Astellas, CytomX form T-cell engaging cancer antibodies partnership

PharmaTimes | March 26, 2020

Astellas has entered into a new partnership with CytomX Therapeutics, in order to develop T-cell engaging bispecific antibodies targeting CD3 and tumour cell surface antigens for the treatment of cancer. The companies have revealed that the deal, which is potentially worth more than $1.6 billion, will focus on several initial programmes, with CytomX leading research and discovery activities, up to clinical candidate selection, which will be funded by Astellas. As part of the deal, Astellas has confirmed that it will make an upfront cash payment of $80 million to CytomX, with the latter eligible to receive future milestones of over $1.6 billion

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS, VIEWS AND ANALYSIS

Mirion Technologies to Divest Biodex Physical Medicine

Biodex Medical Systems | November 30, 2022

Mirion Technologies, Inc. announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell the physical medicine assets of Biodex Medical Systems, Inc. to Salona Global Medical Device Corporation for $5 million in cash at closing and up to an additional $3 million in deferred cash payments. The deferred cash payments are contingent on the performance of the assets during the 12-month period following closing. The assets generated approximately $18 million in revenue with estimated gross margins of 30% during the most recent trailing twelve-month period. “Divesting the physical medicine assets of Biodex enables Mirion Medical to focus on our strategic priorities and better aligns the group with Mirion’s mission of harnessing our unrivaled knowledge of ionizing radiation for the greater good of humanity. We are pleased to see the physical medicine business in the hands of an owner whose core mission and strategy is better aligned with investing in the future of the product line and finding valued employees the right home for their skills and contributions,” Mike Rossi, President of Mirion Medical About Mirion Mirion Technologies is a leading provider of detection, measurement, analysis and monitoring solutions to the nuclear, defense, medical and research end markets. The organization aims to harness its unrivaled knowledge of ionizing radiation for the greater good of humanity. Many of the company's end markets are characterized by the need to meet rigorous regulatory standards, design qualifications and operating requirements. Headquartered in Atlanta (GA – USA), Mirion employs around 2,800 people and operates in 13 countries. About Biodex Medical Systems Biodex Medical Systems, Inc. is part of Mirion Medical, Inc., a group of healthcare-focused brands within Mirion Technologies. Mirion Technologies, Inc. uses science and technology to drive treatment innovation across physical medicine, nuclear medicine and medical imaging categories. With a history of manufacturing and engineering excellence that spans more than 60 years, the Biodex™ mission is to provide innovative solutions and customer-driven support to medical facilities and wellness centers around the globe.

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VIEWS AND ANALYSIS, PHARMA TECH

Virpax Pharmaceuticals Reports on FDA Pre-IND Response for NobrXiol™ (formerly VRP324)

Virpax Pharmaceuticals | December 15, 2022

Virpax® Pharmaceuticals, Inc. a company specializing in developing non-addictive products for pain management, post-traumatic stress disorder, central nervous system disorders and viral barrier indications, today announced that it has received pre-Investigational New Drug application guidance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for NobrXiol™, the Company’s product candidate for the delivery of cannabidiol in the management of epilepsy in children and adults. NobrXiol utilizes the Nanomerics Molecular Envelope Technology as its delivery system to cross the blood brain barrier, propelling the cannabidiol nanoparticles through the nose to the brain via the olfactory nerve. The main purpose of a pre-IND submission is to obtain FDA guidance on the overall development plan for a new drug and to identify any need for further data prior to submitting the IND. “Virpax now has guidance on how to proceed with the IND enabling studies and possible regulatory pathways to pursue for NobrXiol. Based on the written responses from the FDA and its recommendations, we believe that we can proceed with the next steps in the process towards an IND application for this product candidate.” Dr. Sheila A. Mathias, Chief Scientific Officer for Virpax “This is a significant step forward for the NobrXiol project and we are very pleased with the outcome of the pre-IND meeting with the FDA,” said Anthony P. Mack, Chairman and CEO of Virpax. “We believe this product candidate has potential benefits over existing oral CBD treatments for epilepsy including Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome. We believe that by using the MET delivery system there may be significant advantages for patients including fewer side effects, avoidance of drug-to-drug interaction and lower dosing of CBD required,” concluded Mr. Mack. About NobrXiol™ Virpax has acquired the exclusive worldwide rights from Nanomerics to use Nanomerics' MET platform for the nasal delivery of cannabidiol or the management of epilepsy in children and adults. As part of this agreement, Nanomerics is developing an investigational formulation delivered via the nasal route to enhance CBD transport to the brain which could potentially eliminate any drug interaction issues and bypass the digestive system, possibly eliminating many of the side effects associated with the product currently in use on the market. Nanomerics demonstrated the ability of its platform technology to deliver CBD directly to the brain in an animal model. 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 NobrXiol™, 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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VIEWS AND ANALYSIS, PHARMACY MARKET

