Expansion of BioPharma: Opportunities and Investments

Expansion of
Biopharmaceutical innovations are among the most ingenious and refined achievements of modern medical science. New concepts, techniques, and therapies are emerging, such as the cell therapy Provenge, which can be used to treat cancer, and gene therapies, which provide even more amazing promises of disease remission and regenerative medicine.

In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a huge boom in the pharmaceutical industry. This is because more and more attention is being paid to increasing manufacturing capacity and starting new research on drug development.

Biopharma: Leading the Way in the Pharma Sector

In the past couple of years, the biopharmaceutical sector has deepened its roots across the medical and pharmaceutical industries, on account of the transformation of pharmaceutical companies towards biotechnology, creating opportunities for growth.

Also, growing advancements in technologies such as 3D bioprinting, biosensors, and gene editing, along with the integration of advanced artificial intelligence and virtual and augmented reality are estimated to further create prospects for growth.

According to a study, the biopharmaceutical sector makes nearly $163 billion around the world and grows by more than 8% each year, which is twice as fast as the traditional pharma sector.

Massive Investments Directed Towards Biopharma

Investing in biotech research and development (R&D) has yielded better returns than the pharma industry average. Hence, a number of pharmaceutical companies are shifting their presence toward biopharma to capitalize on the upcoming opportunities by investing in and expanding their biotechnology infrastructure.

For instance, Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., an American manufacturer of scientific instrumentation, reagents and consumables, and software services, announced an investment of $97 million to expand its bioanalytical laboratory operations into three new locations in the U.S. With this investment, the company will add 150,000 square feet of scientific workspace and install the most advanced drug development technologies to produce life-changing medicines for patients in need.

Spotlight

Biotec Pharmacon ASA

Biotec Pharmacon is a public Norwegian group within the biotechnology sector operating through two active subsidiaries, Biotec BetaGlucans AS and ArcticZymes AS. Biotec BetaGlucans develops and manufactures immune modulating compounds for the human health sectors. The company is spearheading research on products that may prevent or treat diseases caused by failure, imbalance and over-reaction of the immune system. ArcticZymes develops and manufactures heat labile marine enzymes used in molecular biology and diagnostics aiming at OEM customers worldwide.

OTHER ARTICLES
MedTech

Biotech in 2022

Article | September 22, 2022

The robust global channel of more than, 800 gene and cell curatives presently in trials will produce clinical readouts in 2022, revealing what lies ahead for advanced curatives. The impact will be felt in 2022, no matter how you slice it. Eventually, how well industry and non-supervisory bodies unite to produce new frameworks for advanced therapies will shape the year 2022 and further. Pacific Northwest talent will continue to contribute to the advancement of gene and cell curatives in both the short and long term, thanks to its deep pool of ground-breaking scientific developers, entrepreneurial directorial leadership, largely skilled translational scientists, and endured bio manufacturing technicians. We may see continued on-life science fund withdrawal from biotech in 2021, but this can be anticipated as a strong comeback in 2022 by biotech industry, backed by deep-pocketed life science investors who are committed to this sector. A similar investment, combined with pharma's cash-heavy coffers, can result in increased junction and acquisition activity, which will be a challenge for some but an occasion for others. Over the last five years, investment interest in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest has grown exponentially, from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Oregon. The region's explosive portfolio of new biotech companies, innovated out of academic centres, demonstrates the region's growing recognition of scientific invention. This created a belief that continued, especially because Seattle's start-ups and biotech enterprises are delivering on their pledge of clinical and patient impact. Talent and staffing will continue to be difficult to find. It's a CEO's market, but many of these funds' return, and are not rising in proportion to the exorbitant prices they're paying to enter deals. This schism has become particularly pronounced in 2021. Hence, everyone in biotech is concerned about reclamation and retention.

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MedTech

Better Purification and Recovery in Bioprocessing

Article | July 16, 2022

In the downstream portion of any bioprocess, one must pick through the dross before one can seize the gold the biotherapeutic that the bioprocess was always meant to generate. Unfortunately, the dross is both voluminous and various. And the biotherapeutic gold, unlike real gold, is corruptible. That is, it can suffer structural damage and activity loss. When discarding the dross and collecting the gold, bioprocessors must be efficient and gentle. They must, to the extent possible, eliminate contaminants and organic debris while ensuring that biotherapeutics avoid aggregation-inducing stresses and retain their integrity during purification and recovery. Anything less compromises purity and reduces yield. To purify and recover biotherapeutics efficiently and gently, bioprocessors must avail themselves of the most appropriate tools and techniques. Here, we talk with several experts about which tools and techniques can help bioprocessors overcome persistent challenges. Some of these experts also touch on new approaches that can help bioprocessors address emerging challenges.

