Widespread Clinical Studies Can Reinvigorate the Legalization Movement for Cannabis

ptcommunity | April 17, 2019

Researchers and scientists are constantly developing new, innovative medicines to effectively treat patients. However, the cost to conduct clinical trials and then receive approval to commercialize a drug is absurdly expensive. The Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development estimated that in 2017, it cost pharmaceutical companies approximately USD 2.7 Billion to bring medicine from invention stages to shelves. And even after pharmaceutical companies are granted approval to commercialize, studies have concluded that many of these drugs negatively harm consumers. Now, the growing concern over the mental and physical health damage caused by traditional medicines have prompted medical institutes to reevaluate, which has, in turn, brought forth medical cannabis into the spotlight. Small-scale research and clinical trials have concluded that medical cannabis can effectively treat medical conditions that common medications such as opioids also treat. Moreover, cannabis is significantly cheaper to cultivate and commercialize, when compared to other drugs that are undergoing trials. Data from the Marijuana Business Factbook suggested that the average cost for a startup wholesale cannabis cultivation businesses is as low as USD 10 per sq. ft. for outdoor grow houses but can go for as much as USD 75 per sq. ft.for indoor facilities. Despite the inexpensive costs to grow medical cannabis, the plant is still not a registered treatment under international regulations. However, as clinical trials continue to progress, more countries could be expected to adopt medical cannabis legalizations. According to data compiled by Verified Market Intelligence, the global marijuana market was valued at USD 42.20 Billion in 2017 and is projected to reach USD 466.81 Billion by 2025. Additionally, the market is expected to register a CAGR of 35.3% from 2018 to 2025. Pressure BioSciences, Inc. (OTC: PBIO), Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: SRNE), Intec Pharma Ltd. (NASDAQ: NTEC), Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZYNE), Neptune Wellness Solutions Inc.

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PHARMACY MARKET

Astellas Announces Topline Results from Phase 3 Long-Term Safety Study of Fezolinetant in Mainland China

Astellas Pharma Inc. | September 05, 2022

Astellas Pharma Inc. announced topline results from the Phase 3 MOONLIGHT 3™ clinical trial in women in mainland China evaluating the long-term safety and tolerability of fezolinetant, an investigational oral, nonhormonal compound being studied for the treatment of moderate to severe vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause. VMS, characterized by hot flashes and/or night sweats, are common symptoms of menopause. MOONLIGHT 3 is a 52-week single-arm Phase 3 clinical trial investigating the long-term safety and tolerability of fezolinetant 30 mg taken once daily in 150 women in mainland China seeking treatment for relief of VMS associated with menopause. The study's primary endpoint is the frequency and severity of adverse events which were generally consistent with previous Phase 3 studies of fezolinetant. Detailed results will be submitted for publication in the near future. "The topline results from the MOONLIGHT 3 study are very encouraging and, upon initial review, further support the long-term safety of fezolinetant. We are evaluating the full MOONLIGHT data sets and remain committed to developing innovative treatments in this therapeutic area with the hope of delivering a first-in-class, nonhormonal treatment option for women with moderate to severe VMS." Ahsan Arozullah, M.D., M.P.H., Senior Vice President and Head of Development Therapeutic Areas, Astellas Fezolinetant is an investigational selective neurokinin-3 receptor antagonist and is not approved anywhere in the world. In the U.S., a New Drug Application for fezolinetant for the treatment of moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause is under review. The NDA submission is based on results from two pivotal Phase 3 clinical trials, SKYLIGHT 1™ and SKYLIGHT 2™, and the Phase 3 long-term safety study, SKYLIGHT 4™. About the MOONLIGHT Phase 3 Clinical Trials MOONLIGHT 1™ is designed to investigate the efficacy and safety of fezolinetant for the treatment of moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause in women in Asia. The study is double-blinded and placebo-controlled for the first 12 weeks, followed by a 12-week non-controlled extension treatment period. A total of 302 women with moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause were enrolled at nearly 60 sites in mainland China, Korea and Taiwan. MOONLIGHT 3™ is a 52-week single-arm Phase 3 clinical trial designed to investigate the long-term safety and tolerability of fezolinetant in women in mainland China with VMS associated with menopause. A total of 150 women were enrolled at 34 sites in mainland China. About the BRIGHT SKY™ Phase 3 Program The BRIGHT SKY pivotal trials, SKYLIGHT 1™ and SKYLIGHT 2™ enrolled over 1,000 women with moderate to severe VMS. The trials are double-blinded, placebo-controlled for the first 12 weeks followed by a 40-week treatment extension period. Women were enrolled at over 180 sites within the U.S., Canada and Europe. SKYLIGHT 4™ is a 52-week double-blinded, placebo-controlled study designed to investigate the long-term safety of fezolinetant. For SKYLIGHT 4, over 1,800 women with VMS were enrolled at over 180 sites within the U.S., Canada and Europe. About VMS Associated with Menopause VMS, characterized by hot flashes and/or night sweats, are common symptoms of menopause.1,2 Worldwide, more than 50% of women 40 to 64 years of age experience VMS and, in East Asia, the prevalence of VMS has been estimated to be around 80% of women 40 to 65 years of age, with 55% having moderate to severe VMS.3,4 VMS can have a disruptive impact on women's daily activities and overall quality of life.1 About Fezolinetant Fezolinetant is an investigational oral, nonhormonal therapy in clinical development for the treatment of moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause. Fezolinetant works by blocking neurokinin B (NKB) binding on the kisspeptin/neurokinin/dynorphin (KNDy) neuron to moderate neuronal activity in the thermoregulatory center of the brain (the hypothalamus) to reduce the frequency and severity of moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause.5,6,7 The safety and efficacy of fezolinetant are under investigation and have not been established. There is no guarantee the agent will receive regulatory approval or become commercially available for the uses being investigated. About Astellas Astellas Pharma Inc. is a pharmaceutical company conducting business in more than 70 countries around the world. We are promoting the Focus Area Approach that is designed to identify opportunities for the continuous creation of new drugs to address diseases with high unmet medical needs by focusing on Biology and Modality. Furthermore, we are also looking beyond our foundational Rx focus to create Rx+® healthcare solutions that combine our expertise and knowledge with cutting-edge technology in different fields of external partners. Through these efforts, Astellas stands on the forefront of healthcare change to turn innovative science into value for patients.

