China turns Roche arthritis drug Actemra against COVID-19 in new treatment guidelines

FiercePharma | March 04, 2020

Some patients infected with the novel coronavirus can develop uncontrolled immune response, leading to potentially life-threatening damage to lung tissue. After seeing promising results in clinical practice, Chinese authorities now recommend a Roche arthritis drug to tackle that rampage. Roche’s blockbuster Actemra, first approved by the U.S. FDA in 2010 for rheumatoid arthritis, can now be used to treat serious coronavirus patients with lung damage, China’s National Health Commission said in its updated treatment guidelines (Chinese) for COVID-19 released Wednesday. The Swiss drugmaker has donated CNY 14 million ($2 million) worth of Actemra to China, its local operations said in a blog post (Chinese) Monday, as the country continues to seek out older drugs that may help battle the disease at its epicenter.

Spotlight

Pharmaceutical quality affects every American. FDA regulates the quality of pharmaceuticals very carefully. The main regulatory standard for ensuring pharmaceutical quality is the Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMPs) regulation for human pharmaceuticals. Consumers expect that each batch of medicines they take will meet quality standards so that they will be safe and effective. Most people, however, are not aware of CGMPs, or how FDA assures that drug manufacturing processes meet these basic objectives. Recently, FDA has announced a number of regulatory actions taken against drug manufacturers based on the lack of CGMPs. This paper discusses some facts that may be helpful in understanding how CGMPs establish the foundation for drug product quality.


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PHARMA TECH

AeroRx Partners with HCmed to Develop a Nebulized LABA/LAMA Combination Solution for the Treatment of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

AeroRx Partners | October 03, 2022

AeroRx Therapeutics, LLC. and HCmed Innovations Co., Ltd. have initiated a collaboration, introducing a LABA/LAMA combination solution for delivery with a breath-actuated nebulizer. This collaboration sets forth the framework by which both companies will work together to develop a new nebulized combination formulation for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. According to market reports, it is estimated that there would be close to 34.5 million COPD patients worldwide by 2028, accounting for treatment global sales that could reach up to 19.3 billion USD. AeroRx is currently developing the first nebulized LABA/LAMA combination solution, which could benefit 7-19% of the COPD population. This population group is characterized for suffering from moderate to severe airflow obstruction, which creates difficulties to achieve the inspiratory flow rate required to use most dry powder inhalers optimally. Under this partnership, AeroRx will be responsible for the formulation development, clinical trials, and commercialization of the drug product, while HCmed will be responsible for the customization of the AdheResp breath-actuated nebulizer platform, analyzing and optimizing the formulation's aerosol characterization performance to accommodate the various stages of drug development process and the final combination product. The project will follow a 505(b)2 regulatory pathway, and the corresponding PK/PD study is expected to be conducted with HCmed's nebulizer in 2023. "We are excited to announce our partnership with AeroRx. The AeroRx team has extensive experience in the development of respiratory drugs, while at HCmed we can support our partners to develop drug-nebulizer combination products with our proprietary breath-actuated mesh nebulizer platform. The product of our collaboration will provide COPD patients with an effective inhaled LABA/LAMA combination drug, which will reinforce patients' treatment adherence and improve their quality of life." Jason Cheng, CEO and founder of HCmed Keith Ung, President and co-founder of AeroRx also commented, "We too are enthusiastic about this partnership. Breath-actuated vibrating mesh delivery of inhaled therapeutics is the wave of the future for many therapeutics and HCmed has become one of the leaders in this elegant inhaler device technology." About HCmed Founded in 2014, HCmed Innovations Co., Ltd. is a contract development and manufacturing organization that provides high-quality and cost-effective vibrating mesh nebulizer technology and services to support global pharmaceutical partners in the development of drug-nebulizer combination products for inhalation therapy. HCmed offers a mature customizable mesh nebulizer platform to enhance drug delivery. This technology enables efficient and reliable nebulization of different types of medication, ranging from small molecule synthetics to large molecule biologics, as either solutions, suspensions, or even difficult-to-deliver high viscosity drugs. About AeroRx Founded in 2022, AeroRx Therapeutics, LLC. is a spin-off of iPharma Lab's inhalation CDRO business which was recently acquired by Kindeva Drug Delivery. AeroRx is developing proprietary inhaled products for the treatment of COPD and asthma. The company is led by industry veterans with extensive expertise in inhaled drug delivery and development as well as a track record in building new pharmaceuticals organizations from the ground up.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Illuccix® Available on High Activity Gallium Generator Technology to Meet High Demand

