Zolgensma wins FDA green light in child SMA

pharmatimes | May 28, 2019

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Novartis’ Zolgensma (onasemnogene abeparvovec-xioi) at a cost of $2.1 milllion per treatment. The drug is the first gene therapy approved to treat children less than two years of age with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), which is the most severe form of SMA and a leading genetic cause of infant mortality.The price tag has garnered substantial criticism, as even the split payment structure adds up to $425,000 per year over five years. Novartis has announced that it will give ‘partial rebates’ if the treatment doesn't work.The approval marks a “milestone in the transformational power of gene and cell therapies to treat a wide range of diseases,” said acting FDA commissioner Ned Sharpless. He continued, “With each new approval, we see this exciting area of science continue to move beyond the concept phase into reality. The potential for gene therapy products to change the lives of those patients who may have faced a terminal condition, or worse, death, provides hope for the future.“The FDA will continue to support the progress in this field by helping to expedite the development of products for unmet medical needs through the use of review pathways designed to advance innovative, safe and effective treatment options.”The indication is for the treatment of children less than two years of age with SMA, which is caused by a mutation in the survival motor neuron 1 (SMN1) gene. The gene encodes the survival motor neuron (SMN) protein  a protein found throughout the body, which is critical for the maintenance and function of specialised nerve cells, called motor neurons. Motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord control muscle movement throughout the body. If there is not enough functional SMN protein, then the motor neurons die, leading to debilitating and often fatal muscle weakness that can lead to the child eventually not being able to eat or breathe.

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Production of protein therapeutics by mammalian cells is the most widely used bioprocess because of its ability to properly produce and fold a recombinant protein. 60-70% of biopharmaceuticals are produced by this bioprocess. Bioreactor parameters affect cell metabolic processes and detailed bioreactor knowledge is needed to achieve a balanced and consistent metabolic state of cultured cells.


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Enteris BioPharma Publishes White Paper Examining Factors to Consider While Evaluating Oral Administration of Peptides

Enteris BioPharma | September 13, 2022

Enteris BioPharma, Inc., a biotechnology company developing innovative drug products based on its proprietary delivery technologies, and a wholly-owned subsidiary of SWK Holdings Corporation announced the publication of a new white paper in Drug Development & Delivery entitled, "Key Considerations in Oral Delivery of Peptides – Factors to Consider While Evaluating Oral Administration." The paper, authored by John Vrettos, PhD, Director of Formulation Development for Enteris BioPharma, and Kalpana Ramakrishnan, PhD, Manager of Business Development for Enteris BioPharma, explores the barriers to developing oral delivery of peptides and how pharmaceutical companies can overcome them. Oral administration of peptides offers several advantages while treating chronic conditions such as diabetes and obesity as they are less invasive and more cost effective compared to injections. "Molecule size, potency, and solubility are some of the key physicochemical properties that determine a peptide's suitability for oral delivery. The healthcare industry is in need of enabling drug delivery technologies with the capability to overcome barriers in oral delivery of peptides. Importantly, orally delivered medications may encourage patient compliance compared with more invasive approaches to administering drugs. Approximately 75% of peptides are delivered by injective routes, including subcutaneous injections which can be painful and difficult to incorporate into a daily routine." Dr. Vrettos Dr. Vrettos continued, "Enteris' Peptelligence® platform offers a 'triple-action' solution comprised of our enteric coating, protease inhibitor, and permeation enhancer. When combined, these technologies have demonstrated an ability to improve the solubility and permeation of orally delivered peptides. These properties can potentially enable oral delivery of some peptide drugs for the first time, and we are excited to share our knowledge on oral delivery of peptides through this informative whitepaper." Peptelligence is a novel formulation technology designed to enhance the oral delivery and bioavailability of selected drugs by enhancing the permeation of such compounds that are typically injected, including peptides and BCS class III and IV small molecules, and preventing their breakdown in the digestive tract. About Enteris BioPharma Enteris BioPharma, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SWK Holdings Corporation offering total integrated contract development and manufacturing services for innovative formulation solutions utilizing its proprietary drug delivery technologies, Peptelligence® and ProPerma®, and contract manufacturing (CMO) services using non-proprietary technologies. The company's proprietary technologies have been the subject of numerous feasibility studies and active development programs, some of which are in clinical development. Additionally, Enteris BioPharma is advancing an innovative internal product pipeline of drug products that address significant unmet clinical needs for which there is no satisfactory treatment option.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

