GSK takes option to license hepatitis B RNA drugs from Ionis

pharmaphorum | August 28, 2019

GlaxoSmithKline has taken an option to license Ionis’ antisense medicines for people with chronic hepatitis B virus infection after supportive phase 2 trial results. Ionis could receive up to $262 million, including a $25 million up front license fee, and tiered royalties in the low double digits on net sales. The two drugs, IONIS-HBVRX and IONIS-HBV-LRX, are part of a large portfolio of RNA-targeting drugs that Ionis is developing for big pharma clients. Other partnerships include Roche, Biogen, Bayer, and AstraZeneca, who like GSK are looking for pipeline drugs that have a good chance of making it through development and have significant sales potential if approved. GSK is not responsible for all development, regulatory and marketing activities and costs, assuming the deal is not challenged by US competition regulators. Under research chief Hal Barron, GSK is attempting to spice up its pipeline and is on the hunt for drugs with blockbuster-level potential. Barron is prepared to take some risks to achieve this goal after saying that the “play it safe” R&D culture that took hold at GSK under the previous management had failed to produce results. GSK’s revenues are still being propped up by its ageing respiratory blockbuster Advair, which finally faces generic competition in the US after potential challengers struggled to get approved by the FDA. CHB is a chronic viral infection of the liver that can lead to significant and potentially fatal health conditions, including cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer. Current treatments for patients with CHB provide low levels of hepatitis B virus S antigen seroclearance, leaving many patients without a treatment to achieve sustained disease remission. There are more than 200 million patients worldwide living with CHB.

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Innocoll Announces Publication of Positive Results from Pivotal Clinical Trial of POSIMIR in Arthroscopic Subacromial Decompression

