BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Verizon Business Selected to Transform Astellas Pharma’s Global Network Infrastructure

Verizon Sourcing LLC | August 10, 2022 | Read time : 02:00 min

Verizon Business
Verizon Business has been selected to manage Astellas Pharma Inc’s global network infrastructure. The network transformation will enable Astellas to harness advanced technologies to help reduce drug development timelines, healthcare costs and drive new revenue opportunities for the Japanese pharmaceutical multinational.

Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, Astellas is a global pharmaceutical company involved in the research, development, manufacture, and marketing of innovative new drugs under the vision of “Stand on the forefront of healthcare change to turn innovative science into VALUE for patients”. The company employs 14,000 employees worldwide.

The company has identified digital transformation as a key driver of its business growth and began the search for a global partner to transform all aspects of its global technology infrastructure including building, designing and executing a next-generation secure network. In particular, Astellas was looking for a scalable and predictable platform that could seamlessly manage tens of thousands of devices and endpoints across Astellas’ 70+ global locations across a virtualized multi-sourced environment.

Verizon’s relationship with Astellas stretches back more than a decade. In 2016, Astellas successfully deployed Verizon’s Secure Cloud Interconnect solution to provide a high-bandwidth secure connection to its Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure cloud services. Verizon’s current remit includes the build and deployment of Astellas’ global integrated network with a full suite of managed services, including Managed Wide Area Network, Local Area Network, Managed Security Services Secure Gateway, Zero Trust Network Access and Unified Communications and Collaboration as a Service. 

From R&D to sales, we are seeing enormous amounts of data and intelligence flow through our business, across our 70 locations around the world. We want to ensure that we have a future-proof network in order to utilize cutting-edge technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, machine learning and robotics to make data-driven decisions to deliver better value for our patients. Our network transformation will underpin the next phase of our growth.”

Shinya Suda, Senior Vice President, Information Systems, Astellas

“The network is transformative in its ability to enable innovation and growth and Astellas is changing the way they are using the tools at their disposal to completely revolutionize their business. This is truly a watershed moment for the pharmaceutical industry as companies grapple with the pressures of reducing time and costs for the development of drugs while improving patient care and value. We’re proud to have been a part of Astellas’ growth journey for more than a decade,” said Robert Le Busque, Regional Vice-President, Verizon Business Group, Asia Pacific.

Today’s announcement builds on the company’s network-as-a-service foundation and supports its private networks, mobile edge compute and business solutions vectors of growth.

Verizon Communications Inc. was formed on June 30, 2000 and is one of the world’s leading providers of technology and communications services. Headquartered in New York City and with a presence around the world, Verizon generated revenues of $133.6 billion in 2021. The company offers data, video and voice services and solutions on its award-winning networks and platforms, delivering on customers’ demand for mobility, reliable network connectivity, security and control.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Aquestive Therapeutics Receives FDA Tentative Approval for Libervant™ (diazepam) Buccal Film

