Category Archives: Pharmaceutical

Kids are taking more alternative medicines than ever, and pediatricians are worried

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Supplements such as melatonin are marketed to parents, but not tested by the FDA.

Children and teens are turning to alternative medicines in soaring numbers, and the trend has pediatricians worried.

Children’s use of herbal products and nutritional supplements nearly doubled between 2003 and 2014, a study published Monday by the Journal of the American Medical Association found. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago analyzed national health surveys of more than 4,400 young people and found that 6.7% took alternative medicines in 2014, compared to 3.7% in 2003. Some 33.2% of children and teens took a dietary supplement of some kind in 2014, including multivitamins.

Though they’re marketed as cures for a range of ailments, alternative supplements and medicines often end up on store shelves without oversight or approval from the federal Food and Drug Administration, the researchers noted. The surge in use was driven by 13 to 18-year-olds using omega 3 fatty acids — which are often sold as a way to boost mental focus — and melatonin, which is marketed as a sleep aid for kids, researchers found.

“We simply do not know if there are any benefits to children that outweigh the potential harms, and this study suggests supplement use is widespread and therefore an important, yet often ignored, public health issue,” said study co-author Dima Qato, assistant professor of pharmacy systems, outcomes and policy at the UIC College of Pharmacy.

“Many dietary supplements have also been implicated in adverse drug events, especially cardiovascular, which is a safety concern,” Qato said.

The findings come as America’s $3 trillion “wellness” industry is booming as consumers seek out alternatives to traditional Western medicine.

SOURCE: www.marketwatch.com/story

Seven million euros for research into chronic inflammatory bowel conditions

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A new collaborative research centre/Transregio 241 ‘Immune-epithelial communication in inflammatory bowel diseases’ is due to commence its research at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) in July 2018.

In conjunction with the Charité hospital in Berlin, doctors and biotechnologists at FAU will be conducting research in order to better understand the interaction between cells in mucous membranes and immune cells in the bowel and to develop more effective therapy methods for chronic inflammation. The German Research Foundation (DFG) is providing funding worth 11.5 million euros for the first funding period until 2022, and FAU has been allocated nearly 7 million euros of this amount.

Number of patients with IBD is increasing

Severe diarrhoea, stomach pain, cramps – these are the most common symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as Morbus Crohn or Colitis ulcerosa. Around 40,000 people in Germany suffer from IBD and this number continues to rise. Patients of IBD often suffer from flare-ups of their condition, which severely affects their quality of life and physical capabilities. ‘Despite the use of strong medication, chronic inflammatory bowel conditions remain difficult to treat’, says Prof. Dr. Christoph Becker, lead researcher at the Department of Medicine 1 at FAU’s Universitätsklinikum Erlangen and spokesperson of the collaborative research centre. ‘Acute flare-ups are often treated with corticosteroids that ease symptoms only in some cases. Many patients have to take several immunosuppressive substances.’ In addition, their symptoms are often accompanied by other conditions such as arthritis, acute inflammation of fatty tissue and chronic inflammation of the biliary tract in the liver.

Little research to date on molecular and cellular mechanisms

IBD is difficult to treat because the interactions between various cell populations in the bowel are not yet fully understood. ‘Newer findings show that the intestinal mucosa cannot be regarded as merely a physical barrier. In fact, it is highly-dynamic tissue that reacts to a large number of environmental stimuli including intestinal flora and local or systemic signals,’ explains Christoph Becker. ‘The immune system in the intestine regulates the barrier function of the intestinal wall and the composition of intestinal flora and vice versa as the intestinal barrier influences the immune system.’ However, there is a lack of knowledge of how the interactions between the epithelium and immune cells influence the long-term cellular reactions that contribute to controlling chronic inflammation processes.

New concept for new therapies

This is the starting point for the researchers from Erlangen and Berlin. During the next few years, they aim to integrate findings about the regulation and function of the immune system in the bowel and current data about anti-microbial defence on the mucous membrane barrier into a new concept. The individual projects will focus in particular on the role of misdirected communication between epithelium and immune cells during the pathogenesis of IBD. The researchers’ long-term aim is to develop medication that targets the causes of bowel inflammation while retaining the ability of the immune system to fight infections and cancer cells. In addition, they hope to find diagnostic methods that predict patients’ response to therapies – a goal that not only serves to relieve symptoms quickly, but should also contribute to lowering treatment costs.

