New cannabis-based drug shows promise for pancreatic cancer

Medical News | August 22, 2019

Cancer of the pancreas is a particularly deadly cancer, claiming over 90 Precent of its victims within 5 years from diagnosis. It resists most standard therapies, including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy and targeted therapy, and metastasizes early, often before being diagnosed. A cure is possible only with very localized tumors. Now, however, a new cannabis-derivative called FBL-03G, loaded into tumor-targeted smart radiotherapy biomaterials systems (SRBs systems), shows great promise in killing cancer cells within a treated tumor as well as in other distant parts of the body, with a survival advantage. FBL-03G is a cannabis flavonoid, a synthetic derivative of Cannflavin B. It is not a cannabinoid, and lacks psychoactive properties. This new study uses SRB-loaded FBL-03G introduced into the tumor to test its ability to improve the tumor response to radiation therapy. This is called radiosensitization. It also seeks to explore the immunomodulatory properties of this compound at varying concentrations and volumes. Harvard researchers are testing cannabinoids, which are derived from the plant Cannabis sativa, for their anti-cancer properties and to alleviate the often harsh adverse effects of chemotherapeutic agents and radiation therapy. One novel approach to the use of cannabinoids incorporated them into smart radiotherapy biomaterials systems (SRBs systems) for direct delivery to the tumor.

Spotlight

The Drug Quality and Security Act, a United States bill passed in 2013, calls for manufacturers to make prescription drugs traceable on a per-unit basis. Manufacturers will need to mark each package with a serial number or machine-readable code in order to comply, a process better known as serialization.


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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

AustinPx Names Elizabeth Hickman Chief Business Officer

AustinPx | September 28, 2022

AustinPx, Pharmaceutics and Manufacturing, a contract development and manufacturing organization announced the appointment of Elizabeth Hickman as Chief Business Officer. In this role, Ms. Hickman will be responsible for the Company’s CDMO business operations and strategy, including building capabilities and a team to deliver high-value solutions for pharmaceutical customers. Ms. Hickman is an accomplished business leader with over 15 years of experience with small and multi-billion-dollar CDMOs. Over her career, she has held business development and market strategy positions of increasing responsibility, most recently at West Pharmaceutical Services as Senior Director of Strategic Marketing, Services and Solutions where she was responsible for market expansion of the company’s contract development, testing and manufacturing services. Prior to joining West, Ms. Hickman led sales and marketing at Pharmatek Laboratories, where she helped grow the company’s services and revenues resulting in its successful acquisition by Catalent Pharma Solutions. Following Pharmatek’s acquisition, she continued to excel in market strategy and business development leadership roles with Catalent’s oral drug development business unit. Ms. Hickman has a BA in Microbiology from the University of Texas, Austin and an MBA from San Diego State University. "Elizabeth brings a sharp skillset and a wealth of CDMO experience to AustinPx," said Tim Scott, President and CEO for AustinPx. "She has a strong history of growing CDMOs as both a strategist and a team-builder. Elizabeth is unique in her ability to foster and create a culture that excels at providing client-centric services, and that is why she is such a tremendous asset for AustinPx. We are very fortunate to have her." As CBO at AustinPx, Ms. Hickman will focus on the strategic buildout of agile, best in class operations, systems, and teams. She will be responsible for all market strategy and communications, business development, project management, systems optimization, and data-driven processes that drive growth. "I am excited to be a part of AustinPx and join its impressive team of formulation and manufacturing scientists and operations staff. They are a true scientific powerhouse for our clients. My goal is to build on the Company’s strong foundation to develop a client-centric CDMO that consistently delivers exceptional service from initial engagement to product shipment. Ultimately, my passion is for the patients of our clients – if we can help get their drug candidates to the clinic faster, with better formulations and dosage forms, we can in turn impact more patients around the world." Elizabeth Hickman About AustinPx AustinPx, Pharmaceutics and Manufacturing is a contract development and manufacturing organization providing analytical and formulation development services and cGMP manufacturing for small molecule drugs. We specialize in phase-appropriate development strategies, speed to clinic and market strategies, and bioavailability enhancement of poorly soluble molecules - including our next generation amorphous dispersion platform, KinetiSol® Technology.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Kubota Vision Announces Collaboration Agreement with Leading Diabetes Center