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MedTech

Advancement in Genomics Accelerating its Penetration into Precision Health

Article | July 20, 2022

Genomics is an interdisciplinary field of biology emphasizing the structure, editing, evolution, function, and mapping of genomes. It is creating deeper inroads across the precision health domain with the increasing introduction of advanced technologies such as quantum simulation, next-generation sequencing (NGS), and precise genome manipulation. As precision health focuses on providing the proper intervention to the right patient at the right time, genomics increasingly finds applications in human and pathogen genome sequencing in clinical and research spaces. Rising Hereditary Diseases Burden Paving the Way for Genomics in Precision Health In the last few years, a significant surge in the prevalence of diseases and ailments such as diabetes, obesity, baldness, and others has been witnessed across the globe. A history of family members with chronic diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, hearing issues, and heart disease, can sometimes continue into the next generation. Hence, the study of genes is extensively being conducted for predicting health risks and early treatment of these diseases. It also finds use in CRISPR-based diagnostics and the preparation of precision medication for the individual. In addition, ongoing advancements in genomics are making it possible to identify different genetic traits that persuade people to more widespread diseases and health problems. The Emergence of Genomics Improves Disease Understanding Genomics refers to the study of the complete genetic makeup of a cell or organism. Increasing scientific research in the area substantially contributes to increasing knowledge about the human genome and assists in improving the ability to understand disease etiology, risk, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. On account of these improvements, innovative genomic technologies and tools are being developed to enable better precision health not only for the individual but for various regional populations as well. The Way Forward With growing preference for personalized medicine and an increasing need for more accurate pathogen detection and diagnostics, genomics is gaining huge popularity across the precision health domain. Also, increasing research activities for developing novel high-precision therapeutics and rising importance of gene study in the prevention, diagnosis, and management of infectious and genetic diseases will further pave the way for genomics in the forthcoming years.

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Diagnostics

Making Predictions by Digitizing Bioprocessing

Article | April 20, 2021

With advances in data analytics and machine learning, the move from descriptive and diagnostic analytics to predictive and prescriptive analytics and controls—allowing us to better forecast and understand what will happen and thus optimize process outcomes—is not only feasible but inevitable, according to Bonnie Shum, principal engineer, pharma technical innovation, technology & manufacturing sciences and technology at Genentech. “Well-trained artificial intelligence systems can help drive better decision making and how data is analyzed from drug discovery to process development and to manufacturing processes,” she says. Those advances, though, only really matter when they improve the lives of patients. That’s exactly what Shum expects. “The convergence of digital transformation and operational/processing changes will be critical for the facilities of the future and meeting the needs of our patients,” she continues. “Digital solutions may one day provide fully automated bioprocessing, eliminating manual intervention and enabling us to anticipate potential process deviations to prevent process failures, leading to real-time release and thus faster access for patients.” To turn Bioprocessing 4.0 into a production line for precision healthcare, real-time release and quickly manufacturing personalized medicines will be critical. Adding digitization and advanced analytics wherever possible will drive those improvements. In fact, many of these improvements, especially moving from descriptive to predictive bioprocessing, depend on more digitization.

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Spotlight

Biotec Pharmacon ASA

Biotec Pharmacon is a public Norwegian group within the biotechnology sector operating through two active subsidiaries, Biotec BetaGlucans AS and ArcticZymes AS. Biotec BetaGlucans develops and manufactures immune modulating compounds for the human health sectors. The company is spearheading research on products that may prevent or treat diseases caused by failure, imbalance and over-reaction of the immune system. ArcticZymes develops and manufactures heat labile marine enzymes used in molecular biology and diagnostics aiming at OEM customers worldwide.

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Medical

Jnana Therapeutics Announces Positive Clinical Proof of Concept Achieved with JNT-517, a Potential First-in-Class Oral Treatment for PKU

