BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Vifor Pharma drives transformation with divestment of non-core finished drug manufacturing to CordenPharma

Vifor Pharma Group | December 17, 2021

Vifor Pharma Group announced the divestment of its finished drug product manufacturing business to CordenPharma, a full-service Contract Development & Manufacturing Organization of APIs, Excipients, Drug Products, and associated Packaging services. This decision reinforces Vifor Pharma’s strategy to transform the company into a multi-brand commercial organization, focusing on its core capabilities in-licensing, partnering and commercializing products in nephrology, and to further grow and maximize opportunities of its iron portfolio.

In support of our ambitious growth strategy, optimizing our manufacturing footprint will enable us to build an even stronger, more efficient organization focusing on core capabilities in nephrology, and to maximize and leverage our market-leading expertise and intellectual property in iron deficiency. With CordenPharma, we have found the best suitable solution for our manufacturing employees and the drug production activities in Fribourg, Ettingen and Lisbon. With this agreement, Vifor Pharma is well positioned to continuously drive the company sustainably and profitably over the long term, for all our stakeholders.”

 Abbas Hussain, CEO of Vifor Pharma

Dr. Michael Quirmbach, Chief Executive Officer & President of CordenPharma said: “The acquired Vifor Pharma sites have competent teams with great cultural fit, state-of-the art infrastructure, and a strong compliance track record. This excellent opportunity aligns well with our strategy to broaden our CDMO capabilities. By incorporating these three Vifor Pharma manufacturing facilities into our global network, we look forward to not only supplying Vifor Pharma as a manufacturing partner, but also closing gaps in our service offering for oral solid dosage drug product manufacturing and increasing our overall capacity. In addition, this acquisition further strengthens our fully-integrated solutions to our customers.”

Under the terms of the signed share purchase agreement, CordenPharma acquires all shares in Vifor SA, Fribourg, and OM Pharma SA, Lisbon, thus taking over Vifor Pharma’s finished drug product manufacturing operations at the three sites. The divestment will trigger an asset impairment, to be reported with Vifor Pharma’s 2021 financial results. The companies have agreed not to disclose financial terms of the agreement.

CordenPharma will integrate the new facilities into its existing CDMO network of Current Good Manufacturing Practice and R&D plants across Europe & the US, and organize the operations of the Fribourg, Ettingen and Lisbon sites under its Small Molecule Platform. It plans to utilize the existing manufacturing workforce, while continuing to produce and supply Vifor Pharma products. Vifor Pharma’s Swiss and Portuguese country commercial organizations, located in Fribourg and Lisbon, will remain with Vifor Pharma Group. Vifor Pharma and CordenPharma will jointly ensure long-term continuity of supply for customers and patients who depend on them.

This divestment, including all financial implications, has been disclosed to CSL Limited in the course of the due diligence process preceding the publication of the pre-announcement of the public tender offer by CSL Limited on 14 December and in so far has no impact on such tender offer.

Vifor Pharma and CordenPharma anticipate closing the transaction in Q1 2022, contingent on customary closing conditions.

About Vifor Pharma Group
Vifor Pharma Group is a global pharmaceuticals company. It aims to become the global leader in iron deficiency, nephrology and cardio-renal therapies. The company is a partner of choice for pharmaceuticals and innovative patient-focused solutions. Vifor Pharma Group strives to help patients around the world with severe and chronic diseases lead better, healthier lives. The company develops, manufactures and markets pharmaceutical products for precision patient care. Vifor Pharma Group holds a leading position in all its core business activities and consists of the following companies: Vifor Pharma and Vifor Fresenius Medical Care Renal Pharma. Vifor Pharma Group is headquartered in Switzerland, and listed on the Swiss Stock Exchange 

About CordenPharma
CordenPharma, the global pharmaceutical service & manufacturing platform of International Chemical Investors Group, is a full-service partner in the Contract Development & Manufacturing of APIs, Excipients, Drug Products, and associated Packaging Services. Through a growing network of cGMP facilities across Europe and the US organized under five Technology Platforms – Peptides, Lipids & Carbohydrates, Injectables, Highly Potent & Oncology, and Small Molecules – CordenPharma experts translate complex processes and projects at any stage of development into high-value products.




