The GLG Pharma STAT Blog

GLG Pharma at Rare Disease Day Tallahassee Florida!

Posted by Richard Gabriel on Wed, Feb 18, 2015 @ 04:47 PM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

GLG Pharma is participating along with Rare Disease Advocates Commemorate Worldwide Awareness Day at the Florida State House 

Tallahassee, Florida, February 19, 2015----- Join rare disease patients, caregivers and other health care advocates as they share their stories on February 19, 2015, to observe Rare Disease Day in Florida. Rare Disease Day occurs each year on the last day of February, and on this day, millions of patients and their families will share their stories to focus a spotlight on rare diseases as a global public health concern. The day is observed in more than 70 nations. 

Patient advocates have joined with the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD), the national sponsor of the day in the US, to organize this special event for legislators, legislative staff, the public and the media. The event will be held in the State Capitol in the entry level of the Rotunda, from 9:00 am –11:00 am.  

During this event attendees will have the opportunity to meet/ hear from Florida Rep. Mike La Rosa District 42, David Dittman – Shriners Hospital, Tampa, Bella’s Fight, Felecia Peete adoptive mother of 3 boys who are affected with ALD, and Shannon Brown-Brinson – United For ALD, Inc. The topic we will be discussing will be common challenges that the rare disease community faces pertaining to care, diagnosis, and awareness. GLG Pharma will have a table, featuring its STAT3 inhibitors that may be used to combat rare diseases. GLG have identified over 45 rare diseases where the mechanism of STAT3 is turned on leading to excessive cell proliferation. Normally, STAT3 is only turned on when a cell in body divides. In cancer and proliferative diseases or diseases where cell proliferation is a product of the disease, STAT3 can be turned on up to 100% of the time. 

The purpose of this event is to raise awareness at the state level for the 1 in 10 individuals living with a rare disease and the challenges they face. Many important decisions related to rare diseases are made at the state level, and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act has highlighted the increasingly important role of state policies and programs in assuring that the healthcare needs of the American public are addressed. 

Issues of importance to the rare disease community that may be decided at the state level including newborn screening, support services for families coping with complex medical needs, an environment that promotes innovative medical research and product development, and insurance practices that assure patient access to medically necessary therapies. 

A rare disease is one that affects fewer than 200,000 Americans. There are nearly 7,000 such diseases affecting nearly 30 million Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Two-thirds of those affected by rare diseases are children, and the diseases tend to be serious and lifelong. Even so, most rare diseases have no approved treatment, and many are not even being studied by medical researchers. Often, research on rare diseases is funded by the families and friends of patients or by patient organizations. 

Participating Organizations Include: NORD, United For ALD, Inc., and Shriners Hospital in Tampa

Rare Disease Day was launched in Europe in 2008 by EURORDIS, the organization representing rare disease patients in Europe. It is now observed in more than 65 nations, and is sponsored in the U.S. by NORD. 

For more information about Rare Disease Day in the U.S., go to www.rarediseaseday.us. For information about global activities, go to www.rarediseaseday.org). 

For more information about GLG Pharma visit our website at http://www.glgpharma.com 

For more information if you are an accredited investor interested in helping GLG Pharma focus on rare diseases then visit http://www.poliwogg.com and register. It’s safe, secure and confidential. There is a better way to fund Biotech!

how-it-works-banner-resized-173

Tags: Rare Diseases

Why Work on Treatment or Cures for Rare Diseases?

Posted by Richard Gabriel on Wed, Jan 28, 2015 @ 04:15 PM

“Highlighting Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)”

 

CLL, STAT3, GLG Pharma, STAT3 Inhibitors

 

The goal of every pharmaceutical and biotechnology scientist, physician and clinician is to save the patient’s life through an outright cure of the disease and if it can’t be saved then improve the quality of his/her life. Below are definitions of Rare Diseases, according to our friends at Evaluate Pharma[1]:

Evaluate Pharma Excerpt:

“The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD), which was instrumental in establishing the Act, currently estimates 30 million Americans suffer from 7,000 rare diseases. Prior to the 1983 Act, 38 orphan drugs were approved. To date, 468 indication designations covering 373 drugs have been approved. The success of the original Orphan Drug Act in the US led to it being adopted in other key markets, most notably in Japan in 1993 and in the European Union in 2000. Rare Disease Patient Populations are Defined in Law as:

  • USA: <200,000 patients (<6.37 in 10,000, based on US population of 314m)
  • EU: <5 in 10,000 (<250,000 patients, based on EU population of 506m)
  • Japan: <50,000 patients (<4 in 10,000 based on Japan population of 128m)

Financial Incentives by Law Include: Market Exclusivity

  • USA: 7 Years of marketing exclusivity from approval. Note: Majority of orphan drugs have a compound patent beyond 7 years. The market exclusivity blocks ‘same drug’ recombinant products, e.g. Fabrazyme (Genzyme, now Sanofi) vs. Replagal (Transkaryotic, now Shire). ‘Same drug’ exclusion can be overturned if clinically superior (mix of efficacy/ side effects), e.g. Rebif overturned Avonex’s orphan drug exclusivity (7 MAR 2002) 
  • EU: 10 Years of marketing exclusivity from approval.