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PHARMACY MARKET

A novel azapeptide editing method provides potential for new drug development, Feinstein Institutes research shows

Feinstein Institutes | November 29, 2022

Peptides, short sections of proteins made up of chains of amino acids, are an important area of new drug development due to their potential for increased specificity and fewer side effects. Their main drawback is the rapid degradation by the body’s own enzymes, which has led to the need to develop longer-lasting peptide alternatives. Azapeptides are one type of peptide alternative that has shown great potential as therapeutics, exemplified by the HIV drug, Atazanavir. A new paper published in the journal Nature Communications by researchers at The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research details proprietary reagents and methods that can selectively replace only those amino acids known to be targeted by enzymes with more stable versions to create azapeptides. The paper, authored by Yousef Al-Abed, PhD, co-director of the Institute of Bioelectronic Medicine at the Feinstein Institutes, describes the proprietary building blocks and method used to conduct systematic and robust peptide editing, replacing targeted amino acids with aza-amino acids to form more stable and efficient azapeptides. The azapeptides created could expedite the novel therapies to treat many diseases and conditions, including metabolic disease, influenza, pulmonary arterial hypertension, Crohn’s disease, arthritis, and irritable bowel diseases, among others. The paper, titled “Thiocarbazate building blocks enable the construction of azapeptides for rapid development of therapeutic candidates,” provides multiple examples of azapeptide construction, screening, and selection using a known peptide inhibitor of inflammation and bradykinin. “Peptides as drug candidates are easy to discover yet difficult to develop as final drugs because of their fast degradation in our body. A technology that circumvents these problems inherent to native peptides will change the future landscape of drug discovery. Our technology provides a platform of tools that enable minimal modification of any peptide at highly prone degradation sites, thereby increasing its life span in our body, allowing it more time to find its target and neutralize it.” Dr. Al-Abed Through peptide editing, going from peptide to azapeptide, using methods that Dr. Al-Abed and his team detail in the new paper, scientists can create potential therapies that have enhanced characteristics compared to natural peptides, like longer stabilities in a more efficient manner. Dr. Al-Abed and his team have precisely engineered thiocarbazates (a novel functional group) in the proprietary process to achieve an almost universal and more efficient means to selectively replace amino acids in a peptide chain. “Peptide drugs are a crucial resource for patients and the global pharmaceutical industry,” said Kevin J. Tracey, MD, president and CEO of the Feinstein Institutes and Karches Family Distinguished Chair in Medical Research. “Dr. Al-Abed and his team invented a fully automated chemical strategy using novel chemistry to make new peptide drugs which is an important new avenue for peptide drug discovery.” About the Feinstein Institutes The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research is the research arm of Northwell Health, the largest health care provider and private employer in New York State. Home to 50 research labs, 3,000 clinical research studies and 5,000 researchers and staff, the Feinstein Institutes raises the standard of medical innovation through its five institutes of behavioral science, bioelectronic medicine, cancer, health innovations and outcomes, and molecular medicine. We make breakthroughs in genetics, oncology, brain research, mental health, autoimmunity, and are the global scientific leader in bioelectronic medicine – a new field of science that has the potential to revolutionize medicine.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Teva Announces Unique Collaboration with HealthSnap to Expand the Reach of its Respiratory Digital Health Platform

