Janssen hands back rights to Hanmi's diabetes/obesity drug

pharmatimes | July 04, 2019

Shares in Hanmi Pharmaceutical have taken a hit after Johnson & Johnson's Janssen handed back rights to HM12525A, a novel biologic GLP-1/Glucagon dual receptor agonist being developed for weight loss and blood glucose control in certain patients with diabetes. According to the Korean drugmaker, while two Phase II trials carried out by Janssen achieved the primary target of weight reduction, “its blood glucose control in obese patients accompanying diabetes fell short of Janssen’s internal standards”. An official at Hanmi Pharmaceutical was quoted by the Korea Biomedical Review as saying: “In Phase II studies, the treatment showed excellent efficacy in reducing weight in obese people with or without diabetes. We will have an internal review on the matter and confirm our plan for development as soon as possible. “We are aware that it is not easy to develop a new drug but will not stop challenging to commercialise Korea’s first successful new drug in the overseas market.” Janssen licensed exclusive global rights (excluding Korea and China) to the experimental drug in November 2015 in a deal valued at $915 million. Shares in Hanmi dropped nearly 30% as investors digested news of the deal's demise.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Cellusion and Celregen a member of Fosun Pharma, Enter into Exclusive License Agreement of CLS001 for a Corneal Endothelial Cell Regenerative

Cellusion and Celregen | September 12, 2022

Cellusion Inc. a Japanese regenerative medicine startup aiming to solve the global corneal transplant waiting list problem with a unique differentiation induction method from iPS cells to Corneal Endothelial Cell Substitute from iPS Cells for bullous keratopathy novel treatment and Hangzhou Celregen Therapeutics Ltd. a member of Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. and focus on regenerative medicine and cell therapy and incubated by New Drug Fund of Fosun Health Capital announced an exclusive license agreement in the Greater China region for Celregen to develop, manufacture and commercialize CLS001. Under the Agreement, Celregen will have the exclusive right to develop, manufacture and commercialize CLS001 for bullous keratopathy in the Greater China region, including Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. On the other hand, Cellusion retains the rights of development, manufacturing and commercialization of CLS001 in other regions including Japan, the USA, and EU. Under the terms of the agreement, Cellusion will potentially receive over 100 million US dollars including upfront payment, development milestones and sales milestones as well as tiered royalties. “We are very enthusiastic about combining our knowledge of the underlying iPS cellular biology with Celregen and Fosun Pharma in the development and commercialization of innovative medicine in China. Together, we are committed to make best efforts on launching CLS001 for the patient suffering from bullous keratopathy due to the cornea donor shortage in the greater China region.” Shin Hatou, M.D. Ph.D., CEO of Cellusion “Today’s announcement with a global industry leader in iPS cells derived corneal endothelial regenerative therapy such as Cellusion, is an important and strategic step to build a long-term foundation for cell therapy in China,” said Cui Zhiping, the Chairman of Celregen, Fosun Global Partner, Chief Consultant of VC investment of Fosun Pharma and CEO of Fosun New Drug Fund. “This partnership, which leverages each company’s respective strengths, will help us bring novel regenerative medicine products to patients in greater China.” According to reports, there are about millions of people in China who are blind due to corneal diseases, and this number is increasing at a rate of 100,000 per year. Most of the patients with corneal blindness need corneal transplantation to restore their sight, but only less than 20,000 corneal transplants are conducted due to severe donor cornea shortage issues. Cellusion has already announced that the patient recruitment began for the First-in-Human Investigator-Initiated Study of CLS001 to initiate in 2022 at the Keio University Hospital and has been preparing to start Cellusion initiated clinical trial in Japan within a few years followed by global studies in the US and EU region. Cellusion is developing CLS001, CECSi cells for Corneal Endothelial regeneration to cure Bullous Keratopathy which is applied to more than half of all cases of corneal transplantation. CLS001 is expected to replace the current supply limitations by combining “CECSi Cells made from iPS cells with excellent proliferative properties” and “a simple injection cell delivery procedure without needs of human expertise.” About Celregen Celregen, incubated by New Drug Fund of Fosun Health Capital, focuses on stem cell and transformed cellular regenerative medicine. This platform adopts a variety of modes of cooperation with leading biotech and scientists. It is expected to be a head biotech in regenerative medicine in China. About Fosun Pharma Founded in 1994, Fosun Pharma is a global innovation-driven pharmaceutical and healthcare industry group deep-rooted in China. Fosun Pharma directly operates businesses including pharmaceutical manufacturing, medical devices, medical diagnosis, and healthcare services. As a shareholder of Sinopharm Co., Ltd., Fosun Pharma expands its areas in the pharmaceutical distribution and retail business. Fosun Pharma is patient-centered and clinical needs-oriented. The company enriches its innovative product pipeline through diversified and multi-level cooperation models such as independent research and development, cooperative development, license-in, and in-depth incubation. Fosun Pharma has formed technological platforms for innovative small molecule drugs, antibody drugs, and cell therapy with a focus on key disease areas including oncology and immunomodulation, metabolism and digestive system, and central nervous system. About Fosun New Drug Fund New Drug Fund, under the management of Fosun Health Capital, is the first VC established by Fosun Pharma. The Fund focuses on innovative biopharmaceutical-based drug fields at the start-up and expansion stages, including gene therapy, cell therapy, bio-conjugate drugs, and medical aesthetics, etc. The Fund has committed to incubate cutting-edging science and revolutionary technologies from world top universities, research institutes and biotech, through which path we can establish and adopt a variety of models of cooperation.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Ex-Biocon team Symbio Generrics completes capital raise from Ascent Capital

