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Archive for the ‘Patents’ Category

From the journal Nature: NFT, Patents, and Intellectual Property: Potential Design

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D.

 

From the journal Nature

Source: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-05920-6

Patents and intellectual property assets as non-fungible tokens; key technologies and challenges

Scientific Reports volume 12, Article number: 2178 (2022)

Abstract

With the explosive development of decentralized finance, we witness a phenomenal growth in tokenization of all kinds of assets, including equity, funds, debt, and real estate. By taking advantage of blockchain technology, digital assets are broadly grouped into fungible and non-fungible tokens (NFT). Here non-fungible tokens refer to those with unique and non-substitutable properties. NFT has widely attracted attention, and its protocols, standards, and applications are developing exponentially. It has been successfully applied to digital fantasy artwork, games, collectibles, etc. However, there is a lack of research in utilizing NFT in issues such as Intellectual Property. Applying for a patent and trademark is not only a time-consuming and lengthy process but also costly. NFT has considerable potential in the intellectual property domain. It can promote transparency and liquidity and open the market to innovators who aim to commercialize their inventions efficiently. The main objective of this paper is to examine the requirements of presenting intellectual property assets, specifically patents, as NFTs. Hence, we offer a layered conceptual NFT-based patent framework. Furthermore, a series of open challenges about NFT-based patents and the possible future directions are highlighted. The proposed framework provides fundamental elements and guidance for businesses in taking advantage of NFTs in real-world problems such as grant patents, funding, biotechnology, and so forth.

Introduction

Distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) such as blockchain are emerging technologies posing a threat to existing business models. Traditionally, most companies used centralized authorities in various aspects of their business, such as financial operations and setting up a trust with their counterparts. By the emergence of blockchain, centralized organizations can be substituted with a decentralized group of resources and actors. The blockchain mechanism was introduced in Bitcoin white paper in 2008, which lets users generate transactions and spend their money without the intervention of banks1. Ethereum, which is a second generation of blockchain, was introduced in 2014, allowing developers to run smart contracts on a distributed ledger. With smart contracts, developers and businesses can create financial applications that use cryptocurrencies and other forms of tokens for applications such as decentralized finance (DeFi), crowdfunding, decentralized exchanges, data records keeping, etc.2. Recent advances in distributed ledger technology have developed concepts that lead to cost reduction and the simplification of value exchange. Nowadays, by leveraging the advantages of blockchain and taking into account the governance issues, digital assets could be represented as tokens that existed in the blockchain network, which facilitates their transmission and traceability, increases their transparency, and improves their security3.

In the landscape of blockchain technology, there could be defined two types of tokens, including fungible tokens, in which all the tokens have equal value and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that feature unique characteristics and are not interchangeable. Actually, non-fungible tokens are digital assets with a unique identifier that is stored on a blockchain4. NFT was initially suggested in Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIP)-7215, and it was later expanded in EIP-11556. NFTs became one of the most widespread applications of blockchain technology that reached worldwide attention in early 2021. They can be digital representations of real-world objects. NFTs are tradable rights of digital assets (pictures, music, films, and virtual creations) where ownership is recorded in blockchain smart contracts7.

In particular, fungibility is the ability to exchange one with another of the same kind as an essential currency feature. The non-fungible token is unique and therefore cannot be substituted8. Recently, blockchain enthusiasts have indicated significant interest in various types of NFTs. They enthusiastically participate in NFT-related games or trades. CryptoPunks9, as one of the first NFTs on Ethereum, has developed almost 10,000 collectible punks and helped popularize the ERC-721 Standard. With the gamification of the breeding mechanics, CryptoKitties10 officially placed NFTs at the forefront of the market in 2017. CryptoKitties is an early blockchain game that enables users to buy, sell, collect, and digital breed cats. Another example is NBA Top Shot11, an NFT trading platform for digital short films buying and selling NBA events.

NFTs are developing remarkably and have provided many applications such as artist royalties, in-game assets, educational certificates, etc. However, it is a relatively new concept, and many areas of application need to be explored. Intellectual Property, including patent, trademark, and copyright, is an important area where NFTs can be applied usefully and solve existing problems.

Although NFTs have had many applications so far, it rarely has been used to solve real-world problems. In fact, an NFT is an exciting concept about Intellectual Property (IP). Applying for a patent and trademark is a time-consuming and lengthy process, but it is also costly. That is, registering a copyright or trademark may take months, while securing a patent can take years. On the contrary, with the help of unique features of NFT technology, it is possible to accelerate this process with considerable confidence and assurance about protecting the ownership of an IP. NFTs can offer IP protection while an applicant waits for the government to grant his/her more formal protection. It is cause for excitement that people who believe NFTs and Blockchain would make buying and selling patents easier, offering new opportunities for companies, universities, and inventors to make money off their innovations12. Patent holders will benefit from such innovation. It would give them the ability to ‘tokenize’ their patents. Because every transaction would be logged on a blockchain, it will be much easier to trace patent ownership changes. However, NFT would also facilitate the revenue generation of patents by democratizing patent licensing via NFT. NFTs support the intellectual property market by embedding automatic royalty collecting methods inside inventors’ works, providing them with financial benefits anytime their innovation is licensed. For example, each inventor’s patent would be minted as an NFT, and these NFTs would be joined together to form a commercial IP portfolio and minted as a compounded NFT. Each investor would automatically get their fair share of royalties whenever the licensing revenue is generated without tracking them down.

The authors in13, an overview of NFTs’ applications in different aspects such as gambling, games, and collectibles has been discussed. In addition4, provides a prototype for an event-tracking application based on Ethereum smart contract, and NFT as a solution for art and real estate auction systems is described in14. However, these studies have not discussed existing standards or a generalized architecture, enabling NFTs to be applied in diverse applications. For example, the authors in15 provide two general design patterns for creating and trading NFTs and discuss existing token standards for NFT. However, the proposed designs are limited to Ethereum, and other blockchains are not considered16. Moreover, different technologies for each step of the proposed procedure are not discussed. In8, the authors provide a conceptual framework for token designing and managing and discuss five views: token view, wallet view, transaction view, user interface view, and protocol view. However, no research provides a generalized conceptual framework for generating, recording, and tracing NFT based-IP, in blockchain network.

Even with the clear benefits that NFT-backed patents offer, there are a number of impediments to actually achieving such a system. For example, convincing patent owners to put current ownership records for their patents into NFTs poses an initial obstacle. Because there is no reliable framework for NFT-based patents, this paper provides a conceptual framework for presenting NFT-based patents with a comprehensive discussion on many aspects, ranging from the background, model components, token standards to application domains and research challenges. The main objective of this paper is to provide a layered conceptual NFT-based patent framework that can be used to register patents in a decentralized, tamper-proof, and trustworthy peer-to-peer network to trade and exchange them in the worldwide market. The main contributions of this paper are highlighted as follows:

  • Providing a comprehensive overview on tokenization of IP assets to create unique digital tokens.
  • Discussing the components of a distributed and trustworthy framework for minting NFT-based patents.
  • Highlighting a series of open challenges of NFT-based patents and enlightening the possible future trends.

The rest of the paper is structured as follows: “Background” section describes the Background of NFTs, Non-Fungible Token Standards. The NFT-based patent framework is described in “NFT-based patent framework” section. The Discussion and challenges are presented in “Discussion” section. Lastly, conclusions are given in “Conclusion” section.

Background

Colored Coins could be considered the first steps toward NFTs designed on the top of the Bitcoin network. Bitcoins are fungible, but it is possible to mark them to be distinguishable from the other bitcoins. These marked coins have special properties representing real-world assets like cars and stocks, and owners can prove their ownership of physical assets through the colored coins. By utilizing Colored Coins, users can transfer their marked coins’ ownership like a usual transaction and benefit from Bitcoin’s decentralized network17. Colored Coins had limited functionality due to the Bitcoin script limitations. Pepe is a green frog meme originated by Matt Furie that; users define tokens for Pepes and trade them through the Counterparty platform. Then, the tokens that were created by the picture of Pepes are decided if they are rare enough. Rare Pepe allows users to preserve scarcity, manage the ownership, and transfer their purchased Pepes.

In 2017, Larva Labs developed the first Ethereum-based NFT named CryptoPunks. It contains 10,000 unique human-like characters generated randomly. The official ownership of each character is stored in the Ethereum smart contract, and owners would trade characters. CryptoPunks project inspired CryptoKitties project. CryptoKitties attracts attention to NFT, and it is a pioneer in blockchain games and NFTs that launched in late 2017. CryptoKitties is a blockchain-based virtual game, and users collect and trade characters with unique features that shape kitties. This game was developed in Ethereum smart contract, and it pioneered the ERC-721 token, which was the first standard token in the Ethereum blockchain for NFTs. After the 2017 hype in NFTs, many projects started in this context. Due to increased attention to NFTs’ use-cases and growing market cap, different blockchains like EOS, Algorand, and Tezos started to support NFTs, and various marketplaces like SuperRare and Rarible, and OpenSea are developed to help users to trade NFTs. As mentioned, in general, assets are categorized into two main classes, fungible and non-fungible assets. Fungible assets are the ones that another similar asset can replace. Fungible items could have two main characteristics: replicability and divisibility.

Currency is a fungible item because a ten-dollar bill can be exchanged for another ten-dollar bill or divided into ten one-dollar bills. Despite fungible items, non-fungible items are unique and distinguishable. They cannot be divided or exchanged by another identical item. The first tweet on Twitter is a non-fungible item with mentioned characteristics. Another tweet cannot replace it, and it is unique and not divisible. NFT is a non-fungible cryptographic asset that is declared in a standard token format and has a unique set of attributes. Due to transparency, proof of ownership, and traceable transactions in the blockchain network, NFTs are created using blockchain technology.

Blockchain-based NFTs help enthusiasts create NFTs in the standard token format in blockchain, transfer the ownership of their NFTs to a buyer, assure uniqueness of NFTs, and manage NFTs completely. In addition, there are semi-fungible tokens that have characteristics of both fungible and non-fungible tokens. Semi-fungible tokens are fungible in the same class or specific time and non-fungible in other classes or different times. A plane ticket can be considered a semi-fungible token because a charter ticket can be exchanged by another charter ticket but cannot be exchanged by a first-class ticket. The concept of semi-fungible tokens plays the main role in blockchain-based games and reduces NFTs overhead. In Fig. 1, we illustrate fungible, non-fungible, and semi-fungible tokens. The main properties of NFTs are described as follows15:

figure 1
Figure 1

Ownership: Because of the blockchain layer, the owner of NFT can easily prove the right of possession by his/her keys. Other nodes can verify the user’s ownership publicly.

  • Transferable: Users can freely transfer owned NFTs ownership to others on dedicated markets.
  • Transparency: By using blockchain, all transactions are transparent, and every node in the network can confirm and trace the trades.
  • Fraud Prevention: Fraud is one of the key problems in trading assets; hence, using NFTs ensures buyers buy a non-counterfeit item.
  • Immutability: Metadata, token ID, and history of transactions of NFTs are recorded in a distributed ledger, and it is impossible to change the information of the purchased NFTs.

Non-fungible standards

Ethereum blockchain was pioneered in implementing NFTs. ERC-721 token was the first standard token accepted in the Ethereum network. With the increase in popularity of the NFTs, developers started developing and enhancing NFTs standards in different blockchains like EOS, Algorand, and Tezos. This section provides a review of implemented NFTs standards on the mentioned blockchains.

Ethereum

ERC-721 was the first Standard for NFTs developed in Ethereum, a free and open-source standard. ERC-721 is an interface that a smart contract should implement to have the ability to transfer and manage NFTs. Each ERC-721 token has unique properties and a different Token Id. ERC-721 tokens include the owner’s information, a list of approved addresses, a transfer function that implements transferring tokens from owner to buyer, and other useful functions5.

In ERC-721, smart contracts can group tokens with the same configuration, and each token has different properties, so ERC-721 does not support fungible tokens. However, ERC-1155 is another standard on Ethereum developed by Enjin and has richer functionalities than ERC-721 that supports fungible, non-fungible, and semi-fungible tokens. In ERC-1155, IDs define the class of assets. So different IDs have a different class of assets, and each ID may contain different assets of the same class. Using ERC-1155, a user can transfer different types of tokens in a single transaction and mix multiple fungible and non-fungible types of tokens in a single smart contract6. ERC-721 and ERC-1155 both support operators in which the owner can let the operator originate transferring of the token.

EOSIO

EOSIO is an open-source blockchain platform released in 2018 and claims to eliminate transaction fees and increase transaction throughput. EOSIO differs from Ethereum in the wallet creation algorithm and procedure of handling transactions. dGood is a free standard developed in the EOS blockchain for assets, and it focuses on large-scale use cases. It supports a hierarchical naming structure in smart contracts. Each contract has a unique symbol and a list of categories, and each category contains a list of token names. Therefore, a single contract in dGoods could contain many tokens, which causes efficiency in transferring a group of tokens. Using this hierarchy, dGoods supports fungible, non-fungible, and semi-fungible tokens. It also supports batch transferring, where the owner can transfer many tokens in one operation18.

Algorand

Algorand is a new high-performance public blockchain launched in 2019. It provides scalability while maintaining security and decentralization. It supports smart contracts and tokens for representing assets19. Algorand defines Algorand Standard Assets (ASA) concept to create and manage assets in the Algorand blockchain. Using ASA, users are able to define fungible and non-fungible tokens. In Algorand, users can create NFTs or FTs without writing smart contracts, and they should run just a single transaction in the Algorand blockchain. Each transaction contains some mutable and immutable properties20.

Each account in Algorand can create up to 1000 assets, and for every asset, an account creates or receives, the minimum balance of the account increases by 0.1 Algos. Also, Algorand supports fractional NFTs by splitting an NFT into a group of divided FTs or NFTs, and each part can be exchanged dependently21. Algorand uses a Clawback Address that operates like an operator in ERC-1155, and it is allowed to transfer tokens of an owner who has permitted the operator.

Tezos

Tezos is another decentralized open-source blockchain. Tezos supports the meta-consensus concept. In addition to using a consensus protocol on the ledger’s state like Bitcoin and Ethereum, It also attempts to reach a consensus about how nodes and the protocol should change or upgrade22. FA2 (TZIP-12) is a standard for a unified token contract interface in the Tezos blockchain. FA2 supports different token types like fungible, non-fungible, and fractionalized NFT contracts. In Tezos, tokens are identified with a token contract address and token ID pair. Also, Tezos supports batch token transferring, which reduces the cost of transferring multiple tokens.

Flow

Flow was developed by Dapper Labs to remove the scalability limitation of the Ethereum blockchain. Flow is a fast and decentralized blockchain that focuses on games and digital collectibles. It improves throughput and scalability without sharding due to its architecture. Flow supports smart contracts using Cadence, which is a resource-oriented programming language. NFTs can be described as a resource with a unique id in Cadence. Resources have important rules for ownership management; that is, resources have just one owner and cannot be copied or lost. These features assure the NFT owner. NFTs’ metadata, including images and documents, can be stored off-chain or on-chain in Flow. In addition, Flow defines a Collection concept, in which each collection is an NFT resource that can include a list of resources. It is a dictionary that the key is resource id, and the value is corresponding NFT.

The collection concept provides batch transferring of NFTs. Besides, users can define an NFT for an FT. For instance, in CryptoKitties, a unique cat as an NFT can own a unique hat (another NFT). Flow uses Cadence’s second layer of access control to allow some operators to access some fields of the NFT23. In Table 1, we provide a comparison between explained standards. They are compared in support of fungible-tokens, non-fungible tokens, batch transferring that owner can transform multiple tokens in one operation, operator support in which the owner can approve an operator to originate token transfer, and fractionalized NFTs that an NFT can divide to different tokens and each exchange dependently.Table 1 Comparing NFT standards.