Teva Pharmaceuticals | November 21, 2022

Teva Pharmaceuticals, a U.S. affiliate of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. announced a new collaboration with HealthSnap, a leading full-service Virtual Care Management Platform for chronic disease management. The collaboration will enable more consumers to have access to Teva’s Digihaler® system, a digital health platform designed to enable patients to have more informed treatment discussions with their healthcare providers through personalized care. The collaboration will enable healthcare providers to better integrate patient data into their workflows, supporting proactive remote care across large populations. The platform can be used to monitor and manage large populations by a network of health systems. It can capture objective and actionable data for asthma patients, thereby creating the mechanism for personalized care. “Digital health platforms will succeed only by seamlessly integrating multiple data sources into workflows and systems like electronic medical records (EMR). We believe in building an ecosystem and are delighted to partner with HealthSnap as we seek to expand the reach of our platform, and continue to shape digital therapeutics and the integrated care landscape,” said Manny Montalvo, Senior Vice President, Head of Digital Health & Innovation at Teva. “We believe that the future of healthcare is in predictive and preventative care, which is a significant paradigm shift from the standard of care today. That is why we will focus our collaboration and our services on facilitating this change, to help providers deliver better care and help patients manage their condition.” “With a rich heritage of delivering innovative medicines, alongside technology development capabilities, Teva is uniquely positioned to help the healthcare ecosystem move toward greater integration of objective health data, and create meaningful population-scale solutions to help patients and providers. We envision broad utilization of our platform by consumers, healthcare providers and other technology organizations. In respiratory care, our long-term vision is ambitious and clear: harnessing the power of technology and therapeutics to predict asthma attacks.” Montalvo continued, “Over the past few years, through a talented and continuously evolving in-house team we have built a robust technology arm within Teva to continue exploring ways to improve patient outcomes. Through our vision for connected therapy, we strive to be at the nexus between patients, healthcare providers, technology, and the future of medicine, exploring new ways for digital health to serve as an economically sustainable solution for small and large healthcare provider organizations, offering timely, data-driven solutions to benefit patients. Our hope is that by working with HealthSnap and other capable companies in this space, we will fulfill our mission of improving the lives of patients, and do so by improving the health and effectiveness of our healthcare system – and we’re just getting started.” “By partnering with Teva, HealthSnap is expanding its reach to patients with respiratory diseases, allowing them to receive personalized care based on their data. HealthSnap is continuously seeking partnerships and we look forward to delivering quality at home programs with this new and exciting collaboration with Teva,” Samson Magid, Co-Founder and CEO of HealthSnap About Teva Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. has been developing and producing medicines to improve people’s lives for more than a century. We are a global leader in generic, biosimilar and specialty medicines with a portfolio consisting of over 3,500 products in nearly every therapeutic area. Around 200 million people around the world take a Teva medicine every day, and are served by one of the largest and most complex supply chains in the pharmaceutical industry. Along with our established presence in generics, we have significant innovative research and operations supporting our growing portfolio of specialty and biopharmaceutical products. Learn more at www.tevapharm.com About Teva Digital Health Teva aims to be a global leader in personalized, predictive care, continuously investing in platforms and regulatory-compliant systems that will help change the nature of digital health as we know it. Teva’s proprietary software platform Digihaler® – developed and maintained in-house by a team of research specialists and programmers – is built into a series of FDA-approved inhalers, currently marketed in the U.S., and with plans to expand to Europe in 2023. About HealthSnap HealthSnap is an integrated Virtual Care Management Platform that helps healthcare organizations improve patient outcomes, reduce utilization, and diversify revenue streams. From chronic disease-agnostic Remote Patient Monitoringand Chronic Care Management to AI-guided care coordination, virtual care delivery, automated care management billing, population analytics - and so much more, HealthSnap is the simplest way to manage chronic conditions remotely.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Ex-Biocon team Symbio Generrics completes capital raise from Ascent Capital

