Novo Nordisk’s Victoza gets FDA okay for paediatric use

Pharmaphorum | June 18, 2019

Novo Nordisk’s GLP-1 agonist Victoza has become the first non-insulin drug to be approved in the US as a treatment for type 2 diabetes in children for almost two decades. The FDA says the okay to use Victoza (liraglutide) in paediatric patients aged 10 or over comes “at a time when an increasing number of children are being diagnosed with this disease.” The last drug to be approved for paediatric use in type 2 diabetes was metformin back in 2000. Type 2 diabetes is typically first diagnosed in people aged over 45, with the type 1, autoimmune form of the disease the most likely to be encountered in children. Latterly however, rising levels of overweight and obesity in even very young children has caused an uptick in type 2 cases in this age group. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 5,000 new cases of type 2 diabetes are diagnosed each year among in people younger than age 20 in the US, out of around 1.4 million new cases across all age ranges. The Victoza approval comes after a priority review by the FDA, and shortly after Novo Nordisk reported the results of the phase 3 ELLIPSE trial which showed the drug was able to reduce haemoglobin A1c levels – a biomarker for blood glucose control – as effectively in children aged 10 to 17 as older patients. The GLP-1 agonist also had a similar safety profile regardless of the age of the patient. At the time the data was announced, ELLIPSE lead investigator William Tamborlane of Yale School of Medicine said that having a GLP-1 agonist available would be “transformational”, as currently insulin is the only approved rescue therapy for children who fail metformin monotherapy. Victoza offers a second option in these cases, he added.

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BioMarin Announces Advancements in FDA Review of ROCTAVIAN™ (Valoctocogene Roxaparvovec) for Adults with Severe Hemophilia A

BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. | November 24, 2022

BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. announced advancements in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration review of the Biologics License Application of ROCTAVIAN™ for adults with severe hemophilia A. The Company was recently notified by the FDA that after further consideration, at this time, the Agency no longer plans to hold an advisory committee meeting to discuss the BLA for ROCTAVIAN that is currently under review. Previously, the FDA communicated to the Company that it did intend to hold an advisory committee meeting but did not specify a date. The Company also remains on track to host the scheduled FDA Pre-Licensure Inspection (PLI) of BioMarin's gene therapy manufacturing facility located in Novato, CA. "The review of a BLA is a dynamic process, and we appreciate FDA's ongoing engagement as we work toward delivering a potentially transformative treatment choice to those patients with severe hemophilia A. We look forward to further dialogue with the Agency as it reviews our application." Hank Fuchs, M.D., President of Worldwide Research and Development at BioMarin About valoctocogene roxaparvovec The FDA granted Regenerative Medicine Advanced Therapy designation to valoctocogene roxaparvovec in March 2021. RMAT is an expedited program intended to facilitate development and review of regenerative medicine therapies, such as valoctocogene roxaparvovec, that are expected to address an unmet medical need in patients with serious conditions. The RMAT designation is complementary to Breakthrough Therapy Designation, which the Company received for valoctocogene roxaparvovec in 2017. In addition to the RMAT Designation and Breakthrough Therapy Designation, BioMarin's valoctocogene roxaparvovec also received orphan drug designation from the EMA and FDA for the treatment of severe hemophilia A. Orphan drug designation is reserved for medicines treating rare, life-threatening, or chronically debilitating diseases. The European Commission (EC) granted conditional marketing authorization to valoctocogene roxaparvovec gene therapy under the brand name ROCTAVIAN™ on August 24, 2022. Robust Clinical Program BioMarin has multiple clinical studies underway in its comprehensive gene therapy program for the treatment of severe hemophilia A. In addition to the global Phase 3 study GENEr8-1 and the ongoing Phase 1/2 dose escalation study, the Company is also conducting a Phase 3, single arm, open-label study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of valoctocogene roxaparvovec at a dose of 6e13 vg/kg with prophylactic corticosteroids in people with severe hemophilia A. Also ongoing is a Phase 1/2 Study with the 6e13 vg/kg dose of valoctocogene roxaparvovec in people with severe hemophilia A with pre-existing AAV5 antibodies (Study 270-203) and a Phase 1/2 Study with the 6e13 vg/kg dose of valoctocogene roxaparvovec in people with severe hemophilia A with active or prior Factor VIII inhibitors. About Hemophilia A People living with hemophilia A lack sufficient functioning Factor VIII protein to help their blood clot and are at risk for painful and/or potentially life-threatening bleeds from even modest injuries. Additionally, people with the most severe form of hemophilia A often experience painful, spontaneous bleeds into their muscles or joints. Individuals with the most severe form of hemophilia A make up approximately 50 percent of the hemophilia A population. People with hemophilia A with moderate or mild disease show a much-reduced propensity to bleed. Individuals with severe hemophilia A are treated with a prophylactic regimen of intravenous Factor VIII infusions administered 2-3 times per week or a bispecific monoclonal antibody that mimics the activity of Factor VIII administered 1-4 times per month. Despite these regimens, many people continue to experience breakthrough bleeds, resulting in progressive and debilitating joint damage, which can have a major impact on their quality of life. Hemophilia A, also called Factor VIII deficiency or classic hemophilia, is an X-linked genetic disorder caused by missing or defective Factor VIII, a clotting protein. Although it is passed down from parents to children, about 1/3 of cases are caused by a spontaneous mutation, a new mutation that was not inherited. Approximately 1 in 10,000 people have hemophilia A. About BioMarin BioMarin is a global biotechnology company that develops and commercializes innovative therapies for people with serious and life-threatening genetic diseases and medical conditions. The Company selects product candidates for diseases and conditions that represent a significant unmet medical need, have well-understood biology and provide an opportunity to be first-to-market or offer a significant benefit over existing products. The Company's portfolio consists of eight commercial products and multiple clinical and preclinical product candidates for the treatment of various diseases.

