BUSINESS INSIGHTS, PHARMACY MARKET
Tetris Pharma Ltd | December 13, 2022
Tetris Pharma Ltd a subsidiary of biopharmaceutical company, Arecor Therapeutics plc announces that it has signed a service agreement with Syneos Health® the only fully integrated biopharmaceutical solutions organization purpose-built to accelerate customer success, to support the build out of Tetris Pharma’s commercial platform across Europe.
Through this partnership, Syneos Health will provide commercial support through an outsourced contract sales services to accelerate healthcare practitioner awareness of Tetris Pharma’s flagship product, Ogluo®, for people living with diabetes across initial launch territories.
“Following the recent launch of Ogluo® in Germany, we are focused on continuing its accelerated roll-out across Europe. Syneos Health was one of several potential partners that were evaluated during the process of partnering with an organisation that would provide a multitude of commercial options to help establish the product across Europe. Partnering with Syneos Health, a leader in clinical research, medical affairs, and commercialisation services for the pharmaceutical industry, is key to building our reputation as specialists in the marketing, sales, and distribution of commercial-stage specialty hospital products across the UK and Europe.”
Dr. Shafiq Choudhary, Managing Director, Tetris Pharma
BUSINESS INSIGHTS, PHARMACY MARKET
Phio Pharmaceuticals Corp. | December 22, 2022
Phio Pharmaceuticals Corp., today announced it expects to file an IND in the US in the first half of 2023 for a Phase 1b clinical trial of its INTASYL™ compound, PH-762. Phio is a clinical stage biotechnology company whose proprietary INTASYL self-delivering RNAi technology is designed to make immune cells more effective in killing tumor cells. PH-762 has been shown to reduce the expression of PD-1, a protein that inhibits T cells' ability to kill cancer cells. When administered intratumorally in preclinical models PH-762 primes an anti-tumor immune response, and inhibits tumor growth.
Phio is currently conducting a Phase 1b clinical trial of PH-762 for the treatment of advanced melanoma at the Gustave Roussy Institute, one of the largest cancer centers in Europe. Phio expects to commence a US Phase 1b clinical trial early in the 2nd half of 2023. The initial US trial is expected to focus on the treatment of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma and other selected cutaneous malignancies, following successful regulatory review of the IND.
"Therapeutic interventions for cSCC are limited, and there is increasing unmet medical need. As cSCC tumors comprise approximately 51% of the total incidence of solid tumors in the US, excluding basal cell cancers, we recognize the growing need for alternative therapies for cSCC," said Robert Bitterman, Phio's Principal Executive Officer and Executive Chairman. Mr. Bitterman has over 25 years of executive leadership experience in the pharmaceutical and biologic life science industry with a proven track record in operations, finance and investor relations.
"While monoclonal antibody therapies are available for the treatment of cSCC, mechanistically they only block the interaction between PD-1 and PD-L1 on the cell surface. PH-762 also has the potential to address PD-1 inside the T cell, essentially further enhancing the activity of the T cell to kill the tumor cells," said Dr. James Cardia, Phio's Vice President of Scientific Operations. Dr. Cardia led the team that discovered INTASYL.
"PH-762 has the potential to meet a significant medical need in patients who have failed to respond to mAbs, as well as those with resectable and metastatic solid tumors. Phio is committed to advancing the study of PH-762 to provide a meaningful therapy for patients with a broad range of solid tumors."
Dr. Mary Spellman, Phio's Medical and Clinical Development Advisor
INTASYL compounds are chemically modified siRNAs that are designed to provide efficient, spontaneous cellular uptake and potent, long lasting intracellular activity targeting a broad range of cell types and tissues. INTASYL drugs precisely target specific proteins that reduce the body's ability to fight cancer, without the need for specialized formulations or drug delivery systems. INTASYL has demonstrated preclinical efficacy in both Direct-to-Tumor and Adoptive Cell Therapy applications. In comparison to biologics and cell and gene therapies, INTASYL has a favorable pre-clinical toxicity and safety profile, and a streamlined chemical synthesis that reduces costs and offers substantial convenience to the prescriber and patient. Phio believes that INTASYL is the only self-delivering RNA interference technology focused on immuno-oncology therapeutics.
About Phio Pharmaceuticals
Phio Pharmaceuticals Corp. is a clinical stage biotechnology company whose proprietary INTASYL™ RNAi technology is designed to make immune cells more effective in killing tumor cells. Phio believes that INTASYL is the only self-delivering RNAi technology focused on immuno-oncology therapeutics. INTASYL drugs precisely target specific proteins that reduce the body's ability to fight cancer, without the need for specialized formulations or drug delivery systems.
