Pharma ranked a highest contributor to society, despite public perception

pharmatimes | June 28, 2019

The pharmaceutical industry has been ranked as one of the highest contributors to UK society, but public perception still falls far below other sectors, claims a new study by Portland. The dissonance means that the industry ranks among the least successful sectors in demonstrating its value to society, scoring consistently low on perceptions for most measures in Portland’s total value index. The total value index measures the value that organisations create for all stakeholders, looking at nine sectors and using a wide range of measures including profits and dividends, R&D levels, employee diversity and satisfaction to records on corporate tax and the environment, to assess and rank the total value performance of sectors. The data found that the pharmaceutical industry adds much more value than most sectors, particularly in local investment, strong dividend performance, and the presence of female CEOs, despite having the largest perception gap of any sector for their role as a producer, demonstrating the “greater need for individual companies to explain the life-changing nature of the medicines that they create.”

Spotlight

Who doesn’t get worried when hearing about infectious disease? Lower respiratory infections alone cause an estimated 3.4 million deaths worldwide annually.  Stories of serious infections always make the best news. Prion infections, brain-eating amoeba, or flesh-eating bacteria could be some of the scariest experiences a person can come across. But what are the most dangerous infectious diseases?


Other News
BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Alnylam Announces 3-Month Extension of Review Period for New Drug Application for Vutrisiran

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. | April 05, 2022

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. the leading RNAi therapeutics company, announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has extended the review timeline of the New Drug Application for vutrisiran, an investigational RNAi therapeutic in development for the treatment of transthyretin-mediated amyloidosis, to allow for the review of newly added information related to the new secondary packaging and labeling facility. Alnylam recently learned that the original third-party secondary packaging and labeling facility the Company planned to use for the vutrisiran launch was recently inspected and the inspection requires classification for the FDA to take action on the vutrisiran NDA. The inspection observations were not directly related to vutrisiran. In order to minimize delays to approval, Alnylam has identified a new facility to pack and label vutrisiran and submitted an amendment to the NDA for review by the FDA. The updated Prescription Drug User Fee Act goal date to allow for this review is July 14, 2022. No additional clinical data have been requested by the FDA. “We are committed to working with the FDA and the new facility to bring this important treatment option as quickly as possible to patients living with the polyneuropathy of hATTR amyloidosis, an inherited, progressively debilitating, and fatal disease. We are confident in our regulatory application and the body of data supporting the efficacy and safety of vutrisiran.” Pushkal Garg, M.D., Chief Medical Officer & EVP, Development and Medical Affairs Vutrisiran is also under review by the European Medicines Agency the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency and the Japanese Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA). We aim to minimize the impact of this issue on these reviews through timely resolution of the matter or utilization of an alternative facility for one or more of these regions. Vutrisiran has been granted Orphan Drug Designation in the U.S. and the European Union (EU) for the treatment of ATTR amyloidosis, and in Japan for transthyretin type familial amyloidosis with polyneuropathy. About Vutrisiran Vutrisiran is an investigational, subcutaneously administered RNAi therapeutic in development for the treatment of ATTR amyloidosis, which encompasses both hATTR and wild-type ATTR amyloidosis. It is designed to target and silence specific messenger RNA, potentially blocking the production of wild-type and variant transthyretin protein before it is made. Quarterly, and potentially biannual, administration of vutrisiran may help to reduce deposition and facilitate the clearance of TTR amyloid deposits in tissues and potentially restore function to these tissues. Vutrisiran utilizes Alnylam’s Enhanced Stabilization ChemistryGalNAc-conjugate delivery platform, designed for increased potency and high metabolic stability that may allow for infrequent subcutaneous injections. About Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Alnylam has led the translation of RNA interference into a whole new class of innovative medicines with the potential to transform the lives of people afflicted with rare and prevalent diseases with unmet need. Based on Nobel Prize-winning science, RNAi therapeutics represent a powerful, clinically validated approach yielding transformative medicines. Since its founding 20 years ago, Alnylam has led the RNAi Revolution and continues to deliver on a bold vision to turn scientific possibility into reality. Alnylam’s commercial RNAi therapeutic products are ONPATTRO®, GIVLAARI® (givosiran), OXLUMO® and Leqvio® being developed and commercialized by Alnylam’s partner, Novartis. Alnylam has a deep pipeline of investigational medicines, including six product candidates that are in late-stage development. Alnylam is executing on its “Alnylam P5x25” strategy to deliver transformative medicines in both rare and common diseases benefitingpatients around the world through sustainable innovation and exceptional financial performance, resulting in a leading biotech profile. Alnylam is headquartered in Cambridge, MA.

