BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Integrity Bio and LakePharma Become Curia

Curia | February 15, 2022

Curia, formerly AMRI, a leading contract research, development and manufacturing organization, announced that Integrity Bio and LakePharma, two companies that it acquired last year, have fully transitioned to the Curia brand. This change reflects the accelerated organizational integration of the acquired companies into Curia and its provision of comprehensive biologics discovery, development and manufacturing solutions to customers. Curia completed the acquisition of Integrity Bio in August 2021 and closed the LakePharma transaction in September 2021.

The addition of LakePharma and Integrity Bio demonstrate our commitment to expanding and deepening our biologics capabilities. We have moved quickly to integrate our expanded organization so we can provide comprehensive technology and scientific solutions that enable customers to advance their biologics candidates from R&D through manufacturing. More than a name change, the combined Curia organization brings a singular focus on creating a distinctive customer experience designed to accelerate projects and navigate complexity, all driven by a shared commitment to the mission of improving patients’ lives."

Curia Chairman and CEO John Ratliff
 

About Curia
Curia, formerly AMRI, is a leading contract research, development and manufacturing organization providing products and services from R&D through commercial manufacturing to pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical customers. Curia’s 3,700 employees at 29 locations across the U.S., Europe and Asia help its customers advance from curiosity to cure. 

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Athira Pharma Announces Topline Results from ACT-AD Phase 2 Proof of Concept Study of Fosgonimeton in Mild-to-Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease

Athira Pharma, Inc. | June 27, 2022

Athira Pharma, Inc. a late clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing small molecules to restore neuronal health and slow neurodegeneration, today announced topline results from its exploratory ACT-AD Phase 2 study of fosgonimeton in patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Fosgonimeton is a small molecule designed to enhance the activity of Hepatocyte Growth Factor and its receptor, MET, which are expressed in the central nervous system to promote brain health and function. “Following compelling ERP P300 latency biomarker data from a small Phase 1b trial over eight days in Alzheimer’s patients on fosgonimeton monotherapy, this Phase 2 trial provides valuable insights into the nature of this novel intervention over 26 weeks. ACT-AD was designed as a learning study to further investigate the ERP P300 biomarker signal over 6 months, assess safety in a patient population more representative of the real world, by allowing the use of add-on standard-of-care acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChEIs, e.g., donepezil), and explore fosgonimeton’s effect on psychometric outcomes, including ADAS-Cog11, to inform the ongoing Phase 3 LIFT-AD study. To that end, this study achieved its goal,” said Hans Moebius, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Medical Officer of Athira. “The study was intended to show differences on the biomarker ERP P300 latency. This primary endpoint was not met by protocoled analysis, however a pre-specified subgroup analysis indicated a potential diminished effect of fosgonimeton when given in combination with AChEIs. A subsequent post hoc analysis of the data from patients on fosgonimeton monotherapy showed a meaningful improvement in both ERP P300 latency and cognitive performance compared to placebo at 26 weeks. “These data points are very encouraging as they indicate the expected pharmacological activity of fosgonimeton by parallel improvement on ERP P300 latency and ADAS-Cog11 and show a favorable safety profile over six months. This is the first time monotherapy fosgonimeton has shown an effect on ADAS-Cog11, suggesting a potential cognitive benefit. We will use these insights for a rational optimization of the ongoing LIFT-AD trial. We plan to seek advice from our scientific advisors, investigators, and ultimately regulators on how to expeditiously analyze and potentially adapt the LIFT-AD study,” Dr. Moebius “The data from the fosgonimeton monotherapy analysis are encouraging and show biologic activity that may support the potential role of the HGF/MET pathway in neurodegenerative diseases,” said Marwan Sabbagh, M.D., FAAN, professor of neurology at Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix, AZ. “ACT-AD adds to the body of literature suggesting ERP P300 latency as an important biomarker for cognitive status.”

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

KemPharm Announces Strategic Acquisition of Arimoclomol from Orphazyme, Expanding its Rare CNS Diseases Pipeline

