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Tuesday, Nov 29, 2022
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MannKind Passes $1 Million Research Milestone

Valencia biotech MannKind Corp. received a $1 million milestone payment for completing initial formulation studies. The payment comes from a collaboration contract with Seattle-based drug developer Receptor Life Sciences Inc. that began this time last year. The two pharmaceutical companies are developing multiple inhaled therapeutic products to treat conditions such as chronic pain, neurological diseases and inflammatory diseases. Receptor is responsible for manufacturing and commercialization, while MannKind is in charge of initial formulation studies as the inhaled therapies utilize technology from its Afrezza Inhalation Powder – the company’s sole commercial product. The companies will work together on product development with Receptor financing development costs. As part of the deal, MannKind is eligible to receive up to $102 million in milestone payments as well as royalties on net product sales. MannKind Chief Executive Matthew Pfeffer told the Business Journal there will be additional milestone payments, but the amounts have not been disclosed. In addition to its Receptor partnership, MannKind is working on boosting Afrezza sales, which have seen a slow start since the company reclaimed worldwide development and commercialization rights from French pharma Sanofi. MannKind began distributing Afrezza at the end of July, and posted net revenue from sales just shy of $600,000 as of Sept. 30, according to its latest financial report. “We have announced greatly increasing the size of the sales force and embarking on a consumer advertising campaign to accelerate growth,” Pfeffer said. Also, the company is internally pursuing a lead program for an inhaled epinephrine, an alternative to Mylan’s injectable EpiPen, which has seen a 500 percent price jump over recent years. “We have gone through early formulation and viability testing, have met with the Food and Drug Administration to discuss the clinical path line and are ready to take it into the clinic,” Pfeffer said. He added that the approval process will be much shorter for the future product as MannKind’s alternative is just a different formulation of an already approved drug to treat severe allergic reactions – epinephrine. Thus, approval will be similar to that of a generic drug as opposed to a new pharmaceutical. He believes the price will be cheaper than EpiPen’s but said it is too soon speculate. He also anticipates less resistance to use MannKind’s inhalable version as patients have to inject EpiPen in the outer thigh. Wound Center Earlier this month, West Hills Hospital & Medical Center opened its Advanced Care Wound Center at 7300 Medical Center Drive in West Hills. The new center, open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., provides special care for patients with hard-to-heal wounds. It offers treatments such as bio-engineered tissues, biosynthetic dressings, negative-pressure wound therapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy and growth factor therapies. “Chronic wounds affect approximately 6.7 million people in the United States, and incidents are expected to rise at a rate of 2 percent annually in the next decade,” Dr. Brian Evans, the center’s medical director, said in a statement. “This alarming statistic demonstrates the growing need for wound care centers like the state-of-the-art facility at West Hills Hospital.” Ideal candidates for the center’s services are patients with a wound that has not started to heal within four weeks or is not completely healed in six weeks. West Hills Hospital & Medical Center, which is owned by Nashville-based HCA Holdings Inc., has 450 doctors and more than 900 nurses and staff to serve the West Valley market. Amgen’s Cancer Collaboration Amgen Inc. has entered into a research contract and exclusive license agreement to develop new cancer drugs with German pharmaceutical company Immatics Biotechnologies. The Thousand Oaks biotech has partnered with Immatics to create T-cell engaging bispecific immunotherapies targeting multiple cancers. The deal will utilize Immatics’ T-cell receptor technology paired with Amgen’s Bispecific T-cell Engager (BiTE) platform to make new oncology medications. Under the terms of the contract, Amgen is responsible for worldwide clinical development, manufacturing and commercialization. Immatics will receive $30 million upfront and is eligible to earn more than $500 million in milestone payments for each program as well as tiered royalties that could climb to a double-digit percentage of net sales. “The intersection of immunology and oncology represents a promising and rapidly developing approach that can have a significant impact for patients with cancer,” Dr. Sean Harper, Amgen’s executive vice president of research and development, said in a statement. “We look forward to collaborating with Immatics to translate their unique target and TCR discovery capabilities combined with Amgen’s validated BiTE technology into novel therapies.” Staff Reporter Stephanie Henkel can be reached at (818) 316-3130 or shenkel@sfvbj.com.

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