Full size table

NFT-based patent framework

In this section, we propose a framework for presenting NFT-based patents. We describe details of the proposed distributed and trustworthy framework for minting NFT-based patents, as shown in Fig. 2. The proposed framework includes five main layers: Storage Layer, Authentication Layer, Verification Layer, Blockchain Layer, and Application Layer. Details of each layer and the general concepts are presented as follows.

figure 2
Figure 2

Storage layer

The continuous rise of the data in blockchain technology is moving various information systems towards the use of decentralized storage networks. Decentralized storage networks were created to provide more benefits to the technological world24. Some of the benefits of using decentralized storage systems are explained: (1) Cost savings are achieved by making optimal use of current storage. (2) Multiple copies are kept on various nodes, avoiding bottlenecks on central servers and speeding up downloads. This foundation layer implicitly provides the infrastructure required for the storage. The items on NFT platforms have unique characteristics that must be included for identification.

Non-fungible token metadata provides information that describes a particular token ID. NFT metadata is either represented on the On-chain or Off-chain. On-chain means direct incorporation of the metadata into the NFT’s smart contract, which represents the tokens. On the other hand, off-chain storage means hosting the metadata separately25.

Blockchains provide decentralization but are expensive for data storage and never allow data to be removed. For example, because of the Ethereum blockchain’s current storage limits and high maintenance costs, many projects’ metadata is maintained off-chain. Developers utilize the ERC721 Standard, which features a method known as tokenURI. This method is implemented to let applications know the location of the metadata for a specific item. Currently, there are three solutions for off-chain storage, including InterPlanetary File System (IPFS), Pinata, and Filecoin.

IPFS

InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) is a peer-to-peer hypermedia protocol for decentralized media content storage. Because of the high cost of storing media files related to NFTS on Blockchain, IPFS can be the most affordable and efficient solution. IPFS combines multiple technologies inspired by Gita and BitTorrent, such as Block Exchange System, Distributed Hash Tables (DHT), and Version Control System26. On a peer-to-peer network, DHT is used to coordinate and maintain metadata.

In other words, the hash values must be mapped to the objects they represent. An IPFS generates a hash value that starts with the prefix {Q}_{m} and acts as a reference to a specific item when storing an object like a file. Objects larger than 256 KB are divided into smaller blocks up to 256 KB. Then a hash tree is used to interconnect all the blocks that are a part of the same object. IPFS uses Kamdelia DHT. The Block Exchange System, or BitSwap, is a BitTorrent-inspired system that is used to exchange blocks. It is possible to use asymmetric encryption to prevent unauthorized access to stored content on IPFS27.

Pinata

Pinata is a popular platform for managing and uploading files on IPFS. It provides secure and verifiable files for NFTs. Most data is stored off-chain by most NFTs, where a URL of the data is pointed to the NFT on the blockchain. The main problem here is that some information in the URL can change.

This indicates that an NFT supposed to describe a certain patent can be changed without anyone knowing. This defeats the purpose of the NFT in the first place. This is where Pinata comes in handy. Pinata uses the IPFS to create content-addressable hashes of data, also known as Content-Identifiers (CIDs). These CIDs serve as both a way of retrieving data and a means to ensure data validity. Those looking to retrieve data simply ask the IPFS network for the data associated with a certain CID, and if any node on the network contains that data, it will be returned to the requester. The data is automatically rehashed on the requester’s computer when the requester retrieves it to make sure that the data matches back up with the original CID they asked for. This process ensures the data that’s received is exactly what was asked for; if a malicious node attempts to send fake data, the resulting CID on the requester’s end will be different, alerting the requester that they’re receiving incorrect data28.

Filecoin

Another decentralized storage network is Filecoin. It is built on top of IPFS and is designed to store the most important data, such as media files. Truffle Suite has also launched NFT Development Template with Filecoin Box. NFT.Storage (Free Decentralized Storage for NFTs)29 allows users to easily and securely store their NFT content and metadata using IPFS and Filecoin. NFT.Storage is a service backed by Protocol Labs and Pinata specifically for storing NFT data. Through content addressing and decentralized storage, NFT.Storage allows developers to protect their NFT assets and associated metadata, ensuring that all NFTs follow best practices to stay accessible for the long term. NFT.Storage makes it completely frictionless to mint NFTs following best practices through resilient persistence on IPFS and Filecoin. NFT.Storage allows developers to quickly, safely, and for free store NFT data on decentralized networks. Anyone can leverage the power of IPFS and Filecoin to ensure the persistence of their NFTs. The details of this system are stated as follows30:

Content addressing

Once users upload data on NFT.Storage, They receive a CID, which is an IPFS hash of the content. CIDs are the data’s unique fingerprints, universal addresses that can be used to refer to it regardless of how or where it is stored. Using CIDs to reference NFT data avoids problems such as weak links and “rug pulls” since CIDs are generated from the content itself.

Provable storage

NFT.Storage uses Filecoin for long-term decentralized data storage. Filecoin uses cryptographic proofs to assure the NFT data’s durability and persistence over time.

Resilient retrieval

This data stored via IPFS and Filecoin can be fetched directly in the browser via any public IPFS.

Authentication Layer

The second layer is the authentication layer, which we briefly highlight its functions in this section. The Decentralized Identity (DID) approach assists users in collecting credentials from a variety of issuers, such as the government, educational institutions, or employers, and saving them in a digital wallet. The verifier then uses these credentials to verify a person’s validity by using a blockchain-based ledger to follow the “identity and access management (IAM)” process. Therefore, DID allows users to be in control of their identity. A lack of NFT verifiability also causes intellectual property and copyright infringements; of course, the chain of custody may be traced back to the creator’s public address to check whether a similar patent is filed using that address. However, there is no quick and foolproof way to check an NFTs creator’s legitimacy. Without such verification built into the NFT, an NFT proves ownership only over that NFT itself and nothing more.

Self-sovereign identity (SSI)31 is a solution to this problem. SSI is a new series of standards that will guide a new identity architecture for the Internet. With a focus on privacy, security interoperability, SSI applications use public-key cryptography with public blockchains to generate persistent identities for people with private and selective information disclosure. Blockchain technology offers a solution to establish trust and transparency and provide a secure and publicly verifiable KYC (Know Your Customer). The blockchain architecture allows you to collect information from various service providers into a single cryptographically secure and unchanging database that does not need a third party to verify the authenticity of the information.

The proposed platform generates patents-related smart contracts acting as a program that runs on the blockchain to receive and send transactions. They are unalterable privately identifying clients with a thorough KYC process. After KYC approval, then mint an NFT on the blockchain as a certificate of verification32. This article uses a decentralized authentication solution at this layer for authentication. This solution has been used for various applications in the field of the blockchain (exp: smart city, Internet of Things, etc.3334, but we use it here for the proposed framework (patent as NFTs). Details of this solution will be presented in the following.

Decentralized authentication

This section presents the authentication layer similar35 to build validated communication in a secure and decentralized manner via blockchain technology. As shown in Fig. 3, the authentication protocol comprises two processes, including registration and login.

figure 3
Figure 3
Registration

In the registration process of a suggested authentication protocol, we first initialize a user’s public key as their identity key (UserName). Then, we upload this identity key on a blockchain, in which transactions can be verified later by other users. Finally, the user generates an identity transaction.

Login

After registration, a user logs in to the system. The login process is described as follows:

  • 1. The user commits identity information and imports their secret key into the service application to log in.
  • 2. A user who needs to log in sends a login request to the network’s service provider.
  • 3. The service provider analyzes the login request, extracts the hash, queries the blockchain, and obtains identity information from an identity list (identity transactions).
  • 4. The service provider responds with an authentication request when the above process is completed. A timestamp (to avoid a replay attack), the user’s UserName, and a signature are all included in the authentication request.
  • 5. The user creates a signature with five parameters: timestamp, UserName, and PK, as well as the UserName and PK of the service provider. The user authentication credential is used as the signature.
  • 6. The service provider verifies the received information, and if the received information is valid, the authentication succeeds; otherwise, the authentication fails, and the user’s login is denied.

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and multiple target patent offices in various nations or regions should assess a patent application, resulting in inefficiency, high costs, and uncertainty. This study presented a conceptual NFT-based patent framework for issuing, validating, and sharing patent certificates. The platform aims to support counterfeit protection as well as secure access and management of certificates according to the needs of learners, companies, education institutions, and certification authorities.

Here, the certification authority (CA) is used to authenticate patent offices. The procedure will first validate a patent if it is provided with a digital certificate that meets the X.509 standard. Certificate authorities are introduced into the system to authenticate both the nodes and clients connected to the blockchain network.

Verification layer

In permissioned blockchains, just identified nodes can read and write in the distributed ledger. Nodes can act in different roles and have various permissions. Therefore, a distributed system can be designed to be the identified nodes for patent granting offices. Here the system is described conceptually at a high level. Figure 4 illustrates the sequence diagram of this layer. This layer includes four levels as below:

figure 4
Figure 4

Digitalization

For a patent to publish as an NFT in the blockchain, it must have a digitalized format. This level is the “filling step” in traditional patent registering. An application could be designed in the application layer to allow users to enter different patent information online.

Recording

Patents provide valuable information and would bring financial benefits for their owner. If they are publicly published in a blockchain network, miners may refuse the patent and take the innovation for themselves. At least it can weaken consensus reliability and encourage miners to misbehave. The inventor should record his innovation privately first using proof of existence to prevent this. The inventor generates the hash of the patent document and records it in the blockchain. As soon as it is recorded in the blockchain, the timestamp and the hash are available for others publicly. Then, the inventor can prove the existence of the patent document whenever it is needed.

Furthermore, using methods like Decision Thinking36, an inventor can record each phase of patent development separately. In each stage, a user generates the hash of the finished part and publishes the hash regarding the last part’s hash. Finally, they have a coupled series of hashes that indicate patent development, and they can prove the existence of each phase using the original related documents. This level should be done to prevent others from abusing the patent and taking it for themselves. The inventor can make sure that their patent document is recorded confidentially and immutably37.

Different hash algorithms exist with different architecture, time complexity, and security considerations. Hash functions should satisfy two main requirements: Pre-Image Resistance: This means that it should be computationally hard to find the input of a hash function while the output and the hash algorithm are known publicly. Collision Resistance: This means that it is computationally hard to find two arbitrary inputs, x, and y, that have the same hash output. These requirements are vital for recording patents. First, the hash function should be Pre-Image Resistance to make it impossible for others to calculate the patent documentation. Otherwise, everybody can read the patent, even before its official publication. Second, the hash function should satisfy Collision Resistance to preclude users from changing their document after recording. Otherwise, users can upload another document, and after a while, they can replace it with another one.

There are various hash algorithms, and MD and SHA families are the most useful algorithms. According to38, Collisions have been found for MD2, MD4, MD5, SHA-0, and SHA-1 hash functions. Hence, they cannot be a good choice for recording patents. SHA2 hash algorithm is secure, and no collision has been found. Although SHA2 is noticeably slower than prior hash algorithms, the recording phase is not highly time-sensitive. So, it is a better choice and provides excellent security for users.

Validating

In this phase, the inventors first create NFT for their patents and publish it to the miners/validators. Miners are some identified nodes that validate NFTs to record in the blockchain. Due to the specialization of the patent validation, miners cannot be inexpert public persons. In addition, patent offices are not too many to make the network fully decentralized. Therefore, the miners can be related specialist persons that are certified by the patent offices. They should receive a digital certificate from patent offices that show their eligibility to referee a patent.

Digital certificate

Digital certificates are digital credentials used to verify networked entities’ online identities. They usually include a public key as well as the owner’s identification. They are issued by Certification Authorities (CAs), who must verify the certificate holder’s identity. Certificates contain cryptographic keys for signing, encryption, and decryption. X.509 is a standard that defines the format of public-key certificates and is signed by a certificate authority. X.509 standard has multiple fields, and its structure is shown in Fig. 5. Version: This field indicated the version of the X.509 standard. X.509 contains multiple versions, and each version has a different structure. According to the CA, validators can choose their desired version. Serial Number: It is used to distinguish a certificate from other certificates. Thus, each certificate has a unique serial number. Signature Algorithm Identifier: This field indicates the cryptographic encryption algorithm used by a certificate authority. Issuer Name: This field indicates the issuer’s name, which is generally certificate authority. Validity Period: Each certificate is valid for a defined period, defined as the Validity Period. This limited period partly protects certificates against exposing CA’s private key. Subject Name: Name of the requester. In our proposed framework, it is the validator’s name. Subject Public Key Info: Shows the CA’s or organization’s public key that issued the certificate. These fields are identical among all versions of the X.509 standard39.

figure 5
Figure 5

Certificate authority

A Certificate Authority (CA) issues digital certificates. CAs encrypt the certificate with their private key, which is not public, and others can decrypt the certificates containing the CA’s public key.

Here, the patent office creates a certificate for requested patent referees. The patent office writes the information of the validator in their certificate and encrypts it with the patent offices’ private key. The validator can use the certificate to assure others about their eligibility. Other nodes can check the requesting node’s information by decrypting the certificate using the public key of the patent office. Therefore, persons can join the network’s miners/validators using their credentials. In this phase, miners perform Formal Examinations, Prior Art Research, and Substantive Examinations and vote to grant or refuse the patent.

Miners perform a consensus about the patent and record the patent in the blockchain. After that, the NFT is recorded in the blockchain with corresponding comments in granting or needing reformations. If the miners detect the NFT as a malicious request, they do not record it in the blockchain.

Blockchain layer

This layer plays as a middleware between the Verification Layer and Application Layer in the patents as NFTs architecture. The main purpose of the blockchain layer in the proposed architecture is to provide IP management. We find that transitioning to a blockchain-based patent as a NFTs records system enables many previously suggested improvements to current patent systems in a flexible, scalable, and transparent manner.

On the other hand, we can use multiple blockchain platforms, including Ethereum, EOS, Flow, and Tezos. Blockchain Systems can be mainly classified into two major types: Permissionless (public) and Permissioned (private) Blockchains based on their consensus mechanism. In a public blockchain, any node can participate in the peer-to-peer network, where the blockchain is fully decentralized. A node can leave the network without any consent from the other nodes in the network.

Bitcoin is one of the most popular examples that fall under the public and permissionless blockchain. Proof of Work (POW), Proof-of-Stake (POS), and directed acyclic graph (DAG) are some examples of consensus algorithms in permissionless blockchains. Bitcoin and Ethereum, two famous and trustable blockchain networks, use the PoW consensus mechanism. Blockchain platforms like Cardano and EOS adopt the PoS consensus40.

Nodes require specific access or permission to get network authentication in a private blockchain. Hyperledger is among the most popular private blockchains, which allow only permissioned members to join the network after authentication. This provides security to a group of entities that do not completely trust one another but wants to achieve a common objective such as exchanging information. All entities of a permissioned blockchain network can use Byzantine-fault-tolerant (BFT) consensus. The Fabric has a membership identity service that manages user IDs and verifies network participants.

Therefore, members are aware of each other’s identity while maintaining privacy and secrecy because they are unaware of each other’s activities41. Due to their more secure nature, private blockchains have sparked a large interest in banking and financial organizations, believing that these platforms can disrupt current centralized systems. Hyperledger, Quorum, Corda, EOS are some examples of permissioned blockchains42.

Reaching consensus in a distributed environment is a challenge. Blockchain is a decentralized network with no central node to observe and check all transactions. Thus, there is a need to design protocols that indicate all transactions are valid. So, the consensus algorithms are considered as the core of each blockchain43. In distributed systems, the consensus has become a problem in which all network members (nodes) agree on accept or reject of a block. When all network members accept the new block, it can append to the previous block.

