Tag: autoimmune diseases

Company News: Lead Pharma Appoints Three Seasoned Industry Experts to its Supervisory Board

– Jan Egberts, M.D., Ir. Jan van der Hoeven and Daan van den Noort, M.D. join newly established Supervisory Board

 

Lead Pharma, a pharmaceutical company developing innovative medicines for the treatment of autoimmune diseases and cancer, today announced that it has appointed Dr. Jan Egberts, Ir. Jan van der Hoeven and Daan van den Noort to its newly established Supervisory Board.

Jan Egberts, M.D., has over 25 years of executive experience in the pharmaceutical and medical device sectors, most recently as Chief Executive Officer of Agendia Inc., a molecular diagnostics company. Prior to this, Dr. Egberts was Chief Executive Officer of OctoPlus N.V., a specialty pharmaceutical company, which was acquired by Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd. in 2013. He also served as a Senior Healthcare Advisor for 3i Group plc and as President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NovaDel Pharmaceuticals Inc. In addition, he held multiple business development and general management positions at Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co. and Mölnlycke Health Care. Dr. Egberts, who graduated from Erasmus University Medical School in the Netherlands and obtained his MBA from Stanford, also serves on the Supervisory Board of several other private and public healthcare companies.

Ir. Jan van der Hoeven brings more than 30 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry. In 1983, he was co-founder of the CRO NOTOX, which he also headed until it was acquired by WIL Research Laboratories in 2006. In addition, since 1988 he has advised numerous life sciences companies, e.g. as a member of the Supervisory Board. He is also an ambassador of Wageningen University (Wageningen, The Netherlands). Before founding NOTOX, he worked as a scientist at Wageningen University for six years with emphasis on the relation of food and cancer. He (co-)authored over 30 scientific publications and has been awarded the EEMS Young Scientist Award in 1985. In 2003, he received the price for entrepreneurship from Wageningen University. Ir. van der Hoeven graduated from Wageningen University.

Daan van den Noort, M.D., brings over 25 years of experience as a manager and venture capitalist in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry in Europe. Among others, he served as General Manager for Genentech, Asta Medica, and Ferring in The Netherlands. From 2001 to 2011, he acted as the Chief investment Officer of the Biotech Turnaround Fund. He serves on several international boards of investment companies active in the biopharmaceutical industry. Mr. van den Noort holds an MD degree from the Free University of Amsterdam.

Company News: Lead Pharma to Partner with Sanofi on Development of Treatments for Autoimmune Diseases

– R&D collaboration and license agreement may yield potential first-in-class oral anti-ROR gamma (t) therapies

Lead Pharma, a pharmaceutical company developing innovative medicines for the treatment of autoimmune diseases and cancer, today announced that it has entered into a research collaboration and license agreement with Sanofi to discover, develop and commercialize small molecule therapies directed against the nuclear hormone receptor ROR gamma (t) to treat a broad range of autoimmune disorders, including common diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

Researchers have identified 80 to 100 different autoimmune disorders and suspect at least an additional 40 diseases of being driven by immune function. These diseases are chronic and can be life-threatening.

Under the terms of the agreement, Lead Pharma will receive an upfront payment and is eligible to receive research, development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments. Further details of the financial terms have not been disclosed. Sanofi is responsible for clinical development and will have worldwide marketing and commercialization rights to any products that may be developed as a result of the collaboration. Lead Pharma is entitled to receive royalty payments on global sales from any such products.

Food for Thought: Weekly Wrap-Up

Rationing medicine already is clinical reality in Germany, reports this week’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). Christina Hucklenbroich features a representative survey among the members of the German Society for Hematology and Oncology (DGHO) about therapeutic decisions in treating cancer patients. According to the survey, 59% of the responding 345 oncologists said that they abstain from treatment options if they think the therapeutic benefit is too small as compared to the cost of treatment. However, 19% responded they even refrain from therapeutic options for cost reasons even if the treatments provide an additional, considerable benefit to the patients.