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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Inversago Pharma Raises $95 million CAD in Series C Financing

Inversago Pharma Inc. | October 18, 2022

Inversago Pharma Inc. a clinical stage biotech company with a unique portfolio of peripherally-acting CB1 inverse agonists, announced the completion of a Series C funding of $95 million CAD led by New Enterprise Associates. Additional new investors Forbion’s Growth Opportunities Fund and Amgen Ventures joined current investors including Forbion’s Ventures Fund IV Fonds de solidarité FTQ, Genesys Capital, AmorChem, JDRF T1D Fund and adMare BioInnovations in the financing round. Proceeds from the Series C financing will be used to move Inversago’s lead program, INV-202, into a Phase 2 clinical trial in Diabetic Kidney Disease in Q4 2022. This follows the previously announced IND clearance from the FDA and the upcoming promising Phase 1b topline results in subjects with metabolic syndrome. Additionally, the funds will accelerate the Company’s other key programs currently in pre-clinical development, while establishing its leadership in the field of CB1 blockers. “We are privileged to have the support and commitment of such an impressive investor syndicate at this critical stage of the Company’s development. This new round of financing is a strong endorsement of the whole Inversago team, who have carried the vision to leverage the potential of the CB1 blockade in developing potent treatments for a growing number of patients suffering from metabolic conditions, such as Diabetic Kidney Diseases and other diabetes-related conditions”. François Ravenelle, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of Inversago Pharma Commenting on the investment, Ed Mathers, General Partner at NEA, said: “Inversago has demonstrated that peripherally-acting CB1 blockers have an untapped potential to create a new class of target therapies that serve diabetic patient populations. Today’s financing reflects our shared vision and collaboration with the Company’s management as they initiate a Phase 2 clinical trial with INV-202”. Nanna Lüneborg, General Partner at Forbion Growth, added: “We are delighted to join this Series C financing of Inversago, and support the Company to develop a pipeline of new therapies which promise to make a profound impact on the lives of patients with cardiometabolic diseases. We have been impressed by the terrific progress of Inversago since Forbion led the Company’s Series B round two years ago and are excited to further support the Company from both Forbion Growth and Forbion Ventures”. About NEA New Enterprise Associates, Inc. is a global venture capital firm focused on helping entrepreneurs build transformational businesses across multiple stages, sectors and geographies. With nearly $24 billion in cumulative committed capital since the firm's founding in 1977, NEA invests in technology and healthcare companies at all stages in a company's lifecycle, from seed stage through IPO. The firm's track record of investing includes more than 260 portfolio company IPOs and more than 440 mergers and acquisitions. About Forbion Forbion is a dedicated life sciences venture capital firm with offices in The Netherlands, Germany and Singapore. Forbion invests in life sciences companies that are active in the (bio-) pharmaceutical space. Forbion manages well over EUR 2 billion across multiple fund strategies that cover all stages of pharmaceutical drug development. Forbion’s current team consists of over 30 life sciences investment professionals that have built an impressive performance track record since the late nineties with investments in 92 companies. Besides financial objectives, Forbion selects investments that will positively affect the health and well-being of patients. The firm is a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment. Forbion operates a joint venture with BGV, the manager of seed and early-stage funds, especially focused on Benelux and Germany. About Amgen Ventures Amgen Ventures is Amgen's corporate venture capital fund, dedicated to investing in emerging companies and technologies to advance promising new medicines and solutions to healthcare’s biggest challenges. About Inversago Pharma Located in Montreal, Inversago Pharma is a privately owned Canadian biotech company at clinical stage, specialized in the development of new therapies focusing on CB1 blockade, based on first-in-class, peripherally-acting CB1 inverse agonists. Inversago aims to provide new treatment options that improve the lives of patients affected by metabolic conditions such as Diabetic Kidney Disease including Diabetic Nephropathy Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis complications of obesity and hypertriglyceridemia as well as fibrotic indications like Progressive Fibrosis-Interstitial Lung Disease including Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis and other conditions.

