Short Sellers Grow More Selective in Big Pharma

24/7 Wall St. | September 25, 2019

Pharmaceutical companies usually are involved in a lengthy process of getting their drug candidates to market through clinical trials. There is a fair amount of risk involved, should a study come back negative or a candidate not be approved. Conversely, if a drug gains FDA approval or passes a clinical trial, there can be big upside. The White House has promised reforms in the health care sector, such as changing the bidding process for drugs and shortening the FDA approval process. It is yet to be seen how much headway it actually can make with these reforms. Keep in mind that short sellers betting against big pharma are taking on an added risk. They have to pay out the ongoing high dividends on top of the cost of borrowing the shares. The September 13 short interest data have been compared with the previous figures, and short interest moves in these selected pharmaceutical stocks were mixed.

Spotlight

Novartis today announced results from a validation study of the innovative, algorithm-based digital solution MS Progression Discussion Tool, or MSProDiscussTM. The tool aims to support and facilitate a discussion between physicians and patients living with multiple sclerosis (MS) who have transitioned, or are at risk of transitioning from relapsing remitting MS (RRMS) to secondary progressive MS (SPMS). Diagnosing SPMS can be challenging but if carried out in a timely manner, could help to prevent further irreversible damage3 . The study findings, presented today at the 2019 American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting (AAN) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, support the validity and potential use of MSProDiscuss™ to help evaluate and discuss early signs suggestive of progression in clinical practice.


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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Catalent Announces New Operating Structure

Catalent, Inc | July 06, 2022

Catalent, Inc. the global leader in enabling biopharma, cell, gene, and consumer health partners to optimize development, launch, and supply of better patient treatments across multiple modalities, today announced changes to its operating structure and executive leadership team that went into effect July 1. This new organizational structure includes a shift from four reporting segments to two, each representing roughly half of the total company revenue. According to Alessandro Maselli, Catalent’s President and Chief Executive Officer since July 1, the segment changes reflect evolving customer and industry trends and position the company to deliver its next level of growth and achievement. “Our industry continues to demonstrate steady growth, and this new structure will allow us to be more agile in meeting and anticipating customer needs and expectations. Among other benefits, it will create commercial synergies for our customers, as they will be better able to access the full range of Catalent services applicable to their molecules.” Maselli Dr. Aris Gennadios was named Group President of Catalent’s newly formed Pharma and Consumer Health segment. The new segment consolidates the company’s prior Softgel & Oral Technologies segment, which Gennadios had led since 2013, and its Oral & Specialty Delivery and Clinical Supply Services segments. “Combining our businesses focused on the development and supply of pharmaceutical and consumer health products will provide our customers with more integrated solutions, streamlined service, and simplified delivery of the solutions they need to accelerate their path to patients and consumers,” said Dr. Gennadios. The new Pharma and Consumer Health segment will encompass the offerings of the three prior segments, including the company’s market-leading softgels, Zydis® fast-dissolve technologies, gummy dosage forms, clinical development and trial supply services, and global pharma manufacturing platforms. Dedicated teams will focus on Catalent’s pharmaceutical, consumer health, and clinical development and supply solutions to further drive value for customers and the opportunity for accelerated growth of these businesses. The scope of Catalent’s other reporting segment, Biologics, continues without any change. This organizational restructuring has also been accompanied by a few additional leadership changes. Jonathan Arnold, who previously served as President, Oral & Specialty Delivery, since 2017, is Catalent’s new Senior Vice President, Chief Commercial Officer, and Head of Transformation. He will be dedicated to ensuring a best-in-class customer experience and working closely with others on the leadership team to optimize the company’s growing portfolio. Additionally, Steven Fasman, who previously served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel since 2014, will be Catalent’s Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, a newly created position. Mr. Fasman will oversee certain administrative functions of the company, including legal & compliance, information technology, engineering, procurement, governmental affairs, and various ESG-related departments. Finally, Karen Flynn has announced her decision to retire from her role as Catalent’s Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer. “Karen has played a critical role on the Executive Leadership Team since joining Catalent in early 2020. I am immensely grateful for her leadership, innovative thinking, and steadfast commitment to the company,” said Maselli. About Catalent, Inc. Catalent, Inc. an S&P 500® company, is the global leader in enabling pharma, biotech, and consumer health partners to optimize product development, launch, and full life-cycle supply for patients around the world. With broad and deep scale and expertise in development sciences, delivery technologies, and multi-modality manufacturing, Catalent is the industry’s preferred partner for personalized medicines, consumer health brand extensions, and blockbuster drugs. Catalent helps accelerate over 1,000 partner programs and launch over 150 new products every year. Its flexible manufacturing platforms at over 50 global sites supply over 70 billion doses of nearly 7,000 products to over 1,000 customers annually. Catalent’s expert workforce exceeds 19,000, including more than 2,500 scientists and technicians. Headquartered in Somerset, New Jersey, the company generated $4 billion in revenue in its 2021 fiscal year.

