Novo Nordisk’s Victoza gets FDA okay for paediatric use

Pharmaphorum | June 18, 2019

Novo Nordisk’s Victoza gets FDA okay for paediatric use
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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Deargen Annonuces Patent Application for a TNBC Target Novel Drug Candidate Using AI

Deargen Inc. | December 23, 2021

Deargen, a company specializing in the development of novel NCE drugs using artificial intelligence, announced on the 22rd that it had discovered and synthesized a new anticancer target compound using its own AI platform and had already applied for a patent for it. Deargen has the technology to predict candidates for a novel drug without the 3D structure data of proteins. Deargen's technology, which uses amino acid sequence data rather than the structure information of proteins, possesses global-level differentiated artificial intelligence technology that enables the rapid development of novel drugs even for proteins whose 3D structure has not yet been identified. "The new compound for which we have applied for a patent this time is a first-in-class candidate, and we plan to develop a therapeutic agent targeting triple-negative breast cancer. TNBC is an area where there are few novel drugs available and it is difficult to find innovative targets, so it is a disease with a high demand for new therapeutics…Deargen confirmed the efficacy of the new compound discovered through in-vitro experiments." An official from Deargen Also, the substance that Deargen discovered through this study is an NCE. An NCE refers to a new chemically synthesized drug, which requires a great deal of time and money because it is difficult to develop such a drug that has not been previously approved by the FDA. However, it is within an area with high needs by many global pharmaceutical companies as it has the advantage of being able to receive market monopoly rights for 5 years in the U.S. and 10 years in Europe after product approval. In particular, Deargen's achievements are significant in that it discovered the new compound in a shorter time than the existing novel drug discovery process through its collaboration of advanced AI and in-house experts for novel drug development. The target discovery and substance design process, which usually takes about 3 to 4 years in the existing traditional drug development process, was carried out in just 10 weeks, and it took merely 2 weeks for target discovery and 8 weeks for substance design and synthesis. Currently, Deargen is establishing a large-scale R&D center. With this R&D center, the plan is to further shorten the period of the discovery of candidates by efficiently managing the time required for designing and synthesizing substances. The R&D center will be in charge of fast verification of substances by conducting the design and synthesis verification of substances under joint research with Deargen's internal pipeline, along with the production of high-quality data. Daniel Bae, Chief Business Officer of Deargen said : "We plan to continuously derive new substances with patentability through our synthesis research center, which will be established in the first half of next year. We plan to not only build our own pipeline centered on anticancer drugs, but also to introduce various business models with our partners that go beyond the existing joint research contracts." He also said, "Deargen plans to establish its position among global AI drug developers as a company specializing in NCE drug development, from target discovery to compound design and synthesis." About Deargen Inc. Established in December 2016, Deargen is an AI-based drug discovery and development company. In February 2020, the company released study results on predicting the development of COVID-19 treatments. Candidate compounds for treating COVID-19 predicted by Deargen include remdesivir, which was first approved as an emergency therapy. The company conducts research on and owns core AI technologies in-silico, such as 'prediction of bio-markers', 'selection of disease targets', and 'extraction of candidate substances for new drugs', utilizing techniques of meta analysis of genome big data and its unique AI technologies. Building on these outcomes, the company is developing new drugs in collaboration with multiple pharmaceutical companies and research institutions, demonstrating its outstanding technology capabilities as being named as top awardees at the ILSVRC, a world-prominent deep-learning competition, and Dream Challenge, an international AI-based new drug development competition.

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CASI PHARMACEUTICALS ANNOUNCES CNCT19 (CD19 CAR-T) GRANTED ORPHAN DRUG DESIGNATION BY THE U.S. FDA

