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 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 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 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 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.
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.
DisperSol Technologies | December 18, 2021
DisperSol Technologies LLC announced that it is has entered into a research collaboration with Ajax Therapeutics, Inc. to apply its KinetiSol technology to enhance the bioavailability of an Ajax drug candidate in development for the treatment of hematologic malignancies.
“Ajax is taking an innovative approach to developing a pipeline of selectively targeted small molecules and we look forward to applying our proprietary KinetiSol technology to help enhance the bioavailability of one of these promising drug candidates. This collaboration is another example of our partnering strategy with our KinetiSol technology platform to help improve the bioavailability of next generation targeted therapies to provide new treatments for patients in need.”
Dr. Edward Rudnic, CEO of DisperSol Technologies
About DisperSol Technologies
DisperSol is a clinical-stage drug development company focused on developing new treatments for patients utilizing its proprietary KinetiSol® technology platform. KinetiSol has proven capable of creating novel therapeutics from poorly bioavailable drugs to deliver unique clinical benefits to patients. The platform enables a drug development path forward to patients when other options fail to make a difference. DisperSol’s active programs include, DST-0509 about to enter Phase 3 for iron overload disorder and DST-2970 in Phase 2 for refractory metastatic prostate cancer. Additional earlier-stage programs include DST-5407 for non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer.
About Ajax Therapeutics
Ajax Therapeutics, Inc. is pursuing uniquely selective approaches to develop novel therapies targeting key cytokine signaling pathways that drive hematologic malignancies. By combining the deep cancer and structural biology insights of our founding scientists with the industry’s most advanced computational drug discovery and protein structure platforms from our founding partner, Schrödinger, Inc., we aim to discover and develop more precisely designed therapies to address significant unmet needs for patients with hematologic malignancies.
Dermaliq Therapeutics | January 18, 2022
Novaliq GmbH, 3E Bioventures Capital and Beijing Whale Technology Corporation Ltd. today announced the establishment of Dermaliq Therapeutics, Inc (Dermaliq), a newly formed Delaware-based pharmaceutical development company, and the signing of a USD 15 million Series A financing round. 3E Bioventures Capital, a leading international life science investor, led the round and was joined by Beijing Whale Technology Corporation Ltd. Dermaliq's existing shareholder Novaliq has transferred, and licensed Intellectual Property (IP) related to the field of dermatology to Dermaliq.
Skin diseases are the fourth leading cause of non-fatal disease burden worldwide, underscoring the role of dermatology in the growing field of global health. Skin conditions have significant impact on patients' well-being, mental health, and social participation. Although topical and local delivery of active ingredients to diseased skin is the preferred treatment route for the majority of patients, current therapies often lack satisfactory skin penetration and patient compliance.
Dermaliq is developing the next generation of skin care therapies to enhance targeted penetration into skin tissues and to reduce unwanted side effects for millions of patients. The unique and proprietary technology now owned by Dermaliq, called hyliQ™, is designed to allow cutaneous drug delivery with unmatched bioavailability. The technology enables the development of superior, highly effective liquid drug products with exceptional cosmetic properties.
The proceeds will be used to conduct three Phase 1/2a clinical dermatology programs with the goal to demonstrate safety and efficacy and to advance this novel skin care drug category to market to improve the lives of millions of patients:
DLQ01 is a liquid drug candidate for the topical treatment of female and male androgenetic alopecia, targeting the prostamide E2 (PGE2) receptor in hair bulbs through specific follicular drug delivery.
DLQ02 is a novel and liquid topical calcineurin inhibitor drug therapy for plaque psoriasis, particularly in difficult to treat areas.
DLQ03 is a broad-spectrum liquid antibiotic drug candidate that targets topical treatment of bacterial skin and soft tissue infections, including the reduction of antibiotic-resistant strains.
The Company has demonstrated proof-of-principle for enhanced topical drug delivery using hyliQ™ in nonclinical models for all three applications.
"We are excited that 3E Bioventures Capital and Beijing Whale Technology Corporation have committed to support Dermaliq as new investors in the Series A round. Our spin-off from Novaliq and successful raising of significant funds provides us with the opportunity to build a leading specialty pharmaceutical company and expand the application of Novaliq's transformative drug delivery technology into dermatology."
Dr. Frank Löscher, Chief Executive Officer of Dermaliq
"3E is committed to investing in global leading life sciences and biomedical companies and help them grow with access to globalized resources and capabilities," said Karen Liu, Managing Director 3E Bioventures Capital. "Dermaliq is using a unique, and scientifically sound technology to achieve high efficiency drug delivery across the skin. The technology is already proven in ophthalmology and holds great promise for dermatology. We will be excited to explore additional drug pipelines in China and synergize with Dermaliq on both pre-clinical and clinical development."
"Whale Technology values the solid science foundation of Dermaliq's proprietary hyliQ™ technology platform," said Ming Gao, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Whale Technology Co. Ltd. "Dermaliq's founding team demonstrates a great combination of science, clinical experience and commercialization strength. We see great potential of Dermaliq's pipeline in the field of dermatology after Novaliq's proven clinical and commercial success in ophthalmology."
