Pharma Technology Focus – Issue 73

19 July 2018 (Last Updated July 19th, 2018 16:49)

In this issue: Major investment signals confidence in the search for new products developed from DNA found in soil, a medical milestone for cannabinoids in the US, streamlining clinical research, and more.

Pharma Technology Focus – Issue 73

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Genentech has signed a $1bn open-ended drug discovery collaboration with Lodo Therapeutics to discover unique, natural products from the microbial DNA found in soil. With such a high level of investment Genentech’s confidence in Lodo’s metagenome-prospecting platform must be high. But how can novel small molecules identified in soil be harnessed to treat disease? We find out.

Also, we examine the potential of a new drug from GW Pharmaceuticals, which is poised to become the first cannabinoid-based drug to treat seizures in two severe forms of epilepsy, find out how cutting out mediators could streamline cancer research, and we profile the next generation of antimalarials after the launch of a new programme from Novartis.

Finally, we speak to the International Air Transport Association and Swissport Cargo Services to find out what it takes for freight hubs that prepare pharma products for air transportation to get certified and ask if the FDA’s ‘name and shame’ strategy is a justified way to tackle the issue of companies blocking generic competition.

 

In this issue

Big soil: A $1bn project to develop new drugs from earth
Genentech has signed a $1bn open-ended drug discovery collaboration with Lodo Therapeutics to develop unique, natural products from the microbial DNA found in soil. With this level of investment confidence must be high, but just how much potential lies in soil, and how can it be harnessed? Sally Turner finds out.
Read the article here.

Cannabinoids breakthrough signals hope for epilepsy treatment
GW Pharmaceuticals recently received FDA approval for the first cannabinoid-based drug in the US. Abi Millar takes a look at the new drug, Epidiolex, which can be used to treat two severe forms of epilepsy.
Read the article here.

Could cutting out mediators let cancer research off the leash?  
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has been talking about its innovative approach to cancer research. By connecting pharma companies with academics, rather than relying on CROs, the team says clinical trial costs can be reduced and drug development accelerated. Abi Millar finds out more about this collaborative approach.
Read the article here.

The next generation of antimalarials
Novartis has launched a programme to add novel treatments to its malaria pipeline and to complete clinical trials for two new candidates. So why are new antimalarials needed? Abi Millar finds out.
Read the article here.

Pharma air freight: what does it take to get certified?  
Swissport Cargo Services has been awarded CEIV Pharma certification for pharmaceutical logistics by the International Airport Transport Association (IATA) at its Basel EuroAirport freight hub. Sally Turner speaks to IATA and Swissport, which has now received pharma logistics certification at six of its facilities, to discuss the latest requirements for freight hubs that prepare pharma products for transport by air.
Read the article here.

Blocking generic competition: will naming and shaming work?
The US Food and Drug Administration has publicly listed the names of nearly 40 pharma companies that may have been denying access to reference samples for generic drug manufacturers, thereby delaying generic competition. Is this ‘name and shame’ strategy justified, and just how big is the issue of pharma companies holding back reference samples from generic competitors after patent expiry? Chris Loinvestigates.
Read the article here.

 

Next issue preview

The results of Edelman’s Trust Barometer 2018 show trust in pharma is falling significantly, especially in informed public markets such as the US, Germany and France. But what is to blame for this drop in confidence and what needs to change?

Also, we delve into the highs and lows of Humira to understand how it became the world’s most successful drug and take a look at the innovative technology of BlueBird Bio, which was recently spotlighted by MIT Technology Review as one of the top 50 smartest companies, to find out more about its gene therapy focused business model and the work the company is doing to fight rare diseases. Plus, we examine the UK Government’s plan to build a fully automated drug discovery facility at the Rosalind Franklin Institute in Oxfordshire.

Finally, we explore current treatment options for chronic migraines including how the pharma industry is working to develop better therapies for the future, and profile the new philanthropic arm launched by the International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineering, the ISPE Foundation.