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

biospace | May 09, 2019

Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo Fails in Brain Cancer Trial
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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Kristi Sarno, Senior Consultant, Latham Group, talks with BioPharm International about the challenges her biologics customers are encountering with their biomanufacturing strategies and her recommendations for managing the impact of inaccurate demand forecasting.


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PHARMACY MARKET

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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PHARMA TECH

Milestone Scientific Names Andau Medical as an Additional Distributor for the STA Single Tooth Anesthesia System® in North America

Milestone Scientific, Inc. | December 24, 2021

Milestone Scientific Inc. a leading developer of computerized drug delivery instruments, that provide painless and precise injections, announced it has entered into an agreement with Andau Medical to distribute the STA Single Tooth Anesthesia System® in the United States and Canada. Arjan Haverhals, CEO of Milestone Scientific, stated, “We are pleased to announce the addition of Andau Medical to our growing roster of distributors for the STA Single Tooth Anesthesia System in the United States and Canada. We initially began our collaboration with Andau around our CompuFlo® Epidural Instrument in Canada. In addition to medical devices, they have a strong track record introducing dental instruments to the market, which we believe will help further fuel the strong momentum we’re experiencing within our dental division.” “We are excited to expand our existing partnership with Milestone Scientific by introducing the STA Single Tooth Anesthesia System through our broad network of dentists and hygienists across North America. The STA offers significant benefits to both patients and clinicians through painless injections, shorter wait times for anesthesia, fewer complications, and reduced patient cancellations. This enables dentists to grow their businesses while improving the patient experience.” Sandi Wright, Founder and CEO of Andau Medical About Andau Medical Andau Medical is a Medical Device and Dental Device company focused on providing U.S. and Canadian markets with quality technologies that improve patient outcomes and enhance the clinical experience in delivering exceptional patient care. Andau has expertise in sales, marketing, regulatory and distribution, thereby enabling quick market uptake of both existing and new technologies. About Milestone Scientific Inc. Milestone Scientific Inc. a technology focused medical research and development company that patents, designs and develops innovative injection technologies and instruments for medical, dental and cosmetic applications. Milestone Scientific’s computer-controlled systems are designed to make injections precise, efficient and increase the overall patient comfort and safety. Their proprietary DPS Dynamic Pressure Sensing Technology® instruments is the platform to advance the development of next-generation devices, regulating flow rate and monitoring pressure from the tip of the needle, through platform extensions of subcutaneous drug delivery, including local anesthetic.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Vifor Pharma drives transformation with divestment of non-core finished drug manufacturing to CordenPharma

Vifor Pharma Group | December 17, 2021

Vifor Pharma Group announced the divestment of its finished drug product manufacturing business to CordenPharma, a full-service Contract Development & Manufacturing Organization of APIs, Excipients, Drug Products, and associated Packaging services. This decision reinforces Vifor Pharma’s strategy to transform the company into a multi-brand commercial organization, focusing on its core capabilities in-licensing, partnering and commercializing products in nephrology, and to further grow and maximize opportunities of its iron portfolio. “In support of our ambitious growth strategy, optimizing our manufacturing footprint will enable us to build an even stronger, more efficient organization focusing on core capabilities in nephrology, and to maximize and leverage our market-leading expertise and intellectual property in iron deficiency. With CordenPharma, we have found the best suitable solution for our manufacturing employees and the drug production activities in Fribourg, Ettingen and Lisbon. With this agreement, Vifor Pharma is well positioned to continuously drive the company sustainably and profitably over the long term, for all our stakeholders.” Abbas Hussain, CEO of Vifor Pharma Dr. Michael Quirmbach, Chief Executive Officer & President of CordenPharma said: “The acquired Vifor Pharma sites have competent teams with great cultural fit, state-of-the art infrastructure, and a strong compliance track record. This excellent opportunity aligns well with our strategy to broaden our CDMO capabilities. By incorporating these three Vifor Pharma manufacturing facilities into our global network, we look forward to not only supplying Vifor Pharma as a manufacturing partner, but also closing gaps in our service offering for oral solid dosage drug product manufacturing and increasing our overall capacity. In addition, this acquisition further strengthens our fully-integrated solutions to our customers.” Under the terms of the signed share purchase agreement, CordenPharma acquires all shares in Vifor SA, Fribourg, and OM Pharma SA, Lisbon, thus taking over Vifor Pharma’s finished drug product manufacturing operations at the three sites. The divestment will trigger an asset impairment, to be reported with Vifor Pharma’s 2021 financial results. The companies have agreed not to disclose financial terms of the agreement. CordenPharma will integrate the new facilities into its existing CDMO network of Current Good Manufacturing Practice and R&D plants across Europe & the US, and organize the operations of the Fribourg, Ettingen and Lisbon sites under its Small Molecule Platform. It plans to utilize the existing manufacturing workforce, while continuing to produce and supply Vifor Pharma products. Vifor Pharma’s Swiss and Portuguese country commercial organizations, located in Fribourg and Lisbon, will remain with Vifor Pharma Group. Vifor Pharma and CordenPharma will jointly ensure long-term continuity of supply for customers and patients who depend on them. This divestment, including all financial implications, has been disclosed to CSL Limited in the course of the due diligence process preceding the publication of the pre-announcement of the public tender offer by CSL Limited on 14 December and in so far has no impact on such tender offer. Vifor Pharma and CordenPharma anticipate closing the transaction in Q1 2022, contingent on customary closing conditions. About Vifor Pharma Group Vifor Pharma Group is a global pharmaceuticals company. It aims to become the global leader in iron deficiency, nephrology and cardio-renal therapies. The company is a partner of choice for pharmaceuticals and innovative patient-focused solutions. Vifor Pharma Group strives to help patients around the world with severe and chronic diseases lead better, healthier lives. The company develops, manufactures and markets pharmaceutical products for precision patient care. Vifor Pharma Group holds a leading position in all its core business activities and consists of the following companies: Vifor Pharma and Vifor Fresenius Medical Care Renal Pharma. Vifor Pharma Group is headquartered in Switzerland, and listed on the Swiss Stock Exchange About CordenPharma CordenPharma, the global pharmaceutical service & manufacturing platform of International Chemical Investors Group, is a full-service partner in the Contract Development & Manufacturing of APIs, Excipients, Drug Products, and associated Packaging Services. Through a growing network of cGMP facilities across Europe and the US organized under five Technology Platforms – Peptides, Lipids & Carbohydrates, Injectables, Highly Potent & Oncology, and Small Molecules – CordenPharma experts translate complex processes and projects at any stage of development into high-value products.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Cullinan Oncology Forms Strategic Collaboration Agreement with Mount Sinai to Advance Oral HPK1 Protein Degrader for Cancer Treatment

