NHS, MSD collaborate to help eliminate hep C

pharmatimes | April 30, 2019

The NHS has announced plans to collaborate with American Pharma giant MSD in a deal that could help England become the first country in the world to eliminate hepatitis C. MSD has already announced a commitment to help see hepatitis C eliminated in the UK by 2025, and over 30,000 people have already benefitted from new drugs being made available on the NHS over the last few years. The three-year ‘ambitious’ partnership will allow MSD to “work with NHS providers, local authority services, community organisations and other companies to align the diverse elements of the whole pathway for those at risk of hepatitis C infection,” according to Louise Houson, managing director, MSD UK.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Hovione expands drug product offering with a new manufacturing line dedicated to Continuous Tableting

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. About Hovione 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.

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VIEWS AND ANALYSIS

Altamira Therapeutics Provides Business Update and First Half 2022 Financial Results

Altamira Therapeutics Ltd | December 01, 2022

Altamira Therapeutics Ltd. a company dedicated to developing therapeutics that address important unmet medical needs, today provided a business update and reported its first half 2022 financial results. “We continue to make good progress with the transformation of Altamira into an RNA delivery technology company. We are optimistic of reaching an agreement to divest or partner our Bentrio nasal spray for key markets in North America and Europe by year end. Last month, we agreed to divest part or all of our inner ear therapeutics programs to a European family office. Following some delay and under slightly amended terms, we expect that transaction to close in December. Thomas Meyer, Altamira Therapeutics’ founder, Chairman and CEO “Heading towards 2023, we look forward to focusing exclusively on the many emerging opportunities in the fast-growing RNA therapeutics market. We are increasingly well positioned to advance our RNA delivery technology throughout 2023.” As Altamira is going through the final stages of a major corporate transformation, management intends to hold its next investor call upon finalization of its partnering / divestiture projects. On that call, the Company will also provide its outlook for 2023. RNA delivery platform update Altamira continued to make solid progress with the development of its patented, peptide-based platform for RNA delivery to extrahepatic tissues. In recent months, the RNA team led by Chief Development Officer Covadonga Pañeda, Ph.D., and Chief Scientific Officer Samuel Wickline, MD, have advanced various projects, including selection and optimization of siRNA sequences, formulation, process development and manufacturing. Starting with project AM-401 for the treatment of KRAS-driven tumors, the Company added a second project, AM-411 for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. AM-411 nanoparticles comprise siRNA targeting NF-kB a key checkpoint in RA inflammation. The Company is developing both AM-401 and AM-411 with the objective of out-licensing the drug products at a later stage. They serve as a “showcase” for the application of Altamira’s RNA delivery technology; the Company’s strategy will be to out-license the technology to pharma and biotech companies for use with their own RNA molecules. In this context, Altamira has been intensifying its efforts to raise awareness about OligoPhore/SemaPhore within science and industry. In recent months, members of Altamira’s leadership team gave oral presentations at multiple international conferences, highlighting the ability to deliver RNA molecules to extrahepatic tissues and achieve efficient and rapid endosomal release inside target cells. Concurrently, further data on RNA delivered with Altamira’s delivery technology has been published by independent research groups in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Altamira anticipates entering into its first partnering agreements in 2023. Bentrio Update Earlier today, Altamira reported that its licensee and distribution partner Nuance Pharma has launched Bentrio nasal spray in Hong Kong to help provide protection against airborne viruses as well as allergens. This will be the first step to distributing Bentrio in the other Nuance-licensed territories which is comprised of mainland China, Macau and South Korea. As part of its strategy to focus exclusively on RNA delivery, Altamira has been in discussions with several well-established OTC consumer health companies for the partnering of Bentrio. Those discussions intensified following the 510(k) clearance of the product by the FDA and have advanced well, including due diligence by interested parties. The Company anticipates entering into a partnering transaction before year end. In the context of those partnering discussions, Altamira suspended preparations for launching the product in the US on its own as well as pausing major marketing initiatives in Europe. This restraint provides the prospective strategic partner for Bentrio with maximum flexibility to fit the product into its business plan. Beginning in early October, the Bentrio nasal spray was relaunched in Europe for allergic rhinitis. Previously, the Company had ceased marketing the product for the indication of viral infection in the EU and Switzerland although Bentrio’s mode of action is the same regardless of whether it provides a barrier against airborne virus or allergen particles. This had been demonstrated in various relevant in vitro assays. However, certain countries and regions require specifically clinical performance data to clear Bentrio for this indication, in particular related to COVID-19. Such data are expected to become available through the COVAMID trial. In September, Altamira announced that it had reached its extended enrollment target of 160 confirmed subjects in its COVAMID clinical investigation to evaluate the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of its Bentrio nasal spray in patients with acute COVID-19. The read-out of top-line data remains on track for the current quarter. The Company plans to seek an expansion of its product label to also include viral infections in those countries requiring supportive clinical data. In September, the Company also announced that its “NASAR” clinical trial in seasonal allergic rhinitis (SAR) resumed enrollment as the new pollen season started in Australia. The NASAR trial is expected to enroll a total of 100 patients suffering from SAR and is designed to compare the safety and efficacy of Bentrio against a (control) saline nasal spray. The primary endpoint will be the comparison of the reflective Total Nasal Symptom Score under treatment with Bentrio against control. The NASAR trial was initiated in the fall of 2021. It was suspended in spring 2022 as the pollen season came to an end before the enrollment target could be met. Interim data from the trial were used in support of the 510(k) clearance of Bentrio by the US FDA. Unless an interim analysis performed upon reaching 50% of the enrollment target to check the validity of the statistical powering assumptions requires a change to the target size of 100 patients, the Company expects to complete enrollment into the NASAR trial by year-end or in early 2023 with a read-out of top-line data in late 1Q-23.