Soligenix Initiates Phase 2 Clinical Trial of SGX302 (synthetic hypericin) for the Treatment of Mild-to-Moderate Psoriasis

Soligenix, Inc. | December 20, 2022

Soligenix, Inc. a late-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing products to treat rare diseases where there is an unmet medical need, announced today that patient enrollment has been opened for its Phase 2a study evaluating SGX302 in the treatment of mild-to-moderate psoriasis. Psoriasis is an ongoing unmet medical need, with as many as 7.5 million people in the U.S. and 60-125 million people worldwide affected by this incurable disease. "We are excited to expand synthetic hypericin's development into different cutaneous T-cell diseases such as psoriasis, as a component of our long-term strategy to enhance the value of this unique compound. Given our promising published results with hypericin to date, including a small Phase 1/2 proof of concept clinical trial in mild-to-moderate psoriasis, and the Phase 3 FLASH study in cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, where we filed a New Drug Application this month, we are hopeful synthetic hypericin will have a role to play in helping patients suffering from this difficult to treat and chronic disease." Christopher J. Schaber, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Soligenix The Phase 2a clinical trial will target enrollment of up to 42 patients ages 18 years or older with mild to moderate, stable psoriasis covering 2 to 30% of their body. In both Parts A and B, all patients will apply the study drug twice per week and will activate the drug with visible light 24 ± 6 hours later using the supplied visible light devices and according to the manufacturer's instructions. Patients will undergo treatments for a total of 18 weeks and, on completion, will be followed for a 4-week follow-up period in which patients will not receive other psoriasis treatments. In Part A, 5-10 patients will be assigned open-label SGX302 at the time of enrollment. Once the tolerability and response to SGX302 has been established, Part B of the protocol will commence. In Part B, patients will be randomized to double-blind treatment groups at a ratio 1:1 of active drug to placebo ointment. Active dermatologic assessment of treated lesions for adverse events will be performed immediately before and during light treatments. Patients will be assessed for overall disease status through 4 weeks of follow-up. Efficacy endpoints will include the extent of lesion clearance and patient reported quality of life indices. Routine safety laboratories also will be collected. About Synthetic Hypericin Visible light-activated synthetic hypericin is a novel, first-in-class, photodynamic therapy that is expected to avoid much of the long-term risks associated with other PDT treatments. Synthetic hypericin is a potent photosensitizer that is topically applied to skin lesions and taken up by cutaneous T-cells. With subsequent activation by safe, visible light, T-cell apoptosis is induced, addressing the root cause of psoriasis lesions. Other PDTs have shown efficacy in psoriasis with a similar apoptotic mechanism, albeit using ultraviolet light associated with more severe potential long-term safety concerns. The use of visible light in the red-yellow spectrum has the advantage of deeper penetration into the skin potentially treating deeper skin disease and thicker plaques and lesions, similar to what was observed in the positive Phase 3 FLASH study in CTCL. Synthetic hypericin or HyBryte™ was demonstrated in this study to be equally effective in treating both plaque and patch lesions in this orphan disease caused by malignant T-cells. In a published Phase 1/2 proof of concept clinical study using synthetic hypericin, efficacy was demonstrated in patients with CTCL. This treatment approach avoids the risk of secondary malignancies (including melanoma) inherent with both the frequently used DNA-damaging drugs and other phototherapies that are dependent on UV A or B exposure. The use of synthetic hypericin coupled with safe, visible light also avoids the risk of serious infections and cancer associated with the systemic immunosuppressive treatments used in psoriasis. The Phase 3 FLASH trial enrolled a total of 169 patients with Stage IA, IB or IIA CTCL. The trial consisted of three treatment cycles. Treatments were administered twice weekly in 6-week cycles. In the first double-blind treatment cycle, 116 patients received HyBryte™ treatment and 50 received placebo treatment of their index lesions. A total of 16% of the patients receiving HyBryte™ achieved at least a 50% reduction in their lesions (using the standard Composite Assessment of Index Lesions Severity [CAILS] score) compared to only 4% of patients in the placebo group after just 6 weeks of treatment (p=0.04). Further