AstraZeneca's Calquence sets Imbruvica in its sights with big CLL survival numbers

fiercepharma | June 17, 2019

When AstraZeneca ended a late-stage trial for Calquence early after seeing promising results, the news boded well for the drug’s chances in previously treated chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Now, the drugmaker has unveiled the detailed data it plans to take before regulators later this year. At an average of 16.1 months, Calquence reduced the risk of CLL progression or death by 69% compared with standard-of-care regimens of Roche's Rituxan combined with chemo drug bendamustine or Gilead's Zydelig. At 12 months, it had stopped CLL progression in 88% of patients, compared with just 68% of those in the control arm, according to data from a phase 3 trial dubbed Ascend. “These data add to the growing body of evidence to support the profile of Calquence as a selective BTK inhibitor that offers a chemotherapy-free treatment option with a favorable safety profile in chronic lymphocytic leukemia, a life-threatening disease,” José Baselga, AstraZeneca’s VP of oncology R&D, said in a statement. Baselga said AstraZeneca would take data from the Ascend trial before regulators later this year. If the company can eventually snag a green light in CLL, it'll mean a big boost to Calquence's potential patient population. CLL is the most common form of leukemia, with an estimated 191,000 new cases globally and 20,720 new cases in the U.S. each year, AstraZeneca said. Calquence was first approved to treat mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) in previously untreated patients in October 2017.

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Rapid and consistent in-vivo drug dissolution is critical for drug absorption. In-vitro dissolutions tests are used to predict in-vivo disintegration and dissolution properties of drug products. The invitro disintegration and dissolution times of tablets and capsules can vary significantly based on their composition and processing. Though small differences in-vitro dissolution are not expected to result in significant in-vivo performance differences, the slight in-vitro dissolution delay observed by over-encapsulation for double blind clinical trials, as well as switching from gelatin to HPMC capsules often raises concerns on the potential impact on in-vivo bioavailability. While it is accepted that the in-vitro dissolution delay of about 5 minutes caused by over-encapsulation with gelatin capsules of immediate release (IR) tablets or powder formulation does not lead to non-bioequivalence, no data on bioequivalence exist for over-encapsulation with an HPMC capsule having a dissolution lag time of around 10


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SurGenTec Launches ION Screw, Smallest Posterior Spinal Fixation Implant, to Market After Receiving FDA Clearance

SurGenTec® | March 03, 2022

SurGenTec®, a privately held spine and orthopedic technology company based in Boca Raton, FL, announced that it has received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for ION™ Screw, its proprietary stand-alone spine fixation implant. This unique device can be used to treat a variety of pathologies throughout the spine from C2-S1. The patented ION implant is the smallest posterior fixation implant cleared for spine surgery – smaller than the size of a dime – and can be placed through a tiny incision with minimal tissue disruption. ION screws are enhanced with Nanotex™ surface technology designed with bony interdigitation in mind. ION provides patients with a treatment option between conservative care and major interbody fusion in the algorithm of care. “The ION screw technology truly changes the game for spine surgery. Patients are looking for options outside traditional bulky metallic devices such as pedicle screws and interspinous plates. This minimally invasive option provides excellent fixation with zero profile. It’s a non-intimidating solution for patients that need to undergo a spine surgery procedure. We are thrilled to announce the addition of ION to our portfolio. Our team has put years into pre-clinical research and development to create this truly novel spinal fixation option. Our team managed to create a ‘micro’ implant with a unique surface technology that provides fixation without the need for cumbersome implants,” added Greenhalgh. Travis Greenhalgh, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of SurGenTec ION can be used in a variety of open or true minimally invasive surgery (MIS) applications including facet fusions, adjunct to decompressive procedures, the treatment of adjacent level disease or to provide added stability with interbody fusions. The ION facet screw system instruments were designed to minimize tissue trauma and incision size while delivering the ION implants to the surgical location. "The ION system is a great fit for the ambulatory surgery center environment by providing a cost-effective solution for physicians looking to minimize trauma while still providing a high level of spinal care to patients. Patients are demanding access to a more efficient operating environment with less risk of illness and disease transmission," said Andrew Shoup, Chief Operating Officer of SurGenTec. “ION represents a tremendous paradigm shift in the ability to treat my patients suffering from chronic degenerative lumbar conditions more definitively and less invasively,” said Dawood Sayed M.D., Division Chief and Professor of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine at The University of Kansas Medical Center in reference to the recent FDA cleared ION facet screw system. “Traditionally, our patients with chronic back pain from lumbar degenerative disc disease, spondylosis, and spondylolisthesis are offered temporary relief with injections and ablations or invasive open surgical procedures. ION bridges an important gap for patients and physicians seeking less invasive options for these debilitating conditions. I am very honored to be amongst the first in the world to offer this remarkable treatment at our medical center,” continued Sayed. Unlike other spinal fixation options, the ION has zero profile above the bone which may prevent soft tissue contact and the potential for irritation. The implants may be packed with bone graft prior to and after insertion to help facilitate fusion while providing an opportunity for bone to bridge over the implant and prevent implant migration. “Using the ION system was intuitive and safe. It allowed me to provide a less invasive solution than I would have typically provided. The standard of care is changing, and ION offers a simple solution to advanced spinal conditions,” said Dr. Raphael Roybal M.D., orthopedic spine surgeon Coral Gables, FL. SurGenTec is a privately owned medical device company based in Boca Raton, Florida that is focused on unique technologies for the orthopedic and spine fields. SurGenTec develops and manufactures innovative products with patient and surgeon safety in mind. SurGenTec looks to launch ION immediately, with plans in the future of obtaining CE mark to market overseas. The vast pipeline of unique implants, instruments, biologics and ancillary solutions will continue to develop through a high level of internal research and development. SurGenTec currently has multiple products lines to market which are sold within the US and internationally. In 2018 and 2020, SurGenTec received the Spine Technology Awards for their ALARA™ target needle system and 3D Graftrasp presented at NASS.