Symbio Generrics | November 25, 2022

Symbio Generrics India Private Limited a specialized Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients & Intermediates manufacturing and marketing organization, announced that it has completed an equity capital raise from Ascent Capital, a leading growth-capital focused private equity fund. Symbio was founded by pharmaceutical professionals, Salim Shaikh and Abhijit Kale. They were soon joined by the third promoter, Akash Puranik; all of whom possess decades of experience in the global pharmaceutical industry. Symbio's journey from a sales and marketing organization to a full-fledged vertically integrated manufacturer of specialized APIs has been exemplary. Through a well-developed customer ecosystem, the highly experienced & skilled team at Symbio has established a global footprint for its APIs. Ascent Capital's sizeable investment in Symbio will further accelerate the company's expansion plans and sets the company enroute to emerge as a top-10 manufacturer of APIs in India. The funds raised from Ascent will be utilized towards undertaking strategic acquisitions, establishing a best-in-class R&D facility and ramping up manufacturing capacity. The company's R&D Centre is housed in Bengaluru while the manufacturing plant is located at Dobbaspet, Bengaluru. The Company is in the process of acquiring another manufacturing facility in India. The team is focused on building a high-potential generics API portfolio for the global markets and to this effect, will work towards getting US FDA and other SRA approvals for their recently acquired facilities. "We are glad to be associated with Ascent Capital which has a reputation of partnering with entrepreneurs to build leading businesses in India. The sizeable investment from Ascent Capital will add power to our next growth spurt and enable us to emerge as a top-10 API company in India. We are setting ourselves a medium-term goal of growing rapidly into a sizeable company by leveraging the strength of our team and expanding our horizons to actively serve the global API market." Commenting on the fund raise, Salim Shaikh, Executive Chairman & Founder of Symbio Generrics Akash Puranik, Promoter, MD& CEO of Symbio Generrics, says, "The latest feather in our cap is the influx of resources from Ascent Capital. We have carved strategic alliances and relationships spanning over two decades with leading pharmaceutical entities in regulated and semi-regulated markets and are now keen to expand these synergies further in the global arena. With a well-developed infrastructure, both on the manufacturing and R&D front, we are keen to engage with potential partners for CDMO Business." Mr. Raja Kumar, Founder and MD of Ascent Capital, said, "Ascent Capital has been known to support highly qualified professional teams in niche domains. Continuing with this tradition, we are delighted to partner with the first-generation technocrat founders at Symbio. Collectively, the team at Symbio is one of the best multi-disciplinary teams in the Indian pharma space and has shown an exemplary track record of building global relationships. We look forward to working collaboratively with the Company to ensure that we have another category leader from the Ascent stable, akin to BigBasket, Sequent, Skanray, to name a few." IC Universal Legal's Chennai team led by Senior Partner, Sameena Chatrapathy represented Symbio as the legal counsel for the fund raise from Ascent Capital as well as the follow-on acquisitions. About Symbio Symbio Generrics India Private Limited founded in the year 2010 is a specialized Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients & Intermediates manufacturing and marketing organization with headquarters in Bengaluru. The Company was founded by first generation entrepreneurs coming from a leading pharmaceutical organization, with a combined experience of over 40 years. About Ascent Capital Ascent Capital is a leading India-focused Independent Private Equity Fund Manager. The team at Ascent is one of the most experienced investment teams in India with 150+ years of collective experience in Indian PE and capital markets. Thus far, Ascent has helped more than 60 entrepreneurs build leading businesses across diverse sectors such as Technology, Healthcare, Financial Services, Consumer Brands, etc. It typically invests USD 10-30 MM in fast growing businesses, led by outstanding entrepreneurs, that have the potential to emerge as leaders in its segment thereby delivering exceptional exit outcomes. Ascent is backed by marquee investors, who include long term institutional investors like pension funds, foundations, endowments, fund of funds and large corporations - a vote of confidence in the team's ability to excel and deliver results.

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