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Eyes On Pharma Blog 

Eyes on Recent News from BioPharma + a 2023 Top WW 2023 List

We've been busy trying to keep eyes on the many recent news briefs from the sector. We're highlighting Arrowhead Pharma's CV data update, AZN's new manufacturing facility, Takeda's restructuring impacts and FiercePharma's 2023 Top 20.

MUIR Trial - plozasiran in cholesterol disorder

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals published its results from the mid-stage MUIR study of plozasiran in The New England Journal of Medicine this week. The cholesterol disorder drug decreased the risk of cardiovascular diseases by lowering key lipoproteins (LDL-C) and triglyceride levels during a phase 2 trial in patients with mixed hyperlipidemia. The risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease remains in patients with elevated non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (non-HDL-C).

The MUIR trial demonstrated reduction in atherogenic lipoproteins, such as non-HDL-C, ApoB and cholesterol. At week 24, following two quarterly doses, patients treated with the drug experienced triglyceride reductions of 50%, 56% and 62% at the 10-, 25- and 50-mg doses. Fasting triglyceride levels normalized in 79% to 92% of patients being treated.

Granted fast-track and orphan-drug therapy designation by the FDA and orphan-drug designation in Europe, it is predicted that plozasiran could reach $707 million in sales by 2032 thanks to its structure targeting various forms of dyslipidemia. This week’s clinical data reinforce the drug’s late-stage program.

For more details check out the following articles:

AZN Building for the Future

AstraZeneca recently shared that they have plans to construct a $1.5 billion ADC (Antibody-Drug Conjugate) manufacturing plant in Singapore. According to their press statement, the project will get support from Singapore's Economic Development Board (EDB), and this will serve as the British pharmaceutical company’s first site for end-to-end ADC production. ADCs are composed of an antibody attached to a chemotherapy payload via a chemical linker. Cancerous cells are targeted by the antibody and the cytotoxic payload of ADC is released.

According to AstraZeneca, the site will integrate every stage of the commercial ADC manufacturing process including the production of antibodies and chemotherapy, as well as drug-linker conjugation and the finished ADC substance’s filling. With the aim of opening in 2029, AstraZeneca intends to begin building the new plant by the end of 2024.

AstraZeneca’s interest in ADC can be explained by the expectation that the $10 billion market for these oncology products will rise at a rate of over 15% annually. The ADC market is also attracting attention from other companies, eg. AbbVie + ImmunoGen, and Pfizer + Seagen deals - each worth billions of dollars.

For more details check out the following articles:

Another Takeda Restructuring Update

More Details on Takeda’s restructuring will result in estimated 641 layoffs in its two Massachusetts sites by the end of its fiscal year in March 2025. According to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, the $900 million restructuring plan will cut 495 employees at the U.S. headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts together with 146 at the Lexington campus. Takeda has published a statement of its commitment to supporting employees in impacted roles ‘in multiple ways’. The company is keen to assist its employees in the identification of other job opportunities within the company, use the transition to create new responsibilities, resources and roles, enabling those affected by the restructuring to transition into new roles as early as July 2024. The expected total savings from this restructuring will be $1.4 billion (225 billion Japanese yen) by March 2025.

For more details check out the following articles:

A Look Back at 2023's Top Sellers

FiercePharma recently ranked the Top 20 biggest drugs of 2023. We're sharing more Details on the Top 4 + a link to the list.

1)        Merck’s oncology drug Keytruda, with global sales of $25 billion (the drug accounted for approximately 40% of Merck’s 2023 total revenue). The PD-L1 inhibitor targets more than 30 indications across various cancer stages and types. This year’s sales of Keytruda are expected to reach $30 billion. The world’s bestseller is in competition with Bristol Mayers Squibb and Ono Pharma’s rival PD-1 inhibitor Opdivo, reaching $10 billion last year and Johnson & Johnson’s anti-CD38 multiple myeloma drug Darzalex reaching $9.7 billion.

For more details check out the following articles:

2)        Humira-autoimmune mega blockbuster, AbbVie’s bestselling drug for nine years, dethroned by Pfizer and BioNTech’s Comirnaty in 2021. Despite its U.S. loss of exclusivity and facing generic competition, it has managed to keep its position at the top, beating Bristol Myers Squibb’s Revlimid. 2023 Humira’s sales reached $14.4 billion, a 32% drop from the 2022’s $21.2billion (Q4 of 2023 Humira’s sales plunged almost by 41% to $3.3 billion globally).

For more details check out the following articles:

3)        Novo Nordisk, Ozempic in the obesity market. FDA originally approved as Type 2 diabetes treatment with increased popularity for its proven weight loss benefits, now branded obesity drug Wegovy. Novo’s semaglutide franchise (Rybelsus, Ozempic and Wegovy) generated total $21.1 billion (145.8 Danish kroner) almost 90% increase over 2022. 2023 sales of Ozempic reached $14 billion (95.7 Danish kroner), a constant yearly growth of 66%. To boost semaglutide production used in Ozempic and Wegovy, Novo plans to expand it manufacturing facilities in Kalundborg, Denmark.

For more details check out the following articles:

4)        Bristol Myers Squibb, Pfizer, Eliquis, for the treatment of non-valvular atrial fibrillation, deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, with 2023 reported net product sales of $12 billion, up 4% year over year. Eliquis has been the top Xa inhibitor followed by Bayer and Johnson & Johnson, together subject to Medicare price adjustments from 2026.

For more details check out the following articles:

For 2024 Global Data predicts the GLP-1 drug class to climb to the top with products from PD-1 inhibitors forecasting annual sales up to $50 billion.


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