As Sanders Officially Revives Medicare-For-All, Plan B For Democrats Gains Traction

KHN | April 11, 2019

As Sanders Officially Revives Medicare-For-All, Plan B For Democrats Gains Traction
As Democratic presidential primary candidates try to walk a political tightrope between the party’s progressive and center-left wings, they face increasing pressure to outline the details of their health reform proposals. On Wednesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) reaffirmed his stance by reintroducing a “Medicare-for-all” bill, the idea that fueled his 2016 presidential run. As with its previous iterations, Sanders’ latest bill would establish a national single-payer “Medicare” system with vastly expanded benefits, prohibit private plans from competing with Medicare and eliminate cost sharing. New in this version is a universal provision for long-term care in home and community settings (but Medicaid would continue to cover institutional care). Already, it has an impressive list of Senate cosponsors — including Sanders’ rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Spotlight

National Safe Motherhood Day is observed on April 11 every year in India with an aim to provide access to best medical care during pregnancy, childbirth and postnatal, for women in both urban and rural areas. It is believed that a pregnant woman should be happy, eat nutritious food and lead a stress-free life to deliver a healthy baby.In these days and times, pregnant women are under tremendous stress owing to various reasons like unhealthy lifestyle, nuclear families etc. Here are a few important points to follow for a happy, healthy pregnancy.


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RESEARCH

DisperSol Technologies Announces Collaboration with Ajax Therapeutics to Develop Enhanced KinetiSol Drug Formulations

DisperSol Technologies | December 18, 2021

DisperSol Technologies LLC announced that it is has entered into a research collaboration with Ajax Therapeutics, Inc. to apply its KinetiSol technology to enhance the bioavailability of an Ajax drug candidate in development for the treatment of hematologic malignancies. “Ajax is taking an innovative approach to developing a pipeline of selectively targeted small molecules and we look forward to applying our proprietary KinetiSol technology to help enhance the bioavailability of one of these promising drug candidates. This collaboration is another example of our partnering strategy with our KinetiSol technology platform to help improve the bioavailability of next generation targeted therapies to provide new treatments for patients in need.” Dr. Edward Rudnic, CEO of DisperSol Technologies About DisperSol Technologies DisperSol is a clinical-stage drug development company focused on developing new treatments for patients utilizing its proprietary KinetiSol® technology platform. KinetiSol has proven capable of creating novel therapeutics from poorly bioavailable drugs to deliver unique clinical benefits to patients. The platform enables a drug development path forward to patients when other options fail to make a difference. DisperSol’s active programs include, DST-0509 about to enter Phase 3 for iron overload disorder and DST-2970 in Phase 2 for refractory metastatic prostate cancer. Additional earlier-stage programs include DST-5407 for non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer. About Ajax Therapeutics Ajax Therapeutics, Inc. is pursuing uniquely selective approaches to develop novel therapies targeting key cytokine signaling pathways that drive hematologic malignancies. By combining the deep cancer and structural biology insights of our founding scientists with the industry’s most advanced computational drug discovery and protein structure platforms from our founding partner, Schrödinger, Inc., we aim to discover and develop more precisely designed therapies to address significant unmet needs for patients with hematologic malignancies.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Iktos and The University of Dundee, Drug Discovery Unit (DDU) Announce a Collaboration to Use AI for Drug Design and Retrosyntheis