Jnana Therapeutics, Inc. | February 02, 2024

Jnana Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biotechnology company leveraging its next-generation chemoproteomics platform to discover medicines for challenging-to-drug targets, today announced positive, statistically significant interim results from its ongoing clinical study of JNT-517 in individuals with phenylketonuria (PKU). JNT-517, a small molecule inhibitor of the phenylalanine (Phe) transporter SLC6A19, is being evaluated as a potential first-in-class oral treatment for PKU across all ages and genotypes. On the basis of these positive interim results, Jnana has adapted the Phase 1b trial design to support the potential for accelerated progression of JNT-517. “There is an urgent need for an oral, safe, and efficacious therapy for the more than 60% of individuals with PKU not currently on therapy. Across the spectrum of mild to severe disease, our results demonstrate a robust, sustained reduction in blood Phe levels, the registrational endpoint for PKU, giving us high confidence in the path forward for JNT-517,” said George Vratsanos, M.D., Chief Medical Officer and Head of R&D at Jnana Therapeutics. “We are also encouraged by this validation of the power of our RAPID platform to discover small molecules with compelling clinical benefit against challenging-to-drug targets.” JNT-517 is being studied in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in individuals with mild to severe PKU. Following a 28-day screening period focused predominantly on ensuring an average blood Phe level of >600µM, study participants were randomized with no run-in period to 75mg of JNT-517 twice daily (BID) or placebo. The planned interim analysis was based on 13 participants, eight dosed with JNT-517 and five dosed with placebo over 28 days, and demonstrated the following results JNT-517 led to a statistically significant (p=0.0019 vs. placebo) mean blood Phe reduction from baseline of 51%, measured per-protocol at day 28. A high response rate was seen where seven of eight (88%) treated participants achieved >30% reduction in blood Phe from baseline; five of eight (63%) achieved >45% reduction; and two of eight (25%) achieved >65% reduction. A robust response was seen across participants treated with JNT-517 irrespective of baseline blood Phe levels, which ranged from 593µM to 1,526µM with a mean of 1,124µM. A rapid onset of effect was observed with significant blood Phe reduction achieved within seven days after commencing dosing, which was sustained through the full 28 days of dosing. JNT-517 was safe and well tolerated with no serious adverse events and no clinically significant changes in laboratory parameters, consistent with the safety profile demonstrated in the Phase 1a healthy volunteer study. "JNT-517 represents a completely new therapeutic approach that could transform the current treatment paradigm in PKU, in particular for individuals with severe, or classical, PKU where there is the highest unmet medical need,” said Cary O. Harding, M.D., study investigator and Professor of Molecular and Medical Genetics at Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine. “I am encouraged by the clinical results to date and look forward to working with Jnana and the PKU community to continue to advance this program.” Based on these interim results, Jnana has adapted the protocol of the ongoing trial to include dose exploration. Jnana expects topline data from the second dose cohort in mid-2024 and plans to submit full data from the two dose cohorts for presentation at a scientific meeting in the second half of 2024. Jnana anticipates the company will engage regulators in the second half of 2024 and seek to advance JNT-517 directly into a pivotal Phase 3 study in the first half of 2025. JNT-517 Phase 1b Clinical Trial The ongoing clinical program includes a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial evaluating the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and effect on blood and urinary Phe of JNT-517 dosed over a four-week period in individuals diagnosed with PKU. The study dosed its first participant with PKU in August 2023 and is enrolling individuals aged 18 to 65 at clinical sites in the United States and Australia. For more information about the study, please see clinicaltrials.gov (NCT05781399). About JNT-517 JNT-517 is a selective small molecule inhibitor of the Phe transporter SLC6A19 that has the potential to be a first-in-class oral therapy used to treat any person with PKU, regardless of age or genotype. JNT-517 acts at a novel, cryptic allosteric site to block kidney reabsorption of Phe and offers a promising new approach to reduce blood Phe levels. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted JNT-517 Rare Pediatric Disease Designation in late 2022. About PKU PKU is a rare inherited metabolic disorder caused by a deficiency of the enzyme phenylalanine hydroxylase (PAH). This enzyme is required for the breakdown of phenylalanine (Phe), an amino acid found in all protein-containing foods. When PAH is deficient or defective, Phe accumulates to abnormally high levels in the blood. If left untreated, toxic levels of Phe in the blood can result in progressive and severe neurological impairment and neuropsychological complications. The SLC transporter SLC6A19 is responsible for kidney reabsorption of Phe back into the bloodstream, and the inhibition of SLC6A19 offers a novel, oral approach for the treatment of PKU by facilitating urinary excretion of excess Phe. About Jnana Therapeutics Jnana Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biotechnology company leveraging its next-generation RAPID chemoproteomics platform to discover medicines for highly validated, challenging-to-drug targets to treat diseases with high unmet needs. Jnana is focused on developing first- and best-in-class therapies to treat a wide range of diseases, including rare diseases and immune-mediated diseases. Jnana’s wholly owned lead program, JNT-517, which targets an allosteric site on the phenylalanine transporter SLC6A19, is a potential first-in-class oral approach for the treatment of PKU, a rare genetic metabolic disease. Located in Boston, Jnana brings together scientific leaders in small molecule drug discovery and development, a highly experienced management team, and the backing of leading life science investors Bain Capital Life Sciences, RA Capital Management, Polaris Partners, Versant Ventures, Avalon Ventures, Pfizer Ventures, and AbbVie Ventures.

