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 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 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 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 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.
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.
medical leverage | January 15, 2022
medical leverage, a communications company is pleased to announce the promotion of Justin Reed to VP of Finance, Alexandra Rivers to HR and Training Manager, and Janeanne Josephson to Associate Marketing Manager. These changes drive the company's mission to meet the challenges of today's unique market. With the additional hiring of several project managers to the team, ml is positioning itself well for growth in 2022.
These promotions are all important shifts in responsibility that will ensure ml's service levels are enhanced during its expansion efforts.
"Our 2022 expansion efforts started at the stroke of midnight on the new year, thus spring-boarding our talent acquisition initiatives. We continue to attract top-notch thinkers and doers by focusing on creating a culture where we offer improved operations, continued staff training, and product enhancements to best serve our current and future clients. As always, our expansion approach is guided by our core values and steered by our Executive Leadership Team."
medical leverage's president, Dave Oury
ABOUT medical leverage is a medical
communications company that provides full-service solutions to pharmaceutical, biotech, biopharmaceutical, medical device, and medical diagnostic companies. We elevate healthcare communications through education by partnering strategically with life science companies and providers.
For over twenty years, we have had the distinct honor of working with marketing, medical affairs, sales training, and market access teams within US and international companies. We know that behind every program there is a product and behind every healthcare professional there is a patient. We focus on our clients, so they can focus on healthcare professionals and, ultimately, their patients.
Deargen Inc. | December 23, 2021
Deargen, a company specializing in the development of novel NCE drugs using artificial intelligence, announced on the 22rd that it had discovered and synthesized a new anticancer target compound using its own AI platform and had already applied for a patent for it.
Deargen has the technology to predict candidates for a novel drug without the 3D structure data of proteins. Deargen's technology, which uses amino acid sequence data rather than the structure information of proteins, possesses global-level differentiated artificial intelligence technology that enables the rapid development of novel drugs even for proteins whose 3D structure has not yet been identified.
"The new compound for which we have applied for a patent this time is a first-in-class candidate, and we plan to develop a therapeutic agent targeting triple-negative breast cancer. TNBC is an area where there are few novel drugs available and it is difficult to find innovative targets, so it is a disease with a high demand for new therapeutics…Deargen confirmed the efficacy of the new compound discovered through in-vitro experiments."
An official from Deargen
Also, the substance that Deargen discovered through this study is an NCE. An NCE refers to a new chemically synthesized drug, which requires a great deal of time and money because it is difficult to develop such a drug that has not been previously approved by the FDA. However, it is within an area with high needs by many global pharmaceutical companies as it has the advantage of being able to receive market monopoly rights for 5 years in the U.S. and 10 years in Europe after product approval.
In particular, Deargen's achievements are significant in that it discovered the new compound in a shorter time than the existing novel drug discovery process through its collaboration of advanced AI and in-house experts for novel drug development. The target discovery and substance design process, which usually takes about 3 to 4 years in the existing traditional drug development process, was carried out in just 10 weeks, and it took merely 2 weeks for target discovery and 8 weeks for substance design and synthesis.
Currently, Deargen is establishing a large-scale R&D center. With this R&D center, the plan is to further shorten the period of the discovery of candidates by efficiently managing the time required for designing and synthesizing substances. The R&D center will be in charge of fast verification of substances by conducting the design and synthesis verification of substances under joint research with Deargen's internal pipeline, along with the production of high-quality data.
Daniel Bae, Chief Business Officer of Deargen said : "We plan to continuously derive new substances with patentability through our synthesis research center, which will be established in the first half of next year. We plan to not only build our own pipeline centered on anticancer drugs, but also to introduce various business models with our partners that go beyond the existing joint research contracts." He also said, "Deargen plans to establish its position among global AI drug developers as a company specializing in NCE drug development, from target discovery to compound design and synthesis."
About Deargen Inc.
