Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo misses its shot at earlier use in liver cancer

fiercepharma | June 24, 2019

Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo misses its shot at earlier use in liver cancer
Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo already boasts an FDA approval in liver cancer patients who have been treated with Bayer’s Nexavar. But its quest to jump into the front line just hit a snag. The BMS PD-1 drug failed to beat Nexavar at extending patients’ lives in a phase 3 study, the company acknowledged Monday. The Bayer drug has long been as the standard of care for patients with newly diagnosed hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), competition-free in that indication until Eisai and Merck & Co.’s Lenvima just recently joined it. While Bristol’s survival data didn’t meet the statistical significance bar in the trial, dubbed CheckMate-459, BMS said there was “a clear trend” toward improvement with Opdivo. With an accelerated second-line nod the FDA granted in 2017, “Bristol seemed to be well positioned from a timing perspective,” in the liver cancer market, which numbers about 11,000 patients in the U.S., Credit Suisse analyst Vamil Divan said in a Monday note to clients. Opdivo has been grabbing share in that indication, and Merck’s rival immunotherapy Ketyruda, which bears its own green light in the setting, just failed to confirm its own approval by showing it couldn't fend off tumor progression or prolong patients’ lives. BMS hasn’t revealed its own overall survival data for second-line use of Opdivo. But the tumor response rate it induced in the CheckMate-040 trial, 14.3%, isn’t that much different from the 17% Keytruda posted in its phase 2 Keynote-224 study.

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PHARMA TECH

CSL Limited announces tender offer to acquire Vifor Pharma Ltd

Vifor Pharma Group | December 15, 2021

Global biotechnology leader CSL Limited and Vifor Pharma Ltd, a global specialty pharmaceutical company with leadership in iron deficiency, nephrology & cardio-renal therapies, announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement for CSL to acquire Vifor Pharma for an aggregate equity value for Vifor Pharma of US$ 11.7 / CHF 10.9 billion. CSL has offered to acquire Vifor Pharma in an all-cash tender offer of US$179.25 per share, payable in U.S. dollars.1 The offer assumes a dividend of CHF 2 expected to be declared at the AGM of 26 April, consistent with past practice. The tender offer represents an implied premium of approximately 61% to the unaffected closing price of Vifor Pharma on 1 December 2021 and a 47% premium to Vifor Pharma’s unaffected 1-month VWAP as of 1 December 2021.2 Patinex AG, Vifor Pharma’s largest shareholder holding 23.2% has agreed to tender its shares into the offer. The Transaction remains subject to the conditions and further terms including: Minimum acceptance rate of 80% of all Vifor Pharma shares on a fully diluted basis; and further customary offer conditions, including regulatory approvals. The tender is currently expected to commence around 18 January 2022 and the transaction is expected to complete around mid-2022. The Board of Directors of Vifor Pharma considers that the proposed transaction respects the interests of all stakeholders and is unanimously recommending the offer to shareholders. There is committed financing for the deal and a strong commitment to pursue regulatory clearances. “Vifor Pharma's strategy has been to focus towards continuing being a market leader in iron deficiency, nephrology and cardio-renal therapies. The offer provides an excellent strategic opportunity for Vifor Pharma to optimize future market opportunities from a position of strength and to create substantial value for all stakeholders.” Jacques Theurillat, Chairman of the Board of Directors Vifor Pharma Group The transaction will enable Vifor Pharma to leverage CSL’s global reach, balance sheet and capabilities to bring more products to patients within its key categories. The transaction also enables Vifor Pharma to accelerate growth in cardiovascular-metabolic, renal and transplant. Centerview Partners UK LLP is acting as exclusive financial advisor to Vifor Pharma on the transaction. IFBC have been retained as Fairness Opinion providers by the Vifor Pharma Board of Directors. 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 CSL CSL is a leading global biotechnology company with a dynamic portfolio of life-saving medicines, including those that treat hemophilia and immune deficiencies, as well as vaccines to prevent influenza. Since our start in 1916, we have been driven by our promise to save lives using the latest technologies. Today, CSL — including our two businesses, CSL Behring and Seqirus- provides life-saving products to more than 100 countries and employs more than 25,000 people. Our unique combination of commercial strength, R&D focus and operational excellence enables us to identify, develop and deliver innovations so our patients can live life to the fullest.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Omnicell Completes Acquisition of ReCept

