Pfizer loses key Lyrica patent battle in the UK; Kleo Pharma closes $21M Series B round

→ The UK Supreme Court ruled against Pfizer $PFE and a patent involving its blockbuster painkiller Lyrica, in a major blow to the US drugmaker on Wednesday. Originally developed for epilepsy, the drug was eventually cleared for use in neuropathic pain that later became its key market, making it one of Pfizer’s most successful drugs in the UK. Pfizer was hoping to prolong a secondary medical use patent for neuropathic pain for the product, as the basic patent on Lyrica that expired five years ago allowed generic drugmakers to launch cheaper versions of the medicine carrying a “skinny label” limiting their use to epilepsy and general anxiety disorder, Reuters reported, These generics would inevitably be used as painkillers, Pfizer claimed in a lawsuit, but after the appeal was rejected in 2016, the case reached the SC. Pfizer’s secondary neuropathic pain patent expired last year, the report added. The SC’s decision constitutes a win for generic drugmakers Allergan $AGN and Mylan $MYL.

→ Immuno-oncology drug developer Kleo Pharmaceuticals said it had closed an oversubscribed $21 million Series B financing round, led by its Tokyo-based partner PeptiDream and including participation of its strategic investor and migraine drug developer Biohaven $BHVN. Kleo is working on a a new class of bi-specific, small molecule compounds designed to emulate or enhance biologics against cancer.

→ Novan $NOVN, which is developing medicines using nitric oxide to target dermatological and oncovirus-mediated diseases, said initial mid-stage data from its experimental drug SB206 showed promise in patients with molluscum contagiosum — a common viral infection of the skin that is largely, if not exclusively, a human disease.

→ Days after announcing it had secured the global rights to dermal pain patch Qutenza from Acorda Therapeutics $ACOR, Germany’s Grünenthal said it had acquired the US-based Averitas Pharma to commercialize Qutenza. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

→ BioXcel Therapeutics $BTAI, which is focused on drug development that utilizes artificial intelligence, said an early-stage, 14-patient study testing its intravenously administered drug, dexmedetomidine, for acute treatment of agitation in patients suffering from schizophrenia succeeded. Data showed the drug induced mild sedative effects that lasted for 1.5 to 2 hours — a clinically relevant duration — in 9 out of the 10 patients who were given the drug.

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VP Oncology Biology
Skyhawk Therapeutics Waltham, MA
Associate Director CMC
Elektroki Boston, MA
Director Process Development
Elektroki Boston, MA
Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT

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