA, part of the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is responsible for developing medical countermeasures to secure the U.S. against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats, as well as pandemic influenza and emerging infectious diseases. Since 2014, ICON has been a member of BARDA’s Medical Countermeasures Clinical Studies Network (CSN). The network is responsible for planning and executing clinical studies to support medical countermeasure development. Bacillus anthracis, the agent that causes anthrax, is a serious bioterrorism threat due to the delivery of aerosolised spores that can cause high-mortality disease through gastrointestinal, cutaneous, inhalational or injection routes. Although clinical manifestations of the disease differ by route, inhalational anthrax is the most lethal. Inhalational anthrax infection usually develops within a week after exposure but can take up to two months. Without treatment, only about 10% to 15% of patients survive after exposure to inhaled B. anthracis spores. Since 2015, BARDA has supported the late-stage development of AV7909, a next-generation anthrax vaccine which uses the U.S. Food and Drug Administration licensed anthrax vaccine Biothrax in combination with an immune system stimulant or adjuvant. The vaccine is being developed in partnership with its manufacturer Emergent Biosolutions Inc. to protect against anthrax post-exposure when used in combination with the recommended antibiotics. About ICON plc ICON is the world’s leading clinical research organisation, powered by healthcare intelligence. From molecule to medicine, we advance clinical research providing outsourced development and commercialisation services to pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device and government and public health organisations. We develop new innovations, drive emerging therapies forward and improve patient lives. With headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, ICON employed approximately 40,500 employees in 119 locations in 53 countries as at June 30, 2022. About ICON Government & Public Health Solutions ICON Government & Public Health Solutions is ICON's business unit focused on direct US Government engagement, Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) and academia, providing full service and functional research solutions. In addition, ICON GPHS coordinates a Government Centre of Excellence (CoE) to lend internal federal government subject matter expertise that can be leveraged by other ICON business units when commercial clients receive federal funding on ICON awarded contracts. About BARDA’s Medical Countermeasures Clinical Studies Network (CSN) The CSN provides BARDA partners and medical countermeasure developers with essential tools and services to develop vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and medical devices. The CSN provides comprehensive (Phases 1-4) clinical study services.

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VIEWS AND ANALYSIS

Enteris BioPharma Publishes White Paper Examining Factors to Consider While Evaluating Oral Administration of Peptides

Enteris BioPharma | September 13, 2022

Enteris BioPharma, Inc., a biotechnology company developing innovative drug products based on its proprietary delivery technologies, and a wholly-owned subsidiary of SWK Holdings Corporation announced the publication of a new white paper in Drug Development & Delivery entitled, "Key Considerations in Oral Delivery of Peptides – Factors to Consider While Evaluating Oral Administration." The paper, authored by John Vrettos, PhD, Director of Formulation Development for Enteris BioPharma, and Kalpana Ramakrishnan, PhD, Manager of Business Development for Enteris BioPharma, explores the barriers to developing oral delivery of peptides and how pharmaceutical companies can overcome them. Oral administration of peptides offers several advantages while treating chronic conditions such as diabetes and obesity as they are less invasive and more cost effective compared to injections. "Molecule size, potency, and solubility are some of the key physicochemical properties that determine a peptide's suitability for oral delivery. The healthcare industry is in need of enabling drug delivery technologies with the capability to overcome barriers in oral delivery of peptides. Importantly, orally delivered medications may encourage patient compliance compared with more invasive approaches to administering drugs. Approximately 75% of peptides are delivered by injective routes, including subcutaneous injections which can be painful and difficult to incorporate into a daily routine." Dr. Vrettos Dr. Vrettos continued, "Enteris' Peptelligence® platform offers a 'triple-action' solution comprised of our enteric coating, protease inhibitor, and permeation enhancer. When combined, these technologies have demonstrated an ability to improve the solubility and permeation of orally delivered peptides. These properties can potentially enable oral delivery of some peptide drugs for the first time, and we are excited to share our knowledge on oral delivery of peptides through this informative whitepaper." Peptelligence is a novel formulation technology designed to enhance the oral delivery and bioavailability of selected drugs by enhancing the permeation of such compounds that are typically injected, including peptides and BCS class III and IV small molecules, and preventing their breakdown in the digestive tract. About Enteris BioPharma Enteris BioPharma, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SWK Holdings Corporation offering total integrated contract development and manufacturing services for innovative formulation solutions utilizing its proprietary drug delivery technologies, Peptelligence® and ProPerma®, and contract manufacturing (CMO) services using non-proprietary technologies. The company's proprietary technologies have been the subject of numerous feasibility studies and active development programs, some of which are in clinical development. Additionally, Enteris BioPharma is advancing an innovative internal product pipeline of drug products that address significant unmet clinical needs for which there is no satisfactory treatment option.

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