Purveyors of black-market pharmaceuticals target immigrants

Medical News | September 16, 2019

The bootleg medications were smuggled across the border and sold to mostly Latino immigrants in public spaces throughout Los Angeles at swap meets, parks, beauty salons and makeshift stands outside mom-and-pop grocery stores. The drugs were cheap, and the customers mostly from Mexico and Central America did not need prescriptions to buy them. Some of the products featured brand names and colorful packaging that immigrants knew well from their home countries including Ciprofloxacina, a potent antibiotic, and Dolo Nervi Doce translated as "Pain Nerve 12" an injectable B-complex vitamin taken for fatigue. Many were sheer counterfeits. Others, though legal south of the border, were not approved for sale in the United States. Some had expired. Still others would have been legal if sold by people licensed to do so but none of the sellers held pharmacist licenses or any other medical credential. L.A. County authorities seized the drugs last month in an operation that led to the arrest of eight people. Their haul included 100,000 foreign-made pills, compounds and injectable medicines they said could have caused serious harm or even death to consumers.

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The project has been created with the aim to improve their quality of life, transforming the pharmacy into a suitable place for them, with a dedicated space and with the possibility to find a concrete support to better manage the disease and prevent the complications. Thanks to the specific training on diabetes that the pharmacist receives, he becomes a great ally for the diabetic people and an excellent consultant. The Diabetic Corner® can definitely make the relationship between pharmacy and the person even stronger and more concrete, everyday.


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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Bruker Acquires Optimal Companies for Pharma PAT Software and Biopharma Manufacturing Automation Expertise and Technologies

Bruker Corporation | April 06, 2022

Bruker Corporation announced the acquisition of Optimal Industrial Automation and Technologies, a leader in pharma and biopharma process analytical technology pharma manufacturing automation and Quality Assurance (QA) software and systems integration, based in the United Kingdom. The Optimal biopharma tools acquisition strengthens Bruker as a key software and solutions provider for small molecule, biologics and new drug modalities pharma companies. Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed. Optimal’s 2022 revenue is expected to be approximately $10 million, and Optimal’s revenue growth rate and operating margins are projected to be accretive to Bruker in 2023 and beyond. The Optimal biopharma tools and automation capabilities complement Bruker’s innovative and differentiated high-value NMR, mass spectrometry, SPR, molecular spectroscopy and X-ray scientific instruments, and life-science solutions for biopharma drug discovery and development, as well as for PAT analytical and QA solutions. Together these biopharma tools enable Bruker’s global biopharma customers to bring efficacious and safe medicines to market more quickly. Optimal has a focus on the automation and optimization of batch and continuous processes in the biopharma industry – from R&D to manufacturing. As an integrated PAT solutions provider, Optimal offers development, testing, deployment and support of quality-centric pharmaceutical production systems. Optimal has more than 30 years of experience in successfully delivering regulatory-compliant biopharma solutions, ranging from the development of automated control systems for process control to the market-leading, vendor-agnostic PAT knowledge management software synTQ®. The synTQ PAT software can interface between multiple analytical instruments (spectral and univariate), multi-variate analysis (MVA) packages, manufacturing