Researchers from Erlangen involved in 14 projects

The scientific programme of CRC/TRR 241 is divided into three research areas: Area A ‘Immune regulation of intestinal barrier functions’, comprises projects focusing on the effects of acute and chronic inflammation on epithelial cells, in particular on their cell homeostasis and barrier-forming functions. Area B ‘The epithelium as a regulator of immunity and inflammation in the bowel’ examines the effects of disruptions to the barrier function and antigen translocation on the mucosal immune system. The objective of research area C ‘Diagnosis and therapeutic intervention of IBD’ is to develop innovative therapeutic and diagnostic approaches and evaluate them in a clinical setting. CRC/TRR 241 comprises a total of 22 projects, 14 of which are either based in Erlangen or involve researchers from Erlangen. The Department of Medicine 1 – Gastroenterology, Pneumology and Endocrinology, Department of Medicine 3 – Rheumatology and Immunology, the Department of Surgery and the Department of Dermatology and the Institute for Medical Biotechnology are all involved. 23 jobs and 9 scholarships are being funded during the next four years with the nearly 7 million euros allocated to the FAU.

SOURCE: www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases

Prothena guts workforce by more than half, after trial failure

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Prothena Therapeutics has acted drastically by slashing staff numbers by more than half, after the failure of two pivotal trials for its lead candidate.

The company subsequently ditched NEOD001, when trials revealed that placebo treatment outperformed the drug candidate in the treatment of AL amyloidosis.

The reorganisation sees 63 positions cut away from the Dublin-based company, representing a shedding of 57% of the entire staff at the company.

As is usually the case, the process was necessitated to stymie cash losses during 2018 – it projected its estimated net cash burn for the year to be $40 million to $50 million, driven by a net loss of $170 million to $185 million.

Luckily for the biotech, it’s had some backers that were betting that its work would produce results and so estimates that it still have a relatively healthy $421 million in cash to end the year on.

One notable backer is renowned UK investor, Neil Woodford, who had to defend his investment in biotech in a blog post immediately after the trial failures were announced – pointing out strengths from within the Prothena’s pipeline and suggesting its partnership with Roche was one reason to keep faith with the biotech.

In the announcement regarding its restructuring, Prothena followed suit, with Gene Kinney, President and Chief Executive Officer of Prothena, saying: “As we move forward, we have the resources to support the advancement of our pipeline through meaningful milestones and we will focus on developing neuroscience programs that we believe have a potential to offer significant benefit to patients. This includes our two clinical-stage programs PRX002/RG7935, currently in Phase 2 development in the PASADENA study in patients with early Parkinson’s disease, and PRX004, which recently initiated a Phase 1 study in patients with ATTR amyloidosis.”

PRX002/RG7935 is both being developed in collaboration with Roche and there will be significant hopes placed on this candidate to pull the biotech out of a tricky spot; however, with the treatment being for patients with Parkinson’s disease, it’s a fairly risky bet given the dearth of disease-modifying treatments for the condition.

SOURCE: www.pharmafile.com/news/517476

Sun Pharma drug combo scores FDA approval in advanced castration-resistant prostate cancer

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Sun Pharma is celebrating with the announcement that its CYP17 inhibitor Yonsa (abiraterone acetate) has been awarded FDA approval in combination with methylprednisolone for the treatment of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) in adult patients.

Yonsa has been designed using Churchill Pharmaceuticals’ SoluMatrix Fine Particle Technology manufacturing process to offer a micronised formulation of abiraterone acetate tablets, allowing it to be more efficiently absorbed in the body. The active ingredient is converted in vivo to abiraterone, an androgen biosynthesis inhibitor that inhibits 17 α-hydroxylase/C17,20-lyase (CYP17).

As part of an existing deal between the pair, Churchill Pharmaceuticals will receive upfront, commercial milestone payments and royalties related to sales of the drug in the US, where Churchill will handle marketing duties.

“We are pleased to add Yonsa to our growing oncology portfolio and continue to deliver on Sun Pharma’s commitment for enhanced patient access to innovative cancer therapies,” commented Sun Pharma’s North American CEO Abhay Gandhi.

SOURCE: www.pharmafile.com/news/517442

Patient centricity: a winning formula

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Industry has taken a collective pause in an effort to re-evaluate and rethink longstanding approaches to drug development and commercialisation.