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PHARMA TECH

AeroRx Partners with HCmed to Develop a Nebulized LABA/LAMA Combination Solution for the Treatment of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

AeroRx Partners | October 03, 2022

AeroRx Therapeutics, LLC. and HCmed Innovations Co., Ltd. have initiated a collaboration, introducing a LABA/LAMA combination solution for delivery with a breath-actuated nebulizer. This collaboration sets forth the framework by which both companies will work together to develop a new nebulized combination formulation for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. According to market reports, it is estimated that there would be close to 34.5 million COPD patients worldwide by 2028, accounting for treatment global sales that could reach up to 19.3 billion USD. AeroRx is currently developing the first nebulized LABA/LAMA combination solution, which could benefit 7-19% of the COPD population. This population group is characterized for suffering from moderate to severe airflow obstruction, which creates difficulties to achieve the inspiratory flow rate required to use most dry powder inhalers optimally. Under this partnership, AeroRx will be responsible for the formulation development, clinical trials, and commercialization of the drug product, while HCmed will be responsible for the customization of the AdheResp breath-actuated nebulizer platform, analyzing and optimizing the formulation's aerosol characterization performance to accommodate the various stages of drug development process and the final combination product. The project will follow a 505(b)2 regulatory pathway, and the corresponding PK/PD study is expected to be conducted with HCmed's nebulizer in 2023. "We are excited to announce our partnership with AeroRx. The AeroRx team has extensive experience in the development of respiratory drugs, while at HCmed we can support our partners to develop drug-nebulizer combination products with our proprietary breath-actuated mesh nebulizer platform. The product of our collaboration will provide COPD patients with an effective inhaled LABA/LAMA combination drug, which will reinforce patients' treatment adherence and improve their quality of life." Jason Cheng, CEO and founder of HCmed Keith Ung, President and co-founder of AeroRx also commented, "We too are enthusiastic about this partnership. Breath-actuated vibrating mesh delivery of inhaled therapeutics is the wave of the future for many therapeutics and HCmed has become one of the leaders in this elegant inhaler device technology." About HCmed Founded in 2014, HCmed Innovations Co., Ltd. is a contract development and manufacturing organization that provides high-quality and cost-effective vibrating mesh nebulizer technology and services to support global pharmaceutical partners in the development of drug-nebulizer combination products for inhalation therapy. HCmed offers a mature customizable mesh nebulizer platform to enhance drug delivery. This technology enables efficient and reliable nebulization of different types of medication, ranging from small molecule synthetics to large molecule biologics, as either solutions, suspensions, or even difficult-to-deliver high viscosity drugs. About AeroRx Founded in 2022, AeroRx Therapeutics, LLC. is a spin-off of iPharma Lab's inhalation CDRO business which was recently acquired by Kindeva Drug Delivery. AeroRx is developing proprietary inhaled products for the treatment of COPD and asthma. The company is led by industry veterans with extensive expertise in inhaled drug delivery and development as well as a track record in building new pharmaceuticals organizations from the ground up.