Read More

PHARMACY MARKET

Virpax Pharmaceuticals Recaps Milestones and Highlights Product Portfolio

Virpax® Pharmaceuticals, Inc. | December 29, 2021

Virpax® Pharmaceuticals, Inc. "Company" achieved significant milestones relating to its pipeline of product candidates as of the end of 2021, which are summarized below. “I believe that Virpax has made significant progress this past year toward our stated goalsThese accomplishments include accelerated development of our existing product candidates, broadening our pipeline of product candidates, and utilizing grants where appropriate. We recently announced that we anticipate commencing our initial human trial for Epoladerm™ in the second quarter of 2022. Anthony P. Mack, Chairman and CEO of Virpax “Virpax initially focused strictly on pain product candidates. However, our unique Molecular Envelope Technology delivery platform licensed from Nanomerics, Ltd. has enabled the development of product candidates for central nervous system and anti-viral indications. In the second half of 2021, we advanced the development of AnQlar™, a prophylactic, over-the-counter anti-viral product candidate formulated to prevent the spread of respiratory infections like influenza, SARS-CoV-2 and rhinovirus. We added VRP324 which is an intranasally delivered cannabidiol formulation for the management of epilepsy in adults and children. Our Envelta™ IND-enabling studies, completed by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences as a part of our Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, determined that the MET intranasal delivery formulation bypasses the liver which we believe reduces drug-to-drug interaction concerns for treatments using this technology. “On the corporate front, we strengthened our Board by appointing two new members adding expertise in commercialization and financial strategy. Additionally, in 2021 we raised approximately $58 million in aggregate gross proceeds from our initial public offering and an underwritten follow-on public offering. These funds are being used for research and development activities of our product candidates. We are on track to add accomplishments in 2022 and I remain confident that we have the significant financial strength to continue advancing our pipeline,” concluded Mr. Mack. Epoladerm™ Epoladerm is a diclofenac topical spray film product candidate that is being developed for pain associated with osteoarthritis of the knee. Virpax recently reported successful results of a Charles River Laboratories single dose toxicology and pharmacokinetic study of dermal administration of Epoladerm in minipigs as part of the required Investigational New Drug Application enabling trials. Single-dose transdermal delivery of Epoladerm was well-tolerated in all minipigs. There were no treatment-related clinical observations, changes in body weight, or dermal irritation observed. The maximum plasma concentration was reached at 4 hours post-dose, and concentrations of plasma Epoladerm remained at 24-hour post-dose for all animals. Upon completion of all the required IND enabling studies and subsequent review by the FDA, Virpax intends to conduct a Phase 1 study to evaluate the relative bioavailability and pharmacokinetics of Epoladerm™. Virpax recently announced the execution of a clinical trial agreement with Altasciences Company, Inc., to conduct this study in Canada. Virpax anticipates enrollment of the first patient by early second quarter of 2022. Probudur™ Probudur is an injectable bupivacaine liposomal hydrogel for postoperative pain management which Virpax believes has improved onset and extended duration of action compared to existing treatment options. Additional pre-clinical trials are being conducted with Lipocure, the product developer, to improve the formulation to potentially enhance manufacturing efficiencies, prolong duration and extend patent protection. Once completed, we plan to perform seven preclinical animal studies as part of required FDA IND enabling trials. Envelta™ Envelta is an endogenous enkephalin intranasal spray for acute and chronic pain, including pain associated with cancer. This product leverages Nanomeric’s MET platform technology which Virpax licensed to deliver the endogenous enkephalin formulation through an intranasal delivery enabling the enkephalin to permeate the blood-brain barrier while bypassing the liver. This product candidate is being funded through an in-kind CRADA with the NCATS. Virpax recently announced that under this CRADA, the National Institutes of Health has awarded multiple contracts to support the research, development and manufacturing of Envelta. These contracts are to support Good Manufacturing Practices production of drug substance and drug product, as well as to support Good Laboratory Practices toxicology, safety studies and preclinical efficacy studies. The NIH has contracted with a clinical research organization to conduct additional pre-clinical efficacy studies and has procured a device to be used with the manufactured GMP drug product for preclinical and clinical studies. The NIH has also engaged a firm to manufacture Leu-enkephalin, the active ingredient in Envelta, and a company to manufacture the MET carrier that delivers L-ENK to the brain to promptly suppress pain. AnQlar™ AnQlar is a high-density intranasal molecular masking spray in development as an anti-viral OTC product for protection against respiratory infections, such as SARS-CoV-2 and influenza, that Virpax anticipates will be used as an adjuvant to barrier-based personal protective equipment. Virpax recently announced a manufacturing and supply agreement with Seqens to provide AnQlar for both clinical studies and the long-term commercial supply of AnQlar. Additionally, Virpax engaged Sinclair Research to initiate IND-enabling studies for AnQlar. The Company anticipates that these preclinical animal studies will begin in early 2022. VRP324 Virpax has acquired the exclusive worldwide rights from Nanomerics to use its MET platform for the nasal delivery of CBD for the management of epilepsy in children and adults. Under this agreement, Virpax has the global rights to develop, manufacture, market and sell VRP324, the first investigational formulation delivered via the nasal route to enhance CBD transport to the brain. This product candidate will be formulated to potentially treat seizures associated with tuberous sclerosis complex, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome in patients one year of age and older. Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome are rare CNS diseases considered serious epileptic encephalopathies that cause epileptic seizures, as well as cognitive and behavioral changes, and are generally resistant to treatment. Preclinical studies of VRP324 have been initiated by Nanomerics which it anticipates will be completed in the first quarter of 2022. Upon completion, Virpax will collaborate with RRD International, a clinical drug development company which Virpax has engaged, to prepare the pre-IND briefing documents for the FDA. About Virpax Pharmaceuticals Virpax is developing branded product candidates for non-addictive pain management and neurological disorders using its proprietary technologies that optimize and target drug delivery. Virpax is initially seeking FDA approval of its three different patented drug delivery platforms. Epoladerm™ is a topical diclofenac spray film formulation being developed to manage pain associated with osteoarthritis of the knee. Probudur™ is a single injection long-acting liposomal bupivacaine formulation being developed to manage post-operative pain. Envelta™ is an intranasal Molecular Envelope Technology enkephalin formulation being developed for the management of acute and chronic pain, including pain associated with cancer, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder under the name PES200. MET technology is also used in AnQlar™, a candidate to inhibit viral replication caused by influenza or SARS-CoV-2. Virpax acquired global rights to VRP324, a product candidate for the nasal delivery of a pharmaceutical-grade cannabidiol for the management of epilepsy in children and adults.

