Tag Archives: pharmaceutical

Innovative Drug Discovery Business, Biosortia Pharmaceuticals, Lands Two Health Care Veterans

Kurt Dieck formerly SVP of Strategy and Business Execution at Cardinal Health, will lead early stage drug discovery business at Biosortia Pharmaceuticals. Dieck was named President and CEO in November 2012 and has quickly identified other key executives, including Dr. Guy Carter, former Natural Product head at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, as his Chief Science Officer. In conjunction, other collaboration partners have joined the team, including NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), NCI (National Cancer Institute) and key universities, to strategically accelerate the development of novel drug leads in the therapeutic areas of cancer, infectious diseases, inflammation and neurological disorders. Biosortia Pharmaceuticals has seen promising early results with dozens of novel compounds having already been requested, and are under evaluation with NCI and Eli Lilly.

Dieck has spent nearly 30 years in healthcare, including 18 years at Arthur Andersen as a global equity partner and then 10 years with Cardinal Health, a Fortune 20 public company, as a senior executive; there he worked with a broad spectrum of partners, including brand pharmaceutical manufacturers, throughout the supply chain. Dr. Guy Carter has over 30 years of experience working in pharmaceutical R&D, primarily in the discovery and development of microbial natural products. He previously was the leader of natural products drug discovery at Wyeth Research, as head of the Chemical Technologies Department.

“Kurt and Guy make a great team. Their complementary Pharma experiences and backgrounds create great opportunities to accelerate Biosortia’s objective to become the premier, aquatic natural products company with a primary focus in drug discovery,” says Ross Youngs, Biosortia’s Founder and Chairman. “Kurt and Guy bring a wealth of research and business experience along with deep industry relationships in building successful Pharma partnerships. Everyone involved with this young biotech is excited about the future.”

Industry observers have commented that late-stage R&D pipelines are not providing Pharma with the desired revenue growth the market is expecting. Therefore, large Pharma is evolving the way it performs R&D in order to optimize efficiency and to boost patent cliff defenses. These changes require shifting from relying solely on in-house chemistry-based R&D to acquiring and licensing external technologies and natural products based compounds in various stages of development. Biosortia’s ability to supply novel, highly active and potent compounds with drug-like characteristics will increase the productivity and success rate for Pharma as well as reduce the overall cost of the discovery process. The cost to discover, develop and launch a new drug is estimated to reach nearly $3B per drug by 2015. Biosortia’s business model is designed specifically to support Pharma’s needs.

“With nearly unlimited microorganisms (3.7 nonillion), the aquatic environment and its consortia represent an extraordinary opportunity…a new frontier, to access extremely potent and chemically diverse secondary metabolites with drug-like properties with unique mechanisms of action never researched before,” said Dieck. In describing the opportunity, Dieck goes on to say, “Biosortia is on the cutting edge of natural product discovery
and has the capabilities to deliver on its aspiration. Our powerful natural products research team, led by Dr. Guy Carter, in partnership with NOAA’s Dr. Peter Moeller, a leader in aquatic natural products research, has the experience and know-how to decipher the complex unexplored environment in a very efficient manner leveraging all the current state of the art instrumentation. The need for more efficient and effective approaches to drug discovery has never been more important. Biosortia’s innovative technologies, deep research skills and key relationships will efficiently provide thousands of unique natural products as candidates for drug discovery at a time when Pharma is in critical need for “high quality shots on goal.”

“Aquatic microbial consortia are a rich source of metabolically active organisms including microalgae, bacteria, fungi and their secondary metabolites,” states Carter. “Owing to the competitive nature of their habitat, chemical investigations of microbial consortia reveal unique structurally diversified natural products that are responsible for signaling and self-defense that have potential as therapeutics with novel mechanisms of action. Since they have been pre-optimized by nature, these compounds are typically closer to a drug candidate than a synthetic lead, thus requiring less optimization and shorter time when found as ‘hits’ in screening programs.”

