Roche forced to extend Spark tender offer as investors sue over $4.3B merger

Roche | April 03, 2019

Roche’s $114.50-per-share offer for Spark Therapeutics represents a whopping 122% premium to the gene specialist’s closing price on the last trading day before the acquisition announcement. But some Spark investors still think the price is too low. So far, Spark investors have tendered only 29.4% of the shares outstanding, which doesn't exactly inspire confidence in the deal; Roche needs more than 50% to carry out the combo. The Swiss drugmaker said it's extending its tender offer to May 2 from the previous deadline of Wednesday. The lackluster results aren't Spark's only problem with its investors. The company faces shareholder lawsuits that call the deal price too low—a “bargain,” one suit claims—and question Spark's accounting methods and deal disclosures.

Spotlight

Antibiotics are medicines to prevent and treat bacterial infections such as kidney infections, chest infection, infected wounds and skin infections, amongst other ailments. Antibiotics were first discovered in 1928, by Scottish physician; Alexander Fleming. Since their discovery, they’ve become an essential tool in our fight against disease. Infections and ailments that were previously fatal or severely disabling became easily treatable, revolutionizing the healthcare industry and improving general quality of life worldwide. Before antibiotics became widely available, 90% of children with bacterial meningitis died, while today this figure has dropped significantly to somewhere between 20–30% for newborns, and just 2% for older children.
As well as their bacteria busting powers for fighting infections, antibiotics can be used to boost your immune system during chemotherapy, as well as protecting people and babies in intensive care against potentially dangerous illnesses, making them a truly indispensable treatment!


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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

UCB Showcases Strength of the Expanding Dermatology Portfolio at the 31st EADV Congress

UCB, Inc. | September 02, 2022

UCB, a global biopharmaceutical company, today announced that it will present 20 abstracts across its dermatology portfolio at the 31st European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (EADV) Congress in Milan, Italy, September 7-10. The abstracts, accepted for poster presentation, underscore UCB's commitment to delivering innovative solutions that aim to address the unmet needs of people living with dermatological diseases. "We are proud to present new data from our expanding dermatology portfolio at the 31st EADV Congress. At UCB, our ambition is to transform the lives of people living with severe diseases such as psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, and the strength of scientific data at this year's congress reaffirms our long-standing commitment to raising standards of care," said Emmanuel Caeymaex, Executive Vice President, Immunology Solutions and Head of U.S., UCB. Key data to be presented on UCB's investigational product bimekizumab include new results from the BE BRIGHT open-label extension study evaluating maintenance of response with bimekizumab through three years in patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis who responded at week 16 during Phase 3 clinical studies. New analysis of pooled safety data from up to three years of treatment with bimekizumab in the treatment of moderate to severe plaque psoriasis across Phase 2 and 3 clinical trials will also be presented. Bimekizumab is an investigational product; its efficacy and safety have not been established for any indication in the U.S. and it is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For CIMZIA® (certolizumab pegol), data to be presented include three-year data from three Phase 3 trials evaluating the association of patient-reported outcomes (Dermatology Life Quality Index, DLQI 0/1) with relative skin clearance improvements (Psoriasis Area and Severity Index, PASI) in subgroups of adult patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. About UCB UCB, Brussels, Belgium (www.ucb.com) is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative medicines and solutions to transform the lives of people living with severe diseases of the immune system or of the central nervous system. With approximately 8,600 people in approximately 40 countries, the company generated revenue of €5.8 billion in 2021. UCB is listed on Euronext Brussels (symbol: UCB).