Read More

PHARMA TECH

Therorna completes Series A financing to accelerate pipeline development and clinical transformation of circRNA-based platform

Therorna Inc. | June 21, 2022

Therorna Inc., a China-based biotech company specialized in the development of cutting-edge circular RNA technology-based new vaccines and therapies, announced the completion of a US$42 million Series A financing round. The round was co-led by a well-known industrial investment firm and MSA Capital, with participation from Sherpa Healthcare Partners, 3H Health Investment, and existing investors Quan Capital and Cenova Capital, demonstrating their continuous commitment to supporting Therorna's growth. With the new funding, Therorna plans to accelerate the build-out of its technology platform and the development of its product pipeline, as well as the clinical trials, regulatory applications, and international collaborations. Therorna was founded in Beijing in April 2021. The company focuses on leveraging its proprietary circRNA technology platform to develop next-generation vaccines and innovative therapies. The company has established a strong pipeline of novel prophylactic and therapeutic drugs aiming to address high unmet medical needs. When combined with the previously completed angel and pre-A rounds, the company has to date raised over US$60 million. "We really appreciate the support of our investors. As the world continues to suffer from the COVID-19, scientists are obliged to shoulder the responsibility to provide scientific solutions to end this pandemic. We are devoted to accelerating the clinical application of our circRNA-based vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 and its variants." The scientific founder of Therorna, Professor Wensheng Wei Therorna Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Daniel Tang commented, "I am very grateful for the support of our new and existing investors in this financing round. The successful completion of this round will play a key role in helping Therorna accelerate the development of a new broad-spectrum COVID-19 vaccine and the discovery of additional novel therapies for a variety of diseases. Our team will continue to spare no effort to advance the circRNA platform technology to develop the next-generation of breakthrough therapies and quickly deliver meaningful social benefits." MSA Capital founder and managing partner Yu Zeng added, "We are confident in the potential of circRNA technology for drug development in the area of protein expression and regulation. Compared with linear RNA, circRNA boasts breakthroughs in expression, stability, immunogenicity, and production. In terms of the technology, Chinese scientists have proven their internationally recognized capabilities at innovation and efficient transformation. MSA Capital is impressed by Therorna's strong team of scientists and entrepreneurs. As a serial entrepreneur, Professor Wei has deep expertise in gene editing and circRNA technology application, and Therorna's management team has rich experience in drug R&D and industrial management. MSA Capital will make use of its resources to support the expansion of Therorna in international markets." Sherpa Healthcare Partners investment VP Dr. Changzu Cai said, "mRNA drugs have achieved notable success in the application of COVID-19 vaccines, but challenges in terms of side effects remain to be addressed. Linear RNA is easily degraded and its application beyond vaccines is still under exploration. Thanks to its unique structure, the circRNA as a tool for protein expression has been proven to maintain a relatively stable protein expression level in vivo for a longer time, which is expected to further expand the application scenarios of RNA therapy. The team led by Professor Wei is leveraging their experience in applying circRNA as a gene editing tool to support the development of the circRNA expression tool. The proprietary circularization method developed by Therorna has demonstrated its advantages in terms of dosage, and activation of cellular immunity by being first applied in COVID-19 vaccines. We are pleased to continue supporting the efforts of Wei Lab in converting innovations into benefits for patients and communities, while looking forward to transforming Therorna into a platform-based circRNA technology-focused company with an international presence." 