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PHARMA TECH

Novotech and Medidata expand partnership to continue advancements in clinical research

Medidata | June 16, 2022

Medidata, a Dassault Systèmes company, announced its renewed, expanded partnership with Novotech, a leading contract research organisation to continue scaling clinical studies in various therapeutic areas from 2022. Leveraging Rave EDC, Rave RTSM, eCOA and eConsent technology from Medidata, Novotech is equipped with flexible, configurable tools that can address clinical research needs at scale and facilitate accelerated drug and device development in Asia Pacific and the U.S. Since its partnership in 2018, Novotech has doubled its growth and has also acquired CRO companies in APAC and the U.S. as well as invested in advanced DCT and data companies to deliver a seamless CRO platform amidst the increasing demand for clinical trials services in the region. The partnership extends access to a suite of end-to-end solutions from Medidata Clinical Cloud, the industry's only unified platform dedicated to clinical research. It also underscores Medidata and Novotech's commitment to work collaboratively towards accelerating clinical trials and research efficiently, while improving clinical trial timelines and patient experiences. The Medidata Clinical Cloud is the only unified technology platform dedicated to clinical research, with solutions that leverage centralized data to address the holistic research process from start to finish. With the physical limitations and fragmentation of healthcare ecosystems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for digital integration for accelerated clinical development is crucial, and a unified platform allows for streamlined management of studies, sites, users, and access from a single location. "The pandemic has underscored the importance of redesigning how trials are run, with more stakeholders realising the vital role that technology plays in clinical development. Medidata is pleased to continue our strong partnership with Novotech and is dedicated to providing support in their acceleration of clinical studies. Working with leading technologies, we can deliver better patient experiences and accelerate drug development in the new normal in clinical research." Edwin Ng, Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific, Medidata Andries Claassen, Senior Director Biometrics, Novotech, added, "We are excited to continue our partnership with Medidata, with their sustained support in driving clinical research and business growth with customers. Novotech has always invested heavily in the latest technology to provide our clients with better data visibility for improved decision-making. Together, we will help sponsors deliver more efficient, effective, and scalable trials." Medidata is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dassault Systèmes, which with its 3DEXPERIENCE platform is positioned to lead the digital transformation of life sciences in the age of personalized medicine with the first end-to-end scientific and business platform, from research to commercialization. About Medidata Medidata is leading the digital transformation of life sciences, creating hope for millions of patients. Medidata helps generate the evidence and insights to help pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device and diagnostics companies, and academic researchers accelerate value, minimize risk, and optimize outcomes. More than one million registered users across 2,000+ customers and partners access the world's most trusted platform for clinical development, commercial, and real-world data. Medidata, a Dassault Systèmes company (Euronext Paris: FR0014003TT8, DSY.PA), is headquartered in New York City and has offices around the world to meet the needs of its customers. About Dassault Systèmes Dassault Systèmes, the 3DEXPERIENCE Company, is a catalyst for human progress. We provide business and people with collaborative 3D virtual environments to imagine sustainable innovations. By creating virtual twin experiences of the real world with our 3DEXPERIENCE platform and applications, our customers push the boundaries of innovation, learning and production to achieve a more sustainable world for patients, citizens, and consumers. Dassault Systèmes brings value to more than 300,000 customers of all sizes, in all industries, in more than 140 countries. 3DEXPERIENCE, the Compass icon, the 3DS logo, CATIA, BIOVIA, GEOVIA, SOLIDWORKS, 3DVIA, ENOVIA, NETVIBES, MEDIDATA, CENTRIC PLM, 3DEXCITE, SIMULIA, DELMIA, and IFWE are commercial trademarks or registered trademarks of Dassault Systèmes, a French "société européenne" (Versailles Commercial Register # B 322 306 440), or its subsidiaries in the United States and/or other countries. About Novotech Novotech is the leading Asia Pacific biotech specialist CRO with labs, phase I facilities, and drug development consulting services. Novotech has accumulated experience in over 3,700 clinical projects, including Phase I to Phase IV clinical trials and bioequivalence studies. Novotech is positioned to serve biopharmaceutical clients conducting clinical trials in Asia and globally and serves biotechs globally leveraging deep relationships built with hundreds of Asia-Pacific sites over the last 25 years. As of May 2022, Novotech has over 2,500 FTEs working across our offices in 12 geographies in Asia-Pacific and the United States.

