ASHP Demands More Manufacturing of Ventilator Drugs for COVID-19

PharmaNewsIntelligence | April 07, 2020

ASHP recently urged the Trump administration to take action to address shortages of supportive ventilator drugs as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to rise. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) recently called on the Trump Administration to address shortages of supportive ventilator drugs as COVID-19 continues to infect more patients.  In an official letter to Vice President Mike Pence, ASHP requested the administration release drugs from the Strategic National Stockpile to states hardest hit by COVID-19 and increase production of opioids to address shortages of medications needed to treat coronavirus patients. Ventilators are making their way to hospitals, but the drugs needed to operate them are gone or in short supply. Opioids, sedatives, and paralytics ensure the successful use of ventilators. But as patient admission increases, demand is outpacing supply and exhausting current allocations.

Spotlight

Two years on from Lord Carter’s 2016 review of hospital efficiency, The Pharmaceutical Journal looks at the progress pharmacy departments in England are making towards meeting his challenging targets.


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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Athira Pharma Announces Topline Results from ACT-AD Phase 2 Proof of Concept Study of Fosgonimeton in Mild-to-Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease

Athira Pharma, Inc. | June 27, 2022

Athira Pharma, Inc. a late clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing small molecules to restore neuronal health and slow neurodegeneration, today announced topline results from its exploratory ACT-AD Phase 2 study of fosgonimeton in patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Fosgonimeton is a small molecule designed to enhance the activity of Hepatocyte Growth Factor and its receptor, MET, which are expressed in the central nervous system to promote brain health and function. “Following compelling ERP P300 latency biomarker data from a small Phase 1b trial over eight days in Alzheimer’s patients on fosgonimeton monotherapy, this Phase 2 trial provides valuable insights into the nature of this novel intervention over 26 weeks. ACT-AD was designed as a learning study to further investigate the ERP P300 biomarker signal over 6 months, assess safety in a patient population more representative of the real world, by allowing the use of add-on standard-of-care acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChEIs, e.g., donepezil), and explore fosgonimeton’s effect on psychometric outcomes, including ADAS-Cog11, to inform the ongoing Phase 3 LIFT-AD study. To that end, this study achieved its goal,” said Hans Moebius, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Medical Officer of Athira. “The study was intended to show differences on the biomarker ERP P300 latency. This primary endpoint was not met by protocoled analysis, however a pre-specified subgroup analysis indicated a potential diminished effect of fosgonimeton when given in combination with AChEIs. A subsequent post hoc analysis of the data from patients on fosgonimeton monotherapy showed a meaningful improvement in both ERP P300 latency and cognitive performance compared to placebo at 26 weeks. “These data points are very encouraging as they indicate the expected pharmacological activity of fosgonimeton by parallel improvement on ERP P300 latency and ADAS-Cog11 and show a favorable safety profile over six months. This is the first time monotherapy fosgonimeton has shown an effect on ADAS-Cog11, suggesting a potential cognitive benefit. We will use these insights for a rational optimization of the ongoing LIFT-AD trial. We plan to seek advice from our scientific advisors, investigators, and ultimately regulators on how to expeditiously analyze and potentially adapt the LIFT-AD study,” Dr. Moebius “The data from the fosgonimeton monotherapy analysis are encouraging and show biologic activity that may support the potential role of the HGF/MET pathway in neurodegenerative diseases,” said Marwan Sabbagh, M.D., FAAN, professor of neurology at Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix, AZ. “ACT-AD adds to the body of literature suggesting ERP P300 latency as an important biomarker for cognitive status.”

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FDA Accepts Dupixent® (dupilumab) for Priority Review in Adults with Prurigo Nodularis