DisperSol Appoints Tim Scott New President and CEO; Company Changes Name to AustinPx™, Pharmaceutics and Manufacturing

AustinPx | August 29, 2022

DisperSol Technologies, LLC, a specialty pharmaceutical company announced the appointment of Tim Scott as president and chief executive officer of the company. At the same time, the company announced that it is changing its name to AustinPx™, Pharmaceutics and Manufacturing, to better reflect the company’s new direction as a contract development and manufacturing organization. Mr. Scott also joins the board of directors of AustinPx. The hiring of Mr. Scott and the company name change to AustinPx, Pharmaceutics and Manufacturing, are part of a shift in the focus of the pharmaceutical technology company that first developed KinetiSol® technology, a patented amorphous dispersion technology for improving drug bioavailability. The company will now provide pharmaceutical chemistry services including analytical and formulation development and cGMP manufacturing at its site in Austin, Texas. Mr. Scott was the co-founder and president of Pharmatek Laboratories from 1999 until 2016, when he sold the company to Catalent Pharma Solutions (NYSE: CTLT). He currently serves as board chair of Biocom, a trade organization supporting 2,000 life science companies. Mr. Scott also serves on the Medical Research Advisory Committee for the Conrad Prebys Foundation, providing grants to innovative research in the health sciences. “I can think of no one better to lead the transformation of AustinPx than Tim. He brings a wealth of experience in building a contract development and manufacturing business, and he has strong connections throughout the industry. We are delighted to have his leadership as we build AustinPx into a world class CDMO.” Shaun Kirkpatrick, President at Research Corporation Technologies and board chair of AustinPx “Our goal is to build a client-centric organization that provides drug development and manufacturing services for pharma companies worldwide,” says Scott. “The name AustinPx represents where we come from and what we do. Px stands for Pharmaceutics. To our core, we are a pharmaceutics company. Our approach is data-driven and agnostic, which means our formulation strategy for each drug is based on the unique physiochemistry of that compound. And for poorly soluble compounds, we have one of the most powerful tools available in KinetiSol, a truly next generation technology for rendering active pharmaceutical ingredients amorphous.” KinetiSol is a proprietary technology for improving drug bioavailability. This advanced technology transforms active pharmaceutical ingredients into amorphous solid dispersions, thereby enhancing the physiochemistry and PK of drugs. KinetiSol offers many advantages over other amorphous dispersion technologies. It provides a broader formulation design space and a more efficient scale-up. Additionally, KinetiSol’s significantly smaller ecological footprint makes it a greener technology. About AustinPx AustinPx, Pharmaceutics and Manufacturing is a contract development and manufacturing organization providing analytical and formulation development services and cGMP manufacturing for small molecule drugs. The company specializes in phase-appropriate development strategies, speed to clinic and market strategies, and bioavailability enhancement of poorly soluble molecules – including its next generation amorphous dispersion platform, KinetiSol®. AustinPx’s lead investors include Research Corporation Technologies, Inc. and Acadia Woods.

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PCI Pharma Services Selects Thoughtworks for Digital Platform Transformation with Agile Approach

