GlaxoSmithKline wins Benlysta US label expansion for children

pharmatimes | April 30, 2019

GlaxoSmithKline has announced the US Food and Drug Administration expansion of its intravenous (IV) formulation of Benlysta (belimumab), a B-lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS)-specific inhibitor, in children with lupus from as young as five years of age. The approval, which marks the first medicine in the US approved for children with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), was based on data from a post-approval PLUTO commitment study, which assessed the efficacy, safety and pharmacokinetics of 10 mg/kg intravenous doses. The proportion of children achieving a clinically meaningful improvement in disease activity was higher in patients receiving Benlysta than it was in the control group, at 52.8% compared to 43.6%, in study results first presented at the 2018 American College of Rheumatology (ACR).

Spotlight

While the outlook for medical device companies appears positive, unsustainable health care costs and new competitive forces threaten to alter the future industry landscape. If today’s manufacturers fail to stake their claim in the evolving value chain, they risk being caught in the middle and becoming commoditized. Staying ahead means offering value beyond the device and solving healthcare’s problems rather than contributing to them.


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BUSINESS INSIGHTS, PHARMACY MARKET

insitro Appoints Philip Tagari, Industry-Leading Scientist and Drug Hunter, as Chief Scientific Officer

insitro | December 02, 2022

insitro, a machine learning-powered drug discovery and development company announced that Philip Tagari has been appointed as chief scientific officer. Tagari joins insitro following a 24-year career at Amgen, where he has led the organization's research platforms for over a decade as vice president, research - therapeutic discovery. “I am deeply excited to partner with Philip on insitro’s journey to build a transformative biology platform for the efficient discovery and development of effective medicines for patients in need. Philip brings unparalleled experience in drug development, including building and utilizing cutting-edge platforms, profound scientific expertise across therapeutic areas and modalities, and most importantly, the humility and courage to transcend the drug discovery status quo and do things differently.” Daphne Koller, Ph.D., founder and CEO of insitro Tagari joins a cross-functional team of experts in biology and technology at insitro, part of a uniquely collaborative culture that spans the boundaries of both fields. “Philip’s inspiring track record of fusing science and technology to build innovative platforms and leading therapeutic programs from bench to approval will guide us in the next step of insitro’s journey, as we deploy our expertise to identify exciting new targets and design therapeutic molecules,” said Koller. “insitro is completely redefining our understanding of disease biology and developing novel therapeutic strategies for a variety of grievous illnesses. Using machine learning on genetics and multi-modal phenotypic data at scale from human cohorts and cellular systems, their cutting edge laboratories are rapidly generating differentiated approaches to currently intractable unmet needs,” Tagari said. “I’m thrilled to partner with Daphne and insitro’s world-class scientists and technologists in achieving a patient-driven vision brought to life in a different kind of drug company.” Tagari joins insitro in early 2023 from Amgen, where he has held a variety of roles since 1998, and served as vice president, research - therapeutic discovery, since 2012. During his time at Amgen, Tagari built and led a global organization of over 600 scientists that delivered numerous experimental and marketed therapies in neurology, inflammation, cardiovascular disease and oncology. Throughout his career, which includes a decade at Merck and research positions at McGill University and Oxford University, Tagari made significant contributions toward multiple first-in-class, disease-modifying, life-changing therapies including Lumakras, Repatha, Singulair, Aimovig, Evenity, Tarlatamab, Acapatamab, Efavaleukin alfa, and AMG 133. With more than 30 years of research experience, he brings expertise across neurobiology, metabolic disease, hematology/oncology, immunology and inflammation, cell and molecular biology, antibody discovery and biologics engineering, medicinal, peptide and oligonucleotide chemistry, analytical chemistry and biochemistry, structural biology, pharmacokinetics, safety pharmacology, laboratory automation and information technologies. Tagari has published or contributed to more than 70 peer-reviewed publications. “I had the privilege of working with Philip for more than 15 years, first at Merck, and thereafter at Amgen, and can say unequivocally that he ranks among the most accomplished, and most innovative, scientific leaders in the industry,” said Roger M. Perlmutter, M.D., Ph.D., currently president, chief executive officer, and chairman of Eikon Therapeutics, Inc., (formerly EVP R&D both at Amgen and at Merck), and is a member of insitro’s Board of Directors. “With Philip as chief scientific officer and partner to Daphne, insitro will be well positioned to ensure that insights from its machine learning-enabled discovery platform contribute to the development of important new medicines that will make a meaningful difference for patients.” About insitro insitro is a data-driven drug discovery and development company using machine learning and data at scale to transform the way that drugs are discovered and developed for patients. insitro is developing predictive machine learning models to discover underlying biologic states based on human cohort data and in-house generated cellular data at scale. These predictive models are being brought to bear on key bottlenecks in pharmaceutical R&D to advance novel targets and patient biomarkers, design therapeutics and inform clinical strategy. insitro is advancing a wholly owned and partnered pipeline of biologic insights and molecules in metabolism and neuroscience. Since formation in mid 2018, insitro has raised over $700 million from top tech, biotech, and crossover investors, and from collaborations with pharmaceutical partners.