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PHARMACY MARKET

ICON selected by BARDA to conduct anthrax vaccine clinical trial

ICON plc | October 07, 2022

ICON plc. a world-leading healthcare intelligence and clinical research organisation, announces that it has been selected by the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority part of the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response in the Department of Health and Human Services to execute an anthrax vaccine clinical trial. BARDA is providing funding to the Government and Public Health Solutions team at ICON to develop and execute a clinical trial that will evaluate the immune response to the next-generation anthrax vaccine AV7909. The team will support the evaluation of AV7909 immunogenicity kinetics by conducting clinical trial activities including but not limited to project management, clinical operations and quality assurance. ICON has extensive experience in supporting vaccine clinical trials. It has participated in over 160 vaccine studies in the past five years. ICON’s vaccine clinical research professionals are therapeutically aligned with a leadership team that brings more than 200 years of combined experience in vaccine clinical development for commercial businesses, government, NGOs and multinational health organisations. “We are pleased to have been selected to execute this important clinical trial. The potential for an anthrax attack is still a very real and serious threat, and we are proud to be playing our part to increase the understanding of treatment options for anthrax exposure, ultimately supporting human health.” Edward Wright, President, ICON Government and Public Health Solutions This clinical study will inform operational logistics and use of AV7909 should an anthrax emergency occur. The clinical studies will not expose participants to anthrax. The trial will enrol healthy adults aged 18 and older and will be conducted in the United States starting in early 2023. BARDA, part of the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is responsible for developing medical countermeasures to secure the U.S. against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats, as well as pandemic influenza and emerging infectious diseases. Since 2014, ICON has been a member of BARDA’s Medical Countermeasures Clinical Studies Network (CSN). The network is responsible for planning and executing clinical studies to support medical countermeasure development. Bacillus anthracis, the agent that causes anthrax, is a serious bioterrorism threat due to the delivery of aerosolised spores that can cause high-mortality disease through gastrointestinal, cutaneous, inhalational or injection routes. Although clinical manifestations of the disease differ by route, inhalational anthrax is the most lethal. Inhalational anthrax infection usually develops within a week after exposure but can take up to two months. Without treatment, only about 10% to 15% of patients survive after exposure to inhaled B. anthracis spores. Since 2015, BARDA has supported the late-stage development of AV7909, a next-generation anthrax vaccine which uses the U.S. Food and Drug Administration licensed anthrax vaccine Biothrax in combination with an immune system stimulant or adjuvant. The vaccine is being developed in partnership with its manufacturer Emergent Biosolutions Inc. to protect against anthrax post-exposure when used in combination with the recommended antibiotics. About ICON plc ICON is the world’s leading clinical research organisation, powered by healthcare intelligence. From molecule to medicine, we advance clinical research providing outsourced development and commercialisation services to pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device and government and public health organisations. We develop new innovations, drive emerging therapies forward and improve patient lives. With headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, ICON employed approximately 40,500 employees in 119 locations in 53 countries as at June 30, 2022. About ICON Government & Public Health Solutions ICON Government & Public Health Solutions is ICON's business unit focused on direct US Government engagement, Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) and academia, providing full service and functional research solutions. In addition, ICON GPHS coordinates a Government Centre of Excellence (CoE) to lend internal federal government subject matter expertise that can be leveraged by other ICON business units when commercial clients receive federal funding on ICON awarded contracts. About BARDA’s Medical Countermeasures Clinical Studies Network (CSN) The CSN provides BARDA partners and medical countermeasure developers with essential tools and services to develop vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and medical devices. The CSN provides comprehensive (Phases 1-4) clinical study services.

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RESEARCH

Corium Announces Publication of ADLARITY® Clinical Trial Data: Drug Exposure Equivalent to Oral Donepezil With Favorable GI Side Effect Profile

Corium, Inc. | September 20, 2022

Corium, Inc., a fully-integrated biopharmaceutical company leading the development and commercialization of novel central nervous system therapies, announced publication of its phase 1 healthy volunteer study results for ADLARITY in the peer-reviewed Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. The article, "Comparison of Steady-State Pharmacokinetics of Donepezil Transdermal Delivery System with Oral Donepezil," reports that Corium's novel once-weekly Alzheimer's dementia treatment delivered drug exposure equivalent to oral donepezil while presenting lower gastrointestinal (GI) adverse events overall compared to oral donepezil. The article is currently available online and expected to be published in the hardcopy of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, Volume 90, Issue 1, on October 25, 2022. "Transdermal delivery offers meaningful potential benefits over oral administration, including ease of use, maintenance of steady concentrations of drugs, reduced gastrointestinal adverse effects, and better treatment compliance. The availability of a transdermal formulation of donepezil gives clinicians, patients, and their caregivers an important new option to consider when treating dementia of the Alzheimer's type," said study co-author Pierre N. Tariot, M.D., director of the Banner Alzheimer's Institute in Phoenix, AZ. "The study demonstrated the equivalent exposure of Adlarity to oral donepezil and supports the use of ADLARITY as a compliant and safe once-weekly dosing regimen for treatment of patients with dementia of the Alzheimer type. The trial also shows Corium's commitment to addressing the unmet needs of patients with CNS disorders." Charles Oh, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Corium ADLARITY Transdermal System: Equivalent to Oral Donepezil Exposure, Fewer GI Adverse Events Overall In the trial, investigators compared the extent of donepezil exposure from the once-weekly ADLARITY to a once-daily oral donepezil formulation in 60 healthy adults (NCT04617782). The trial included three treatment periods of 5 weeks each. In the first period, all the participants received ADLARITY weekly, which provided 5 mg/day of donepezil. In the second period, participants were randomized to receive either 10 mg/day once-weekly ADLARITY or 10 mg/day daily oral donepezil, followed by switching to the alternative treatment, ADLARITY or oral donepezil, in the third period. All the participants knew which treatment they received in this open-label trial. Investigators examined the amount of donepezil in the participants' blood, including the maximum plasma concentration (Cmax) and the total amount of drug exposure (area under the curve or AUC). About Alzheimer's Disease Alzheimer's disease is a progressive and irreversible brain disorder. It involves changes in brain tissue including abnormal buildup of proteins as well as loss of neuron function. The resulting damage leads to the loss of remembering, reasoning, and thinking abilities. The related behavioral changes include the loss of independence in activities of daily living and self-care. Dementia ranges in severity from mild, when it is just beginning to affect a person's functioning, to moderate, to severe, when the person must depend on others for the basic activities of day-to-day life. Patients with advanced Alzheimer's disease may be unable to chew and swallow easily. About Corium Corium, Inc., is a fully-integrated biopharmaceutical company that is leading the development and commercialization of CNS therapies that provide physicians with innovative treatment options for patients, their families, and their caregivers. Corium is commercializing two U.S. FDA approved products, ADLARITY and AZSTARYS. About Gurnet Point Capital Gurnet Point Capital is a unique healthcare investment platform within the B-Flexion group and led by a team with deep expertise in an industry for which they share a passion, both as investors and senior executives. GPC invests long-term capital and supports entrepreneurs in building a new generation of companies that deliver outsized returns through active ownership. Based in Cambridge, MA, its remit encompasses life sciences and health care focused businesses, with a particular emphasis on businesses that have high growth potential in the product development and commercialization stages of their evolution. With its strategy of driving best in class operational transformation for these businesses, to create social impact while generating significant economic value, GPC is able to deliver differentiated results for its investors and partners.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Saudi Ministry of Investment and Insilico Medicine sign agreement to expand region’s biotechnology capabilities