The team has also focused on agreements with strategic collaboration partners as vital components to the strategy. Biosortia has recently entered into several collaboration agreements with NOAA, Analyticon and exclusive harvesting relationships, just to name a few. Several others will be advanced by the end of January. Biosortia’s cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with NOAA’s Center for Human Health Risk at Hollings Marine Laboratory provides a 5-year framework for research and development regarding the analysis and purification of novel bioactive compounds. According to NOAA’s Technology Partnerships Office, “Success will result in the commercial development of new and unique chemical compounds from the sea which have benefits to human health, either through disease prevention or new treatments for disease.”

Dr. Peter Moeller, NOAA’s Research Scientist who leads the Toxins Natural Products Program stated after analyzing fractions of Biosortia’s biomass, “Coupling NOAA’s mission of characterizing toxins affecting environmental and/or human health with Biosortia’s drug discovery focus turns one man’s toxin into another’s chemotherapeutic. The microorganisms analyzed in the Biosortia biomass identified more unique activity than I have seen in my 30 year career. The volumes achieved from a single harvest delivered an equivalent of 30 years of accumulation. This could materially change the landscape for natural products drug discovery research.”

As of December 31, 2012, Biosortia has identified more than 30 bioactive candidate compounds (hits) from a fresh water eutrophic lake consortium. Therapeutic areas of focus include treatments for cancer, infectious diseases, inflammation and neurological disorders. In addition, more than a dozen of its patent protected compounds are in initial evaluation stage within Eli Lilly’s Open Innovation Drug Discovery Program.

Dieck states, “Looking forward, it is with great optimism. We have a great team built around mutual respect, deep experience, and a desire to succeed and make a difference. We are aligning with the right partners and collaborators to execute our strategy with speed and discipline to provide Pharma with much high quality & diverse compounds vs. “me-too” drugs than they have had in the past 10 years. We are excited about what this company can accomplish, not only for its shareholders but also for the millions of people who have been diagnosed with various forms of chronic diseases who are looking for Pharma to identify better ways to help them extend their lives or live a more productive life. Biosortia can play a big role in identifying compounds that can help Pharma achieve these goals. I am looking forward to the challenge and opportunity to build an industry leading drug discovery company.”

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Catalent Develops New Decorin Molecule Form, Strikes Deal With Euclid

Catalent Pharma Solutions, a leading provider of advanced technologies and outsourced development and clinical services to the global pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry, has announced the development of the Galacorin™ molecule, a proprietary form of the decorin molecule.

Catalent Develops New Decorin Molecule Form, Strikes Deal With Euclid

Catalent combined its proprietary GPEx® gene expression technology, Triplet-FixTM codon optimization technology and advanced scientific capabilities to greatly improve production and secretion of the GalacorinTM molecule in CHO cells. In addition, Catalent has developed a full cGMP production process for the GalacorinTM molecule.

Catalent has reached an agreement to provide the GalacorinTM molecule to Euclid Systems of Herndon, Virginia for an ophthalmic clinical trial. Financial terms of the agreement have not been disclosed. Additionally, Catalent is in the process of seeking partners for other indications.

Catalent’s proprietary GPEx® method of cell line engineering generates high-expressing, genetically stable cells for all mammalian cell types. Antibiotic selection is not needed as part of the procedure; multiple gene constructs can be added individually, at different gene ratios without any requirement for antibiotic resistance markers. The method allows re-production of cellular pathways within mammalian cell types as well as the ability to easily add protein processing enzymes to an already established cell line. Using conventional gene insertion and expression techniques, developing a stable biosimilar production cell line for a target protein can take as long as 18 months. Catalent’s GPEx® technology can overcome the inefficiencies of conventional systems and deliver a stable production cell line for target proteins in as little as 4.5 months.

For more information on Catalent’s broad range of drug and biologic development services, go to www.catalent.com/development.