As mentioned, the main concern in the blockchains is how to reach consensus among network members. A wide range of consensus algorithms has been designed in which each of them has its own pros and cons42. Blockchain consensus algorithms are mainly classified into three groups shown in Table 2. As the first group, proof-based consensus algorithms require the nodes joining the verifying network to demonstrate their qualification to do the appending task. The second group is voting-based consensus that requires validators in the network to share their results of validating a new block or transaction before making the final decision. The third group is DAG-based consensus, a new class of consensus algorithms. These algorithms allow several different blocks to be published and recorded simultaneously on the network.Table 2 Consensus algorithms in blockchain networks.

Full size table

The proposed patent as the NFTs platform that builds blockchain intellectual property empowers the entire patent ecosystem. It is a solution that removes barriers by addressing fundamental issues within the traditional patent ecosystem. Blockchain can efficiently handle patents and trademarks by effectively reducing approval wait time and other required resources. The user entities involved in Intellectual Property management are Creators, Patent Consumers, and Copyright Managing Entities. Users with ownership of the original data are the patent creators, e.g., inventors, writers, and researchers. Patent Consumers are the users who are willing to consume the content and support the creator’s work. On the other hand, Users responsible for protecting the creators’ Intellectual Property are the copyright management entities, e.g., lawyers. The patents as NFTs solution for IP management in blockchain layer works by implementing the following steps62:

Creators sign up to the platform

Creators need to sign up on the blockchain platform to patent their creative work. The identity information will be required while signing up.

Creators upload IP on the blockchain network

Now, add an intellectual property for which the patent application is required. The creator will upload the information related to IP and the data on the blockchain network. Blockchain ensures traceability and auditability to prevent data from duplicity and manipulation. The patent becomes visible to all network members once it is uploaded to the blockchain.

Consumers generate request to use the content

Consumers who want to access the content must first register on the blockchain network. After Signing up, consumers can ask creators to grant access to the patented content. Before the patent owner authorizes the request, a Smart Contract is created to allow customers to access information such as the owner’s data. Furthermore, consumers are required to pay fees in either fiat money or unique tokens in order to use the creator’s original information. When the creator approves the request, an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) is produced and signed by both parties. Blockchain manages the agreement and guarantees that all parties agree to the terms and conditions filed.

Patent management entities leverage blockchain to protect copyrights and solve related disputes

Blockchain assists the patent management entities in resolving a variety of disputes that may include: sharing confidential information, establishing proof of authorship, transferring IP rights, and making defensive publications, etc. Suppose a person used an Invention from a patent for his company without the inventor’s consent. The inventor can report it to the patent office and claim that he is the owner of that invention.

Application layer

The patent Platform Global Marketplace technology would allow many enterprises, governments, universities, and Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) worldwide to tokenize patents as NFTs to create an infrastructure for storing patent records on a blockchain-based network and developing a decentralized marketplace in which patent holders would easily sell or otherwise monetize their patents. The NFTs-based patent can use smart contracts to determine a set price for a license or purchase.

Any buyer satisfied with the conditions can pay and immediately unlock the rights to the patent without either party ever having to interact directly. While patents are currently regulated jurisdictionally around the world, a blockchain-based patent marketplace using NFTs can reduce the geographical barriers between patent systems using as simple a tool as a search query. The ease of access to patents globally can help aspiring inventors accelerate the innovative process by building upon others’ patented inventions through licenses. There are a wide variety of use cases for patent NFTs such as SMEs, Patent Organization, Grant & Funding, and fundraising/transferring information relating to patents. These applications keep growing as time progresses, and we are constantly finding new ways to utilize these tokens. Some of the most commonly used applications can be seen as follows.

SMEs

The aim is to move intellectual property assets onto a digital, centralized, and secure blockchain network, enabling easier commercialization of patents, especially for small or medium enterprises (SMEs). Smart contracts can be attached to NFTs so terms of use and ownership can be outlined and agreed upon without incurring as many legal fees as traditional IP transfers. This is believed to help SMEs secure funding, as they could more easily leverage the previously undisclosed value of their patent portfolios63.

Transfer ownership of patents

NFTs can be used to transfer ownership of patents. The blockchain can be used to keep track of patent owners, and tokens would include self-executing contracts that transfer the legal rights associated with patents when the tokens are transferred. A partnership between IBM and IPwe has spearheaded the use of NFTs to secure patent ownership. These two companies have teamed together to build the infrastructure for an NFT-based patent marketplace.

Discussion

There are exciting proposals in the legal and economic literature that suggest seemingly straightforward solutions to many of the issues plaguing current patent systems. However, most solutions would constitute major administrative disruptions and place significant and continuous financial burdens on patent offices or their users. An NFT-based patents system not only makes many of these ideas administratively feasible but can also be examined in a step-wise, scalable, and very public manner.

Furthermore, NFT-based patents may facilitate reliable information sharing among offices and patentees worldwide, reducing the burden on examiners and perhaps even accelerating harmonization efforts. NFT-based patents also have additional transparency and archival attributes baked in. A patent should be a privilege bestowed on those who take resource-intensive risks to explore the frontier of technological capabilities. As a reward for their achievements, full transparency of these rewards is much public interest. It is a society that pays for administrative and economic inefficiencies that exist in today’s systems. NFT-based patents can enhance this transparency. From an organizational perspective, an NFT-based patent can remove current bottlenecks in patent processes by making these processes more efficient, rapid, and convenient for applicants without compromising the quality of granted patents.

The proposed framework encounters some challenges that should be solved to reach a developed patent verification platform. First, technical problems are discussed. The consensus method that is used in the verification layer is not addressed in detail. Due to the permissioned structure of miners in the NFT-based patents, consensus algorithms like PBFT, Federated Consensus, and Round Robin Consensus are designed for permissioned blockchains can be applied. Also, miners/validators spend some time validating the patents; hence a protocol should be designed to profit them. Some challenges like proving the miners’ time and effort, the price that inventors should pay to miners, and other economic trade-offs should be considered.

Different NFT standards were discussed. If various patent services use NFT standards, there will be some cross-platform problems. For instance, transferring an NFT from Ethereum blockchain (ERC-721 token) to EOS blockchain is not a forward and straight work and needs some considerations. Also, people usually trade NFTs in marketplaces such as Rarible and OpenSea. These marketplaces are centralized and may prompt some challenges because of their centralized nature. Besides, there exist some other types of challenges. For example, the novelty of NFT-based patents and blockchain services.

Blockchain-based patent service has not been tested before. The patent registration procedure and concepts of the Patent as NFT system may be ambiguous for people who still prefer conventional centralized patent systems over decentralized ones. It should be noted that there are some problems in the mining part. Miners should receive certificates from the accepted organizations. Determining these organizations and how they accept referees as validators need more consideration. Some types of inventions in some countries are prohibited, and inventors cannot register them. In NFT-based patents, inventors can register their patents publicly, and maybe some collisions occur between inventors and the government. There exist some misunderstandings about NFT’s ownership rights. It is not clear that when a person buys an NFT, which rights are given to them exactly; for instance, they have property rights or have moral rights, too.

Conclusion

Blockchain technology provides strong timestamping, the potential for smart contracts, proof-of-existence. It enables creating a transparent, distributed, cost-effective, and resilient environment that is open to all and where each transaction is auditable. On the other hand, blockchain is a definite boon to the IP industry, benefitting patent owners. When blockchain technology’s intrinsic characteristics are applied to the IP domain, it helps copyrights. This paper provided a conceptual framework for presenting an NFT-based patent with a comprehensive discussion of many aspects: background, model components, token standards to application areas, and research challenges. The proposed framework includes five main layers: Storage Layer, Authentication Layer, Verification Layer, Blockchain Layer, and Application. The primary purpose of this patent framework was to provide an NFT-based concept that could be used to patent a decentralized, anti-tamper, and reliable network for trade and exchange around the world. Finally, we addressed several open challenges to NFT-based inventions.

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Acknowledgements

This work has been partially supported by CAS President’s International Fellowship Initiative, China [grant number 2021VTB0002, 2021] and National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 61902385).

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Industrial Management, Yazd University, Yazd City, IranSeyed Mojtaba Hosseini Bamakan
  2. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan City, IranNasim Nezhadsistani
  3. School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Tehran, Tehran City, IranOmid Bodaghi
  4. Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenzhen, 518055, ChinaSeyed Mojtaba Hosseini Bamakan & Qiang Qu
  5. Huawei Blockchain Lab, Huawei Cloud Tech Co., Ltd., Shenzhen, ChinaQiang Qu

Contributions

NFT: Redefined Format of IP Assets

The collaboration between National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at NIH and BurstIQ

2.0 LPBI is a Very Unique Organization 

 

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#TUBiol5227: Biomarkers & Biotargets: Genetic Testing and Bioethics

Curator: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D.

The advent of direct to consumer (DTC) genetic testing and the resultant rapid increase in its popularity as well as companies offering such services has created some urgent and unique bioethical challenges surrounding this niche in the marketplace. At first, most DTC companies like 23andMe and Ancestry.com offered non-clinical or non-FDA approved genetic testing as a way for consumers to draw casual inferences from their DNA sequence and existence of known genes that are linked to disease risk, or to get a glimpse of their familial background. However, many issues arose, including legal, privacy, medical, and bioethical issues. Below are some articles which will explain and discuss many of these problems associated with the DTC genetic testing market as well as some alternatives which may exist.

‘Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) Genetic Testing Market to hit USD 2.5 Bn by 2024’ by Global Market Insights

This post has the following link to the market analysis of the DTC market (https://www.gminsights.com/pressrelease/direct-to-consumer-dtc-genetic-testing-market). Below is the highlights of the report.

As you can see,this market segment appears to want to expand into the nutritional consulting business as well as targeted biomarkers for specific diseases.

Rising incidence of genetic disorders across the globe will augment the market growth

Increasing prevalence of genetic disorders will propel the demand for direct-to-consumer genetic testing and will augment industry growth over the projected timeline. Increasing cases of genetic diseases such as breast cancer, achondroplasia, colorectal cancer and other diseases have elevated the need for cost-effective and efficient genetic testing avenues in the healthcare market.
 

For instance, according to the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), in 2018, over 2 million new cases of cancer were diagnosed across the globe. Also, breast cancer is stated as the second most commonly occurring cancer. Availability of superior quality and advanced direct-to-consumer genetic testing has drastically reduced the mortality rates in people suffering from cancer by providing vigilant surveillance data even before the onset of the disease. Hence, the aforementioned factors will propel the direct-to-consumer genetic testing market overt the forecast timeline.
 

DTC Genetic Testing Market By Technology

Get more details on this report – Request Free Sample PDF
 

Nutrigenomic Testing will provide robust market growth

The nutrigenomic testing segment was valued over USD 220 million market value in 2019 and its market will witness a tremendous growth over 2020-2028. The growth of the market segment is attributed to increasing research activities related to nutritional aspects. Moreover, obesity is another major factor that will boost the demand for direct-to-consumer genetic testing market.
 

Nutrigenomics testing enables professionals to recommend nutritional guidance and personalized diet to obese people and help them to keep their weight under control while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Hence, above mentioned factors are anticipated to augment the demand and adoption rate of direct-to-consumer genetic testing through 2028.
 

Browse key industry insights spread across 161 pages with 126 market data tables & 10 figures & charts from the report, “Direct-To-Consumer Genetic Testing Market Size By Test Type (Carrier Testing, Predictive Testing, Ancestry & Relationship Testing, Nutrigenomics Testing), By Distribution Channel (Online Platforms, Over-the-Counter), By Technology (Targeted Analysis, Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) Chips, Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS)), Industry Analysis Report, Regional Outlook, Application Potential, Price Trends, Competitive Market Share & Forecast, 2020 – 2028” in detail along with the table of contents:
https://www.gminsights.com/industry-analysis/direct-to-consumer-dtc-genetic-testing-market
 

Targeted analysis techniques will drive the market growth over the foreseeable future

Based on technology, the DTC genetic testing market is segmented into whole genome sequencing (WGS), targeted analysis, and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) chips. The targeted analysis market segment is projected to witness around 12% CAGR over the forecast period. The segmental growth is attributed to the recent advancements in genetic testing methods that has revolutionized the detection and characterization of genetic codes.
 

Targeted analysis is mainly utilized to determine any defects in genes that are responsible for a disorder or a disease. Also, growing demand for personalized medicine amongst the population suffering from genetic diseases will boost the demand for targeted analysis technology. As the technology is relatively cheaper, it is highly preferred method used in direct-to-consumer genetic testing procedures. These advantages of targeted analysis are expected to enhance the market growth over the foreseeable future.
 

Over-the-counter segment will experience a notable growth over the forecast period

The over-the-counter distribution channel is projected to witness around 11% CAGR through 2028. The segmental growth is attributed to the ease in purchasing a test kit for the consumers living in rural areas of developing countries. Consumers prefer over-the-counter distribution channel as they are directly examined by regulatory agencies making it safer to use, thereby driving the market growth over the forecast timeline.
 

Favorable regulations provide lucrative growth opportunities for direct-to-consumer genetic testing

Europe direct-to-consumer genetic testing market held around 26% share in 2019 and was valued at around USD 290 million. The regional growth is due to elevated government spending on healthcare to provide easy access to genetic testing avenues. Furthermore, European regulatory bodies are working on improving the regulations set on the direct-to-consumer genetic testing methods. Hence, the above-mentioned factors will play significant role in the market growth.
 

Focus of market players on introducing innovative direct-to-consumer genetic testing devices will offer several growth opportunities

Few of the eminent players operating in direct-to-consumer genetic testing market share include Ancestry, Color Genomics, Living DNA, Mapmygenome, Easy DNA, FamilytreeDNA (Gene By Gene), Full Genome Corporation, Helix OpCo LLC, Identigene, Karmagenes, MyHeritage, Pathway genomics, Genesis Healthcare, and 23andMe. These market players have undertaken various business strategies to enhance their financial stability and help them evolve as leading companies in the direct-to-consumer genetic testing industry.
 

For example, in November 2018, Helix launched a new genetic testing product, DNA discovery kit, that allows customer to delve into their ancestry. This development expanded the firm’s product portfolio, thereby propelling industry growth in the market.

The following posts discuss bioethical issues related to genetic testing and personalized medicine from a clinicians and scientisit’s perspective

Question: Each of these articles discusses certain bioethical issues although focuses on personalized medicine and treatment. Given your understanding of the robust process involved in validating clinical biomarkers and the current state of the DTC market, how could DTC testing results misinform patients and create mistrust in the physician-patient relationship?

Personalized Medicine, Omics, and Health Disparities in Cancer:  Can Personalized Medicine Help Reduce the Disparity Problem?

Diversity and Health Disparity Issues Need to be Addressed for GWAS and Precision Medicine Studies

Genomics & Ethics: DNA Fragments are Products of Nature or Patentable Genes?

The following posts discuss the bioethical concerns of genetic testing from a patient’s perspective:

Ethics Behind Genetic Testing in Breast Cancer: A Webinar by Laura Carfang of survivingbreastcancer.org

Ethical Concerns in Personalized Medicine: BRCA1/2 Testing in Minors and Communication of Breast Cancer Risk

23andMe Product can be obtained for Free from a new app called Genes for Good: UMich’s Facebook-based Genomics Project

Question: If you are developing a targeted treatment with a companion diagnostic, what bioethical concerns would you address during the drug development process to ensure fair, equitable and ethical treatment of all patients, in trials as well as post market?

Articles on Genetic Testing, Companion Diagnostics and Regulatory Mechanisms

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced that the federal healthcare program will cover the costs of cancer gene tests that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration

Real Time Coverage @BIOConvention #BIO2019: Genome Editing and Regulatory Harmonization: Progress and Challenges

New York Times vs. Personalized Medicine? PMC President: Times’ Critique of Streamlined Regulatory Approval for Personalized Treatments ‘Ignores Promising Implications’ of Field

Live Conference Coverage @Medcitynews Converge 2018 Philadelphia: Early Diagnosis Through Predictive Biomarkers, NonInvasive Testing

Protecting Your Biotech IP and Market Strategy: Notes from Life Sciences Collaborative 2015 Meeting

Question: What type of regulatory concerns should one have during the drug development process in regards to use of biomarker testing? From the last article on Protecting Your IP how important is it, as a drug developer, to involve all payers during the drug development process?

