SMC approves new cancer drugs, among others

pharmatimes | May 14, 2019

The latest round of Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) decisions have brought medicines for breast cancer, skin cancer and schizophrenia into the spotlight and recommended them for use on the NHS in Scotland.The governing body has firstly accepted Eli Lilly's Verzenios (abemaciclib) for the treatment of advanced or metastatic breast cancer in two different settings. The drug was accepted for use in combination with aromatase inhibitors as an initial therapy in patients who have not had previous endocrine (hormone) based therapy, and works by prolonging the time breast cancer takes to progress and delays the need for chemotherapy. It was also accepted for restricted use in combination with fulvestrant for patients whose condition has progressed on or after endocrine therapy or during first-line endocrine-based therapy. MSD's Keytruda (pembrolizumab) was also accepted for advanced melanoma, following consideration through Post-acute care enablement (PACE), for use after surgery. As there is no other active treatment available at this stage of the disease, the current management is just surveillance through routine monitoring and scans. NHS funding was also agreed for Recordati's Reagila (cariprazine) for the second line treatment of schizophrenia in adult patients where the symptoms are diagnosed as being ‘predominantly negative’, including emotional withdrawal and inability to feel pleasure. The decision provides another welcome treatment option for patients with these symptoms as existing anti-psychotic medicines can be limited in their effectiveness.

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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

Lifespin Launches Commercial Access to its Metabolic Profiler Software and Database for Pharma and Biobank Services

Lifespin | September 16, 2022

Lifespin GmbH, based in Regensburg with offices in Boston, Massachusetts, announced that it has launched a new commercial service that, for the first time, will provide the pharmaceutical and biobanking industry with access to Lifespin’s proprietary metabolic database, along with its advanced interpretive software to assist in various phases of drug research, development, and manufacturing. Immediate applications of Lifespin’s commercial services will include quality control for synthetic/natural compounds, quantitative profiling of metabolites in liquid samples, monitoring of drug responses and organ-specific metabolic phenotyping, and precision nutrition to therapeutic drug monitoring and longitudinal treatment monitoring. “Making our technology platform accessible to the pharma and biobanking industry will provide the field with deeper clinical insights and improve stratification of patient data in clinical trials, enabling pharmaceutical companies and others in the field to perform a range of precision phenotyping of cell or animal models and patient cohorts. Our goal is to provide the pharma and biobank scientists with yet another powerful resource in their development toolbox, including our advanced algorithms and database, to enhance their earlier phase analysis and to help better identify the strengths and weaknesses of compounds in study during research through clinical trials.” Dr. Ali Tinazli, CEO of Lifespin GmbH Lifespin, a deep data company that maps human health based on snapshots of metabolic states, has built one of the largest and most comprehensive databases of metabolic health profiles across healthy and diseased individuals covering multiple age and gender groups as well as specific diseases in neurology, oncology, and inflammation. Utilizing proprietary technology, Lifespin is performing quantitative in-house measurements of metabolomes, digitizing metabolic profiles that include billions of metabolic relationships. These digital metabolic profiles allow systematic mapping across various health conditions and may enable differential diagnosis and early detection of health conditions, staging of diseases, monitoring of treatment success and personalized medicine. Lifespin’s advisory board consists of key opinion leaders such as James Rothman (Nobel Laureate in Physiology/Medicine, Sterling Professor of Cell Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT USA) and other prominent leaders in the relevant fields of study.