Thoughtworks | July 11, 2022

Thoughtworks a global technology consultancy that integrates strategy, design and engineering to drive digital innovation, today announced the signing of a multi-year agreement with PCI Pharma Services, a leading global contract development and manufacturing organization. Thoughtworks will help PCI in its journey to digitize its supply chain, with the goal of accelerating the time it takes to bring clients’ life-changing therapies to market for patients. By co-developing tools for digital business modernization, Thoughtworks will help PCI improve client visibility into its clinical and commercial drug supply chains for pharmaceutical and biotech companies of all sizes in 100+ countries. By digitizing the supply chain, Thoughtworks will help PCI deliver greater insights to clients to increase their overall efficiency, support their business goals and ultimately produce high quality treatments for patients. The agreement includes expanding and adapting pci | bridge, an industry first-of-its-kind, end-to-end data platform that provides real-time status of projects, automatically identifies risks, spots trends and provides business analytics insights. With this modern application programming interface (API), clients have the ability to seamlessly integrate their systems with PCI’s, creating greater transparency and a more simplified process for decision-making. “Digital transformation has been a key differentiating factor for PCI’s business strategy, and the evolution of pci | bridge will be critical to increasing client engagement and maximizing the value of data and analytics for PCI and our external partners. With Thoughtworks’ 28+ years of experience at the forefront of innovation, we look forward to making our clients’ lives easier through this partnership." Wayne Hull, Chief Digital and Technology Officer, PCI Pharma Services With a shared commitment to customer-centricity, the Thoughtworks and PCI product and engineering teams will create a new level of intuitive self-service solutions for clients. The partnership will also simplify the collection and analysis of information to reach business insights faster and streamline processes to develop useful new products for clients. The teams will do this by working side-by-side using agile development methods, including pair programming, test-driven development and continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) automation. “Recognized as a leader in global CDMO services, PCI Pharma Services is well on its digital transformation journey, providing clients with sophisticated supply chain solutions and a digitally integrated experience unlike anything else in the industry,” said Chris Murphy, Chief Executive Officer, Thoughtworks North America. “We are thrilled to partner with PCI Pharma Services as it empowers its clients to make even more powerful, life-impacting decisions through their expansive data and analytics ecosystems.” About PCI Pharma Services PCI is a leading global CDMO, providing clients with integrated end-to-end drug development, manufacturing and packaging capabilities that increase their products’ speed to market and opportunities for commercial success. PCI brings the proven experience that comes with more than 50 successful product launches each year and over five decades in the healthcare services business. We currently have 30 sites across seven countries and over 4,300 employees that work to bring life-changing therapies to patients. Leading technology and continued investment enable us to address global drug development needs throughout the entire product life cycle – from manufacturing capabilities through the clinical trial supply chain and into commercialization. Our clients view us as an extension of their business and a collaborative partner with the shared goal of improving patients’ lives. For more information, please visit pci.com About Thoughtworks Thoughtworks is a global technology consultancy that integrates strategy, design and engineering to drive digital innovation. We are 11,000+ people strong across 49 offices in 17 countries. Over the last 25+ years, we’ve delivered extraordinary impact together with our clients by helping them solve complex business problems with technology as the differentiator.

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Innocoll Announces Publication of Positive Results from Pivotal Clinical Trial of POSIMIR in Arthroscopic Subacromial Decompression