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US Responses to Coronavirus Outbreak Expose Many Flaws in Our Medical System

US Responses to Coronavirus Outbreak Expose Many Flaws in Our Medical System

Curator: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D.

The  coronavirus pandemic has affected almost every country in every continent however, after months of the novel advent of novel COVID-19 cases, it has become apparent that the varied clinical responses in this epidemic (and outcomes) have laid bare some of the strong and weak aspects in, both our worldwide capabilities to respond to infectious outbreaks in a global coordinated response and in individual countries’ response to their localized epidemics.

 

Some nations, like Israel, have initiated a coordinated government-private-health system wide action plan and have shown success in limiting both new cases and COVID-19 related deaths.  After the initial Wuhan China outbreak, China closed borders and the government initiated health related procedures including the building of new hospitals. As of writing today, Wuhan has experienced no new cases of COVID-19 for two straight days.

 

However, the response in the US has been perplexing and has highlighted some glaring problems that have been augmented in this crisis, in the view of this writer.    In my view, which has been formulated after social discussion with members in the field ,these issues can be centered on three major areas of deficiencies in the United States that have hindered a rapid and successful response to this current crisis and potential future crises of this nature.

 

 

  1. The mistrust or misunderstanding of science in the United States
  2. Lack of communication and connection between patients and those involved in the healthcare industry
  3. Socio-geographical inequalities within the US healthcare system

 

1. The mistrust or misunderstanding of science in the United States

 

For the past decade, anyone involved in science, whether directly as active bench scientists, regulatory scientists, scientists involved in science and health policy, or environmental scientists can attest to the constant pressure to not only defend their profession but also to defend the entire scientific process and community from an onslaught of misinformation, mistrust and anxiety toward the field of science.  This can be seen in many of the editorials in scientific publications including the journal Science and Scientific American (as shown below)

 

Stepping Away from Microscopes, Thousands Protest War on Science

Boston rally coincides with annual American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference and is a precursor to the March for Science in Washington, D.C.

byLauren McCauley, staff writer

Responding to the troubling suppression of science under the Trump administration, thousands of scientists, allies, and frontline communities are holding a rally in Boston’s Copley Square on Sunday.

#standupforscience Tweets

 

“Science serves the common good,” reads the call to action. “It protects the health of our communities, the safety of our families, the education of our children, the foundation of our economy and jobs, and the future we all want to live in and preserve for coming generations.”

It continues: 

But it’s under attack—both science itself, and the unalienable rights that scientists help uphold and protect. 

From the muzzling of scientists and government agencies, to the immigration ban, the deletion of scientific data, and the de-funding of public science, the erosion of our institutions of science is a dangerous direction for our country. Real people and communities bear the brunt of these actions.

The rally was planned to coincide with the annual American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference, which draws thousands of science professionals, and is a precursor to the March for Science in Washington, D.C. and in cities around the world on April 22.

 

Source: https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/02/19/stepping-away-microscopes-thousands-protest-war-science

https://images.app.goo.gl/UXizCsX4g5wZjVtz9

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/c/embed/85438fbe-278d-11e7-928e-3624539060e8

 

 

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) also had marches for public awareness of science and meaningful science policy at their annual conference in Washington, D.C. in 2017 (see here for free recordings of some talks including Joe Biden’s announcement of the Cancer Moonshot program) and also sponsored events such as the Rally for Medical Research.  This patient advocacy effort is led by the cancer clinicians and scientific researchers to rally public support for cancer research for the benefit of those affected by the disease.

Source: https://leadingdiscoveries.aacr.org/cancer-patients-front-and-center/

 

 

     However, some feel that scientists are being too sensitive and that science policy and science-based decision making may not be under that much of a threat in this country. Yet even as some people think that there is no actual war on science and on scientists they realize that the public is not engaged in science and may not be sympathetic to the scientific process or trust scientists’ opinions. 

 

   

From Scientific American: Is There Really a War on Science? People who oppose vaccines, GMOs and climate change evidence may be more anxious than antagonistic

 

Certainly, opponents of genetically modified crops, vaccinations that are required for children and climate science have become louder and more organized in recent times. But opponents typically live in separate camps and protest single issues, not science as a whole, said science historian and philosopher Roberta Millstein of the University of California, Davis. She spoke at a standing-room only panel session at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting, held in Washington, D.C. All the speakers advocated for a scientifically informed citizenry and public policy, and most discouraged broadly applied battle-themed rhetoric.

 

Source: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-there-really-a-war-on-science/

 

      In general, it appears to be a major misunderstanding by the public of the scientific process, and principles of scientific discovery, which may be the fault of miscommunication by scientists or agendas which have the goals of subverting or misdirecting public policy decisions from scientific discourse and investigation.

 

This can lead to an information vacuum, which, in this age of rapid social media communication,

can quickly perpetuate misinformation.

 

This perpetuation of misinformation was very evident in a Twitter feed discussion with Dr. Eric Topol, M.D. (cardiologist and Founder and Director of the Scripps Research Translational  Institute) on the US President’s tweet on the use of the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine based on President Trump referencing a single study in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents.  The Twitter thread became a sort of “scientific journal club” with input from international scientists discussing and critiquing the results in the paper.  

 

Please note that when we scientists CRITIQUE a paper it does not mean CRITICIZE it.  A critique is merely an in depth analysis of the results and conclusions with an open discussion on the paper.  This is part of the normal peer review process.

 

Below is the original Tweet by Dr. Eric Topol as well as the ensuing tweet thread

 

https://twitter.com/EricTopol/status/1241442247133900801?s=20

 

Within the tweet thread it was discussed some of the limitations or study design flaws of the referenced paper leading the scientists in this impromptu discussion that the study could not reasonably conclude that hydroxychloroquine was not a reliable therapeutic for this coronavirus strain.

 

The lesson: The public has to realize CRITIQUE does not mean CRITICISM.

 

Scientific discourse has to occur to allow for the proper critique of results.  When this is allowed science becomes better, more robust, and we protect ourselves from maybe heading down an incorrect path, which may have major impacts on a clinical outcome, in this case.

 

 

2.  Lack of communication and connection between patients and those involved in the healthcare industry

 

In normal times, it is imperative for the patient-physician relationship to be intact in order for the physician to be able to communicate proper information to their patient during and after therapy/care.  In these critical times, this relationship and good communication skills becomes even more important.

 

Recently, I have had multiple communications, either through Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets with cancer patients, cancer advocacy groups, and cancer survivorship forums concerning their risks of getting infected with the coronavirus and how they should handle various aspects of their therapy, whether they were currently undergoing therapy or just about to start chemotherapy.  This made me realize that there were a huge subset of patients who were not receiving all the information and support they needed; namely patients who are immunocompromised.

 

These are patients represent

  1. cancer patient undergoing/or about to start chemotherapy
  2. Patients taking immunosuppressive drugs: organ transplant recipients, patients with autoimmune diseases, multiple sclerosis patients
  3. Patients with immunodeficiency disorders

 

These concerns prompted me to write a posting curating the guidance from National Cancer Institute (NCI) designated cancer centers to cancer patients concerning their risk to COVID19 (which can be found here).

 

Surprisingly, there were only 14 of the 51 US NCI Cancer Centers which had posted guidance (either there own or from organizations like NCI or the National Cancer Coalition Network (NCCN).  Most of the guidance to patients had stemmed from a paper written by Dr. Markham of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle Washington, the first major US city which was impacted by COVID19.

 

Also I was surprised at the reactions to this posting, with patients and oncologists enthusiastic to discuss concerns around the coronavirus problem.  This led to having additional contact with patients and oncologists who, as I was surprised, are not having these conversations with each other or are totally confused on courses of action during this pandemic.  There was a true need for each party, both patients/caregivers and physicians/oncologists to be able to communicate with each other and disseminate good information.

 

Last night there was a Tweet conversation on Twitter #OTChat sponsored by @OncologyTimes.  A few tweets are included below

https://twitter.com/OncologyTimes/status/1242611841613864960?s=20

https://twitter.com/OncologyTimes/status/1242616756658753538?s=20

https://twitter.com/OncologyTimes/status/1242615906846547978?s=20

 

The Lesson:  Rapid Communication of Vital Information in times of stress is crucial in maintaining a good patient/physician relationship and preventing Misinformation.

 

3.  Socio-geographical Inequalities in the US Healthcare System

It has become very clear that the US healthcare system is fractioned and multiple inequalities (based on race, sex, geography, socio-economic status, age) exist across the whole healthcare system.  These inequalities are exacerbated in times of stress, especially when access to care is limited.

 

An example:

 

On May 12, 2015, an Amtrak Northeast Regional train from Washington, D.C. bound for New York City derailed and wrecked on the Northeast Corridor in the Port Richmond neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Of 238 passengers and 5 crew on board, 8 were killed and over 200 injured, 11 critically. The train was traveling at 102 mph (164 km/h) in a 50 mph (80 km/h) zone of curved tracks when it derailed.[3]

Some of the passengers had to be extricated from the wrecked cars. Many of the passengers and local residents helped first responders during the rescue operation. Five local hospitals treated the injured. The derailment disrupted train service for several days. 

(Source Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2015_Philadelphia_train_derailment)

What was not reported was the difficulties that first responders, namely paramedics had in finding an emergency room capable of taking on the massive load of patients.  In the years prior to this accident, several hospitals, due to monetary reasons, had to close their emergency rooms or reduce them in size. In addition only two in Philadelphia were capable of accepting gun shot victims (Temple University Hospital was the closest to the derailment but one of the emergency rooms which would accept gun shot victims. This was important as Temple University ER, being in North Philadelphia, is usually very busy on any given night.  The stress to the local health system revealed how one disaster could easily overburden many hospitals.

 

Over the past decade many hospitals, especially rural hospitals, have been shuttered or consolidated into bigger health systems.  The graphic below shows this

From Bloomberg: US Hospital Closings Leave Patients with Nowhere to go

 

 

https://images.app.goo.gl/JdZ6UtaG3Ra3EA3J8

 

Note the huge swath of hospital closures in the midwest, especially in rural areas.  This has become an ongoing problem as the health care system deals with rising costs.

 

Lesson:  Epidemic Stresses an already stressed out US healthcare system

 

Please see our Coronavirus Portal at

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/coronavirus-portal/

 

for more up-to-date scientific, clinical information as well as persona stories, videos, interviews and economic impact analyses

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Real Time Coverage @BIOConvention #BIO2019: Understanding the Voices of Patients: Unique Perspectives on Healthcare; June 4 11:00 AM

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, PhD @StephenJWillia2

 

Description

The role of the patient has evolved dramatically over the past decade. Not only are patients increasingly more involved in their healthcare decision making, they are also passionate advocates who work tirelessly to advance drug development research and development and secure a public policy environment that is patient-centric. Join a discussion with patient advocates as they discuss their journeys to diagnosis and their viewpoints on our healthcare system. They will share their perspectives on what it means to be a patient and how they are advocating in their own unique ways to achieve a common goal: bringing new treatments to patients.

Speakers
Christopher Anselmo: affected by MS but did not understand why he should be involved in a study at the time or share your story but he saw others who benefited from both of these and now is fervent patient advocate. Each patient is worth their weight in gold as needed for other patient support.  The why needs to be asked of oneself before go out to other patients or into new trials. Might not see through to end if don’t have that discussion of why doing this.
Eve Bukowski:  she had stomach aches, went to hospital, and diagnosed with constipation, but had stage III colon cancer.  She was campaigning for Hillary Clinton but then started to campaign for her life.  She wound up having multiple therapies and even many I/O trials.  Fighting cancer is a mental challenge.   She has been fighting for eleven years but has an amazing strength and will.
Emily Kramer: cystic fibrosis patient.  Advocates for research as she has a mutant allele (nonsense mut) that is not targeted by the current new therapy against known mutants of CFTR.  So started Emily’s Entourage for this orphan of an orphan disease.  Funded $4 million in grants and helped develop a new startup and get early seed funding.  Noticed that the infrastructure to get these drugs to market was broken and also is investing to shore up these breaks in drug pipeline infrastructure for orphan diseases. For progressive diseases she would like drug developers to shift the timelines or speed with which they get to take a chance and try that new possibility. As a patient advocacy org, they want to partner every step of the way with biotech/pharma, they understand co’s and stakeholders can only do so much but let’s break out of convention.
Julie: many patient advocacy groups go person to person and make a support network.

Please follow LIVE on TWITTER using the following @ handles and # hashtags:

@Handles

@pharma_BI

@AVIVA1950

@BIOConvention

# Hashtags

#BIO2019 (official meeting hashtag)

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Celgene Triumphs in Legal Battle over Revlimid Patent: Curation of Patents, Litigations, and Impact on Drug Pricing

Curator: Stephen J. Williams, PhD

From Celgene

REVLIMID® (lenalidomide) in combination with dexamethasone is indicated for the treatment of patients with multiple myeloma (MM). as maintenance therapy in patients with MM following autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (auto-HSCT). and indicated for the treatment of patients with transfusion-dependent anemia due to low- or intermediate-1–risk myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) associated with a deletion 5q cytogenetic abnormality with or without additional cytogenetic abnormalities.

REVLIMID is also indicated for the treatment of patients with mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) whose disease has relapsed or progressed after two prior therapies, one of which included bortezomib.

REVLIMID® sales for the fourth quarter 2018 increased 16 percent to $2,549 million. Fourth quarter U.S. sales of $1,729 million and international sales of $820 million increased 17 percent and 15 percent, respectively. REVLIMID® sales growth was driven by increases in treatment duration and market share. Full year REVLIMID® sales were $9,685 million, an increase of 18 percent year-over-year. (from Celgene press release)

However, Celgene’s Revlimid basically has no competition in the multiple myeloma market and there are no generics of Revlimid, even though Revlimid is a conger of thalidomide, the 1950 era drug developed for depression and resulted in the infamous thalidomide baby cases.

The problem is highlighted in two reports:

As seen in Fortune: Celgene Boosted Price of Top Cancer Drug on Day of Mega Deal

By BLOOMBERG

January 4, 2019

On the same day Celgene Corp. was announcing that it would be acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. in the biggest pharma deal ever, the company was also raising the price of its blockbuster cancer drug. The Summit, New Jersey-based biotechnology company, which has routinely increased the prices of its top-selling drugs, boosted the price of a 10-milligram dose of Revlimid by 3.5 percent to $719.82 effective Jan. 3, according to price data compiled by Bloomberg Intelligence and First Databank. Cancer patients need many doses of Revlimid a year, and the overall cost can approach $200,000. The same dose cost $247.28 at the end of 2007.

As reported on NPR by Alison Kodjak: Celgene’s Patent Fortress Protects Revlimid, Thalidomide: How A DrugMaker Gamed the Patent System to Keep Generic Competition Away

When Celgene Corp. first started marketing the drug Revlimid to treat multiple myeloma in 2006, the price was $6,195 for 21 capsules, a month’s supply.By the time David Mitchell started taking Revlimid in November 2010, Celgene had bumped the price up to about $8,000 a month. When he took his last month’s worth of pills in April 2016, the sticker price had reached $10,691. By last March, the list price had reached $16,691. Revlimid appears to have caught the attention of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who used it as an example Wednesday — without naming it outright — of how some drug’s prices rise with impunity. He said the copay for the average senior taking the drug rose from $115 to about $690 per month in the last year. Celgene can keep raising the price of Revlimid because the drug has no competition. It’s been around for more than a decade and its original patent expires next year. But today it looks like another four years could pass with no generic competitor to Revlimid.

 

Therefore, when the European company Alvogen tired to produce a generic version of this drug and took Celgene to court, Celgene quickly shored up its patent fight as outlined below.

