Sanofi walks away from MyoKar­dia heart drug part­ner­ship, long be­fore key da­ta read­out

Last June, MyoKar­dia launched its keen­ly an­tic­i­pat­ed piv­otal tri­al for its ge­net­i­cal­ly tar­get­ed lead heart drug. Da­ta are ex­pect­ed next year, but part­ner Sanofi is not wait­ing around. On Wednes­day, the San Fran­cis­co-based biotech said its French part­ner had elect­ed to cease their part­ner­ship that was forged in 2014.

The drug, mava­camten, is ex­pect­ed to break new ground in heart dis­ease, a field mo­nop­o­lized by phar­ma ma­jors large­ly due to the long, ar­du­ous and ex­pen­sive tri­als that are com­mon­place in heart drug de­vel­op­ment. Un­like oth­er com­pa­nies fo­cus­ing on com­mon heart dis­or­ders, MyoKar­dia’s lead ex­per­i­men­tal treat­ment is al­so tar­get­ing a so-far un­tapped con­di­tion — ob­struc­tive hy­per­trophic car­diomy­opa­thy — in which a heart pro­tein mu­ta­tion forces the or­gan to squeeze more, thick­en­ing heart mus­cles and cre­at­ing a cas­cade of con­se­quences that can cul­mi­nate in death.

In the sec­ond tranche of the drug’s Phase II tri­al in a small group of pa­tients re­port­ed in March, the com­pa­ny said its low dose ap­proach was large­ly suc­cess­ful across a crop of end­points, ex­cept one for peak VO2 (ex­er­cise ca­pac­i­ty mea­sured by an in­crease in oxy­gen con­sump­tion).

MyoKar­dia’s ap­proach to re­search is to de­vel­op drugs for ge­net­i­cal­ly de­fined pa­tient groups, which is al­so re­flect­ed in its sec­ond pro­gram, MYK-491, un­der de­vel­op­ment for di­lat­ed car­diomy­opa­thy. The Sanofi part­ner­ship inked in 2014 in­volved the de­vel­op­ment of up to three pro­grams through dis­cov­ery and in­to clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment for the treat­ment of hy­per­trophic car­diomy­opa­thy (HCM) and di­lat­ed car­diomy­opa­thy (DCM).

On Wednes­day, MyoKar­dia said it had re­gained the glob­al rights to all the pro­grams (in­clud­ing mava­camten and MYK-491) un­der the re­search and col­lab­o­ra­tion agree­ment with Sanofi, which will not be ex­tend­ed be­yond the ini­tial re­search term, which end­ed on De­cem­ber 31, 2018. The biotech’s $MYOK shares were down about 8.5% in ear­ly trad­ing.

As part of the deal, MyoKar­dia re­ceived rough­ly $230 mil­lion in fund­ing from Sanofi, and has ad­vanced mava­camten from pre­clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment in­to a late-stage piv­otal study for the treat­ment of HCM, and MYK-491 from dis­cov­ery to a Phase II proof-of-con­cept study in pa­tients with DCM.

Mean­while, Phase II da­ta for mava­camten in non-ob­struc­tive HCM are ex­pect­ed in the sec­ond half of this year and Phase IIa proof-of-con­cept da­ta for MYK-491 in DCM are ex­pect­ed be­fore the end of 2019.

Grow­ing ac­cep­tance of ac­cel­er­at­ed path­ways for nov­el treat­ments: but does reg­u­la­to­ry ap­proval lead to com­mer­cial suc­cess?

By Mwango Kashoki, MD, MPH, Vice President-Technical, and Richard Macaulay, Senior Director, of Parexel Regulatory & Access

In recent years, we’ve seen a significant uptake in the use of regulatory options by companies looking to accelerate the journey of life-saving drugs to market. In 2018, 73% of the novel drugs approved by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) were designated under one or more expedited development program categories (Fast Track, Breakthrough Therapy, Priority Review, and Accelerated Approval).ᶦ

Bio­gen touts new ev­i­dence from the gene ther­a­py com­pa­ny it wa­gered $800M on

A year ago, Biogen made a big bet on a small gene therapy company. Now they have new evidence one of their therapies could work.

