Charity backs R&D into Parkinson’s drugs targeting mitochondria

Pharmaphorum | July 01, 2019

The charity Parkinson’s UK has struck a £1 million partnership with NRG Therapeutics to develop drugs targeted at mitochondria that could protect cells producing dopamine, which have been damaged by the condition. The research will build on recent discoveries showing a direct link between mitochondrial dysfunction and the loss of dopamine cells. Parkinson’s UK will invest up to £1 million in NRG Therapeutics to develop and translate this research into a potential therapeutic drug. NRG Therapeutics is a new UK-based biotech developing novel drugs acting through preservation of mitochondrial function, targeting degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease and motor neuron disease. Dr Arthur Roach, director of research at Parkinson’s UK, has joined the board of NRG Therapeutics as a non-executive director. He said: “We all know there is a tremendous need to find better treatments for Parkinson’s that can slow down the progression of the condition. This pioneering research could be the first step towards identifying molecules that can protect mitochondria within dopamine-producing cells. “I look forward to working with them as we strive to reach our goal of bringing forward better treatments and finding a cure for Parkinson’s.” Dr Neil Miller, CEO of NRG Therapeutics, said: “We welcome this endorsement of our scientific strategy and look forward to partnering with Parkinson’s UK in developing first-in-class molecules for the disease-modifying treatment of Parkinson’s.” Mitochondria are the powerhouses of cells and manage large amounts of calcium ions that continually flow into the cell when it is active, but can become toxic if not removed. When mitochondria become overloaded with calcium and stop producing energy effectively, a pore in the mitochondria – known as the mitochondrial permeability transition pore – is opened.

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ApiJect Announces Investment by Royalty Pharma and Jefferies

ApiJect Systems Corp. | May 19, 2022

ApiJect Holdings, Inc., the parent company of ApiJect Systems, Corp., a medical technology public-benefit corporation transforming the fill and finish and delivery of injectable vaccines and medicines, announced today that it had completed a $111 million private round of investment. This investment round values ApiJect at approximately $300 million. The new round was led by Royalty Pharma and Jefferies Financial Group (NYSE: JEF), which acquired a revenue interest in addition to equity. Jefferies and ApiJect's other lenders also converted all of their debt into ApiJect equity, such that following this transaction, ApiJect has no debt on its balance sheet. The funds will be used for continued development of ApiJect's proprietary Blow-Fill-Seal (BFS) plastic prefilled injection system, to deploy its equipment and proprietary technologies to licensees, and for general working capital purposes. Royalty Pharma and Jefferies are represented on ApiJect's Board of Directors, along with ApiJect co-founders Jay Walker and Marc Koska, and Hanjin In, the CEO of Tae-Chang Industrial Co., Ltd., ApiJect's South Korean cannula supplier. ApiJect is developing an innovative portfolio of drug delivery devices using high-speed BFS manufacturing, which is recognized by the FDA as an advanced aseptic process that forms, fills and seals a single unit dose in a continuous, automated manufacturing step. BFS technology greatly reduces the risk of contamination and error during one of the most critical steps of drug production. BFS is cost-efficient for short and long runs, and highly suitable to scale quickly in order to meet unexpected spikes in demand such as for a rapid response to population-scale health emergencies. Advancements developed by ApiJect for temperature management now enable BFS manufacturing of a vast array of sterile injectable drugs, including ultra-cold mRNA vaccines. "This is an important day for injection device innovation, and, with that, the future health of billions of people throughout the world. The investment provided by Royalty Pharma and Jefferies supports further development of an injection technology that can scale rapidly and efficiently to meet global demand for injectable medicines." ApiJect Chief Executive Officer Jay Walker Mr. Walker further said: "We welcome Royalty Pharma's commitment to the ApiJect mission. Royalty Pharma has a proven track record in selecting successful partners and in assisting in advancing its partners' goals. We could not ask for a better strategic partner from within the pharma industry. In Jefferies, we have a partner that has been with us from virtually the beginning of ApiJect." "We are delighted to form this win-win partnership with ApiJect," said Pablo Legorreta, Royalty Pharma's Founder and Chief Executive Officer. "The global pandemic highlighted the clear unmet need for a new kind of prefilled syringe that can be rapidly produced to respond to public health threats, and at massive scale that would be capable of delivering hundreds of millions, potentially billions, of doses to people in the U.S. as well as globally. ApiJect is developing a truly innovative technology, that could transform the manufacturing and delivery of life-saving injectable drugs in a way that would also make these medicines safer and more readily accessible for patients around the world." "We are proud of our association with ApiJect and believe strongly that their solutions will be a positive gamechanger in many of the most critical aspects of improving health globally," said Rich Handler, CEO of Jefferies. The first potential device made on the ApiJect Platform is the Prefilled ApiJect Injector, a single-dose prefilled injector designed to efficiently deliver a 0.5mL dose into a patient with a simple squeeze of the BFS container by the healthcare professional. This new type of prefilled injector will be ApiJect's first product submitted for regulatory review and approval. The Prefilled ApiJect Injector and its manufacturing process include An aseptically filled single-dose container, designed to enable efficient and intuitive injection administration. A pen-needle-style hub that turns the BFS container into an injection device. Innovations in temperature management to expand the range of medicines and vaccines suitable for BFS packaging. ApiJect recently launched its Technology Development Center in the greater Orlando area to bring to the U.S. critical capabilities for device design and engineering, and BFS mold development, as well as for small-scale manufacturing of single-dose, prefilled injectors and other injectable devices. Its purpose is to dramatically reduce the time and processes necessary for product development. ApiJect's Technology Development Center supports the company's existing fill-finish lines at its manufacturing partner site in South Carolina, which currently has the capacity to produce up to 540 million single-dose prefilled injectors annually. About ApiJect Systems ApiJect Systems, Corp., is a public-benefit medical technology company working to use our platform to bring more prefilled, single-dose injections to patients everywhere. The ApiJect Platform enables pharmaceutical and biotech companies to design scalable prefilled injectors and efficiently fill-finish them with their injectable drug products. This can be done either on one of their own Blow-Fill-Seal packaging lines with ApiJect-licensed technology, or at one of ApiJect's world-class manufacturing partners.

