Cognizant joins forces with Zenith to digitise pharma manufacturing

pharmaphorum | June 19, 2019

Professional services firm Cognizant has struck a deal to buy Zenith Technologies, a privately-held life sciences manufacturing technology company specialising in digital technologies to manage, control and optimise drug and medical device production. Cognizant, which said it already works with the top 30 largest life science companies in the world, did not reveal the financial details of the deal to buy Zenith, based in Cork, Ireland. Under the new arrangements Zenith Technologies’ more than 800 employees will become part of Cognizant’s Life Sciences business unit. Cognizant said that interconnected “smart factories” have become a strategic priority for pharma, with production systems and processes becoming more complex because of research advances and increased demand for large-molecule biologics. The combined Cognizant-Zenith Technologies expertise will deliver a range of “Industry 4.0” capabilities, the companies said. These include factory design consultation, machine sensor and controller instrumentation, supervisory control, and data acquisition, to manufacturing execution systems, batch automation, enterprise resource planning integration and managed services.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Suvoda and N-SIDE Announce Agreement to Deliver Integrated Clinical Trial Optimization and IRT Solutions for Real-Time Demand Planning

Suvoda LLC | May 13, 2022

Suvoda LLC, a global clinical trial technology company that specializes in complex studies in therapeutic areas such as oncology, central nervous system, and rare disease, today announced they have entered into an agreement to partner with N-SIDE — a deeptech company that empowers organizations in the clinical trials industry to make better decisions and optimize the use of critical resources.  To date, the two companies have successfully partnered on more than 100 clinical trials in drug development, activating machine learning based on real-time data and increased efficiency in trial supply. Suvoda's IRT enables the implementation of optimized resupply strategies with adapted IRT algorithms that seamlessly integrate N-SIDE's forecasting and mathematical optimization recommendations. This results in significant cost savings through reduced drug wastage and accelerated trial timelines. Partnership Delivers Faster Start and Flexible Supply Strategy The most successful forecasting and optimization strategies consider the end-to-end supply chain, including impact assessments of trial design decisions. Efficient strategies — like the ones jointly deployed by N-SIDE and Suvoda — must be carefully evaluated and implemented, and have the flexibility to adapt in real-time to the unknowns that come with clinical trials. "As global clinical trials grow more complex, clinical trial professionals need the right partners and tools to help them gain control and account for the 'what ifs' as quickly as possible. N-SIDE has a history of excellence in clinical supply optimization that is unrivaled in the industry, and Suvoda is known for delivering clinical trial technology solutions that are built to manage change quickly. Our seamless integration and deep expertise will enable study teams to focus on other day-to-day decisions, while giving them peace of mind in their drug supply strategy." Anthony Encarnacao, Vice President, Global Partnerships for Suvoda This partnership allows for the inclusion of a flexible IRT solution during the development of the trial protocol, giving Suvoda greater visibility into the supply chain parameters based on the protocol discussions and finalization. Moving IRT more upstream in the startup process helps mitigate the risks and time constraints associated with last minute IRT implementations. Clients also gain access to N-SIDE's real-time monitoring of recruitments, demands, and inventories, supported by Suvoda's data. Coupled with N-SIDE's optimization, sponsors and CROs will experience an expedited IRT contracting, set-up, and build process, with greater optimization after study go-live. "In a world where decisions are made every day by different teams, with different objectives, it is easy to forget the impact that decisions have outside of one's team," explains Amaury Jeandrain, head of BD engineering at N-SIDE. "We connect clinical operations, supply chain, manufacturing, and IRT to ensure a global optimum that reduces drug waste while increasing patient centricity and accelerating trial timelines. And, working with partners like Suvoda, who understand this challenge and are able to bring flexibility and efficiency within their solutions, is a big step towards this objective." About Suvoda Suvoda is a global clinical trial technology company that specializes in complex, life-sustaining studies in therapeutic areas like oncology, central nervous system (CNS), and rare disease. Founded in 2013 by experts in eClinical technologies, Suvoda empowers clinical trial professionals to manage the most urgent moments in the most urgent trials through advanced software solutions delivered on a single platform. Headquartered outside Philadelphia, Suvoda also maintains offices in Portland, OR, Barcelona, Spain, Bucharest, Romania and Tokyo, Japan. The company consistently boasts a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of close to 70, far exceeding the technology industry average of 50, and has been selected by trial sponsors and CROs to support more than 1000 trials across 65 countries. About N-SIDE N-SIDE is a deeptech company that empowers organizations in the life sciences to make better decisions and optimize the use of critical resources. We're doing so by combining deep industry expertise with applied mathematics and artificial intelligence into easy to use and cutting-edge software that transforms uncertainty and complexity into clear decisions. We have been an active player in clinical trial supply chain management for over 20 years and work with the majority of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies. With our software solution, the N-SIDE Suite, and expert services, we streamline the clinical supply of pharmaceutical and biotech companies by accelerating clinical plans, mitigating risks and curbing drug waste. We empower clinical leaders to make better, faster, and safer decisions for patients waiting for life-changing medications. Our successes on over 10,000 trials include an average of 20%-60% of drug waste and cost reduction, with no delays due to drug shortages and an acceleration of 2-6 months of clinical trial timelines.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