Innocoll Pharmaceuticals | July 07, 2022

Innocoll Pharmaceuticals Limited, a commercial-stage biotechnology company and portfolio business of Gurnet Point Capital, announced the publication of the results of Study BU-002-IM evaluating the safety and efficacy of POSIMIR® for infiltration use in 107 patients undergoing arthroscopic subacromial decompression. The peer-reviewed paper, entitled “SABER-Bupivacaine Reduces Postoperative Pain and Opioid Consumption After Arthroscopic Subacromial Decompression: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial,” was published online on May 17, 2022 in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons Global Research & Reviews. According to the report, POSIMIR 5 mL administered into the subacromial space at the end of arthroscopic subacromial decompression surgery in this double-blind, randomized, controlled, multicenter study, reduced mean postoperative pain on movement over 72 hours by 1.3 points on a 0-10 scale compared with vehicle control, a relative reduction of 20%. Simultaneous improvements in postoperative opioid use during the same 72-hour period provided evidence that the observed pain reduction was clinically meaningful. The median time to first request for opioid rescue medication was 12.4 hours among patients treated with POSIMIR compared with 1.2 hours in patients who received vehicle control. The median total opioid consumption in intravenous (IV) morphine milligram equivalents over 72 hours was 4.0 mg in the POSIMIR group vs 12.0 mg in the vehicle control group. The proportion of patients who were opioid free at 72 hours was 40% in the POSIMIR group vs 16% in the vehicle control group. As reported in the paper, the most common treatment-emergent adverse events were headache, nausea, musculoskeletal pain, cardiac disorders, skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders, injury and procedural complications, general disorders and administration site conditions and respiratory, thoracic, and mediastinal disorders. Of 2 serious adverse events reported among patients in these treatment groups, only 1 occurred during the immediate 2-week postsurgical follow-up period, and none was considered related to treatment. There were no TEAEs leading to study discontinuation. “These very compelling results, demonstrating up to three days of local analgesia after a single intra-operative injection, make POSIMIR an important new tool in treating postoperative pain from arthroscopic subacromial decompression,” said Sten Rasmussen, MD PhD, Professor and Head of Department of Clinical Medicine, Aalborg University, Denmark, the senior author and a principal investigator in the POSIMIR study. “We are excited to publish the positive results of this pivotal clinical trial of POSIMIR, the second approved product in our portfolio of nonopioid, extended-duration, locally-acting analgesics for postsurgical pain control. As the only company with two non-opioid extended release bupivacaine products on the market, we look forward to bringing POSIMIR to the orthopedic community,” Louis Pascarella, Innocoll President and Chief Executive Officer About POSIMIR POSIMIR for infiltration use contains more bupivacaine in a single dose than any other approved, sustained-release bupivacaine product. It employs a proprietary extended-release technology that enables the continuous release of bupivacaine, a non-opioid local anesthetic, directly to the surgical site for 3 days after administration. POSIMIR was approved in February, 2021 by the US Food and Drug Administration. POSIMIR is indicated in adults for administration into the subacromial space under direct arthroscopic visualization to produce post-surgical analgesia for up to 72 hours following arthroscopic subacromial decompression. Use in any other surgical procedure is investigational. POSIMIR is a registered trademark of Innocoll Pharmaceuticals Limited. About Subacromial Decompression Shoulder Surgery Subacromial decompression is a type of shoulder surgery used to treat impingement syndrome, a common repetitive-use injury that causes pain when the arm is raised over the head. The procedure is performed arthroscopically, meaning that several small incisions are made in the skin and muscle of the shoulder through which a camera (arthroscope) and surgical instruments are inserted during surgery. Arthroscopic subacromial decompression is generally performed as outpatient surgery, and most patients go home within a few hours of surgery. The most intense pain typically occurs during the first 3 days and is often managed with a combination of nerve block and oral opioids. There are over 600,000 surgeries involving arthroscopic subacromial decompression performed each year in the U.S. About Innocoll Pharmaceuticals Limited Innocoll Pharmaceuticals Limited is a global biotech pharmaceutical company headquartered in Athlone, Ireland and is a subsidiary of Innocoll Biotherapeutics Holding Limited. The Innocoll group of companies is focused on the development and commercialization of pharmaceutical technologies to meet some of today’s most important healthcare challenges. About Gurnet Point Capital Gurnet Point Capital is a unique healthcare investment platform within the B-Flexion Group and led by a team with deep expertise in an industry for which they share a passion, both as investors and senior executives. GPC invests long-term capital and supports entrepreneurs in building a new generation of companies that deliver outsized returns through active ownership. Based in Cambridge, MA, its remit encompasses life sciences and health care focused businesses, with a particular emphasis on businesses that have high growth potential in the product development and commercialization stages of their evolution. With its strategy of driving best in class operational transformation for these businesses, to create social impact while generating significant economic value, Gurnet is able to deliver differentiated results for its investors and 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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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Aquestive Therapeutics Receives FDA Tentative Approval for Libervant™ (diazepam) Buccal Film