CASI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. | January 19, 2022

CASI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. a U.S. biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative therapeutics and pharmaceutical products, announced today, that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as granted Orphan Drug Designation for CNCT19, an investigational CD-19 directed CAR-T therapy, for the treatment of patients with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. CNCT19 is currently being developed independently by Juventas to meet the urgent clinical needs of patients with hematologic malignancies globally. The National Medical Products Administration has granted CTA approval for CNCT19 in two indications in Nov. 2019. Currently, the Phase II clinical trials of CNCT19 are in progress. Positive clinical data for adult and pediatric patients with relapsed/refractory B-ALL has been presented at the December 2021 ASH annual meeting, which further demonstrated its safety and efficacy profile. CNCT 19 is expected to be the first domestic CD19 directed CAR-T product in China with independent intellectual property rights. "Our partner Juventas continues to make encouraging progress in developing their CD19 CAR-T therapy. The Orphan Drug Designation, from the FDA, and the Breakthrough Designation status, granted by the China Center of Drug Evaluation (CDE) in December 2020, represent significant milestones that demonstrate our belief that CNCT19's commercialization will not only be successful in China, but potentially on a global scale. CASI has worldwide co-commercial rights of CNCT19, and will start the global commercialization process according to CNCT19's regulatory progress outside China." Dr. Wei-Wu He, CASI's Chairman, and CEO About Juventas Juventas is a biopharmaceutical company headquartered in China dedicated to the development and commercialization of cell therapies globally. Utilizing innovative and integrated technology platforms, the company has developed a diverse pipeline of cellular immunotherapies for treatment of hematological malignancies, solid tumors, and other non-oncological conditions both in China and globally. At present, the company is conducting two pivotal clinical trials of CNCT19 for treating adult r/r-B-ALL and r/r-B-NHL in China. CNCT19 has the potential to become the first launched domestically developed CD19 CAR-T therapy in China and the first CAR-T product for the treatment of adult R/R B-ALL in China. About CASI Pharmaceuticals CASI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a U.S. biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative therapeutics and pharmaceutical products in China, the United States, and throughout the world. The Company is focused on acquiring, developing and commercializing products that augment its hematology oncology therapeutic focus as well as other areas of unmet medical need. The Company intends to execute its plan to become a leader by launching medicines in the greater China market leveraging the Company's China-based regulatory and commercial competencies and its global drug development expertise. The Company's operations in China are conducted through its wholly-owned subsidiary, CASI Pharmaceuticals (China) Co., Ltd., which is located in Beijing, China. The Company has built a commercial team of more than 100 hematology oncology sales and marketing specialists based in China.

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Vifor Pharma drives transformation with divestment of non-core finished drug manufacturing to CordenPharma

Vifor Pharma Group | December 17, 2021

Vifor Pharma Group announced the divestment of its finished drug product manufacturing business to CordenPharma, a full-service Contract Development & Manufacturing Organization of APIs, Excipients, Drug Products, and associated Packaging services. This decision reinforces Vifor Pharma’s strategy to transform the company into a multi-brand commercial organization, focusing on its core capabilities in-licensing, partnering and commercializing products in nephrology, and to further grow and maximize opportunities of its iron portfolio. “In support of our ambitious growth strategy, optimizing our manufacturing footprint will enable us to build an even stronger, more efficient organization focusing on core capabilities in nephrology, and to maximize and leverage our market-leading expertise and intellectual property in iron deficiency. With CordenPharma, we have found the best suitable solution for our manufacturing employees and the drug production activities in Fribourg, Ettingen and Lisbon. With this agreement, Vifor Pharma is well positioned to continuously drive the company sustainably and profitably over the long term, for all our stakeholders.” Abbas Hussain, CEO of Vifor Pharma Dr. Michael Quirmbach, Chief Executive Officer & President of CordenPharma said: “The acquired Vifor Pharma sites have competent teams with great cultural fit, state-of-the art infrastructure, and a strong compliance track record. This excellent opportunity aligns well with our strategy to broaden our CDMO capabilities. By incorporating these three Vifor Pharma manufacturing facilities into our global network, we look forward to not only supplying Vifor Pharma as a manufacturing partner, but also closing gaps in our service offering for oral solid dosage drug product manufacturing and increasing our overall capacity. In addition, this acquisition further strengthens our fully-integrated solutions to our customers.” Under the terms of the signed share purchase agreement, CordenPharma acquires all shares in Vifor SA, Fribourg, and OM Pharma SA, Lisbon, thus taking over Vifor Pharma’s finished drug product manufacturing operations at the three sites. The divestment will trigger an asset impairment, to be reported with Vifor Pharma’s 2021 financial results. The companies have agreed not to disclose financial terms of the agreement. CordenPharma will integrate the new facilities into its existing CDMO network of Current Good Manufacturing Practice and R&D plants across Europe & the US, and organize the operations of the Fribourg, Ettingen and Lisbon sites under its Small Molecule Platform. It plans to utilize the existing manufacturing workforce, while continuing to produce and supply Vifor Pharma products. Vifor Pharma’s Swiss and Portuguese country commercial organizations, located in Fribourg and Lisbon, will remain with Vifor Pharma Group. Vifor Pharma and CordenPharma will jointly ensure long-term continuity of supply for customers and patients who depend on them. This divestment, including all financial implications, has been disclosed to CSL Limited in the course of the due diligence process preceding the publication of the pre-announcement of the public tender offer by CSL Limited on 14 December and in so far has no impact on such tender offer. Vifor Pharma and CordenPharma anticipate closing the transaction in Q1 2022, contingent on customary closing conditions. About Vifor Pharma Group Vifor Pharma Group is a global pharmaceuticals company. It aims to become the global leader in iron deficiency, nephrology and cardio-renal therapies. The company is a partner of choice for pharmaceuticals and innovative patient-focused solutions. Vifor Pharma Group strives to help patients around the world with severe and chronic diseases lead better, healthier lives. The company develops, manufactures and markets pharmaceutical products for precision patient care. Vifor Pharma Group holds a leading position in all its core business activities and consists of the following companies: Vifor Pharma and Vifor Fresenius Medical Care Renal Pharma. Vifor Pharma Group is headquartered in Switzerland, and listed on the Swiss Stock Exchange About CordenPharma CordenPharma, the global pharmaceutical service & manufacturing platform of International Chemical Investors Group, is a full-service partner in the Contract Development & Manufacturing of APIs, Excipients, Drug Products, and associated Packaging Services. Through a growing network of cGMP facilities across Europe and the US organized under five Technology Platforms – Peptides, Lipids & Carbohydrates, Injectables, Highly Potent & Oncology, and Small Molecules – CordenPharma experts translate complex processes and projects at any stage of development into high-value products.

