Feinstein Institutes | November 29, 2022
Peptides, short sections of proteins made up of chains of amino acids, are an important area of new drug development due to their potential for increased specificity and fewer side effects. Their main drawback is the rapid degradation by the body’s own enzymes, which has led to the need to develop longer-lasting peptide alternatives. Azapeptides are one type of peptide alternative that has shown great potential as therapeutics, exemplified by the HIV drug, Atazanavir.
A new paper published in the journal Nature Communications by researchers at The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research details proprietary reagents and methods that can selectively replace only those amino acids known to be targeted by enzymes with more stable versions to create azapeptides.
The paper, authored by Yousef Al-Abed, PhD, co-director of the Institute of Bioelectronic Medicine at the Feinstein Institutes, describes the proprietary building blocks and method used to conduct systematic and robust peptide editing, replacing targeted amino acids with aza-amino acids to form more stable and efficient azapeptides. The azapeptides created could expedite the novel therapies to treat many diseases and conditions, including metabolic disease, influenza, pulmonary arterial hypertension, Crohn’s disease, arthritis, and irritable bowel diseases, among others.
The paper, titled “Thiocarbazate building blocks enable the construction of azapeptides for rapid development of therapeutic candidates,” provides multiple examples of azapeptide construction, screening, and selection using a known peptide inhibitor of inflammation and bradykinin.
“Peptides as drug candidates are easy to discover yet difficult to develop as final drugs because of their fast degradation in our body. A technology that circumvents these problems inherent to native peptides will change the future landscape of drug discovery. Our technology provides a platform of tools that enable minimal modification of any peptide at highly prone degradation sites, thereby increasing its life span in our body, allowing it more time to find its target and neutralize it.”
Through peptide editing, going from peptide to azapeptide, using methods that Dr. Al-Abed and his team detail in the new paper, scientists can create potential therapies that have enhanced characteristics compared to natural peptides, like longer stabilities in a more efficient manner. Dr. Al-Abed and his team have precisely engineered thiocarbazates (a novel functional group) in the proprietary process to achieve an almost universal and more efficient means to selectively replace amino acids in a peptide chain.
“Peptide drugs are a crucial resource for patients and the global pharmaceutical industry,” said Kevin J. Tracey, MD, president and CEO of the Feinstein Institutes and Karches Family Distinguished Chair in Medical Research. “Dr. Al-Abed and his team invented a fully automated chemical strategy using novel chemistry to make new peptide drugs which is an important new avenue for peptide drug discovery.”
About the Feinstein Institutes
The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research is the research arm of Northwell Health, the largest health care provider and private employer in New York State. Home to 50 research labs, 3,000 clinical research studies and 5,000 researchers and staff, the Feinstein Institutes raises the standard of medical innovation through its five institutes of behavioral science, bioelectronic medicine, cancer, health innovations and outcomes, and molecular medicine. We make breakthroughs in genetics, oncology, brain research, mental health, autoimmunity, and are the global scientific leader in bioelectronic medicine – a new field of science that has the potential to revolutionize medicine.
Corium, Inc. | September 20, 2022
Corium, Inc., a fully-integrated biopharmaceutical company leading the development and commercialization of novel central nervous system therapies, announced publication of its phase 1 healthy volunteer study results for ADLARITY in the peer-reviewed Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. The article, "Comparison of Steady-State Pharmacokinetics of Donepezil Transdermal Delivery System with Oral Donepezil," reports that Corium's novel once-weekly Alzheimer's dementia treatment delivered drug exposure equivalent to oral donepezil while presenting lower gastrointestinal (GI) adverse events overall compared to oral donepezil. The article is currently available online and expected to be published in the hardcopy of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, Volume 90, Issue 1, on October 25, 2022.
"Transdermal delivery offers meaningful potential benefits over oral administration, including ease of use, maintenance of steady concentrations of drugs, reduced gastrointestinal adverse effects, and better treatment compliance. The availability of a transdermal formulation of donepezil gives clinicians, patients, and their caregivers an important new option to consider when treating dementia of the Alzheimer's type," said study co-author Pierre N. Tariot, M.D., director of the Banner Alzheimer's Institute in Phoenix, AZ.
"The study demonstrated the equivalent exposure of Adlarity to oral donepezil and supports the use of ADLARITY as a compliant and safe once-weekly dosing regimen for treatment of patients with dementia of the Alzheimer type. The trial also shows Corium's commitment to addressing the unmet needs of patients with CNS disorders."
Charles Oh, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Corium
ADLARITY Transdermal System: Equivalent to Oral Donepezil Exposure, Fewer GI Adverse Events Overall
In the trial, investigators compared the extent of donepezil exposure from the once-weekly ADLARITY to a once-daily oral donepezil formulation in 60 healthy adults (NCT04617782). The trial included three treatment periods of 5 weeks each. In the first period, all the participants received ADLARITY weekly, which provided 5 mg/day of donepezil. In the second period, participants were randomized to receive either 10 mg/day once-weekly ADLARITY or 10 mg/day daily oral donepezil, followed by switching to the alternative treatment, ADLARITY or oral donepezil, in the third period. All the participants knew which treatment they received in this open-label trial. Investigators examined the amount of donepezil in the participants' blood, including the maximum plasma concentration (Cmax) and the total amount of drug exposure (area under the curve or AUC).
About Alzheimer's Disease
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive and irreversible brain disorder. It involves changes in brain tissue including abnormal buildup of proteins as well as loss of neuron function. The resulting damage leads to the loss of remembering, reasoning, and thinking abilities. The related behavioral changes include the loss of independence in activities of daily living and self-care. Dementia ranges in severity from mild, when it is just beginning to affect a person's functioning, to moderate, to severe, when the person must depend on others for the basic activities of day-to-day life. Patients with advanced Alzheimer's disease may be unable to chew and swallow easily.