Omnicell, Inc. | December 30, 2021

Omnicell, Inc. a leading provider of medication management solutions and adherence tools for health systems and pharmacies, has completed the previously announced acquisition of ReCept Holdings, Inc. The addition of ReCept’s specialty pharmacy management services for health systems, provider groups, and federally qualified health centers expands Omnicell’s Advanced Services portfolio to address the growing and complex specialty pharmacy market. ReCept provides implementation and managed services for health systems and other provider organizations to optimize their specialty pharmacy programs and the related pharmaceutical aspects of patient care. This total solution supports on-site management, including payor contracting, staffing, licensing, quality assurance, 340B administration, and preferred pricing agreements designed to improve margin and profitability, while keeping the patient at the center of care. “ReCept’s specialty pharmacy management services capabilities naturally complement Omnicell’s intelligent infrastructure, giving us deeper expertise to address the growing market need for managing complex specialty medications as part of a broader, more comprehensive medication management strategy,” Randall Lipps, chairman, president, CEO, and founder of Omnicell Under the terms of the purchase agreement, the acquisition price was $100 million, subject to customary adjustments, as provided for in the agreement and plan of merger. The ReCept business that is being acquired recorded annual recurring revenue of $24 million (unaudited) for the 12 months ended September 30, 2021, and is expected to accelerate Omnicell’s Advanced Services revenue growth. Omnicell used cash on its balance sheet to fund the transaction, which is expected to be accretive to Omnicell’s non-GAAP EBITDA beginning in the first quarter of 2023. About Omnicell Since 1992, Omnicell has been committed to transforming the pharmacy care delivery model to dramatically improve outcomes and lower costs. Through the vision of the autonomous pharmacy, a combination of automation, intelligence, and technology-enabled services, powered by a cloud data platform, Omnicell supports more efficient ways to manage medications across all care settings. Over 7,000 facilities worldwide use Omnicell automation and analytics solutions to help increase operational efficiency, reduce medication errors, deliver actionable intelligence, and improve patient safety. More than 60,000 institutional and retail pharmacies across North America and the United Kingdom leverage Omnicell's innovative medication adherence and population health solutions to improve patient engagement and adherence to prescriptions, helping to reduce costly hospital readmissions.

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RESEARCH

Hemogenyx Pharmaceuticals and Selexis SA Will Advance Hemogenyx’s Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) CDX Bispecific Antibody to Human Trials

Hemogenyx Pharmaceuticals plc | January 13, 2022

Hemogenyx Pharmaceuticals plc the biopharmaceutical group developing new therapies and treatments for blood diseases, and Selexis SA, a JSR Life Sciences company, have signed a service agreement to develop the cell line for Hemogenyx’s CDX bispecific antibody for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Under the agreement, Hemogenyx will leverage Selexis’ proprietary SUREtechnology Platform™, a suite of cell line development tools and technologies that significantly reduces the time, effort, and costs associated with developing high-performance mammalian cell lines. The CDX bispecific is made using the Hemogenyx’s proprietary humanised monoclonal antibody against a target on the surface of AML cells. CDX was co-developed by Hemogenyx Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly and Company (“Lilly”). This cutting-edge application of immune therapy offers a potentially more benign and effective form of treatment that, if successful, could have a significant impact on treatment and survival rates for AML. CDX is planned to be the Company’s second therapeutic candidate to enter clinical trials. Following the completion of the co-development phase, Lilly granted the Company an exclusive worldwide license to certain intellectual property developed by Lilly related to the CDX bispecific antibody for all uses, including the treatment of AML and other blood cancers. “We are delighted to partner with Selexis, and access its proprietary protein expression tools and technologies, IP and know-how. The partnership is key to advancing our CDX programme into clinical trials and accelerating the timeline to deliver this innovative therapy to patients in need of a more benign and effective treatment for AML.” Dr. Vladislav Sandler, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Hemogenyx Pharmaceuticals Mr. Dirk Lange, CEO of Selexis, added, “There’s an urgent need for effective treatments for AML, and we at Selexis are pleased to apply our technologies to help Hemogenyx advance the CDX bispecific antibody to the clinic. We’ve built a reputation for delivering cell lines rapidly and cost-effectively, without compromising safety. This is an exciting milestone for Hemogenyx and we welcome the opportunity to join the company on its journey toward delivering a promising and effective therapy for patients with AML.” Selexis’ modular SUREtechnology Platform™ facilitates the rapid, stable, and cost-effective production of recombinant proteins and vaccines, providing seamless integration of the development continuum from discovery to commercialization. About Hemogenyx Pharmaceuticals plc Hemogenyx Pharmaceuticals is a publicly traded company headquartered in London, with its US operating subsidiaries, Hemogenyx Pharmaceuticals LLC and Immugenyx LLC, located in New York City at its state-of-the-art research facility. The Company is a pre-clinical stage biopharmaceutical group developing new medicines and treatments to treat blood and autoimmune disease and to bring the curative power of bone marrow transplantation to a greater number of patients suffering from otherwise incurable life-threatening diseases. Hemogenyx Pharmaceuticals is developing several distinct and complementary product candidates, as well as a platform technology that it uses as an engine for novel product development. For more than 50 years, bone marrow transplantation has been used to save the lives of patients suffering from blood diseases. The risks of toxicity and death that are associated with bone marrow transplantation, however, have meant that the procedure is restricted to use only as a last resort. The Company’s technology has the potential to enable many more patients suffering from devastating blood diseases such as leukemia and lymphoma, as well as severe autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, aplastic anemia and systemic lupus erythematosus (Lupus), to benefit from bone marrow transplantation. About Selexis SA Selexis SA, a JSR Life Sciences company, is the global leader in cell line development with best-in-class modular technology and highly specialized solutions that enable the life sciences industry to rapidly discover, develop and commercialize innovative medicines and vaccines. Our global partners are utilizing Selexis technologies to advance more than 146 drug candidates in preclinical and clinical development and the manufacture of eight commercial products. As part of a comprehensive drug development process, the Company’s technologies shorten development timelines and reduce manufacturing risks.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Iktos and The University of Dundee, Drug Discovery Unit (DDU) Announce a Collaboration to Use AI for Drug Design and Retrosyntheis