PBOS | September 30, 2022

Kubota Vision Inc. a clinical-stage specialty ophthalmology company and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kubota Pharmaceutical Holdings Co., Ltd. announced today that the Company and Joslin Diabetes Center have entered into a material transfer and collaboration agreement for our Patient Based Ophthalmology Suite in-home optical coherence tomography device. Joslin Diabetes Center is conducting two clinical studies to evaluate the ability of PBOS to identify cases of diabetic macular edema that may need treatment compared to a commercially-available OCT device. The studies will be led by Dr. Paolo S. Silva at Joslin Diabetes Center. Dr. Silva is the Co-Chief of Telemedicine at the Beetham Eye Institute of the Joslin Diabetes Center. His work is focused on innovative and investigative work in a field at the intersection of clinical care and technology with the hope of providing an ideal model for the delivery of evidence-based, highly effective, and efficient diabetes eye care to the population that needs it the most. Joslin Diabetes Center, which is affiliated with Harvard Medical School, is a one-of-a-kind institution on the front lines of the world epidemic of diabetes — leading the battle to conquer diabetes in all of its forms through cutting-edge research and innovative approaches to clinical care and education. Dr. Silva stated, “Through these studies, we will determine if home-based in-home optical coherence tomography is useful in the evaluation of diabetic macular edema and how we monitor patients at risk for losing vision from the condition.” “Diabetic retinopathy is one of the most common diseases in the world. The use of our technology brings us great excitement as we continue to focus on the development of medical devices and explore further possibilities.” Ryo Kubota, MD, PhD, Chairman, President, and CEO of Kubota Vision Inc. About PBOS PBOS is a low cost, home-based, ophthalmic self-monitoring OCT device. This small handheld device addresses needs in mobile Health applications for self-monitoring of retina health by patients, in the home and in remote field locations. The PBOS aims to improve ophthalmic treatment outcomes in patients diagnosed with and treated for wet age-related macular degeneration, diabetic macular edema and other neovascular retinal diseases. PBOS is being designed to detect nascent disease progression and support patient re-treatment prior to irreversible vision loss due to disease progression. Key features are low cost and a patient-friendly design, to be used directly by patients at home. PBOS is being designed to capture changes in retinal anatomy. Network connectivity and cloud-based technologies are used to alert the patients and their physicians of disease progression and re-treatment needs. About Kubota Vision Inc. Kubota Vision Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kubota Pharmaceutical Holdings Co., Ltd. committed to translating innovation into a diverse portfolio of drugs and devices to preserve and restore vision for millions of people worldwide. Kubota Pharmaceutical group’s pipeline includes a wearable device for myopia control using Kubota GlassTM technology and a handheld OCT device for the monitoring of neovascular retinal diseases, to be used directly by patients.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Iterative Scopes Receives FDA Clearance for AI-Assisted Polyp Detection Device SKOUT™