Reduced R&D Costs:  

  • USA: 50% Tax Credit on R&D Cost
  • USA: R&D Grants for Phase I to Phase III Clinical Trials ($30m for each of fiscal years 2008-12)
  • USA: User fees waived (FFDCA Section 526: Company WW Revenues <$50m) 

Methodology on Classifying an Orphan Drug:  

"We, (Evaluate Pharma) have identified all products that have orphan drug designations filed in the US, EU or Japan. These are available as part of the core EvaluatePharma service. To further enhance analysis, we have defined a clean ‘Orphan’ sub-set of products following a number of criteria including:

  • First indication approved is for an orphan condition.
  • Products expected to generate more than 25% of sales from their orphan indications. 

This has led to the exclusion of drugs such as Avastin, Enbrel, Herceptin, Humira and Remicade, all of which have orphan designations for indications contributing less than 25% of sales.

  • Trial sizes, with smaller Phase III trials suggesting orphan status.
  • Drug pricing, higher prices were taken as an indicator of orphan status.
  • All sales analysis in the report is based on this clean ‘Orphan’ sub-set of products.” End of Evaluate Pharma excerpt. 

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) is considered a ‘rare disease’. A great source of information on CLL[2] is the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society[3] which has over the years poured over $1 billion into research for Leukemia.  The information found in the PDF download (see reference) is excellent and is a foundation for understanding this disease and other leukemia’s as well.  

Some rare diseases have identified mechanisms of action that lay across the biological human horizon of diseases but aren’t as highly expressed or manifest themselves as a chronic lethal disease. One of the mechanisms sometimes associated with proliferative diseases that includes rare forms of cancer, is an abnormality in a major signaling pathway located downstream where many other pathways convey extracellular signals into the nucleus.  This is the case of the Signal Transduction and Activators of Transcription (STAT) and in particular, STAT3.  

At GLG Pharma we have focused on the STAT3 signaling pathway and its uncontrolled hyperactivity. Activation of STAT3 can be blocked at three different sites: 

  • Phosphorylation
  • Dimerization
  • DNA Binding

 STAT3 Inhibitor, STAT3, GLG Pharma, GLG-801, GLG-302

Three drugs are in the development pipeline. The first with the shortest path to the market is GLG-801. This is a repurposed drug and under US FDA rules for 505(b)(2) could be fast tracked for various indications and clinical trials might be initiated, as soon as funds become available, in patients with  rare diseases such as Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) and Gastro-intestinal Stromal Tumors (GIST). GLG-302, a new chemical entity (NCE) follows in the development cycle and is expected to be in the clinic in about 8 months from funding. GLG-202 is another NCE that will follow in the development cycle. GLG-801 inhibits DNA binding and both GLG-302 and GLG-202 inhibit dimerization of the STAT3 molecule, preventing its penetration of the nuclear membrane and the initiation of the transcription process and the continuation of the uncontrolled proliferation process.

Want to know more about GLG Pharma and Poliwogg? Raising awareness and helping us fight cancer! Then click on the Poliwogg picture and it will take you to the Poliwogg accredited investor site!

Poliwogg, GLG Pharma, STAT3 inhibitors, CLL, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Want to find out more about what compounds are in the clinic for CLL? Then click the button. Once you have signed up, we will email you the PDF document that provides you with compound structures and data on the activity of the compounds as well as their site of action on the leukemia cells!

 CLL in Clinic!

[1] Evaluate Pharma Report “Orphan Drugs 2014” http://www.evaluategroup.com/Default.aspx?goBack=true

[2] https://www.lls.org/content/nationalcontent/resourcecenter/freeeducationmaterials/leukemia/pdf/cll.pdf

[3] https://www.lls.org

Tags: GLG Pharma, GLG, STAT3, STAT3 cancer, STAT3 inhibitors, STAT3 inhibitors, Cancer, Cancer, cancer diagnosis, STAT, cancer prevention, Alpha-1, Cancer Therapy, Rare Diseases

Why Invest in Early Stage Drug Development for Rare Diseases?