There has been considerable discussion about the concept of patient centricity in the pharmaceutical community, with attention being recalibrated on the ultimate goal — making it easier for the patient to reach improved health outcomes. This perspective is underpinned by the recognition that what is best for the patient will lead to beneficial outcomes for all stakeholders, including the drug company, the healthcare provider and the supporting community of associated service providers.

There is a famous quote from former United States Surgeon General, C. Everett Koop: “Drugs don’t work in people who don’t take them.” It is estimated that less than one third of all prescriptions written are actually filled at the pharmacy by patients. Wide-ranging studies have shown medication adherence rates for life-threatening diseases — including diabetes, heart disease and oncology — can be as low as 30–40%. With the benefit of interventional techniques and developing technologies, adherence rates have been shown to improve; however, these programmes are not broadly adopted within industry at scale and have neither significantly reduced the overall cost of healthcare nor benefitted large populations.

Patients may be non-adherent for a variety of reasons, some conscious and some unconscious. Certainly, we are all admittedly forgetful when it comes to taking our medicine on time or being diligent about timely refills of those prescriptions. Cost can also be a significant factor whereby patients will consciously stretch their medication supply or simply go off therapy. In either instance, doing so will hamper the health impact of their prescribed therapy or worse; taking a drug holiday while prescribed an anticoagulant could potentially put their life in jeopardy.

Other considerations may be unwanted side-effects or a lack of understanding about how to optimally take the medication, such as taking with food or alternatively avoiding food for some period of time, resulting in reduced effectiveness. Fear or general lack of understanding can also inhibit the path to improved health by affecting the patient’s perception of the medication and their willingness to be compliant.

Likewise, the patient may not physically experience the benefit of the drug and, in some instances, may have a negative perception owing to the unwanted side-effects. Hypertension is the classic example; the patient may have high blood pressure but generally not feel the effects of their disease. However, they may experience considerably unpleasant side-effects as a result of their course of treatment.

Likewise, a similar scenario plays out in popular cholesterol lowering medications. By scale, these two examples are noteworthy; in the US, with a population of more than 300 million people, of which 75% are adults, it is estimated that one in every three adults has hypertension, whereas 10–20% of adults have high cholesterol. A large-scale patient-centric approach to benefit medication adherence would have significant positive health and economic impacts.

Focusing patient centricity in clinical trials

In addition to challenges with patient adherence to medication in clinical trials, sponsors and study organisers are also constantly faced with hurdles such as patient recruitment and patient retention. As the industry is tasked with further expediting drug development and decreasing clinical study duration, FDA is increasingly requiring additional studies and further data to prove long-term safety and comparative effectiveness, including post-marketing studies once the drug is commercially available in the market.

This trend is coupled with an increasing percentage of drugs being brought to market for very specialised disease states and narrow therapeutic indications. This wave of specialised medicines and the ongoing need for treatment-naïve candidates, paired with cost pressures in the R&D sector, has increased the use of multinational studies. These complex studies in turn create the requirement for multilingual labelling. This can result in the creation of investigational medicinal product (IMP) study materials that may contain upwards of 16–20 languages on a single label.

Clinical trial professionals are left to balance all of these demands and creatively identify initiatives to keep the focus on the patient. At a surface level, these competing priorities may seem to be in direct conflict. However, when one looks at the situation from a broader perspective, the focus on patient centricity clearly generates tangible value and outweighs the short-term inefficiencies created by opting for a solution solely based on speed or cost.

Patient centricity in package design

A practical example of patient centricity in action can be found in package selection for investigational studies. When looking to initiate a clinical study, a sponsor company may be evaluating whether to choose a bottle or a unit dose blister in a calendarised format for their clinical study material.

Looking simply at the short-term criteria of expediting material for study initiation, when a difference of weeks or days can be considerable, the path of selecting a bottle would be a logical solution. It is a cost-effective packaging option, it is relatively “off the shelf” in its availability, it can be hand filled by a clinical packager with minimal start-up costs, has an acceptable stability profile for barrier properties and is child resistant.

Conversely, when evaluating the development of a unit dose adherence package, the company might find that it may involve a longer lead time for development and be more costly to produce. Looking from a short-term perspective and the immediate pressures of cost and expediting, the choice leaves little room for debate. However, if the sponsor company is taking a holistic approach with a focus on patient centricity, the broader economics absolutely point to the use of a patient-centric package.