Insilico Medicine | September 15, 2022

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Investment and clinical stage artificial intelligence (AI)-driven drug discovery company Insilico Medicine have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to support the development of a robust AI-driven biotech industry in the Kingdom. The agreement was signed during the Global AI Summit, held from the 13th through the 15th of September in Riyadh, which featured over 200 speakers representing 90 countries discussing the future of AI, including Insilico Medicine founder and CEO Alex Zhavoronkov, PhD. Sara Althari, PhD, senior researcher and MISA advisor, spearheaded the agreement. MISA and Insilico Medicine will work on shared initiatives that build on the capabilities of Insilico’s end-to-end AI-powered drug discovery platform, PharmaAI. Drawing on trillions of data points, the platform has three distinct but interconnected elements – novel AI target discovery novel AI drug design and AI clinical trial prediction. Under the terms of the MoU, Insilico will share its expertise and software platform with local biotech companies to support and accelerate their research and drug development efforts. Through the partnership, the MoU also seeks to spur the development of new biotech companies. Insilico will also work with Saudi companies on robotics-aided drug design and clinical trial design and best practices. The Company is launching a fully autonomous AI-run robotics lab that will perform experiments, capture data, and further validate its AI-discovered and designed drugs later this fall. The Company’s clinical trial prediction tool, InClinico, is designed to help researchers and companies plan trials with greater statistical likelihood of Phase 2 success. There will be additional partnership opportunities in other areas where Insilico’s AI platform has shown promise, including the support and initiation of projects related to healthy longevity and support for green chemistry initiatives, including the development of sustainable chemicals and crop protection solutions. “As someone who decided to dedicate his life to extending healthy productive longevity for everyone on the planet, I applaud Saudi Arabia’s new initiatives in this most impactful area of research. As a company, we are encouraged by Saudi Arabia’s vision to increase its digital economy and play a meaningful role in the future of drug discovery using AI and robotics. We look forward to working together to expand the region’s biotech sector and partnering with established and emerging companies as well as academic and research institutions in order to explore the full potential of our end-to-end AI platform.” Alex Zhavoronkov, PhD, founder and CEO of Insilico Medicine Over the past year, MISA has signed MoUs with a number of pharmaceutical and technology companies to grow its biotech sector, including Novartis, Janssen, AstraZeneca, GSK and Roche, as well as Amazon Saudi Arabia. Insilico Medicine, a company which bridges pharma and tech, is the first AI-driven drug discovery company to sign such an agreement in the region. About Insilico Medicine Insilico Medicine, a clinical stage end-to-end artificial intelligence (AI)-driven drug discovery company, is connecting biology, chemistry, and clinical trials analysis using next-generation AI systems. The company has developed AI platforms that utilize deep generative models, reinforcement learning, transformers, and other modern machine learning techniques to discover novel targets and to design novel molecular structures with desired properties. Insilico Medicine is delivering breakthrough solutions to discover and develop innovative drugs for cancer, fibrosis, immunity, central nervous system diseases and aging-related diseases.

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Spotlight

Antibiotics are medicines to prevent and treat bacterial infections such as kidney infections, chest infection, infected wounds and skin infections, amongst other ailments. Antibiotics were first discovered in 1928, by Scottish physician; Alexander Fleming. Since their discovery, they’ve become an essential tool in our fight against disease. Infections and ailments that were previously fatal or severely disabling became easily treatable, revolutionizing the healthcare industry and improving general quality of life worldwide. Before antibiotics became widely available, 90% of children with bacterial meningitis died, while today this figure has dropped significantly to somewhere between 20–30% for newborns, and just 2% for older children.
As well as their bacteria busting powers for fighting infections, antibiotics can be used to boost your immune system during chemotherapy, as well as protecting people and babies in intensive care against potentially dangerous illnesses, making them a truly indispensable treatment!

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