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Iktos and The University of Dundee, Drug Discovery Unit (DDU) Announce a Collaboration to Use AI for Drug Design and Retrosyntheis

Iktos | December 20, 2021

Iktos, a company specialized in Artificial Intelligence for new drug design, and The Drug Discovery Unit (DDU), School of Life Sciences, The University of Dundee, focused on the discovery of therapeutics for neglected diseases and the translation of novel biology through small molecule drug discovery, announced entering a collaboration to apply Iktos’s generative modelling artificial intelligence (AI) technology in one of DDU’s drug discovery programs. Under the agreement, Iktos will apply its de novo ligand and structure-based generative modelling technologies, its AI-based retrosynthesis analysis and planning tool Spaya™, and know-how complementing DDU’s drug discovery capabilities to expedite the identification of potential pre-clinical candidates and to identify additional novel chemical matter with suitable properties. The DDU was established in 2006 to respond to a lack of drug targets identified for neglected tropical diseases being translated into therapeutics for diseases impacting the poorest people in the world. The DDU translates basic science into lead compounds to validate putative drug targets, to use as tools to investigate disease pathways and, when appropriate, advance to pre-clinical drug candidates for multiple diseases, e.g. TB and cancer. Iktos’s AI technology, based on deep generative models, helps to bring new insights and directions into the drug discovery process based on a comprehensive data-driven chemical structure generation technology. This technology automatically designs virtual novel molecules with all of the characteristics of a successful drug molecule. This approach, validated through Iktos’s other collaborations, is a novel solution to one of the key challenges in drug design: rapid identification of molecules that simultaneously satisfy multiple parameters, such as potency, selectivity, safety, and project-specific properties. This approach uniquely enables the exploration of chemical space and produces innovative molecule designs with greater freedom to operate. Iktos has recently diversified its R&D efforts into the development of an AI technology for retrosynthesis. Identifying and selecting synthetic pathways is one of the most challenging and time-consuming tasks in synthetic and medicinal chemistry. Iktos has developed AI based retrosynthesis analysis and planning tool Spaya™ by harnessing the power of data-driven retrosynthesis algorithm for systematic exploration and prioritisation of synthetic routes for a desired compound in minutes. “We are thrilled to be working with Iktos to drive our projects towards drug candidates. Iktos AI platform combined with our own in-house computational and medicinal chemistry design teams provide a powerful combination for innovative new drug design.” Professor Paul Wyatt, Head of the DDU “We are thrilled and proud to join forces with DDU with the aim to help in the discovery of therapeutics for neglected diseases and the translation of novel biology through small molecule drug discovery,” commented Yann Gaston-Mathé, President and CEO of Iktos. “Pleased to have earned DDU’s trust, we are confident that together with DDU and their established R&D partners, we will be able to identify promising novel chemical matter and solve complex multiparametric optimisation problems. The feedback from DDU’s research team will be highly valuable as we improve our product offerings. Our strategy has always been to tackle challenging problems alongside our collaborators where we can demonstrate value generation for new and on-going drug discovery projects.” About DDU The Drug Discovery Unit (DDU) (est. 2006) within the School of Life Sciences at The University of Dundee is a fully integrated, Biotech-style, drug discovery centre working across multiple disease areas. The DDU collaborates with partners to translate world-class biology research into novel drug targets and candidate drugs to address unmet medical need. About Iktos Incorporated in October 2016, Iktos is a French start-up company specialized in the development of artificial intelligence solutions applied to chemical research, more specifically medicinal chemistry and new drug design. Iktos is developing a proprietary and innovative solution based on deep learning generative models, which enables, using existing data, to design molecules that are optimized in silico to meet all the success criteria of a small molecule discovery project. The use of Iktos technology enables major productivity gains in upstream pharmaceutical R&D. Iktos offers its technology both as professional services and as a SaaS software platform, Makya™. Iktos is also developing Spaya™, a synthesis planning software based upon Iktos’s proprietary AI technology for retrosynthesis.

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As part of the Duke University School of Medicine, the Duke Clinical Research Institute is known for conducting groundbreaking multinational clinical trials, managing major national patient registries, and performing landmark outcomes research.

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