Iktos | December 20, 2021

Iktos, a company specialized in Artificial Intelligence for new drug design, and The Drug Discovery Unit (DDU), School of Life Sciences, The University of Dundee, focused on the discovery of therapeutics for neglected diseases and the translation of novel biology through small molecule drug discovery, announced entering a collaboration to apply Iktos’s generative modelling artificial intelligence (AI) technology in one of DDU’s drug discovery programs. Under the agreement, Iktos will apply its de novo ligand and structure-based generative modelling technologies, its AI-based retrosynthesis analysis and planning tool Spaya™, and know-how complementing DDU’s drug discovery capabilities to expedite the identification of potential pre-clinical candidates and to identify additional novel chemical matter with suitable properties. The DDU was established in 2006 to respond to a lack of drug targets identified for neglected tropical diseases being translated into therapeutics for diseases impacting the poorest people in the world. The DDU translates basic science into lead compounds to validate putative drug targets, to use as tools to investigate disease pathways and, when appropriate, advance to pre-clinical drug candidates for multiple diseases, e.g. TB and cancer. Iktos’s AI technology, based on deep generative models, helps to bring new insights and directions into the drug discovery process based on a comprehensive data-driven chemical structure generation technology. This technology automatically designs virtual novel molecules with all of the characteristics of a successful drug molecule. This approach, validated through Iktos’s other collaborations, is a novel solution to one of the key challenges in drug design: rapid identification of molecules that simultaneously satisfy multiple parameters, such as potency, selectivity, safety, and project-specific properties. This approach uniquely enables the exploration of chemical space and produces innovative molecule designs with greater freedom to operate. Iktos has recently diversified its R&D efforts into the development of an AI technology for retrosynthesis. Identifying and selecting synthetic pathways is one of the most challenging and time-consuming tasks in synthetic and medicinal chemistry. Iktos has developed AI based retrosynthesis analysis and planning tool Spaya™ by harnessing the power of data-driven retrosynthesis algorithm for systematic exploration and prioritisation of synthetic routes for a desired compound in minutes. “We are thrilled to be working with Iktos to drive our projects towards drug candidates. Iktos AI platform combined with our own in-house computational and medicinal chemistry design teams provide a powerful combination for innovative new drug design.” Professor Paul Wyatt, Head of the DDU “We are thrilled and proud to join forces with DDU with the aim to help in the discovery of therapeutics for neglected diseases and the translation of novel biology through small molecule drug discovery,” commented Yann Gaston-Mathé, President and CEO of Iktos. “Pleased to have earned DDU’s trust, we are confident that together with DDU and their established R&D partners, we will be able to identify promising novel chemical matter and solve complex multiparametric optimisation problems. The feedback from DDU’s research team will be highly valuable as we improve our product offerings. Our strategy has always been to tackle challenging problems alongside our collaborators where we can demonstrate value generation for new and on-going drug discovery projects.” About DDU The Drug Discovery Unit (DDU) (est. 2006) within the School of Life Sciences at The University of Dundee is a fully integrated, Biotech-style, drug discovery centre working across multiple disease areas. The DDU collaborates with partners to translate world-class biology research into novel drug targets and candidate drugs to address unmet medical need. About Iktos Incorporated in October 2016, Iktos is a French start-up company specialized in the development of artificial intelligence solutions applied to chemical research, more specifically medicinal chemistry and new drug design. Iktos is developing a proprietary and innovative solution based on deep learning generative models, which enables, using existing data, to design molecules that are optimized in silico to meet all the success criteria of a small molecule discovery project. The use of Iktos technology enables major productivity gains in upstream pharmaceutical R&D. Iktos offers its technology both as professional services and as a SaaS software platform, Makya™. Iktos is also developing Spaya™, a synthesis planning software based upon Iktos’s proprietary AI technology for retrosynthesis.

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CIO’s and IT professionals in healthcare organizations are tasked with achieving a balance between the demand for universal access to information and the need to ensure security. In particular, four critical challenges these organizations face in terms of striking this balance include the following

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