Telix Pharmaceuticals Limited | November 23, 2022

Telix Pharmaceuticals Limited announces Illuccix® with up to 50mCi for radiolabeling is available for use on 100mCi gallium generators, an important development in radioisotope production. High activity generators from Eckert & Ziegler Strahlen- und Medizintechnik AG increase activity from 50mCi to 100mCi and will be integral to expanding patient access to gallium-based radiopharmaceuticals as demand for PSMA-PET imaging in the United States continues to grow. This technology increases the number of daily elutions and activity in each elution, enabling hospitals and radiopharmacies to increase the number of daily doses produced, expand their service area and gain greater production efficiency. "As the only commercially available kit that can take advantage of high activity generators for up to 50mCi radiolabeling, Illuccix gives hospitals, pharmacies, and physicians added confidence that their dose scheduling needs – and the needs of their patients – can be met today and in the future as the potential of 68Ga PSMA-11 is realized in the diagnostic market. We are pleased to continue our collaborative relationships with IRE ELiT and EZAG to continue to make 68Ga PSMA-11 accessible and convenient to use for customers across the United States." Dr. Christian Behrenbruch, Group CEO and Managing Director of Telix Jay Simon, Managing Director of Eckert and Ziegler North America said, "The high activity GalliaPharm® generator may allow for broader availability and expanded service areas. It is about delivering doses when and where they are needed, whether you're a remotely located clinic, a busy metropolitan hospital or a pharmacy. We are pleased to be working with Telix to harness this innovation to maximize the efficiency for our customers and ultimately, their patients." Jean Bonnet, Head of Sales, Strategy and Marketing at IRE Group said, "While current generator technology is sufficient to meet today's demands, the rollout of the higher activity 100mCi generators are future-proofing the ability to meet demand in a market which is growing exponentially. The use of high activity generators has the potential to increase daily elutions and increase the activity in each elution. When radiolabeled up to 50mCi with Illuccix, the result could potentially provide more flexibilitty in meeting the growing demand for 68Ga radiopharmaceuticals while giving customers the benefit of greater dose scheduling flexibility and efficient production." About Telix Pharmaceuticals Limited Telix is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialisation of diagnostic and therapeutic radiopharmaceuticals. Telix is headquartered in Melbourne, Australia with international operations in the United States, Europe (Belgium and Switzerland), and Japan. Telix is developing a portfolio of clinical-stage products that aims to address significant unmet medical need in oncology and rare diseases. Telix is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

