The week in industry: Drug screening platform wins ELRIG’s Prize for Innovation in Drug Discovery

This week: Cystic fibrosis drug approved for children aged 6–12 months in the EU, US patent issued for a method of treating demyelinating diseases and collaboration announced to advance immune-inflammatory pathway treatments

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This week's industry news:  

Drug screening platform wins ELRIG’s Prize for Innovation in Drug Discovery 

Cystic fibrosis drug approved for children aged 6–12 months in the EU
US patent issued for method of treating demyelinating diseases
Collaboration to advance immune-inflammatory pathway treatments


Drug screening platform wins ELRIG’s Prize for Innovation in Drug Discovery

Presented at their flagship conference – Drug Discovery 2019 (5–6 November 2019; Liverpool, UK) – ELRIG awarded their Prize for Innovation in Drug Discovery to ScreenIn3D (Glasgow, UK). The company were chosen for this for their microfluidic and 3D cell culture technology, which allows scientists to study the effects of drugs or drug combinations in cells and tissues, and drive forward drug development.

"We are delighted to have received this important innovation prize that recognizes the groundbreaking screening services that we are able to provide to help drug developers validate the effectiveness of their compounds,” commented CSO of ScreenIn3D, Michele Zagnoni. "Combining the latest advances in microfluidics and 3D culture in a unique screening platform, the service we provide has already shown real benefits to organization developing improved anticancer drug treatments, helping them to accelerate the introduction of personalized medicine solutions for this important area".

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Cystic fibrosis drug approved for children aged 6–12 months in the EU

The European Commission has extended the approval status of KALYDECO®, a cystic fibrosis (CF) treatment from Vertex Pharmaceuticals (London, UK), to included infants with CF aged 6–12 months. As well as being within this age range, the infants must also weigh more then 5kg and have at least one of nine CFTR gene mutations. This extension comes after results from a Phase III open label study, which showed a similar safety profile in children within this age range as with those who have been previously approved for this treatment.

“Today’s approval is another milestone in our commitment to treat all people with CF as early in life as possible, given manifestations of CF are often present at birth,” commented Reshma Kewalramani, Executive VP and CMO at Vertex. “For the first time, children with CF in Europe as young as 6 months with certain mutations now have access to a medicine that treats the underlying cause of their disease.”

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US patent issued for method of treating demyelinating diseases

MetP® Pharma (Emmetten, Switzerland) has been issued a patent protecting their method of treating demyelinating diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and ALS, amongst other diseases in which neuroinflammation is implicated. This method combines the treatment of a steroid hormone with a Hedgehog signaling pathway modulator, which can promote neural repair by driving remyelination. The patent issued is valid until 2039.

“Most medications used to treat MS are generally ineffective in progressive forms that are characterized by a chronic demyelination of axons. This new method can tremendously boost the remyelination of abnormal axons and therefore may help to treat demyelinating diseases with high-unmet need better such as MS and ALS. We are excited to add this highly relevant method to our portfolio of granted patents,” commented Claudia Mattern, CSO, Met Pharma.

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Collaboration to advance immune-inflammatory pathway treatments

In a 2-year agreement, Servir (Suresnes, France) and UCL (London, UK) will collaborate to investigate pathways that are pathologically altered in people with lupus, systemic sclerosis and other immune-inflammatory diseases, to advance the development of novel treatment approaches for these conditions. As part of this, Servir have agreed to share their knowledge and research to aid two UCL-led projects.

“Collaboration with academia is one of the main levers of our strategy to contribute to research to accelerate the discovery and development of innovative treatments for patients. The UCL team we are working with have considerable expertise in both lupus and systemic sclerosis, and they are based at one of the top institutions for medical and health research globally,” commented Claude Bertrand, Executive VP Research & Development at Servier.

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