As reported in Biopharmadive.com:

 

Celgene dodges Alvogen bid to overturn Revlimid patent

Here is Celgene’s patent on Revlimid (thalidomide).

Some notes:

  • notice the multiple congeners, chemical derivatives
  • notice the multiple drug combination claims especially with using other antibodies with thalidomide (second active ingredient)
  • note multiple dosage forms

Methods for treatment of multiple myeloma using 3-(4-amino-1-oxo-1,3-dihydro-isoindol-2-yl)-piperidine-2,6-dione

Abstract
Methods of treating, preventing and/or managing cancer as well as and diseases and disorders associated with, or characterized by, undesired angiogenesis are disclosed. Specific methods encompass the administration of an immunomodulatory compound alone or in combination with a second active ingredient. The invention further relates to methods of reducing or avoiding adverse side effects associated with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormonal therapy, biological therapy or immunotherapy which comprise the administration of an immunomodulatory compound. Pharmaceutical compositions, single unit dosage forms, and kits suitable for use in methods of the invention are also disclosed.

Images (1)

Classifications
A61K31/454 Non condensed piperidines, e.g. piperocaine containing further heterocyclic ring systems containing a five-membered ring with nitrogen as a ring hetero atom, e.g. pimozide, domperidone
View 21 more classifications

US7968569B2

United States

Inventor
Jerome B. Zeldis
Current Assignee
Celgene Corp

Worldwide applications

Application US10/438,213 events
2002-05-17
Priority to US38084202P
2011-06-28
Application granted
Application status is Active
Adjusted expiration
Show all events

Description

This application claims the benefit of U.S. provisional application No. 60/380,842, filed May 17, 2002, and No. 60/424,600, filed Nov. 6, 2002, the entireties of which are incorporated herein by reference.

1. FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to methods of treating, preventing and/or managing specific cancers, and other diseases including, but not limited to, those associated with, or characterized by, undesired angiogenesis, by the administration of one or more immunomodulatory compounds alone or in combination with other therapeutics. In particular, the invention encompasses the use of specific combinations, or “cocktails,” of drugs and other therapy, e.g., radiation to treat these specific cancers, including those refractory to conventional therapy. The invention also relates to pharmaceutical compositions and dosing regimens.

2. BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

2.1 Pathobiology of Cancer and Other Diseases

Cancer is characterized primarily by an increase in the number of abnormal cells derived from a given normal tissue, invasion of adjacent tissues by these abnormal cells, or lymphatic or blood-borne spread of malignant cells to regional lymph nodes and to distant sites (metastasis). Clinical data and molecular biologic studies indicate that cancer is a multistep process that begins with minor preneoplastic changes, which may under certain conditions progress to neoplasia. The neoplastic lesion may evolve clonally and develop an increasing capacity for invasion, growth, metastasis, and heterogeneity, especially under conditions in which the neoplastic cells escape the host’s immune surveillance. Roitt, I., Brostoff, J and Kale, D., Immunology, 17.1-17.12 (3rd ed., Mosby, St. Louis, Mo., 1993).

There is an enormous variety of cancers which are described in detail in the medical literature. Examples includes cancer of the lung, colon, rectum, prostate, breast, brain, and intestine. The incidence of cancer continues to climb as the general population ages, as new cancers develop, and as susceptible populations (e.g., people infected with AIDS or excessively exposed to sunlight) grow. A tremendous demand therefore exists for new methods and compositions that can be used to treat patients with cancer.

Many types of cancers are associated with new blood vessel formation, a process known as angiogenesis. Several of the mechanisms involved in tumor-induced angiogenesis have been elucidated. The most direct of these mechanisms is the secretion by the tumor cells of cytokines with angiogenic properties. Examples of these cytokines include acidic and basic fibroblastic growth factor (a,b-FGF), angiogenin, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and TNF-α. Alternatively, tumor cells can release angiogenic peptides through the production of proteases and the subsequent breakdown of the extracellular matrix where some cytokines are stored (e.g., b-FGF). Angiogenesis can also be induced indirectly through the recruitment of inflammatory cells (particularly macrophages) and their subsequent release of angiogenic cytokines (e.g., TNF-α, bFGF).

A variety of other diseases and disorders are also associated with, or characterized by, undesired angiogenesis. For example, enhanced or unregulated angiogenesis has been implicated in a number of diseases and medical conditions including, but not limited to, ocular neovascular diseases, choroidal neovascular diseases, retina neovascular diseases, rubeosis (neovascularization of the angle), viral diseases, genetic diseases, inflammatory diseases, allergic diseases, and autoimmune diseases. Examples of such diseases and conditions include, but are not limited to: diabetic retinopathy; retinopathy of prematurity; corneal graft rejection; neovascular glaucoma; retrolental fibroplasia; and proliferative vitreoretinopathy.

Accordingly, compounds that can control angiogenesis or inhibit the production of certain cytokines, including TNF-α, may be useful in the treatment and prevention of various diseases and conditions.

2.2 Methods of Treating Cancer

Current cancer therapy may involve surgery, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy and/or radiation treatment to eradicate neoplastic cells in a patient (see, for example, Stockdale, 1998, Medicine, vol. 3, Rubenstein and Federman, eds., Chapter 12, Section IV). Recently, cancer therapy could also involve biological therapy or immunotherapy. All of these approaches pose significant drawbacks for the patient. Surgery, for example, may be contraindicated due to the health of a patient or may be unacceptable to the patient. Additionally, surgery may not completely remove neoplastic tissue. Radiation therapy is only effective when the neoplastic tissue exhibits a higher sensitivity to radiation than normal tissue. Radiation therapy can also often elicit serious side effects. Hormonal therapy is rarely given as a single agent. Although hormonal therapy can be effective, it is often used to prevent or delay recurrence of cancer after other treatments have removed the majority of cancer cells. Biological therapies and immunotherapies are limited in number and may produce side effects such as rashes or swellings, flu-like symptoms, including fever, chills and fatigue, digestive tract problems or allergic reactions.

With respect to chemotherapy, there are a variety of chemotherapeutic agents available for treatment of cancer. A majority of cancer chemotherapeutics act by inhibiting DNA synthesis, either directly, or indirectly by inhibiting the biosynthesis of deoxyribonucleotide triphosphate precursors, to prevent DNA replication and concomitant cell division. Gilman et al., Goodman and Gilman’s: The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, Tenth Ed. (McGraw Hill, New York).

Despite availability of a variety of chemotherapeutic agents, chemotherapy has many drawbacks. Stockdale, Medicine, vol. 3, Rubenstein and Federman, eds., ch. 12, sect. 10, 1998. Almost all chemotherapeutic agents are toxic, and chemotherapy causes significant, and often dangerous side effects including severe nausea, bone marrow depression, and immunosuppression. Additionally, even with administration of combinations of chemotherapeutic agents, many tumor cells are resistant or develop resistance to the chemotherapeutic agents. In fact, those cells resistant to the particular chemotherapeutic agents used in the treatment protocol often prove to be resistant to other drugs, even if those agents act by different mechanism from those of the drugs used in the specific treatment. This phenomenon is referred to as pleiotropic drug or multidrug resistance. Because of the drug resistance, many cancers prove refractory to standard chemotherapeutic treatment protocols.

Other diseases or conditions associated with, or characterized by, undesired angiogenesis are also difficult to treat. However, some compounds such as protamine, hepain and steroids have been proposed to be useful in the treatment of certain specific diseases. Taylor et al., Nature 297:307 (1982); Folkman et al., Science 221:719 (1983); and U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,001,116 and 4,994,443. Thalidomide and certain derivatives of it have also been proposed for the treatment of such diseases and conditions. U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,593,990, 5,629,327, 5,712,291, 6,071,948 and 6,114,355 to D’Amato.

Still, there is a significant need for safe and effective methods of treating, preventing and managing cancer and other diseases and conditions, particularly for diseases that are refractory to standard treatments, such as surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and hormonal therapy, while reducing or avoiding the toxicities and/or side effects associated with the conventional therapies.

2.3 IMIDS™

A number of studies have been conducted with the aim of providing compounds that can safely and effectively be used to treat diseases associated with abnormal production of TNF-α See, e.g., Marriott, J. B., et al., Expert Opin. Biol. Ther. 1(4):1-8 (2001); G. W. Muller, et al., Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 39(17): 3238-3240 (1996); and G. W. Muller, et al, Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters 8: 2669-2674 (1998). Some studies have focused on a group of compounds selected for their capacity to potently inhibit TNF-α production by LPS stimulated PBMC. L. G. Corral, et al., Ann. Rheum. Dis. 58:(Suppl I) 1107-1113 (1999). These compounds, which are referred to as IMiDS™ (Celgene Corporation) or Immunomodulatory Drugs, show not only potent inhibition of TNF-α but also marked inhibition of LPS induced monocyte IL1β and IL12 production. LPS induced IL6 is also inhibited by immunomodulatory compounds, albeit partially. These compounds are potent stimulators of LPS induced IL10. Id. Particular examples of IMiD™s include, but are not limited to, the substituted 2-(2,6-dioxopiperidin-3-yl) phthalimides and substituted 2-(2,6-dioxopiperidin-3-yl)-1-oxoisoindoles described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,281,230 and 6,316,471, both to G. W. Muller, et al.

3. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention encompasses methods of treating and preventing certain types of cancer, including primary and metastatic cancer, as well as cancers that are refractory or resistant to conventional chemotherapy. The methods comprise administering to a patient in need of such treatment or prevention a therapeutically or prophylactically effective amount of an immunomodulatory compound, or a pharmaceutically acceptable salt, solvate, hydrate, stereoisomer, clathrate, or prodrug thereof. The invention also encompasses methods of managing certain cancers (e.g., preventing or prolonging their recurrence, or lengthening the time of remission) which comprise administering to a patient in need of such management a prophylactically effective amount of an immunomodulatory compound of the invention, or a pharmaceutically acceptable salt, solvate, hydrate, stereoisomer, clathrate, or prodrug thereof.

In particular methods of the invention, an immunomodulatory compound is administered in combination with a therapy conventionally used to treat, prevent or manage cancer. Examples of such conventional therapies include, but are not limited to, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormonal therapy, biological therapy and immunotherapy.

This invention also encompasses methods of treating, managing or preventing diseases and disorders other than cancer that are associated with, or characterized by, undesired angiogenesis, which comprise administering to a patient in need of such treatment, management or prevention a therapeutically or prophylactically effective amount of an immunomodulatory compound, or a pharmaceutically acceptable salt, solvate, hydrate, stereoisomer, clathrate, or prodrug thereof.

In other methods of the invention, an immunomodulatory compound is administered in combination with a therapy conventionally used to treat, prevent or manage diseases or disorders associated with, or characterized by, undesired angiogenesis. Examples of such conventional therapies include, but are not limited to, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormonal therapy, biological therapy and immunotherapy.

This invention encompasses pharmaceutical compositions, single unit dosage forms, dosing regimens and kits which comprise an immunomodulatory compound, or a pharmaceutically acceptable salt, solvate, hydrate, stereoisomer, clathrate, or prodrug thereof, and a second, or additional, active agent. Second active agents include specific combinations, or “cocktails,” of drugs.

4. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF FIGURE

FIG. 1 shows a comparison of the effects of 3-(4-amino-1-oxo-1,3-dihydro-isoindol-2-yl)-piperidine-2,6-dione (Revimid™) and thalidomide in inhibiting the proliferation of multiple myeloma (MM) cell lines in an in vitro study. The uptake of [3H]-thymidine by different MM cell lines (MM. 1S, Hs Sultan, U266 and RPMI-8226) was measured as an indicator of the cell proliferation.

5. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

A first embodiment of the invention encompasses methods of treating, managing, or preventing cancer which comprises administering to a patient in need of such treatment or prevention a therapeutically or prophylactically effective amount of an immunomodulatory compound of the invention, or a pharmaceutically acceptable salt, solvate, hydrate, stereoisomer, clathrate, or prodrug thereof.

In particular methods encompassed by this embodiment, the immunomodulatory compound is administered in combination with another drug (“second active agent”) or method of treating, managing, or preventing cancer. Second active agents include small molecules and large molecules (e.g., proteins and antibodies), examples of which are provided herein, as well as stem cells. Methods, or therapies, that can be used in combination with the administration of the immunomodulatory compound include, but are not limited to, surgery, blood transfusions, immunotherapy, biological therapy, radiation therapy, and other non-drug based therapies presently used to treat, prevent or manage cancer.

Another embodiment of the invention encompasses methods of treating, managing or preventing diseases and disorders other than cancer that are characterized by undesired angiogenesis. These methods comprise the administration of a therapeutically or prophylactically effective amount of an immunomodulatory compound, or a pharmaceutically acceptable salt, solvate, hydrate, stereoisomer, clathrate, or prodrug thereof.

Examples of diseases and disorders associated with, or characterized by, undesired angiogenesis include, but are not limited to, inflammatory diseases, autoimmune diseases, viral diseases, genetic diseases, allergic diseases, bacterial diseases, ocular neovascular diseases, choroidal neovascular diseases, retina neovascular diseases, and rubeosis (neovascularization of the angle).

In particular methods encompassed by this embodiment, the immunomodulatory compound is administer in combination with a second active agent or method of treating, managing, or preventing the disease or condition. Second active agents include small molecules and large molecules (e.g., proteins and antibodies), examples of which are provided herein, as well as stem cells. Methods, or therapies, that can be used in combination with the administration of the immunomodulatory compound include, but are not limited to, surgery, blood transfusions, immunotherapy, biological therapy, radiation therapy, and other non-drug based therapies presently used to treat, prevent or manage disease and conditions associated with, or characterized by, undesired angiogenesis.

The invention also encompasses pharmaceutical compositions (e.g., single unit dosage forms) that can be used in methods disclosed herein. Particular pharmaceutical compositions comprise an immunomodulatory compound of the invention, or a pharmaceutically acceptable salt, solvate, hydrate, stereoisomer, clathrate, or prodrug thereof, and a second active agent.

5.1 Immunomodulatory Compounds

Compounds used in the invention include immunomodulatory compounds that are racemic, stereomerically enriched or stereomerically pure, and pharmaceutically acceptable salts, solvates, hydrates, stereoisomers, clathrates, and prodrugs thereof. Preferred compounds used in the invention are small organic molecules having a molecular weight less than about 1,000 g/mol, and are not proteins, peptides, oligonucleotides, oligosaccharides or other macromolecules.

As used herein and unless otherwise indicated, the terms “immunomodulatory compounds” and “IMiDs™” (Celgene Corporation) encompasses small organic molecules that markedly inhibit TNF-α, LPS induced monocyte IL1β and IL12, and partially inhibit IL6 production. Specific immunomodulatory compounds are discussed below.

TNF-α is an inflammatory cytokine produced by macrophages and monocytes during acute inflammation. TNF-α is responsible for a diverse range of signaling events within cells. TNF-α may play a pathological role in cancer. Without being limited by theory, one of the biological effects exerted by the immunomodulatory compounds of the invention is the reduction of synthesis of TNF-α. Immunomodulatory compounds of the invention enhance the degradation of TNF-αmRNA.

Further, without being limited by theory, immunomodulatory compounds used in the invention may also be potent co-stimulators of T cells and increase cell proliferation dramatically in a dose dependent manner. Immunomodulatory compounds of the invention may also have a greater co-stimulatory effect on the CD8+ T cell subset than on the CD4+ T cell subset. In addition, the compounds preferably have anti-inflammatory properties, and efficiently co-stimulate T cells.

