As Xencor ramps up, Chief Medical Officer Paul Foster exits

After nearly 10 years leading Xencors clinical development, Chief Medical Officer, Paul Foster, M.D., is calling it quits. The biopharma veteran is set to retire in October, capping a 35-year career in academia, medical practice and industry.  The announcement comes as the antibody specialist moves two more programs into the clinic and works to resume a phase 1 study of its Novartis-partnered blood cancer drug.�� Xencor didn’t have the best start to 2019, with Novartis handing back the rights to a bispecific antibody it licensed in a 2016 deal worth $150 million up front. One month later, a second asset from the deal—which came with a promise of up to $2.41 billion in milestones—ran into a clinical holdfrom the FDA due to a pair of patient deaths that were “at least possibly” treatment-related. That program, XmAb14045, was in a phase 1 study in patients with relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia and other blood cancers expressing CD123. The bispecific targets CD3 and CD123. The FDA placed the hold after Xencor submitted safety reports about two patient deaths—one patient had cytokine release syndrome (CRS) after the first dose of XmAb14045, while the other developed acute pulmonary edema after several doses.

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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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Stevanato Group Launches EZ-fill® Kit and Laboratory Fill and Finish Service to Support Small Batch Drug Development and Commercialization

Stevanato Group | January 25, 2024

Stevanato Group S.p.A. a leading global provider of drug containment and delivery solutions to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and life sciences industries, unveiled today two new offerings for efficient small batch pharmaceutical manufacturing: the EZ-fill® Kit and the non-GMP laboratory fill and finish service at its Technology Excellence Centers (TEC). In a context where reducing time-to-market is key, Stevanato Group’s new EZ-fill® Kit offers fast access to a customizable and versatile solution to pharma and biotech companies needing to efficiently fill small batches with high-quality injectable formulations during clinical trials or commercial phases. The surge the industry has seen in biopharmaceuticals treating various diseases in several therapeutical areas may signal a significant growth potential for pharmaceutical companies. Injectables, comprising more than 60% of the over 21,000 drugs currently in development, of which 44% are biopharmaceuticals, require high-performance primary packaging and delivery technologies for proper storage and administration. Stevanato Group’s EZ-fill® Kit builds on its existing ready-to-use platform of pre-sterilized containment solutions – vials, cartridges, and syringes – allowing customers to effectively screen different primary packaging in combination with drug products. The kit will be available as a modular box made up of glass ready-to-use drug containers and add-on components on request, shipped by courier. As a result, the platform can bring enhanced levels of quality and safety to patients across the entire drug life cycle and improve the rate at which new drugs enter the market. EZ-fill® Kit will be presented at Pharmapack and is expected to be available commercially beginning in the second quarter of 2024. Additionally, to better support customers, Stevanato Group has introduced a non-GMP laboratory filling and finishing service at its Technology Excellence Centers (TEC) in Boston, USA, and Piombino Dese, Italy. This new service allows customers to assess and identify the possible effects of the fill-and-finish process on their product performance as early as the container selection stage, thus de-risking processes and enhancing development and commercialization strategy. “In the race to bring new advanced biopharmaceutical products to market and to patients, Stevanato Group is tackling the challenge of supporting customers with flexible drug containment and filling solutions in a timely manner," says Fabio Bertacchini, Senior Director EZ-fill® Vials & Cartridges at Stevanato Group. "Stevanato Group remains focused on developing new offerings that can help raise pharmaceutical manufacturing standards. By leveraging the expertise provided by our global TEC Centers, we aim to support customers' innovation, helping them face tests and de-risking processes and making right-the-first-time choices throughout their drug development journey.” About Stevanato Group Founded in 1949, Stevanato Group is a leading global provider of drug containment, drug delivery and diagnostic solutions to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and life sciences industries. The Group delivers an integrated, end-to-end portfolio of products, processes and services that address customer needs across the entire drug life cycle at each of the development, clinical and commercial stages. Stevanato Group’s core capabilities in scientific research and development, its commitment to technical innovation and its engineering excellence are central to its ability to offer value added solutions to clients.