treatment with HyBryte™ increased the number of treatment successes to 40% and 49% after 12 and 18 weeks, respectively (p<0.0001 for both). Additional analyses also indicated that HyBryte™ is equally effective in treating both plaque (42% treatment response rate after 12 weeks treatment, p<0.0001 relative to placebo treatment in Cycle 1) and patch (37%, p=0.0009) lesions of CTCL, a particularly relevant finding given the historical difficulty in treating plaque lesions. This is also relevant to psoriasis where the lesions can be thicker than the patches observed in CTCL. In a subset of patients evaluated during their third treatment cycle, it was demonstrated that HyBryte™ is not systemically available, consistent with the general safety of this topical product observed to date. At the end of Cycle 3, HyBryte™ continued to be well tolerated despite extended and increased use of the product to treat multiple lesions. About Psoriasis Psoriasis is a chronic, non-communicable, itchy and often painful inflammatory skin condition for which there is no cure. Psoriasis has a significantly detrimental impact on patients' quality of life, and is associated with cardiovascular, arthritic, and metabolic diseases, as well as psychological conditions such as anxiety, depression and suicide. Many factors contribute to development of psoriasis including both genetic and environmental factors. The lesions develop because of rapidly proliferating skin cells, driven by autoimmune T-cell mediated inflammation. Of the various types of psoriasis, plaque psoriasis is the most common and is characterized by dry, red raised plaques that are covered by silvery-white scales occurring most commonly on the elbows, knees, scalp, and lower back. Approximately 80% of patients have mild-to-moderate disease. Mild psoriasis is generally characterized by the involvement of less than 3% of the body surface area (BSA), while moderate psoriasis will typically involve 3-10% BSA and severe psoriasis greater than 10% BSA. Between 20% and 30% of individuals with psoriasis will go on to develop chronic, inflammatory arthritis (psoriatic arthritis) that can lead to joint deformations and disability. Studies have also associated psoriasis, and particularly severe psoriasis, with an increased relative risk of lymphoma, particularly CTCL. Although psoriasis can occur at any age, most patients present with the condition before age 35. Treatment of psoriasis is based on its severity at the time of presentation with the goal of controlling symptoms. It varies from topical options including PDT to reduce pain and itching, and potentially reduce the inflammation driving plaque formation, to systemic treatments for more severe disease. Most common systemic treatments and even current topical photo/photodynamic therapy such as UV A and B, carry a risk of increased skin cancer. Psoriasis is the most common immune-mediated inflammatory skin disease. According to the World Health Organization Global Report on Psoriasis 2016, the prevalence of psoriasis is between 1.5% and 5% in most developed countries, with some suggestions of incidence increasing with time. It is estimated, based upon review of historic published studies and reports and an interpolation of data that psoriasis affects 3% of the U.S. population or more than 7.5 million people. Current estimates have as many as 60-125 million people worldwide living with the condition. The global psoriasis treatment market was valued at approximately $15 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach as much as $40 billion by 2027. About Soligenix, Inc. Soligenix is a late-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing products to treat rare diseases where there is an unmet medical need. Our Specialized BioTherapeutics business segment is developing and moving toward potential commercialization of HyBryte™ as a novel photodynamic therapy utilizing safe visible light for the treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. With a successful Phase 3 study completed, regulatory approval is being sought and commercialization activities for this product candidate are being advanced initially in the U.S. Development programs in this business segment also include expansion of synthetic hypericin into psoriasis, our first-in-class innate defense regulator technology, dusquetide for the treatment of inflammatory diseases, including oral mucositis in head and neck cancer, and proprietary formulations of oral beclomethasone 17,21-dipropionate for the prevention/treatment of gastrointestinal disorders characterized by severe inflammation including pediatric Crohn's disease.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

BioMarin Announces Advancements in FDA Review of ROCTAVIAN™ (Valoctocogene Roxaparvovec) for Adults with Severe Hemophilia A

BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. | November 24, 2022

BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. announced advancements in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration review of the Biologics License Application of ROCTAVIAN™ for adults with severe hemophilia A. The Company was recently notified by the FDA that after further consideration, at this time, the Agency no longer plans to hold an advisory committee meeting to discuss the BLA for ROCTAVIAN that is currently under review. Previously, the FDA communicated to the Company that it did intend to hold an advisory committee meeting but did not specify a date. The Company also remains on track to host the scheduled FDA Pre-Licensure Inspection (PLI) of BioMarin's gene therapy manufacturing facility located in Novato, CA. "The review of a BLA is a dynamic process, and we appreciate FDA's ongoing engagement as we work toward delivering a potentially transformative treatment choice to those patients with severe hemophilia A. We look forward to further dialogue with the Agency as it reviews our application." Hank Fuchs, M.D., President of Worldwide Research and Development at BioMarin About valoctocogene roxaparvovec The FDA granted Regenerative Medicine Advanced Therapy designation to valoctocogene roxaparvovec in March 2021. RMAT is an expedited program intended to facilitate development and review of regenerative medicine therapies, such as valoctocogene roxaparvovec, that are expected to address an unmet medical need in patients with serious conditions. The RMAT designation is complementary to Breakthrough Therapy Designation, which the Company received for valoctocogene roxaparvovec in 2017. In addition to the RMAT Designation and Breakthrough Therapy Designation, BioMarin's valoctocogene roxaparvovec also received orphan drug designation from the EMA and FDA for the treatment of severe hemophilia A. Orphan drug designation is reserved for medicines treating rare, life-threatening, or chronically debilitating diseases. The European Commission (EC) granted conditional marketing authorization to valoctocogene roxaparvovec gene therapy under the brand name ROCTAVIAN™ on August 24, 2022. Robust Clinical Program BioMarin has multiple clinical studies underway in its comprehensive gene therapy program for the treatment of severe hemophilia A. In addition to the global Phase 3 study GENEr8-1 and the ongoing Phase 1/2 dose escalation study, the Company is also conducting a Phase 3, single arm, open-label study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of valoctocogene roxaparvovec at a dose of 6e13 vg/kg with prophylactic corticosteroids in people with severe hemophilia A. Also ongoing is a Phase 1/2 Study with the 6e13 vg/kg dose of valoctocogene roxaparvovec in people with severe hemophilia A with pre-existing AAV5 antibodies (Study 270-203) and a Phase 1/2 Study with the 6e13 vg/kg dose of valoctocogene roxaparvovec in people with severe hemophilia A with active or prior Factor VIII inhibitors. About Hemophilia A People living with hemophilia A lack sufficient functioning Factor VIII protein to help their blood clot and are at risk for painful and/or potentially life-threatening bleeds from even modest injuries. Additionally, people with the most severe form of hemophilia A often experience painful, spontaneous bleeds into their muscles or joints. Individuals with the most severe form of hemophilia A make up approximately 50 percent of the hemophilia A population. People with hemophilia A with moderate or mild disease show a much-reduced propensity to bleed. Individuals with severe hemophilia A are treated with a prophylactic regimen of intravenous Factor VIII infusions administered 2-3 times per week or a bispecific monoclonal antibody that mimics the activity of Factor VIII administered 1-4 times per month. Despite these regimens, many people continue to experience breakthrough bleeds, resulting in progressive and debilitating joint damage, which can have a major impact on their quality of life. Hemophilia A, also called Factor VIII deficiency or classic hemophilia, is an X-linked genetic disorder caused by missing or defective Factor VIII, a clotting protein. Although it is passed down from parents to children, about 1/3 of cases are caused by a spontaneous mutation, a new mutation that was not inherited. Approximately 1 in 10,000 people have hemophilia A. About BioMarin BioMarin is a global biotechnology company that develops and commercializes innovative therapies for people with serious and life-threatening genetic diseases and medical conditions. The Company selects product candidates for diseases and conditions that represent a significant unmet medical need, have well-understood biology and provide an opportunity to be first-to-market or offer a significant benefit over existing products. The Company's portfolio consists of eight commercial products and multiple clinical and preclinical product candidates for the treatment of various diseases.

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