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PHARMA TECH

Bexson Biomedical and Stevanato Group Awarded PDA Drug Delivery Innovation Award

Bexson Biomedical | October 20, 2022

Bexson Biomedical, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on disrupting the $189 billion small molecule injectable market and enabling home health solutions, announced Bexson and Stevanato Group a leading global provider of drug containment and delivery solutions to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and life sciences industries, have been jointly awarded the Parenteral Drug Association's 2022 Drug Delivery Innovation Partnership Award. At PDA's annual conference in Palm Springs, CA on October 18th, PDA's leadership presented the award to Bexson Biomedical's Sr. VP of Drug Delivery, Sheldon Moberg, and to Stevanato Group's DDS Business Development Director, Paolo Golfetto. This award recognizes the collaboration between Bexson Biomedical and Stevanato Group to optimize Stevanato Group's innovative wearable device On Body Delivery System with Bexson's formulation technology. OBDS is a wearable infusion device that allows controlled drug dosing and delivery over extended durations, and which is positioned to enable patient therapy in the home setting. "I am pleased PDA has recognized the collaborative approach that Bexson Biomedical and Stevanato Group have taken to develop this innovative device for non-opioid pain management. In addition, merging Bexson's SEVALENT™ formulation technology with Stevanato Group's vertically integrated development capabilities has been a very rewarding program, and has great potential beyond the initial therapy." Bexson's Sheldon Moberg "It is an honor for Stevanato Group to receive this award, which recognizes the long collaboration with Bexson," adds Stevanato Group's, Paolo Golfetto. "Our work will continue to extend Stevanato Group's OBDS wearable device to additional therapeutic areas with Bexson's formulation platform. The common goal remains to offer patients more flexible and comfortable treatment modalities, reducing the impact on quality of life, along with overall treatment costs for pharmaceutical companies." Bexson Biomedical, Inc. Bexson Biomedical, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on disrupting the small molecule injectable market and enabling home health solutions through new formulations designed for subcutaneous delivery. Bexson's proprietary platform, SEVALENT™, can be applied to small molecules across a broad range of drug classes, enabling IV therapies to be delivered subcutaneously. Bexson's lead therapy, BB106, is a low-dose ketamine treatment for post-operative pain management, a $36B global market and leading driver of opioid addiction. Additionally, management believes its BB106 formulation technology can be utilized to address various mental health indications. Stevanato Group Founded in 1949, Stevanato Group is a leading global provider of drug containment, drug delivery and diagnostic solutions to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and life sciences industries. The Group delivers an integrated, end-to-end portfolio of products, processes and services that address customer needs across the entire drug life cycle at each of the development, clinical and commercial stages. Stevanato Group's core capabilities in scientific research and development, its commitment to technical innovation and its engineering excellence are central to its ability to offer value added solutions to clients.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Iterative Scopes Receives FDA Clearance for AI-Assisted Polyp Detection Device SKOUT™