Aquestive Therapeutics, Inc. | August 31, 2022

Aquestive Therapeutics, Inc. a pharmaceutical company advancing medicines to solve patients' problems with current standards of care and provide transformative products to improve their lives, announced today that the U.S. Food & Drug Administration has granted tentative approval for Libervant™ Buccal Film for the acute treatment of intermittent, stereotypic episodes of frequent seizure activity that are distinct from a patient’s usual seizure pattern in patients with epilepsy 12 years of age and older. "Tentative approval" means the FDA has concluded that Libervant has met all required quality, safety, and efficacy standards for approval but, due to an existing FDA regulatory grant of orphan drug market exclusivity for Valtoco®, a diazepam nasal spray product, Libervant is not yet eligible for marketing in the United States. As a result of the FDA determination, the Agency cannot give final approval for Libervant until the expiration or inapplicability of the orphan drug market exclusivity, including, for example, by court order, a selective waiver of the orphan drug exclusivity, or a reversal of the FDA’s decision and determination that Libervant is “clinically superior” to Valtoco. “The FDA’s decision provides welcome clarity to our business. The tentative approval of Libervant is a significant achievement that brings us one step closer to bringing this important medicine to patients who are unable or choose not to use the current standards of care. Libervant has the potential to offer these patients a treatment option that is simple, portable, and precise. A significant unmet need exists for additional alternate delivery options given the ongoing shortage of diazepam rectal gel, which continues to represent a substantial portion of the current diazepam rescue market. This FDA action further validates our ability to gain FDA approval of our pipeline programs. We look forward to continuing the rapid progression of AQST-109 for the treatment of severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, towards a filing with the FDA.” Daniel Barber, Chief Executive Officer of Aquestive “We continue to examine the FDA’s determination on Libervant market access and plan to request a meeting with the Agency as soon as possible. We disagree with the FDA’s determination on the various points presented by the Agency and believe that, particularly in the case of our submitted studies on the effect of food on the absorption of diazepam formulations, Libervant has the distinct advantage of being able to be readily administered when needed without regard to food, providing an important benefit to patients. This is important to patients as rapid and extensive drug absorption is critical in a rescue situation. We will continue to vigorously engage with the FDA on the need for these data to be carefully considered.” During the review process, the Company submitted to the FDA the results of a 2021 Aquestive sponsored randomized, open-label, two-sequence, two-period, two-treatment crossover study to evaluate the effect of food on the pharmacokinetics of Valtoco in healthy adult subjects. The results of this study indicated that, when Valtoco is administered after a high fat meal, the maximum drug concentration (Cmax) was reduced by 48% compared to Valtoco administered to subjects in a fasted state. The study also showed that the time to maximum drug concentration (Tmax) of Valtoco doubled from 2 hours to 4 hours when administered after a high fat meal. Aquestive provided the data along with a cross-study comparison to a similar study performed with Libervant, to FDA during the review process. The FDA’s decision concluded that the information Aquestive submitted was not sufficient to overturn the Agency's previous conclusion regarding the lack of food effect for Valtoco. Specifically, the FDA stated that “[a] cross-study comparison is not considered [by the reviewer] to be a suitable approach for making a quantitative comparison of plasma concentrations between different products because of the lack of a common reference standard between the two studies.” Aquestive will seek to gain alignment with the Agency on a reasonable path to appropriately characterize the food effect of Valtoco including potentially conducting a comparative study as indicated by the FDA. About Libervant Libervant™ is a buccally, or inside of the cheek, administered film formulation of diazepam, a benzodiazepine intended for the acute treatment of intermittent, stereotypic episodes of frequent seizure activity that are distinct from a patient’s usual seizure pattern in patients with epilepsy 12 years of age and older. Aquestive developed Libervant as an alternative to the device-based products currently available for patients with refractory epilepsy, including a rectal gel and nasal spray products. Approximately 1.0 million patients with epilepsy suffer from uncontrolled refractory seizures, approximately 85% of whom will not interact with the available treatments. About Aquestive Therapeutics Aquestive Therapeutics, Inc. is a pharmaceutical company advancing medicines to solve patients’ problems with current standards of care and provide transformative products to improve their lives. We are developing orally administered products to deliver complex molecules, providing novel alternatives to invasive and inconvenient standard of care therapies. Aquestive has five commercialized products on the U.S. market, four licensed products and one stand-alone proprietary product to date, Sympazan® (clobazam) oral film for the treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Our licensees market their products in the U.S. and around the world. The Company also collaborates with pharmaceutical companies to bring new molecules to market using proprietary, best-in-class technologies, like PharmFilm®, and has proven drug development and commercialization capabilities. Aquestive is advancing a late-stage proprietary product pipeline focused on treating diseases of the central nervous system, or CNS, and an earlier stage pipeline for the treatment of severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis.

