U.S. Reps to Gilead: Did your donation of free HIV prevention drug Truvada have strings attached?

fiercepharma | June 27, 2019

U.S. Reps to Gilead: Did your donation of free HIV prevention drug Truvada have strings attached?
In May, Gilead pledged to donate 2.4 million bottles of its HIV drug Truvada to the U.S. governments effort to eradicate the disease, partly by preventing new infections. Gilead even promised it would donate its newer drug, Descovy, if the FDA approves it for prevention as it did for Truvada. But now Gilead is facing accusations that its largesse may have suspicious underpinnings. On Wednesday the House Oversight Committee’s chairman, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD), and three colleagues sent a letter (PDF) to Gilead demanding details about what led to the company’s generous offer. Specifically, the committee wants to know if the Truvada donation involved negotiations between Gilead and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) over patents on the product. A spokesperson for Gilead said in an email to FiercePharma that the company is “reviewing the full scope of the request and will respond to the committee in a timely manner.” Gilead has been under fire from the House Oversight Committee since May, when new CEO Daniel O’Day was called before Congress to be grilled about Truvada’s use in HIV prevention, known as PrEP. Much of the four-hour discussion focused on cost. One expert who testified during the sometimes-contentious hearing said that Truvada is available in Australia for $8 per month but that it costs $1,780 per month in the U.S. Hence only 10% of people who could benefit by using the drug for HIV prevention are receiving it, the committee concluded.

Spotlight

According to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, only 12 percent of adults in the U.S. have proficient health literacy. In terms of numbers, that is nine out of ten adults who lack the skills needed to manage their health and prevent disease. Low literacy has been linked to poor health outcomes such as higher rates of hospitalization and less frequent use of preventive services, which leads to higher healthcare costs. This is especially troubling for individuals over the age of 65 because they have low health literacy, live on a fixed budget and Medicare doesn’t pay for all the costs.


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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

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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PHARMACY MARKET

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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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Deargen Annonuces Patent Application for a TNBC Target Novel Drug Candidate Using AI

Deargen Inc. | December 23, 2021

Deargen, a company specializing in the development of novel NCE drugs using artificial intelligence, announced on the 22rd that it had discovered and synthesized a new anticancer target compound using its own AI platform and had already applied for a patent for it. Deargen has the technology to predict candidates for a novel drug without the 3D structure data of proteins. Deargen's technology, which uses amino acid sequence data rather than the structure information of proteins, possesses global-level differentiated artificial intelligence technology that enables the rapid development of novel drugs even for proteins whose 3D structure has not yet been identified. "The new compound for which we have applied for a patent this time is a first-in-class candidate, and we plan to develop a therapeutic agent targeting triple-negative breast cancer. TNBC is an area where there are few novel drugs available and it is difficult to find innovative targets, so it is a disease with a high demand for new therapeutics…Deargen confirmed the efficacy of the new compound discovered through in-vitro experiments." An official from Deargen Also, the substance that Deargen discovered through this study is an NCE. An NCE refers to a new chemically synthesized drug, which requires a great deal of time and money because it is difficult to develop such a drug that has not been previously approved by the FDA. However, it is within an area with high needs by many global pharmaceutical companies as it has the advantage of being able to receive market monopoly rights for 5 years in the U.S. and 10 years in Europe after product approval. In particular, Deargen's achievements are significant in that it discovered the new compound in a shorter time than the existing novel drug discovery process through its collaboration of advanced AI and in-house experts for novel drug development. The target discovery and substance design process, which usually takes about 3 to 4 years in the existing traditional drug development process, was carried out in just 10 weeks, and it took merely 2 weeks for target discovery and 8 weeks for substance design and synthesis. Currently, Deargen is establishing a large-scale R&D center. With this R&D center, the plan is to further shorten the period of the discovery of candidates by efficiently managing the time required for designing and synthesizing substances. The R&D center will be in charge of fast verification of substances by conducting the design and synthesis verification of substances under joint research with Deargen's internal pipeline, along with the production of high-quality data. Daniel Bae, Chief Business Officer of Deargen said : "We plan to continuously derive new substances with patentability through our synthesis research center, which will be established in the first half of next year. We plan to not only build our own pipeline centered on anticancer drugs, but also to introduce various business models with our partners that go beyond the existing joint research contracts." He also said, "Deargen plans to establish its position among global AI drug developers as a company specializing in NCE drug development, from target discovery to compound design and synthesis." About Deargen Inc. Established in December 2016, Deargen is an AI-based drug discovery and development company. In February 2020, the company released study results on predicting the development of COVID-19 treatments. Candidate compounds for treating COVID-19 predicted by Deargen include remdesivir, which was first approved as an emergency therapy. The company conducts research on and owns core AI technologies in-silico, such as 'prediction of bio-markers', 'selection of disease targets', and 'extraction of candidate substances for new drugs', utilizing techniques of meta analysis of genome big data and its unique AI technologies. Building on these outcomes, the company is developing new drugs in collaboration with multiple pharmaceutical companies and research institutions, demonstrating its outstanding technology capabilities as being named as top awardees at the ILSVRC, a world-prominent deep-learning competition, and Dream Challenge, an international AI-based new drug development competition.

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Intent Data in the Age of Data Regulation

DECK 7 | March 23, 2020

Since the implementation of Data Protection Act in 2018, the approach behind the use of data has changed dramatically. Our clients and customers don’t just want a great experience, they also want to make sure they can trust us. Tweet This! And it makes perfect sense in the present time and space. But as data is considered a key factor in positive customer experience, the U.S. brands and agencies have found it to be increasingly complicated to earn customer trust while remaining compliant. In an article by John Snyder, CEO at Grapeshot, for Adexchanger, he says that the GDPR will remove 75% of third-party data and what’s left will be more expensive. This has caused the power dynamic between brands and agencies to evolve over time.

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Spotlight

According to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, only 12 percent of adults in the U.S. have proficient health literacy. In terms of numbers, that is nine out of ten adults who lack the skills needed to manage their health and prevent disease. Low literacy has been linked to poor health outcomes such as higher rates of hospitalization and less frequent use of preventive services, which leads to higher healthcare costs. This is especially troubling for individuals over the age of 65 because they have low health literacy, live on a fixed budget and Medicare doesn’t pay for all the costs.

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