BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Akorn Announces FDA-approved Generic Cetrorelix Acetate for Injection 0.25 mg

Akorn Pharmaceuticals | August 17, 2022 | Read time : 01:00 min

Akorn Announces
Akorn Operating Company LLC, a specialty pharmaceutical company, announces that it received FDA approval for a generic version of Cetrorelix Acetate for Injection, 0.25 mg. This is the first approved AP-Rated bioequivalent version of Merck Serono's Cetrotide®.1

"We are pleased to announce the first approved AP-rated generic option for women receiving fertility treatments. As an increasing number of infants are being conceived via the use of ART, Akorn is excited to be able to offer a competitively priced option to support women who undergo this series of treatments.  This is a welcome addition to our portfolio of more than 200 specialty and injectable generics."

Akorn President and CEO Douglas Boothe

Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) is defined as fertility treatments where eggs or embryos are handled for the purpose of establishing a pregnancy. 2

The FDA granted Akorn a Competitive Generic Therapy (CGT) designation for Cetrorelix, a designation intended to incentivize effective development, efficient review, and timely market entry of drugs for which there is inadequate generic competition.  As the first approved applicant with the CGT designation, Akorn's Cetrorelix is eligible for 180 days of CGT market exclusivity, which will begin to run from the commercial launch of Cetrorelix.

According to IQVIA, U.S. sales of Cetrorelix through June of 2022 were approximately $63 million with full year U.S. sales projection of approximately $127 million.

About Cetrorelix Acetate for Injection 0.25 mg
Cetrorelix is used to prevent premature ovulation during controlled ovarian stimulation. Cetrorelix blocks the effects of a natural hormone, called gonadotropin‐releasing hormone (GnRH). GnRH controls the secretion of another hormone, called luteinizing hormone (LH), which induces ovulation during the menstrual cycle. During hormone treatment for ovarian stimulation, premature ovulation may lead to eggs that are not suitable for fertilization. Cetrorelix Acetate for Injection blocks such undesirable premature ovulation. 

About Akorn
Akorn Operating Company LLC, develops, manufactures and markets specialty pharmaceuticals. Since 1971, as an industry leader in generic products in alternate dosage forms such as ophthalmics, injectables, oral liquids, otics, topicals, inhalants and nasal sprays, we focus each day on our mission to improve lives, through the quality, availability and affordability of our products. 


Spotlight

The recent changes to the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) regarding requirements for elemental impurity testing has peaked interest into new ways to perform this testing. Combining these new requirements with the introduction of USP chapter <735> X-ray fluorescence spectrometry1 permits a new alternate method for quantifying elemental impurities in pharmaceutical materials.


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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

AustinPx Names Elizabeth Hickman Chief Business Officer

AustinPx | September 28, 2022

AustinPx, Pharmaceutics and Manufacturing, a contract development and manufacturing organization announced the appointment of Elizabeth Hickman as Chief Business Officer. In this role, Ms. Hickman will be responsible for the Company’s CDMO business operations and strategy, including building capabilities and a team to deliver high-value solutions for pharmaceutical customers. Ms. Hickman is an accomplished business leader with over 15 years of experience with small and multi-billion-dollar CDMOs. Over her career, she has held business development and market strategy positions of increasing responsibility, most recently at West Pharmaceutical Services as Senior Director of Strategic Marketing, Services and Solutions where she was responsible for market expansion of the company’s contract development, testing and manufacturing services. Prior to joining West, Ms. Hickman led sales and marketing at Pharmatek Laboratories, where she helped grow the company’s services and revenues resulting in its successful acquisition by Catalent Pharma Solutions. Following Pharmatek’s acquisition, she continued to excel in market strategy and business development leadership roles with Catalent’s oral drug development business unit. Ms. Hickman has a BA in Microbiology from the University of Texas, Austin and an MBA from San Diego State University. "Elizabeth brings a sharp skillset and a wealth of CDMO experience to AustinPx," said Tim Scott, President and CEO for AustinPx. "She has a strong history of growing CDMOs as both a strategist and a team-builder. Elizabeth is unique in her ability to foster and create a culture that excels at providing client-centric services, and that is why she is such a tremendous asset for AustinPx. We are very fortunate to have her." As CBO at AustinPx, Ms. Hickman will focus on the strategic buildout of agile, best in class operations, systems, and teams. She will be responsible for all market strategy and communications, business development, project management, systems optimization, and data-driven processes that drive growth. "I am excited to be a part of AustinPx and join its impressive team of formulation and manufacturing scientists and operations staff. They are a true scientific powerhouse for our clients. My goal is to build on the Company’s strong foundation to develop a client-centric CDMO that consistently delivers exceptional service from initial engagement to product shipment. Ultimately, my passion is for the patients of our clients – if we can help get their drug candidates to the clinic faster, with better formulations and dosage forms, we can in turn impact more patients around the world." Elizabeth Hickman About AustinPx AustinPx, Pharmaceutics and Manufacturing is a contract development and manufacturing organization providing analytical and formulation development services and cGMP manufacturing for small molecule drugs. We specialize in phase-appropriate development strategies, speed to clinic and market strategies, and bioavailability enhancement of poorly soluble molecules - including our next generation amorphous dispersion platform, KinetiSol® Technology.