Posted by Richard Gabriel on Mon, Dec 08, 2014 @ 02:54 PM

 

Ok, so in one of my past lives, as a member of our team at Pharm-eco Laboratories and with an excellent team at Vertex, together we worked on and helped advance Vertex’s Amprenavir (GSK’s Agenerase) which is now known as Phosamprenavir.   Amprenavir used to be known as VX-478 and we did scale up process development under cGMP and made a couple of tons of API. The discovery projects we worked on were mothballed or sent to someone else, who knows. 

Vertex bought Aurora in 2001 for an all-stock deal of $600MM and inherited the cystic fibrosis project in 2001. Aurora started in 2000 working on the project with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The first capital investment by the CFF was $40MM to Vertex, the new landlord of a plethora of new screening technologies. 

The real point of this blog is this. $150MM invested in the Vertex technology over a nearly 13 year period, so about $11+ MM a year, average and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation get back $3.3 Billion! 

So, we know the last two years sales for Vertex were $371MM and $470MM and assume that Vertex agreed to a 9% royalty (just a guess, it could be lower) to the Cystic Fibrosis foundation, then over a FIFTEEN YEAR (we added two years, one year on either end for negotiations etc.) period, giving the current payout, the Net Present Value of the $150MM investment; if you did the investment all at once with a discount of 8% over the period, is $915 million! Is that good enough for a VC firm? I don’t know but it sure is good enough for me! 

For more information on the deal, please go to an excellent article by Xconomy’s Deputy Biotech Editor Ben Fidler at http://www.xconomy.com/boston/2014/11/19/cf-foundation-cashes-out-on-kalydeco-in-3-3b-sale-to-royalty-pharma or just click on the picture below (also from the article by Ben Fidler, Thanks!).

STAT3, GLG Pharma, cystic fibrosis, STAT3 inhibitors

So why pay $3.3 billion for a drug that has a small market potential? Or a portfolio of drugs with a small market potential? Well, because it isn’t a small market potential! The disease target is also present in a variety of sub, less toxic and less lethal diseases and the mechanism is spread across much wider populations around the globe! Vertex was formed when Josh Boger came out of Merck and having worked for Merck back when Roy Vagelos ran the company, he had and still has a very impressive personal activity in promoting drug discovery and development in New England and around the world. I remember visiting Vertex for the first time when there were only 40 employees. Most of them were ex-Merck and ex-Biogen…great team! 

The drug targeting philosophy that Vertex probably does maintain to this day  is identify mechanisms of targeted therapy that could have broader applications in other diseases and focus on the rare diseases to get the FDA’s attention, fast track, cut time to market and then get the drug approved sooner rather than later. Well Cystic Fibrosis took a lot longer but the payoff was worth it for the foundation. Why is this model important? Because the foundation now has enough cash to really pour some capital into finding a cure, which has always, been their goal as it is for many other foundations. $3.3 billion sets up a heck of an annuity stream! 

Bottom line message is that this is a great case study and business model for a new way of funding biotech and pharma and that could revolutionize our industry! It’s not just a ‘buyout’ it is a reward to the committed not-for-profit groups that slog day after day against the insurmountable odds of the disease to raise capital for research and development for new therapies, against diseases that are unforgiving, ruthless and terminal. But this time, ~ thirteen years later, they are delivering on their commitment! Two new drugs for cystic fibrosis patients and the foundation now has a ton of capital to use for protecting its objective from the vagaries of the markets and funding drives for the next fifteen years or more! Congratulations CFF and congratulations to the team at Vertex, congratulations Josh Boger! 

If you want to find out more about funding development of new pharma and biotech, visit http://www.poliwogg.com and also go to Faster Cures at: http://www.fastercures.org 

GLG is developing a series of STAT3 inhibitors to treat orphan diseases particularly: Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL), Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD), A1- Antitrypsin deficiency and Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors (GIST)! If you want to find out more about GLG Pharma and our pipeline of products, visit us at http://www.glgpharma.com or email me at rgabriel@glgpharma.com 

Cheers and as I have had the privilege to say to our soon to be former governor, Deval Patrick, ‘There is a better way to fund biotech’!

Poliwogg, STAT3, GLG Pharma, STAT3 Inhibitors

Tags: STAT3, STAT3 inhibitors, Cancer, Alpha-1, Rare Diseases, Alpha-1 Antitry, Rare Disease

STAT 3 publications are numerous and we hope that the following links will help you better understand it's importance in cancer cell metabolism and cancer cell death. Inhibiting STAT 3 is an important mechanism for encouraging cancer cell death. Using STAT 3 inhibitors with other traditional cancer chemotherapy should help improve patient outcomes. Linking a diagnostic with a STAT 3 inhibitor will also help reduce patient side effects as well as potentially improve patient outcomes.