3H Health partner Dr. Minchuan Wang said, "circRNA has better stability and long-lasting expression with a potential for creating a new RNA therapy platform. The combination of Professor Wei's team with strong technical expertise in circRNA and the management team established at an earlier stage of the company with members having rich experience in promoting the adoption of new technologies will help accelerate the clinical transformation of circRNA. We are honored to support Therorna in this financing round, and we will work with the company's team, and their new and existing investors, to help the company assume a leadership role in the realm of circRNA, providing patients with pioneering therapies and addressing unmet clinical needs." Exclusive financial advisor for this transaction and CEC Capital Managing Director, Echo Zhang commented, "circRNA has attracted widespread attention as an emerging technology for RNA drugs. Therorna is expected to take the lead in advancing the technology into clinical applications. We are honored to help Therorna complete this round of financing, and we believe that Therorna will lead the development of the global circRNA sector." About MSA Capital Founded in 2014, MSA Capital is an independent global private equity and venture capital firm with over $2.0 billion under management. The firm manages capital from the world's top sovereign wealth funds, international asset managers, pension funds, university endowments, fund of funds and family offices, as well as China's leading new economy entrepreneurs. MSA actively partners with outstanding entrepreneurs in China and other technology markets to build leading, innovative companies that aim to deliver strong financial returns and meaningful, positive impact. The firm is headquartered in Beijing, with resident teams in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Middle East, North Africa and the United States. About Sherpa Healthcare Partners Sherpa Healthcare Partners ("Sherpa") was founded in 2018, the founders previously worked together in one of China's leading venture capital firms, built and led its professional medical investment team since 2011, set up the dedicated healthcare investment fund and responsible for healthcare investment. The founders have been teamed together in close co-operation, built on shared values, mutual trust, and complementary capabilities. Sherpa has now become an influential healthcare VC firm in the industry. Sherpa has invested in leading companies in many key areas, such as Pharma, GeneTech, MedTech and Medical services. From 2011 to 2020, the team has gone through 4 vintage year cycles of multiple U.S dollar funds and RMB funds and made 100 investments. Sherpa has the honor to work with many outstanding entrepreneurs and grow together with them. About 3H Health Investment 3H Health Investment is a Hong Kong and Shanghai based healthcare venture capital firm. It focuses on unmet medical needs and invests in emerging fields of science and medicine to deliver breakthroughs to patients. Leveraging its extensive resources with clinical institutions, industry partners and policy institutes, 3H builds leading innovative healthcare companies together with its partners. About Quan Capital Quan capital is a life sciences venture capital firm with strong China expertise and global capabilities. We discover, incubate, and grow next-generation life science companies in early and growth stage, worldwide. Our portfolio companies pioneer differentiated therapies and enabling technologies to address major human diseases with high unmet medical needs. Quan has offices in Shanghai, Menlo Park and Boston. Our investment professionals combine their strong expertise in both science and business with their diverse experiences in global drug development and healthcare investments, and they leverage their broad network worldwide to help maximize the company's value across geographies and development stages. Visit www.quancapital.com to learn more about us. About Cenova Capital Cenova Capital is one of the earliest healthcare funds dedicated to early and growth-stage investments in the life sciences and healthcare sectors in China. Since inception in 2010, Cenova Capital now has six funds under management with investments in over 80 companies in pharmaceuticals, medical devices,healthcare services and digital heath. Cenova Capital's investors are mainly large domestic and international institutional investors including Asian sovereign wealth investors, government institutions, insurance companies, financial institutions and multinational companies. About CEC Capital CEC Capital is a leading Chinese FA with a focus on the global TMT, consumption and health sectors. In addition to investment banking, CEC Capital is managing a RMB fund and a dollar fund with offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and it also has a license to the US securities market. The healthcare industry is an advantageous industry that CEC Capital is concerned about. Meanwhile, CEC Capital has the largest and most professional health investment banking team in China with the most complete industry chain.