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. | May 31, 2022

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Sanofi announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has accepted for Priority Review the supplemental Biologics License Application (sBLA) for Dupixent® Medical (dupilumab) to treat adults with prurigo nodularis, a chronic skin disease that causes extreme itch and inflammatory skin lesions. The target action date for the FDA decision is September 30, 2022. The sBLA is supported by data from two pivotal Phase 3 trials evaluating the efficacy and safety of Dupixent in patients 18 years and older with prurigo nodularis Both trials met the primary and key secondary endpoints, showing Dupixent significantly improved disease signs and symptoms compared to placebo, including reduction in itch and skin lesions. The safety results from these trials were generally consistent with the known safety profile of Dupixent in its approved dermatology indications. The adverse event more commonly observed with Dupixent was conjunctivitis. The FDA grants Priority Review to therapies that have the potential to provide significant improvements in the treatment, diagnosis or prevention of serious conditions. Additional regulatory filings around the world are also planned in 2022.The potential use of Dupixent in prurigo nodularis is currently under clinical development, and the safety and efficacy have not been fully evaluated by any regulatory authority. About Prurigo Nodularis People with prurigo nodularis experience intense, persistent itch, with thick skin lesions (called nodules) that can cover most of the body. Prurigo nodularis is often described as painful with burning, stinging and tingling of the skin. The impact of uncontrolled prurigo nodularis on quality of life is one of the highest among inflammatory skin diseases due to the extreme itch and is comparable to other debilitating chronic diseases that can negatively affect mental health, activities of daily living and social interactions. High-potency topical steroids are commonly prescribed but are associated with safety risks if used long-term. There are approximately 75,000 people in the U.S. who are unable to control their disease with systemic therapy and are most in need of a treatment option. About Dupixent Dupixent, which was invented using Regeneron's proprietary VelocImmune® technology, is a fully human monoclonal antibody that inhibits the signaling of the interleukin-4 (IL-4) and interleukin-13 (IL-13) pathways and is not an immunosuppressant. The Dupixent development program has shown significant clinical benefit and a decrease in type 2 inflammation in Phase 3 trials, establishing that IL-4 and IL-13 are key and central drivers of the type 2 inflammation that plays a major role in multiple related and often co-morbid diseases. These diseases include approved indications for Dupixent such as asthma, atopic dermatitis, chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyposis (CRSwNP) and eosinophilic esophagitis, as well as investigational diseases such as prurigo nodularis. Dupixent is approved for use in certain patients with atopic dermatitis, asthma, CRSwNP or eosinophilic esophagitis in different age populations in a number of countries around the world. Dupixent is currently approved across these indications in the U.S. and for one or more of these indications in the European Union and Japan and more than 60 countries. More than 400,000 patients have been treated with Dupixent globally. About Regeneron's VelocImmune Technology Regeneron's VelocImmune technology utilizes a proprietary genetically engineered mouse platform endowed with a genetically humanized immune system to produce optimized fully human antibodies. When Regeneron's President and Chief Scientific Officer George D. Yancopoulos was a graduate student with his mentor Frederick W. Alt in 1985, they were the first to envision making such a genetically humanized mouse, and Regeneron has spent decades inventing and developing VelocImmune and related VelociSuite® technologies. Dr. Yancopoulos and his team have used VelocImmune technology to create approximately one in five of all original, FDA-approved or authorized fully human monoclonal antibodies currently available. This includes Dupixent, REGEN-COV® (casirivimab and imdevimab), Libtayo® (cemiplimab-rwlc), Praluent® (alirocumab), Kevzara® (sarilumab), Evkeeza® (evinacumab-dgnb) and Inmazeb™. Dupilumab Development Program Dupilumab is being jointly developed by Regeneron and Sanofi under a global collaboration agreement. To date, dupilumab has been studied across 60 clinical trials involving more than 10,000 patients with various chronic diseases driven in part by type 2 inflammation.

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Aculys Pharma and SUSMED Have Entered into a Contract to Conduct the World's First Clinical Trial Utilizing Blockchain Technology

Aculys Pharma, Inc. | July 13, 2022

Aculys Pharma, Inc. a company focused on the development and commercialization of new innovative drugs in the fields of neurology and psychiatry, has entered into a contract with SUSMED, Inc., a company that promotes digital medicine to conduct the world's first1 corporate-sponsored clinical trial using blockchain technology. The clinical trial utilizing this blockchain technology, provided by SUSMED, will be conducted in collaboration with CMIC Co., Ltd., a pioneer in drug development support (CRO), with the cooperation of several medical institutions. With the sophistication of research and development and the increasing cost of new drug development, improving the efficiency of clinical trials is one of the challenges in the pharmaceutical industry that requires addressing. In such an environment, efficient use of resources and pursuit of efficiency are required. And improving productivity and quality of new drug development is also extremely important for society as a whole. Under these circumstances, Aculys Pharma is working to improve productivity and quality of clinical trials by utilizing AI and digital technologies for the development and commercialization of new drugs. The clinical trial system developed by SUSMED enables the reduction of data entry work and monitoring work2 by medical institutions by using the SUSMED-patented technology that binds e-worksheets and eCRF using blockchain technology. In addition to publishing multiple medical papers3, the clinical research that SUSMED conducted with the National Cancer Center has been approved by the Cabinet Office regulatory sandbox4. The result of the verification test conducted by the regulatory sandbox was published in the International Medical Journal in June 20205. With this outcome, The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare issued a notice on December 4, 2020 that source data verification (SDV: Source Data Verification) using blockchain technology is permitted as an alternative method under the GCP ministerial ordinance. CMIC will promote these efforts for attaining an efficient clinical trial by 1) supporting the operation of the system at the medical institution, 2) cooperating with development of the e-worksheet and eCRF, and 3) complementing the functions outside the scope of the system. This clinical trial which utilizes blockchain technology significantly reduces the number of processes around data entry at medical institutions and SDV compared to conventional methods, and also contributes to reducing the number of required CRA visits to the medical institutions. In addition, by taking advantage of blockchain technology, it is expected to have the effect of increasing the reliability of the clinical trial data itself. Through these methods, we aim to improve the efficiency of the clinical trial-related work-streams necessary for new drug development, and to optimize new drug development costs without compromising reliability. "We are delighted to be able to conduct a clinical trial utilizing blockchain technology in collaboration with SUSMED and CMIC as Aculys Pharma strives for providing new therapeutic modalities by making full use of the latest in digital technology. We expect this pioneering effort of three companies, which aim to improve the quality and efficiency of clinical trials, will realize digital transformation of clinical trial monitoring work and contribute to the optimization of new drug development costs. We will continue to actively introduce new technologies not bound by a conventional framework and aim to solve social issues surrounding Japanese healthcare by collaborating and partnering with external partners." Kazunari Tsunaba, President and CEO of Aculys Pharma, Inc Taro Ueno, President and CEO of SUSMED, Inc., stated as follows. "In the clinical trials conducted in the development of new medical technology, prevention of data tampering and cost efficiency have been issues. While developing therapeutic apps in the healthcare field, we have come to focus on the possibility of using blockchain technology in clinical development and continued research and development. This time, we are delighted to be able to collaborate with CMIC to conduct the world’s first clinical trials using blockchain technology in a corporate-sponsored clinical trial of Aculys Pharma, a company that focuses on the development and commercialization of new innovative drugs. We believe that utilization of blockchain technology enables us to realize efficient and reliable clinical development and we also can contribute for optimization and sustainability of future social security.” "CMIC was established in 1992 as Japan's first CRO and has supported a number of clinical trials of drug development. This time we are participating in the corporate-sponsored clinical trial of Aculys Pharma with SUSMED. While digitalization will furthermore drive acceleration of process efficiency, we will continue to pursue further improvement of quality and efficiency of clinical trials in monitoring work by utilizing CMIC's know-how based on numerous clinical trial experiences over the past 30 years." About Aculys Pharma, Inc. Aculys Pharma is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of innovations in the fields of neurology and psychiatry. Its corporate name was created from the philosophy of "Catalyst to Access." Aimed to act as a bridge for innovative medical care in the field of neuropsychiatry, Aculys Pharma develops and commercializes novel pharmaceuticals and provides innovations for better medical care to patients, their families, healthcare professionals, and society.