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Medical

Personalis and ClearNote Health Announce Partnership to Advance Epigenomic Technology

Personalis, Inc. | February 05, 2024

Personalis, Inc. a leader in advanced genomics for cancer, and ClearNote Health, Inc., a pioneer in epigenomic technologies, today unveiled an alliance through which Personalis will expand its pharmaceutical service offerings by distributing ClearNote’s cutting-edge epigenomic 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) platform. “We have built a unique pharma channel based on our industry-leading tissue and MRD assays and ClearNote Health’s blood-based epigenomic approach is complementary to our offering as it helps our customers deepen their understanding of a patient’s response to immunotherapies,” said Chris Hall, CEO and President of Personalis. “Commercial partnerships such as this broaden our portfolio and are expected to appeal to a wide range of biopharma customers and accelerate our revenue growth.” Echoing this sentiment, Dave Mullarkey, CEO of ClearNote Health, remarked, “Partnering with Personalis presents an excellent opportunity to bring our 5hmC technology to the forefront of cancer research. This alliance is a testament to the synergy between our two companies, enabling us to expand our reach and significantly impact the biopharmaceutical industry. Together, we can accelerate the development of personalized therapies and make a real difference in the lives of patients.” ClearNote Health’s Epigenomics Platform represents a groundbreaking advance in cancer detection, offering real-time insights into disease-specific pathways. By tracking changes in 5hmC levels coupled with artificial intelligence-based analytical methods, the platform can detect cancer earlier, monitor disease progression, understand mechanisms of resistance, and identify promising drug targets and biomarkers. These insights are invaluable for optimizing drug development programs and delivering more effective treatments to patients. The Epigenomics Platform identifies changes in gene activation and gene regulation by labeling specific changes in the 5hmC landscape from plasma-derived cell-free DNA. This rich biological information, as part of clinical trials, enables the monitoring of cancer therapies in real time and contributes to an understanding of drug resistance mechanisms. The partnership marks a pivotal moment in cancer research, leveraging the strengths of both companies to offer unparalleled solutions in the biopharmaceutical industry. About ClearNote Heath, Inc. ClearNote Health is a cancer detection company focused on enabling people at risk for high-mortality cancers to live longer, healthier lives. Utilizing a standard blood draw, the company applies its proprietary epigenomic platform, combining biology and artificial intelligence, to identify DNA-based changes in biology as cancer develops. With lead programs in non-invasive early detection of pancreatic and ovarian cancers in patients at the highest risk for these diseases, ClearNote Health identifies cancers before they progress and when patients are most likely to benefit from treatment. ClearNote Health’s first commercially available test is the Avantect™ Pancreatic Cancer Test, which detects the presence of pancreatic cancer signals in patients at high risk of the disease, including those recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. ClearNote Health is headquartered in San Diego, with additional presence in the San Francisco Bay area and internationally. The company’s CLIA- and CAP-accredited laboratory is located in San Diego, Calif. About Personalis, Inc. At Personalis, we are transforming the active management of cancer through breakthrough personalized testing. We aim to drive a new paradigm for cancer management, guiding care from biopsy through the life of the patient. Our highly sensitive assays combine tumor-and-normal profiling with proprietary algorithms to deliver advanced insights even as cancer evolves over time. Our products are designed to detect minimal residual disease (MRD) and recurrence at the earliest time points, enable the selection of targeted therapies based on ultra-comprehensive genomic profiling, and enhance biomarker strategy for drug development. Personalis is based in Fremont, California.

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Medical

Heron Therapeutics Announces FDA Approval of ZYNRELEF® Indication Expansion to Include Additional Orthopedic and Soft Tissue Procedures