Aquestive Therapeutics, Inc. | August 31, 2022

Aquestive Therapeutics, Inc. a pharmaceutical company advancing medicines to solve patients' problems with current standards of care and provide transformative products to improve their lives, announced today that the U.S. Food & Drug Administration has granted tentative approval for Libervant™ Buccal Film for the acute treatment of intermittent, stereotypic episodes of frequent seizure activity that are distinct from a patient’s usual seizure pattern in patients with epilepsy 12 years of age and older. "Tentative approval" means the FDA has concluded that Libervant has met all required quality, safety, and efficacy standards for approval but, due to an existing FDA regulatory grant of orphan drug market exclusivity for Valtoco®, a diazepam nasal spray product, Libervant is not yet eligible for marketing in the United States. As a result of the FDA determination, the Agency cannot give final approval for Libervant until the expiration or inapplicability of the orphan drug market exclusivity, including, for example, by court order, a selective waiver of the orphan drug exclusivity, or a reversal of the FDA’s decision and determination that Libervant is “clinically superior” to Valtoco. “The FDA’s decision provides welcome clarity to our business. The tentative approval of Libervant is a significant achievement that brings us one step closer to bringing this important medicine to patients who are unable or choose not to use the current standards of care. Libervant has the potential to offer these patients a treatment option that is simple, portable, and precise. A significant unmet need exists for additional alternate delivery options given the ongoing shortage of diazepam rectal gel, which continues to represent a substantial portion of the current diazepam rescue market. This FDA action further validates our ability to gain FDA approval of our pipeline programs. We look forward to continuing the rapid progression of AQST-109 for the treatment of severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, towards a filing with the FDA.” Daniel Barber, Chief Executive Officer of Aquestive “We continue to examine the FDA’s determination on Libervant market access and plan to request a meeting with the Agency as soon as possible. We disagree with the FDA’s determination on the various points presented by the Agency and believe that, particularly in the case of our submitted studies on the effect of food on the absorption of diazepam formulations, Libervant has the distinct advantage of being able to be readily administered when needed without regard to food, providing an important benefit to patients. This is important to patients as rapid and extensive drug absorption is critical in a rescue situation. We will continue to vigorously engage with the FDA on the need for these data to be carefully considered.” During the review process, the Company submitted to the FDA the results of a 2021 Aquestive sponsored randomized, open-label, two-sequence, two-period, two-treatment crossover study to evaluate the effect of food on the pharmacokinetics of Valtoco in healthy adult subjects. The results of this study indicated that, when Valtoco is administered after a high fat meal, the maximum drug concentration (Cmax) was reduced by 48% compared to Valtoco administered to subjects in a fasted state. The study also showed that the time to maximum drug concentration (Tmax) of Valtoco doubled from 2 hours to 4 hours when administered after a high fat meal. Aquestive provided the data along with a cross-study comparison to a similar study performed with Libervant, to FDA during the review process. The FDA’s decision concluded that the information Aquestive submitted was not sufficient to overturn the Agency's previous conclusion regarding the lack of food effect for Valtoco. Specifically, the FDA stated that “[a] cross-study comparison is not considered [by the reviewer] to be a suitable approach for making a quantitative comparison of plasma concentrations between different products because of the lack of a common reference standard between the two studies.” Aquestive will seek to gain alignment with the Agency on a reasonable path to appropriately characterize the food effect of Valtoco including potentially conducting a comparative study as indicated by the FDA. About Libervant Libervant™ is a buccally, or inside of the cheek, administered film formulation of diazepam, a benzodiazepine intended for the acute treatment of intermittent, stereotypic episodes of frequent seizure activity that are distinct from a patient’s usual seizure pattern in patients with epilepsy 12 years of age and older. Aquestive developed Libervant as an alternative to the device-based products currently available for patients with refractory epilepsy, including a rectal gel and nasal spray products. Approximately 1.0 million patients with epilepsy suffer from uncontrolled refractory seizures, approximately 85% of whom will not interact with the available treatments. About Aquestive Therapeutics Aquestive Therapeutics, Inc. is a pharmaceutical company advancing medicines to solve patients’ problems with current standards of care and provide transformative products to improve their lives. We are developing orally administered products to deliver complex molecules, providing novel alternatives to invasive and inconvenient standard of care therapies. Aquestive has five commercialized products on the U.S. market, four licensed products and one stand-alone proprietary product to date, Sympazan® (clobazam) oral film for the treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Our licensees market their products in the U.S. and around the world. The Company also collaborates with pharmaceutical companies to bring new molecules to market using proprietary, best-in-class technologies, like PharmFilm®, and has proven drug development and commercialization capabilities. Aquestive is advancing a late-stage proprietary product pipeline focused on treating diseases of the central nervous system, or CNS, and an earlier stage pipeline for the treatment of severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis.

