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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

SiO2 Materials Science and Doosan Corporation Enter Into Strategic Partnership to Accelerate Market Development in Asia
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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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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CASI PHARMACEUTICALS ANNOUNCES CNCT19 (CD19 CAR-T) GRANTED ORPHAN DRUG DESIGNATION BY THE U.S. FDA

CASI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. | January 19, 2022

CASI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. a U.S. biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative therapeutics and pharmaceutical products, announced today, that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as granted Orphan Drug Designation for CNCT19, an investigational CD-19 directed CAR-T therapy, for the treatment of patients with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. CNCT19 is currently being developed independently by Juventas to meet the urgent clinical needs of patients with hematologic malignancies globally. The National Medical Products Administration has granted CTA approval for CNCT19 in two indications in Nov. 2019. Currently, the Phase II clinical trials of CNCT19 are in progress. Positive clinical data for adult and pediatric patients with relapsed/refractory B-ALL has been presented at the December 2021 ASH annual meeting, which further demonstrated its safety and efficacy profile. CNCT 19 is expected to be the first domestic CD19 directed CAR-T product in China with independent intellectual property rights. "Our partner Juventas continues to make encouraging progress in developing their CD19 CAR-T therapy. The Orphan Drug Designation, from the FDA, and the Breakthrough Designation status, granted by the China Center of Drug Evaluation (CDE) in December 2020, represent significant milestones that demonstrate our belief that CNCT19's commercialization will not only be successful in China, but potentially on a global scale. CASI has worldwide co-commercial rights of CNCT19, and will start the global commercialization process according to CNCT19's regulatory progress outside China." Dr. Wei-Wu He, CASI's Chairman, and CEO About Juventas Juventas is a biopharmaceutical company headquartered in China dedicated to the development and commercialization of cell therapies globally. Utilizing innovative and integrated technology platforms, the company has developed a diverse pipeline of cellular immunotherapies for treatment of hematological malignancies, solid tumors, and other non-oncological conditions both in China and globally. At present, the company is conducting two pivotal clinical trials of CNCT19 for treating adult r/r-B-ALL and r/r-B-NHL in China. CNCT19 has the potential to become the first launched domestically developed CD19 CAR-T therapy in China and the first CAR-T product for the treatment of adult R/R B-ALL in China. About CASI Pharmaceuticals CASI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a U.S. biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative therapeutics and pharmaceutical products in China, the United States, and throughout the world. The Company is focused on acquiring, developing and commercializing products that augment its hematology oncology therapeutic focus as well as other areas of unmet medical need. The Company intends to execute its plan to become a leader by launching medicines in the greater China market leveraging the Company's China-based regulatory and commercial competencies and its global drug development expertise. The Company's operations in China are conducted through its wholly-owned subsidiary, CASI Pharmaceuticals (China) Co., Ltd., which is located in Beijing, China. The Company has built a commercial team of more than 100 hematology oncology sales and marketing specialists based in China.

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The McQuade Center for Strategic Research and Development and Mindset Pharma Collaborate to Develop Psychedelic Medicines

McQuade | January 06, 2022

The McQuade Center for Strategic Research and Development, LLC, a member of the global Otsuka family of pharmaceutical companies, and Mindset Pharma Inc. announce a collaboration that will support the development of psychedelic medicines. MSRD has made a strategic investment to support the discovery and development of novel chemical entity assets of Mindset, a drug discovery and development company focused on creating optimized and patentable next-generation psychedelic medicines to treat neurological and psychiatric disorders with unmet medical needs. “Exploring multiple paths is essential as we work to address the unique needs of individuals living with mental health conditions. We look forward to collaborating with Mindset on these assets and are hopeful that medical psychedelics could be approved to treat mental illness in the future.” Robert McQuade, Ph.D., president, McQuade Center for Strategic Research and Development, LLC, and chief strategic officer, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development & Commercialization, Inc MSRD, which identifies and supports early-stage opportunities that can change the landscape of treatments for mental illness and renal disorders, will financially and operationally support the development of two families of Mindset’s novel medical psychedelic compounds through Phase 1a and Phase 1b clinical trials. MSRD has made an upfront cash payment of $5 million USD to Mindset and under the terms of the agreement, MSRD and Mindset may agree to expand the collaboration to continue to develop the compounds as pharmaceutical products. In addition, Mindset has granted MSRD a right of first refusal with respect to any asset sale, exclusive licensing or collaboration opportunities pertaining to the drugs and a right of first negotiation with respect to a merger, acquisition or asset sale related to Mindset, both in exchange for the upfront payment, further collaboration, and funding of the development of Mindset’s novel compounds. MSRD also has the ability to potentially receive single-digit percentage royalty payments under certain circumstances when the right of first refusal is not consummated or the agreement is terminated. “It is our great pleasure to collaborate with MSRD, a member company of Otsuka, to further the development of two of our families of novel psychedelic compounds. We look forward to leveraging their extensive experience in drug development and CNS indications to accelerate and de-risk our development pathway as we prepare to launch clinical trials,” said James Lanthier, chief executive officer of Mindset. “There is a high unmet need for innovative treatments of mental illness. This collaboration further validates our belief that optimized and patentable next-generation psychedelic compounds will be the future of treatments for mental illness.” Mr. Richard Patricio, chairman of Mindset’s board, added, “This transformational transaction is a validation of what our team has accomplished over the last several years. We are ecstatic that Otsuka has chosen to collaborate with Mindset in the novel psychedelic drug development space and see this as a pivotal moment in Mindset’s maturation. Our team is excited to work closely with MSRD to help meet the unmet needs of millions of people worldwide suffering with a variety of mental disorders. The future is truly exciting.” About Mindset Pharma Mindset Pharma Inc. is a drug discovery and development company focused on creating optimized and patentable next-generation psychedelic medicines to treat neurological and psychiatric disorders with unmet needs. Mindset was established in order to develop next generation pharmaceutical assets that leverage the breakthrough therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs. Mindset is developing several novel families of next generation psychedelic compounds, as well as an innovative process to chemically synthesize psilocybin as well as its own proprietary compounds. For further information on Mindset, About the McQuade Center for Strategic Research and Development (MSRD) Established in 2019, by the Otsuka pharmaceutical business in the U.S., the mission of MSRD is to search for, identify, and fund innovative early-stage research and development programs that have the potential to build the future portfolio of Otsuka products. Otsuka is dedicated to investing in innovative and creative products in areas of unmet need and MSRD was created as an extension of this commitment to support and identify early-stage opportunities that can change the landscape of treatments for mental illness and renal disorders. About Otsuka Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. is a global healthcare company with the corporate philosophy: “Otsuka–people creating new products for better health worldwide.” Otsuka researches, develops, manufactures, and markets innovative products, with a focus on pharmaceutical products to meet unmet medical needs and nutraceutical products for the maintenance of everyday health.