"Dermatology is the logical next step into using Novaliq's proprietary technology platform outside eye care," said Dr. Christian Roesky, Chief Executive Officer Novaliq. "The spin-off into an independent company allows Dermaliq to greatly benefit from our experience in ophthalmology while being fully committed to the multiple product development activities in dermatology, and likely to further broaden its pipeline to other skin conditions."
To reflect the new shareholder structure, Karen Liu of 3E Bioventures Capital will join Dermaliq's Board of Directors. Dr. Löscher has also transitioned from his role as Chief Technology Officer at Novaliq to lead Dermaliq as its CEO & President.
Dermaliq Therapeutics, Inc. is a private company founded in 2021 through a spin off from Novaliq to reimagine topical dermatology. The Company is incorporated in Wilmington (DE), USA under Delaware law. The company has signed a USD 15 million series A round to advance three transformative skin care drug therapies through clinical trials. Key shareholders are Novaliq GmbH, 3E Bioventures Capital and Beijing Whale Technology Corporation Ltd.
About 3E Bioventures Capital
3E Bioventures Capital is a healthcare venture capital firm, dedicated to investing in cutting-edge life sciences and biomedical technologies, with a focus on breakthrough first-in-class therapies and disruptive cross-disciplinary innovations in medical devices and diagnostics. 3E Bioventures takes on a science-driven, entrepreneur-friendly investment philosophy by working closely with companies and research institutions to develop drugs or products that have strong unmet medical needs. With offices in Beijing, Shanghai, and the San Francisco Bay Area, 3E Bioventures leverages its experience, capabilities, and network to help companies tap into markets and resources across the Pacific and advance with greater speed and capital efficiency. The motto of 3E Bioventures Capital is captured in its name 3E: Expertise, Efficiency, Execution.
About Beijing Whale Technology Corporation Ltd
Beijing Whale Technology Corporation Ltd. is a China-based pharmaceutical group committed to the long-term sustainable development in the fields of chemistry, pharmaceuticals and aesthetics. With more than 20 years of history, Whale Tech. has developed two core business units. On one hand, Whale Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., Whale Chemistry Co. Ltd. and Whale Pharmatech Co. Ltd. are grouped as pharmaceutical and chemistry business unit. On the other hand, Whale Biotech is a research stage biotech company with the focus of developing aesthetics products.
Novaliq is a biopharmaceutical company focusing on the development and commercialization of first- and best-in-class ocular therapeutics based on EyeSol®, the worldwide first water-free eyedrop technology. Novaliq offers an industry-leading portfolio addressing today's unmet medical needs of millions of patients with eye diseases. Novaliq GmbH is headquartered in Heidelberg, Germany and Novaliq Inc. has an office in Cambridge, MA, USA. The long-term shareholder is dievini Hopp BioTech holding GmbH & Co. KG, an active investor in Life and Health Sciences companies.
SiO2 Materials Science | December 27, 2021
Doosan Corporation, founded in 1896, one of South Korea's largest diversified conglomerates, and SiO2 Materials Science, a privately-owned U.S. advanced materials science corporation introducing breakthrough disruptive technology for packaging biological pharmaceuticals and vaccines, announced an exclusive partnership to sell, market, and distribute SIO2's vial, syringes and blood collection tubes in Asia/Oceania. The partnership will focus initially on the pharmaceutical and diagnostics markets but will extend to other markets through the joint development of new technologies.
As part of the strategic partnership, Doosan will invest $100 million into SiO2 and will additionally invest in substantial infrastructure and human resources for the acceleration of the business in Asia/Oceania. The partners have defined key volume milestones over a 15 year period.
"The Asia and Oceania region represents a significant market opportunity for vials and syringes specifically designed for biologic drugs and vaccines. South Korea has become a world leader in biological drug manufacturing, so it makes sense to establish a strong presence with a respected partners in the market,"
says Lawrence Ganti, President of SiO2 Materials Sciences
The SiO2 Materials Sciences technology platform combines the benefits of glass and plastic while eliminating the drawbacks of both. The technology has been commercially validated through the packaging of hundreds of millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses around the world and is working with more than 100 active projects with leading pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies to bring their products to market in a safer container. The company was a key collaborator and part of the US Government's COVID-19 Response (formerly known as Operation Warp Speed) and has expanded its manufacturing footprint in Auburn, Alabama, more than 12-fold in the last 18 months.
"South Korea is a strategic hub for biologic drug manufacturing. Doosan believes that the SiO2 technology would greatly support the packaging of these new drugs and vaccines and are proud to exclusively represent the technology in Asia," says Han Lee, Vice President of Doosan.
"There is so much potential in the SiO2 technology, and we will also jointly develop new technologies and products by bringing our existing technologies and engineering minds together," says Chief Business Officer of Doosan Corporation.
About SiO2 Materials Science
SiO2 Materials Science is an advanced materials science corporation introducing breakthrough disruptive technology serving the biopharma, molecular diagnostic, and consumer healthcare industries. The company is located in Auburn, Alabama. The company has deep partnerships with leading professors at the foremost research universities such as University of California - Santa Barbara, University of Chicago, and MIT / Harvard.
Doosan Corporation is Korea's oldest conglomerate, founded in 1896. The company operates across multiple divisions such as: Electro-Materials, Industrial Vehicles, Fuel Cell Power, Retail, and Digital Innovation. The company is always developing innovative new business in support of materials science.