Roche trumpets data for Soliris rival in NMOSD after US, EU filings

pharmaphorum | December 02, 2019

Roche trumpets data for Soliris rival in NMOSD after US, EU filings
Roche has continued to build the case for satralizumab, its experimental therapy for rare disease neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD), which is heading for approval decision in the US and Europe next year. The results of the pivotal SAkuraSky trial have now been published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) website, showing that the anti-interleukin-6 antibody cut the relapse rate in NMOSD compared to conventional immune-suppressing drugs over nearly three years of follow-up. NMOSD is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system that primarily affects the optic nerves and spinal cord, causing blindness, muscle weakness and paralysis. Progression of the disease is characterised by unpredictable and severe relapses that lead to nerve damage, and it can often be misdiagnosed as multiple sclerosis. Roche is building the case for satralizumab as it approaches potential approvals of the drug and a market showdown with Alexion’s rare disease blockbuster Soliris (eculizumab), which became the first drug approved by the FDA for NMOSD in June. For now there are no approved therapies for NMOSD in Europe. Soliris is cleared for use in patients who are anti-aquaporin-4 (AQP4) antibody positive in the US, but Roche is hoping to get a green light for all patients with NMOSD, regardless of their anti-AQP4 status. That could make it a good first-line option if approved for marketing, as patients would not need to be screened for anti-AQP4 status.

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SiO2 Materials Science and Doosan Corporation Enter Into Strategic Partnership to Accelerate Market Development in Asia

SiO2 Materials Science | December 27, 2021

Doosan Corporation, founded in 1896, one of South Korea's largest diversified conglomerates, and SiO2 Materials Science, a privately-owned U.S. advanced materials science corporation introducing breakthrough disruptive technology for packaging biological pharmaceuticals and vaccines, announced an exclusive partnership to sell, market, and distribute SIO2's vial, syringes and blood collection tubes in Asia/Oceania. The partnership will focus initially on the pharmaceutical and diagnostics markets but will extend to other markets through the joint development of new technologies. As part of the strategic partnership, Doosan will invest $100 million into SiO2 and will additionally invest in substantial infrastructure and human resources for the acceleration of the business in Asia/Oceania. The partners have defined key volume milestones over a 15 year period. "The Asia and Oceania region represents a significant market opportunity for vials and syringes specifically designed for biologic drugs and vaccines. South Korea has become a world leader in biological drug manufacturing, so it makes sense to establish a strong presence with a respected partners in the market," says Lawrence Ganti, President of SiO2 Materials Sciences The SiO2 Materials Sciences technology platform combines the benefits of glass and plastic while eliminating the drawbacks of both. The technology has been commercially validated through the packaging of hundreds of millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses around the world and is working with more than 100 active projects with leading pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies to bring their products to market in a safer container. The company was a key collaborator and part of the US Government's COVID-19 Response (formerly known as Operation Warp Speed) and has expanded its manufacturing footprint in Auburn, Alabama, more than 12-fold in the last 18 months. "South Korea is a strategic hub for biologic drug manufacturing. Doosan believes that the SiO2 technology would greatly support the packaging of these new drugs and vaccines and are proud to exclusively represent the technology in Asia," says Han Lee, Vice President of Doosan. "There is so much potential in the SiO2 technology, and we will also jointly develop new technologies and products by bringing our existing technologies and engineering minds together," says Chief Business Officer of Doosan Corporation. About SiO2 Materials Science SiO2 Materials Science is an advanced materials science corporation introducing breakthrough disruptive technology serving the biopharma, molecular diagnostic, and consumer healthcare industries. The company is located in Auburn, Alabama. The company has deep partnerships with leading professors at the foremost research universities such as University of California - Santa Barbara, University of Chicago, and MIT / Harvard. About Doosan Doosan Corporation is Korea's oldest conglomerate, founded in 1896. The company operates across multiple divisions such as: Electro-Materials, Industrial Vehicles, Fuel Cell Power, Retail, and Digital Innovation. The company is always developing innovative new business in support of materials science.

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DEBIOPHARM INVESTS IN VERISIM LIFE'S $15M SERIES A ROUND TO ADVANCE AI-ENABLED DRUG RESEARCH