Using a calendarised unit dose blister format or compliance/adherence packaging enables sponsor companies to both address the needs of the patient as well as positively impact the desire for better data, more efficient studies and lower total delivered cost. The use of this style of package allows patients to take medication exactly as prescribed and track their usage, rather than a bulk approach in a bottle format. Physicians can capture vital information on the package, including the specific date to start the therapy and any other pertinent notes for the patient. With the returned package, the patient can physically demonstrate to clinical providers that they have taken the product as prescribed. Furthermore, technologies are available that can provide real-time tracking of patient dosing, allowing for clinical interventions to ensure proper adherence while the study is in progress.

These technologies and principles extend to other delivery forms such as injectables. The ability to prompt, monitor and even track real-time information is a powerful tool. Likewise, with the advent of Bluetooth and nearfield communication technologies, packages with integrated technology can capture real-time information about side-effects or other vital information as patients take the medication during the course of treatment. Better adherence leads to healthier patients and more valuable study data.

Poor adherence can be rectified and corrected as it happens. Better information gathering can lead to improved patient retention, a significant cost in clinical trial administration and a persistent challenge in study duration. It is estimated that, in the industry, clinical studies on average have a 30% drop out rate. With more adherent investigational study patients, health outcomes are improved and better retention is realised, translating into reduced total delivered cost, more valuable data generated and studies executed more efficiently.

Patient centricity in clinical supply chain logistics

Another focus point for realising patient centricity in clinical trials is in the area of study design and administration. Considerable interest is being focused on Direct-to-Patient models, in which patients may minimise or in some instances avoid the need to come to a hospital or clinic to receive the study drug, as well as provide critical health feedback. In this scenario, patients are engaged by clinical trial or healthcare professionals in a home setting and the study drug is physically delivered to their home by a trained specialist. Clearly, this model is not applicable for all studies and disease states, but for certain programmes there can be considerable benefit to the patient and the study.

In certain geographies, patients in a traditional clinical study may have to travel significant distances to participate, which can considerably hamper patient recruitment and retention. In a Direct-to-Patient model, the study effectively comes to them. This model may increase the cost of study administration for the sponsor company; however, by executing the study in a more patient-focused approach, the sponsor company can realise significant benefit through patient recruitment and retention, again translating into better data, more efficient studies and a faster path to completion.

Patient centricity in a global world

One of the increasing challenges in taking a patient-centric approach to clinical study execution is the growth in multinational study execution. Often, supplies are designed to pool, so that multiple languages are provided and materials can be directed to individual countries as needed.

This scenario forces sponsor companies to either manage a multitude of language-specific supplies or focus on common supplies — whereby they condense information owing to the shear amount of text being added, often squeezed into a multi-page booklet.

Careful consideration must be paid to graphics that are common to all languages and cultures to ensure patients can clearly comprehend considerably distilled opening instructions, dosing regimens and other key information. Rather than a traditional pooled supply approach, some companies have developed newer strategies for just-in-time (JIT) labelling or late stage customisation logistics, whereby they label study materials according to country specific requirements at the time of drug dispatch.

This can reduce the complexity of a scenario in which they would be trying to accommodate 16 different languages on the same label in a multi-page booklet approach. This JIT strategy might decentralise supplies but may bring other benefits, such as meeting the language and cultural needs of patients in their geography, as well as those of the study administration.

Patient focus yields powerful results

The industry is only in the infancy of its journey towards patient centricity; but, it is clear that with a focus on the patient, many tangible benefits can be realised by drug companies in the development and commercialisation of life-saving medicines.

With so many significant breakthroughs during the past decade, it is exciting to see where this patient focused journey will lead as new patient breakthroughs are happening every day.

SOURCE: www.manufacturingchemist.com/news

ABPI expert urges to find new ‘blockbuster treatments’ for brain tumors

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With the Government set to invest an additional £20 million into the research, diagnosis and development of treatments for brain tumours, we need to talk more about how we are going to find the next blockbuster treatments for these devastating diseases.

Nearly 11,500 people are diagnosed with a brain tumour every year in the UK with fewer than 15% surviving beyond 10 years. This week’s announcement from the from the Department of Health and Social Care – following the death of Dame Tessa Jowell – that they would be doubling investment for brain cancer research to £40 million is a welcome commitment to helping achieve a goal our industry shares: finding innovative new treatments and cures for these diseases.

