PHARMACY MARKET, PHARMA TECH
GoodRx | October 21, 2022
To circumvent overpriced prescription drugs and grow its robust pharmacy services platform, GoodRx finalized its vitaCare acquisition. Based on a transaction that started in the first quarter of 2022, GoodRx agreed to secure vitaCare for $150 million in cash. Based on vitaCare’s financial performance through 2023, an additional $7 million consideration is also possible. A report cited by Globe Newswire showed that the global pharmacy market size has a forecasted value of $1,627.74 billion by 2030. Pharmaceutical platforms, with accessible clinical programs and digital adoptions, have a positive impact on today’s healthcare system, with vitaCare as one of the promising brands.
vitaCare, a healthcare service platform, offers cost-effective solutions to patients. More precisely, the platform helps individuals navigate insurance coverage and its optimized benefits to attain lower-priced medications. Rising investments in pharmacy services have sparked interest in vitaCare, including that of GoodRx.
The acquisition of vitaCare is in line with GoodRx’s mission, though. Co-CEO Doug Hirsch states that the company seeks to relieve the financial burden that comes with securing medication. Pharma manufacturers have constantly observed barriers to proper patient care, especially for affordable medicine and complicated reimbursement processes. With vitaCare at the helm, new tools are utilized to ensure more patients are linked to relevant savings programs and transparent pricing information. Hirsch hopes that the acquisition will facilitate a smoother brand prescription process overall. Profit-wise, GoodRx predicts the deal will contribute under 1% of its total revenue in 2022, though there is no substantial long-term discern.
This acquisition is the latest in GoodRx’s commitment to delivering consumer-focused healthcare services. The company has a history of connecting individuals to accessible, research-based health information. One of the most notable ones is its partnership with Wheel in 2021, which generated better outcomes for patient care.
Telemedicine software provider Wheel offers flexible clinical services to a broad patient base. Wheel’s platform equips clinics with the capability of synchronous and asynchronous consults. It utilizes network virtualization to create a seamless experience for healthcare providers and patients. Our post ‘Network Virtualization: The Future of Businesses and Networks’ previously discussed how virtualization empowers a software’s scalability — and this certainly manifests in Wheel’s platform. Providers can choose from a range of services that enhance patient care. One of the services is ePrescription medications, which remotely administers prescriptions.
Following the integration of GoodRx’s technology into Wheel’s platform, health providers and patients alike can meet reduced costs of care. As it stands, GoodRx’s coupon price API operates with over 200 billion pricing data points daily. Consumers use these to identify lower-priced medications. With the integration, Wheel-mobilized clinics can offer their patients a GoodRx coupon. GoodRx can also adapt its services to remote healthcare activities through the partnership. After all, GoodRx is essentially a marketplace.
Ultimately, GoodRx champions solutions that provide consumers with affordable healthcare access and medication. With vitaCare among its ranks today, the company can focus on promoting better patient adherence to treatment plans.
Hovione | September 07, 2022
Hovione, the leader in spray drying and particle engineering, announced that it has expanded its continuous manufacturing offering and services. A new state-of-the-art continuous manufacturing facility is now coming online at the Loures site in Portugal. In addition, to support Hovione's commitment to providing access and services for continuous tableting, Hovione has further strengthened its capabilities by establishing a highly experienced multi-disciplinary global team in continuous tableting and upgrading its labs with the tools needed to support the drug product lifecycle, thereby further guaranteeing competency and capacity from research & development to production.
Continuous manufacturing is expected to change the landscape of drug product development and commercial production. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is partnering with the International Council for Harmonization and leading a global initiative to advance continuous manufacturing of small molecules and other pharmaceutical modalities.
Hovione is offering customers a commercial continuous tableting platform prepared to support key control needs and deliver on operational excellence, mechanistic modeling, and appropriate process analytical technology (PAT). Additionally, Hovione´s quality system has been designed to support the release of continuous tableting products through automated in-process controls, deployment of real time release, and compliant digital infrastructure.
This cutting-edge technology offers a distinct set of features and advantages including faster development of simpler processes, agile manufacturing for variable demand, robust control strategies and high process quality standards.
"Hovione has been historically focused on innovative technologies that benefit our customers and patients. With this investment in continuous tableting, our customers can rely on our support to bring much needed medicines to the market as fast as possible with the highest quality and manufacturing standards. We are investing to accelerate the adoption of this technology as we continue to innovate and enhance our offering around our areas of expertise."
Jean-Luc Herbeaux, Hovione´s CEO
"This investment in continuous tableting from R&D to production further strengthens Hovione´s CDMO offering and responds to the growing customer interest." says Filipe Neves, Hovione´s Strategic Business Director.
This latest investment in Continuous Tableting is part of Hovione´s broader strategy to build differentiated and enabling capabilities and assets to meet customers unique needs for oral dosage forms manufacturing.
