ICER deems unapproved Aimmune, DBV peanut allergy drugs unaffordable, sparking backlash

fiercepharma | July 12, 2019

ICER deems unapproved Aimmune, DBV peanut allergy drugs unaffordable, sparking backlash
Two small companies, Aimmune Therapeutics and DBV Technologies, are racing to break into what analysts expect will be a billion-dollar market for drugs to treat peanut allergies. But neither of their experimental treatments, Aimmune’s AR101 and DBV’s Viaskin, has been approved by the FDA, nor have the companies said anything about pricing plans. That didn’t stop the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) from issuing a dreaded “affordability alert” on the drugs, however. The report, released earlier this week, blasted both drugs for being unaffordable based on analysts’ estimates that AR101 could cost $4,200 a year and Viaskin $6,500. AR101 and Viaskin were designed to build an immune tolerance to peanuts in children with the allergy. With the help of an independent appraisal committee, ICER determined that there wasn’t enough evidence to prove that either drug offers a health benefit over simply avoiding peanuts. In order to avoid crossing ICER’s acceptable annual healthcare budget threshold of $819 million, Aimmune would need to capture 41% of eligible patients and DBV 71%, ICER concluded. David Rind, M.D., ICER’s chief medical officer, acknowledged in a statement that the drugs have been proven to desensitize patients to the peanut allergy, but that they also raise the risk of “increased allergic reactions” and use of epinephrine—the shot kids and parents carry around to stop life-threatening reactions. “Caregivers and patients must remain vigilant about avoiding peanuts even while on desensitization therapy, and future clinical trials will need to demonstrate whether long-term benefits of these approaches outweigh their short-term risks,” Rind said.

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Iktos and The University of Dundee, Drug Discovery Unit (DDU) Announce a Collaboration to Use AI for Drug Design and Retrosyntheis

Iktos | December 20, 2021

Iktos, a company specialized in Artificial Intelligence for new drug design, and The Drug Discovery Unit (DDU), School of Life Sciences, The University of Dundee, focused on the discovery of therapeutics for neglected diseases and the translation of novel biology through small molecule drug discovery, announced entering a collaboration to apply Iktos’s generative modelling artificial intelligence (AI) technology in one of DDU’s drug discovery programs. Under the agreement, Iktos will apply its de novo ligand and structure-based generative modelling technologies, its AI-based retrosynthesis analysis and planning tool Spaya™, and know-how complementing DDU’s drug discovery capabilities to expedite the identification of potential pre-clinical candidates and to identify additional novel chemical matter with suitable properties. The DDU was established in 2006 to respond to a lack of drug targets identified for neglected tropical diseases being translated into therapeutics for diseases impacting the poorest people in the world. The DDU translates basic science into lead compounds to validate putative drug targets, to use as tools to investigate disease pathways and, when appropriate, advance to pre-clinical drug candidates for multiple diseases, e.g. TB and cancer. Iktos’s AI technology, based on deep generative models, helps to bring new insights and directions into the drug discovery process based on a comprehensive data-driven chemical structure generation technology. This technology automatically designs virtual novel molecules with all of the characteristics of a successful drug molecule. This approach, validated through Iktos’s other collaborations, is a novel solution to one of the key challenges in drug design: rapid identification of molecules that simultaneously satisfy multiple parameters, such as potency, selectivity, safety, and project-specific properties. This approach uniquely enables the exploration of chemical space and produces innovative molecule designs with greater freedom to operate. Iktos has recently diversified its R&D efforts into the development of an AI technology for retrosynthesis. Identifying and selecting synthetic pathways is one of the most challenging and time-consuming tasks in synthetic and medicinal chemistry. Iktos has developed AI based retrosynthesis analysis and planning tool Spaya™ by harnessing the power of data-driven retrosynthesis algorithm for systematic exploration and prioritisation of synthetic routes for a desired compound in minutes. “We are thrilled to be working with Iktos to drive our projects towards drug candidates. Iktos AI platform combined with our own in-house computational and medicinal chemistry design teams provide a powerful combination for innovative new drug design.” Professor Paul Wyatt, Head of the DDU “We are thrilled and proud to join forces with DDU with the aim to help in the discovery of therapeutics for neglected diseases and the translation of novel biology through small molecule drug discovery,” commented Yann Gaston-Mathé, President and CEO of Iktos. “Pleased to have earned DDU’s trust, we are confident that together with DDU and their established R&D partners, we will be able to identify promising novel chemical matter and solve complex multiparametric optimisation problems. The feedback from DDU’s research team will be highly valuable as we improve our product offerings. Our strategy has always been to tackle challenging problems alongside our collaborators where we can demonstrate value generation for new and on-going drug discovery projects.” About DDU The Drug Discovery Unit (DDU) (est. 2006) within the School of Life Sciences at The University of Dundee is a fully integrated, Biotech-style, drug discovery centre working across multiple disease areas. The DDU collaborates with partners to translate world-class biology research into novel drug targets and candidate drugs to address unmet medical need. About Iktos Incorporated in October 2016, Iktos is a French start-up company specialized in the development of artificial intelligence solutions applied to chemical research, more specifically medicinal chemistry and new drug design. Iktos is developing a proprietary and innovative solution based on deep learning generative models, which enables, using existing data, to design molecules that are optimized in silico to meet all the success criteria of a small molecule discovery project. The use of Iktos technology enables major productivity gains in upstream pharmaceutical R&D. Iktos offers its technology both as professional services and as a SaaS software platform, Makya™. Iktos is also developing Spaya™, a synthesis planning software based upon Iktos’s proprietary AI technology for retrosynthesis.