The science is advancing in laboratories here in the UK and around the world, funded and supported by charities, universities and the pharmaceutical industry, collectively we are working to fight back against this terrible disease.

Among the 7,000 medicines currently being developed by the global pharmaceutical industry, there are 58 medicines in the pipeline for brain tumours, including gliomas. Companies are actively working to find better ways to speed up medicines development to get treatments to patients sooner.

In her speech to the House of Lords in January, Dame Tessa Jowell talked candidly about her glioblastoma diagnosis and called for greater collaboration in the fight against cancer. She also talked about the speeding up of drug trials by testing more than one at a time, saying: “I am not afraid, but I am fearful that this new and important approach may be put into the ‘too difficult’ box.”

The type of clinical trials Tessa Jowell talked about have many different names: adaptive randomisation, drop-the-loser, adaptive dose-finding, adaptive seamless and the list goes on.

The one thing they all have in common is flexibility. In trials like this – that we call adaptive design clinical trials – researchers can see how patients are responding to treatments and then change or stop parts of the trial in real time.

When used appropriately, trials like this may improve efficiency, reduce cost, maximize information gained and minimize risk to the patients and sponsors. Ultimately, drug development can be accelerated so that the right treatments can be delivered rapidly to the right patients. The UK is seen as a pioneer of innovative clinical trials and this involves collaboration between academia, the NHS, industry and medical research charities –  we must ensure we keep it that way in the future.

The issue is that these clinical trial types are not easy to design, plan or execute. An adaptive design will not rescue a poorly planned trial or ineffective treatment.

We need to make sure the regulatory authorities in the UK are not seen as a barrier to innovation; the MHRA and HRA are open to discussion and we need to encourage researchers and pharmaceutical companies to start conversations with them early in the process of planning an innovative clinical trial.

We think that adaptive design clinical trials could be the solution to speeding up the research and development of not only brain tumor treatments, but for all sorts of diseases. Research into small or rare patient populations could really benefit from these trials since they help us quickly rule out the drugs or drug combinations that aren’t working and give more patients the option to contribute to research and clinical trials.

We’re not alone. In February, the Department of Health and Social Care published their brain tumor research report which stated that, because brain tumors are one of the areas that have small patient populations, we need to think differently about how we conduct clinical trials and incorporate innovative trial designs.

The report provided practical recommendations for how we can work collaboratively to make quicker progress in this area. The next steps are to build on the UK’s existing strengths, ensure we have access to researchers with the right skills, and make sure that the right infrastructure is in place for us to make really make progress in this area.

Alongside their funding announcement, we welcome the Government’s commitment this week to accelerate the use of adaptive design trials. When used appropriately, drug development can be accelerated so that the right treatments can be delivered rapidly to the right patients – and that’s where the real benefit lies.

As we look to the future of cutting-edge research and development for blockbuster treatments, we know we need to make the case for innovative clinical trial design, talk more about the amazing science our researchers, companies and NHS are pioneering and encourage them to have open conversations with the UK regulators to ensure that innovative clinical research is safe and effective.

Together, we won’t rest until devastating brain tumours are a thing of the past.

SOURCE: www.news-medical.net/news

GSK’s blockbuster HIV drug linked with birth defects

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Regulators in Europe and the US have issued warnings about a link between GlaxoSmithKline’s blockbuster HIV drug Tivicay (dolutegravir) and birth defects of the brain and spine.

The European Medicines Agency’s safety committee has said it is evaluating preliminary results from a study which found four cases of birth defects such as spina bifida – a malformed spinal cord – in babies born to mothers who became pregnant while taking Tivicay (dolutegravir).

The Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) has issued precautionary advice while assessing the study, saying Tivicay should not be prescribed to women seeking to become pregnant.

Women who can become pregnant should use effective contraception while taking Tivicay-based medicines, the PRAC said.

In a separate announcement the FDA said it was also issuing a warning following preliminary results of an ongoing observational study in Botswana, suggesting women who took Tivicay at the time of becoming pregnant, or early in the first trimester, appear to be at higher risk for these birth defects.

The US regulator warned against stopping Tivicay-containing regiments without first switching to alternative HIV medicines, as this could cause the virus to spread to the unborn baby.

Women of childbearing age should talk to healthcare professionals about other non-Tivicay containing medicines.