KemPharm | May 16, 2022

Arimoclomol is an NDA-stage, revenue-generating investigational drug candidate being developed for the treatment of Niemann-Pick disease type C a rare progressive neurodegenerative disease KemPharm plans to refile the New Drug Application (NDA) for arimoclomol in NPC with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as early as the First Quarter of 2023 CELEBRATION, Fla., May 15, 2022 KemPharm, Inc. a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of novel treatments for rare central nervous system (CNS) diseases, announced a definitive agreement with Orphazyme A/S to acquire arimoclomol, an orally-delivered, first-in-class heat shock protein (HSP) amplifier being developed as a treatment for Niemann-Pick disease type C (NPC). NPC is a rare progressive neurodegenerative disease that impacts children, adolescents, and adults, and is characterized by an inability of the body to transport cholesterol and lipids inside of cells, which leads to the abnormal accumulation of these substances within various tissues of the body, including the brain. Arimoclomol is currently being made available to NPC patients in the U.S., France and Germany under Orphazyme’s Early Access Programs (EAP). Under the terms of the agreement, KemPharm will purchase substantially all of the assets and operations of Orphazyme, including arimoclomol, for a cash payment of USD $12.8 million. The Company expects to finance the cash payment with a revolving line of credit secured by KemPharm’s balance sheet. KemPharm intends to retain the majority of Orphazyme’s current employees. In addition, KemPharm has agreed to assume an estimated reserve liability equal to approximately USD $5.2 million, which is an estimated future rebate due to the French regulatory authorities based on the revenue generated from the EAP in France. For the year ending December 31, 2022, the EAP is expected to generate at least USD $12 million in revenue based upon enrollment in France as of March 2022. The EAP is expected to remain in place until arimoclomol becomes commercially available in each of the current EAP markets. The transaction is expected to close on or before June 1, 2022, subject to customary closing conditions and approval by Orphazyme’s creditors and the Danish bankruptcy court. Canaccord Genuity LLC acted as a strategic advisor to KemPharm for the transaction. “This strategic acquisition of arimoclomol is a transformative event that significantly expands our rare CNS disease development pipeline, bringing to KemPharm an NDA-stage, revenue-generating product upon which we intend to build commercial capabilities that allow KemPharm to create and retain value for the benefit of shareholders. Moreover, the financial structure of the acquisition combined with the revenue currently being generated by arimoclomol from the early access program in France affords us the opportunity to acquire the asset in a capital efficient manner that has the potential to create positive cash flow, while incurring no shareholder dilution.” Richard Pascoe, Executive Chairman of KemPharm Arimoclomol is administered orally and has been studied in ten Phase 1, four Phase 2, and three pivotal Phase 2/3 trials. Arimoclomol has received Orphan Drug Designation (ODD) for NPC in the United States and the European Union. Arimoclomol has received Fast-Track Designation (FTD), Breakthrough Therapy Designation (BTD), and Rare Pediatric Disease Designation (RPDD) from the FDA for NPC. If approved in the U.S., arimoclomol would also be eligible to receive a Pediatric Priority Review Voucher. On June 17, 2021, Orphazyme received a Complete Response Letter (CRL) from the FDA regarding its NDA for arimoclomol for the treatment of NPC. Orphazyme also withdrew its European Marketing Authorisation Application (MAA) for arimoclomol for the treatment of NPC ahead of a final vote and opinion by the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use. “The acquisition of arimoclomol aligns perfectly with our strategy to build KemPharm’s value via the advancement and commercialization of novel treatments that address rare CNS conditions, including our lead clinical candidate, KP1077 in idiopathic hypersomnia,” stated Travis Mickle, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of KemPharm. “We have carefully evaluated the CRL issued by the FDA and the minutes from the subsequent Type A meeting, as well as the data that has been generated from the development work performed to date. We believe the efficacy signal for arimoclomol in NPC is convincing and that there is a viable regulatory path that could enable a successful NDA resubmission. KemPharm has significant experience with challenging regulatory situations, having successfully led or participated in three FDA product approvals, two of which followed an initial CRL. We welcome the opportunity to work with the FDA on the resubmission of the NDA for arimoclomol in NPC, which we expect to file as early as the first quarter of 2023.” NPC is a rare progressive lysosomal storage disorder characterized by an inability of the body to transport cholesterol and lipids inside of cells. This leads to dysfunction in organs such as the brain, spleen and liver. NPC can range from a fatal disorder within the first few months after birth (neonatal period) to a late onset, chronic progressive disorder that remains undiagnosed well into adulthood. Disease progression is irreversible in all patients, and loss of neuro-cognitive function adversely impacts their daily life. The mean age of death is 13 years (Bianconi, 2019), and there are no approved treatments for NPC in the United States. “NPC is an ultra-rare, inherited neurodegenerative disease that affects people of all ages from infancy to adulthood, and leads to progressive impairment of mobility, cognition, speech, and swallowing, culminating in premature death,” said Marc Patterson, MD, Professor of Neurology, Pediatrics and Medical Genetics at Mayo Clinic. “Therapies to treat NPC are desperately needed, and there is hope that a treatment such as arimoclomol could provide a solution to patients around the world who are living daily with the disease. It is encouraging that there is an opportunity to continue the regulatory process for arimoclomol with the FDA.” About KemPharm KemPharm is a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of novel treatments for rare central nervous system diseases through its proprietary LAT® platform technology. KemPharm utilizes its proprietary LAT® platform technology to generate improved prodrug versions of FDA-approved drugs as well as to generate prodrug versions of existing compounds that may have applications for new disease indications. KemPharm’s prodrug product candidate pipeline is focused on the high need areas of idiopathic hypersomnia (IH) and other CNS/rare diseases. In addition, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved AZSTARYS®, a new once-daily treatment for ADHD in patients age six years and older containing KemPharm’s prodrug, serdexmethylphenidate (SDX), which is being commercialized by Corium, Inc. in the U.S., and APADAZ®, an immediate-release combination product containing benzhydrocodone, KemPharm’s prodrug of hydrocodone, and acetaminophen, which is being commercialized by KVK-Tech, Inc. in the U.S.