Corium, Inc., is a fully-integrated biopharmaceutical company that is leading the development and commercialization of CNS therapies that provide physicians with innovative treatment options for patients, their families, and their caregivers. Corium is commercializing two U.S. FDA approved products, ADLARITY and AZSTARYS.
About Gurnet Point Capital
Gurnet Point Capital is a unique healthcare investment platform within the B-Flexion group and led by a team with deep expertise in an industry for which they share a passion, both as investors and senior executives. GPC invests long-term capital and supports entrepreneurs in building a new generation of companies that deliver outsized returns through active ownership. Based in Cambridge, MA, its remit encompasses life sciences and health care focused businesses, with a particular emphasis on businesses that have high growth potential in the product development and commercialization stages of their evolution. With its strategy of driving best in class operational transformation for these businesses, to create social impact while generating significant economic value, GPC is able to deliver differentiated results for its investors and partners.
NanOlogy | September 21, 2022
NanOlogy LLC, a clinical-stage interventional oncology drug company, announced that a review article of preclinical and clinical research supporting its investigational drug, large surface area microparticle docetaxel has been published in Drug Delivery and Translational Research.
The review article entitled Local administration of large surface area microparticle docetaxel to solid carcinomas induces direct cytotoxicity and immune‑mediated tumoricidal effects: preclinical and clinical studies provides a review of preclinical research that supports tumor-directed LSAM-DTX as well as promising results from the high-risk nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer arm of a clinical trial of local LSAM-DTX in urothelial carcinoma, which were published earlier this year in The Journal of Urology. The articles also follows an earlier review of preclinical and clinical research supporting another NanOlogy investigational drug, large surface area microparticle paclitaxel published in DDTR in 2020.
In addition to LSAM-DTX, NanOlogy clinical programs have advanced tumor-directed LSAM-PTX in pancreas, lung, peritoneal, ovarian, prostate, and dermal cancers.
The NanOlogy therapeutic platform is based on a proprietary supercritical precipitation technology that converts active ingredients into stable large surface area microparticles (LSAMs) of pure drug optimized for tumor-directed therapy and continuous drug release to maximize drug delivered to the tumor and minimize systemic toxicity.
Taxane particles are covered by composition of matter patents issued in the US Canada, Europe, Japan, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Australia, Indonesia, and Russia valid through June 2036. The composition patents form the foundation of an extensive intellectual property portfolio protecting NanOlogy investigational drugs, formulations, methods, and technology.
NanOlogy, LLC is a private clinical-stage interventional oncology drug company formed in 2015 to improve the treatment of solid tumors based on a proprietary particle engineering technology platform for tumor-directed drug therapy to maximize drug in tumor and minimize systemic toxicity.
PHARMACY MARKET, PHARMA TECH
GoodRx | October 21, 2022
To circumvent overpriced prescription drugs and grow its robust pharmacy services platform, GoodRx finalized its vitaCare acquisition. Based on a transaction that started in the first quarter of 2022, GoodRx agreed to secure vitaCare for $150 million in cash. Based on vitaCare’s financial performance through 2023, an additional $7 million consideration is also possible. A report cited by Globe Newswire showed that the global pharmacy market size has a forecasted value of $1,627.74 billion by 2030. Pharmaceutical platforms, with accessible clinical programs and digital adoptions, have a positive impact on today’s healthcare system, with vitaCare as one of the promising brands.
vitaCare, a healthcare service platform, offers cost-effective solutions to patients. More precisely, the platform helps individuals navigate insurance coverage and its optimized benefits to attain lower-priced medications. Rising investments in pharmacy services have sparked interest in vitaCare, including that of GoodRx.
The acquisition of vitaCare is in line with GoodRx’s mission, though. Co-CEO Doug Hirsch states that the company seeks to relieve the financial burden that comes with securing medication. Pharma manufacturers have constantly observed barriers to proper patient care, especially for affordable medicine and complicated reimbursement processes. With vitaCare at the helm, new tools are utilized to ensure more patients are linked to relevant savings programs and transparent pricing information. Hirsch hopes that the acquisition will facilitate a smoother brand prescription process overall. Profit-wise, GoodRx predicts the deal will contribute under 1% of its total revenue in 2022, though there is no substantial long-term discern.
This acquisition is the latest in GoodRx’s commitment to delivering consumer-focused healthcare services. The company has a history of connecting individuals to accessible, research-based health information. One of the most notable ones is its partnership with Wheel in 2021, which generated better outcomes for patient care.
Telemedicine software provider Wheel offers flexible clinical services to a broad patient base. Wheel’s platform equips clinics with the capability of synchronous and asynchronous consults. It utilizes network virtualization to create a seamless experience for healthcare providers and patients. Our post ‘Network Virtualization: The Future of Businesses and Networks’ previously discussed how virtualization empowers a software’s scalability — and this certainly manifests in Wheel’s platform. Providers can choose from a range of services that enhance patient care. One of the services is ePrescription medications, which remotely administers prescriptions.
Following the integration of GoodRx’s technology into Wheel’s platform, health providers and patients alike can meet reduced costs of care. As it stands, GoodRx’s coupon price API operates with over 200 billion pricing data points daily. Consumers use these to identify lower-priced medications. With the integration, Wheel-mobilized clinics can offer their patients a GoodRx coupon. GoodRx can also adapt its services to remote healthcare activities through the partnership. After all, GoodRx is essentially a marketplace.
Ultimately, GoodRx champions solutions that provide consumers with affordable healthcare access and medication. With vitaCare among its ranks today, the company can focus on promoting better patient adherence to treatment plans.