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DeepIntent Adds More Leading Data Providers to its Audience Marketplace, Simplifying Pharma Campaign Planning and Optimization

DeepIntent | July 14, 2022

DeepIntent, the leading healthcare advertising technology company built to influence better patient health and business outcomes announced the addition of audience segments from Redi-Data, MedFuse, HealthWise Data, Prognos Health, and TV viewership data from LG Ads Solutions to the DeepIntent Audience Marketplace. These segments are directly integrated into DeepIntent's demand side platform for immediate activation, with the ability to optimize campaigns in real-time toward audience quality and script performance using DeepIntent Outcomes™. Launched in September 2021, Audience Marketplace remains the industry's first and only healthcare-specific data marketplace with ready-to-activate and custom audience segments powered by a variety of medical and pharmacy claims, lab, genomic, contextual, and wellness data providers. In total, DeepIntent now offers hundreds of patients and HCP segments from leading digital health data providers and publishers, including HealthLink Dimensions, Fluent, Doc Delta, and ShareThis. Additionally, over two dozen leading pharmaceutical brands and advertising agencies have made use of custom or ready-to-activate segments available on the marketplace to simplify their campaign planning and tap into Outcomes to optimize their third-party segments. "Audience Marketplace meets an important need to have unique healthcare audience segments included in a healthcare-focused DSP with the ability to optimize towards pharma-specific KPIs, such as Audience Quality, all within a single platform. Many of our customers already use audience segments from our new partners, and their direct integration will make it much easier to execute, measure, and optimize campaigns." Jen Werther, chief strategy officer at DeepIntent Audience Marketplace users benefit from greater convenience, faster time-to-activation, and improved data integrity and reporting compared with conventional methods, which require the use of costly and time-consuming third-party platforms. Segments within the Audience Marketplace are also matched with DeepIntent's industry-leading identity graph to prepare advertisers for the cookieless future, and provide daily physician-level data reporting for healthcare provider audiences. "Using integrated health data and Prognos Clinical Truths™ to ensure relevancy, healthcare marketers can rest easy knowing their messages are reaching the right physicians at the right time. Our partnership with DeepIntent makes the process of onboarding and activating HCP segments from Prognos seamless, and segments can further be optimized toward script performance in real-time when leveraging the advanced machine learning capabilities of DeepIntent Outcomes," said Matt Apprendi, vice president of marketing and media solutions at Prognos Health. About DeepIntent DeepIntent is leading the healthcare advertising industry with data-driven solutions built for the future. Built purposefully for healthcare marketers, DeepIntent's platform is proven to drive higher audience quality and script performance. It enables marketers to plan, activate, measure, and optimize their campaigns all within a single platform. Conceived by former Memorial Sloan Kettering data scientists, DeepIntent empowers nine of the top ten pharmaceutical companies and the leading healthcare advertising agencies to improve patient outcomes through the artful use of advertising, data science, and real-world health data.

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Akorn Announces FDA-approved Generic Cetrorelix Acetate for Injection 0.25 mg

Akorn Pharmaceuticals | August 17, 2022

Akorn Operating Company LLC, a specialty pharmaceutical company, announces that it received FDA approval for a generic version of Cetrorelix Acetate for Injection, 0.25 mg. This is the first approved AP-Rated bioequivalent version of Merck Serono's Cetrotide®.1 "We are pleased to announce the first approved AP-rated generic option for women receiving fertility treatments. As an increasing number of infants are being conceived via the use of ART, Akorn is excited to be able to offer a competitively priced option to support women who undergo this series of treatments. This is a welcome addition to our portfolio of more than 200 specialty and injectable generics." Akorn President and CEO Douglas Boothe Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) is defined as fertility treatments where eggs or embryos are handled for the purpose of establishing a pregnancy. 2 The FDA granted Akorn a Competitive Generic Therapy (CGT) designation for Cetrorelix, a designation intended to incentivize effective development, efficient review, and timely market entry of drugs for which there is inadequate generic competition. As the first approved applicant with the CGT designation, Akorn's Cetrorelix is eligible for 180 days of CGT market exclusivity, which will begin to run from the commercial launch of Cetrorelix. According to IQVIA, U.S. sales of Cetrorelix through June of 2022 were approximately $63 million with full year U.S. sales projection of approximately $127 million. About Cetrorelix Acetate for Injection 0.25 mg Cetrorelix is used to prevent premature ovulation during controlled ovarian stimulation. Cetrorelix blocks the effects of a natural hormone, called gonadotropin‐releasing hormone (GnRH). GnRH controls the secretion of another hormone, called luteinizing hormone (LH), which induces ovulation during the menstrual cycle. During hormone treatment for ovarian stimulation, premature ovulation may lead to eggs that are not suitable for fertilization. Cetrorelix Acetate for Injection blocks such undesirable premature ovulation. About Akorn Akorn Operating Company LLC, develops, manufactures and markets specialty pharmaceuticals. Since 1971, as an industry leader in generic products in alternate dosage forms such as ophthalmics, injectables, oral liquids, otics, topicals, inhalants and nasal sprays, we focus each day on our mission to improve lives, through the quality, availability and affordability of our products.