Iterative Scopes | September 23, 2022

Iterative Scopes, a pioneer in precision medicine technologies for gastroenterology, and Provation, the premier software and SaaS provider of clinical productivity and workflow automation solutions, announced that SKOUT™ has received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for adults undergoing colorectal cancer screening or surveillance. SKOUT, a real-time computer-aided polyp detection device developed by Iterative Scopes, uses advanced computer vision technology designed to recognize suspicious tissue and provide real-time feedback to gastroenterologists. The device was evaluated in the largest U.S.-based multicenter clinical study for a computer aided polyp detection (CADe) device completed to date, which determined that SKOUT significantly improved overall adenoma detection in screening and surveillance colonoscopy compared to standard colonoscopy.1 In March 2021, Provation and Iterative Scopes entered a partnership focused on delivering artificial intelligence-based solutions to healthcare providers and researchers. Provation is a market leader in gastrointestinal (GI) documentation, with more than 3,500 customer facilities including 80% of the top academic and large health systems, and the company will act as an exclusive distributor of SKOUT to help broaden the technology’s reach among the country’s top GI-focused organizations. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and Europe,2 3 due in part to the high volumes of adenomas – approximately 26%4 – that endoscopists miss when conducting a colonoscopy. In its registration trial, SKOUT was found to improve adenoma detection, as measured by adenomas per colonoscopy (APC). Furthermore, increased detection was not limited to diminutive polyps. Higher APC rates have been shown to lead to improved patient outcomes; a recent study showed that the incidence of colorectal cancer within three years of examination decreases with higher APC rates.5 “Even among the best endoscopists, there is room for improvement in adenoma detection, which can impact patient outcomes. We are enthusiastic about the fact that even gastroenterologists with an already high baseline rate of adenoma detection demonstrated an improvement with SKOUT. Now that SKOUT is FDA-cleared, clinicians will be able to better detect adenomas with more efficiency, and ultimately change the standard of gastrointestinal care.” Sloane Allebes Phillips, VP of Clinical Operations at Iterative Scopes SKOUT is indicated as a computer-aided detection tool to assist qualified and trained endoscopists in identifying potential colorectal polyps during colonoscopy examinations in adult patients undergoing colorectal cancer screening or surveillance. SKOUT demonstrated a 27% relative increase in the detection of adenomas per colonoscopy, with an average of one additional adenoma resected for every 4.5 patients examined. Importantly, in the proximal colon, SKOUT demonstrated a 44% relative increase in 5-9 mm polyp detection, and a 29% relative increase in 5-9 mm polyp detection overall.1 These results validate the need for technological advancements that can help improve colonoscopies, and SKOUT’s artificial intelligence capabilities position it to do so. “Knowing that patients can walk away from their appointment with the confidence that they received a high quality and detailed colonoscopy is what excites us most about SKOUT’s FDA clearance,” said Aasma Shaukat, MD, MPH, Robert M. and Mary H. Glickman Professor of Medicine and Gastroenterology at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, and a primary investigator on the SKOUT registration study. “Confidence and peace-of-mind on behalf of providers and patients alike will allow clinicians to provide stronger recommendations and solutions for their patients.” “We are thrilled that our partner Iterative Scopes has received FDA clearance for their AI-Assisted Polyp Detection device, SKOUT. We have been very impressed with its study results and are eager to share our vision for integrating this technology into our solutions,” said Daniel Hamburger, CEO at Provation. “SKOUT is a true game-changer for the field of gastroenterology, and we can’t wait to start seeing its impact on patient care.” SKOUT’s intuitive user interface seamlessly integrates with existing clinical workflows and does not increase total procedure or withdrawal time.1 When a potential polyp is detected, the system calls attention to the polyp on the procedure monitor by drawing a blue bounding box around it and tracking the polyp as it moves on the screen. If a medical tool enters the frame, the bounding box automatically disappears to avoid obstructing the physician’s view during polyp removal. About Iterative Scopes Iterative Scopes is a pioneer in the application of artificial intelligence-based precision medicine for gastroenterology with the aim of helping to optimize clinical trials investigating treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The technology is also designed to potentially enhance colorectal cancer screenings. Its powerful, proprietary artificial intelligence and computer vision technologies have the potential to improve the accuracy and consistency of endoscopy readings. Iterative Scopes is initially applying these advances to impact polyp detection for colorectal cancer screenings and working to standardize disease severity characterization for inflammatory bowel disease. Longer term, the company plans to establish more meaningful endpoints for GI diseases, which may be better predictors of therapeutic response and disease outcomes. Spun out of MIT in 2017, the company is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. About Provation Provation is a leading provider of healthcare software and SaaS solutions for clinical productivity, care coordination, quality reporting, and billing. Our purpose is to empower providers to deliver quality healthcare for all. Provation’s comprehensive portfolio spans the entire patient encounter, from pre-procedure through post-procedure, with solutions for physician and nursing documentation anesthesia documentation patient engagement, surgical care coordination, quality reporting, and billing capture order set and care plan management and EHR embedded clinical documentation. Provation has a loyal customer base, serving more than 5,000 hospitals, surgery centers, and medical offices, and 700 physician groups globally, including 19 of the top 20 U.S. hospitals. In 2021, Provation was acquired by Fortive Corporation, a Fortune 1000 company that builds essential technology and accelerates transformation in high-impact fields like workplace safety, engineering, and healthcare.