Iktos | December 20, 2021

Iktos, a company specialized in Artificial Intelligence for new drug design, and The Drug Discovery Unit (DDU), School of Life Sciences, The University of Dundee, focused on the discovery of therapeutics for neglected diseases and the translation of novel biology through small molecule drug discovery, announced entering a collaboration to apply Iktos’s generative modelling artificial intelligence (AI) technology in one of DDU’s drug discovery programs. Under the agreement, Iktos will apply its de novo ligand and structure-based generative modelling technologies, its AI-based retrosynthesis analysis and planning tool Spaya™, and know-how complementing DDU’s drug discovery capabilities to expedite the identification of potential pre-clinical candidates and to identify additional novel chemical matter with suitable properties. The DDU was established in 2006 to respond to a lack of drug targets identified for neglected tropical diseases being translated into therapeutics for diseases impacting the poorest people in the world. The DDU translates basic science into lead compounds to validate putative drug targets, to use as tools to investigate disease pathways and, when appropriate, advance to pre-clinical drug candidates for multiple diseases, e.g. TB and cancer. Iktos’s AI technology, based on deep generative models, helps to bring new insights and directions into the drug discovery process based on a comprehensive data-driven chemical structure generation technology. This technology automatically designs virtual novel molecules with all of the characteristics of a successful drug molecule. This approach, validated through Iktos’s other collaborations, is a novel solution to one of the key challenges in drug design: rapid identification of molecules that simultaneously satisfy multiple parameters, such as potency, selectivity, safety, and project-specific properties. This approach uniquely enables the exploration of chemical space and produces innovative molecule designs with greater freedom to operate. Iktos has recently diversified its R&D efforts into the development of an AI technology for retrosynthesis. Identifying and selecting synthetic pathways is one of the most challenging and time-consuming tasks in synthetic and medicinal chemistry. Iktos has developed AI based retrosynthesis analysis and planning tool Spaya™ by harnessing the power of data-driven retrosynthesis algorithm for systematic exploration and prioritisation of synthetic routes for a desired compound in minutes. “We are thrilled to be working with Iktos to drive our projects towards drug candidates. Iktos AI platform combined with our own in-house computational and medicinal chemistry design teams provide a powerful combination for innovative new drug design.” Professor Paul Wyatt, Head of the DDU “We are thrilled and proud to join forces with DDU with the aim to help in the discovery of therapeutics for neglected diseases and the translation of novel biology through small molecule drug discovery,” commented Yann Gaston-Mathé, President and CEO of Iktos. “Pleased to have earned DDU’s trust, we are confident that together with DDU and their established R&D partners, we will be able to identify promising novel chemical matter and solve complex multiparametric optimisation problems. The feedback from DDU’s research team will be highly valuable as we improve our product offerings. Our strategy has always been to tackle challenging problems alongside our collaborators where we can demonstrate value generation for new and on-going drug discovery projects.” About DDU The Drug Discovery Unit (DDU) (est. 2006) within the School of Life Sciences at The University of Dundee is a fully integrated, Biotech-style, drug discovery centre working across multiple disease areas. The DDU collaborates with partners to translate world-class biology research into novel drug targets and candidate drugs to address unmet medical need. About Iktos Incorporated in October 2016, Iktos is a French start-up company specialized in the development of artificial intelligence solutions applied to chemical research, more specifically medicinal chemistry and new drug design. Iktos is developing a proprietary and innovative solution based on deep learning generative models, which enables, using existing data, to design molecules that are optimized in silico to meet all the success criteria of a small molecule discovery project. The use of Iktos technology enables major productivity gains in upstream pharmaceutical R&D. Iktos offers its technology both as professional services and as a SaaS software platform, Makya™. Iktos is also developing Spaya™, a synthesis planning software based upon Iktos’s proprietary AI technology for retrosynthesis.