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PHARMA TECH

n-Lorem Foundation Partners with Alnylam to Expand Technology Access to RNAi Therapeutics for Patients with Nano-rare Diseases

n-Lorem a nonprofit Foundation | January 20, 2022

n-Lorem, a nonprofit Foundation, discovering and providing experimental antisense oligonucleotide medicines to nano-rare disease patients for free, for life, today announced a new partnership with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc. “Discovering, developing and providing individualized medicines for nano-rare patients is a monumental task. At n-Lorem, using ASO technology, we take advantage of three decades of experience, unparalleled quality control and integrated safety databases that are used to select frequency and dosage for each individual ASO therapy. As we expand our highly selective and versatile model to other amendable technologies, it is important for us to maintain a high level of quality,” said Stanley T. Crooke, M.D., Ph.D., Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, n-Lorem Foundation. “Alnylam’s RNAi therapeutic technology is the perfect complement to Ionis’ ASO technology, both are well understood, proven drug discovery technologies. Adding Alnylam as a partner is another step in the creation of a broad network of partner stakeholders committed to treating nano-rare patients.” “We are pleased to partner with the n-Lorem Foundation in identifying opportunities to bring our novel RNAi technology platform to potentially help patients with nano-rare diseases. At Alnylam, we are committed to identifying pathways to expand access to our medicines and we applaud the work of the foundation in bringing together industry partners who are driven to provide options for patients that have little or no options for treatment,” Akshay Vaishnaw, M.D., Ph.D., President at Alnylam “Although we have the tools and expertise to understand nano-rare patients at a genetic level, the extreme rarity of these patients present insurmountable challenges to the current healthcare systems,” said Dr. Sarah Glass, Chief Development Officer, n-Lorem Foundation. “n-Lorem is addressing these challenges one nano-rare patient at a time and is supported through a consortium of well-renowned and diverse organizations worldwide. These include our biotechnology and pharmaceutical partners, including Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Biogen, Ultragenyx and today Alnylam; our clinical research partners, including Charles River Labs, Korea Institute of Toxicology and Parexel; our contract manufacturing partners, including ChemGenes, Cytiva and Nitto Avecia; and many other collaborations that make n-Lorem’s mission possible.” Alnylam is leading the translation of RNA interference into a whole new class of innovative medicines with the potential to transform the lives of people afflicted with rare genetic, cardio-metabolic, hepatic infectious, and central nervous system ocular diseases. Based on Nobel Prize-winning science, RNAi therapeutics represent a powerful, clinically validated approach for the treatment of a wide range of severe and debilitating diseases. Founded in 2002, Alnylam is delivering on a bold vision to turn scientific possibility into reality, with a robust RNAi therapeutics platform. Alnylam’s commercial RNAi therapeutic products are ONPATTRO®, GIVLAARI® (givosiran), and OXLUMO®, as well as Leqvio®, which is being developed and commercialized by Alnylam’s partner Novartis. Alnylam has a deep pipeline of investigational medicines, including six product candidates that are in late-stage development. Alnylam is executing on its “Alnylam P5x25” strategy to deliver transformative medicines in both rare and common diseases benefiting patients around the world through sustainable innovation and exceptional financial performance, resulting in a leading biotech profile. Alnylam is headquartered in Cambridge, MA. About n-Lorem n-Lorem Foundation is a non-profit organization established to apply the efficiency, versatility and specificity of antisense technology to charitably provide experimental antisense oligonucleotide medicines to treat nano-rare patients diagnosed with diseases that are the result of a single genetic defect unique to only one or very few individuals. Nano-rare patients describe a very small group of patients who, because of their small numbers, have few if any treatment options. n-Lorem Foundation was created to provide hope to these nano-rare patients by developing individualized ASO medicines, which are short strands of modified DNA that can specifically target the transcripts of a defective gene to correct the abnormality. The advantage of experimental ASO medicines is that they can be developed rapidly, inexpensively and are highly specific. To date, n-Lorem has assisted in the development and treatment of 14 nano-rare patients and received over 100 applications for treatment with more than 40 nano-rare patients approved. n-Lorem was founded by Stanley T. Crooke, M.D., Ph.D., former chairman and CEO of Ionis Pharmaceuticals, who founded Ionis Pharmaceuticals in 1989 and, through his vision and leadership, established the company as the leader in RNA-targeted therapeutics.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Omnicell Completes Acquisition of ReCept

