April's top stories: CN Bio licenced Hepatitis B drug programme, Astellas agreed to acquire Ogeda for €800m

CN Bio licenced a Hepatitis B drug discovery programme from Bristol-Myers Squibb and Astellas Pharma agreed to acquire Belgium’s Ogeda for €800m. Pharmaceutical-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from April.


CN Bio licenced Hepatitis B drug discovery programme from Bristol-Myers Squibb

UK’s CN Bio Innovations licenced a Hepatitis B drug discovery programme from Bristol-Myers Squibb Company.

The programme consists of several series of small-molecule antiviral compounds identified by a Bristol-Myers Squibb screening programme before exiting virology discovery.

The compounds act to inhibit the production of Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), which causes immune exhaustion.
 

Astellas Pharma agreed to acquire Belgium’s Ogeda for €800m

Japanese company Astellas Pharma signed an agreement to acquire Belgium-based drug discovery company Ogeda in a deal valued at €800m.

Ogeda develops small molecule drugs targeting G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), and its lead investigational candidate fezolinetant (ESN364) is a selective NK3 receptor antagonist.

Fezolinetant is currently being developed to treat menopause-related vasomotor symptoms (MR-VMS) and acts on specific neurones that control body temperature to directly and safely address the basis for hot flashes (HF) in menopausal women.
 

Novartis to in-licence ECF843 for ophthalmic indications globally

Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis exercised an option to in-licence ECF843 for ophthalmic indications across worldwide (outside Europe), as part of efforts to strengthen its R&D pipeline.

With this in-licensing, Novartis will be able to build up its experience in ophthalmology and dry eye treatments with a global portfolio of artificial tear products that include Systane, Tears Naturale and Genteal.

Developed by US-based Lubris, ECF843 is a recombinant form of human lubricin (rh-Lubricin) protein. Lubricin is an endogenous glycoprotein expressed in areas of high shear stress and friction, including the tear film.
 

SMC approved anti-HIV drug PrEP

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) approved the treatment known as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) that reduces the chances of being infected with HIV.

The NHS Scotland-approved, anti-HIV medication PrEP is taken by people who are HIV-negative to lower their risk of acquiring HIV infection.

Truvada was approved by the Scottish Medicines Consortium for use as PrEP.
 

Appili to develop new antibiotic to treat gram-negative infections

Anti-infective drug development company Appili Therapeutics received funding to support the development of a new antibiotic to treat gram-negative infections.

The additional $400,000 funding from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Programme (NRC-IRAP) will bring IRAP support for this project to a total of up to $759,000.

Appili will use the funding to develop ATI-1503, an antibiotic targeting, drug-resistant, gram-negative bacteria, including Klebsiella pneumonia, Acinetobactor baumannii and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
 

Alk’s HDM tablet Acarizax secured approval for expansion in 12 European countries

Danish-based pharmaceutical company Alk’s house dust mite (HDM) sublingual allergy immunotherapy (SLIT) tablet Acarizax secured approval for expansion in 12 European countries.

The product can be used in adolescent patients with HDM-induced allergic rhinitis.

The approval covers patients aged between 12 and 17 and is based upon data from clinical trials conducted in Japan and North America as part of the worldwide Acarizax clinical development programme in February this year.
 

Genentech's Tecentriq received FDA-accelerated approval for advanced bladder cancer treatment

Roche Group member Genentech received accelerated approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Tecentriq (atezolizumab) to treat patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma (mUC) who are unable to undergo cisplatin chemotherapy.

Tecentriq previously received approval to treat people with locally advanced or mUC showing disease progression during or following any platinum-containing chemotherapy, or within 12 months of receiving chemotherapy before surgery (neoadjuvant) or after surgery (adjuvant).
 

Samsung Bioepis received FDA approval for Renflexis across all eligible indications

Samsung Bioepis received the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for its biosimilar referencing Remicade (infliximab), Renflexis (infliximab-abda), across all eligible indications.

Renflexis is the first Samsung Bioepis product to receive marketing approval in the US.

Renflexis is a tumour necrosis factor (TNF) blocker indicated to reduce signs and symptoms in patients suffering from adult and paediatric Crohn’s disease, adult ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis and also for treating adult plaque psoriasis.
 

Ionis and Ribo partnered to commercialise RNA-targeted therapeutics in China

Ionis Pharmaceuticals entered a collaboration and licence agreement with Suzhou Ribo Life Science (Ribo) to develop and commercialise ribonucleic acid (RNA)-targeted therapeutics in China.

RNA interference (RNAi) pathway is mediated by short double-stranded RNA oligonucleotides called ‘small interfering RNAs’ or ‘siRNAs’.

To date, scientists have tried this pathway to inhibit disease-causing proteins by using double-stranded siRNAs drugs that require complex formulations.
 

UK NCRI introduced five-year strategy to advance cancer research

The UK National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) launched a new five-year strategy to expedite cancer research through collaboration.

The strategy is expected to maximise opportunities to improve the health and quality of life of the patients and people who may develop cancer in future.

The research will also facilitate improvements in prevention, treatment and patient care.