FogPharma | November 28, 2022
FogPharma®, a biopharmaceutical company pioneering a new class of precision medicines that could ultimately prove applicable to the vast majority of therapeutic targets, including those previously considered “undruggable,” announced a $178 Million Series D financing. The financing round includes new investors ARCH Venture Partners, Milky Way Investments and Fidelity Management & Research Company and existing investors VenBio Partners, Deerfield Management, GV, Cormorant Asset Management, funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., Invus, Farallon Capital Management, HBM Healthcare Investments, Casdin Capital, and PagsGroup, also participated.
Proceeds from the Series D financing will be used to advance and accelerate FogPharma’s growing pipeline of hyperstabilized α-helical (Helicon™) polypeptide therapeutics, a proprietary new class of drugs designed to overcome the limitations of today’s precision medicines with broad applicability to the vast majority of disease targets and therapeutic areas. FogPharma’s lead Helicon polypeptide development candidate, FOG-001, a first-and-only-in-class direct TCF-blocking β-catenin inhibitor with potential applicability to significant cancer patient populations, is expected to enter clinical development in mid-2023. In addition, FogPharma is advancing other first-in-class programs against important, biologically validated cancer targets that have remained elusive to other approaches including TEAD, NRAS, Pan-KRAS, ERG and Cyclin E1.
“FogPharma continues to make rapid progress on our moonshot mission to achieve universal druggability – a world where no targets are off-limits to medicine. We believe that Helicon polypeptides, a compelling new therapeutic modality, represent the future of precision medicine. We are thrilled by the support of our investors and will continue to build our platform capabilities, product pipeline which aims to address a significant percentage of cancer patient populations, and our phenomenal team across all levels as we aim to create one of the most impactful new classes of drugs in history.”
Gregory Verdine, Ph.D., founder, chairman and chief executive officer of FogPharma
In connection with the Series D Financing, Rick Klausner, M.D., has been appointed to FogPharma’s board of directors. In addition, Dr. Verdine has been appointed as chairman of the board.
“The team at FogPharma is building an unprecedented new therapeutic modality and robust pipeline with the potential to make a meaningful difference in the lives of cancer patients,” said Dr. Klausner. “I am excited to join the board of directors and be part of something special particularly at this important time as FogPharma continues to impressively scale its science, team, operations and infrastructure, with the goal of advancing its first Helicon polypeptide therapeutic into the clinic.”
Dr. Klausner is currently the founder and chief scientist of Altos Labs and founder and chairman of Lyell Immunopharma. Dr. Klausner was founder and director of Juno Therapeutics and founder and director of GRAIL. He is also the chairman of Sonoma Biotherapeutics and co-founder and chairman of Lifemine Therapeutics. Previously, Dr. Klausner served as senior vice president, chief medical officer and chief opportunity officer of Illumina Corporation and as executive director for global health for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr. Klausner was appointed by Presidents Clinton and Bush as the eleventh director of the U.S. National Cancer Institute between 1995 and 2001. Dr. Klausner served as chief of the Cell Biology and Metabolism Branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development as well as a past president of the American Society of Clinical Investigation. He has served in senior advisory roles to the U.S., Norwegian, Qatari and Indian governments.
About FogPharma’s Universal Druggability Platform and Helicon™ Polypeptide Therapeutics
Existing drug classes are limited in both reach and applicability, with more than 80% of known human protein disease targets considered “undruggable” because they are beyond the reach of both antibodies and small molecules.
FogPharma’s Helicon peptide drug discovery engine integrates directed evolution, proprietary α-helix conformational hyperstabilization chemistry, highly multiplexed drug optimization technology, artificial intelligence including deep learning and machine learning, structure-based drug discovery, cancer genomics and biology, and multiscale manufacturing to rapidly discover Helicon polypeptide therapeutics. This novel therapeutic modality combines the targeting strength and specificity of antibodies with the broad tissue distribution, intracellular target engagement and oral dosing optionality of small molecules to address the limitations of today’s precision medicines and reach the most difficult targets – achieving universal druggability.
FogPharma’s lead Helicon polypeptide development candidate, FOG-001, a first-and-only-in-class direct TCF-blocking β-catenin inhibitor. Dysregulation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway has been shown to occur in at least 20% of all human cancers. In the U.S. alone, FOG-001 has the potential to become a new treatment option for >1 million patients suffering from a broad range of intractable cancers.
In biochemical and cellular studies, FOG-001 has been shown to potently, precisely and selectively disrupt the interaction of β-catenin with its obligate downstream transcription factor, TCF. Preclinical studies have demonstrated the ability of FOG-001 to cause tumor growth inhibition and regression by disrupting β-catenin-dependent signaling.
FOG-001 is the inaugural member of FogPharma’s TCF-Catenix family of direct-acting β-catenin antagonists and combines key features that distinguish it from previously reported Wnt/β-catenin pathway modulators: FOG-001 acts inside the cell, where it directly binds the key oncogenic driver β-catenin; and FOG-001 blocks TCF-β-catenin engagement at the most downstream node in the canonical Wnt pathway, thus abrogating the signal transmission mechanism by which most, if not all, known Wnt pathway mutations are believed to drive oncogenesis.