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Senior Director of Biotechnology at Catalent To Lead Workshop on Immunogenicity for Biologics 2009

Ana T. Menendez, Ph.D., Senior Director of Biotechnology at Catalent Pharma Solutions, will be teaching a pre-conference workshop titled “Detection and Characterization of Immunogenicity of Therapeutic Biologics” on Monday, September 7, 2009 in Prague, Czech Republic. The course will focus on the practical technologies used to measure antibody responses to biologic drugs. The pre-conference begins at 10:00 a.m. The Immunogenicity for Biologics 2009 conference will be held on September 8-9, and will include additional discussion on outstanding technical issues, such as standardization and validation of assays as well as the interpretation and application of regulatory guidelines.

catalent

As part of Catalent’s Respiratory, Analytical and Biotechnology group, Dr. Menendez is responsible for the release tests required to verify the functionality and purity of biotechnology products and the complex processes involved in their manufacture. Menendez implemented biotesting at Catalent and currently leads the following laboratories at the North Carolina Research Triangle Park facility: Cellular Technologies, Molecular Technologies, Virology and Analytical Biosafety. The expertise of the department ranges from proteins (i.e., monoclonal antibodies, enzymes, growth factors) to therapeutic viruses, bacterial vaccines and aptamers. Menendez is an international instructor on Bioassay Development and Validation and a frequent speaker at biopharmaceutical conferences.

The Immunogenicity for Biologics 2009 conference will cover case studies on assay challenges, FDA and European submissions IgG4 and IgE, pre-clinical and clinical strategies and aggregation. Participants will benefit from practical advice on the design and validation of neutralizing assays.

About Catalent
Headquartered in Somerset, New Jersey, Catalent Pharma Solutions is a leading provider of advanced dose form and packaging technologies, and development, manufacturing and packaging services for pharmaceutical, biotechnology and consumer healthcare companies in nearly 100 countries. Catalent applies its local market expertise and technical creativity to advance treatments, change markets and enhance patient outcomes. Catalent employs approximately 9,500 at more than 30 facilities worldwide and in fiscal 2008 generated more than $1.8 billion in annual revenue. For more information, visit http://www.catalent.com.

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Catalent Scientist’s Article Featured by Biotechnology Industry Organization

An article written by Ana T. Menendez, Ph.D., Senior Director of Biotechnology at Catalent Pharma Solutions, was featured in the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s (BIO) March 2009 e-Newsletter. The article, titled “A Guide to Accelerating Bioassay Transfer in the GMP Environment,” highlights important questions and steps to set timelines and prepare for a successful bioassay transfer. Dr. Menendez’s work, along with a number of articles written by industry leaders, is being offered for free download on BIO’s website – www.bio.org.

According to Dr. Menendez, “Setting realistic timetables, creating thorough documentation to transfer bioassays between organizations, and working with a highly qualified CRO are the keys to streamlining the production of biologics and accelerating their time to market.” Her article goes on to provide guidelines to help increase clarity in setting timelines, along with illustrative case studies where delays could have been avoided.

As part of Catalent’s Respiratory, Analytical and Biotechnology group, Dr. Menendez is responsible for the release tests required to verify the functionality and purity of biotechnology products and the complex processes involved in their manufacture. Dr. Menendez implemented biotesting at Catalent and currently leads the following laboratories at the North Carolina Research Triangle Park facility: Cellular Technologies, Molecular Technologies, Virology and Analytical Biosafety. The expertise of the department ranges from proteins (i.e., monoclonal antibodies, enzymes, growth factors) to therapeutic viruses, bacterial vaccines and aptamers. Dr. Menenedez is an international instructor on Bioassay Development and Validation and a frequent speaker at biopharmaceutical conferences.

About Catalent
Headquartered in Somerset, New Jersey, Catalent Pharma Solutions is a leading provider of advanced dose form and packaging technologies, and development, manufacturing and packaging services for pharmaceutical, biotechnology and consumer healthcare companies in nearly 100 countries. Catalent applies its local market expertise and technical creativity to advance treatments, change markets and enhance patient outcomes. Catalent employs approximately 9,100 at more than 30 facilities worldwide and in fiscal 2008 generated more than $1.8 billion of annual revenue. For more information, visit www.catalent.com.