Specific examples of immunomodulatory compounds of the invention, include, but are not limited to, cyano and carboxy derivatives of substituted styrenes such as those disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,929,117; 1-oxo-2-(2,6-dioxo-3-fluoropiperidin-3-yl) isoindolines and 1,3-dioxo-2-(2,6-dioxo-3-fluoropiperidine-3-yl) isoindolines such as those described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,874,448; the tetra substituted 2-(2,6-dioxopiperdin-3-yl)-1-oxoisoindolines described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,798,368; 1-oxo and 1,3-dioxo-2-(2,6-dioxopiperidin-3-yl) isoindolines (e.g., 4-methyl derivatives of thalidomide and EM-12), including, but not limited to, those disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,635,517; and a class of non-polypeptide cyclic amides disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,698,579 and 5,877,200; analogs and derivatives of thalidomide, including hydrolysis products, metabolites, derivatives and precursors of thalidomide, such as those described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,593,990, 5,629,327, and 6,071,948 to D’Amato; aminothalidomide, as well as analogs, hydrolysis products, metabolites, derivatives and precursors of aminothalidomide, and substituted 2-(2,6-dioxopiperidin-3-yl) phthalimides and substituted 2-(2,6-dioxopiperidin-3-yl)-1-oxoisoindoles such as those described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,281,230 and 6,316,471; isoindole-imide compounds such as those described in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/972,487 filed on Oct. 5, 2001, U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/032,286 filed on Dec. 21, 2001, and International Application No. PCT/US01/50401 (International Publication No. WO 02/059106). The entireties of each of the patents and patent applications identified herein are incorporated herein by reference. Immunomodulatory compounds of the invention do not include thalidomide.

Other specific immunomodulatory compounds of the invention include, but are not limited to, 1-oxo- and 1,3 dioxo-2-(2,6-dioxopiperidin-3-yl) isoindolines substituted with amino in the benzo ring as described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,635,517 which is incorporated herein by reference. These compounds have the structure I:

Figure US07968569-20110628-C00001


in which one of X and Y is C═O, the other of X and Y is C═O or CH2, and Ris hydrogen or lower alkyl, in particular methyl. Specific immunomodulatory compounds include, but are not limited to:

  • 1-oxo-2-(2,6-dioxopiperidin-3-yl)-4-aminoisoindoline;
  • 1-oxo-2-(2,6-dioxopiperidin-3-yl)-5-aminoisoindoline;
  • 1-oxo-2-(2,6-dioxopiperidin-3-yl)-6-aminoisoindoline;
  • 1-oxo-2-(2,6-dioxopiperidin-3-yl)-7-aminoisoindoline;
  • 1,3-dioxo-2-(2,6-dioxopiperidin-3-yl)-4-aminoisoindoline; and
  • 1,3-dioxo-2-(2,6-dioxopiperidin-3-yl)-5-aminoisoindoline.

Other specific immunomodulatory compounds of the invention belong to a class of substituted 2-(2,6-dioxopiperidin-3-yl) phthalimides and substituted 2-(2,6-dioxopiperidin-3-yl)-1-oxoisoindoles, such as those described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,281,230; 6,316,471; 6,335,349; and 6,476,052, and International Patent Application No. PCT/US97/13375 (International Publication No. WO 98/03502), each of which is incorporated herein by reference. Compounds representative of this class are of the formulas:

Figure US07968569-20110628-C00002


wherein Ris hydrogen or methyl. In a separate embodiment, the invention encompasses the use of enantiomerically pure forms (e.g. optically pure (R) or (S) enantiomers) of these compounds.

Still other specific immunomodulatory compounds of the invention belong to a class of isoindole-imides disclosed in U.S. patent application Ser. Nos. 10/032,286 and 09/972,487, and International Application No. PCT/US01/50401 (International Publication No. WO 02/059106), each of which are incorporated herein by reference. Representative compounds are of formula II:

Figure US07968569-20110628-C00003

and pharmaceutically acceptable salts, hydrates, solvates, clathrates, enantiomers, diastereomers, racemates, and mixtures of stereoisomers thereof, wherein:

one of X and Y is C═O and the other is CHor C═O;

Ris H, (C1-C8)alkyl, (C3-C7)cycloalkyl, (C2-C8)alkenyl, (C2-C8)alkynyl, benzyl, aryl, (C0-C4)alkyl-(C1-C6)heterocycloalkyl, (C0-C4)alkyl-(C2-C5)heteroaryl, C(O)R3, C(S)R3, C(O)OR4, (C1-C8)alkyl-N(R6)2, (C1-C8)alkyl-OR5, (C1-C8)alkyl-C(O)OR5, C(O)NHR3, C(S)NHR3, C(O)NR3R3′, C(S)NR3R3′ or (C1-C8)alkyl-O(CO)R5;

Ris H, F, benzyl, (C1-C8)alkyl, (C2-C8)alkenyl, or (C2-C8)alkynyl;

Rand R3′ are independently (C1-C8)alkyl, (C3-C7)cycloalkyl, (C2-C8)alkenyl, (C2-C8)alkynyl, benzyl, aryl, (C0-C4)alkyl(C1-C6)heterocycloalkyl, (C0-C4)alkyl-(C2-C5)heteroaryl, (C0-C8)alkyl-N(R6)2, (C1-C8)alkyl-OR5, (C1-C8)alkyl-C(O)OR5, (C1-C8)alkyl-O(CO)R5, or C(O)OR5;

Ris (C1-C8)alkyl, (C2-C8)alkenyl, (C2-C8)alkynyl, (C1-C4)alkyl-OR5, benzyl, aryl, (C0-C4)alkyl-(C1-C6)heterocycloalkyl, or (C0-C4)alkyl-(C2-C5)heteroaryl;

Ris (C1-C8)alkyl, (C2-C8)alkenyl, (C2-C8)alkynyl, benzyl, aryl, or (C2-C5)heteroaryl;

each occurrence of Ris independently H, (C1-C8)alkyl, (C2-C8)alkenyl, (C2-C8)alkynyl, benzyl, aryl, (C2-C5)heteroaryl, or (C0-C8)alkyl-C(O)O—Ror the R6groups can join to form a heterocycloalkyl group;

n is 0 or 1; and

* represents a chiral-carbon center.

In specific compounds of formula II, when n is 0 then Ris (C3-C7)cycloalkyl, (C2-C8)alkenyl, (C2-C8)alkynyl, benzyl, aryl, (C0-C4)alkyl-(C1-C6)heterocycloalkyl, (C0-C4)alkyl-(C2-C5)heteroaryl, C(O)R3, C(O)OR4, (C1-C8)alkyl-N(R6)2, (C1-C8)alkyl-OR5, (C1-C8)alkyl-C(O)OR5, C(S)NHR3, or (C1-C8)alkyl O(CO)R5;

Ris H or (C1-C8)alkyl; and

Ris (C1-C8)alkyl, (C3-C7)cycloalkyl, (C2-C8)alkenyl, (C2-C8)alkynyl, benzyl, aryl, (C0-C4)alkyl-(C1-C6)heterocycloalkyl, (C0-C4)alkyl-(C2-C5)heteroaryl, (C5-C8)alkyl-N(R6)2; (C0-C8)alkyl-NH—C(O)O—R5; (C1-C8)alkyl-OR5, (C1-C8)alkyl-C(O)OR5, (C1-C8)alkyl-O(CO)R5, or C(O)OR5; and the other variables have the same definitions.

In other specific compounds of formula II, Ris H or (C1-C4)alkyl.

In other specific compounds of formula II, Ris (C1-C8)alkyl or benzyl.

In other specific compounds of formula II, Ris H, (C1-C8)alkyl, benzyl, CH2OCH3, CH2CH2OCH3, or

Figure US07968569-20110628-C00004

In another embodiment of the compounds of formula II, Ris

Figure US07968569-20110628-C00005


wherein Q is O or S, and each occurrence of Ris independently H, (C1-C8)alkyl, benzyl, CH2OCH3, or CH2CH2OCH3.

In other specific compounds of formula II, Ris C(O)R3.

In other specific compounds of formula II, Ris (C0-C4)alkyl-(C2-C5)heteroaryl, (C1-C5)alkyl, aryl, or (C0-C4)alkyl-OR5.

In other specific compounds of formula II, heteroaryl is pyridyl, furyl, or thienyl.

In other specific compounds of formula II, Ris C(O)OR4.

In other specific compounds of formula II, the H of C(O)NHC(O) can be replaced with (C1-C4)alkyl, aryl, or benzyl.

Still other specific immunomodulatory compounds of the invention belong to a class of isoindole-imides disclosed in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/781,179, International Publication No. WO 98/54170, and U.S. Pat. No. 6,395,754, each of which are incorporated herein by reference. Representative compounds are of formula III:

Figure US07968569-20110628-C00006


and pharmaceutically acceptable salts, hydrates, solvates, clathrates, enantiomers, diastereomers, racemates, and mixtures of stereoisomers thereof, wherein:

one of X and Y is C═O and the other is CHor C═O;

R is H or CH2OCOR′;

(i) each of R1, R2, R3, or R4, independently of the others, is halo, alkyl of 1 to 4 carbon atoms, or alkoxy of 1 to 4 carbon atoms or (ii) one of R1, R2, R3, or Ris nitro or —NHRand the remaining of R1, R2, R3, or Rare hydrogen;

Ris hydrogen or alkyl of 1 to 8 carbons

Rhydrogen, alkyl of 1 to 8 carbon atoms, benzo, chloro, or fluoro;

R′ is R7—CHR10—N(R8R9);

Ris m-phenylene or p-phenylene or —(CnH2n)— in which n has a value of 0 to 4;

each of Rand Rtaken independently of the other is hydrogen or alkyl of 1 to 8 carbon atoms, or Rand Rtaken together are tetramethylene, pentamethylene, hexamethylene, or —CH2CH2[X]X1CH2CH2— in which [X]Xis —O—, —S—, or —NH—;

R10 is hydrogen, alkyl of to 8 carbon atoms, or phenyl; and

* represents a chiral-carbon center.

The most preferred immunomodulatory compounds of the invention are 4-(amino)-2-(2,6-dioxo(3-piperidyl))-isoindoline-1,3-dione and 3-(4-amino-1-oxo-1,3-dihydro-isoindol-2-yl)-piperidine-2,6-dione. The compounds can be obtained via standard, synthetic methods (see e.g., U.S. Pat. No. 5,635,517, incorporated herein by reference). The compounds are available from Celgene Corporation, Warren, N.J. 4-(Amino)-2-(2,6-dioxo(3-piperidyl))-isoindoline-1,3-dione (ACTIMID™) has the following chemical structure:

Figure US07968569-20110628-C00007


The compound 3-(4-amino-1-oxo-1,3-dihydro-isoindol-2-yl)-piperidine-2,6-dione (REVIMID™) has the following chemical structure:

Figure US07968569-20110628-C00008

Compounds of the invention can either be commercially purchased or prepared according to the methods described in the patents or patent publications disclosed herein. Further, optically pure compounds can be asymmetrically synthesized or resolved using known resolving agents or chiral columns as well as other standard synthetic organic chemistry techniques.

As used herein and unless otherwise indicated, the term “pharmaceutically acceptable salt” encompasses non-toxic acid and base addition salts of the compound to which the term refers. Acceptable non-toxic acid addition salts include those derived from organic and inorganic acids or bases know in the art, which include, for example, hydrochloric acid, hydrobromic acid, phosphoric acid, sulfuric acid, methanesulphonic acid, acetic acid, tartaric acid, lactic acid, succinic acid, citric acid, malic acid, maleic acid, sorbic acid, aconitic acid, salicylic acid, phthalic acid, embolic acid, enanthic acid, and the like.

Compounds that are acidic in nature are capable of forming salts with various pharmaceutically acceptable bases. The bases that can be used to prepare pharmaceutically acceptable base addition salts of such acidic compounds are those that form non-toxic base addition salts, i.e., salts containing pharmacologically acceptable cations such as, but not limited to, alkali metal or alkaline earth metal salts and the calcium, magnesium, sodium or potassium salts in particular. Suitable organic bases include, but are not limited to, N,N-dibenzylethylenediamine, chloroprocaine, choline, diethanolamine, ethylenediamine, meglumaine (N-methylglucamine), lysine, and procaine.

As used herein and unless otherwise indicated, the term “prodrug” means a derivative of a compound that can hydrolyze, oxidize, or otherwise react under biological conditions (in vitro or in vivo) to provide the compound. Examples of prodrugs include, but are not limited to, derivatives of immunomodulatory compounds of the invention that comprise biohydrolyzable moieties such as biohydrolyzable amides, biohydrolyzable esters, biohydrolyzable carbamates, biohydrolyzable carbonates, biohydrolyzable ureides, and biohydrolyzable phosphate analogues. Other examples of prodrugs include derivatives of immunomodulatory compounds of the invention that comprise —NO, —NO2, —ONO, or —ONOmoieties. Prodrugs can typically be prepared using well-known methods, such as those described in 1 Burger’s Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Discovery, 172-178, 949-982 (Manfred E. Wolff ed., 5th ed. 1995), and Design of Prodrugs (H. Bundgaard ed., Elselvier, N.Y. 1985).

As used herein and unless otherwise indicated, the terms “biohydrolyzable amide,” “biohydrolyzable ester,” “biohydrolyzable carbamate,” “biohydrolyzable carbonate,” “biohydrolyzable ureide,” “biohydrolyzable phosphate” mean an amide, ester, carbamate, carbonate, ureide, or phosphate, respectively, of a compound that either: 1) does not interfere with the biological activity of the compound but can confer upon that compound advantageous properties in vivo, such as uptake, duration of action, or onset of action; or 2) is biologically inactive but is converted in vivo to the biologically active compound. Examples of biohydrolyzable esters include, but are not limited to, lower alkyl esters, lower acyloxyalkyl esters (such as acetoxylmethyl, acetoxyethyl, aminocarbonyloxymethyl, pivaloyloxymethyl, and pivaloyloxyethyl esters), lactonyl esters (such as phthalidyl and thiophthalidyl esters), lower alkoxyacyloxyalkyl esters (such as methoxycarbonyl-oxymethyl, ethoxycarbonyloxyethyl and isopropoxycarbonyloxyethyl esters), alkoxyalkyl esters, choline esters, and acylamino alkyl esters (such as acetamidomethyl esters). Examples of biohydrolyzable amides include, but are not limited to, lower alkyl amides, α-amino acid amides, alkoxyacyl amides, and alkylaminoalkylcarbonyl amides. Examples of biohydrolyzable carbamates include, but are not limited to, lower alkylamines, substituted ethylenediamines, amino acids, hydroxyalkylamines, heterocyclic and heteroaromatic amines, and polyether amines.

Various immunomodulatory compounds of the invention contain one or more chiral centers, and can exist as racemic mixtures of enantiomers or mixtures of diastereomers. This invention encompasses the use of stereomerically pure forms of such compounds, as well as the use of mixtures of those forms. For example, mixtures comprising equal or unequal amounts of the enantiomers of a particular immunomodulatory compounds of the invention may be used in methods and compositions of the invention. These isomers may be asymmetrically synthesized or resolved using standard techniques such as chiral columns or chiral resolving agents. See, e.g., Jacques, J., et al., Enantiomers, Racemates and Resolutions(Wiley-Interscience, New York, 1981); Wilen, S. H., et al., Tetrahedron 33:2725 (1977); Eliel, E. L., Stereochemistry of Carbon Compounds (McGraw-Hill, N.Y., 1962); and Wilen, S. H., Tables of Resolving Agents and Optical Resolutions p. 268 (E. L. Eliel, Ed., Univ. of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, Ind., 1972).