Michael Feld also in FAZ reports on a study by Pricewaterhouse Coopers and the Darmstadt Economics Research Institute Wifor that Germany will be lacking 56,000 physicians and 140,000 nursing staff by 2020, a situation that will hit the eldery most. The author, a practicing physician, states that the situation is not only caused by lack of money but also by disappearing values like charity, social responsibility and a sense of honor.

Focus magazine this week features a study from the University of Michigan giving rise to concerns that taking dietary supplements and OTC medications to stimulate the immune system can be counterproductive in patients with autoimmune diseases. The study demonstrates in animals that a strong immune response to common cold viruses can exacerbate inflammations and even lead to asthma attacks while the infection with a weaker immune system proceeds without complications.

Die Welt reports about clinical results on a new test for the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) communicated by the University of Leipzig. The test is based on radiolabeled Florbetaben which is injected into the blood stream. The substance binds to beta-amyloid peptides in the brain, and binding can be assessed using PET imaging. Thereby, AD can be diagnosed up to 15 years before onset of the disease. The paper does not mention, however, that the (preliminary) results are from an international multi-center Phase III trial sponsored by Bayer Schering Pharma that was designed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of florbetaben (BAY 94-9172) developed by the company. PET images are compared to corresponding histo-pathological specimens. Details will be published in the next issue of Lancet Neurology.

Christian Meier, Aitziber Romero and Dino Trescher in Sueddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) maintain that industry is trying to block attempts to regulate nanotechnology products. While the EU Commission prefers to define nanotechnology products by counting the number of particles smaller than 100 nanometers, industry wants a definition by determining the fraction of the particles contributing to the mass of the product. The authors, which claim that nanotech products bear all sorts of unforeseen health and environmental hazards, say that this is an attempt by industry to reduce the number of products defined as being nanotechnology.

The Economist makes a case in how food poisoning by EHEC, salmonella and other dangerous bacteria can be effectively prevented: radiating food. Irony is that it was Germany, the country currently suffering from the worst and most deadly EHEC epidemic ever, that vetoed a proposal by the European Commission to allow radiation for a greater range of food and at higher doses, e.g. for sprouts which caused this year’s epidemic, in 2000. However, the author doubts the epidemic will change the German government’s attitude for fear to upset Germany’s influential Green movement.

Last not least, comics are becoming increasingly popular among biotech companies and researchers. Silver Spring, MD based biotech company United Therapeutics chose to publish its annual report as a comic book, while researchers from the Department of Neurosurgery of Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf published a retrospective study on traumatic brain injuries in comics, analyzing more than 700 head injuries in the Asterix comic books: “Although over half of patients had an initially severe impairment of consciousness after TBI, no permanent deficit could be found. Roman nationality, hypoglossal paresis, lost helmet, and ingestion of the magic potion were significantly correlated with severe initial impairment of consciousness (p ≤ 0.05).”

 

Company News: SuppreMol Obtains Option to In-License Antibody Against Interleukin 3 for Rheumatoid Arthritis

SuppreMol GmbH, a privately held biopharmaceutical company developing innovative therapeutics for the treatment of autoimmune diseases, today announced that it has closed an agreement to in-license an antibody directed against interleukin 3 (IL-3), which has been developed by the Molecular Immunology research group led by Prof. Dr. Matthias Mack at the University of Regensburg.

IL-3, a growth factor primarily produced by activated T cells, stimulates growth and differentiation of monocytes, basophils and other leukocyte populations from the bone marrow in an immune response. Recently, the team of Prof. Mack was able to demonstrate that IL-3 plays an important role in the onset of Rheumatoid Arthritis, an autoimmune disease characterized by a chronic inflammation of the joints and other organs affecting up to one percent of the population in the industrialized world. The disease commonly leads to significant disability and reduction in the quality of life and is connected with significant costs for patients and the health care systems.

Therapy with an antibody-based IL-3 inhibitor, either in early stages or during flares and exacerbations, may provide a new class of treatment for patients suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Further details can be found here.