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PHARMACY MARKET

IAMA Therapeutics Announces Initiation of Preclinical Development Studies in Drug-resistant Epilepsy Under a Service Agreement with Psychogenics

IAMA Therapeutics | July 26, 2022

IAMA Therapeutics, a preclinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of novel medicines to make a difference in the lives of individuals suffering from brain disorders, and PsychoGenics Inc., a leader in AI-enabled phenotypic drug discovery and preclinical CRO services, today announced that the companies have entered into a service agreement to identify the efficacy of novel drug candidates in drug-resistant epilepsy. Under the terms of the agreement, PsychoGenics will evaluate the preclinical anti-seizure efficacy of first-in-class selective-NKCC1 inhibitors, which aims to reduce intracellular chloride concentration and restore the physiological hyperpolarizing and inhibitory GABAergic transmission in an animal model of refractory epilepsy. "PsychoGenics is a leader in preclinical behavioral neurobiology with a successful track record of anti-epilepsy drug testing through translational EEG approaches, including electrographic and behavioral identification of seizure. We look forward to leveraging our collective expertise in neuroscience drug development to identify and evaluate the anti-seizure efficacy of new drug candidates, to enhance further and complement our pipeline of differentiated therapeutic opportunities for epilepsy, neurodevelopmental and cognitive disorders." Andrea P. Malizia, Ph.D., MBA, Chief Executive Officer of IAMA Therapeutics “We are excited to embark of these studies with IAMA Therapeutics” said Stephen Morairty, Ph.D., Vice President of Translational Neuroscience at PsychoGenics. “Using our pre-clinical MTLE model, will carefully evaluate the efficacy of these first-in-class selective-NKCC1 inhibitors.” About IAMA Therapeutics IAMA Therapeutics is a preclinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on discovering, developing, and commercializing novel medicines to make a difference in the lives of children and adults suffering from epilepsy, neurodevelopmental and cognitive disorders. IAMA Therapeutics couples emerging advances in drug discovery and neurobiology to build a leading, next-generation neuroscience pipeline to selectively inhibit the sodium-potassium chloride cotransporter and other therapeutic targets relevant to brain disorders characterized by neuronal imbalance. The company's preclinical pipeline consists of the lead candidate IAMA-6 for the treatment of idiopathic autism, IAMA-097 for the treatment of secondary and rare forms of autism, and other compounds for treating refractory epilepsy and other brain disorders. About PsychoGenics Inc. PsychoGenics is a leader in vivo phenotypic drug discovery. The company applies its proprietary technology platforms in partnership with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to discover the next generation of drugs for neuropsychiatric disorders. PsychoGenics' capabilities include standard behavioral testing, electrophysiology, translational EEG, molecular biology, and state-of-the-art microdialysis. In addition, the company offers a variety of in-licensed transgenic mouse models that support research in areas such as Huntington's disease, Autism spectrum disorders, psychosis/schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, sleep, and Spinal Muscular Atrophy muscular dystrophy and other muscle disorders.

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Spotlight

The Drug Quality and Security Act, a United States bill passed in 2013, calls for manufacturers to make prescription drugs traceable on a per-unit basis. Manufacturers will need to mark each package with a serial number or machine-readable code in order to comply, a process better known as serialization.

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