Tivicay, an integrase strand transfer inhibitor (INSTI) is an important drug for GlaxoSmithKline, which produces the drug through its ViiV joint HIV venture with Pfizer and Shionogi.

Tivicay (dolutegravir) is sold on its own for use as a component of combinations involving other drugs, and generated sales of £1.4 billion,

And Triumeq, which combines dolutegravir with nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors abacavir and lamivudine, brings in sales of more than £2.4 billion.

There are alternatives from the same class such as Merck & Co’s Isentress (raltegravir) and combinations, and combinations containing Gilead’s elvitegravir.

These are still preliminary findings, and the warnings have been issued purely as a precaution.

But preventing HIV spreading to unborn children is important to the medical community, and if there is stronger evidence of a link with birth defects, doctors will surely look for alternative therapies.

SOURCE: www.pharmaphorum.com/news

AZ’s potassium drug Lokelma finally approved in US

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AstraZeneca badly needs new drugs on the market as several former blockbusters have been hit by generic competition – and finally its high potassium treatment Lokelma has been approved by US regulators.

The drug, a highly selective potassium-removing agent, has been approved at the third time of asking by the FDA, which had been concerned about issues at its manufacturing plant in Texas.

European regulators approved the drug formerly known as ZS-9 in March after their concerns over the issues were resolved, and after two previous rejections the US regulator is also satisfied with the technical arrangements at the facility.

AZ gained rights to the drug after buying ZS Pharma in 2015 for $2.7 billion and is designed to treat hyperkalaemia, where high potassium levels threaten kidney and heart function.

Lokelma (sodium zirconium cyclosilicate) will compete with Vifor Pharma group member Relypsa’s rival Veltassa (patiromer), which has been on the market for a few years in the US and Europe.

The Anglo-Swedish pharma has predicted sales in excess of $1 billion annually for ZS-9, although some analysts say this is a conservative estimate.

The risk of hyperkalaemia increases significantly for patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and for those who take common medications for heart failure (HF), such as renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) inhibitors, which can increase potassium in the blood.

To help prevent the recurrence of hyperkalaemia, RAAS-inhibitor therapy is often modified or discontinued, which can compromise cardio-renal outcomes and increase the risk of death.

Sean Bohen, chief medical officer at AstraZeneca, said: “The consequences of hyperkalaemia can be very serious and it’s reassuring for treating physicians that Lokelma has demonstrated lowering of potassium levels in patients with chronic kidney disease, heart failure, diabetes and those taking RAAS inhibitors.”

AZ badly needs the new sales – sales of its Crestor (rosuvastatin), a former blockbuster were down 38% in Q1, to $338 million, and overall revenues fell 4% to just under $5.2 billion.

The company is selling off its old and unwanted drugs to prop up revenues and reduce costs – but this can only be seen as a short-term measure before new revenues come on stream.

CEO Pascal Soriot also faces a shareholder revolt, after more than 37% of shareholders voted against or abstained at the firm’s annual meeting when asked to approve a £9.4m pay package for Soriot, down from £14.3 million last year.

Soriot has set a sales target of above $40 billion by 2023, despite the struggles getting new drugs to the market.

SOURCE: www.pharmaphorum.com/news

New indication for evolocumab in established atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease

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Amgen has announced announced that the European Commission (EC) has approved a new indication in the Repatha® (evolocumab) label for adults with established atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (myocardial infarction, stroke or peripheral arterial disease) to reduce cardiovascular risk by lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels.

With the expanded label now in place, Amgen is working with payers in Europe to remove prescribing barriers and expand access in order to reach patients with established cardiovascular disease who are at risk of another event.

“With its proven ability to prevent heart attacks and strokes, Repatha offers hope for one of the greatest health challenges we face today. However, the majority of patients in Europe who could benefit from treatment with a PCSK9 inhibitor remain unserved and at risk of a cardiovascular event,” said Anthony C. Hooper, executive vice president of Global Commercial Operations at Amgen. “To help ensure eligible patients around the world can access and benefit from Repatha, Amgen is willing to work in partnership with payers to help manage affordability concerns from increased patient access. Furthermore, we are committed to excellence in LDL-C management and collaborating with healthcare providers to deliver comprehensive solutions for patients.”