control systems and a range of adjacent software solutions to ensure quality in real-time. As a 2021 Pharma Innovation Award winner, synTQ is a proven enabler of quality-by-design (QbD) via PAT. For users of synTQ, this can significantly increase productivity and quality, while reducing waste, time-to-manufacture and time-to-market, with proven Optimal use cases tripling biopharma productivity. While remaining a vendor-agnostic biopharma solutions provider, Optimal can integrate bioanalytical technologies such as nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), mass spectrometry (MS) and FTIR/NIR/Raman systems into innovative drug discovery, development, PAT and quality control workflows. Combining next-generation, high-performance technologies with Optimal solutions eases the transition from development to biopharma manufacturing, while remaining in regulatory compliance. “The acquisition of Optimal is a very exciting step for Bruker as it supports more comprehensive solutions for the biopharmaceutical industry, now adding the capabilities to integrate cutting-edge systems into biopharma manufacturing processes and workflows. We welcome the Optimal team with their strong PAT and automation expertise and, together, are eager to support biotech and pharmaceutical companies in increasing their manufacturing efficiency and flexibility – a global need highlighted by the response to the pandemic crisis.” Dr. Falko Busse, President of the Bruker BioSpin Group Mr. Martin Gadsby, the CEO and Co-Founder of Optimal Industrial Automation and Technologies, added: “We are delighted to become part of the Bruker family. Optimal and Bruker together are a perfect fit – we share the common ethos of innovation with integrity, together with our industry recognition as a high-quality solutions provider delivering tangible benefits to our customers. The whole Optimal team is excited by this new chapter in our history and looks forward to delivering benefits to even more biopharma customers and ultimately to patients around the world.” About Optimal Industrial Technologies and Automation A well-established system integrator with more than 30 years of experience, at Optimal we specialize in automating a client’s R&D or manufacturing system to ensure that their processes remain at the highest level of efficiency. The demands being placed on manufacturers in relation to production costs, product quality and business sustainability are ever increasing, and our primary aim within Optimal is to assist you in being the most competitive supplier of your product to the highest level of quality in the worldwide marketplace, and to ensure that you continue to maintain your lead in the years ahead. We have a rare and wide-ranging skill set covering a multitude of automation technologies, manufacturing processes and industry types, with very specific knowledge in highly regulated environments. In addition, we manufacture the world leading PAT Data Management software package - synTQ® and the widely used integrated Print and Inspect system - synTI®. The combination of our PAT implementation knowledge and synTQ® product together with our automation experience positions us with unique skills that can be leveraged to great advantage by our customers. About Bruker Corporation Bruker is enabling scientists to make breakthrough discoveries and develop new applications that improve the quality of human life. Bruker’s high-performance scientific instruments and high-value analytical and diagnostic solutions enable scientists to explore life and materials at molecular, cellular and microscopic levels. In close cooperation with our customers, Bruker is enabling innovation, improved productivity and customer success in life science molecular research, in applied and pharma applications, in microscopy and nanoanalysis, and in industrial applications, as well as in cell biology, preclinical imaging, clinical phenomics and proteomics research and clinical microbiology.