Cullinan Oncology, Inc. | January 10, 2022

Cullinan Oncology, Inc. a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing a diversified pipeline of targeted therapies for cancer patients, today announced the Company has entered into a collaboration agreement with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai to develop novel small molecule immune modulators.​ This exclusive option and multi-year collaboration agreement will be focused on the optimization and development of oral protein degraders targeting hematopoietic progenitor kinase 1 (HPK1), a key regulator of immune cell activation and a high-priority target in immune-oncology. The collaboration aims to accelerate the development of novel, best-in-class HPK1 degraders that stimulate robust anti-tumor immunity. The research will be conducted by leading scientists at both Cullinan and Icahn Mount Sinai. Cullinan will fund the collaboration and has an exclusive option to license the intellectual property for further development and commercialization. The Icahn Mount Sinai team will be co-led by Steven J. Burakoff, M.D., Lillian and Henry M. Stratton Professor of Cancer Medicine, Dean for Cancer Innovation, and Chief, Pediatric Oncology at Icahn Mount Sinai, and Jian Jin, Ph.D., Mount Sinai Professor in Therapeutics Discovery and Director, Mount Sinai Center for Therapeutics Discovery, at Icahn Mount Sinai. “Our team is excited to work with the talented and experienced cancer drug developers at Cullinan. Our research has already demonstrated that a degrader approach to targeting HPK1 may control tumor growth more effectively compared to simply inhibiting HPK1 kinase activity. We believe this collaboration will help us identify novel, differentiated oral HPK1 degraders and can bring future benefit to cancer patients worldwide.” Dr. Jin “We are proud to partner with Icahn Mount Sinai, which is at the forefront of cancer research and patient care,” said Leigh Zawel, Chief Scientific Officer, Small Molecules, of Cullinan Oncology. “We are very excited to build on the synergy between the deep scientific expertise of the Icahn Mount Sinai team and the strong drug development capabilities at Cullinan to advance therapies that have the potential to significantly improve the lives of patients with cancer. We look forward to a fruitful collaboration in this novel area of science.” About Cullinan Oncology Cullinan Oncology is a biopharmaceutical company that is developing a diversified pipeline of targeted therapeutic candidates across multiple modalities in order to bring important medicines to cancer patients. The Company’s strategy is to source innovation through both internal discovery efforts and external collaborations, focusing on advanced stage assets with novel technology platforms and differentiated mechanisms.

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Spotlight

Kristi Sarno, Senior Consultant, Latham Group, talks with BioPharm International about the challenges her biologics customers are encountering with their biomanufacturing strategies and her recommendations for managing the impact of inaccurate demand forecasting.

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