Of all the modifiable risk factors for heart attack and stroke, lowering high LDL-C is one of the most important and impactful.1,2 Yet, even among patients currently taking a lipid-lowering therapy, many patients still have high LDL-C levels and remain at risk for cardiovascular events. Repatha is a groundbreaking medicine proven to significantly lower “bad cholesterol” or LDL-C for high-risk patients who suffer from a combination of high LDL-C and cardiovascular disease, and who continue to struggle with lowering their LDL-C levels despite statin therapy.

“We know that patients with a previous history of cardiovascular events are at an increased risk of subsequent events, especially in the first year,”3-5 said Sean E. Harper, MD, executive vice president of Research and Development at Amgen. “With far too many patients at risk of recurrent cardiovascular events, we are pleased that the European Commission has approved Repatha to prevent heart attacks and strokes in adults with established atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. The science clearly indicates that ‘lower LDL-C is better’ and this approval underscores the role for Repatha among high-risk patients for whom statins alone are not enough.”

The approval by the EC recognises the positive findings from the Repatha cardiovascular outcomes study (FOURIER), expanding the label to include data on the additional reduction and prevention of heart attacks, strokes and coronary revascularisations on top of maximally tolerated statin therapy. FOURIER showed reductions in the risk of heart attack by 27%, the risk of stroke by 21% and the risk of coronary revascularisation procedures by 22% in patients treated with Repatha and statin therapy compared to patients treated with placebo and statin therapy over a mean duration of 26 months.6

References

  1. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. How To Prevent and Control Coronary Heart Disease Risk Factors. Accessed April 10, 2018
  2. Kuklina, EV. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vital signs: prevalence, treatment, and control of high levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. United States, 1999–2002 and 2005–2008. MMWR. 2011;60(4):109–14
  3. Mohan KM, et al. Stroke. 2011;42:1489-94
  4. Bhatt DL, et al. JAMA.  2010;304:1350-7.
  5. Jernberg, T., et al. Eur Heart J. 2015. 36(19), 1163-117
  6. Sabatine MS, Giugliano RP, Keech AC, et al, for the FOURIER Steering Committee and Investigators. N Engl J Med. Evolocumab and Clinical Outcomes in Patients with Cardiovascular Disease. 2017;376:1713-22.

SOURCE: www.hospitalpharmacyeurope.com/editors-pick

Celebrating 15 years of life-saving technology

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The experts in temperature controlled packaging Peli BioThermal, are celebrating 15 years of the Original Golden Hour container, developed to provide blood to critically wounded soldiers.

The award-winning Original Golden Hour container – the company’s flagship product – was recognised in 2003 as part of the US Army’s Greatest Inventions programme, has gone on to shape future product development, influencing the full range of Peli BioThermal reusable and single-use products.

“We developed the Original Golden Hour to address a critical need facing our military personnel — how to make blood available to treat the critically wounded within the crucial first hour after injury,” explained Kevin Lawler, Peli BioThermal VP of sales, “Today, the technology behind this product allows us to provide reliable temperature control not only for blood on the battlefield, but also for life-saving civilian applications, including the transport of biologics and temperature sensitive pharmaceuticals for clinical trials and commercial distribution.”

The technology is incorporated in a range of Peli BioThermal products, which are utilised by emergency first responders globally.

In 2003, the US Army needed a way to store blood and platelets to aid emergency medics saving lives on the battlefield. The answer, The Original Golden Hour container was the answer to a proposal from the US Army in 2003, when they needed a way to store blood and platelets to aid emergency medics saving lives on the battlefield. The container was subsequently included as part of the 2003 US Army’s Greatest Inventions program by the US Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) Public Affairs office.

“If you can make sure that someone doesn’t bleed out by giving a resupply of blood right there, you’ve exponentially impacted the ability to save that soldier’s life,” said sixteenth chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, retired US Marine general, Peter Pace, who also serves as chairman of the board for Pelican Products.

It truly makes a difference on the battlefield. And that’s as true today as it was 15 years ago.”

Patented Golden Hour Technology provides superior thermal protection for high value temperature-sensitive payloads between 2 and 1686 liters, from -50ºC to 25°C for up to seven days (168 hours). Today, Golden Hour Technology is integral to all of the company’s products, including reusable products like the Credo Cube shipper and the Credo ProMed series, as well as the Chronos range of single-use shippers.

SOURCE: www.manufacturingchemist.com/news