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Hyfe Joins Forces with Merck to Deploy Its Artificial Intelligence-Powered Cough Detection and Counting Technology

Hyfe, Inc. | July 20, 2022

Hyfe, Inc., the global leader in AI-powered cough detection, tracking and classification, has entered into an agreement with Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, to integrate its artificial intelligence-powered (AI) cough tracker technology into Merck’s consumer disease educational efforts.. Hyfe’s AI-powered technology passively and remotely monitors the number of times a person coughs and the sound of the cough through any smart device, such as a mobile phone. This data collected over time provides the user with helpful information by revealing patterns and potential triggers like seasonal allergies that may be causing the cough that would otherwise go unnoticed or unaddressed. “The overwhelming majority of people cannot even come close to accurately estimating the number of times they cough per day. In order to help diagnose and treat patients, cough frequency and sound should be monitored and measured with the same accuracy as blood pressure, temperature, heartbeat and other biomarkers that are essential for assessing health and medical conditions.” Peter Small, M.D., chief medical officer of Hyfe, Inc Users of the app will be able to determine when and how long to track their coughing. The AI-powered technology records cough-related sounds and allows the user to compare the frequency and quality of their coughs against their own benchmark. This personalized approach provides users with more detailed information and confidential data about their individual situations to share with their health care providers. Hyfe, Inc. is the global leader in AI-powered cough detection and classification that provides insight into cough patterns and correlations that can greatly improve treatment and prevention. With more than 280 million samples, Hyfe maintains the largest cough dataset in the world enabling the building of powerful models to track, manage and diagnose respiratory illnesses. Hyfe provides platforms and data for pharmaceutical companies, medical researchers, government agencies, health care providers and patients and has partnerships with leading academic institutions including Johns Hopkins University and the University of California at San Francisco. The company was founded in 2020 and is headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware.

