Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo Fails in Brain Cancer Trial

biospace | May 09, 2019

It feels sometimes as if Bristol-Myers Squibb’s checkpoint inhibitor Opdivo (nivolumab) is a miraculous cancer drug, given the number of indications it has been approved for. And in many ways it is. However, it apparently can’t do everything, and the company announced today that the drug failed to meet its primary endpoint in patients with newly diagnosed O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT)-unmethylated glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a type of brain cancer. The drug was being evaluated in the Phase III CheckMate -498 trial with radiation compared to temozolomide plus radiation in this patient population. Temozolomide is an oral chemotherapy drug. The primary endpoint was overall survival (OS).

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VIEWS AND ANALYSIS, PHARMA TECH

Novavax Announces Pricing of $150 Million Offering of Convertible Senior Notes

Novavax, Inc. | December 16, 2022

Novavax, Inc. a biotechnology company dedicated to developing and commercializing next-generation vaccines for serious infectious diseases, today announced the pricing of an offering of $150 million aggregate principal amount of its 5.00% convertible senior notes due 2027. The notes are being offered and sold only to persons reasonably believed to be qualified institutional buyers pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended. In connection with the offering of the notes, Novavax has granted to the initial purchasers a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional $25.25 million aggregate principal amount of the notes. The offering of the notes is expected to close on December 20, 2022, subject to customary closing conditions. The notes will represent senior unsecured obligations of Novavax and will accrue interest payable semi-annually in arrears and will mature on December 15, 2027, unless earlier converted, redeemed or repurchased. Novavax will settle conversions by paying or delivering, as applicable, cash, shares of its common stock, par value $0.01 per share or a combination of cash and shares of its common stock, at Novavax' election. The notes will be redeemable, in whole or in part for cash at Novavax' option at any time, and from time to time, on or after December 22, 2025, if the last reported sale price of common stock has been at least 130% of the conversion price then in effect for at least 20 trading days during any 30 consecutive trading day period ending on and including the trading day immediately preceding the date on which Novavax provides notice of redemption at a redemption price equal to 100% of the principal amount of the notes to be redeemed, plus any accrued and unpaid interest to, but excluding, the redemption date. The notes will be convertible at an initial conversion rate of 80.0000 shares of common stock per $1,000 principal amount of notes. J.P. Morgan, Jefferies and Cowen are acting as joint book-running managers and representatives of the initial purchasers for the offering of the notes. J. Wood Capital Advisors served as financial advisor to the Company in relation to the offering of the notes. Concurrently with the offering of the notes, Novavax also announced today the pricing of its previously announced underwritten public offering to sell up to 6,500,000 shares of its common stock at a public offering price of $10.00 per share, or $65 million worth of shares of its common stock. In connection with the common stock offering, Novavax granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 975,000 shares of its common stock at the public offering price, less underwriting discounts and commissions. The offering of the notes is not contingent upon the consummation of the concurrent common stock offering, and the concurrent common stock offering is not contingent upon the consummation of the offering of the notes. The concurrent common stock offering is expected to close on December 20, 2022, subject to customary closing conditions. Novavax may use the net proceeds from the offering of the notes and, if consummated, the concurrent common stock offering, for general corporate purposes, including but not limited to the continued global commercial launch of Nuvaxovid, repayment or repurchase of a portion of the $325 million in outstanding principal amount of its 3.75% convertible senior unsecured notes due February 1, 2023, working capital, capital expenditures, research and development expenditures, clinical trial expenditures, repayments under its supply agreements, as well as acquisitions and other strategic purposes. Novavax estimates that the net proceeds from the offering of the notes will be approximately $142.2 million after deducting the initial purchasers' discounts and estimated offering expenses payable by Novavax. The offer and sale of the notes are not being registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended any state securities laws. The notes may not be offered or sold in the U.S. except pursuant to an exemption from the registration requirements of the Securities Act and any applicable state securities laws. The notes are being offered only to persons reasonably believed to be qualified institutional buyers pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act. The offer and sale of the notes and any shares of common stock issuable upon conversion of the notes have not been, and will not be, registered under the Securities Act or any other securities laws, and the notes and any such shares cannot be offered or sold absent registration or except pursuant to an applicable exemption from, or in a transaction not subject to, the registration requirements of the Securities Act and any other applicable securities laws. This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy the securities being offered, nor shall there be any sale of the securities being offered in any state or other jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such state or other jurisdiction. About Novavax Novavax, Inc. is a biotechnology company that promotes improved health globally through the discovery, development, and commercialization of innovative vaccines to prevent serious infectious diseases. The company's proprietary recombinant technology platform harnesses the power and speed of genetic engineering to efficiently produce highly immunogenic nanoparticles designed to address urgent global health needs. The Novavax COVID-19 vaccine has received authorization from multiple regulatory authorities globally, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the European Commission, and the World Health Organization.

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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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BUSINESS INSIGHTS, PHARMACY MARKET

Tetris Pharma signs service agreement with Syneos Health

Tetris Pharma Ltd | December 13, 2022

Tetris Pharma Ltd a subsidiary of biopharmaceutical company, Arecor Therapeutics plc announces that it has signed a service agreement with Syneos Health® the only fully integrated biopharmaceutical solutions organization purpose-built to accelerate customer success, to support the build out of Tetris Pharma’s commercial platform across Europe. Through this partnership, Syneos Health will provide commercial support through an outsourced contract sales services to accelerate healthcare practitioner awareness of Tetris Pharma’s flagship product, Ogluo®, for people living with diabetes across initial launch territories. “Following the recent launch of Ogluo® in Germany, we are focused on continuing its accelerated roll-out across Europe. Syneos Health was one of several potential partners that were evaluated during the process of partnering with an organisation that would provide a multitude of commercial options to help establish the product across Europe. Partnering with Syneos Health, a leader in clinical research, medical affairs, and commercialisation services for the pharmaceutical industry, is key to building our reputation as specialists in the marketing, sales, and distribution of commercial-stage specialty hospital products across the UK and Europe.” Dr. Shafiq Choudhary, Managing Director, Tetris Pharma

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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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Spotlight

In today’s hypercompetitive pharmaceutical and life sciences (PLS) industry, strategic partnerships are more critical than ever. A smaller life sciences company may have
relationships with hundreds of healthcare providers and healthcare organizations. 

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