Heron Therapeutics, Inc. | January 29, 2024

Heron Therapeutics, Inc. a commercial-stage biotechnology company announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (the "FDA") has approved its supplemental New Drug Application ("NDA") for ZYNRELEF® extended-release solution to expand the indication for soft tissue and orthopedic surgical procedures including foot and ankle, and other procedures in which direct exposure to articular cartilage is avoided. ZYNRELEF was previously approved for foot and ankle, small-to-medium open abdominal, and lower extremity total joint arthroplasty surgical procedures in adults. This expanded indication for ZYNRELEF will now cover an estimated 13 million procedures annually, an estimated increase of 86% over prior indicated procedures. To obtain this labeling expansion, Heron successfully conducted studies for cesarean section, spinal surgery, augmentation mammoplasty, and total shoulder arthroplasty. No unique safety issues were identified from the new clinical trials, and the bupivacaine and meloxicam blood concentrations were consistent with previous experience following ZYNRELEF administration. "The expanded indication is poised to have a transformative impact on patient care, providing healthcare professionals with a versatile and effective solution for managing postoperative pain across an even wider range of surgical procedures. The new label expansion and recent partnership with CrossLink, combined with the potential approval of the Vial Access Needle ("VAN") later this year, are expected to have a significant positive impact for ZYNRELEF and the Company," said Craig Collard, Chief Executive Officer of Heron. "We're excited for the opportunity to give even more healthcare providers and patients a new, safe and effective option for achieving long-lasting non-opioid pain control after painful surgical procedures," said Bill Forbes, Executive Vice President, Chief Development Officer at Heron. "This new approval further reinforces our commitment to providing meaningful solutions to address unmet medical needs in the acute care and oncology settings." ZYNRELEF is the first and only therapy for postoperative pain management to be rigorously tested in Phase 3 studies and demonstrate superiority to bupivacaine solution, the current standard-of-care. ZYNRELEF demonstrated superiority compared to bupivacaine with lower pain scores, fewer patients experiencing severe pain, and lower opioid consumption. ZYNRELEF was initially approved by the FDA in May 2021 and received approval of the first supplemental NDA for an expanded label in December 2021. "Patients undergoing orthopedic procedures often experience severe pain, slowing down their recovery time and potentially leading to other complications. Reducing patients' pain within the first three days is critical for patient satisfaction, and having a product like ZYNRELEF now available for additional orthopedic procedures is a great benefit to have in my practice," said Alexander Sah, M.D., orthopedic surgeon at Sah Orthopaedic Associates. "ZYNRELEF helps my patients recover fully, be discharged sooner, and have significantly less pain, with little to no opioid use." Important Safety Information for Patients ZYNRELEF contains an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug), a type of medicine which Can increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke that can lead to death. This risk increases with higher doses and longer use of an NSAID. Cannot be used during heart bypass surgery. Can increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding, ulcers, and tears. ZYNRELEF should also not be used if you are allergic to any component of ZYNRELEF, similar local anesthetics, aspirin or other NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen or naproxen), or have had an asthma attack, hives, or other allergic reaction after taking any of these medicines. as a paracervical block, during childbirth. The most common side effects of ZYNRELEF are soft tissue procedures: vomiting and orthopedic procedures: constipation and headache. The medicines in ZYNRELEF (a local anesthetic and an NSAID) may affect the nervous and cardiovascular system; may cause liver or kidney problems; may reduce the effects of some blood pressure medicines; should be avoided if you have severe heart failure; may cause adverse effects on cartilage; may cause a rare blood disorder, or life-threatening skin or allergic reactions; may harm your unborn baby if received at 20 weeks of pregnancy or later; and may cause low red blood cells (anemia). Tell your healthcare provider about all your medical conditions and about all the medicines you take including prescription or over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, or herbal supplements to discuss if ZYNRELEF is right for you. Talk to your healthcare provider for medical advice about side effects. Report side effects to Heron at 1-844-437-6611 The information provided here is not comprehensive. Please see full Prescribing Information, including Boxed Warning. About ZYNRELEF ZYNRELEF is the first and only dual-acting local anesthetic that delivers a fixed-dose combination of the local anesthetic bupivacaine and a low dose of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug meloxicam. ZYNRELEF is the first and only extended-release local anesthetic to demonstrate in Phase 3 studies significantly reduced pain and significantly increased proportion of patients requiring no opioids through the first 72 hours following surgery compared to bupivacaine solution, the current standard-of-care local anesthetic for postoperative pain control. ZYNRELEF was initially approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (the "FDA") in May 2021 for use in adults for soft tissue or periarticular instillation to produce postsurgical analgesia for up to 72 hours after bunionectomy, open inguinal herniorrhaphy and total knee arthroplasty. In December 2021, the FDA approved an expansion of ZYNRELEF's indication to include foot and ankle, small-to-medium open abdominal, and lower extremity total joint arthroplasty surgical procedures. On January 23, 2024, the FDA approved ZYNRELEF for soft tissue and orthopedic surgical procedures including foot and ankle, and other procedures in which direct exposure to articular cartilage is avoided. Safety and efficacy have not been established in highly vascular surgeries, such as intrathoracic, large multilevel spinal, and head and neck procedures. ZYNRELEF was granted a marketing authorization by the European Commission in September 2020 and by the United Kingdom Regulatory Authority in January 2021. In August 2023, we cancelled the ZYNRELEF U.K. marketing authorization and, in October 2023, we cancelled the ZYNRELEF European Union (EU) marketing authorization, as we do not plan to commercially launch ZYNRELEF in the U.K. or the EU. About Heron Therapeutics, Inc. Heron Therapeutics, Inc. is a commercial-stage biotechnology company focused on improving the lives of patients by developing and commercializing therapeutic innovations that improve medical care. Our advanced science, patented technologies, and innovative approach to drug discovery and development have allowed us to create and commercialize a portfolio of products that aim to advance the standard-of-care for acute care and oncology patients.

