Catalent lands 2 new partnerships, including for glioblastoma drug; US drops $153M into pandemic preparedness
It’s been a quiet few weeks for one of the busiest CDMOs out there, but Catalent broke its lull with the announcement of two partnerships this week.
Curtana Pharmaceuticals, an Austin, TX-based preclinical company, announced a partnership with the manufacturer Thursday to make CT-179, its drug therapy for glioblastoma, medulloblastoma and other brain cancers.
CT-179 is a selective small molecule inhibitor of LIG2, a transcription factor essential to early brain development but often not expressed in adult brain cells. The development will take place at Catalent’s San Diego facility.
Catalent is also diving further into the world of cannabidiols as it has undertaken a feasibility study for the development of a CBD anesthetic premedication.
The candidate would use Zydis, Catalent’s orally disintegrating tablet technology that disperses almost instantly in a patient’s mouth without water. JOS Pharmaceuticals signed on to provide its CBD extracted from certified hemp to help develop se•d8, a wafer that would provide awake sedation for anesthesia administered during cataract surgery and MRIs. The freeze-dried tablet will be studied at Catalent’s 250,000-square-foot facility Swindon, UK facility, and focus on establishing proof of concept and a prototype.
Catalent’s Zydis technology will allow for quick, easy administration, Catalent’s President of Oral and Special Delivery Jonathan Arnold said in the release.
US Department of Commerce awards $153M to promote manufacturing innovation
US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo has awarded the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals two awards totaling $153 million to help aid future pandemic preparedness, she announced Wednesday.
NIIMBL is designed to accelerate vaccine, monoclonal antibody and gene therapy production. The first award will provide $70 million over five years and allow NIIMBL to develop a flexible, scalable and cost-effective process that’s self-sufficient. The second will give $83 million over three years from the American Rescue Plan to support R&D to prevent and prepare for future outbreaks.
“I am so pleased that NIIMBL will continue to bring together organizations of all types to help strengthen our nation through better pandemic preparedness and a more agile manufacturing industry,” Raimondo said in a press release.
GentiBio to benefit from Forge’s AAV and manufacturing
GentiBio has partnered with Forge Biologics to use its adeno-associated viral vector process and GMP manufacturing service for its candidates to treat autoimmune, alloimmune, autoinflammatory and allergic diseases.
The program will use both Forge’s Blaze Vector platform and HEK 293 Suspension Ignition Cells. Manufacturing will happen at Forge’s 175,000-square-foot facility in Columbus, OH, dubbed The Hearth.
“We are thrilled to partner with Forge Biologics and their experienced team to further develop our lead engineered Treg program and take a critical step in advancing our therapies to patients in need,” Andy Walker, GentiBio’s Chief Technology Officer, said in a statement. “Forge offers a broad array of services ranging from process development to GMP manufacturing, making them a strong partner for GentiBio’s cell therapies with capacity to support GentiBio as we advance programs through clinical development.”
Eli Lilly acquires NC land for potential expansion
It seems that everyone else is building in North Carolina’s Research Triangle, so Eli Lilly seems to be preparing for that future as well.
The company announced it has acquired another 102 acres for $33.16 million across three pieces of land next to its current manufacturing site in the park.
“We have purchased additional land immediately adjacent to our site under construction,” Eli Lilly said in a statement to the Triangle Business Journal. “This land purchase further emphasizes our commitment to RTP and allows for future expansion opportunity.”
Lilly has plans to manufacture diabetes drugs in the Raleigh-Durham area, it said in 2020, but did not disclose where.
US exercises option for smallpox vaccine
Despite the chaos caused by the last US collaboration with Emergent BioSolutions, the federal government has exercised an option to have the New Jersey-based CDMO supply doses of smallpox vaccine to the national stockpile.
The option was exercised as part of the drugmaker’s 10-year contract, worth about $182 million, The Wall Street Journal reported.