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PHARMACY MARKET

Virpax Pharmaceuticals Recaps Milestones and Highlights Product Portfolio

Virpax® Pharmaceuticals, Inc. | December 29, 2021

Virpax® Pharmaceuticals, Inc. "Company" achieved significant milestones relating to its pipeline of product candidates as of the end of 2021, which are summarized below. “I believe that Virpax has made significant progress this past year toward our stated goalsThese accomplishments include accelerated development of our existing product candidates, broadening our pipeline of product candidates, and utilizing grants where appropriate. We recently announced that we anticipate commencing our initial human trial for Epoladerm™ in the second quarter of 2022. Anthony P. Mack, Chairman and CEO of Virpax “Virpax initially focused strictly on pain product candidates. However, our unique Molecular Envelope Technology delivery platform licensed from Nanomerics, Ltd. has enabled the development of product candidates for central nervous system and anti-viral indications. In the second half of 2021, we advanced the development of AnQlar™, a prophylactic, over-the-counter anti-viral product candidate formulated to prevent the spread of respiratory infections like influenza, SARS-CoV-2 and rhinovirus. We added VRP324 which is an intranasally delivered cannabidiol formulation for the management of epilepsy in adults and children. Our Envelta™ IND-enabling studies, completed by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences as a part of our Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, determined that the MET intranasal delivery formulation bypasses the liver which we believe reduces drug-to-drug interaction concerns for treatments using this technology. “On the corporate front, we strengthened our Board by appointing two new members adding expertise in commercialization and financial strategy. Additionally, in 2021 we raised approximately $58 million in aggregate gross proceeds from our initial public offering and an underwritten follow-on public offering. These funds are being used for research and development activities of our product candidates. We are on track to add accomplishments in 2022 and I remain confident that we have the significant financial strength to continue advancing our pipeline,” concluded Mr. Mack. Epoladerm™ Epoladerm is a diclofenac topical spray film product candidate that is being developed for pain associated with osteoarthritis of the knee. Virpax recently reported successful results of a Charles River Laboratories single dose toxicology and pharmacokinetic study of dermal administration of Epoladerm in minipigs as part of the required Investigational New Drug Application enabling trials. Single-dose transdermal delivery of Epoladerm was well-tolerated in all minipigs. There were no treatment-related clinical observations, changes in body weight, or dermal irritation observed. The maximum plasma concentration was reached at 4 hours post-dose, and concentrations of plasma Epoladerm remained at 24-hour post-dose for all animals. Upon completion of all the required IND enabling studies and subsequent review by the FDA, Virpax intends to conduct a Phase 1 study to evaluate the relative bioavailability and pharmacokinetics of Epoladerm™. Virpax recently announced the execution of a clinical trial agreement with Altasciences Company, Inc., to conduct this study in Canada. Virpax anticipates enrollment of the first patient by early second quarter of 2022. Probudur™ Probudur is an injectable bupivacaine liposomal hydrogel for postoperative pain management which Virpax believes has improved onset and extended duration of action compared to existing treatment options. Additional pre-clinical trials are being conducted with Lipocure, the product developer, to improve the formulation to potentially enhance manufacturing efficiencies, prolong duration and extend patent protection. Once completed, we plan to perform seven preclinical animal studies as part of required FDA IND enabling trials. Envelta™ Envelta is an endogenous enkephalin intranasal spray for acute and chronic pain, including pain associated with cancer. This product leverages Nanomeric’s MET platform technology which Virpax licensed to deliver the endogenous enkephalin formulation through an intranasal delivery enabling the enkephalin to permeate the blood-brain barrier while bypassing the liver. This product candidate is being funded through an in-kind CRADA with the NCATS. Virpax recently announced that under this CRADA, the National Institutes of Health has awarded multiple contracts to support the research, development and manufacturing of Envelta. These contracts are to support Good Manufacturing Practices production of drug substance and drug product, as well as to support Good Laboratory Practices toxicology, safety studies and preclinical efficacy studies. The NIH has contracted with a clinical research organization to conduct additional pre-clinical efficacy studies and has procured a device to be used with the manufactured GMP drug product for preclinical and clinical studies. The NIH has also engaged a firm to manufacture Leu-enkephalin, the active ingredient in Envelta, and a company to manufacture the MET carrier that delivers L-ENK to the brain to promptly suppress pain. AnQlar™ AnQlar is a high-density intranasal molecular masking spray in development as an anti-viral OTC product for protection against respiratory infections, such as SARS-CoV-2 and influenza, that Virpax anticipates will be used as an adjuvant to barrier-based personal protective equipment. Virpax recently announced a manufacturing and supply agreement with Seqens to provide AnQlar for both clinical studies and the long-term commercial supply of AnQlar. Additionally, Virpax engaged Sinclair Research to initiate IND-enabling studies for AnQlar. The Company anticipates that these preclinical animal studies will begin in early 2022. VRP324 Virpax has acquired the exclusive worldwide rights from Nanomerics to use its MET platform for the nasal delivery of CBD for the management of epilepsy in children and adults. Under this agreement, Virpax has the global rights to develop, manufacture, market and sell VRP324, the first investigational formulation delivered via the nasal route to enhance CBD transport to the brain. This product candidate will be formulated to potentially treat seizures associated with tuberous sclerosis complex, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome in patients one year of age and older. Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome are rare CNS diseases considered serious epileptic encephalopathies that cause epileptic seizures, as well as cognitive and behavioral changes, and are generally resistant to treatment. Preclinical studies of VRP324 have been initiated by Nanomerics which it anticipates will be completed in the first quarter of 2022. Upon completion, Virpax will collaborate with RRD International, a clinical drug development company which Virpax has engaged, to prepare the pre-IND briefing documents for the FDA. About Virpax Pharmaceuticals Virpax is developing branded product candidates for non-addictive pain management and neurological disorders using its proprietary technologies that optimize and target drug delivery. Virpax is initially seeking FDA approval of its three different patented drug delivery platforms. Epoladerm™ is a topical diclofenac spray film formulation being developed to manage pain associated with osteoarthritis of the knee. Probudur™ is a single injection long-acting liposomal bupivacaine formulation being developed to manage post-operative pain. Envelta™ is an intranasal Molecular Envelope Technology enkephalin formulation being developed for the management of acute and chronic pain, including pain associated with cancer, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder under the name PES200. MET technology is also used in AnQlar™, a candidate to inhibit viral replication caused by influenza or SARS-CoV-2. Virpax acquired global rights to VRP324, a product candidate for the nasal delivery of a pharmaceutical-grade cannabidiol for the management of epilepsy in children and adults.