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Medical

Jnana Therapeutics Announces Positive Clinical Proof of Concept Achieved with JNT-517, a Potential First-in-Class Oral Treatment for PKU

Jnana Therapeutics, Inc. | February 02, 2024

Jnana Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biotechnology company leveraging its next-generation chemoproteomics platform to discover medicines for challenging-to-drug targets, today announced positive, statistically significant interim results from its ongoing clinical study of JNT-517 in individuals with phenylketonuria (PKU). JNT-517, a small molecule inhibitor of the phenylalanine (Phe) transporter SLC6A19, is being evaluated as a potential first-in-class oral treatment for PKU across all ages and genotypes. On the basis of these positive interim results, Jnana has adapted the Phase 1b trial design to support the potential for accelerated progression of JNT-517. “There is an urgent need for an oral, safe, and efficacious therapy for the more than 60% of individuals with PKU not currently on therapy. Across the spectrum of mild to severe disease, our results demonstrate a robust, sustained reduction in blood Phe levels, the registrational endpoint for PKU, giving us high confidence in the path forward for JNT-517,” said George Vratsanos, M.D., Chief Medical Officer and Head of R&D at Jnana Therapeutics. “We are also encouraged by this validation of the power of our RAPID platform to discover small molecules with compelling clinical benefit against challenging-to-drug targets.” JNT-517 is being studied in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in individuals with mild to severe PKU. Following a 28-day screening period focused predominantly on ensuring an average blood Phe level of >600µM, study participants were randomized with no run-in period to 75mg of JNT-517 twice daily (BID) or placebo. The planned interim analysis was based on 13 participants, eight dosed with JNT-517 and five dosed with placebo over 28 days, and demonstrated the following results JNT-517 led to a statistically significant (p=0.0019 vs. placebo) mean blood Phe reduction from baseline of 51%, measured per-protocol at day 28. A high response rate was seen where seven of eight (88%) treated participants achieved >30% reduction in blood Phe from baseline; five of eight (63%) achieved >45% reduction; and two of eight (25%) achieved >65% reduction. A robust response was seen across participants treated with JNT-517 irrespective of baseline blood Phe levels, which ranged from 593µM to 1,526µM with a mean of 1,124µM. A rapid onset of effect was observed with significant blood Phe reduction achieved within seven days after commencing dosing, which was sustained through the full 28 days of dosing. JNT-517 was safe and well tolerated with no serious adverse events and no clinically significant changes in laboratory parameters, consistent with the safety profile demonstrated in the Phase 1a healthy volunteer study. "JNT-517 represents a completely new therapeutic approach that could transform the current treatment paradigm in PKU, in particular for individuals with severe, or classical, PKU where there is the highest unmet medical need,” said Cary O. Harding, M.D., study investigator and Professor of Molecular and Medical Genetics at Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine. “I am encouraged by the clinical results to date and look forward to working with Jnana and the PKU community to continue to advance this program.” Based on these interim results, Jnana has adapted the protocol of the ongoing trial to include dose exploration. Jnana expects topline data from the second dose cohort in mid-2024 and plans to submit full data from the two dose cohorts for presentation at a scientific meeting in the second half of 2024. Jnana anticipates the company will engage regulators in the second half of 2024 and seek to advance JNT-517 directly into a pivotal Phase 3 study in the first half of 2025. JNT-517 Phase 1b Clinical Trial The ongoing clinical program includes a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial evaluating the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and effect on blood and urinary Phe of JNT-517 dosed over a four-week period in individuals diagnosed with PKU. The study dosed its first participant with PKU in August 2023 and is enrolling individuals aged 18 to 65 at clinical sites in the United States and Australia. For more information about the study, please see clinicaltrials.gov (NCT05781399). About JNT-517 JNT-517 is a selective small molecule inhibitor of the Phe transporter SLC6A19 that has the potential to be a first-in-class oral therapy used to treat any person with PKU, regardless of age or genotype. JNT-517 acts at a novel, cryptic allosteric site to block kidney reabsorption of Phe and offers a promising new approach to reduce blood Phe levels. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted JNT-517 Rare Pediatric Disease Designation in late 2022. About PKU PKU is a rare inherited metabolic disorder caused by a deficiency of the enzyme phenylalanine hydroxylase (PAH). This enzyme is required for the breakdown of phenylalanine (Phe), an amino acid found in all protein-containing foods. When PAH is deficient or defective, Phe accumulates to abnormally high levels in the blood. If left untreated, toxic levels of Phe in the blood can result in progressive and severe neurological impairment and neuropsychological complications. The SLC transporter SLC6A19 is responsible for kidney reabsorption of Phe back into the bloodstream, and the inhibition of SLC6A19 offers a novel, oral approach for the treatment of PKU by facilitating urinary excretion of excess Phe. About Jnana Therapeutics Jnana Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biotechnology company leveraging its next-generation RAPID chemoproteomics platform to discover medicines for highly validated, challenging-to-drug targets to treat diseases with high unmet needs. Jnana is focused on developing first- and best-in-class therapies to treat a wide range of diseases, including rare diseases and immune-mediated diseases. Jnana’s wholly owned lead program, JNT-517, which targets an allosteric site on the phenylalanine transporter SLC6A19, is a potential first-in-class oral approach for the treatment of PKU, a rare genetic metabolic disease. Located in Boston, Jnana brings together scientific leaders in small molecule drug discovery and development, a highly experienced management team, and the backing of leading life science investors Bain Capital Life Sciences, RA Capital Management, Polaris Partners, Versant Ventures, Avalon Ventures, Pfizer Ventures, and AbbVie Ventures.