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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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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Cambrex to Acquire Snapdragon Chemistry, a Leader in Continuous Flow API Development Services

Cambrex | November 22, 2022

Cambrex, a leading global contract development and manufacturing organization providing drug substance, drug product, and analytical services across the entire drug lifecycle, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Snapdragon Chemistry, a leading US-based provider of chemical process development services to a broad range of emerging and established biopharma customers. Snapdragon specializes in active pharmaceutical ingredient batch and continuous flow process development, utilizing state-of-the-art automation technology and proprietary equipment to solve complex process and analytical development challenges. The team of scientists and engineers apply deep process understanding afforded by data-rich experimentation to design and rapidly execute efficient GMP and non-GMP manufacturing processes. With R&D and manufacturing headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts, Snapdragon's 74 employees come with strong ties to the local scientific community, with 31 PhD scientists on staff. "The acquisition of Snapdragon will accelerate our growth in the area of continuous flow process development and manufacturing, complementing our recent organic investments in our High Point, North Carolina facility. With R&D and manufacturing capabilities in the heart of Boston's biopharma hub, Snapdragon will continue to focus on solving their customers' most difficult process development challenges." Tom Loewald, CEO of Cambrex "We are excited to be joining Cambrex, a company with over 40 years of drug substance development and manufacturing expertise," said Matt Bio, CEO of Snapdragon. "Partnering our best-in-class process development capabilities with Cambrex's larger scale manufacturing facilities in North America and Europe is a natural fit, both for our employees and our customers." Snapdragon recently opened its second facility, a new 51,000-square-foot facility to manufacture experimental pharmaceutical products for human clinical trials. The new facility expanded the company's capacity for supplying clinical intermediates and drug substances. The transaction is expected to close following the completion of customary regulatory approvals. This will be Cambrex's second acquisition within a year along with Q1 Scientific, consistent with its strategy to expand its portfolio of specialized solutions for pharmaceutical development and manufacturing. About Cambrex Cambrex is a leading global contract development and manufacturing organization that provides drug substance, drug product, and analytical services across the entire drug lifecycle. With over 40 years of experience and a growing team of over 2,300 experts servicing global clients from North America and Europe, Cambrex is a trusted partner in branded and generic markets for API and finished dosage form development and manufacturing. Cambrex offers a range of specialized drug substance technologies and capabilities, including biocatalysis, continuous flow, controlled substances, solid-state science, material characterization, and highly potent APIs. In addition, Cambrex can support conventional dosage forms, including oral solids, semi-solids, and liquids, and has the expertise to manufacture specialty dosage forms such as modified-release, fixed-dose combination, pediatric, bi-layer tablets, stick packs, topicals, controlled substances, sterile, and non-sterile ointments.

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