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Illuccix® Available on High Activity Gallium Generator Technology to Meet High Demand

Telix Pharmaceuticals Limited | November 23, 2022

Telix Pharmaceuticals Limited announces Illuccix® with up to 50mCi for radiolabeling is available for use on 100mCi gallium generators, an important development in radioisotope production. High activity generators from Eckert & Ziegler Strahlen- und Medizintechnik AG increase activity from 50mCi to 100mCi and will be integral to expanding patient access to gallium-based radiopharmaceuticals as demand for PSMA-PET imaging in the United States continues to grow. This technology increases the number of daily elutions and activity in each elution, enabling hospitals and radiopharmacies to increase the number of daily doses produced, expand their service area and gain greater production efficiency. "As the only commercially available kit that can take advantage of high activity generators for up to 50mCi radiolabeling, Illuccix gives hospitals, pharmacies, and physicians added confidence that their dose scheduling needs – and the needs of their patients – can be met today and in the future as the potential of 68Ga PSMA-11 is realized in the diagnostic market. We are pleased to continue our collaborative relationships with IRE ELiT and EZAG to continue to make 68Ga PSMA-11 accessible and convenient to use for customers across the United States." Dr. Christian Behrenbruch, Group CEO and Managing Director of Telix Jay Simon, Managing Director of Eckert and Ziegler North America said, "The high activity GalliaPharm® generator may allow for broader availability and expanded service areas. It is about delivering doses when and where they are needed, whether you're a remotely located clinic, a busy metropolitan hospital or a pharmacy. We are pleased to be working with Telix to harness this innovation to maximize the efficiency for our customers and ultimately, their patients." Jean Bonnet, Head of Sales, Strategy and Marketing at IRE Group said, "While current generator technology is sufficient to meet today's demands, the rollout of the higher activity 100mCi generators are future-proofing the ability to meet demand in a market which is growing exponentially. The use of high activity generators has the potential to increase daily elutions and increase the activity in each elution. When radiolabeled up to 50mCi with Illuccix, the result could potentially provide more flexibilitty in meeting the growing demand for 68Ga radiopharmaceuticals while giving customers the benefit of greater dose scheduling flexibility and efficient production." About Telix Pharmaceuticals Limited Telix is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialisation of diagnostic and therapeutic radiopharmaceuticals. Telix is headquartered in Melbourne, Australia with international operations in the United States, Europe (Belgium and Switzerland), and Japan. Telix is developing a portfolio of clinical-stage products that aims to address significant unmet medical need in oncology and rare diseases. Telix is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

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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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Iterative Scopes Receives FDA Clearance for AI-Assisted Polyp Detection Device SKOUT™