Symbio Generrics | November 25, 2022

Symbio Generrics India Private Limited a specialized Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients & Intermediates manufacturing and marketing organization, announced that it has completed an equity capital raise from Ascent Capital, a leading growth-capital focused private equity fund. Symbio was founded by pharmaceutical professionals, Salim Shaikh and Abhijit Kale. They were soon joined by the third promoter, Akash Puranik; all of whom possess decades of experience in the global pharmaceutical industry. Symbio's journey from a sales and marketing organization to a full-fledged vertically integrated manufacturer of specialized APIs has been exemplary. Through a well-developed customer ecosystem, the highly experienced & skilled team at Symbio has established a global footprint for its APIs. Ascent Capital's sizeable investment in Symbio will further accelerate the company's expansion plans and sets the company enroute to emerge as a top-10 manufacturer of APIs in India. The funds raised from Ascent will be utilized towards undertaking strategic acquisitions, establishing a best-in-class R&D facility and ramping up manufacturing capacity. The company's R&D Centre is housed in Bengaluru while the manufacturing plant is located at Dobbaspet, Bengaluru. The Company is in the process of acquiring another manufacturing facility in India. The team is focused on building a high-potential generics API portfolio for the global markets and to this effect, will work towards getting US FDA and other SRA approvals for their recently acquired facilities. "We are glad to be associated with Ascent Capital which has a reputation of partnering with entrepreneurs to build leading businesses in India. The sizeable investment from Ascent Capital will add power to our next growth spurt and enable us to emerge as a top-10 API company in India. We are setting ourselves a medium-term goal of growing rapidly into a sizeable company by leveraging the strength of our team and expanding our horizons to actively serve the global API market." Commenting on the fund raise, Salim Shaikh, Executive Chairman & Founder of Symbio Generrics Akash Puranik, Promoter, MD& CEO of Symbio Generrics, says, "The latest feather in our cap is the influx of resources from Ascent Capital. We have carved strategic alliances and relationships spanning over two decades with leading pharmaceutical entities in regulated and semi-regulated markets and are now keen to expand these synergies further in the global arena. With a well-developed infrastructure, both on the manufacturing and R&D front, we are keen to engage with potential partners for CDMO Business." Mr. Raja Kumar, Founder and MD of Ascent Capital, said, "Ascent Capital has been known to support highly qualified professional teams in niche domains. Continuing with this tradition, we are delighted to partner with the first-generation technocrat founders at Symbio. Collectively, the team at Symbio is one of the best multi-disciplinary teams in the Indian pharma space and has shown an exemplary track record of building global relationships. We look forward to working collaboratively with the Company to ensure that we have another category leader from the Ascent stable, akin to BigBasket, Sequent, Skanray, to name a few." IC Universal Legal's Chennai team led by Senior Partner, Sameena Chatrapathy represented Symbio as the legal counsel for the fund raise from Ascent Capital as well as the follow-on acquisitions. About Symbio Symbio Generrics India Private Limited founded in the year 2010 is a specialized Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients & Intermediates manufacturing and marketing organization with headquarters in Bengaluru. The Company was founded by first generation entrepreneurs coming from a leading pharmaceutical organization, with a combined experience of over 40 years. About Ascent Capital Ascent Capital is a leading India-focused Independent Private Equity Fund Manager. The team at Ascent is one of the most experienced investment teams in India with 150+ years of collective experience in Indian PE and capital markets. Thus far, Ascent has helped more than 60 entrepreneurs build leading businesses across diverse sectors such as Technology, Healthcare, Financial Services, Consumer Brands, etc. It typically invests USD 10-30 MM in fast growing businesses, led by outstanding entrepreneurs, that have the potential to emerge as leaders in its segment thereby delivering exceptional exit outcomes. Ascent is backed by marquee investors, who include long term institutional investors like pension funds, foundations, endowments, fund of funds and large corporations - a vote of confidence in the team's ability to excel and deliver results.