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Consistent Development Of Stable-High Expressing Mammalian Cell Lines In Four Months Using Gpex®

Dr. Greg Bleck, the senior director of cell line engineering at Catalent Pharma Solutions, will present later this month at the 12th Annual Pep Talk 2009 Protein Expression Conference to be held in San Diego, C.A., January 12-14, 2009. The conference offers a strong scientific program with more than 120 presentations and poster sessions reviewing the latest research and leading edge technologies in the field.

Dr. Bleck’s presentation is titled “Consistent Development of Stable-High Expressing Mammalian Cell Lines in Four Months Using GPEx®.” Catalent’s proprietary GPEx® method of cell line engineering generates high-expressing, genetically stable cells for all mammalian cell types. Antibiotic selection is not needed as part of the procedure; so multiple gene constructs can be added individually, at different gene ratios without any requirement for antibiotic resistance markers. This allows re-production of cellular pathways within these cell types as well as the ability to easily add protein processing enzymes to an already established cell line. Specific productivities of GPEx® antibody producing cell lines range from 30 -70 picograms/cell/day without upstream process development, while cell lines producing non-antibody proteins as expected have a much broader range of productivities, but if the protein has no secretion problems and does not inhibit cell growth, specific productivities similar to antibodies are obtained.

About Catalent
Headquartered in Somerset, New Jersey, Catalent is one of the leading providers of advanced dose form and packaging technologies, and development, manufacturing and packaging services for pharmaceutical, biotechnology and consumer health companies in nearly 100 countries. Catalent applies its local market expertise and technical creativity to advance treatments, change markets and enhance patient outcomes. Catalent employs approximately 9,500 at more than 30 facilities worldwide and generates more than $1.8 billion of annual revenue. For more information, visit www.catalent.com.

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Dr. Greg Bleck Of Catalent Pharma Solutions, Will Present At The 2nd International Cell Engineering Conference

Dr. Greg Bleck, the senior director of cell line engineering at Catalent Pharma Solutions, will present this week at the 2nd International Cell Engineering Conference to be held in Santa Barbara, C.A., December 2-4, 2008. The conference will include presentations by leading pharmaceutical companies, small biotech organizations, academics, and key technology supply firms covering the latest advancements in cell line development. Special emphasis will be placed on the reliability and reproducibility of the more promising cell engineering techniques. The conference is produced by the Williamsburg BioProcessing Foundation.

Dr. Bleck’s presentation is titled “Generation of Stable-High Expressing Mammalian Cell Lines in Four Months without Antibiotic Selection or Gene Amplification Using GPEx®.” Catalent’s proprietary GPEx® technique for cell line engineering allows high-expressing, genetically stable cells for any mammalian cell type to be produced without antibiotic selection or gene amplification. The lack of selection and amplification allows these master cell bank candidate cell lines to be made in four months, and permits research and development scientists to contemplate new paths for improved expression of their proteins. The candidate cell lines range in specific productivities from 30-95 picograms/cell/day for antibodies and have reached as high as 50-70 picograms/cell/day for some recombinant protein producing cell lines. Cell lines producing over 150 different antibodies and 40 different recombinant proteins have been developed with GPEx®. Data showing the consistency and speed of the technology, as well as the stability and productivity of the cell lines will be presented.

About Catalent
Headquartered in Somerset, New Jersey, Catalent is one of the leading providers of advanced dose form and packaging technologies, and development, manufacturing and packaging services for pharmaceutical, biotechnology and consumer health companies in nearly 100 countries. Catalent applies its local market expertise and technical creativity to advance treatments, change markets and enhance patient outcomes. Catalent employs approximately 9,500 at more than 30 facilities worldwide and generates more than $1.8 billion of annual revenue. For more information, visit www.catalent.com.

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