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PHARMA TECH

Bexson Biomedical and Stevanato Group Awarded PDA Drug Delivery Innovation Award

Bexson Biomedical | October 20, 2022

Bexson Biomedical, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on disrupting the $189 billion small molecule injectable market and enabling home health solutions, announced Bexson and Stevanato Group a leading global provider of drug containment and delivery solutions to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and life sciences industries, have been jointly awarded the Parenteral Drug Association's 2022 Drug Delivery Innovation Partnership Award. At PDA's annual conference in Palm Springs, CA on October 18th, PDA's leadership presented the award to Bexson Biomedical's Sr. VP of Drug Delivery, Sheldon Moberg, and to Stevanato Group's DDS Business Development Director, Paolo Golfetto. This award recognizes the collaboration between Bexson Biomedical and Stevanato Group to optimize Stevanato Group's innovative wearable device On Body Delivery System with Bexson's formulation technology. OBDS is a wearable infusion device that allows controlled drug dosing and delivery over extended durations, and which is positioned to enable patient therapy in the home setting. "I am pleased PDA has recognized the collaborative approach that Bexson Biomedical and Stevanato Group have taken to develop this innovative device for non-opioid pain management. In addition, merging Bexson's SEVALENT™ formulation technology with Stevanato Group's vertically integrated development capabilities has been a very rewarding program, and has great potential beyond the initial therapy." Bexson's Sheldon Moberg "It is an honor for Stevanato Group to receive this award, which recognizes the long collaboration with Bexson," adds Stevanato Group's, Paolo Golfetto. "Our work will continue to extend Stevanato Group's OBDS wearable device to additional therapeutic areas with Bexson's formulation platform. The common goal remains to offer patients more flexible and comfortable treatment modalities, reducing the impact on quality of life, along with overall treatment costs for pharmaceutical companies." Bexson Biomedical, Inc. Bexson Biomedical, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on disrupting the small molecule injectable market and enabling home health solutions through new formulations designed for subcutaneous delivery. Bexson's proprietary platform, SEVALENT™, can be applied to small molecules across a broad range of drug classes, enabling IV therapies to be delivered subcutaneously. Bexson's lead therapy, BB106, is a low-dose ketamine treatment for post-operative pain management, a $36B global market and leading driver of opioid addiction. Additionally, management believes its BB106 formulation technology can be utilized to address various mental health indications. Stevanato Group Founded in 1949, Stevanato Group is a leading global provider of drug containment, drug delivery and diagnostic solutions to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and life sciences industries. The Group delivers an integrated, end-to-end portfolio of products, processes and services that address customer needs across the entire drug life cycle at each of the development, clinical and commercial stages. Stevanato Group's core capabilities in scientific research and development, its commitment to technical innovation and its engineering excellence are central to its ability to offer value added solutions to clients.

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PHARMACY MARKET, PHARMA TECH

GoodRx Expands Pharmacy Services Platform With $150M vitaCare Acquisition

GoodRx | October 21, 2022

To circumvent overpriced prescription drugs and grow its robust pharmacy services platform, GoodRx finalized its vitaCare acquisition. Based on a transaction that started in the first quarter of 2022, GoodRx agreed to secure vitaCare for $150 million in cash. Based on vitaCare’s financial performance through 2023, an additional $7 million consideration is also possible. A report cited by Globe Newswire showed that the global pharmacy market size has a forecasted value of $1,627.74 billion by 2030. Pharmaceutical platforms, with accessible clinical programs and digital adoptions, have a positive impact on today’s healthcare system, with vitaCare as one of the promising brands. vitaCare, a healthcare service platform, offers cost-effective solutions to patients. More precisely, the platform helps individuals navigate insurance coverage and its optimized benefits to attain lower-priced medications. Rising investments in pharmacy services have sparked interest in vitaCare, including that of GoodRx. The acquisition of vitaCare is in line with GoodRx’s mission, though. Co-CEO Doug Hirsch states that the company seeks to relieve the financial burden that comes with securing medication. Pharma manufacturers have constantly observed barriers to proper patient care, especially for affordable medicine and complicated reimbursement processes. With vitaCare at the helm, new tools are utilized to ensure more patients are linked to relevant savings programs and transparent pricing information. Hirsch hopes that the acquisition will facilitate a smoother brand prescription process overall. Profit-wise, GoodRx predicts the deal will contribute under 1% of its total revenue in 2022, though there is no substantial long-term discern. This acquisition is the latest in GoodRx’s commitment to delivering consumer-focused healthcare services. The company has a history of connecting individuals to accessible, research-based health information. One of the most notable ones is its partnership with Wheel in 2021, which generated better outcomes for patient care. Telemedicine software provider Wheel offers flexible clinical services to a broad patient base. Wheel’s platform equips clinics with the capability of synchronous and asynchronous consults. It utilizes network virtualization to create a seamless experience for healthcare providers and patients. Our post ‘Network Virtualization: The Future of Businesses and Networks’ previously discussed how virtualization empowers a software’s scalability — and this certainly manifests in Wheel’s platform. Providers can choose from a range of services that enhance patient care. One of the services is ePrescription medications, which remotely administers prescriptions. Following the integration of GoodRx’s technology into Wheel’s platform, health providers and patients alike can meet reduced costs of care. As it stands, GoodRx’s coupon price API operates with over 200 billion pricing data points daily. Consumers use these to identify lower-priced medications. With the integration, Wheel-mobilized clinics can offer their patients a GoodRx coupon. GoodRx can also adapt its services to remote healthcare activities through the partnership. After all, GoodRx is essentially a marketplace. Ultimately, GoodRx champions solutions that provide consumers with affordable healthcare access and medication. With vitaCare among its ranks today, the company can focus on promoting better patient adherence to treatment plans.

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Spotlight

The marketing and sales innovation that once drove success is becoming increasingly ineective in a digital, value-based world. A new wave of customer experience expectations are driving demand for solutions, not just pills. Pharma needs to embrace the next chapter of marketing.

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