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CASI PHARMACEUTICALS ANNOUNCES CNCT19 (CD19 CAR-T) GRANTED ORPHAN DRUG DESIGNATION BY THE U.S. FDA

CASI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. | January 19, 2022

CASI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. a U.S. biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative therapeutics and pharmaceutical products, announced today, that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as granted Orphan Drug Designation for CNCT19, an investigational CD-19 directed CAR-T therapy, for the treatment of patients with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. CNCT19 is currently being developed independently by Juventas to meet the urgent clinical needs of patients with hematologic malignancies globally. The National Medical Products Administration has granted CTA approval for CNCT19 in two indications in Nov. 2019. Currently, the Phase II clinical trials of CNCT19 are in progress. Positive clinical data for adult and pediatric patients with relapsed/refractory B-ALL has been presented at the December 2021 ASH annual meeting, which further demonstrated its safety and efficacy profile. CNCT 19 is expected to be the first domestic CD19 directed CAR-T product in China with independent intellectual property rights. "Our partner Juventas continues to make encouraging progress in developing their CD19 CAR-T therapy. The Orphan Drug Designation, from the FDA, and the Breakthrough Designation status, granted by the China Center of Drug Evaluation (CDE) in December 2020, represent significant milestones that demonstrate our belief that CNCT19's commercialization will not only be successful in China, but potentially on a global scale. CASI has worldwide co-commercial rights of CNCT19, and will start the global commercialization process according to CNCT19's regulatory progress outside China." Dr. Wei-Wu He, CASI's Chairman, and CEO About Juventas Juventas is a biopharmaceutical company headquartered in China dedicated to the development and commercialization of cell therapies globally. Utilizing innovative and integrated technology platforms, the company has developed a diverse pipeline of cellular immunotherapies for treatment of hematological malignancies, solid tumors, and other non-oncological conditions both in China and globally. At present, the company is conducting two pivotal clinical trials of CNCT19 for treating adult r/r-B-ALL and r/r-B-NHL in China. CNCT19 has the potential to become the first launched domestically developed CD19 CAR-T therapy in China and the first CAR-T product for the treatment of adult R/R B-ALL in China. About CASI Pharmaceuticals CASI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a U.S. biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative therapeutics and pharmaceutical products in China, the United States, and throughout the world. The Company is focused on acquiring, developing and commercializing products that augment its hematology oncology therapeutic focus as well as other areas of unmet medical need. The Company intends to execute its plan to become a leader by launching medicines in the greater China market leveraging the Company's China-based regulatory and commercial competencies and its global drug development expertise. The Company's operations in China are conducted through its wholly-owned subsidiary, CASI Pharmaceuticals (China) Co., Ltd., which is located in Beijing, China. The Company has built a commercial team of more than 100 hematology oncology sales and marketing specialists based in China.