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VIEWS AND ANALYSIS

CHMP Recommends Approval of Dupixent® (dupilumab) for Children Aged 6 to 11 Years with Severe Asthma with Type 2 Inflammation

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc | January 31, 2022

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Sanofi today announced that the European Medicines Agency's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use has adopted a positive opinion, recommending to extend the approval of Dupixent® (dupilumab) in the European Union (EU) to include add-on maintenance treatment for children aged 6 to 11 years with severe asthma with type 2 inflammation characterized by raised blood eosinophils and/or raised fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) who are inadequately controlled on two maintenance therapies. The European Commission is expected to announce a final decision on the Dupixent application in the coming months. The CHMP positive opinion is supported by Phase 3 data recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine showing that Dupixent added to standard of care significantly reduced the rate of severe asthma attacks and rapidly improved lung function within two weeks, with sustained improvement up to 52 weeks, in children with uncontrolled moderate-to-severe asthma. The safety results from the trial were generally consistent with the known safety profile of Dupixent in patients aged 12 years and older with uncontrolled moderate-to-severe asthma. Adverse events more commonly observed with Dupixent compared to placebo included injection site reactions, viral upper respiratory tract infections and eosinophilia. Helminth infections were also more commonly observed with Dupixent compared to placebo in patients aged 6 to 11 years. Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases in children. Up to 85% of children with asthma may have type 2 inflammation and are more likely to have higher disease burden. Despite treatment with current standard-of-care inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) and bronchodilators, these children may continue to experience serious symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and difficulty breathing. Severe asthma may impact children's developing airways and cause potentially life-threatening exacerbations. Children with severe asthma also may require the use of multiple courses of systemic corticosteroids that carry significant risks. Uncontrolled severe asthma can interfere with day-to-day activities like sleeping, attending school and playing sports. On October 20, 2021, Dupixent was approved by the FDA as an add-on maintenance treatment for patients aged 6 to 11 years with moderate-to-severe asthma characterized by an eosinophilic phenotype or with oral corticosteroid-dependent asthma. The use of Dupixent in children aged 6 to 11 years with uncontrolled severe asthma is investigational in the EU and is not yet approved. About Dupixent Dupixent, which was invented using Regeneron's proprietary VelocImmune® technology, is a fully human monoclonal antibody that inhibits the signaling of the interleukin-4 (IL-4) and interleukin-13 (IL-13) pathways and is not an immunosuppressant. IL-4 and IL-13 are key and central drivers of the type 2 inflammation that plays a major role in atopic dermatitis, asthma and chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyposis (CRSwNP). About Regeneron Regeneron is a leading biotechnology company that invents life-transforming medicines for people with serious diseases. Founded and led for over 30 years by physician-scientists, our unique ability to repeatedly and consistently translate science into medicine has led to nine FDA-approved treatments and numerous product candidates in development, almost all of which were homegrown in our laboratories. Our medicines and pipeline are designed to help patients with eye diseases, allergic and inflammatory diseases, cancer, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, pain, hematologic conditions, infectious diseases and rare diseases. Regeneron is accelerating and improving the traditional drug development process through our proprietary VelociSuite technologies, such as VelocImmune, which uses unique genetically humanized mice to produce optimized fully human antibodies and bispecific antibodies, and through ambitious research initiatives such as the Regeneron Genetics Center, which is conducting one of the largest genetics sequencing efforts in the world. About Sanofi Sanofi is dedicated to supporting people through their health challenges. We are a global biopharmaceutical company focused on human health. We prevent illness with vaccines, provide innovative treatments to fight pain and ease suffering. We stand by the few who suffer from rare diseases and the millions with long-term chronic conditions. With more than 100,000 people in 100 countries, Sanofi is transforming scientific innovation into healthcare solutions around the globe.

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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.

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RESEARCH

DisperSol Technologies Announces Collaboration with Ajax Therapeutics to Develop Enhanced KinetiSol Drug Formulations

DisperSol Technologies | December 18, 2021

DisperSol Technologies LLC announced that it is has entered into a research collaboration with Ajax Therapeutics, Inc. to apply its KinetiSol technology to enhance the bioavailability of an Ajax drug candidate in development for the treatment of hematologic malignancies. “Ajax is taking an innovative approach to developing a pipeline of selectively targeted small molecules and we look forward to applying our proprietary KinetiSol technology to help enhance the bioavailability of one of these promising drug candidates. This collaboration is another example of our partnering strategy with our KinetiSol technology platform to help improve the bioavailability of next generation targeted therapies to provide new treatments for patients in need.” Dr. Edward Rudnic, CEO of DisperSol Technologies About DisperSol Technologies DisperSol is a clinical-stage drug development company focused on developing new treatments for patients utilizing its proprietary KinetiSol® technology platform. KinetiSol has proven capable of creating novel therapeutics from poorly bioavailable drugs to deliver unique clinical benefits to patients. The platform enables a drug development path forward to patients when other options fail to make a difference. DisperSol’s active programs include, DST-0509 about to enter Phase 3 for iron overload disorder and DST-2970 in Phase 2 for refractory metastatic prostate cancer. Additional earlier-stage programs include DST-5407 for non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer. About Ajax Therapeutics Ajax Therapeutics, Inc. is pursuing uniquely selective approaches to develop novel therapies targeting key cytokine signaling pathways that drive hematologic malignancies. By combining the deep cancer and structural biology insights of our founding scientists with the industry’s most advanced computational drug discovery and protein structure platforms from our founding partner, Schrödinger, Inc., we aim to discover and develop more precisely designed therapies to address significant unmet needs for patients with hematologic malignancies.

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The project has been created with the aim to improve their quality of life, transforming the pharmacy into a suitable place for them, with a dedicated space and with the possibility to find a concrete support to better manage the disease and prevent the complications. Thanks to the specific training on diabetes that the pharmacist receives, he becomes a great ally for the diabetic people and an excellent consultant. The Diabetic Corner® can definitely make the relationship between pharmacy and the person even stronger and more concrete, everyday.

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