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SoniVie receives IDE approval from FDA for its Pilot study to treat Hypertension with its Renal Artery Denervation TIVUS™ technology

SoniVie | June 20, 2022

SoniVie, an Israeli company developing a novel proprietary Therapeutic Intra-Vascular Ultrasound System to treat a variety of hypertensive disorders, announced that on May 5th 2022 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted IDE approval for its "REDUCED1" Pilot study to treat Resistant Hypertension Patients with Renal Artery Denervation using TIVUS™, its innovative Ultra-Sound Ablation System. Resistant hypertension is defined as blood pressure higher than 140/90 mmHg despite use of three antihypertensive medications of different classes at the best tolerated doses, one of which must be a diuretic. Millions of people world-wide suffer from resistant hypertension which substantially increases the risk of heart attack, stroke and kidney failure. "We are very pleased that FDA has approved the REDUCED1 study. Sites initiation has started, and many clinical teams have responded very favourably about participating to the study. There is a significant number of patients that may benefit from our technology and we are genuinely happy for this important step towards the introduction of TIVUS™ in the US. There is a lack of effective therapeutic solutions for patients suffering from resistant hypertension, and physicians are looking forward to a safe, effective and easy to use device treatment," Christian Spaulding, CMO, SoniVie Ltd "This is a significant US Regulatory milestone for SoniVie, starting the feasibility study using the Ultra-Sound ablation platform in the US for the Renal Denervation indication. This is a major step and priority in the company's history," says Tomaso Zambelli, CEO, SoniVie LTD. The REDUCED1 study will further expand the Company's clinical experience based on two clinical trials in Renal Denervation performed using the earlier generation of the TIVUS™. Renal Denervation with TIVUS™ is a minimally invasive procedure that uses high-frequency non-focused Ultra-Sound energy to ablate nerves in the renal artery. This causes a reduction in the nerve activity, which may decrease blood pressure. This procedure is designed for patients who suffer from resistant hypertension. About SoniVie SoniVie is a medical device company developing the TIVUS™, the only Ultra-Sound Denervation platform with active development programs in three therapeutic areas: pulmonary artery denervation for pulmonary hypertension, renal artery denervation for resistant hypertension, and lung denervation for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with chronic bronchitis. These diseases affect millions of patients in the United States and Europe.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Akorn Announces FDA-approved Generic Cetrorelix Acetate for Injection 0.25 mg

Akorn Pharmaceuticals | August 17, 2022

Akorn Operating Company LLC, a specialty pharmaceutical company, announces that it received FDA approval for a generic version of Cetrorelix Acetate for Injection, 0.25 mg. This is the first approved AP-Rated bioequivalent version of Merck Serono's Cetrotide®.1 "We are pleased to announce the first approved AP-rated generic option for women receiving fertility treatments. As an increasing number of infants are being conceived via the use of ART, Akorn is excited to be able to offer a competitively priced option to support women who undergo this series of treatments. This is a welcome addition to our portfolio of more than 200 specialty and injectable generics." Akorn President and CEO Douglas Boothe Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) is defined as fertility treatments where eggs or embryos are handled for the purpose of establishing a pregnancy. 2 The FDA granted Akorn a Competitive Generic Therapy (CGT) designation for Cetrorelix, a designation intended to incentivize effective development, efficient review, and timely market entry of drugs for which there is inadequate generic competition. As the first approved applicant with the CGT designation, Akorn's Cetrorelix is eligible for 180 days of CGT market exclusivity, which will begin to run from the commercial launch of Cetrorelix. According to IQVIA, U.S. sales of Cetrorelix through June of 2022 were approximately $63 million with full year U.S. sales projection of approximately $127 million. About Cetrorelix Acetate for Injection 0.25 mg Cetrorelix is used to prevent premature ovulation during controlled ovarian stimulation. Cetrorelix blocks the effects of a natural hormone, called gonadotropin‐releasing hormone (GnRH). GnRH controls the secretion of another hormone, called luteinizing hormone (LH), which induces ovulation during the menstrual cycle. During hormone treatment for ovarian stimulation, premature ovulation may lead to eggs that are not suitable for fertilization. Cetrorelix Acetate for Injection blocks such undesirable premature ovulation. About Akorn Akorn Operating Company LLC, develops, manufactures and markets specialty pharmaceuticals. Since 1971, as an industry leader in generic products in alternate dosage forms such as ophthalmics, injectables, oral liquids, otics, topicals, inhalants and nasal sprays, we focus each day on our mission to improve lives, through the quality, availability and affordability of our products.

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Biovian provides top-level, reliable and high-quality contract development and manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals. Biovian’s versatile service offering supports contract development and manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals using microbial, mammalian and viral production platforms. The products manufactured at Biovian include recombinant proteins, antibodies and gene therapy vectors, to name a few example

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