Iterative Scopes | September 23, 2022

Iterative Scopes, a pioneer in precision medicine technologies for gastroenterology, and Provation, the premier software and SaaS provider of clinical productivity and workflow automation solutions, announced that SKOUT™ has received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for adults undergoing colorectal cancer screening or surveillance. SKOUT, a real-time computer-aided polyp detection device developed by Iterative Scopes, uses advanced computer vision technology designed to recognize suspicious tissue and provide real-time feedback to gastroenterologists. The device was evaluated in the largest U.S.-based multicenter clinical study for a computer aided polyp detection (CADe) device completed to date, which determined that SKOUT significantly improved overall adenoma detection in screening and surveillance colonoscopy compared to standard colonoscopy.1 In March 2021, Provation and Iterative Scopes entered a partnership focused on delivering artificial intelligence-based solutions to healthcare providers and researchers. Provation is a market leader in gastrointestinal (GI) documentation, with more than 3,500 customer facilities including 80% of the top academic and large health systems, and the company will act as an exclusive distributor of SKOUT to help broaden the technology’s reach among the country’s top GI-focused organizations. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and Europe,2 3 due in part to the high volumes of adenomas – approximately 26%4 – that endoscopists miss when conducting a colonoscopy. In its registration trial, SKOUT was found to improve adenoma detection, as measured by adenomas per colonoscopy (APC). Furthermore, increased detection was not limited to diminutive polyps. Higher APC rates have been shown to lead to improved patient outcomes; a recent study showed that the incidence of colorectal cancer within three years of examination decreases with higher APC rates.5 “Even among the best endoscopists, there is room for improvement in adenoma detection, which can impact patient outcomes. We are enthusiastic about the fact that even gastroenterologists with an already high baseline rate of adenoma detection demonstrated an improvement with SKOUT. Now that SKOUT is FDA-cleared, clinicians will be able to better detect adenomas with more efficiency, and ultimately change the standard of gastrointestinal care.” Sloane Allebes Phillips, VP of Clinical Operations at Iterative Scopes SKOUT is indicated as a computer-aided detection tool to assist qualified and trained endoscopists in identifying potential colorectal polyps during colonoscopy examinations in adult patients undergoing colorectal cancer screening or surveillance. SKOUT demonstrated a 27% relative increase in the detection of adenomas per colonoscopy, with an average of one additional adenoma resected for every 4.5 patients examined. Importantly, in the proximal colon, SKOUT demonstrated a 44% relative increase in 5-9 mm polyp detection, and a 29% relative increase in 5-9 mm polyp detection overall.1 These results validate the need for technological advancements that can help improve colonoscopies, and SKOUT’s artificial intelligence capabilities position it to do so. “Knowing that patients can walk away from their appointment with the confidence that they received a high quality and detailed colonoscopy is what excites us most about SKOUT’s FDA clearance,” said Aasma Shaukat, MD, MPH, Robert M. and Mary H. Glickman Professor of Medicine and Gastroenterology at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, and a primary investigator on the SKOUT registration study. “Confidence and peace-of-mind on behalf of providers and patients alike will allow clinicians to provide stronger recommendations and solutions for their patients.” “We are thrilled that our partner Iterative Scopes has received FDA clearance for their AI-Assisted Polyp Detection device, SKOUT. We have been very impressed with its study results and are eager to share our vision for integrating this technology into our solutions,” said Daniel Hamburger, CEO at Provation. “SKOUT is a true game-changer for the field of gastroenterology, and we can’t wait to start seeing its impact on patient care.” SKOUT’s intuitive user interface seamlessly integrates with existing clinical workflows and does not increase total procedure or withdrawal time.1 When a potential polyp is detected, the system calls attention to the polyp on the procedure monitor by drawing a blue bounding box around it and tracking the polyp as it moves on the screen. If a medical tool enters the frame, the bounding box automatically disappears to avoid obstructing the physician’s view during polyp removal. About Iterative Scopes Iterative Scopes is a pioneer in the application of artificial intelligence-based precision medicine for gastroenterology with the aim of helping to optimize clinical trials investigating treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The technology is also designed to potentially enhance colorectal cancer screenings. Its powerful, proprietary artificial intelligence and computer vision technologies have the potential to improve the accuracy and consistency of endoscopy readings. Iterative Scopes is initially applying these advances to impact polyp detection for colorectal cancer screenings and working to standardize disease severity characterization for inflammatory bowel disease. Longer term, the company plans to establish more meaningful endpoints for GI diseases, which may be better predictors of therapeutic response and disease outcomes. Spun out of MIT in 2017, the company is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. About Provation Provation is a leading provider of healthcare software and SaaS solutions for clinical productivity, care coordination, quality reporting, and billing. Our purpose is to empower providers to deliver quality healthcare for all. Provation’s comprehensive portfolio spans the entire patient encounter, from pre-procedure through post-procedure, with solutions for physician and nursing documentation anesthesia documentation patient engagement, surgical care coordination, quality reporting, and billing capture order set and care plan management and EHR embedded clinical documentation. Provation has a loyal customer base, serving more than 5,000 hospitals, surgery centers, and medical offices, and 700 physician groups globally, including 19 of the top 20 U.S. hospitals. In 2021, Provation was acquired by Fortive Corporation, a Fortune 1000 company that builds essential technology and accelerates transformation in high-impact fields like workplace safety, engineering, and healthcare.

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