EyePoint Pharmaceuticals Reports Inducement Grants Under NASDAQ Listing Rule 5635(c)(4)

EyePoint Pharmaceuticals, Inc. | April 19, 2022

EyePoint Pharmaceuticals, Inc. a pharmaceutical company committed to developing and commercializing therapeutics to help improve the lives of patients with serious eye disorders, announced that the Company granted non-statutory stock options to new employees as inducement awards outside the Company’s 2016 Long-Term Incentive Plan in accordance with NASDAQ Listing Rule 5635(c)(4). The Company granted stock options to purchase up to an aggregate of 56,500 shares of EyePoint Pharmaceuticals common stock to four new employees. The stock options were granted on April 14, 2022. The grants were approved by the Compensation Committee and made as an inducement material to each employee entering into employment with EyePoint Pharmaceuticals in accordance with NASDAQ Listing Rule 5635(c)(4). The option awards have an exercise price of $12.69 per share, the closing price of EyePoint Pharmaceuticals’ common stock on April 14, 2022. The options have a ten-year term and vest over four years, with 25% of the original number of shares vesting on the first anniversary of the applicable employee’s date of grant and the remainder vesting in equal monthly installments over the following three years. Vesting of the options is subject to the employee’s continued service with EyePoint Pharmaceuticals through the applicable vesting dates. About EyePoint Pharmaceuticals EyePoint Pharmaceuticals is a pharmaceutical company committed to developing and commercializing therapeutics to help improve the lives of patients with serious eye disorders. The Company's pipeline leverages its proprietary Durasert® technology for sustained intraocular drug delivery including EYP-1901, a potential six-month intravitreal anti-VEGF treatment initially targeting wet age-related macular degeneration. Durasert’s proven intravitreal drug delivery platform has been safely administered to thousands of patients' eyes across four U.S. FDA approved products, including YUTIQ® for the treatment of chronic non-infectious uveitis affecting the posterior segment of the eye, which is currently marketed by the Company. EyePoint Pharmaceuticals is headquartered in Watertown, Massachusetts.

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PHARMA TECH

IACTA Pharmaceuticals and TALLC Corporation Announce Strategic Collaboration to Utilize Novel SmartCelle Topical Delivery Technology