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Titan Pharmaceuticals Announces Board Expansion and Management Changes

Titan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. | August 22, 2022

Titan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced that it has expanded its Board of Directors from five to eleven and appointed six new directors following their election at its special meeting of stockholders held on August 15, 2022. The new directors, which were on a nominee slate proposed by Activist Investing LLC are Avraham Ben-Tzvi, Peter L. Chasey, Eric Greenberg, David E. Lazar, Matthew C. McMurdo and David Natan. In addition, following the Special Meeting, Mr. Lazar was appointed interim Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, with a mandate to lead Titan's continuing review of strategic alternatives. Mr. Lazar succeeds Marc Rubin, M.D., who will no longer serve as Executive Chairman, but will remain on the Board. "As one of the largest investors in Titan, Activist Investing's goal is to help the Company unlock value for both ourselves and our fellow shareholders through a strategic transaction. I believe the reconstituted Board, which collectively possess decades of experience in pharmaceutical executive leadership, clinical research, strategic turnarounds, deal structuring, corporate governance, investment management, accounting, finance and corporate law, will be a tremendous asset in this endeavor." Mr. Lazar Biographies of Newly Elected Directors Avraham Ben-Tzvi is the Founder of ABZ Law Office, a boutique Israeli law firm specializing in outsourced general counsel services for publicly traded as well as private companies and corporations, Investments & Securities Laws, Commercial Law & Contracts and various civil law matters, which he established in January 2017. Mr. Ben-Tzvi served as Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel of Purple Biotech Ltd. (formerly Kitov Pharma Ltd.), a clinical-stage company advancing first-in-class therapies to overcome tumor immune evasion and drug resistance, from November 2015 until April 2020. Prior to that, Mr. Ben-Tzvi served as General Counsel and secretary at Medigus Ltd., a minimally invasive endosurgical tools medical device and miniaturized imaging equipment company, from April 2014 until November 2015. Mr. Ben-Tzvi is a member of the Israel Bar Association, and is also licensed as a Notary by the Israeli Ministry of Justice. Prior to that he served as an attorney at one of Israel's leading international law fi rms where, amongst other corporate and commercial work, he advised companies and underwriters on various offerings by Israeli companies listing in US and on various SEC related filings. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Mr. Ben-Tzvi worked in a number of business development, corporate finance and banking roles at companies in the financial services, lithium battery manufacturing and software development industries. Mr. Ben-Tzvi holds a B.A., magna cum laude, in Economics from Yeshiva University in New York and an LLB, magna cum laude with Honors, in from Sha'arei Mishpat College of Law in Hod HaSharon, Israel. Peter L. Chasey serves as the Owner of Chasey Law Offices, a law practice specializing in personal litigation, business litigation and commercial law, since founding the practice in 2005. Earlier in his career, Mr. Chasey served as staff counsel for one of the largest insurance companies in the world defending general claims against insured businesses and also served as a land surveyor. Mr. Chasey holds a B.S. in Political Science and Government from the University of San Diego and a J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law. Eric Greenberg has over 40 years of capital markets experience. As a trader and portfolio manager at hedge funds, his areas of expertise included the development of trading strategies, portfolio management and deal structuring. Mr. Greenberg was Co-Founder of Blink Charging Co., a leader in the EV charging infrastructure industry. In addition, Mr. Greenberg provides investor relation and digital marketing services for companies across a variety of industries, such as life sciences, fintech, internet platforms and others. Mr. Greenberg holds a B.B.A in Finance from Baruch College and an M.B.A. in Finance from