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Medical

Personalis and ClearNote Health Announce Partnership to Advance Epigenomic Technology

Personalis, Inc. | February 05, 2024

Personalis, Inc. a leader in advanced genomics for cancer, and ClearNote Health, Inc., a pioneer in epigenomic technologies, today unveiled an alliance through which Personalis will expand its pharmaceutical service offerings by distributing ClearNote’s cutting-edge epigenomic 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) platform. “We have built a unique pharma channel based on our industry-leading tissue and MRD assays and ClearNote Health’s blood-based epigenomic approach is complementary to our offering as it helps our customers deepen their understanding of a patient’s response to immunotherapies,” said Chris Hall, CEO and President of Personalis. “Commercial partnerships such as this broaden our portfolio and are expected to appeal to a wide range of biopharma customers and accelerate our revenue growth.” Echoing this sentiment, Dave Mullarkey, CEO of ClearNote Health, remarked, “Partnering with Personalis presents an excellent opportunity to bring our 5hmC technology to the forefront of cancer research. This alliance is a testament to the synergy between our two companies, enabling us to expand our reach and significantly impact the biopharmaceutical industry. Together, we can accelerate the development of personalized therapies and make a real difference in the lives of patients.” ClearNote Health’s Epigenomics Platform represents a groundbreaking advance in cancer detection, offering real-time insights into disease-specific pathways. By tracking changes in 5hmC levels coupled with artificial intelligence-based analytical methods, the platform can detect cancer earlier, monitor disease progression, understand mechanisms of resistance, and identify promising drug targets and biomarkers. These insights are invaluable for optimizing drug development programs and delivering more effective treatments to patients. The Epigenomics Platform identifies changes in gene activation and gene regulation by labeling specific changes in the 5hmC landscape from plasma-derived cell-free DNA. This rich biological information, as part of clinical trials, enables the monitoring of cancer therapies in real time and contributes to an understanding of drug resistance mechanisms. The partnership marks a pivotal moment in cancer research, leveraging the strengths of both companies to offer unparalleled solutions in the biopharmaceutical industry. About ClearNote Heath, Inc. ClearNote Health is a cancer detection company focused on enabling people at risk for high-mortality cancers to live longer, healthier lives. Utilizing a standard blood draw, the company applies its proprietary epigenomic platform, combining biology and artificial intelligence, to identify DNA-based changes in biology as cancer develops. With lead programs in non-invasive early detection of pancreatic and ovarian cancers in patients at the highest risk for these diseases, ClearNote Health identifies cancers before they progress and when patients are most likely to benefit from treatment. ClearNote Health’s first commercially available test is the Avantect™ Pancreatic Cancer Test, which detects the presence of pancreatic cancer signals in patients at high risk of the disease, including those recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. ClearNote Health is headquartered in San Diego, with additional presence in the San Francisco Bay area and internationally. The company’s CLIA- and CAP-accredited laboratory is located in San Diego, Calif. About Personalis, Inc. At Personalis, we are transforming the active management of cancer through breakthrough personalized testing. We aim to drive a new paradigm for cancer management, guiding care from biopsy through the life of the patient. Our highly sensitive assays combine tumor-and-normal profiling with proprietary algorithms to deliver advanced insights even as cancer evolves over time. Our products are designed to detect minimal residual disease (MRD) and recurrence at the earliest time points, enable the selection of targeted therapies based on ultra-comprehensive genomic profiling, and enhance biomarker strategy for drug development. Personalis is based in Fremont, California.

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Heron Therapeutics Announces FDA Approval of ZYNRELEF® Indication Expansion to Include Additional Orthopedic and Soft Tissue Procedures