IACTA Pharmaceuticals, Inc. | December 16, 2021

IACTA Pharmaceuticals, Inc. an innovation leader in ophthalmic therapeutics, and TALLC Corporation Inc. a pioneering ophthalmology company focused on the growing unmet needs of patients with corneal and retinal conditions, announced that they are entering into a strategic collaboration and licensing agreement. The agreement grants IACTA the use of TALLC’s proprietary SmartCelle™ micellar technology, a novel platform for pan-ocular drug delivery, for future clinical development. IACTA plans to utilize TALLC’s SmartCelle technology to deliver one or more of its novel ophthalmic therapeutics, as well as co-develop new ophthalmology therapeutic candidates that leverage IACTA’s formulation and clinical expertise with TALLC’s novel delivery technology. The collaboration also includes an option agreement, granting IACTA exclusive rights to negotiate a separate license agreement for the right to co-develop TALLC’s lead product candidate TA-A001, a novel anti-inflammatory anti-angiogenic molecule with analgesic properties in various disease state models. “I am thrilled to be able to partner with TALLC, a company with a shared vision focused on addressing the growing and significantly underserved ocular pain market. IACTA was formed with the mission of developing and commercializing innovative ocular therapies through novel compounds and utilizing leading drug delivery technologies, and we view this collaboration as the perfect synergy to realize the full potential of our ophthalmology pipeline. We are excited to explore how best to deploy the SmartCelle technology within our current pipeline, as well as the future co-development opportunities this partnership provides.” Damon Burrows, Chief Executive Officer of IACTA Pharmaceuticals TALLC’s proprietary SmartCelle pan-ocular drug delivery technology employs 30nm micelles that enable delivery of difficult to formulate drugs into corneal and retinal tissues after topical delivery. The company’s pipeline is led by SmartCelle TA-A001, a novel CB2 receptor activator, delivered topically to treat the effects of dry eye syndrome and age-related macular degeneration. “We are delighted to partner with the IACTA team for this important program. IACTA, with its in depth scientific and commercial understanding of the ophthalmic space is an ideal partner for TALLC as we drive towards further commercialization of the SmartCelle platform and TA-A001,” said Damon Smith, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of TALLC. “We look forward to working closely with the IACTA team and to co-developing SmartCelle versions of the IACTA pipeline.” About TALLC, Inc. TALLC is a Montreal-based developer of ophthalmic medicines actively engaged in the commercialization of SmartCelle TA-A001, and its pipeline of SmartCelle-delivered drug candidates, as treatments for acute and chronic inflammation. Focused initially on unmet needs in inflammatory front of eye indications, TALLC plans also to develop SmartCelle TA-A002 and TA-A003 in other chronic conditions including macular degeneration and glaucoma. SmartCelle enables pan ocular delivery of drug candidates by topical application directly to the ocular surface, by injection or by insufflation. About IACTA Pharmaceuticals, Inc. IACTA is an innovation leader in ophthalmic therapeutics, led by former top executives from one of the leading eye care companies in the world. The company currently has four products in development for major market opportunities. IC 800 is a novel, non-opioid, dual enkephalinase inhibitor, being studied for the treatment of acute ocular pain. In addition, IACTA’s IC 265, is a SYK kinase inhibitor being developed as a potential novel treatment for dry eye disease.