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Sunovion and Otsuka Initiate Phase 3 Clinical Development of Non-Racemic Amisulpride for the Treatment of People with Bipolar Depression

Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. | February 10, 2022

Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development And Commercialization, Inc. announced that the first patient has been randomized in SEP380-301, a Phase 3 clinical study evaluating non-racemic amisulpride for the treatment of major depressive episodes associated with bipolar I disorder (bipolar depression). Non-racemic amisulpride is being jointly developed and commercialized as part of a collaboration between Sunovion, its parent company Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. SEP380-301, named RELEASE 1 is a six-week, global, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study examining the efficacy, safety and tolerability of non-racemic amisulpride in adults with bipolar depression. Patients will be randomized to receive fixed-dose, non-racemic amisulpride or placebo. The primary endpoint for RELEASE 1 is the reduction of depressive symptoms, as measured by the change from baseline in Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) total score, compared to placebo, after six weeks of treatment. Following participation in the six-week study period, patients who complete RELEASE 1 may enroll in RELEASE 3, a 12-month, open-label extension study assessing the long-term safety, tolerability and effectiveness of non-racemic amisulpride. “Major depressive episodes associated with bipolar I disorder have a profound impact on those living with the condition. Depressive episodes are associated with mood impairment, fatigue, loss of interest in activities or social situations and, in some cases, suicidality. We are encouraged by our Phase 2 clinical results and look forward to enhancing our understanding of non-racemic amisulpride and its potential to help address unmet needs in the treatment of bipolar depression.” Armin Szegedi, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer at Sunovion “Randomizing the first patient in the RELEASE Phase 3 clinical development program is a significant step in our collaboration with Sunovion and our shared goal of expanding neuropsychiatric treatment options to patients living with serious mental conditions,” said John Kraus, M.D., Ph.D., Vice President, Clinical Development Therapeutic Head, CNS, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development & Commercialization, Inc. “Through our collaboration with Sunovion, we hope to advance SEP-4199, which we believe shows promise for the treatment of people with bipolar depression.” About Non-Racemic Amisulpride (SEP-4199) Non-racemic amisulpride is in Phase 3 clinical development for the treatment of major depressive episodes associated with bipolar I disorder (bipolar depression). Non-racemic amisulpride was designed to enhance 5-HT7 receptor antagonist activity and reduce dopamine D2 receptor antagonist activity compared to racemic amisulpride. Lower D2 receptor occupancy associated with non-racemic amisulpride is intended to maintain overall effectiveness for patients with mood disorders, including bipolar depression, while reducing the burden of D2-related side effects, including movement-related symptoms, such as extrapyramidal symptoms and akathisia.1 About Bipolar Disorder Bipolar disorder affects approximately 12.6 million individuals in the United States and an estimated 29 million people worldwide.2,3 A person is usually diagnosed with bipolar disorder after experiencing at least one manic/hypomanic episode, with symptoms that are not better explained by another mental health condition, such as schizophrenia.4 Bipolar disorder is characterized by debilitating mood swings, interspersed with periods of stable mood and behavior.5 When individuals with bipolar disorder are experiencing symptoms, most tend to be depressed rather than manic.4 Bipolar disorder is associated with significant impairment in personal and professional relationships, quality of life and ability to function. About Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Sunovion) Sunovion is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on the innovative application of science and medicine to help people with serious medical conditions. Sunovion’s vision is to lead the way to a healthier world. The company’s spirit of innovation is driven by the conviction that scientific excellence paired with meaningful advocacy and relevant education can improve lives. With patients at the center of everything it does, Sunovion has charted new paths to life-transforming treatments that reflect ongoing investments in research and development and an unwavering commitment to support people with psychiatric, neurological and respiratory conditions. Headquartered in Marlborough, Mass., Sunovion is an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Co., Ltd. Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc., based in Mississauga, Ontario, is a wholly-owned direct subsidiary of Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. About Otsuka Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. is a global healthcare company with the corporate philosophy: “Otsuka–people creating new products for better health worldwide.” Otsuka researches, develops, manufactures, and markets innovative products, with a focus on pharmaceutical products to meet unmet medical needs and nutraceutical products for the maintenance of everyday health. In pharmaceuticals, Otsuka is a leader in the challenging areas of mental, renal, and cardiovascular health and has additional research programs in oncology and on several under-addressed diseases including tuberculosis, a significant global public health issue. These commitments illustrate how Otsuka is a “big venture” company at heart, applying a youthful spirit of creativity in everything it does. Otsuka established a presence in the U.S. in 1973 and today its U.S. affiliates include Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development & Commercialization, Inc. (OPDC) and Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. (OAPI). These two companies’ 1,700 employees in the U.S. develop and commercialize medicines in the areas of mental health, nephrology, and cardiology, using cutting-edge technology to address unmet healthcare needs. OPDC and OAPI are indirect subsidiaries of Otsuka Pharmaceutical Company, Ltd., which is a subsidiary of Otsuka Holdings Co., Ltd. headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. The Otsuka group of companies employed 47,000 people worldwide and had consolidated sales of approximately USD 13.3 billion in 2020. About Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Co., Ltd. Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma is among the top-10 listed pharmaceutical companies in Japan, operating globally in major pharmaceutical markets, including Japan, the U.S., China, and other Asian countries. Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma aims to create innovative pharmaceutical products in the Psychiatry & Neurology area, the Oncology area and Regenerative medicine/Cell therapy field, which have been designated as the focus therapeutic areas. Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma is based on the merger in 2005 between Dainippon Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., and Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd. Today, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma has more than 7,000 employees worldwide. Additional information about Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma is available through its corporate

