As the world remains anxious for innovative tools to tackle the coronavirus, drugmaker Glenmark Pharmaceuticals expects the antiviral nasal spray from SaNOtize to be available in India in three months.
“We have aimed for a Q4 launch. But it could be anytime,” said Chairman and Managing Director, Glenn Saldanha, on the product licensed from Canadian biotech company SaNOtize Research & Development.
In fact, partnerships will be a major part of the journey forward for Glenmark and Ichnos, Saldanha told BusinessLine , after Ichnos Sciences inked its first out-licensing deal with biopharmaceutical company Almirall SA on ISB 880, a monoclonal antibody for autoimmune diseases. Biotech company Ichnos is Glenmark’s wholly-owned subsidiary in the United States.
Evidence to determine success
While several companies, including those not in healthcare, are developing Covid-19 products including nasal sprays to tackle Covid-19, Saldanha said, “Finally, it’s the evidence of the technology. And we are running a Phase III (trials). SaNotize ran studies in the UK — double blind, placebo-controlled trials — so it is the evidence that will determine the success of these products.”
Interest in the Nitric Oxide Nasal Spray peaked because it targeted the virus in the upper airways, preventing it from incubating and spreading to the lungs.
Glenmark has been an early mover on Covid-19 products, including on anti-viral drug Favipiravir that has since lost its sheen. With the nasal spray though, Glenmark’s alliance allows it to manufacture, market and distribute it in India and other Asian markets. Saldanha did not let in on plans for other possible Covid-19-linked partnerships.
Powered by own pipeline
Glenmark is also surging ahead with six promising candidates (in small molecules and biologics) in its own pipeline, Saldanha said. The Ichnos partnership is Glenmark’s eighth out-licensing deal in about two decades, and “between Glenmark and Ichnos, we’ve got $250–300 million cash,” Saldanha said.
On ISB 880, Almirall will have global rights to develop and commercialise the product for autoimmune diseases, but Ichnos retains the rights for all oncology indications, Saldanha said. Ichnos receives an upfront payment of €20.8 million (about ₹178 crore), besides additional development and commercial milestone payments and royalties on future global sales.
Almirall expects to initiate its first-in-human study in the first half of 2022. Glenmark has indicated on an out-licencing deal this year on ISB 830, a monoclonal antibody in derma or skin-related indications.
Many more deals
“This (ISB 880) is the first deal and then you can see subsequent deals, not just on 830, but also partnerships in oncology. As we go forward, we are open to capital raise and eventually, IPO,” Saldanha said of the Ichnos journey.
“Ichnos is heavily focused on oncology and, within oncology, on bispecific and trispecific antibodies,” he said, of the “cutting-edge” tehcnology. The company expects to have proof-of-concept on candidate ISB 1342 in about six to nine months.
Pre-clinicial data on ISB 1442 had been presented at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) annual meeting earlier this month. “We are filing an IND (investigational new drug application) around March,” Saldanha said, adding that it would probably enter clinical trials by mid-2022.
Both candidates are for multiple myeloma conditions. Other promising candidates in the Ichnos pipeline included ISB 2001, 2004 and 2005, in the pre-clincial stage, targeting haematological (blood-related) malignancies, he said.
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