Heron Therapeutics, Inc. | January 29, 2024

Heron Therapeutics, Inc. a commercial-stage biotechnology company announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (the "FDA") has approved its supplemental New Drug Application ("NDA") for ZYNRELEF® extended-release solution to expand the indication for soft tissue and orthopedic surgical procedures including foot and ankle, and other procedures in which direct exposure to articular cartilage is avoided. ZYNRELEF was previously approved for foot and ankle, small-to-medium open abdominal, and lower extremity total joint arthroplasty surgical procedures in adults. This expanded indication for ZYNRELEF will now cover an estimated 13 million procedures annually, an estimated increase of 86% over prior indicated procedures. To obtain this labeling expansion, Heron successfully conducted studies for cesarean section, spinal surgery, augmentation mammoplasty, and total shoulder arthroplasty. No unique safety issues were identified from the new clinical trials, and the bupivacaine and meloxicam blood concentrations were consistent with previous experience following ZYNRELEF administration. "The expanded indication is poised to have a transformative impact on patient care, providing healthcare professionals with a versatile and effective solution for managing postoperative pain across an even wider range of surgical procedures. The new label expansion and recent partnership with CrossLink, combined with the potential approval of the Vial Access Needle ("VAN") later this year, are expected to have a significant positive impact for ZYNRELEF and the Company," said Craig Collard, Chief Executive Officer of Heron. "We're excited for the opportunity to give even more healthcare providers and patients a new, safe and effective option for achieving long-lasting non-opioid pain control after painful surgical procedures," said Bill Forbes, Executive Vice President, Chief Development Officer at Heron. "This new approval further reinforces our commitment to providing meaningful solutions to address unmet medical needs in the acute care and oncology settings." ZYNRELEF is the first and only therapy for postoperative pain management to be rigorously tested in Phase 3 studies and demonstrate superiority to bupivacaine solution, the current standard-of-care. ZYNRELEF demonstrated superiority compared to bupivacaine with lower pain scores, fewer patients experiencing severe pain, and lower opioid consumption. ZYNRELEF was initially approved by the FDA in May 2021 and received approval of the first supplemental NDA for an expanded label in December 2021. "Patients undergoing orthopedic procedures often experience severe pain, slowing down their recovery time and potentially leading to other complications. Reducing patients' pain within the first three days is critical for patient satisfaction, and having a product like ZYNRELEF now available for additional orthopedic procedures is a great benefit to have in my practice," said Alexander Sah, M.D., orthopedic surgeon at Sah Orthopaedic Associates. "ZYNRELEF helps my patients recover fully, be discharged sooner, and have significantly less pain, with little to no opioid use." Important Safety Information for Patients ZYNRELEF contains an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug), a type of medicine which Can increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke that can lead to death. This risk increases with higher doses and longer use of an NSAID. Cannot be used during heart bypass surgery. Can increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding, ulcers, and tears. ZYNRELEF should also not be used if you are allergic to any component of ZYNRELEF, similar local anesthetics, aspirin or other NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen or naproxen), or have had an asthma attack, hives, or other allergic reaction after taking any of these medicines. as a paracervical block, during childbirth. The most common side effects of ZYNRELEF are soft tissue procedures: vomiting and orthopedic procedures: constipation and headache. The medicines in ZYNRELEF (a local anesthetic and an NSAID) may affect the nervous and cardiovascular system; may cause liver or kidney problems; may reduce the effects of some blood pressure medicines; should be avoided if you have severe heart failure; may cause adverse effects on cartilage; may cause a rare blood disorder, or life-threatening skin or allergic reactions; may harm your unborn baby if received at 20 weeks of pregnancy or later; and may cause low red blood cells (anemia). Tell your healthcare provider about all your medical conditions and about all the medicines you take including prescription or over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, or herbal supplements to discuss if ZYNRELEF is right for you. Talk to your healthcare provider for medical advice about side effects. Report side effects to Heron at 1-844-437-6611 The information provided here is not comprehensive. Please see full Prescribing Information, including Boxed Warning. About ZYNRELEF ZYNRELEF is the first and only dual-acting local anesthetic that delivers a fixed-dose combination of the local anesthetic bupivacaine and a low dose of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug meloxicam. ZYNRELEF is the first and only extended-release local anesthetic to demonstrate in Phase 3 studies significantly reduced pain and significantly increased proportion of patients requiring no opioids through the first 72 hours following surgery compared to bupivacaine solution, the current standard-of-care local anesthetic for postoperative pain control. ZYNRELEF was initially approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (the "FDA") in May 2021 for use in adults for soft tissue or periarticular instillation to produce postsurgical analgesia for up to 72 hours after bunionectomy, open inguinal herniorrhaphy and total knee arthroplasty. In December 2021, the FDA approved an expansion of ZYNRELEF's indication to include foot and ankle, small-to-medium open abdominal, and lower extremity total joint arthroplasty surgical procedures. On January 23, 2024, the FDA approved ZYNRELEF for soft tissue and orthopedic surgical procedures including foot and ankle, and other procedures in which direct exposure to articular cartilage is avoided. Safety and efficacy have not been established in highly vascular surgeries, such as intrathoracic, large multilevel spinal, and head and neck procedures. ZYNRELEF was granted a marketing authorization by the European Commission in September 2020 and by the United Kingdom Regulatory Authority in January 2021. In August 2023, we cancelled the ZYNRELEF U.K. marketing authorization and, in October 2023, we cancelled the ZYNRELEF European Union (EU) marketing authorization, as we do not plan to commercially launch ZYNRELEF in the U.K. or the EU. About Heron Therapeutics, Inc. Heron Therapeutics, Inc. is a commercial-stage biotechnology company focused on improving the lives of patients by developing and commercializing therapeutic innovations that improve medical care. Our advanced science, patented technologies, and innovative approach to drug discovery and development have allowed us to create and commercialize a portfolio of products that aim to advance the standard-of-care for acute care and oncology patients.

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