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PHARMACY MARKET

Astellas Announces Topline Results from Phase 3 Long-Term Safety Study of Fezolinetant in Mainland China

Astellas Pharma Inc. | September 05, 2022

Astellas Pharma Inc. announced topline results from the Phase 3 MOONLIGHT 3™ clinical trial in women in mainland China evaluating the long-term safety and tolerability of fezolinetant, an investigational oral, nonhormonal compound being studied for the treatment of moderate to severe vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause. VMS, characterized by hot flashes and/or night sweats, are common symptoms of menopause. MOONLIGHT 3 is a 52-week single-arm Phase 3 clinical trial investigating the long-term safety and tolerability of fezolinetant 30 mg taken once daily in 150 women in mainland China seeking treatment for relief of VMS associated with menopause. The study's primary endpoint is the frequency and severity of adverse events which were generally consistent with previous Phase 3 studies of fezolinetant. Detailed results will be submitted for publication in the near future. "The topline results from the MOONLIGHT 3 study are very encouraging and, upon initial review, further support the long-term safety of fezolinetant. We are evaluating the full MOONLIGHT data sets and remain committed to developing innovative treatments in this therapeutic area with the hope of delivering a first-in-class, nonhormonal treatment option for women with moderate to severe VMS." Ahsan Arozullah, M.D., M.P.H., Senior Vice President and Head of Development Therapeutic Areas, Astellas Fezolinetant is an investigational selective neurokinin-3 receptor antagonist and is not approved anywhere in the world. In the U.S., a New Drug Application for fezolinetant for the treatment of moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause is under review. The NDA submission is based on results from two pivotal Phase 3 clinical trials, SKYLIGHT 1™ and SKYLIGHT 2™, and the Phase 3 long-term safety study, SKYLIGHT 4™. About the MOONLIGHT Phase 3 Clinical Trials MOONLIGHT 1™ is designed to investigate the efficacy and safety of fezolinetant for the treatment of moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause in women in Asia. The study is double-blinded and placebo-controlled for the first 12 weeks, followed by a 12-week non-controlled extension treatment period. A total of 302 women with moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause were enrolled at nearly 60 sites in mainland China, Korea and Taiwan. MOONLIGHT 3™ is a 52-week single-arm Phase 3 clinical trial designed to investigate the long-term safety and tolerability of fezolinetant in women in mainland China with VMS associated with menopause. A total of 150 women were enrolled at 34 sites in mainland China. About the BRIGHT SKY™ Phase 3 Program The BRIGHT SKY pivotal trials, SKYLIGHT 1™ and SKYLIGHT 2™ enrolled over 1,000 women with moderate to severe VMS. The trials are double-blinded, placebo-controlled for the first 12 weeks followed by a 40-week treatment extension period. Women were enrolled at over 180 sites within the U.S., Canada and Europe. SKYLIGHT 4™ is a 52-week double-blinded, placebo-controlled study designed to investigate the long-term safety of fezolinetant. For SKYLIGHT 4, over 1,800 women with VMS were enrolled at over 180 sites within the U.S., Canada and Europe. About VMS Associated with Menopause VMS, characterized by hot flashes and/or night sweats, are common symptoms of menopause.1,2 Worldwide, more than 50% of women 40 to 64 years of age experience VMS and, in East Asia, the prevalence of VMS has been estimated to be around 80% of women 40 to 65 years of age, with 55% having moderate to severe VMS.3,4 VMS can have a disruptive impact on women's daily activities and overall quality of life.1 About Fezolinetant Fezolinetant is an investigational oral, nonhormonal therapy in clinical development for the treatment of moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause. Fezolinetant works by blocking neurokinin B (NKB) binding on the kisspeptin/neurokinin/dynorphin (KNDy) neuron to moderate neuronal activity in the thermoregulatory center of the brain (the hypothalamus) to reduce the frequency and severity of moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause.5,6,7 The safety and efficacy of fezolinetant are under investigation and have not been established. There is no guarantee the agent will receive regulatory approval or become commercially available for the uses being investigated. About Astellas Astellas Pharma Inc. is a pharmaceutical company conducting business in more than 70 countries around the world. We are promoting the Focus Area Approach that is designed to identify opportunities for the continuous creation of new drugs to address diseases with high unmet medical needs by focusing on Biology and Modality. Furthermore, we are also looking beyond our foundational Rx focus to create Rx+® healthcare solutions that combine our expertise and knowledge with cutting-edge technology in different fields of external partners. Through these efforts, Astellas stands on the forefront of healthcare change to turn innovative science into value for patients.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