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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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VIEWS AND ANALYSIS

Enteris BioPharma Publishes White Paper Examining Factors to Consider While Evaluating Oral Administration of Peptides

Enteris BioPharma | September 13, 2022

Enteris BioPharma, Inc., a biotechnology company developing innovative drug products based on its proprietary delivery technologies, and a wholly-owned subsidiary of SWK Holdings Corporation announced the publication of a new white paper in Drug Development & Delivery entitled, "Key Considerations in Oral Delivery of Peptides – Factors to Consider While Evaluating Oral Administration." The paper, authored by John Vrettos, PhD, Director of Formulation Development for Enteris BioPharma, and Kalpana Ramakrishnan, PhD, Manager of Business Development for Enteris BioPharma, explores the barriers to developing oral delivery of peptides and how pharmaceutical companies can overcome them. Oral administration of peptides offers several advantages while treating chronic conditions such as diabetes and obesity as they are less invasive and more cost effective compared to injections. "Molecule size, potency, and solubility are some of the key physicochemical properties that determine a peptide's suitability for oral delivery. The healthcare industry is in need of enabling drug delivery technologies with the capability to overcome barriers in oral delivery of peptides. Importantly, orally delivered medications may encourage patient compliance compared with more invasive approaches to administering drugs. Approximately 75% of peptides are delivered by injective routes, including subcutaneous injections which can be painful and difficult to incorporate into a daily routine." Dr. Vrettos Dr. Vrettos continued, "Enteris' Peptelligence® platform offers a 'triple-action' solution comprised of our enteric coating, protease inhibitor, and permeation enhancer. When combined, these technologies have demonstrated an ability to improve the solubility and permeation of orally delivered peptides. These properties can potentially enable oral delivery of some peptide drugs for the first time, and we are excited to share our knowledge on oral delivery of peptides through this informative whitepaper." Peptelligence is a novel formulation technology designed to enhance the oral delivery and bioavailability of selected drugs by enhancing the permeation of such compounds that are typically injected, including peptides and BCS class III and IV small molecules, and preventing their breakdown in the digestive tract. About Enteris BioPharma Enteris BioPharma, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SWK Holdings Corporation offering total integrated contract development and manufacturing services for innovative formulation solutions utilizing its proprietary drug delivery technologies, Peptelligence® and ProPerma®, and contract manufacturing (CMO) services using non-proprietary technologies. The company's proprietary technologies have been the subject of numerous feasibility studies and active development programs, some of which are in clinical development. Additionally, Enteris BioPharma is advancing an innovative internal product pipeline of drug products that address significant unmet clinical needs for which there is no satisfactory treatment option.

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PHARMACY MARKET

A novel azapeptide editing method provides potential for new drug development, Feinstein Institutes research shows

Feinstein Institutes | November 29, 2022

Peptides, short sections of proteins made up of chains of amino acids, are an important area of new drug development due to their potential for increased specificity and fewer side effects. Their main drawback is the rapid degradation by the body’s own enzymes, which has led to the need to develop longer-lasting peptide alternatives. Azapeptides are one type of peptide alternative that has shown great potential as therapeutics, exemplified by the HIV drug, Atazanavir. A new paper published in the journal Nature Communications by researchers at The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research details proprietary reagents and methods that can selectively replace only those amino acids known to be targeted by enzymes with more stable versions to create azapeptides. The paper, authored by Yousef Al-Abed, PhD, co-director of the Institute of Bioelectronic Medicine at the Feinstein Institutes, describes the proprietary building blocks and method used to conduct systematic and robust peptide editing, replacing targeted amino acids with aza-amino acids to form more stable and efficient azapeptides. The azapeptides created could expedite the novel therapies to treat many diseases and conditions, including metabolic disease, influenza, pulmonary arterial hypertension, Crohn’s disease, arthritis, and irritable bowel diseases, among others. The paper, titled “Thiocarbazate building blocks enable the construction of azapeptides for rapid development of therapeutic candidates,” provides multiple examples of azapeptide construction, screening, and selection using a known peptide inhibitor of inflammation and bradykinin. “Peptides as drug candidates are easy to discover yet difficult to develop as final drugs because of their fast degradation in our body. A technology that circumvents these problems inherent to native peptides will change the future landscape of drug discovery. Our technology provides a platform of tools that enable minimal modification of any peptide at highly prone degradation sites, thereby increasing its life span in our body, allowing it more time to find its target and neutralize it.” Dr. Al-Abed Through peptide editing, going from peptide to azapeptide, using methods that Dr. Al-Abed and his team detail in the new paper, scientists can create potential therapies that have enhanced characteristics compared to natural peptides, like longer stabilities in a more efficient manner. Dr. Al-Abed and his team have precisely engineered thiocarbazates (a novel functional group) in the proprietary process to achieve an almost universal and more efficient means to selectively replace amino acids in a peptide chain. “Peptide drugs are a crucial resource for patients and the global pharmaceutical industry,” said Kevin J. Tracey, MD, president and CEO of the Feinstein Institutes and Karches Family Distinguished Chair in Medical Research. “Dr. Al-Abed and his team invented a fully automated chemical strategy using novel chemistry to make new peptide drugs which is an important new avenue for peptide drug discovery.” About the Feinstein Institutes The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research is the research arm of Northwell Health, the largest health care provider and private employer in New York State. Home to 50 research labs, 3,000 clinical research studies and 5,000 researchers and staff, the Feinstein Institutes raises the standard of medical innovation through its five institutes of behavioral science, bioelectronic medicine, cancer, health innovations and outcomes, and molecular medicine. We make breakthroughs in genetics, oncology, brain research, mental health, autoimmunity, and are the global scientific leader in bioelectronic medicine – a new field of science that has the potential to revolutionize medicine.

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Spotlight

While the outlook for medical device companies appears positive, unsustainable health care costs and new competitive forces threaten to alter the future industry landscape. If today’s manufacturers fail to stake their claim in the evolving value chain, they risk being caught in the middle and becoming commoditized. Staying ahead means offering value beyond the device and solving healthcare’s problems rather than contributing to them.

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