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Iktos and The University of Dundee, Drug Discovery Unit (DDU) Announce a Collaboration to Use AI for Drug Design and Retrosyntheis

Iktos | December 20, 2021

Iktos, a company specialized in Artificial Intelligence for new drug design, and The Drug Discovery Unit (DDU), School of Life Sciences, The University of Dundee, focused on the discovery of therapeutics for neglected diseases and the translation of novel biology through small molecule drug discovery, announced entering a collaboration to apply Iktos’s generative modelling artificial intelligence (AI) technology in one of DDU’s drug discovery programs. Under the agreement, Iktos will apply its de novo ligand and structure-based generative modelling technologies, its AI-based retrosynthesis analysis and planning tool Spaya™, and know-how complementing DDU’s drug discovery capabilities to expedite the identification of potential pre-clinical candidates and to identify additional novel chemical matter with suitable properties. The DDU was established in 2006 to respond to a lack of drug targets identified for neglected tropical diseases being translated into therapeutics for diseases impacting the poorest people in the world. The DDU translates basic science into lead compounds to validate putative drug targets, to use as tools to investigate disease pathways and, when appropriate, advance to pre-clinical drug candidates for multiple diseases, e.g. TB and cancer. Iktos’s AI technology, based on deep generative models, helps to bring new insights and directions into the drug discovery process based on a comprehensive data-driven chemical structure generation technology. This technology automatically designs virtual novel molecules with all of the characteristics of a successful drug molecule. This approach, validated through Iktos’s other collaborations, is a novel solution to one of the key challenges in drug design: rapid identification of molecules that simultaneously satisfy multiple parameters, such as potency, selectivity, safety, and project-specific properties. This approach uniquely enables the exploration of chemical space and produces innovative molecule designs with greater freedom to operate. Iktos has recently diversified its R&D efforts into the development of an AI technology for retrosynthesis. Identifying and selecting synthetic pathways is one of the most challenging and time-consuming tasks in synthetic and medicinal chemistry. Iktos has developed AI based retrosynthesis analysis and planning tool Spaya™ by harnessing the power of data-driven retrosynthesis algorithm for systematic exploration and prioritisation of synthetic routes for a desired compound in minutes. “We are thrilled to be working with Iktos to drive our projects towards drug candidates. Iktos AI platform combined with our own in-house computational and medicinal chemistry design teams provide a powerful combination for innovative new drug design.” Professor Paul Wyatt, Head of the DDU “We are thrilled and proud to join forces with DDU with the aim to help in the discovery of therapeutics for neglected diseases and the translation of novel biology through small molecule drug discovery,” commented Yann Gaston-Mathé, President and CEO of Iktos. “Pleased to have earned DDU’s trust, we are confident that together with DDU and their established R&D partners, we will be able to identify promising novel chemical matter and solve complex multiparametric optimisation problems. The feedback from DDU’s research team will be highly valuable as we improve our product offerings. Our strategy has always been to tackle challenging problems alongside our collaborators where we can demonstrate value generation for new and on-going drug discovery projects.” About DDU The Drug Discovery Unit (DDU) (est. 2006) within the School of Life Sciences at The University of Dundee is a fully integrated, Biotech-style, drug discovery centre working across multiple disease areas. The DDU collaborates with partners to translate world-class biology research into novel drug targets and candidate drugs to address unmet medical need. About Iktos Incorporated in October 2016, Iktos is a French start-up company specialized in the development of artificial intelligence solutions applied to chemical research, more specifically medicinal chemistry and new drug design. Iktos is developing a proprietary and innovative solution based on deep learning generative models, which enables, using existing data, to design molecules that are optimized in silico to meet all the success criteria of a small molecule discovery project. The use of Iktos technology enables major productivity gains in upstream pharmaceutical R&D. Iktos offers its technology both as professional services and as a SaaS software platform, Makya™. Iktos is also developing Spaya™, a synthesis planning software based upon Iktos’s proprietary AI technology for retrosynthesis.

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When making a pharmaceutical cream or ointment a fine, stable emulsion with good dispersion of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) is essential for creating the right consistency and functionality in the end product.

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