Established in December 2016, Deargen is an AI-based drug discovery and development company. In February 2020, the company released study results on predicting the development of COVID-19 treatments. Candidate compounds for treating COVID-19 predicted by Deargen include remdesivir, which was first approved as an emergency therapy. The company conducts research on and owns core AI technologies in-silico, such as 'prediction of bio-markers', 'selection of disease targets', and 'extraction of candidate substances for new drugs', utilizing techniques of meta analysis of genome big data and its unique AI technologies. Building on these outcomes, the company is developing new drugs in collaboration with multiple pharmaceutical companies and research institutions, demonstrating its outstanding technology capabilities as being named as top awardees at the ILSVRC, a world-prominent deep-learning competition, and Dream Challenge, an international AI-based new drug development competition.
McQuade | January 06, 2022
The McQuade Center for Strategic Research and Development, LLC, a member of the global Otsuka family of pharmaceutical companies, and Mindset Pharma Inc. announce a collaboration that will support the development of psychedelic medicines. MSRD has made a strategic investment to support the discovery and development of novel chemical entity assets of Mindset, a drug discovery and development company focused on creating optimized and patentable next-generation psychedelic medicines to treat neurological and psychiatric disorders with unmet medical needs.
“Exploring multiple paths is essential as we work to address the unique needs of individuals living with mental health conditions. We look forward to collaborating with Mindset on these assets and are hopeful that medical psychedelics could be approved to treat mental illness in the future.”
Robert McQuade, Ph.D., president, McQuade Center for Strategic Research and Development, LLC, and chief strategic officer, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development & Commercialization, Inc
MSRD, which identifies and supports early-stage opportunities that can change the landscape of treatments for mental illness and renal disorders, will financially and operationally support the development of two families of Mindset’s novel medical psychedelic compounds through Phase 1a and Phase 1b clinical trials. MSRD has made an upfront cash payment of $5 million USD to Mindset and under the terms of the agreement, MSRD and Mindset may agree to expand the collaboration to continue to develop the compounds as pharmaceutical products.
In addition, Mindset has granted MSRD a right of first refusal with respect to any asset sale, exclusive licensing or collaboration opportunities pertaining to the drugs and a right of first negotiation with respect to a merger, acquisition or asset sale related to Mindset, both in exchange for the upfront payment, further collaboration, and funding of the development of Mindset’s novel compounds. MSRD also has the ability to potentially receive single-digit percentage royalty payments under certain circumstances when the right of first refusal is not consummated or the agreement is terminated.
“It is our great pleasure to collaborate with MSRD, a member company of Otsuka, to further the development of two of our families of novel psychedelic compounds. We look forward to leveraging their extensive experience in drug development and CNS indications to accelerate and de-risk our development pathway as we prepare to launch clinical trials,” said James Lanthier, chief executive officer of Mindset. “There is a high unmet need for innovative treatments of mental illness. This collaboration further validates our belief that optimized and patentable next-generation psychedelic compounds will be the future of treatments for mental illness.”
Mr. Richard Patricio, chairman of Mindset’s board, added, “This transformational transaction is a validation of what our team has accomplished over the last several years. We are ecstatic that Otsuka has chosen to collaborate with Mindset in the novel psychedelic drug development space and see this as a pivotal moment in Mindset’s maturation. Our team is excited to work closely with MSRD to help meet the unmet needs of millions of people worldwide suffering with a variety of mental disorders. The future is truly exciting.”
About Mindset Pharma
Mindset Pharma Inc. is a drug discovery and development company focused on creating optimized and patentable next-generation psychedelic medicines to treat neurological and psychiatric disorders with unmet needs. Mindset was established in order to develop next generation pharmaceutical assets that leverage the breakthrough therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs. Mindset is developing several novel families of next generation psychedelic compounds, as well as an innovative process to chemically synthesize psilocybin as well as its own proprietary compounds. For further information on Mindset,
About the McQuade Center for Strategic Research and Development (MSRD)
Established in 2019, by the Otsuka pharmaceutical business in the U.S., the mission of MSRD is to search for, identify, and fund innovative early-stage research and development programs that have the potential to build the future portfolio of Otsuka products.
Otsuka is dedicated to investing in innovative and creative products in areas of unmet need and MSRD was created as an extension of this commitment to support and identify early-stage opportunities that can change the landscape of treatments for mental illness and renal disorders.
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.