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PHARMACY MARKET

Titan Pharmaceuticals to Explore Strategic Alternatives

Titan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. | December 22, 2021

Titan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced that it has commenced a process to explore and evaluate strategic alternatives to enhance shareholder value. Titan has engaged Maxim Group LLC as its exclusive financial advisor to assist in this process. Potential strategic alternatives that may be explored or evaluated as part of this process include an acquisition, merger, reverse merger, other business combination, sales of assets, licensing or other strategic transactions involving the Company. There can be no assurance that the exploration of strategic alternatives will result in any agreements or transactions, or that, if completed, any agreements or transactions will be successful or on attractive terms. Titan does not expect to disclose developments with respect to this process unless and until the evaluation of strategic alternatives has been completed or the board of directors has concluded that disclosure is appropriate or legally required. About Titan Pharmaceuticals Titan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. based in South San Francisco, CA, is a development stage company developing proprietary therapeutics with its ProNeura® long-term, continuous drug delivery technology. The ProNeura technology has the potential to be used in developing products for treating a number of chronic conditions, where maintaining consistent, around-the-clock blood levels of medication may benefit the patient and improve medical outcomes. Ultimate validation of the ProNeura® delivery system has been exemplified by approval of Probuphine in the US, EU and Canada. Key ongoing ProNeura implant programs include IND-enabling, non-clinical assessment of TP-2021, a potent peptide kappa opioid agonist for the long-term treatment of severe, chronic pruritis, and nalmefene, a mu opioid receptor blocker designed to decrease relapse and potential death from overdose in detoxed patients with Opiate Use Disorder.

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PHARMACY MARKET

Harbour BioMed Announces IND Approval for Next-Gen Anti-TSLP Fully Human Monoclonal Antibody

Harbour BioMed | February 22, 2022

Harbour BioMed announced that China National Medical Products Administration had approved its investigational new drug (IND) application for HBM9378 a next-gen fully human antibody targeting thymic stromal lymphopoietin for the treatment of moderate-to-severe asthma. HBM9378/SKB378 is a co-development project conducted by HBM and Kelun-Biotech, who together equally share the global rights in respect of HBM9378. The IND approval of HBM9378 is an achievement of the strategic collaboration between the parties. According to the strategic collaboration and license agreement between HBM and Kelun-Biotech, the parties will jointly explore innovative therapies of monoclonal antibodies and antibody-drug conjugate. Building on HBM's innovative business model leveraging its productive R&D platform to lead the next generation of valuable and innovative therapies and its mission to address the unmet medical needs, HBM will continue to expand its collaboration with industry leading partners and further leverage on the combined capabilities of HBM and its collaborators. "HBM9378/SKB378, a next-gen fully human monoclonal antibody, is developed from HBM's H2L2 platform. Its long half-life optimization and outstanding biophysical properties support the favorable dosing advantage. The approval of this IND application once again proves HBM's powerful innovation capability. Unleashing the power of our unique R&D engine, we are highly confident and determined to defeat intractable diseases across the world." Dr. Jingsong Wang, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Harbour BioMed About HBM9378/SKB378 HBM9378/SKB378 is a fully human monoclonal antibody against TSLP generated from two heavy chains and two light chains (H2L2) platform. It inhibits the TSLP mediated signaling pathway by blocking the interaction between TSLP and TSLP receptor. TSLP plays important roles in DC cell maturation, T helper 2 (Th2) cell polarization and inflammation, particularly in both eosinophilic and non-eosinophilic inflammation asthma. About Asthma Asthma is a heterogeneous disease defined by the history of respiratory symptoms that vary over time and in intensity, together with variable expiratory airflow limitation. The disease is estimated to affect more than 300 million people worldwide and affect more than 45.7 million adult people (≥20 years) in China. Approximately 5-10% of those afflicted with asthma have severe disease that is poorly controlled. Despite the use of medium to high dose inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) in combination with a long-acting β2-agonist (LABA), currently available biologic therapies and oral corticosteroids (OCS), many severe asthma remain uncontrolled. Current biologics are mainly targeting Type 2 severe asthma which manifests clinically with a combination of peripheral eosinophilia, sputum eosinophilia and/or elevated fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FENO). Severe asthma patients experience frequent exacerbations, significant limitations on lung function and a reduced quality of life. The healthcare burden associated with care for these patients is also high. Therefore, there are still significant unmet needs to develop safer and broader therapies for severe asthma. About Harbour BioMed Harbour BioMed is a global biopharmaceutical company committed to the discovery, development and commercialization of novel antibody therapeutics focusing on immunology and oncology. The Company is building its robust portfolio and differentiated pipeline through internal R&D capability, collaborations with co-discovery and co-development partners and select acquisitions.

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