Debiopharm International SA | January 11, 2022

Debiopharm a Swiss biopharmaceutical company, announced their co-investment in California-based start-up VeriSIM Life's $15 Million Series A Round to advance their mission to accelerate drug development via technology powered by artificial intelligence. VeriSIM Life's computational platform reduces time and cost of drug development as well as reduces the need for animal testing that, in the vast majority of cases, does not translate well to humans. Debiopharm's co-investment in VeriSIM contributes to the growth plan of the start-up and will help to expand and establish transformational partnerships with industry and academia using their first-in-class 'virtual drug development engine' BIOiSIM™. The investment aligns with Debiopharm's focus to invest in digital health solutions that improve the cancer patient journey, transform pharmaceutical R&D, and shift healthcare towards a more patient-centric approach. With the financing round led by Morpheus Ventures, Debiopharm Innovation Fund joins new investors including Colorcon Ventures along with existing investors OCA Ventures, Intel Capital, Serra Ventures and Susa Ventures. Founded in 2017 by Jo Varshney, DVM and PhD alongside a cross-functional team of pharmaceutical scientists, software engineers and AI/ML and simulation experts, the start-up offers a range of translational-based solutions, customized for pre-clinical and clinical programs. "We're moving into a time where AI-based technology will play a critical role in drug development. We absolutely need to reduce the time, costs & risks of drug development in order to be more efficient – that's exactly what the BIOiSIM™ is proven to do. The value of using this AI-based platform is the potential decrease in the need for animal testing and the acceleration of the pre-clinical, translational stage, helping drug research companies to more quickly select which early-stage medicines will most likely benefit patients and cure their disease." Tanja Dowe, CEO of the Debiopharm Innovation Fund More than 90% of drugs tested in animals fail to pass human clinical trials, resulting in delayed development and high costs. VeriSIM's BIOiSIM platform, driven by AI and machine learning (ML), de-risks R&D decisions by providing meaningful insights much earlier in the drug development process with unprecedented accuracy and scalability. VeriSIM's platform solves this decade-old translatability problem within the drug development phase and ensures clinical success of drugs intended for highly unmet needs. With its first-in-class platform, VeriSIM is transforming the way pharmaceutical and biotech companies address the most challenging diseases impacting humankind. About VeriSIM Life VeriSIM Life has developed a sophisticated computational platform that leverages advanced AI and ML techniques to significantly improve drug discovery and development by greatly reducing the time and money it takes to bring a drug to market. BIOiSIM is a first-in-class 'virtual drug development engine' that offers unprecedented value for the drug development industry by narrowing down the number of drug compounds that offer anticipated value for the treatment or cure of specific illnesses or diseases. The program not only reduces the time and cost of drug discovery and development, it also greatly reduces the need for animal testing that, in the vast majority of cases, does not translate to humans. Debiopharm's commitment to patients Debiopharm develops, manufactures and invests in innovative therapies and technologies that respond to high unmet medical needs in oncology and bacterial infections. We aim to provide strategic funding and guidance for companies with Smart Data & Digital Health solutions with the ambition to change the way drugs are developed and the way patients are treated. Our growing portfolio company achievements includes 18 FDA clearances or CE marks and 2 IPOs. Since 2018 Debiopharm has invested over USD 120 million, typically leading the investment rounds of its 16 portfolio companies.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

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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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Cullinan Oncology Forms Strategic Collaboration Agreement with Mount Sinai to Advance Oral HPK1 Protein Degrader for Cancer Treatment

Cullinan Oncology, Inc. | January 10, 2022

Cullinan Oncology, Inc. a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing a diversified pipeline of targeted therapies for cancer patients, today announced the Company has entered into a collaboration agreement with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai to develop novel small molecule immune modulators.​ This exclusive option and multi-year collaboration agreement will be focused on the optimization and development of oral protein degraders targeting hematopoietic progenitor kinase 1 (HPK1), a key regulator of immune cell activation and a high-priority target in immune-oncology. The collaboration aims to accelerate the development of novel, best-in-class HPK1 degraders that stimulate robust anti-tumor immunity. The research will be conducted by leading scientists at both Cullinan and Icahn Mount Sinai. Cullinan will fund the collaboration and has an exclusive option to license the intellectual property for further development and commercialization. The Icahn Mount Sinai team will be co-led by Steven J. Burakoff, M.D., Lillian and Henry M. Stratton Professor of Cancer Medicine, Dean for Cancer Innovation, and Chief, Pediatric Oncology at Icahn Mount Sinai, and Jian Jin, Ph.D., Mount Sinai Professor in Therapeutics Discovery and Director, Mount Sinai Center for Therapeutics Discovery, at Icahn Mount Sinai. “Our team is excited to work with the talented and experienced cancer drug developers at Cullinan. Our research has already demonstrated that a degrader approach to targeting HPK1 may control tumor growth more effectively compared to simply inhibiting HPK1 kinase activity. We believe this collaboration will help us identify novel, differentiated oral HPK1 degraders and can bring future benefit to cancer patients worldwide.” Dr. Jin “We are proud to partner with Icahn Mount Sinai, which is at the forefront of cancer research and patient care,” said Leigh Zawel, Chief Scientific Officer, Small Molecules, of Cullinan Oncology. “We are very excited to build on the synergy between the deep scientific expertise of the Icahn Mount Sinai team and the strong drug development capabilities at Cullinan to advance therapies that have the potential to significantly improve the lives of patients with cancer. We look forward to a fruitful collaboration in this novel area of science.” About Cullinan Oncology Cullinan Oncology is a biopharmaceutical company that is developing a diversified pipeline of targeted therapeutic candidates across multiple modalities in order to bring important medicines to cancer patients. The Company’s strategy is to source innovation through both internal discovery efforts and external collaborations, focusing on advanced stage assets with novel technology platforms and differentiated mechanisms.

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