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PHARMA TECH

ADDING MULTIMEDIA Entos Pharmaceuticals Expands R&D Operations into the US

Entos Pharmaceuticals | June 08, 2022

Entos Pharmaceuticals, a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing genetic medicines with its Fusogenix proteolipid vehicle (PLV) nucleic acid delivery platform, announced today the opening of its new 9,600 square foot research and development facility in the Torrey Pines community of San Diego, California. This collaborative space will be shared with Entos’ sister companies, Oisín Biotechnologies, OncoSenX, and Aegis Life, allowing the companies to expand their team and infrastructure and support continued growth. Entos’ new office and lab space is located at the MUSE in Torrey Pines, a redeveloped 186,000 square foot life sciences property completed in 2021. Featuring three buildings, the campus was designed with walking paths, a locally-sourced restaurant, and conference space with indoor and outdoor seating. The US location complements Entos’ existing Canadian headquarters and R&D facilities in Edmonton, Canada, and new offices in London, UK. “We’re excited to move into our new lab space in San Diego, which is becoming one of the largest biotechnology hubs in the world for pharmaceutical research and innovation. This is a significant milestone for Entos as we continue developing genetic medicines for some of our most challenging diseases.” John D. Lewis, Ph.D., founder, and CEO of Entos Pharmaceuticals Entos’ proprietary Fusogenix PLV drug delivery system is formulated with FAST proteins to enable the delivery of nucleic acid cargo, such as DNA and RNA, directly into target cells. This technology is applicable to a wide range of genetic medicines. Unlike conventional lipid-based and viral-based delivery systems, Fusogenix PLVs have demonstrated, in multiple studies, to be well tolerated at high systemic doses, redosable, and able to target multiple tissues in the body. This announcement comes on the heels of two significant collaborations that began in late 2021, granting exclusive rights to Entos’ Fusogenix PLV nucleic acid delivery technology to research, develop and commercialize therapeutic genetic medicines. The first agreement was with BioMarin to target certain rare diseases. The second was a license agreement with Eli Lilly for multiple programs for central and peripheral nervous system diseases and came with an initial payment of $50M and $400M in milestones per program. About Entos Pharmaceuticals A new reality in genetic medicine lies ahead, one that will be ushered in with the advent of safe, effective, and redosable nucleic acid delivery technologies. At Entos, we develop next generation genetic medicines using our proprietary Fusogenix proteolipid vehicle (PLV) drug delivery system. Fusogenix PLVs are formulated with FAST proteins to enable the delivery of nucleic acid into target cells through direct fusion.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Qualigen Therapeutics Acquires Majority Stake in Infectious Disease Diagnostics Technology Company NanoSynex

