Travis Mickle, KemPharm CEO (via KemPharm)

Or­p­hazyme agrees to sell it­self, and its 'pipeline-in-a-prod­uct,' to Kem­Pharm

Two months ago, Or­p­hazyme en­list­ed the help of the Dan­ish courts to help over­see a re­struc­tur­ing in the wake of tri­al fail­ures, C-suite shake­ups and reg­u­la­to­ry re­jec­tions. The move was ex­pect­ed to help the com­pa­ny find a way to ei­ther sell it­self or its as­sets, at­tempt­ing to keep the re­search go­ing on what it once called its “pipeline-in-a-prod­uct.”

On Sun­day, the res­o­lu­tion of the court-run ef­forts came in­to view.

Kem­Pharm has agreed to ac­quire Or­p­hazyme and all as­sets and op­er­a­tions, the com­pa­nies an­nounced Sun­day evening, in­clud­ing the once-hyped drug can­di­date ari­mo­clo­mol. Kem­Pharm will pay $12.8 mil­lion in cash for the trans­ac­tion and as­sume li­a­bil­i­ties equal to about $5.2 mil­lion. The deal is ex­pect­ed to close be­fore June 1.

In ad­di­tion, the Flori­da-based biotech in­tends to keep on the “ma­jor­i­ty” of Or­p­hazyme’s re­main­ing em­ploy­ees, though the ex­act num­ber is not clear. End­points News has reached out for com­ment and will up­date this sto­ry ac­cord­ing­ly.

In­vestor re­ac­tion to the news was mut­ed, with Kem­Pharm shares $KMPH down rough­ly 3% in ear­ly Mon­day trad­ing.

The ac­qui­si­tion ef­fec­tive­ly marks the end of Or­p­hazyme’s sto­ry, which be­gan with high hopes for its sole drug as it pitched ari­mo­clo­mol as a po­ten­tial treat­ment for a wide range of CNS dis­eases. Though the biotech had sub­mit­ted its NDA for Nie­mann-Pick dis­ease type C, Or­p­hazyme had al­so test­ed it — or planned to test it — in ALS, Gauch­er dis­ease and in­clu­sion body myosi­tis.

Or­p­hazyme’s June 2021 CRL ap­par­ent­ly proved too tough to over­come on its own, how­ev­er. The re­jec­tion had been just one set­back in a string of bad news and fol­lowed mul­ti­ple piv­otal tri­al miss­es and its CEO’s abrupt res­ig­na­tion in late 2020. The chief ex­ec­u­tive’s re­place­ment al­so de­part­ed in Feb­ru­ary for Leo Phar­ma.

As the drug heads over to Kem­Pharm, it’s ev­i­dent from the com­pa­ny’s an­nounce­ment it be­lieves it can change ari­mo­clo­mol’s for­tunes. CEO Travis Mick­le said in a state­ment that it has “care­ful­ly eval­u­at­ed” the CRL and oth­er FDA cor­re­spon­dence and in­tends to re­sub­mit the NDA in Nie­mann-Pick dis­ease type C “as ear­ly as” the first quar­ter of 2023.

“We be­lieve the ef­fi­ca­cy sig­nal for ari­mo­clo­mol in NPC is con­vinc­ing and that there is a vi­able reg­u­la­to­ry path that could en­able a suc­cess­ful NDA re­sub­mis­sion,” Mick­le added.

Kem­Pharm is keep­ing de­tails on that po­ten­tial path­way close to the vest for now, but may have more an­swers in a Mon­day morn­ing in­vestor event. The biotech cit­ed its past ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing through CRLs as a rea­son it feels it can get ari­mo­clo­mol across the fin­ish line, al­lud­ing to strug­gles with an abuse-de­ter­rent opi­oid for acute pain.

Has the mo­ment fi­nal­ly ar­rived for val­ue-based health­care?

RBC Capital Markets’ Healthcare Technology Analyst, Sean Dodge, spotlights a new breed of tech-enabled providers who are rapidly transforming the way clinicians deliver healthcare, and explores the key question: can this accelerating revolution overturn the US healthcare system?

Key points

Tech-enabled healthcare providers are poised to help the US transition to value, not volume, as the basis for reward.
The move to value-based care has policy momentum, but is risky and complex for clinicians.
Outsourced tech specialists are emerging to provide the required expertise, while healthcare and tech are also converging through M&A.
Value-based care remains in its early stages, but the transition is accelerating and represents a huge addressable market.