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RESEARCH

Corium Announces Publication of ADLARITY® Clinical Trial Data: Drug Exposure Equivalent to Oral Donepezil With Favorable GI Side Effect Profile

Corium, Inc. | September 20, 2022

Corium, Inc., a fully-integrated biopharmaceutical company leading the development and commercialization of novel central nervous system therapies, announced publication of its phase 1 healthy volunteer study results for ADLARITY in the peer-reviewed Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. The article, "Comparison of Steady-State Pharmacokinetics of Donepezil Transdermal Delivery System with Oral Donepezil," reports that Corium's novel once-weekly Alzheimer's dementia treatment delivered drug exposure equivalent to oral donepezil while presenting lower gastrointestinal (GI) adverse events overall compared to oral donepezil. The article is currently available online and expected to be published in the hardcopy of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, Volume 90, Issue 1, on October 25, 2022. "Transdermal delivery offers meaningful potential benefits over oral administration, including ease of use, maintenance of steady concentrations of drugs, reduced gastrointestinal adverse effects, and better treatment compliance. The availability of a transdermal formulation of donepezil gives clinicians, patients, and their caregivers an important new option to consider when treating dementia of the Alzheimer's type," said study co-author Pierre N. Tariot, M.D., director of the Banner Alzheimer's Institute in Phoenix, AZ. "The study demonstrated the equivalent exposure of Adlarity to oral donepezil and supports the use of ADLARITY as a compliant and safe once-weekly dosing regimen for treatment of patients with dementia of the Alzheimer type. The trial also shows Corium's commitment to addressing the unmet needs of patients with CNS disorders." Charles Oh, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Corium ADLARITY Transdermal System: Equivalent to Oral Donepezil Exposure, Fewer GI Adverse Events Overall In the trial, investigators compared the extent of donepezil exposure from the once-weekly ADLARITY to a once-daily oral donepezil formulation in 60 healthy adults (NCT04617782). The trial included three treatment periods of 5 weeks each. In the first period, all the participants received ADLARITY weekly, which provided 5 mg/day of donepezil. In the second period, participants were randomized to receive either 10 mg/day once-weekly ADLARITY or 10 mg/day daily oral donepezil, followed by switching to the alternative treatment, ADLARITY or oral donepezil, in the third period. All the participants knew which treatment they received in this open-label trial. Investigators examined the amount of donepezil in the participants' blood, including the maximum plasma concentration (Cmax) and the total amount of drug exposure (area under the curve or AUC). About Alzheimer's Disease Alzheimer's disease is a progressive and irreversible brain disorder. It involves changes in brain tissue including abnormal buildup of proteins as well as loss of neuron function. The resulting damage leads to the loss of remembering, reasoning, and thinking abilities. The related behavioral changes include the loss of independence in activities of daily living and self-care. Dementia ranges in severity from mild, when it is just beginning to affect a person's functioning, to moderate, to severe, when the person must depend on others for the basic activities of day-to-day life. Patients with advanced Alzheimer's disease may be unable to chew and swallow easily. About Corium Corium, Inc., is a fully-integrated biopharmaceutical company that is leading the development and commercialization of CNS therapies that provide physicians with innovative treatment options for patients, their families, and their caregivers. Corium is commercializing two U.S. FDA approved products, ADLARITY and AZSTARYS. About Gurnet Point Capital Gurnet Point Capital is a unique healthcare investment platform within the B-Flexion group and led by a team with deep expertise in an industry for which they share a passion, both as investors and senior executives. GPC invests long-term capital and supports entrepreneurs in building a new generation of companies that deliver outsized returns through active ownership. Based in Cambridge, MA, its remit encompasses life sciences and health care focused businesses, with a particular emphasis on businesses that have high growth potential in the product development and commercialization stages of their evolution. With its strategy of driving best in class operational transformation for these businesses, to create social impact while generating significant economic value, GPC is able to deliver differentiated results for its investors and partners.

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Spotlight

Product highly similar to a biotherapeutic medicine that has already been authorized with full dossier. Subject to a tailored regulatory data package with full side-by-side analytical and clinical testing. Minor variations compared to the original biotherapeutic reference product with no clinically meaningful differences identified.

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