As used herein and unless otherwise indicated, the term “stereomerically pure” means a composition that comprises one stereoisomer of a compound and is substantially free of other stereoisomers of that compound. For example, a stereomerically pure composition of a compound having one chiral center will be substantially free of the opposite enantiomer of the compound. A stereomerically pure composition of a compound having two chiral centers will be substantially free of other diastereomers of the compound. A typical stereomerically pure compound comprises greater than about 80% by weight of one stereoisomer of the compound and less than about 20% by weight of other stereoisomers of the compound, more preferably greater than about 90% by weight of one stereoisomer of the compound and less than about 10% by weight of the other stereoisomers of the compound, even more preferably greater than about 95% by weight of one stereoisomer of the compound and less than about 5% by weight of the other stereoisomers of the compound, and most preferably greater than about 97% by weight of one stereoisomer of the compound and less than about 3% by weight of the other stereoisomers of the compound. As used herein and unless otherwise indicated, the term “stereomerically enriched” means a composition that comprises greater than about 60% by weight of one stereoisomer of a compound, preferably greater than about 70% by weight, more preferably greater than about 80% by weight of one stereoisomer of a compound. As used herein and unless otherwise indicated, the term “enantiomerically pure” means a stereomerically pure composition of a compound having one chiral center. Similarly, the term “stereomerically enriched” means a stereomerically enriched composition of a compound having one chiral center.

It should be noted that if there is a discrepancy between a depicted structure and a name given that structure, the depicted structure is to be accorded more weight. In addition, if the stereochemistry of a structure or a portion of a structure is not indicated with, for example, bold or dashed lines, the structure or portion of the structure is to be interpreted as encompassing all stereoisomers of it.

5.2 Second Active Agents

Immunomodulatory compounds can be combined with other pharmacologically active compounds (“second active agents”) in methods and compositions of the invention. It is believed that certain combinations work synergistically in the treatment of particular types of cancer and certain diseases and conditions associated with, or characterized by, undesired angiogenesis. Immunomodulatory compounds can also work to alleviate adverse effects associated with certain second active agents, and some second active agents can be used to alleviate adverse effects associated with immunomodulatory compounds.

One or more second active ingredients or agents can be used in the methods and compositions of the invention together with an immunomodulatory compound. Second active agents can be large molecules (e.g., proteins) or small molecules (e.g., synthetic inorganic, organometallic, or organic molecules).

Examples of large molecule active agents include, but are not limited to, hematopoietic growth factors, cytokines, and monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies. Typical large molecule active agents are biological molecules, such as naturally occurring or artificially made proteins. Proteins that are particularly useful in this invention include proteins that stimulate the survival and/or proliferation of hematopoietic precursor cells and immunologically active poietic cells in vitro or in vivo. Others stimulate the division and differentiation of committed erythroid progenitors in cells in vitro or in vivo. Particular proteins include, but are not limited to: interleukins, such as IL-2 (including recombinant IL-II (“rIL2”) and canarypox IL-2), IL-10, IL-12, and IL-18; interferons, such as interferon alfa-2a, interferon alfa-2b, interferon alfa-n1, interferon alfa-n3, interferon beta-I a, and interferon gamma-I b; GM-CF and GM-CSF; and EPO.

Particular proteins that can be used in the methods and compositions of the invention include, but are not limited to: filgrastim, which is sold in the United States under the trade name Neupogen® (Amgen, Thousand Oaks, Calif.); sargramostim, which is sold in the United States under the trade name Leukine® (Immunex, Seattle, Wash.); and recombinant EPO, which is sold in the United States under the trade name Epogen® (Amgen, Thousand Oaks, Calif.).

Recombinant and mutated forms of GM-CSF can be prepared as described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,391,485; 5,393,870; and 5,229,496; all of which are incorporated herein by reference. Recombinant and mutated forms of G-CSF can be prepared as described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,810,643; 4,999,291; 5,528,823; and 5,580,755; all of which are incorporated herein by reference.

This invention encompasses the use of native, naturally occurring, and recombinant proteins. The invention further encompasses mutants and derivatives (e.g., modified forms) of naturally occurring proteins that exhibit, in vivo, at least some of the pharmacological activity of the proteins upon which they are based. Examples of mutants include, but are not limited to, proteins that have one or more amino acid residues that differ from the corresponding residues in the naturally occurring forms of the proteins. Also encompassed by the term “mutants” are proteins that lack carbohydrate moieties normally present in their naturally occurring forms (e.g., nonglycosylated forms). Examples of derivatives include, but are not limited to, pegylated derivatives and fusion proteins, such as proteins formed by fusing IgG1 or IgG3 to the protein or active portion of the protein of interest. See, e.g., Penichet, M. L. and Morrison, S. L., J. Immunol. Methods 248:91-101 (2001).

Antibodies that can be used in combination with compounds of the invention include monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies. Examples of antibodies include, but are not limited to, trastuzumab (Herceptin®), rituximab (Rituxan®), bevacizumab (Avastin™), pertuzumab (Omnitarg™), tositumomab (Bexxar®), edrecolomab (Panorex®), and G250. Compounds of the invention can also be combined with, or used in combination with, anti-TNF-α antibodies.

Other posts on Revlimid, Celgene, and other such Patent Litigation on this Open Access Journal Include:

From Thalidomide to Revlimid: Celgene to Bristol Myers to possibly Pfizer; A Curation of Deals, Discovery and the State of Pharma

REVLIMID® (Lenalidomide) Approved by the European Commission for the Treatment of Adult Patients with Previously Untreated Multiple Myeloma who are Not Eligible for Transplant

FDA: Rejects NDA filing: “clinical and non-clinical pharmacology sections of the application were not sufficient to complete a review”: Celgene’s Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis Drug – Ozanimod

The top 15 best-selling cancer drugs in 2022 & Projected Sales in 2020 of World’s Top Ten Oncology Drugs

Monoclonal antibody treatment of Multiple Myeloma

At California Central District Court Juno Therapeutics, Inc. et al v. Kite Pharma, Inc. – Multi-party Patent Infringement

 

Read Full Post »

From Thalidomide to Revlimid: Celgene to Bristol Myers to possibly Pfizer; A Curation of Deals, Discovery and the State of Pharma

 

Curator: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D.

Updated 6/24/2019

Updated 4/12/2019

Updated 2/28/2019

Lenalidomide (brand name Revlimid) is an approved chemotherapeutic used to treat multiple myeloma, mantle cell lymphoma, and certain myedysplastic syndromes.  It is chemically related to thalidomide analog with potential antineoplastic activity. Lenalidomide inhibits TNF-alpha production, stimulates T cells, reduces serum levels of the cytokines vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), and inhibits angiogenesis. This agent also promotes G1 cell cycle arrest and apoptosis of malignant cells.  It is usually given with dexamethasone for multiple myeloma. Revlimid was developed and sold by Celgene Corp.  However, recent news of deals with Bristol Myers Squib

 

Revlimid Approval History

FDA Approved: Yes (First approved December 27, 2005)
Brand name: Revlimid
Generic name: lenalidomide
Dosage form: Capsules
Company: Celgene Corporation
Treatment for: Myelodysplastic SyndromeMultiple MyelomaLymphoma

Revlimid (lenalidomide) is an immunomodulatory drug indicated for the treatment of patients with multiple myeloma, transfusion-dependent anemia due myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), and mantle cell lymphoma.

Development History and FDA Approval Process for Revlimid

Date Article
Feb 22, 2017  FDA Expands Indication for Revlimid (lenalidomide) as a Maintenance Treatment for Patients with Multiple Myeloma Following Autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant (auto-HSCT)
Feb 18, 2015  FDA Expands Indication for Revlimid (lenalidomide) in Combination with Dexamethasone to Include Patients Newly Diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma
Jun  5, 2013  FDA Approves Revlimid (lenalidomide) for the Treatment of Patients with Relapsed or Refractory Mantle Cell Lymphoma
Oct  3, 2005 Revlimid PDUFA Date Extended Three Months By FDA
Sep 14, 2005 FDA Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee Recommends Revlimid for Full Approval
Sep 13, 2005 FDA and Celgene Revlimid Briefing Documents for Advisory Committee Meeting Available Online
Jun 21, 2005 FDA Grants Priority Review for Revlimid NDA for Treatment of Low- and Intermediate- Risk MDS With Deletion 5q Chromosomal Abnormality
Jun  7, 2005 Revlimid (lenalidomide) New Drug Application Accepted for Review by FDA
Apr  8, 2005 Revlimid New Drug Application Submitted to FDA for Review

 

 

 

 

M&A Deals Now and On The Horizon

  1. Right before the 2019 JP Morgan Healthcare Conference and a month before Bristol Myers quarterly earings reports, Bristol Myers Squib (BMY) announes a $74 Billion offer for Celgene Corp.  From the Bristol Myers website press realease:

Bristol-Myers Squibb to Acquire Celgene to Create a Premier Innovative Biopharma Company

  • Highly Complementary Portfolios with Leading Franchises in Oncology, Immunology and Inflammation and Cardiovascular Disease
  • Significantly Expands Phase III Assets with Six Expected Near-Term Product Launches, Representing Greater Than $15 Billion in Revenue Potential
  • Registrational Trial Opportunities and Early-Stage Pipeline Position Combined Company for Sustained Leadership Underpinned by Cutting-Edge Technologies and Discovery Platforms
  • Strong Combined Cash Flows, Enhanced Margins and EPS Accretion of Greater Than 40% in First Full Year
  • Approximately $2.5 Billion of Expected Run-Rate Cost Synergies to Be Achieved by 2022
THURSDAY, JANUARY 3, 2019 6:58 AM EST

NEW YORK & SUMMIT, N.J.,–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE:BMY) and Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ:CELG) today announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Bristol-Myers Squibb will acquire Celgene in a cash and stock transaction with an equity value of approximately $74 billion. Under the terms of the agreement, Celgene shareholders will receive 1.0 Bristol-Myers Squibb share and $50.00 in cash for each share of Celgene. Celgene shareholders will also receive one tradeable Contingent Value Right (CVR) for each share of Celgene, which will entitle the holder to receive a payment for the achievement of future regulatory milestones. The Boards of Directors of both companies have approved the combination.

The transaction will create a leading focused specialty biopharma company well positioned to address the needs of patients with cancer, inflammatory and immunologic disease and cardiovascular disease through high-value innovative medicines and leading scientific capabilities. With complementary areas of focus, the combined company will operate with global reach and scale, maintaining the speed and agility that is core to each company’s strategic approach.

Based on the closing price of Bristol-Myers Squibb stock of $52.43 on January 2, 2019, the cash and stock consideration to be received by Celgene shareholders at closing is valued at $102.43 per Celgene share and one CVR (as described below). When completed, Bristol-Myers Squibb shareholders are expected to own approximately 69 percent of the company, and Celgene shareholders are expected to own approximately 31 percent.

“Together with Celgene, we are creating an innovative biopharma leader, with leading franchises and a deep and broad pipeline that will drive sustainable growth and deliver new options for patients across a range of serious diseases,” said Giovanni Caforio, M.D., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Bristol-Myers Squibb. “As a combined entity, we will enhance our leadership positions across our portfolio, including in cancer and immunology and inflammation. We will also benefit from an expanded early- and late-stage pipeline that includes six expected near-term product launches. Together, our pipeline holds significant promise for patients, allowing us to accelerate new options through a broader range of cutting-edge technologies and discovery platforms.”

Dr. Caforio continued, “We are impressed by what Celgene has accomplished for patients, and we look forward to welcoming Celgene employees to Bristol-Myers Squibb. Our new company will continue the strong patient focus that is core to both companies’ missions, creating a shared organization with a goal of discovering, developing and delivering innovative medicines for patients with serious diseases. We are confident we will drive value for shareholders and create opportunities for employees.”

“For more than 30 years, Celgene’s commitment to leading innovation has allowed us to deliver life-changing treatments to patients in areas of high unmet need. Combining with Bristol-Myers Squibb, we are delivering immediate and substantial value to Celgene shareholders and providing them meaningful participation in the long-term growth opportunities created by the combined company,” said Mark Alles, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Celgene. “Our employees should be incredibly proud of what we have accomplished together and excited for the opportunities ahead of us as we join with Bristol-Myers Squibb, where we can further advance our mission for patients. We look forward to working with the Bristol-Myers Squibb team as we bring our two companies together.”

Compelling Strategic Benefits

  • Leading franchises with complementary product portfolios provide enhanced scale and balance. The combination creates:
    • Leading oncology franchises in both solid tumors and hematologic malignancies led by Opdivo and Yervoy as well as Revlimid and Pomalyst;
    • A top five immunology and inflammation franchise led by Orencia and Otezla; and
    • The #1 cardiovascular franchise led by Eliquis.

The combined company will have nine products with more than $1 billion in annual sales and significant potential for growth in the core disease areas of oncology, immunology and inflammation and cardiovascular disease.

  • Near-term launch opportunities representing greater than $15 billion in revenue potential. The combined company will have six expected near-term product launches:
    • Two in immunology and inflammation, TYK2 and ozanimod; and
    • Four in hematology, luspatercept, liso-cel (JCAR017), bb2121 and fedratinib.

These launches leverage the combined commercial capabilities of the two companies and will broaden and enhance Bristol-Myers Squibb’s market position with innovative and differentiated products. This is in addition to a significant number of lifecycle management registrational readouts expected in Immuno-Oncology (IO).

  • Early-stage pipeline builds sustainable platform for growth. The combined company will have a deep and diverse early-stage pipeline across solid tumors and hematologic malignancies, immunology and inflammation, cardiovascular disease and fibrotic disease leveraging combined strengths in innovation. The early-stage pipeline includes 50 high potential assets, many with important data readouts in the near-term. With a significantly enhanced early-stage pipeline, Bristol-Myers Squibb will be well positioned for long-term growth and significant value creation.
  • Powerful combined discovery capabilities with world-class expertise in a broad range of modalities. Together, the Company will have expanded innovation capabilities in small molecule design, biologics/synthetic biologics, protein homeostasis, antibody engineering and cell therapy. Furthermore, strong external partnerships provide access to additional modalities.

Compelling Financial Benefits

  • Strong returns and significant immediate EPS accretion. The transaction’s internal rate of return is expected to be well in excess of Celgene’s and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s cost of capital. The combination is expected to be more than 40 percent accretive to Bristol-Myers Squibb’s EPS on a standalone basis in the first full year following close of the transaction.
  • Strong balance sheet and cash flow generation to enable significant investment in innovation. With more than $45 billion of expected free cash flow generation over the first three full years post-closing, the Company is committed to maintaining strong investment grade credit ratings while continuing its dividend policy for the benefit of Bristol-Myers Squibb and Celgene shareholders. Bristol-Myers Squibb will also have significant financial flexibility to realize the full potential of the enhanced late- and early-stage pipeline.
  • Meaningful cost synergies. Bristol-Myers Squibb expects to realize run-rate cost synergies of approximately $2.5 billion by 2022. Bristol-Myers Squibb is confident it will achieve efficiencies across the organization while maintaining a strong, core commitment to innovation and delivering the value of the portfolio.

Terms and Financing

Based on the closing price of Bristol-Myers Squibb stock on January 2, 2019, the cash and stock consideration to be received by Celgene shareholders is valued at $102.43 per share. The cash and stock consideration represents an approximately 51 percent premium to Celgene shareholders based on the 30-day volume weighted average closing stock price of Celgene prior to signing and an approximately 54 percent premium to Celgene shareholders based on the closing stock price of Celgene on January 2, 2019. Each share also will receive one tradeable CVR, which will entitle its holder to receive a one-time potential payment of $9.00 in cash upon FDA approval of all three of ozanimod (by December 31, 2020), liso-cel (JCAR017) (by December 31, 2020) and bb2121 (by March 31, 2021), in each case for a specified indication.

The transaction is not subject to a financing condition. The cash portion will be funded through a combination of cash on hand and debt financing. Bristol-Myers Squibb has obtained fully committed debt financing from Morgan Stanley Senior Funding, Inc. and MUFG Bank, Ltd. Following the close of the transaction, Bristol-Myers Squibb expects that substantially all of the debt of the combined company will be pari passu.

Accelerated Share Repurchase Program

Bristol-Myers Squibb expects to execute an accelerated share repurchase program of up to approximately $5 billion, subject to the closing of the transaction, market conditions and Board approval.

Corporate Governance

Following the close of the transaction, Dr. Caforio will continue to serve as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the company. Two members from Celgene’s Board will be added to the Board of Directors of Bristol-Myers Squibb. The combined company will continue to have a strong presence throughout New Jersey.