Innocoll Pharmaceuticals | July 07, 2022

Innocoll Pharmaceuticals Limited, a commercial-stage biotechnology company and portfolio business of Gurnet Point Capital, announced the publication of the results of Study BU-002-IM evaluating the safety and efficacy of POSIMIR® for infiltration use in 107 patients undergoing arthroscopic subacromial decompression. The peer-reviewed paper, entitled “SABER-Bupivacaine Reduces Postoperative Pain and Opioid Consumption After Arthroscopic Subacromial Decompression: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial,” was published online on May 17, 2022 in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons Global Research & Reviews. According to the report, POSIMIR 5 mL administered into the subacromial space at the end of arthroscopic subacromial decompression surgery in this double-blind, randomized, controlled, multicenter study, reduced mean postoperative pain on movement over 72 hours by 1.3 points on a 0-10 scale compared with vehicle control, a relative reduction of 20%. Simultaneous improvements in postoperative opioid use during the same 72-hour period provided evidence that the observed pain reduction was clinically meaningful. The median time to first request for opioid rescue medication was 12.4 hours among patients treated with POSIMIR compared with 1.2 hours in patients who received vehicle control. The median total opioid consumption in intravenous (IV) morphine milligram equivalents over 72 hours was 4.0 mg in the POSIMIR group vs 12.0 mg in the vehicle control group. The proportion of patients who were opioid free at 72 hours was 40% in the POSIMIR group vs 16% in the vehicle control group. As reported in the paper, the most common treatment-emergent adverse events were headache, nausea, musculoskeletal pain, cardiac disorders, skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders, injury and procedural complications, general disorders and administration site conditions and respiratory, thoracic, and mediastinal disorders. Of 2 serious adverse events reported among patients in these treatment groups, only 1 occurred during the immediate 2-week postsurgical follow-up period, and none was considered related to treatment. There were no TEAEs leading to study discontinuation. “These very compelling results, demonstrating up to three days of local analgesia after a single intra-operative injection, make POSIMIR an important new tool in treating postoperative pain from arthroscopic subacromial decompression,” said Sten Rasmussen, MD PhD, Professor and Head of Department of Clinical Medicine, Aalborg University, Denmark, the senior author and a principal investigator in the POSIMIR study. “We are excited to publish the positive results of this pivotal clinical trial of POSIMIR, the second approved product in our portfolio of nonopioid, extended-duration, locally-acting analgesics for postsurgical pain control. As the only company with two non-opioid extended release bupivacaine products on the market, we look forward to bringing POSIMIR to the orthopedic community,” Louis Pascarella, Innocoll President and Chief Executive Officer About POSIMIR POSIMIR for infiltration use contains more bupivacaine in a single dose than any other approved, sustained-release bupivacaine product. It employs a proprietary extended-release technology that enables the continuous release of bupivacaine, a non-opioid local anesthetic, directly to the surgical site for 3 days after administration. POSIMIR was approved in February, 2021 by the US Food and Drug Administration. POSIMIR is indicated in adults for administration into the subacromial space under direct arthroscopic visualization to produce post-surgical analgesia for up to 72 hours following arthroscopic subacromial decompression. Use in any other surgical procedure is investigational. POSIMIR is a registered trademark of Innocoll Pharmaceuticals Limited. About Subacromial Decompression Shoulder Surgery Subacromial decompression is a type of shoulder surgery used to treat impingement syndrome, a common repetitive-use injury that causes pain when the arm is raised over the head. The procedure is performed arthroscopically, meaning that several small incisions are made in the skin and muscle of the shoulder through which a camera (arthroscope) and surgical instruments are inserted during surgery. Arthroscopic subacromial decompression is generally performed as outpatient surgery, and most patients go home within a few hours of surgery. The most intense pain typically occurs during the first 3 days and is often managed with a combination of nerve block and oral opioids. There are over 600,000 surgeries involving arthroscopic subacromial decompression performed each year in the U.S. About Innocoll Pharmaceuticals Limited Innocoll Pharmaceuticals Limited is a global biotech pharmaceutical company headquartered in Athlone, Ireland and is a subsidiary of Innocoll Biotherapeutics Holding Limited. The Innocoll group of companies is focused on the development and commercialization of pharmaceutical technologies to meet some of today’s most important healthcare challenges. About Gurnet Point Capital Gurnet Point Capital is a unique healthcare investment platform within the B-Flexion Group and led by a team with deep expertise in an industry for which they share a passion, both as investors and senior executives. GPC invests long-term capital and supports entrepreneurs in building a new generation of companies that deliver outsized returns through active ownership. Based in Cambridge, MA, its remit encompasses life sciences and health care focused businesses, with a particular emphasis on businesses that have high growth potential in the product development and commercialization stages of their evolution. With its strategy of driving best in class operational transformation for these businesses, to create social impact while generating significant economic value, Gurnet is able to deliver differentiated results for its investors and partners.

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Production of protein therapeutics by mammalian cells is the most widely used bioprocess because of its ability to properly produce and fold a recombinant protein. 60-70% of biopharmaceuticals are produced by this bioprocess. Bioreactor parameters affect cell metabolic processes and detailed bioreactor knowledge is needed to achieve a balanced and consistent metabolic state of cultured cells.

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