Read More

PHARMACY MARKET

KromaTiD Announces Launch of KromaTiD Pinpoint FISH TP53/CEP17 Kit for Synthetic Oligonucleotide-Based FISH Assay

KromaTiD Inc | January 14, 2022

KromaTiD is excited to announce early access to our KromaTiD Pinpoint FISH TP53/CEP17 Kit, our new product designed to supply the highest resolution, lowest background, and lowest limit of detection available. KromaTiD's Pinpoint FISH™ Kit, allows for better hybridization conditions and eliminating strand degradation steps. Pinpoint FISH™ allows researchers to expand beyond the capabilities of conventional FISH probes to detect smaller targets and design ultra-high specificity tests. Our technology is fully compatible with your standard FISH equipment/conditions and BAC probes and works with your established samples, workflow, and imaging system. "Single-cell genomic measurements from KromaTiD have unique capabilities to analyze and understand the underlying genomic drivers of human disease. Pinpoint FISH has an unmatched resolution, extraordinary ease of use, consistency from analysis to analysis, and an unprecedented ability to distinguish fine genomic structural variation" Dr. Tompkins continues, "While this is the first catalog product from KromaTiD, we have a ten-year history of building a custom assay for Pharma and Biotech companies based on the PPF and dGH platforms. As we begin to build out a comprehensive line of blood cancer measurement kits, we are delighted to bring Pinpoint FISH to a worldwide market". Pinpoint FISH™ is available now from KromaTiD for researchers' use in oligonucleotide-based FISH assays. Christopher Tompkins, KromaTiD's Chief Technology Officer About KromaTiD, Inc. KromaTiD is transforming the fields of genome engineering through the discovery and characterization of genomic structural changes that help leading gene editing and pharmaceutical companies advance therapies to market. KromaTiD offers a powerful suite of products and services for studying genomic rearrangements, custom assay development services and preclinical research support. KromaTiD's proprietary Pinpoint FISH™ and directional Genomic Hybridization platforms (dGHTM) have applications throughout genomics, supplying direct, definitive data on structural variations that no other technologies can provide. We provide the essential genomic structural context to sequence.

Read More

Spotlight

Who doesn’t get worried when hearing about infectious disease? Lower respiratory infections alone cause an estimated 3.4 million deaths worldwide annually.  Stories of serious infections always make the best news. Prion infections, brain-eating amoeba, or flesh-eating bacteria could be some of the scariest experiences a person can come across. But what are the most dangerous infectious diseases?

Resources