FogPharma is a biopharmaceutical company pioneering the discovery and development of Helicon™ polypeptides. Through this novel therapeutic modality, FogPharma aims to address the limitations of existing drug classes and achieve universal druggability – a world where no targets are off-limits to new medicines. Spun out of Harvard University by pioneering academic scientist and successful biotech company builder Dr. Gregory Verdine, FogPharma is advancing a broad pipeline of Helicon polypeptide therapeutics against important and biologically validated cancer targets that have remained elusive to other approaches, with the goal of providing new targeted treatment options for significant cancer patient populations. FogPharma is headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., and has raised more than $360 million to date from leading life sciences investors.
VIEWS AND ANALYSIS, PHARMA TECH
Novavax, Inc. | December 16, 2022
Novavax, Inc. a biotechnology company dedicated to developing and commercializing next-generation vaccines for serious infectious diseases, today announced the pricing of an offering of $150 million aggregate principal amount of its 5.00% convertible senior notes due 2027. The notes are being offered and sold only to persons reasonably believed to be qualified institutional buyers pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended. In connection with the offering of the notes, Novavax has granted to the initial purchasers a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional $25.25 million aggregate principal amount of the notes. The offering of the notes is expected to close on December 20, 2022, subject to customary closing conditions.
The notes will represent senior unsecured obligations of Novavax and will accrue interest payable semi-annually in arrears and will mature on December 15, 2027, unless earlier converted, redeemed or repurchased. Novavax will settle conversions by paying or delivering, as applicable, cash, shares of its common stock, par value $0.01 per share or a combination of cash and shares of its common stock, at Novavax' election. The notes will be redeemable, in whole or in part for cash at Novavax' option at any time, and from time to time, on or after December 22, 2025, if the last reported sale price of common stock has been at least 130% of the conversion price then in effect for at least 20 trading days during any 30 consecutive trading day period ending on and including the trading day immediately preceding the date on which Novavax provides notice of redemption at a redemption price equal to 100% of the principal amount of the notes to be redeemed, plus any accrued and unpaid interest to, but excluding, the redemption date.
The notes will be convertible at an initial conversion rate of 80.0000 shares of common stock per $1,000 principal amount of notes.
J.P. Morgan, Jefferies and Cowen are acting as joint book-running managers and representatives of the initial purchasers for the offering of the notes. J. Wood Capital Advisors served as financial advisor to the Company in relation to the offering of the notes.
Concurrently with the offering of the notes, Novavax also announced today the pricing of its previously announced underwritten public offering to sell up to 6,500,000 shares of its common stock at a public offering price of $10.00 per share, or $65 million worth of shares of its common stock. In connection with the common stock offering, Novavax granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 975,000 shares of its common stock at the public offering price, less underwriting discounts and commissions. The offering of the notes is not contingent upon the consummation of the concurrent common stock offering, and the concurrent common stock offering is not contingent upon the consummation of the offering of the notes. The concurrent common stock offering is expected to close on December 20, 2022, subject to customary closing conditions.
Novavax may use the net proceeds from the offering of the notes and, if consummated, the concurrent common stock offering, for general corporate purposes, including but not limited to the continued global commercial launch of Nuvaxovid, repayment or repurchase of a portion of the $325 million in outstanding principal amount of its 3.75% convertible senior unsecured notes due February 1, 2023, working capital, capital expenditures, research and development expenditures, clinical trial expenditures, repayments under its supply agreements, as well as acquisitions and other strategic purposes.
Novavax estimates that the net proceeds from the offering of the notes will be approximately $142.2 million after deducting the initial purchasers' discounts and estimated offering expenses payable by Novavax.
The offer and sale of the notes are not being registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended any state securities laws. The notes may not be offered or sold in the U.S. except pursuant to an exemption from the registration requirements of the Securities Act and any applicable state securities laws.
The notes are being offered only to persons reasonably believed to be qualified institutional buyers pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act. The offer and sale of the notes and any shares of common stock issuable upon conversion of the notes have not been, and will not be, registered under the Securities Act or any other securities laws, and the notes and any such shares cannot be offered or sold absent registration or except pursuant to an applicable exemption from, or in a transaction not subject to, the registration requirements of the Securities Act and any other applicable securities laws.
This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy the securities being offered, nor shall there be any sale of the securities being offered in any state or other jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such state or other jurisdiction.
Novavax, Inc. is a biotechnology company that promotes improved health globally through the discovery, development, and commercialization of innovative vaccines to prevent serious infectious diseases. The company's proprietary recombinant technology platform harnesses the power and speed of genetic engineering to efficiently produce highly immunogenic nanoparticles designed to address urgent global health needs. The Novavax COVID-19 vaccine has received authorization from multiple regulatory authorities globally, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the European Commission, and the World Health Organization.