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In fi­nal re­port, ICER ap­pears to have a change of heart on new acute mi­graine ther­a­pies

ICER appears to have reversed course on the fresh crop of acute migraine therapies.

The cost-effectiveness watchdog in November issued a draft report suggesting that existing generic medicines are more effective and cheaper than Allergan’s December-approved CGRP ubrogepant, Biohaven rival molecule, rimegepant (which is under FDA review), and Lilly’s October-sanctioned lasmiditan, which binds to 5-HT1F receptors.

Sanofi out­lines big API plans as coro­n­avirus out­break re­port­ed­ly threat­ens short­age of 150 drugs

As the world becomes increasingly dependant on Asia for the ingredients of its medicines, Sanofi sees business to be done in Europe.

The French drugmaker said it’s creating the world’s second largest active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) manufacturer by spinning out its six current sites into a standalone company: Brindisi (Italy), Frankfurt Chemistry (Germany), Haverhill (UK), St Aubin les Elbeuf (France), Újpest (Hungary) and Vertolaye (France). They have mapped out €1 billion in expected sales by 2022 and 3,100 employees for the new operations headquartered in France.

Bi­cy­cle Ther­a­peu­tics takes Roche's Genen­tech on an up to $2B im­muno-on­col­o­gy ride

Bicycle Therapeutics — which is developing a new class of chemically synthesized drugs designed to be pharmacologically as active as biologics, yet manufactured as small molecules —  has scored another big partner: Roche’s Genentech.

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UP­DAT­ED: NIH-part­nered Mod­er­na ships off its PhI-ready coro­n­avirus vac­cine can­di­date to a sea of un­cer­tain­ty

Off it goes.

Moderna has shipped the first batch of its mRNA vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 from its manufacturing facility in Norwood, Massachusetts, to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland, for a pioneering Phase I study.

It’s a hectic race against time. In the 42 days since Moderna selected the sequence they would use to develop their vaccine — a record time, no less — the number of confirmed cases around the world has surged astronomically from a few dozen to over 80,000, per WHO and Johns Hopkins estimates.

The candidate that they came up with, mRNA-1273, encodes for a prefusion stabilized form of the spike protein, which gives the virus its crown shape and plays a key role in transmission. The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, the Oslo-based group better known as CEPI, funded the manufacture of this batch.

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When drug val­ue as­sess­ment meets re­al-world ev­i­dence: ICER en­lists Ae­tion in pric­ing eval­u­a­tion

In a union of two of the hottest trends in the US biopharma world, ICER is teaming up with a high-profile company to integrate real-world evidence in their assessment of treatment value.

The drug pricing watchdog — formally the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review — said it will utilize Aetion’s evidence platform in “select upcoming assessments” and their new 24-month re-evaluations of drugs granted accelerated approval by the FDA.

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First US Covid-19 tri­als set to get un­der­way in Ne­bras­ka and Wash­ing­ton, backed by NIH

The first US clinical trials on the novel coronavirus are scheduled to get underway next month at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, where American passengers were taken after being evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, and at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute. Both trials are sponsored by the NIH’s National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which has led the US’s medical response to the outbreak.

Mallinck­rodt, once the na­tion’s largest oxy­codone pro­duc­er, an­nounces ten­ta­tive $1.6B set­tle­ment

Three years after it first paid out fines for its role in the US opioid abuse epidemic, Mallinckrodt has announced an agreement-in-principle that will see the company pay out $1.6 billion and place its generics unit in bankruptcy.

The tentative deal would settle hundreds of lawsuits from state and local governments over Mallinckrodt’s role in the epidemic, while also helping address the company’s increasingly mountainous debt. Although Purdue Pharma has drawn the bulk of both public and legal acrimony for opioid sales, documents made public earlier this year showed that Mallinckrodt subsidiary SpecGx, along with the generic subsidiaries of Teva and Endo Pharmaceuticals, accounted for the vast majority of the 76 billion opioid pills distributed from 2006 to 2012. Mallinckrodt was at the top of that list.