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Oramed Completes Patient Enrollment in Phase 2 Oral Insulin NASH Trial

Oramed Pharmaceuticals Inc. | March 17, 2022

Oramed Pharmaceuticals Inc. a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on the development of oral drug delivery platforms, announced it has completed enrollment of all patients in a Phase 2 trial of its oral insulin capsule ORMD-0801 for the treatment of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. An estimated 1.5% to 6.5% of adults in the U.S., or between 4 million and 17 million people, have NASH and about half of these also have diabetes, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. The double-blind, multi-center trial with clinical sites in the U.S. and Israel is assessing the safety and potential efficacy of ORMD-0801 in Type 2 diabetes patients with NASH. Efficacy endpoints including safety and percentage change in liver fat content, liver fibrosis, and liver steatosis from baseline are measured via MRI-PDFF following 12 weeks of dosing. "There is currently no drug approved to treat this disease, leaving NASH with a serious unmet medical need. With direct action on the liver, we believe that ORMD-0801 has the potential to address over 50% of people with diabetes who also suffer from NASH, a population with unfortunately increased mortality. We look forward to analyzing and reporting topline data, which we expect will confirm our prior pilot study's efficacy and safety results," Oramed Chief Executive Officer, Nadav Kidron The global market for drugs to treat NASH is expected to reach $84 billion by 2029, according to a publication by Research and Markets on the Global Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) Drugs Market. About NASH Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis is a serious, progressive liver disease caused by a buildup of fat in the liver and accompanied by inflammation, liver cell damage, and in some cases, scarring of the liver. Over time, NASH may progress to cirrhosis, liver cancer, liver failure, and even death. Currently, no pharmacotherapy is globally approved for the treatment of NASH, and people with NASH are left with very few treatment options. About Oramed Pharmaceuticals Oramed Pharmaceuticals is a platform technology pioneer in the field of oral delivery solutions for drugs currently delivered via injection. Established in 2006, with offices in the United States and Israel, Oramed has developed a novel Protein Oral Delivery (POD™) technology. Oramed is seeking to transform the treatment of diabetes through its proprietary lead candidate, ORMD-0801, which is being evaluated in two pivotal Phase 3 trials and has the potential to be the first commercial oral insulin capsule for the treatment of diabetes. In addition, Oramed is developing an oral GLP-1.

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Spotlight

Rapid and consistent in-vivo drug dissolution is critical for drug absorption. In-vitro dissolutions tests are used to predict in-vivo disintegration and dissolution properties of drug products. The invitro disintegration and dissolution times of tablets and capsules can vary significantly based on their composition and processing. Though small differences in-vitro dissolution are not expected to result in significant in-vivo performance differences, the slight in-vitro dissolution delay observed by over-encapsulation for double blind clinical trials, as well as switching from gelatin to HPMC capsules often raises concerns on the potential impact on in-vivo bioavailability. While it is accepted that the in-vitro dissolution delay of about 5 minutes caused by over-encapsulation with gelatin capsules of immediate release (IR) tablets or powder formulation does not lead to non-bioequivalence, no data on bioequivalence exist for over-encapsulation with an HPMC capsule having a dissolution lag time of around 10

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