ColubrisMX, Inc. Announces Corporate Rebranding to ENDOQUEST Robotics™

ColubrisMX | July 01, 2022

ColubrisMX, Inc., developer of the world's first flexible endoluminal robotic system which enables scar-free and less invasive surgical procedures, announced that the Company has rebranded to ENDOQUEST Robotics™. The Company also announced the simultaneous launch of its new website, www.endoquestrobotics.com. "Since being founded, our company has made rapid progress in the development of technologies that represent historic advances in endoluminal surgery, with the potential to bring millions of patients access to procedures that are less invasive and scar-free. This rebranding as ENDOQUEST Robotics reinforces our commitment to being the leader in innovation in flexible robotic technology for a wide range of needs in endoscopic surgeries in the years ahead." Kurt Azarbarzin, Chief Executive Officer of ENDOQUEST Robotics ENDOQUEST's advanced robotic platform enables therapeutic endoscopists and surgeons to perform endoluminal surgeries through the body's existing lumens, eliminating the need for incisions that lead to visible scarring. ENDOQUEST's Endoluminal Surgical System combines the flexibility of conventional endoscopy with the advantages of traditional surgical techniques that can improve control and precision. The Company's proprietary endoscope is a flexible and steerable overtube that functions as a robotic delivery system able to deliver two surgical instruments and a flexible videoscope to a surgical target. With the enhanced capabilities of the ENDOQUEST ELS System, advanced endoscopists and surgeons can access locations in the digestive tract through a body's natural orifice using traditional surgical techniques not previously possible. "Following completion of our successful $76 million Series C financing, we remain very encouraged by the growing levels of investor, gastroenterologist and surgeon interest in our ELS System technology and are working aggressively to advance this development program to an Investigational Device Exemption filing with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration," Azarbarzin added. "We look forward to providing an update on our progress on July 1, 2022 at the Society of Robotic and Digital Surgery's Annual Meeting at the Disney World Yacht and Beach Club Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida." About ENDOQUEST Robotics ENDOQUEST Robotics has developed the ENDOQUEST Endoluminal Surgical System, the world's first endoluminal robotic surgical system that makes it possible for therapeutic endoscopists and surgeons to perform upper and lower gastrointestinal surgery less-invasively through a trans-oral or trans-anal approach. ENDOQUEST's robotic platform combines the flexibility of endoscopy that is able to navigate the curvature of patients' anatomy with instrumentation that allows the physician to use a conventional two-handed surgical technique. The ENDOQUEST ELS System has further potential applications in a range of minimally invasive surgeries including appendectomy and cholecystectomy that can be performed with no external incisions.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Prime Medicine Expands Leadership Team with Key Appointments to Support Continued Growth and Advancement of Prime Editing Technology and Portfolio