Andy Plump, Takeda R&D chief (Jeff Rumans for Endpoints News)

What kind of PhI­Ib da­ta is worth $4B cash? Take­da’s Andy Plump has some thoughts on that

A few months back, when Takeda caused jaws to drop with its eye-watering $4 billion cash upfront for a mid-stage TYK2 drug from Nimbus, it had already taken a deep dive on the solid Phase IIb data Nimbus had assembled from its dose-ranging study in psoriasis.

Now, it’s rolling that data out, eager to demonstrate what inspired the global biopharma to go long in a neighboring, but new, disease arena for the pipeline. And the most avid students of the numbers will likely be at Bristol Myers Squibb, who will have a multi-year head start on pioneering the TYK2 space with Sotyktu (deucravacitinib) as Takeda makes its lunge for best-in-class status.

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No­vo Nordisk re­mains un­der UK scruti­ny as MHRA con­ducts its own re­view in 'in­cred­i­bly rare' case

The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency is now reviewing Novo Nordisk’s marketing violation that resulted in its loss of UK trade group membership last week. Novo Nordisk was suspended on Thursday from the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) for two years after an investigation by its regulatory arm found the pharma broke its conduct rules.

MHRA said on Tuesday that its review of the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (PMCPA) investigation is standard practice. An MHRA spokesperson emphasized in an email to Endpoints News that the situation with Novo Nordisk is “incredibly rare” while also noting ABPI took “swift and proportionate action.”

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FDA warns Proc­ter & Gam­ble over NyQuil la­bel's in­gre­di­ent list­ings

The FDA on Tuesday released a warning letter sent earlier this month to the Mason, OH-based site of Procter & Gamble Manufactura, raising questions about the list of ingredients on the label and in the electronic filing.

The warning says that for P&G’s over-the-counter Vicks Nyquil Severe Hot Remedy Cold and Flu Plus Congestion, there’s a “mismatched” list of active ingredients between the labeling and the electronic listing file. The listing file for the active ingredients did not match the active ingredients in the electronic file.

FDA in­di­cates will­ing­ness to ap­prove Bio­gen ALS drug de­spite failed PhI­II study

Ahead of Wednesday’s advisory committee hearing to discuss Biogen’s ALS drug tofersen, the FDA appeared open to approving the drug, newly released briefing documents show.

Citing the need for flexibility in a devastating disease like ALS, regulators signaled a willingness to consider greenlighting tofersen based on its effect on a certain protein associated with ALS despite a failed pivotal trial. The documents come after regulatory flexibility was part of the same rationale the agency expressed when approving an ALS drug last September from Amylyx Pharmaceuticals, indicating the FDA’s openness to approving new treatments for the disease.

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FTC says patent bat­tle over Parkin­son's drug could have 'sig­nif­i­cant im­pli­ca­tion­s' for pa­tients

The Federal Trade Commission has gotten involved in a patent feud over Supernus’ Parkinson’s drug Apokyn, a case the agency said may have ‘‘significant implications” for patients who rely on the drug.

Sage Chemical won the first generic approval for its Apokyn formulation (also known as apomorphine hydrochloride injection) back in 2022. The non-ergoline dopamine agonist is approved to treat Parkinson’s symptoms during “off episodes,” such as difficulty moving, tremors and intense cramping. However, regulators specified that the approval pertained to the generic drug cartridges only, not the injector pen required for administration.

Growth hor­mone from No­vo Nordisk is in short­age over man­u­fac­tur­ing de­lays

Novo Nordisk’s growth hormone Norditropin is in shortage because of manufacturing delays, according to an FDA site that tracks drug shortages as well as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists’ shortages list.

The FDA has shortages of the drug listed for its 5, 10, 15 and 30 mg doses, while the pharmacists’ group, also known as ASHP, reported shortages of the same doses, except for the 15 mg version.

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PhRMA calls for more di­verse in­fra­struc­ture up­grades to US emer­gency tri­als frame­work

The White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) last year sought to find ways to better coordinate large-scale clinical trials in the US — as the UK lead by example during the pandemic — especially for these emergency clinical trials.

The lobbying group PhRMA Tuesday called for more clinical trial diversity in underserved areas, including by making participation less of a burden, and expanding eligibility criteria when appropriate.

Mar­ket­ingRx roundup: What could a US Tik­Tok ban mean for phar­ma? Pfiz­er, Lil­ly lead phar­ma March Mad­ness ad­ver­tis­ers

Just as pharma marketers finally make moves into TikTok, the threat of a US ban on the social media channel is now looming. Already banned on federal employee phones by an initial Congressional act, more bills and maybe bans are on the way. With rare bipartisan agreement, lawmakers have introduced legislation that would give the US president the power to ban TikTok (although not mentioned by name) and other foreign-owned technology platforms that represent a security threat to the US.

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