Qualigen Therapeutics, Inc. | June 03, 2022

Qualigen Therapeutics, Inc. a diversified life sciences company focused on developing treatments for adult and pediatric cancers with potential for Orphan Drug Designation, while also commercializing diagnostics, today announces it has completed the acquisition of a majority stake in NanoSynex Ltd., an Israeli-based developer of next generation diagnostics technology. NanoSynex’s award winning technology is an Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing (AST) platform that aims to provide clinical laboratories worldwide with a rapid, accurate and personalized test for bacterial infections, especially difficult-to-treat drug resistant strains, with the goal of quickly matching the correct antibiotics at the correct concentration to treat a patient’s specific infection. Antibiotic misuse and overuse have given significant rise to more frequent and more deadly antibiotic resistant bacteria, such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Multi-drug resistant pathogens such as these have been declared a substantial threat to U.S. public health and national security by the Institute of Medicine and a federal Interagency Task Force on Antimicrobial Resistance. According to some estimates, the global infectious disease diagnostics market is expected to reach ~$39.8 Billion by 2026 from ~$28.1 Billion in 2021. “Living through two and a half years of COVID-19 has taught us the critical role diagnostics plays in combating infectious disease, and the need to be prepared for the next wave. NanoSynex’s technology shows great promise in rapidly and accurately matching antibiotics to the target bacteria, and in doing so, quickly equipping healthcare providers with the data needed to treat their patients with the right antibiotic at the right dose at the right time. We strongly believe in the potential of this platform, and our ability to leverage our long-standing diagnostics development, regulatory and commercial expertise to help bring the NanoSynex diagnostics technology to market sooner.” Michael Poirier, Qualigen's Chairman and CEO “We are excited about beginning a new journey with Qualigen and joining forces in a common mission to develop innovative diagnostics. This partnership takes the NanoSynex AST platform to the next level," added NanoSynex Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Diane Abensur Bessin. NanoSynex is led by a dynamic team of healthcare subject matter experts, microbiologists, and engineers, including its co-founders – Diane Abensur Bessin and Michelle Heymann, who were selected for Forbes’ 2020 Tech 30 Under 30 list. Qualigen’s diagnostics team, led by Shishir Sinha, Senior VP and Chief Operating Officer, will work closely alongside the Israeli-based NanoSynex team on technology development, regulatory path, and commercial preparedness. Qualigen also envisions potential synergies with its proprietary FastPack® diagnostics platform to further strengthen the Company’s diagnostics business which has seen a post-COVID-19 resurgence. Qualigen’s purchase of the controlling interest in NanoSynex was primarily accomplished via a stock-for-stock acquisition with a controlling shareholder of NanoSynex. Qualigen also provided an investment in NanoSynex at closing and will provide future milestone-based funding leading to the commercialization of this technology. NanoSynex’s Board will initially be comprised of two current NanoSynex directors – NanoSynex co-founders - and two Qualigen appointees – Mr. Poirier and Mr. Sinha. About Qualigen Therapeutics, Inc. Qualigen Therapeutics, Inc. is a diversified life sciences company focused on developing treatments for adult and pediatric cancer, as well as maintaining and expanding its core FDA-cleared FastPack® System, which has been used successfully in diagnostics for over 20 years. Our investigational QN-302 compound is a small molecule selective transcription inhibitor with strong binding affinity to G4s prevalent in cancer cells; such binding could, by stabilizing the G4s against “unwinding,” help inhibit cancer cell proliferation. Our investigational QN-247 compound inhibits nucleolin, a key multi-functional regulatory protein that is overexpressed in cancer cells; QN-247 may thereby be able to inhibit the cells’ proliferation. QN-247 has shown promise in preclinical studies for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The investigational compounds within Qualigen’s RAS-F family of RAS oncogene protein-protein interaction inhibitor small molecules are believed to inhibit or block the binding of mutated RAS genes’ proteins to their effector proteins, thereby leaving the proteins from the mutated RAS unable to cause further harm. In theory, such mechanism of action may be effective in the treatment of about one quarter of all cancers, including certain forms of pancreatic, colorectal, and lung cancers. In addition to its oncology drug pipeline, Qualigen has an established diagnostics business which manufactures and distributes proprietary and highly accurate rapid blood testing systems to physician offices and small hospitals for the management of prostate cancer and other diseases and health conditions. About NanoSynex NanoSynex is a MedTech company that aims at providing new solutions to improve testing quality, patient outcomes, and reduce healthcare costs by speeding up diagnostic processes. NanoSynex is focused on the development and commercialization of a rapid innovative Antimicrobial Susceptibility Test (AST). The technology is based on a purely phenotypic approach and uses a microfluidic disposable test card platform and method that optimizes bacterial growth. This disruptive development was born from exciting research discoveries at the lab of Professor Shulamit Levenberg, former Dean of the Technion Institute of Technology – Biomedical Engineering Faculty.

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Spotlight

Novartis today announced results from a validation study of the innovative, algorithm-based digital solution MS Progression Discussion Tool, or MSProDiscussTM. The tool aims to support and facilitate a discussion between physicians and patients living with multiple sclerosis (MS) who have transitioned, or are at risk of transitioning from relapsing remitting MS (RRMS) to secondary progressive MS (SPMS). Diagnosing SPMS can be challenging but if carried out in a timely manner, could help to prevent further irreversible damage3 . The study findings, presented today at the 2019 American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting (AAN) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, support the validity and potential use of MSProDiscuss™ to help evaluate and discuss early signs suggestive of progression in clinical practice.

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