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PHARMA TECH

IACTA Pharmaceuticals and TALLC Corporation Announce Strategic Collaboration to Utilize Novel SmartCelle Topical Delivery Technology

IACTA Pharmaceuticals, Inc. | December 16, 2021

IACTA Pharmaceuticals, Inc. an innovation leader in ophthalmic therapeutics, and TALLC Corporation Inc. a pioneering ophthalmology company focused on the growing unmet needs of patients with corneal and retinal conditions, announced that they are entering into a strategic collaboration and licensing agreement. The agreement grants IACTA the use of TALLC’s proprietary SmartCelle™ micellar technology, a novel platform for pan-ocular drug delivery, for future clinical development. IACTA plans to utilize TALLC’s SmartCelle technology to deliver one or more of its novel ophthalmic therapeutics, as well as co-develop new ophthalmology therapeutic candidates that leverage IACTA’s formulation and clinical expertise with TALLC’s novel delivery technology. The collaboration also includes an option agreement, granting IACTA exclusive rights to negotiate a separate license agreement for the right to co-develop TALLC’s lead product candidate TA-A001, a novel anti-inflammatory anti-angiogenic molecule with analgesic properties in various disease state models. “I am thrilled to be able to partner with TALLC, a company with a shared vision focused on addressing the growing and significantly underserved ocular pain market. IACTA was formed with the mission of developing and commercializing innovative ocular therapies through novel compounds and utilizing leading drug delivery technologies, and we view this collaboration as the perfect synergy to realize the full potential of our ophthalmology pipeline. We are excited to explore how best to deploy the SmartCelle technology within our current pipeline, as well as the future co-development opportunities this partnership provides.” Damon Burrows, Chief Executive Officer of IACTA Pharmaceuticals TALLC’s proprietary SmartCelle pan-ocular drug delivery technology employs 30nm micelles that enable delivery of difficult to formulate drugs into corneal and retinal tissues after topical delivery. The company’s pipeline is led by SmartCelle TA-A001, a novel CB2 receptor activator, delivered topically to treat the effects of dry eye syndrome and age-related macular degeneration. “We are delighted to partner with the IACTA team for this important program. IACTA, with its in depth scientific and commercial understanding of the ophthalmic space is an ideal partner for TALLC as we drive towards further commercialization of the SmartCelle platform and TA-A001,” said Damon Smith, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of TALLC. “We look forward to working closely with the IACTA team and to co-developing SmartCelle versions of the IACTA pipeline.” About TALLC, Inc. TALLC is a Montreal-based developer of ophthalmic medicines actively engaged in the commercialization of SmartCelle TA-A001, and its pipeline of SmartCelle-delivered drug candidates, as treatments for acute and chronic inflammation. Focused initially on unmet needs in inflammatory front of eye indications, TALLC plans also to develop SmartCelle TA-A002 and TA-A003 in other chronic conditions including macular degeneration and glaucoma. SmartCelle enables pan ocular delivery of drug candidates by topical application directly to the ocular surface, by injection or by insufflation. About IACTA Pharmaceuticals, Inc. IACTA is an innovation leader in ophthalmic therapeutics, led by former top executives from one of the leading eye care companies in the world. The company currently has four products in development for major market opportunities. IC 800 is a novel, non-opioid, dual enkephalinase inhibitor, being studied for the treatment of acute ocular pain. In addition, IACTA’s IC 265, is a SYK kinase inhibitor being developed as a potential novel treatment for dry eye disease.

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Spotlight

National Safe Motherhood Day is observed on April 11 every year in India with an aim to provide access to best medical care during pregnancy, childbirth and postnatal, for women in both urban and rural areas. It is believed that a pregnant woman should be happy, eat nutritious food and lead a stress-free life to deliver a healthy baby.In these days and times, pregnant women are under tremendous stress owing to various reasons like unhealthy lifestyle, nuclear families etc. Here are a few important points to follow for a happy, healthy pregnancy.

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