Pharmaceutical companies are dramatically increasing their investments in new and innovative technologies to meet the demands of a patient-empowered, data-driven, outcomes-focused health care marketplace. In the last year alone, pharma investment in smart phone apps, educational websites, social media platforms, wireless devices and other programs increased by 78 percent, as traditional pharmas embrace a role that goes far beyond developing and manufacturing drugs.
Idenix Pharmaceuticals Inc. provided updates to three key clinical development programs on Wednesday. Unfortunately for investors, two were disappointments, though one of those might ultimately have a silver lining for the Cambridge, Mass.-based company.
More than 75 percent of research activity on human proteins continues to focus on the 10 percent of proteins that were known before the mapping of the human genome was completed in 2000, even though many more proteins have been genetically linked to disease during the ensuing decade. Risk-averse funding and peer review systems as well as a dearth of research tools – such as antibodies and chemical inhibitors needed to study proteins – share blame, a group of research scientists posited this week in Nature.
GlaxoSmithKline plc and Theravance Inc. achieved major milestones this week in a pair of clinical development programs focused on treatments for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Privately held Scil Proteins GmbH, of Halle, Germany, has concluded a financing round with BioNet Holding GmbH, worth €24 million ($33.1 million). The funds will be used to move two preclinical products derived from Scil Proteins' Affilin scaffold technology platform into Phase I studies over the next three years.
Opko Health Inc. plunked down $10 million cash this week to acquire Curna Inc., a privately held drug discovery company based in Jupiter, Fla., that has largely flown under the radar since it was launched in 2008 with technology from the Scripps Research Institute.
The failure of Eisai Inc.'s eritoran (E5564) to meet its primary Phase III endpoint of reducing 28-day all-cause mortality in patients with severe sepsis may have relegated yet another candidate to the graveyard of failures for this indication.
MannKind Corp. took one squarely on the chin Thursday as the market responded to breaking news late Wednesday that the FDA had issued a second complete response letter for inhaled insulin candidate Afrezza (insulin human [rDNA origin] to treat adults with Type I and Type II diabetes. (See BioWorld Today, Jan. 20, 2011.)
Fewer than five years after inking a partnership deal focused on treatments for inflammatory disorders, privately held ChemoCentryx Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., and GlaxoSmithKline plc, of London, started treating the first patient with Crohn's disease in their initial induction study comparing Traficet-EN (CCX282-B) – now designated GSK1605786 ('786) – to placebo. The Phase III program is being conducted through GSK's Center of Excellence for External Drug Discovery (CEEDD).