AZ to accelerate drug discovery with BenevolentAI partnership

pharmatimes | April 30, 2019

AstraZeneca has announced a collaboration with Benevolent AI in order to use machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to discover potential new drugs for chronic kidney disease and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.The two companies will create a team of scientists that will work side-by-side to combine AstraZeneca’s genomics, chemistry and clinical data with BenevolentAI’s target identification platform and biomedical knowledge graph – a network of contextualised scientific data such as genes, proteins, diseases and compounds, and the relationship between them. Benevolent AI’s machine learning capabilities systematically analyses data to find connections between facts, and AI-based reasoning is used to extrapolate previously unknown connections. The companies will use the technology to interpret the results to understand the underlying mechanisms of these complex diseases and more quickly identify new potential drug targets.

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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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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

NanOlogy Publishes Review Article of Preclinical and Clinical Research Supporting LSAM-DTX

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. About NanOlogy 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.

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PHARMACY MARKET

A novel azapeptide editing method provides potential for new drug development, Feinstein Institutes research shows

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.” Dr. Al-Abed 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.

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PHARMACY MARKET

Astellas Announces Topline Results from Phase 3 Long-Term Safety Study of Fezolinetant in Mainland China

Astellas Pharma Inc. | September 05, 2022

Astellas Pharma Inc. announced topline results from the Phase 3 MOONLIGHT 3™ clinical trial in women in mainland China evaluating the long-term safety and tolerability of fezolinetant, an investigational oral, nonhormonal compound being studied for the treatment of moderate to severe vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause. VMS, characterized by hot flashes and/or night sweats, are common symptoms of menopause. MOONLIGHT 3 is a 52-week single-arm Phase 3 clinical trial investigating the long-term safety and tolerability of fezolinetant 30 mg taken once daily in 150 women in mainland China seeking treatment for relief of VMS associated with menopause. The study's primary endpoint is the frequency and severity of adverse events which were generally consistent with previous Phase 3 studies of fezolinetant. Detailed results will be submitted for publication in the near future. "The topline results from the MOONLIGHT 3 study are very encouraging and, upon initial review, further support the long-term safety of fezolinetant. We are evaluating the full MOONLIGHT data sets and remain committed to developing innovative treatments in this therapeutic area with the hope of delivering a first-in-class, nonhormonal treatment option for women with moderate to severe VMS." Ahsan Arozullah, M.D., M.P.H., Senior Vice President and Head of Development Therapeutic Areas, Astellas Fezolinetant is an investigational selective neurokinin-3 receptor antagonist and is not approved anywhere in the world. In the U.S., a New Drug Application for fezolinetant for the treatment of moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause is under review. The NDA submission is based on results from two pivotal Phase 3 clinical trials, SKYLIGHT 1™ and SKYLIGHT 2™, and the Phase 3 long-term safety study, SKYLIGHT 4™. About the MOONLIGHT Phase 3 Clinical Trials MOONLIGHT 1™ is designed to investigate the efficacy and safety of fezolinetant for the treatment of moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause in women in Asia. The study is double-blinded and placebo-controlled for the first 12 weeks, followed by a 12-week non-controlled extension treatment period. A total of 302 women with moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause were enrolled at nearly 60 sites in mainland China, Korea and Taiwan. MOONLIGHT 3™ is a 52-week single-arm Phase 3 clinical trial designed to investigate the long-term safety and tolerability of fezolinetant in women in mainland China with VMS associated with menopause. A total of 150 women were enrolled at 34 sites in mainland China. About the BRIGHT SKY™ Phase 3 Program The BRIGHT SKY pivotal trials, SKYLIGHT 1™ and SKYLIGHT 2™ enrolled over 1,000 women with moderate to severe VMS. The trials are double-blinded, placebo-controlled for the first 12 weeks followed by a 40-week treatment extension period. Women were enrolled at over 180 sites within the U.S., Canada and Europe. SKYLIGHT 4™ is a 52-week double-blinded, placebo-controlled study designed to investigate the long-term safety of fezolinetant. For SKYLIGHT 4, over 1,800 women with VMS were enrolled at over 180 sites within the U.S., Canada and Europe. About VMS Associated with Menopause VMS, characterized by hot flashes and/or night sweats, are common symptoms of menopause.1,2 Worldwide, more than 50% of women 40 to 64 years of age experience VMS and, in East Asia, the prevalence of VMS has been estimated to be around 80% of women 40 to 65 years of age, with 55% having moderate to severe VMS.3,4 VMS can have a disruptive impact on women's daily activities and overall quality of life.1 About Fezolinetant Fezolinetant is an investigational oral, nonhormonal therapy in clinical development for the treatment of moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause. Fezolinetant works by blocking neurokinin B (NKB) binding on the kisspeptin/neurokinin/dynorphin (KNDy) neuron to moderate neuronal activity in the thermoregulatory center of the brain (the hypothalamus) to reduce the frequency and severity of moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause.5,6,7 The safety and efficacy of fezolinetant are under investigation and have not been established. There is no guarantee the agent will receive regulatory approval or become commercially available for the uses being investigated. About Astellas Astellas Pharma Inc. is a pharmaceutical company conducting business in more than 70 countries around the world. We are promoting the Focus Area Approach that is designed to identify opportunities for the continuous creation of new drugs to address diseases with high unmet medical needs by focusing on Biology and Modality. Furthermore, we are also looking beyond our foundational Rx focus to create Rx+® healthcare solutions that combine our expertise and knowledge with cutting-edge technology in different fields of external partners. Through these efforts, Astellas stands on the forefront of healthcare change to turn innovative science into value for patients.

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Spotlight

Symmetry Rx Analytics, a pharmacy-based health risk assessment solution, reliably assesses member risk using pharmacy claims in only a few months, while traditional predictive modeling tools need 12 months of data. Although medical claims-based analytics are highly accurate, see how to approach that accuracy with pharmacy claims alone.

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