Omnicell, Inc. | December 30, 2021

Omnicell, Inc. a leading provider of medication management solutions and adherence tools for health systems and pharmacies, has completed the previously announced acquisition of ReCept Holdings, Inc. The addition of ReCept’s specialty pharmacy management services for health systems, provider groups, and federally qualified health centers expands Omnicell’s Advanced Services portfolio to address the growing and complex specialty pharmacy market. ReCept provides implementation and managed services for health systems and other provider organizations to optimize their specialty pharmacy programs and the related pharmaceutical aspects of patient care. This total solution supports on-site management, including payor contracting, staffing, licensing, quality assurance, 340B administration, and preferred pricing agreements designed to improve margin and profitability, while keeping the patient at the center of care. “ReCept’s specialty pharmacy management services capabilities naturally complement Omnicell’s intelligent infrastructure, giving us deeper expertise to address the growing market need for managing complex specialty medications as part of a broader, more comprehensive medication management strategy,” Randall Lipps, chairman, president, CEO, and founder of Omnicell Under the terms of the purchase agreement, the acquisition price was $100 million, subject to customary adjustments, as provided for in the agreement and plan of merger. The ReCept business that is being acquired recorded annual recurring revenue of $24 million (unaudited) for the 12 months ended September 30, 2021, and is expected to accelerate Omnicell’s Advanced Services revenue growth. Omnicell used cash on its balance sheet to fund the transaction, which is expected to be accretive to Omnicell’s non-GAAP EBITDA beginning in the first quarter of 2023. About Omnicell Since 1992, Omnicell has been committed to transforming the pharmacy care delivery model to dramatically improve outcomes and lower costs. Through the vision of the autonomous pharmacy, a combination of automation, intelligence, and technology-enabled services, powered by a cloud data platform, Omnicell supports more efficient ways to manage medications across all care settings. Over 7,000 facilities worldwide use Omnicell automation and analytics solutions to help increase operational efficiency, reduce medication errors, deliver actionable intelligence, and improve patient safety. More than 60,000 institutional and retail pharmacies across North America and the United Kingdom leverage Omnicell's innovative medication adherence and population health solutions to improve patient engagement and adherence to prescriptions, helping to reduce costly hospital readmissions.

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RESEARCH

DisperSol Technologies Announces Collaboration with Ajax Therapeutics to Develop Enhanced KinetiSol Drug Formulations

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.

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