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PHARMACY MARKET

FogPharma Announces $178 Million Series D Financing to Advance Pipeline of First-in-Class Helicon Polypeptide Therapeutics

FogPharma | November 28, 2022

FogPharma®, a biopharmaceutical company pioneering a new class of precision medicines that could ultimately prove applicable to the vast majority of therapeutic targets, including those previously considered “undruggable,” announced a $178 Million Series D financing. The financing round includes new investors ARCH Venture Partners, Milky Way Investments and Fidelity Management & Research Company and existing investors VenBio Partners, Deerfield Management, GV, Cormorant Asset Management, funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., Invus, Farallon Capital Management, HBM Healthcare Investments, Casdin Capital, and PagsGroup, also participated. Proceeds from the Series D financing will be used to advance and accelerate FogPharma’s growing pipeline of hyperstabilized α-helical (Helicon™) polypeptide therapeutics, a proprietary new class of drugs designed to overcome the limitations of today’s precision medicines with broad applicability to the vast majority of disease targets and therapeutic areas. FogPharma’s lead Helicon polypeptide development candidate, FOG-001, a first-and-only-in-class direct TCF-blocking β-catenin inhibitor with potential applicability to significant cancer patient populations, is expected to enter clinical development in mid-2023. In addition, FogPharma is advancing other first-in-class programs against important, biologically validated cancer targets that have remained elusive to other approaches including TEAD, NRAS, Pan-KRAS, ERG and Cyclin E1. “FogPharma continues to make rapid progress on our moonshot mission to achieve universal druggability – a world where no targets are off-limits to medicine. We believe that Helicon polypeptides, a compelling new therapeutic modality, represent the future of precision medicine. We are thrilled by the support of our investors and will continue to build our platform capabilities, product pipeline which aims to address a significant percentage of cancer patient populations, and our phenomenal team across all levels as we aim to create one of the most impactful new classes of drugs in history.” Gregory Verdine, Ph.D., founder, chairman and chief executive officer of FogPharma In connection with the Series D Financing, Rick Klausner, M.D., has been appointed to FogPharma’s board of directors. In addition, Dr. Verdine has been appointed as chairman of the board. “The team at FogPharma is building an unprecedented new therapeutic modality and robust pipeline with the potential to make a meaningful difference in the lives of cancer patients,” said Dr. Klausner. “I am excited to join the board of directors and be part of something special particularly at this important time as FogPharma continues to impressively scale its science, team, operations and infrastructure, with the goal of advancing its first Helicon polypeptide therapeutic into the clinic.” Dr. Klausner is currently the founder and chief scientist of Altos Labs and founder and chairman of Lyell Immunopharma. Dr. Klausner was founder and director of Juno Therapeutics and founder and director of GRAIL. He is also the chairman of Sonoma Biotherapeutics and co-founder and chairman of Lifemine Therapeutics. Previously, Dr. Klausner served as senior vice president, chief medical officer and chief opportunity officer of Illumina Corporation and as executive director for global health for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr. Klausner was appointed by Presidents Clinton and Bush as the eleventh director of the U.S. National Cancer Institute between 1995 and 2001. Dr. Klausner served as chief of the Cell Biology and Metabolism Branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development as well as a past president of the American Society of Clinical Investigation. He has served in senior advisory roles to the U.S., Norwegian, Qatari and Indian governments. About FogPharma’s Universal Druggability Platform and Helicon™ Polypeptide Therapeutics Existing drug classes are limited in both reach and applicability, with more than 80% of known human protein disease targets considered “undruggable” because they are beyond the reach of both antibodies and small molecules. FogPharma’s Helicon peptide drug discovery engine integrates directed evolution, proprietary α-helix conformational hyperstabilization chemistry, highly multiplexed drug optimization technology, artificial intelligence including deep learning and machine learning, structure-based drug discovery, cancer genomics and biology, and multiscale manufacturing to rapidly discover Helicon polypeptide therapeutics. This novel therapeutic modality combines the targeting strength and specificity of antibodies with the broad tissue distribution, intracellular target engagement and oral dosing optionality of small molecules to address the limitations of today’s precision medicines and reach the most difficult targets – achieving universal druggability. About FOG-001 FogPharma’s lead Helicon polypeptide development candidate, FOG-001, a first-and-only-in-class direct TCF-blocking β-catenin inhibitor. Dysregulation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway has been shown to occur in at least 20% of all human cancers. In the U.S. alone, FOG-001 has the potential to become a new treatment option for >1 million patients suffering from a broad range of intractable cancers. In biochemical and cellular studies, FOG-001 has been shown to potently, precisely and selectively disrupt the interaction of β-catenin with its obligate downstream transcription factor, TCF. Preclinical studies have demonstrated the ability of FOG-001 to cause tumor growth inhibition and regression by disrupting β-catenin-dependent signaling. FOG-001 is the inaugural member of FogPharma’s TCF-Catenix family of direct-acting β-catenin antagonists and combines key features that distinguish it from previously reported Wnt/β-catenin pathway modulators: FOG-001 acts inside the cell, where it directly binds the key oncogenic driver β-catenin; and FOG-001 blocks TCF-β-catenin engagement at the most downstream node in the canonical Wnt pathway, thus abrogating the signal transmission mechanism by which most, if not all, known Wnt pathway mutations are believed to drive oncogenesis. About FogPharma FogPharma is a biopharmaceutical company pioneering the discovery and development of Helicon™ polypeptides. Through this novel therapeutic modality, FogPharma aims to address the limitations of existing drug classes and achieve universal druggability – a world where no targets are off-limits to new medicines. Spun out of Harvard University by pioneering academic scientist and successful biotech company builder Dr. Gregory Verdine, FogPharma is advancing a broad pipeline of Helicon polypeptide therapeutics against important and biologically validated cancer targets that have remained elusive to other approaches, with the goal of providing new targeted treatment options for significant cancer patient populations. FogPharma is headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., and has raised more than $360 million to date from leading life sciences investors.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