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PHARMACY MARKET

Virpax Pharmaceuticals Recaps Milestones and Highlights Product Portfolio

Virpax® Pharmaceuticals, Inc. | December 29, 2021

Virpax® Pharmaceuticals, Inc. "Company" achieved significant milestones relating to its pipeline of product candidates as of the end of 2021, which are summarized below. “I believe that Virpax has made significant progress this past year toward our stated goalsThese accomplishments include accelerated development of our existing product candidates, broadening our pipeline of product candidates, and utilizing grants where appropriate. We recently announced that we anticipate commencing our initial human trial for Epoladerm™ in the second quarter of 2022. Anthony P. Mack, Chairman and CEO of Virpax “Virpax initially focused strictly on pain product candidates. However, our unique Molecular Envelope Technology delivery platform licensed from Nanomerics, Ltd. has enabled the development of product candidates for central nervous system and anti-viral indications. In the second half of 2021, we advanced the development of AnQlar™, a prophylactic, over-the-counter anti-viral product candidate formulated to prevent the spread of respiratory infections like influenza, SARS-CoV-2 and rhinovirus. We added VRP324 which is an intranasally delivered cannabidiol formulation for the management of epilepsy in adults and children. Our Envelta™ IND-enabling studies, completed by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences as a part of our Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, determined that the MET intranasal delivery formulation bypasses the liver which we believe reduces drug-to-drug interaction concerns for treatments using this technology. “On the corporate front, we strengthened our Board by appointing two new members adding expertise in commercialization and financial strategy. Additionally, in 2021 we raised approximately $58 million in aggregate gross proceeds from our initial public offering and an underwritten follow-on public offering. These funds are being used for research and development activities of our product candidates. We are on track to add accomplishments in 2022 and I remain confident that we have the significant financial strength to continue advancing our pipeline,” concluded Mr. Mack. Epoladerm™ Epoladerm is a diclofenac topical spray film product candidate that is being developed for pain associated with osteoarthritis of the knee. Virpax recently reported successful results of a Charles River Laboratories single dose toxicology and pharmacokinetic study of dermal administration of Epoladerm in minipigs as part of the required Investigational New Drug Application enabling trials. Single-dose transdermal delivery of Epoladerm was well-tolerated in all minipigs. There were no treatment-related clinical observations, changes in body weight, or dermal irritation observed. The maximum plasma concentration was reached at 4 hours post-dose, and concentrations of plasma Epoladerm remained at 24-hour post-dose for all animals. Upon completion of all the required IND enabling studies and subsequent review by the FDA, Virpax intends to conduct a Phase 1 study to evaluate the relative bioavailability and pharmacokinetics of Epoladerm™. Virpax recently announced the execution of a clinical trial agreement with Altasciences Company, Inc., to conduct this study in Canada. Virpax anticipates enrollment of the first patient by early second quarter of 2022. Probudur™ Probudur is an injectable bupivacaine liposomal hydrogel for postoperative pain management which Virpax believes has improved onset and extended duration of action compared to existing treatment options. Additional pre-clinical trials are being conducted with Lipocure, the product developer, to improve the formulation to potentially enhance manufacturing efficiencies, prolong duration and extend patent protection. Once completed, we plan to perform seven preclinical animal studies as part of required FDA IND enabling trials. Envelta™ Envelta is an endogenous enkephalin intranasal spray for acute and chronic pain, including pain associated with cancer. This product leverages Nanomeric’s MET platform technology which Virpax licensed to deliver the endogenous enkephalin formulation through an intranasal delivery enabling the enkephalin to permeate the blood-brain barrier while bypassing the liver. This product candidate is being funded through an in-kind CRADA with the NCATS. Virpax recently announced that under this CRADA, the National Institutes of Health has awarded multiple contracts to support the research, development and manufacturing of Envelta. These contracts are to support Good Manufacturing Practices production of drug substance and drug product, as well as to support Good Laboratory Practices toxicology, safety studies and preclinical efficacy studies. The NIH has contracted with a clinical research organization to conduct additional pre-clinical efficacy studies and has procured a device to be used with the manufactured GMP drug product for preclinical and clinical studies. The NIH has also engaged a firm to manufacture Leu-enkephalin, the active ingredient in Envelta, and a company to manufacture the MET carrier that delivers L-ENK to the brain to promptly suppress pain. AnQlar™ AnQlar is a high-density intranasal molecular masking spray in development as an anti-viral OTC product for protection against respiratory infections, such as SARS-CoV-2 and influenza, that Virpax anticipates will be used as an adjuvant to barrier-based personal protective equipment. Virpax recently announced a manufacturing and supply agreement with Seqens to provide AnQlar for both clinical studies and the long-term commercial supply of AnQlar. Additionally, Virpax engaged Sinclair Research to initiate IND-enabling studies for AnQlar. The Company anticipates that these preclinical animal studies will begin in early 2022. VRP324 Virpax has acquired the exclusive worldwide rights from Nanomerics to use its MET platform for the nasal delivery of CBD for the management of epilepsy in children and adults. Under this agreement, Virpax has the global rights to develop, manufacture, market and sell VRP324, the first investigational formulation delivered via the nasal route to enhance CBD transport to the brain. This product candidate will be formulated to potentially treat seizures associated with tuberous sclerosis complex, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome in patients one year of age and older. Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome are rare CNS diseases considered serious epileptic encephalopathies that cause epileptic seizures, as well as cognitive and behavioral changes, and are generally resistant to treatment. Preclinical studies of VRP324 have been initiated by Nanomerics which it anticipates will be completed in the first quarter of 2022. Upon completion, Virpax will collaborate with RRD International, a clinical drug development company which Virpax has engaged, to prepare the pre-IND briefing documents for the FDA. 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 VRP324, 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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