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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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PHARMA TECH

Bluestar Genomics Receives CAP Accreditation for Its Clinical Laboratory

Bluestar Genomics | October 11, 2022

Bluestar Genomics, Inc., an early cancer detection company leading the development and commercialization of next-generation liquid biopsy tests focused on non-invasive detection of high-mortality cancers in high-risk patient populations, today announced it received accreditation for its clinical laboratory from the College of American Pathologists (CAP). The certification enables the company to serve physicians and patients globally as it works towards broad commercialization of its first test for the detection of pancreatic cancer. CAP Accreditation is an internationally recognized program that awards laboratories that meet stringent requirements of quality, accuracy, and consistency. This milestone further solidifies Bluestar Genomics’ commitment to providing the highest standards of testing results. The company’s proprietary approach to detecting cancer early is anchored in epigenomic process of tracking dynamic changes in cells in the body by measuring levels of the biomarker 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) in a person’s blood. “This accreditation—on the heels of our CLIA certification and combined with our growing body of scientific evidence supporting the utility of our 5hmC-based epigenomic testing—positions us to become the first cancer detection company to offer non-invasive epigenomic blood-based testing for early pancreatic cancer detection. These milestones are a testament to our focus on preparing our company to serve customers around the world, helping millions of patients avoid late-stage, untreatable cancer diagnosis.” David Mullarkey, chief executive officer of Bluestar Genomics Bluestar Genomics’ pancreatic cancer early detection test has been analytically validated and previously received FDA Breakthrough Device Designation. It is designed to analyze a person’s changing biology and uses novel 5hmC-based epigenomic analysis to detect when cells become cancerous. The company has a prospective, large clinical validation study underway to further study its test. About Bluestar Genomics Bluestar Genomics is an early cancer detection company focused on the development and commercialization of non-invasive epigenomic tests to detect cancer through a standard blood draw, earlier than existing methods and when the disease is still treatable. The company uses its one-of-a-kind epigenomic platform that combines best-in-class bioinformatics and genomic technologies to analyze individuals’ changing biology that is yet to produce symptoms. Leveraging its novel liquid biopsy technology, Bluestar Genomics is initially focused on high-mortality cancers with the greatest need for early detection, starting with pancreatic and women’s cancers. With locations in San Diego and the San Francisco Bay Area, Bluestar Genomics collaborates with top research institutions and is supported by multiple global healthcare and technology investors and pharmaceutical collaborations.

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