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Biocytogen Enters into Bispecific Antibody Drug Conjugate Agreement with Radiance Biopharma

Biocytogen | January 15, 2024

Biocytogen Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd. a global biotech company focusing on the discovery of novel antibody therapeutics, announces that it has entered into an Exclusive Option and License Agreement with Radiance Biopharma Inc. a biotechnology company specializing in developing next generation Antibody Drug Conjugates. The agreement grants Radiance an option to license from Biocytogen a first-in-class fully human anti-HER2/TROP2 bispecific antibody-drug conjugate (BsADC) for therapeutic product development, manufacturing and commercialization for all human indications worldwide. HER2 and TROP2 are two tumor-associated antigens (TAAs) that have been found to be commonly expressed and co-expressed by multiple tumor types, including breast, gastric, colorectal, bladder, pancreatic, and non-small-cell lung cancer. Under the terms of the agreement, upon the option exercised, Biocytogen will be entitled to receive an option fee, licensing fee, development and commercialization milestone payments, as well as single-digit royalties on net sales. In addition, Biocytogen has the right to collect the sharing of sublicensing fee, if any, between Radiance and third party. Dr. Yuelei Shen, President and CEO of Biocytogen, said: “We are excited to collaborate with Radiance, a strong team with extensive experience in drug development, to develop a leading proprietary fully human bispecfic antibody drug conjugate. We are optimistic that the combination of our strength in BsADC discovery and the extensive experience of Radiance’s team will help expedite the commercialization of this dual-targeting BsADC.” Marc Lippman, MD, Chairman of the Board of Radiance said: “We are excited to enter into this Exclusive Option and License Agreement with Biocytogen for a novel human anti- HER2 and Trop2 Bispecific Antibody Drug Conjugate. Preclinical data from in vitro and in vivo assays of this BsADC shows promising high potency of anti-tumor activities in leading tumor indications. We are eager to work with Biocytogen to move the product to the clinic to benefit patients.” About Biocytogen Biocytogen is a global biotechnology company that drives the research and development of novel antibody-based drugs with innovative technologies. Founded on gene editing technology, Biocytogen leverages genetically engineered proprietary RenMice® (RenMab™/RenLite®/RenNano®/RenTCR-mimic™) platforms for fully human monoclonal/bispecific/multispecific antibody discovery, bispecific antibody-drug conjugate discovery, nanobody discovery and TCR-mimic antibody discovery, and has established an off-the-shelf library of over 400,000 fully human antibody sequences against approximately 1000 targets for worldwide collaboration. As of June 30, 2023, 50 therapeutic antibody and multiple clinical asset co-development/out-licensing/transfer agreements and 42 target-nominated RenMice® licensing projects have been established around the globe, including several partnerships with multinational pharmaceutical companies (MNCs). Biocytogen pioneered the generation of drug target knock-in humanized models for preclinical research, and currently provides a few thousand off-the-shelf animal and cell models under the company’s sub-brand, BioMice™, along with preclinical pharmacology and gene-editing services for clients worldwide. Headquartered in Beijing, Biocytogen has branches in China (Haimen Jiangsu, Shanghai), USA (Boston, San Francisco), and Germany (Heidelberg). About Radiance Biopharma Radiance is focused on developing a pipeline of antibody-based cancer therapeutics including mono and bispecific Antibody Drug Conjugates (ADCs) for the treatment of cancer and to address other unmet medical needs. Marc Lippman, MD, a co-founder and Chairman of the Board of Radiance is a renowned oncologist and former founding board member of Seagen, a leader in the field of ADCs, recently acquired by Pfizer. Based in Boston, Massachusetts, Radiance has a world class, proven leadership team that brings together the best of ADC engineering, clinical, managerial expertise and track record. Radiance is an affiliated company to Alphageneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing unique targeted cell and gene therapies for treating cancer and other unmet medical needs.

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