NanOlogy Publishes Review Article of Preclinical and Clinical Research Supporting LSAM-DTX

NanOlogy | September 21, 2022

NanOlogy LLC, a clinical-stage interventional oncology drug company, announced that a review article of preclinical and clinical research supporting its investigational drug, large surface area microparticle docetaxel has been published in Drug Delivery and Translational Research. The review article entitled Local administration of large surface area microparticle docetaxel to solid carcinomas induces direct cytotoxicity and immune‑mediated tumoricidal effects: preclinical and clinical studies provides a review of preclinical research that supports tumor-directed LSAM-DTX as well as promising results from the high-risk nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer arm of a clinical trial of local LSAM-DTX in urothelial carcinoma, which were published earlier this year in The Journal of Urology. The articles also follows an earlier review of preclinical and clinical research supporting another NanOlogy investigational drug, large surface area microparticle paclitaxel published in DDTR in 2020. In addition to LSAM-DTX, NanOlogy clinical programs have advanced tumor-directed LSAM-PTX in pancreas, lung, peritoneal, ovarian, prostate, and dermal cancers. The NanOlogy therapeutic platform is based on a proprietary supercritical precipitation technology that converts active ingredients into stable large surface area microparticles (LSAMs) of pure drug optimized for tumor-directed therapy and continuous drug release to maximize drug delivered to the tumor and minimize systemic toxicity. Taxane particles are covered by composition of matter patents issued in the US Canada, Europe, Japan, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Australia, Indonesia, and Russia valid through June 2036. The composition patents form the foundation of an extensive intellectual property portfolio protecting NanOlogy investigational drugs, formulations, methods, and technology. About NanOlogy NanOlogy, LLC is a private clinical-stage interventional oncology drug company formed in 2015 to improve the treatment of solid tumors based on a proprietary particle engineering technology platform for tumor-directed drug therapy to maximize drug in tumor and minimize systemic toxicity.

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Spotlight

Paul Shapiro, PhD, professor and chair of Pharmaceutical Sciences, provides an overview of the wide array of research activities within the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy's Pharmaceutical Sciences department.

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