Hovione is an international company with over 60 years of experience as a Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization with a fully integrated offering of services for drug substance, drug product intermediate and drug product. The company has four FDA inspected sites in the USA, Portugal, Ireland and China and development laboratories in Lisbon, Portugal and New Jersey, USA. Hovione provides pharmaceutical customers services for the development and compliant manufacture of innovative drugs, including highly potent compounds, and customized product solutions across the entire drug life cycle. In the inhalation area, Hovione offers a complete range of services, from API and formulation development to devices. Hovione´s culture is based on innovation, quality and delivery. Hovione was the first Chemical/ Pharmaceutical Company to become a Certified B Corp, is a member of Rx-360, EFCG and participates actively in industry quality improvement initiatives to lead new global industry standards.
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.”
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.
Astellas Pharma Inc. | September 05, 2022
Astellas Pharma Inc. announced topline results from the Phase 3 MOONLIGHT 3™ clinical trial in women in mainland China evaluating the long-term safety and tolerability of fezolinetant, an investigational oral, nonhormonal compound being studied for the treatment of moderate to severe vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause. VMS, characterized by hot flashes and/or night sweats, are common symptoms of menopause.
MOONLIGHT 3 is a 52-week single-arm Phase 3 clinical trial investigating the long-term safety and tolerability of fezolinetant 30 mg taken once daily in 150 women in mainland China seeking treatment for relief of VMS associated with menopause. The study's primary endpoint is the frequency and severity of adverse events which were generally consistent with previous Phase 3 studies of fezolinetant. Detailed results will be submitted for publication in the near future.
"The topline results from the MOONLIGHT 3 study are very encouraging and, upon initial review, further support the long-term safety of fezolinetant. We are evaluating the full MOONLIGHT data sets and remain committed to developing innovative treatments in this therapeutic area with the hope of delivering a first-in-class, nonhormonal treatment option for women with moderate to severe VMS."
Ahsan Arozullah, M.D., M.P.H., Senior Vice President and Head of Development Therapeutic Areas, Astellas
Fezolinetant is an investigational selective neurokinin-3 receptor antagonist and is not approved anywhere in the world. In the U.S., a New Drug Application for fezolinetant for the treatment of moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause is under review. The NDA submission is based on results from two pivotal Phase 3 clinical trials, SKYLIGHT 1™ and SKYLIGHT 2™, and the Phase 3 long-term safety study, SKYLIGHT 4™.
About the MOONLIGHT Phase 3 Clinical Trials
MOONLIGHT 1™ is designed to investigate the efficacy and safety of fezolinetant for the treatment of moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause in women in Asia. The study is double-blinded and placebo-controlled for the first 12 weeks, followed by a 12-week non-controlled extension treatment period. A total of 302 women with moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause were enrolled at nearly 60 sites in mainland China, Korea and Taiwan. MOONLIGHT 3™ is a 52-week single-arm Phase 3 clinical trial designed to investigate the long-term safety and tolerability of fezolinetant in women in mainland China with VMS associated with menopause. A total of 150 women were enrolled at 34 sites in mainland China.
About the BRIGHT SKY™ Phase 3 Program
The BRIGHT SKY pivotal trials, SKYLIGHT 1™ and SKYLIGHT 2™ enrolled over 1,000 women with moderate to severe VMS. The trials are double-blinded, placebo-controlled for the first 12 weeks followed by a 40-week treatment extension period. Women were enrolled at over 180 sites within the U.S., Canada and Europe. SKYLIGHT 4™ is a 52-week double-blinded, placebo-controlled study designed to investigate the long-term safety of fezolinetant. For SKYLIGHT 4, over 1,800 women with VMS were enrolled at over 180 sites within the U.S., Canada and Europe.
About VMS Associated with Menopause
VMS, characterized by hot flashes and/or night sweats, are common symptoms of menopause.1,2 Worldwide, more than 50% of women 40 to 64 years of age experience VMS and, in East Asia, the prevalence of VMS has been estimated to be around 80% of women 40 to 65 years of age, with 55% having moderate to severe VMS.3,4 VMS can have a disruptive impact on women's daily activities and overall quality of life.1
Fezolinetant is an investigational oral, nonhormonal therapy in clinical development for the treatment of moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause. Fezolinetant works by blocking neurokinin B (NKB) binding on the kisspeptin/neurokinin/dynorphin (KNDy) neuron to moderate neuronal activity in the thermoregulatory center of the brain (the hypothalamus) to reduce the frequency and severity of moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause.5,6,7 The safety and efficacy of fezolinetant are under investigation and have not been established. There is no guarantee the agent will receive regulatory approval or become commercially available for the uses being investigated.
Astellas Pharma Inc. is a pharmaceutical company conducting business in more than 70 countries around the world. We are promoting the Focus Area Approach that is designed to identify opportunities for the continuous creation of new drugs to address diseases with high unmet medical needs by focusing on Biology and Modality. Furthermore, we are also looking beyond our foundational Rx focus to create Rx+® healthcare solutions that combine our expertise and knowledge with cutting-edge technology in different fields of external partners. Through these efforts, Astellas stands on the forefront of healthcare change to turn innovative science into value for patients.