Iterative Scopes | September 23, 2022

Iterative Scopes, a pioneer in precision medicine technologies for gastroenterology, and Provation, the premier software and SaaS provider of clinical productivity and workflow automation solutions, announced that SKOUT™ has received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for adults undergoing colorectal cancer screening or surveillance. SKOUT, a real-time computer-aided polyp detection device developed by Iterative Scopes, uses advanced computer vision technology designed to recognize suspicious tissue and provide real-time feedback to gastroenterologists. The device was evaluated in the largest U.S.-based multicenter clinical study for a computer aided polyp detection (CADe) device completed to date, which determined that SKOUT significantly improved overall adenoma detection in screening and surveillance colonoscopy compared to standard colonoscopy.1 In March 2021, Provation and Iterative Scopes entered a partnership focused on delivering artificial intelligence-based solutions to healthcare providers and researchers. Provation is a market leader in gastrointestinal (GI) documentation, with more than 3,500 customer facilities including 80% of the top academic and large health systems, and the company will act as an exclusive distributor of SKOUT to help broaden the technology’s reach among the country’s top GI-focused organizations. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and Europe,2 3 due in part to the high volumes of adenomas – approximately 26%4 – that endoscopists miss when conducting a colonoscopy. In its registration trial, SKOUT was found to improve adenoma detection, as measured by adenomas per colonoscopy (APC). Furthermore, increased detection was not limited to diminutive polyps. Higher APC rates have been shown to lead to improved patient outcomes; a recent study showed that the incidence of colorectal cancer within three years of examination decreases with higher APC rates.5 “Even among the best endoscopists, there is room for improvement in adenoma detection, which can impact patient outcomes. We are enthusiastic about the fact that even gastroenterologists with an already high baseline rate of adenoma detection demonstrated an improvement with SKOUT. Now that SKOUT is FDA-cleared, clinicians will be able to better detect adenomas with more efficiency, and ultimately change the standard of gastrointestinal care.” Sloane Allebes Phillips, VP of Clinical Operations at Iterative Scopes SKOUT is indicated as a computer-aided detection tool to assist qualified and trained endoscopists in identifying potential colorectal polyps during colonoscopy examinations in adult patients undergoing colorectal cancer screening or surveillance. SKOUT demonstrated a 27% relative increase in the detection of adenomas per colonoscopy, with an average of one additional adenoma resected for every 4.5 patients examined. Importantly, in the proximal colon, SKOUT demonstrated a 44% relative increase in 5-9 mm polyp detection, and a 29% relative increase in 5-9 mm polyp detection overall.1 These results validate the need for technological advancements that can help improve colonoscopies, and SKOUT’s artificial intelligence capabilities position it to do so. “Knowing that patients can walk away from their appointment with the confidence that they received a high quality and detailed colonoscopy is what excites us most about SKOUT’s FDA clearance,” said Aasma Shaukat, MD, MPH, Robert M. and Mary H. Glickman Professor of Medicine and Gastroenterology at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, and a primary investigator on the SKOUT registration study. “Confidence and peace-of-mind on behalf of providers and patients alike will allow clinicians to provide stronger recommendations and solutions for their patients.” “We are thrilled that our partner Iterative Scopes has received FDA clearance for their AI-Assisted Polyp Detection device, SKOUT. We have been very impressed with its study results and are eager to share our vision for integrating this technology into our solutions,” said Daniel Hamburger, CEO at Provation. “SKOUT is a true game-changer for the field of gastroenterology, and we can’t wait to start seeing its impact on patient care.” SKOUT’s intuitive user interface seamlessly integrates with existing clinical workflows and does not increase total procedure or withdrawal time.1 When a potential polyp is detected, the system calls attention to the polyp on the procedure monitor by drawing a blue bounding box around it and tracking the polyp as it moves on the screen. If a medical tool enters the frame, the bounding box automatically disappears to avoid obstructing the physician’s view during polyp removal. About Iterative Scopes Iterative Scopes is a pioneer in the application of artificial intelligence-based precision medicine for gastroenterology with the aim of helping to optimize clinical trials investigating treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The technology is also designed to potentially enhance colorectal cancer screenings. Its powerful, proprietary artificial intelligence and computer vision technologies have the potential to improve the accuracy and consistency of endoscopy readings. Iterative Scopes is initially applying these advances to impact polyp detection for colorectal cancer screenings and working to standardize disease severity characterization for inflammatory bowel disease. Longer term, the company plans to establish more meaningful endpoints for GI diseases, which may be better predictors of therapeutic response and disease outcomes. Spun out of MIT in 2017, the company is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. About Provation Provation is a leading provider of healthcare software and SaaS solutions for clinical productivity, care coordination, quality reporting, and billing. Our purpose is to empower providers to deliver quality healthcare for all. Provation’s comprehensive portfolio spans the entire patient encounter, from pre-procedure through post-procedure, with solutions for physician and nursing documentation anesthesia documentation patient engagement, surgical care coordination, quality reporting, and billing capture order set and care plan management and EHR embedded clinical documentation. Provation has a loyal customer base, serving more than 5,000 hospitals, surgery centers, and medical offices, and 700 physician groups globally, including 19 of the top 20 U.S. hospitals. In 2021, Provation was acquired by Fortive Corporation, a Fortune 1000 company that builds essential technology and accelerates transformation in high-impact fields like workplace safety, engineering, and healthcare.

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Spotlight

Pharmaceutical quality affects every American. FDA regulates the quality of pharmaceuticals very carefully. The main regulatory standard for ensuring pharmaceutical quality is the Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMPs) regulation for human pharmaceuticals. Consumers expect that each batch of medicines they take will meet quality standards so that they will be safe and effective. Most people, however, are not aware of CGMPs, or how FDA assures that drug manufacturing processes meet these basic objectives. Recently, FDA has announced a number of regulatory actions taken against drug manufacturers based on the lack of CGMPs. This paper discusses some facts that may be helpful in understanding how CGMPs establish the foundation for drug product quality.

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