Baruch College Zicklin School of Business. David E. Lazar has served as the Chief Executive Officer of Custodian Ventures LLC, a company which specializes in assisting distressed public companies through custodianship, since February 2018, and Activist Investing LLC, an actively managed investment fund, since March 2018. Previously, Mr. Lazar served as Managing Partner at Zenith Partners International Inc., a boutique consulting firm, from July 2012 to April 2018. In his role as Chief Executive Officer of Custodian Ventures LLC, Mr. Lazar has successfully served as a custodian to numerous public companies across a wide range of industries. Mr. Lazar currently serves as an Advisor to PROMAX Investments LLC, a position he has held since July 2022, and as an Ambassador at Large for the Arab African Council for Integration and Development, since March 2022. Matthew C. McMurdo currently serves as Managing Member of McMurdo Law Group, LLC, a corporate and securities law practice, since 2010. Previously, Mr. McMurdo was a Partner at Nannarone & McMurdo, LLP, a boutique law firm, from 2008 to 2010. In addition, Mr. McMurdo served as General Counsel of Berkley Asset Management LLC, the general partner of a real estate fund focused on opportunistic and distressed real estate assets, from 2011 to 2013. Mr. McMurdo holds a B.S. in Finance from Lehigh University and a J.D., cum laude, from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. David Natan currently serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of Natan & Associates, LLC, a consulting firm offering chief financial officer services to public and private companies in a variety of industries, since 2007. In addition, Mr. Natan currently serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Airborne Motorworks, Inc., a privately-held aerospace transportation company, since April 2020. From February 2010 to May 2020, Mr. Natan served as Chief Executive Officer of ForceField Energy, Inc., a company focused on the solar industry and LED lighting products. From February 2002 to November 2007, Mr. Natan served as Executive Vice President of Reporting and Chief Financial Officer of PharmaNet Development Group, Inc., a drug development services company, and, from June 1995 to February 2002, as Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Global Technovations, Inc., a manufacturer and marketer of oil analysis instruments and speakers and speaker components. Prior to that, Mr. Na tan served in various roles of increasing responsibility with Deloitte & Touche LLP, a global consulting firm. Mr. Natan currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Audit Committee of Global Diversified Marketing Group, Inc., a manufacturer, marketer and distributor of food and snack products, since February 2021 and serves as a member of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Audit Committee of Sunshine Biopharma, Inc., a pharmaceutical and nutritional supplement company, since February 2022. Previously, Mr. Natan served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of ForceField Energy, Inc., from April 2015 to May 2020, and as a member of the Board of Directors of Global Technovations, Inc., from December 1999 to December 2001. Mr. Natan holds a B.A. in Economics from Boston University. About Titan Pharmaceuticals Titan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. based in South San Francisco, CA, is a development stage company developing proprietary therapeutics with its ProNeura® long-term, continuous drug delivery technology. The ProNeura technology has the potential to be used in developing products for treating a number of chronic conditions, where maintaining consistent, around-the-clock blood levels of medication may benefit the patient and improve medical outcomes. In December 2021, Titan commenced a process to explore and evaluate strategic alternatives to enhance shareholder value.

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X-ray inspection of pharmaceutical products and over-the-counter (OTC) medications are steadily increasing in use as pharmaceutical manufacturers worldwide strive to safeguard their brand reputations, protect consumers' welfare and comply with national and international regulations and legislation.

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