Prime Medicine | July 29, 2022

Prime Medicine, Inc. a biotechnology company committed to delivering a new class of differentiated one-time curative genetic therapies, Prime Editors, to address the widest spectrum of diseases by deploying Prime Editing technology “Prime Medicine is advancing a first-of-its-kind technology intended to expand the number of patients who may benefit from genetic medicines. We are thrilled to welcome Richard, Niamh and Fubao to the team. Together, they bring strong business acumen, extensive clinical and regulatory experience and leadership of successful teams that position us well to achieve our mission. These esteemed leaders have deep expertise across their respective focus areas, each of which is key to the advancement of our novel Prime Editing technology.” Keith Gottesdiener, M.D., Chief Executive Officer of Prime Medicine Richard Brudnick, Chief Business Officer, brings extensive industry experience, including leading successful business development transactions, across multiple stages of development and an array of therapeutic areas. Mr. Brudnick was previously Chief Business Officer and Head of Strategy at Codiak BioSciences and, before that, was Executive Vice President of Business Development and Alliance Management at Bioverativ, Inc., a company he helped found in 2016. Mr. Brudnick joined Bioverativ at the time of its spinoff from Biogen where, over the course of nearly 15 years, he initiated, led and completed numerous transactions, including for several of the company's marketed products and late-stage pipeline, including Tecfidera, Spinraza and its biosimilars joint venture with Samsung. Previously, Mr. Brudnick was the Chief Executive Officer of a regional pharmaceutical distribution business that he sold to a strategic buyer, co-founded two companies, and was a strategy consultant at Bain & Company. Mr. Brudnick earned his undergraduate degree in management science from MIT and his M.S. in management from the Sloan School of Management at MIT. Niamh Alix, Chief Human Resources (HR) Officer, is a human resources leader who brings nearly 20 years of experience helping to grow teams from small, early-stage organizations to global enterprises. She joins Prime from Orchard Therapeutics, where she was Vice President, Global Talent and HR Business Partner. Prior to that, Ms. Alix held multiple global and regional roles at Lonza, including HR Business Partner for Americas, Mexico, and Canada where she led the HR team and people strategy for a 5,000+ employee population across corporate and manufacturing clients, and across multiple scientific platforms including cell and gene therapy. Prior to that, she held senior HR roles of increasing responsibility at Novartis and Bristol Myers Squibb. She holds a master’s degree in HR strategies from Dublin City University and a B.Sc. in management from the Technological University of Dublin. Fubao Wang, Ph.D., SVP, Head of Regulatory, has substantial experience leading product development of genomic medicine products, as well as regulatory strategies and execution for both clinical and commercial-stage products. Before Prime, Dr. Wang served as Senior Vice President, Head of Regulatory Affairs at Asklepios BioPharmaceutical where he built and led the regulatory team to support the development of clinical-stage AAV-based gene therapy products. Earlier, he was Vice President, Head of Regulatory CMC at Sarepta Therapeutics, where he supported the development of AAV gene therapy and RNA products, including the FDA approvals of Vyondys and Amondys. He also served as Associate Vice President, U.S. Site Head, CMC Dossiers at Sanofi to support the BLA approval of Dupixent, a monoclonal antibody product. Prior to that, he held a 16-year tenure at Merck serving in research, development and regulatory roles of increasing responsibility, most recently as director, global and emerging markets regulatory affairs, led and contributed to the discovery and development of a variety of vaccine and biologics products. Dr. Wang holds a Ph.D. in molecular biology from Heidelberg University and completed his postdoctoral work in molecular biology at Stanford University. About Prime Medicine Prime Medicine, Inc. is a biotechnology company committed to delivering a new class of differentiated, one-time, curative genetic therapies to address the widest spectrum of diseases. The company is deploying Prime Editing technology, a versatile, precise, efficient and broad gene editing technology, which is designed to make only the right edit at the right position within a gene. With the theoretical potential to repair approximately 90 percent of known disease-causing genetic mutations across many organs and cell types, medicines based on Prime Editing, if approved, could offer a one-time curative genetic therapeutic option to a broad set of patients.

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Spotlight

The recent changes to the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) regarding requirements for elemental impurity testing has peaked interest into new ways to perform this testing. Combining these new requirements with the introduction of USP chapter <735> X-ray fluorescence spectrometry1 permits a new alternate method for quantifying elemental impurities in pharmaceutical materials.

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