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PHARMACY MARKET

IAMA Therapeutics Announces Initiation of Preclinical Development Studies in Drug-resistant Epilepsy Under a Service Agreement with Psychogenics

IAMA Therapeutics | July 26, 2022

IAMA Therapeutics, a preclinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of novel medicines to make a difference in the lives of individuals suffering from brain disorders, and PsychoGenics Inc., a leader in AI-enabled phenotypic drug discovery and preclinical CRO services, today announced that the companies have entered into a service agreement to identify the efficacy of novel drug candidates in drug-resistant epilepsy. Under the terms of the agreement, PsychoGenics will evaluate the preclinical anti-seizure efficacy of first-in-class selective-NKCC1 inhibitors, which aims to reduce intracellular chloride concentration and restore the physiological hyperpolarizing and inhibitory GABAergic transmission in an animal model of refractory epilepsy. "PsychoGenics is a leader in preclinical behavioral neurobiology with a successful track record of anti-epilepsy drug testing through translational EEG approaches, including electrographic and behavioral identification of seizure. We look forward to leveraging our collective expertise in neuroscience drug development to identify and evaluate the anti-seizure efficacy of new drug candidates, to enhance further and complement our pipeline of differentiated therapeutic opportunities for epilepsy, neurodevelopmental and cognitive disorders." Andrea P. Malizia, Ph.D., MBA, Chief Executive Officer of IAMA Therapeutics “We are excited to embark of these studies with IAMA Therapeutics” said Stephen Morairty, Ph.D., Vice President of Translational Neuroscience at PsychoGenics. “Using our pre-clinical MTLE model, will carefully evaluate the efficacy of these first-in-class selective-NKCC1 inhibitors.” About IAMA Therapeutics IAMA Therapeutics is a preclinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on discovering, developing, and commercializing novel medicines to make a difference in the lives of children and adults suffering from epilepsy, neurodevelopmental and cognitive disorders. IAMA Therapeutics couples emerging advances in drug discovery and neurobiology to build a leading, next-generation neuroscience pipeline to selectively inhibit the sodium-potassium chloride cotransporter and other therapeutic targets relevant to brain disorders characterized by neuronal imbalance. The company's preclinical pipeline consists of the lead candidate IAMA-6 for the treatment of idiopathic autism, IAMA-097 for the treatment of secondary and rare forms of autism, and other compounds for treating refractory epilepsy and other brain disorders. About PsychoGenics Inc. PsychoGenics is a leader in vivo phenotypic drug discovery. The company applies its proprietary technology platforms in partnership with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to discover the next generation of drugs for neuropsychiatric disorders. PsychoGenics' capabilities include standard behavioral testing, electrophysiology, translational EEG, molecular biology, and state-of-the-art microdialysis. In addition, the company offers a variety of in-licensed transgenic mouse models that support research in areas such as Huntington's disease, Autism spectrum disorders, psychosis/schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, sleep, and Spinal Muscular Atrophy muscular dystrophy and other muscle disorders.

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Spotlight

Two years on from Lord Carter’s 2016 review of hospital efficiency, The Pharmaceutical Journal looks at the progress pharmacy departments in England are making towards meeting his challenging targets.

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