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Daily Brief: Another next-gen diabetes research deal for Novo, Vertex and Australia break deadlock

News from pharma, biotech and healthcare


Novo to work with Ossianix on blood brain barrier drugs

Novo Nordisk is continuing with its investments into next generation diabetes and metabolic disease therapies with a new research deal with Ossianix.

The privately biotech is based in Philadelphia, PA with research laboratories in the UK specialises in develops novel biopharmaceuticals for a number of therapeutic areas including CNS which cross the Blood Brain Barrier.

Ossianix’s has developed single domain VNAR antibody synthetic phage libraries, which it uses to isolate drugs which can cross the BBB, which keeps most drugs from entering the brain.

The company’s “Trojan Horse” technique smuggles molecules across the barrier by using existing routes such as the transferrin receptor, which carries iron into the brain.

The company was founded in 2012 by former senior executives from Wyeth and Pfizer, Drs. Frank Walsh, Corey Goodman and J Lynn Rutkowski.

Dr. Frank Walsh, CEO of Ossianix, stated: “We are very excited to be working with Novo Nordisk, a global healthcare company with 95 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care. Ossianix’s single domain VNAR antibodies BBB platform is capable of delivering high levels of therapeutic products to the central nervous system utilising the transferrin receptor. We look forward to developing a successful collaborative relationship with Novo Nordisk on drug targets in the CNS associated with diabetes and metabolic disease which are areas of huge medical need.”

The company uses this versatile single domain shark VNAR scaffold to engineer differentiated products in a variety of therapeutic formats for different types of biologics. Its lead product is a brain penetrant CD20 antibody for multiple sclerosis and cerebral lymphoma.

Novo Nordisk will be responsible for the development and commercialisation of the therapeutic products. Ossianix will receive milestone payments, R&D funding, as well as product royalties from Novo Nordisk, and the pharma company has a buyout option for each product on pre-agreed financial terms.

The Copenhagen-headquartered firm has unveiled a series of deals in its core diabetes and metabolic disease area recently, including a research collaboration with Evotec and the acquistion of a UK company specialising in glucose sensitive insulin.


Vertex agrees Orkambi deal in Australia

After a long-running dispute, Vertex has announced that it has finalised a deal with the government in Australia for access to its cystic fibrosis drug Orkambi.

Vertex has seen reimbursement for the drug rejected three times over a period of two and a half years, but now the two sides have reached an agreement.

The breakthrough in talks has been highlighted by Vertex in the UK, where the company is in a similar standoff with budget holder NHS England.

Orkambi (lumacaftor/ivacaftor) will now be reimbursed in Australia for people ages six and over with cystic fibrosis (CF) who have two copies of the F508del mutation in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene. The treatment will be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from 1 October and follows a positive recommendation from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC). A pathway to access for future Vertex CF medicine, tezacaftor/ivacaftor, has also been established as part of this process.

Vertex points out that Orkambi is reimbursed in countries including Austria, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and the US, while NHS England has challenged the company to disclose its prices to make the negotiations more transparent.

Article by
Andrew McConaghie

4th September 2018

From: Marketing



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