In today’s wrapup of tech and life science headlines from around the Triangle region:

  • Mayne Pharma spends $50 million to acquire some GSK dermatology assets
  • UNC-CH researchers help develop an opioid drug candidate from scratch
  • SAS works with an Arizona county to fight heat and disease
  • RTI International lands a $2M-plus biofuels contract

The details:

  • Mayne Pharma spends $50 million to acquire some GSK dermatology assets

Mayne, which operates a big manufacturing plant in Greenville, N.C., recently invested $652 million in other drug asset acquisitions.

Source: Mayne Pharma

Mayne Pharma is pleased to announce it has acquired a portfolio of on-market dermatology Foam Assets from GSK for US$50.1 million. The Foam Assets include US rights to Fabior and Sorilux, Canadian rights to Luxiq® and Olux-E® and Mexican rights to betamethasone foam. Under the terms of the agreement Mayne Pharma will acquire the approved regulatory filings, trademarks, marketing materials, select product inventory, related medical and technical data and will acquire or obtain licenses for related patents.

Fabior (tazarotene) Foam, 0.1% is a patent-protected topical product indicated for the treatment of acne, the largest dermatology indication in the US affecting up to 50 million Americans every year1. Sorilux (calcipotriene) Foam, 0.005% is a patent-protected topical product indicated for mild to moderate plaque psoriasis affecting up to 6 million Americans each year1.

Both Fabior and Sorilux will be marketed through Mayne Pharma’s Specialty Brands Division and existing sales team. Re-launch for both products is expected in FY17. During the intervening period GSK will continue to distribute Fabior and Sorilux under a transition services arrangement.

The non-US dermatology assets will continue to be distributed by GSK in the short term and Mayne Pharma will seek to out-license these products to new partners.

Mayne Pharma’s CEO, Mr Scott Richards said “This acquisition will strengthen Mayne Pharma’s position in the US dermatology market, diversify future branded earnings and create new opportunities for growth. Both Fabior and Sorilux are a strategic fit with the existing Doryx franchise and participate in attractive and growing markets. We believe both products are differentiated assets with compelling clinical data that physicians and patients will appreciate.”

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  • ​UNC-CH researchers help develop an opioid drug candidate from scratch

Source: UNC-CH

An international research team – led by scientists at UC San Francisco, Stanford University, the University of North Carolina (UNC), and the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg in Germany – has developed a new opioid drug candidate that blocks pain without triggering the dangerous side effects of current prescription painkillers. Their secret? They started from scratch.

In a new study published today in Nature, the researchers used the newly deciphered atomic structure of the brain’s “morphine receptor” to custom-engineer a new drug candidate that blocked pain as effectively as morphine in mouse experiments but did not share the potentially deadly side effects typical of opioid drugs, including morphine and oxycodone. In particular, the new drug did not interfere with breathing – the main cause of death in overdoses of prescription painkillers as well as street narcotics like heroin – or cause constipation, another common and sometimes severe opioid side effect. In lab tests, the new drug also appeared to side-step the brain’s dopamine-driven addiction circuitry and did not cause drug-seeking behavior in mice.

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  • SAS works with an Arizona county to fight heat and disease

Source: SAS​

It’s hot in Arizona. Summer turns the winter vacation haven into a battleground between public health agencies and heat-related maladies. One county, Pinal, is wielding SAS® Analytics in the campaign to protect the public from dangerously high temperatures. The software also helps disease investigators in the Public Health Services District monitor and analyze hundreds of diseases, from the flu to STDs to measles.

Investigators treat heat stroke, hyperthermia and heat shock like other epidemiological threats, such as food-borne illness or norovirus. They look for spikes and clusters among populations and within certain geographies.

Pinal County analyzed years of data from the statewide mortality databases and hospital discharge data to uncover patterns and risk factors for heat-related illness. The heat illness project required analytics to make sense of a million rows and 200 columns of data.

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  • RTI International lands a $2M-plus biofuels contract

The U.S. Department of Energy awarded RTI International a project to support the development of biomass-to-hydrocarbon biofuels conversion pathways that can produce variable amounts of fuels or products.

As part of the more than $2 million, 3-year project, RTI will partner with Arkema and AECOM to investigate the technical feasibility and economic potential and the environmental and sustainability benefits of recovering high-value bioproducts (methoxyphenols) from biocrude as building block chemicals in parallel with the production of biofuels. These building blocks chemicals can be used in the production of pharmaceuticals, food flavorings, and perfume products.

Achieving technical success in recovering high-value bioproducts from bio-crude prior to upgrading to biofuels could provide a significant source of revenue to improve overall process economics and help meet the modeled $3/gasoline gallon equivalent production-cost target for advanced biofuels technologies by 2022.

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