Approvals and Timing to Close

The transaction is subject to approval by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Celgene shareholders and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. Bristol-Myers Squibb and Celgene expect to complete the transaction in the third quarter of 2019.

Advisors

Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC is serving as lead financial advisor to Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Evercore and Dyal Co. LLC are serving as financial advisors to Bristol-Myers Squibb. Kirkland & Ellis LLP is serving as Bristol-Myers Squibb’s legal counsel. J.P. Morgan Securities LLC is serving as lead financial advisor and Citi is acting as financial advisor to Celgene. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz is serving as legal counsel to Celgene.

Bristol-Myers Squibb 2019 EPS Guidance

In a separate press release issued today, Bristol-Myers Squibb announced its 2019 EPS guidance for full-year 2019, which is available on the “Investor Relations” section of the Bristol-Myers Squibb website at https://www.bms.com/investors.html.

Conference Call

Bristol-Myers Squibb and Celgene will host a conference call today, at 8:00 a.m. ET to discuss the transaction. The conference call can be accessed by dialing (800) 347-6311 (U.S. / Canada) or (786) 460-7199 (International) and giving the passcode 4935567. A replay of the call will be available from January 3, 2019 until January 17, 2019 by dialing (888) 203-1112 (U.S. / Canada) or (719) 457-0820 (International) and giving the passcode 4935567.

A live webcast of the conference call will be available on the investor relations section of each company’s website at Bristol-Myers Squibb https://www.bms.com/investors.html and Celgene https://ir.celgene.com/investors/default.aspx.

Presentation and Infographic

Associated presentation materials and an infographic regarding the transaction will be available on the investor relations section of each company’s website at Bristol-Myers Squibb https://www.bms.com/investors.html and Celgene https://ir.celgene.com/investors/default.aspx as well as a joint transaction website at www.bestofbiopharma.com.

2.  Then through news on Bloomberg and some other financial sites on a possible interest of a merged Celgene-Bristol Myers from Pfizer as well as other pharma groups

Here’s How John Paulson Is Positioning His Celgene/Bristol Trade

Billionaire John Paulson sees a 10 percent to 20 percent chance that Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. receives a takeover bid and he’s positioning his Celgene Corp. trade based on that risk, he said in an interview on Mike Samuels’ “According to Sources” podcast.

Bristol-Myers “is vulnerable and it has an attractive pipeline to several potential acquirers,” Paulson said in the podcast released Monday. “It’s a reasonable probability,” he said. “You have to be prepared someone may show up. It’s an attractive spread, but you can’t take that big a position.”

John Paulson

Photographer: Jin Lee/Bloomberg

Paulson has the Celgene/Bristol-Myers trade as a 3 percent portfolio position, though his firm is short a pharma index rather than Bristol-Myers for about half of the position. If an activist did show up, it would likely blow out the spread from its current $13.85 to probably $20 and, if an actual bid arrived, he said the spread could move out to $40.

“I just don’t feel comfortable being short Bristol in this environment,” Paulson said. “You can sort of get the same economics by shorting an index, maybe even do better because, since Bristol came down, if the pharma sector goes up, Bristol may go up more than the pharma sector, which would increase the profitability on the Celgene. ”

Celgene fell as much as 2.2 percent on Tuesday, its biggest intraday drop since Dec. 27. Bristol-Myers also sank as much as 2.2 percent, the most since Jan. 9.

The question of whether Bristol-Myers receives a hostile takeover offerhas been the top issue for investors since the Celgene deal was announced. The drugmaker was pressured in February 2017 to add three new directors after holding talks with activist hedge fund Jana Partners LLC. The same month, the Wall Street Journal reported that Carl Icahn had taken a stake and saw Bristol-Myers as a takeover target.

Pfizer Inc., AbbVie Inc. or Amgen Inc. “make varying amounts of sense as suitors, though we see many barriers to someone making an offer,” Credit Suisse analyst Vamil Divan wrote in a note earlier this month. AbbVie and Amgen “have the balance sheet strength and could look to beef up their oncology presence.”

CNBC’s David Faber said Jan. 3 — the day the Celgene deal was announced — that there had been “absolutely” no talks between Bristol-Myers and potential acquirers.

Jefferies analyst Michael Yee wrote in note Tuesday that he doesn’t expect an unsolicited offer for Bristol-Myers to “thwart” its Celgene purchase. He sees the deal spread as “quite attractive” again at the current range of 18 percent to 20 percent after it had earlier narrowed to 11 percent to 12 percent.

Paulson managed about $8.7 billion at the the beginning of November.

From StatNews.com at https://www.statnews.com/2019/01/22/celgene-legacy-chutzpah-science-drug-pricing/

 

Nina Kjellson was just two years out of college, working as a research associate at Oracle Partners, a hedge fund in New York, when a cabbie gave her a stock tip. There was a company in New Jersey, he told her, trying to resurrect thalidomide, a drug that was infamous for causing severe birth defects, as a treatment for cancer.

Kjellson was born in Finland, where the memory of thalidomide, which was given to mothers to treat morning sickness but led to babies born without arms or legs, was particularly raw because the drug hit Northern Europe hard. But she was on the hunt for new cancer drugs, and her interest was piqued. She ended up investing a small amount of her own money in Celgene. That was 1999.

Since then, Celgene shares have risen more than 100-fold; the company became one of the largest biotechnology firms in the world. Earlier this month, rival Bristol-Myers Squibb announced plans to purchase Celgene for $74 billion in cash and stock.

Reflecting on a company she watched for two decades, Kjellson, now a venture capitalist at Canaan Partners in San Francisco, marveled at the “grit and chutzpah” that it took to push thalidomide back onto the market. “The company started taking off,” she remembered, “but not without an incredible reversal.” Celgene faced resistance from some thalidomide victims, and the Food and Drug Administration was lobbied not to revive the drug. In the end, she said, it built a golden egg and became a favorite partner of smaller biotech companies like the ones she funds. And it populated the rest of the pharmaceutical industry with its alumni. “If I had a nickel for every company that says we want to do Celgene-like deals,” she said, “I’d have better returns than from my venture career.”

But there’s another side to Celgene. When the company launched thalidomide as a treatment for leprosy in 1998, it cost $6 a pill. As it became clear that it was also an effective cancer drug, Celgene slowly raised the price, quadrupling it by the time it received approval for an improved molecule, Revlimid. Then, it slowly increased the price of Revlimid by a total of 145 percent, according to Sector & Sovereign LLC, a pharmaceutical consultancy.

Revlimid now costs $693 a pill. In 2017, Revlimid and another thalidomide-derived cancer drug represented 76 percent of Celgene’s $12.9 billion in annual sales. Kjellson gives the company credit for guts in science, for taking a terrible drug and resurrecting it. But it also had chutzpah when it came to what it charged.

A pioneer in ‘modern pricing’

How did the price of thalidomide, and then Revlimid, increase so much? Celgene explained it in a 2004 front-page story in the Wall Street Journal. “When we launched it, it was going to be an AIDS-wasting drug,” Celgene’s chief executive at the time, John Jackson, said. “We couldn’t charge more or there would have been demonstrations outside the company.” But once Celgene realized that the drug was a cancer treatment, the company decided to slowly bring thalidomide’s price more in line with other cancer medicines, such as Velcade, a rival medicine now sold by the Japanese drug giant Takeda. In 2003, it cost more than twice as much as thalidomide. “By bringing [the price] up every year, it was heading toward where it should be as a cancer drug,” Jackson told the Journal.

Thalidomide was not actually approved as a myeloma treatment until 2006. That same year, Revlimid, which causes less sleepiness and nerve pain than thalidomide, was approved, and Barer, the chemist behind Celgene’s thalidomide strategy, took over as chief executive. He made good on thalidomide’s promise, churning out one blockbuster after another. In 2017 Revlimid generated $8.2 billion. Another cancer drug derived from thalidomide, Pomalyst, generated $1.6 billion. Otezla, a very different drug also based on thalidomide’s chemistry, treats psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Its 2017 sales: $1.3 billion.

With persistent price increases, quarter after quarter, Celgene pioneered something else: what Wall Street calls “modern pricing.” Cancer drug prices have risen inexorably.

 

Updated 2/28/2019

From FiercePharma.com

BMS’ largest investor condemns Celgene deal—and it’s music to activists’ ears

Activist investor Starboard Value is officially rallying the troops against Bristol-Myers Squibb’s $74 billion Celgene deal, and thanks to a big investor’s thumbs-down, it’ll have more support than some expected. But the question is whether it’ll be enough to scuttle the merger.

Starboard CEO Jeffrey Smith penned a letter (PDF) to Bristol-Myers’ shareholders on Thursday labeling the transaction “poorly conceived and ill-advised.” It intends to vote its shares—which number 1.63 million, though the hedge fund is seeking more—against the deal, and it wants to see other shareholders do the same. It’ll be filing proxy materials “in the coming days” to solicit “no” votes from BMS investors, Smith said.

Starboard picked up its stake early this year after the deal was announced, BMS confirmed last week, but until now, the activist fund hasn’t been forthcoming about its intentions. But the timing of its reveal is likely no coincidence; just Wednesday, Wellington Management—which owns about 8% of Bristol-Myers’ shares and ranked as its largest institutional shareholder as of earlier this week—came out publicly against the “risky” buyout.

But while “we believe it is possible at least one other long-term top-five [shareholder] may disagree with the transaction, too,” RBC Capital Markets’ Michael Yee wrote in his own investor note, he—as many of his fellow analysts do—still expects to see the deal go through. “We think the vast majority of the acquirer holder base that would not like the deal already voted by selling their shares earlier, leaving investors who are mostly supportive of the deal,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, Starboard has been clear about one other thing: It wants board seats. It’s nominated five new directors, including CEO Smith, and investors will vote on that group at an as-yet-unscheduled meeting. Thing is, that meeting will take place after BMS investors vote on the Celgene deal in April, so Starboard will have to rally sufficient support against the deal if it wants to see them installed.

The “probability of a third-party buyer for Bristol-Myers Squibb” before the April vote is “very low,” BMO Capital Markets analysts wrote recently, adding that “we do not believe a potential activist can change that.” Barclays analysts agreed Wednesday, pointing to a “lack of realistic, potential alternatives that could collectively provide a similar level of upside.”

Updated 4/12/2019

Bristol-Myers Squibb Shareholders Approve Celgene Tie-Up

Three quarters of Bristol-Myers Squibb shareholders vote to approve the deal with Celgene, paving the way for the largest pharmaceutical takeover in history.

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY – Get Report) on Friday announced that it had secured enough shareholder votes to approve its roughly $74 billion takeover of Celgene (CELG – Get Report) , putting the company closer to finalizing the largest pharmaceutical merger in history.

More than 75% of Bristol-Myers shareholders voted to approve the deal, according to a preliminary tally announced by Bristol-Myers on Friday.

Bristol-Myers’ position took a positive turn in late March after an influential shareholder advisory group recommended investors vote in favor of the cancer drug specialist’s takeover,  and a key activist dropped its opposition to the deal.

Institutional Shareholder Services recommended the deal, which had been challenged by key Bristol-Myers shareholders Starboard Value and Wellington Management, ahead of Friday’s vote.

 

Updated 6/24/2019

Bristol Myers agrees to sell off Celgene blockbuster psoriasis and arthritis drug Otezla to satisfy FTC in hopes to speed up merger

By SY MUKHERJEE

June 24, 2019

Happy Monday, readers!

Bristol-Myers Squibb hasn’t exactly had a pristine path to its proposed acquisition of Celgene. Sure, the legacy pharma giant racked up more than 75% of shareholder votes to approve the $74 billion acquisition following a quickly-quashed rebellion from some activist naysayers. But the company hit another hurdle in its Celgene acquisition quest that sent Bristol Myers stock tumbling nearly 7.5%, a $6 billion erasure in market value.

The reason(s)? For one, Bristol-Myers Squibb reported an unfortunate clinical trial result from a late-stage study of its cancer immunotherapy superstar Opdivo in liver cancer. For another—BMS made a somewhat surprising announcement that it would spin off Celgene’s blockbuster psoriasis and arthritis drug Otezla, slated to rake in nearly $2 billion in sales this year alone, in order to address Federal Trade Commission (FTC) antitrust concerns over the M&A.

That means the Bristol-Myers Celgene deal may not close until early 2020, rather than the originally expected timeline by the end of this year.

“Bristol-Myers Squibb reaffirms the significant value creation opportunity of the acquisition of Celgene,” the firm said in a statement. “Together with $2.5 billion of cost synergies, a compelling pipeline and a strong portfolio of marketed products, the company continues to expect growth in sales and earnings through 2025.”

Investors can be a fickle bunch. For now, though, they don’t seem particularly pleased at the decision to lop off one of Celgene’s tried and true cash cows.

 

Additional posts on Pharma Mergers and Deals on this Open Access Journal include:

Live Conference Coverage Medcity Converge 2018 Philadelphia: Clinical Trials and Mega Health Mergers

First Annual FierceBiotech Drug Development Forum (DDF). Event covers the drug development process from basic research through clinical trials. InterContinental Hotel, Boston, September 19-21, 2016.

Pfizer Near Allergan Buyout Deal But Will Fed Allow It?

New Values for Capital Investment in Technology Disruption: Life Sciences Group @Google and the Future of the Rest of the Biotech Industry

Mapping the Universe of Pharmaceutical Business Intelligence: The Model developed by LPBI and the Model of Best Practices LLC

 

Read Full Post »

Live Conference Coverage @Medcitynews Converge 2018 Philadelphia: The Davids vs. the Cancer Goliath Part 2

8:40 – 9:25 AM The Davids vs. the Cancer Goliath Part 2

Startups from diagnostics, biopharma, medtech, digital health and emerging tech will have 8 minutes to articulate their visions on how they aim to tame the beast.

Start Time End Time Company
8:40 8:48 3Derm
8:49 8:57 CNS Pharmaceuticals
8:58 9:06 Cubismi
9:07 9:15 CytoSavvy
9:16 9:24 PotentiaMetrics

Speakers:
Liz Asai, CEO & Co-Founder, 3Derm Systems, Inc. @liz_asai
John M. Climaco, CEO, CNS Pharmaceuticals @cns_pharma 

John Freyhof, CEO, CytoSavvy
Robert Palmer, President & CEO, PotentiaMetrics @robertdpalmer 
Moira Schieke M.D., Founder, Cubismi, Adjunct Assistant Prof UW Madison @cubismi_inc

 

3Derm Systems

3Derm Systems is an image analysis firm for dermatologic malignancies.  They use a tele-medicine platform to accurately triage out benign malignancies observed from the primary care physician, expediate those pathology cases if urgent to the dermatologist and rapidly consults with you over home or portable device (HIPAA compliant).  Their suite also includes a digital dermatology teaching resource including digital training for students and documentation services.

 

CNS Pharmaceuticals

developing drugs against CNS malignancies, spun out of research at MD Anderson.  They are focusing on glioblastoma and Berubicin, an anthracycline antiobiotic (TOPOII inhibitor) that can cross the blood brain barrier.  Berubicin has good activity in a number of animal models.  Phase I results were very positive and Phase II is scheduled for later in the year.  They hope that the cardiotoxicity profile is less severe than other anthracyclines.  The market opportunity will be in temazolamide resistant glioblastoma.

Cubismi

They are using machine learning and biomarker based imaging to visualize tumor heterogeneity. “Data is the new oil” (Intel CEO). We need prediction machines so they developed a “my body one file” system, a cloud based data rich file of a 3D map of human body.

CUBISMI IS ON A MISSION TO HELP DELIVER THE FUTURE PROMISE OF PRECISION MEDICINE TO CURE DISEASE AND ASSURE YOUR OPTIMAL HEALTH.  WE ARE BUILDING A PATIENT-DOCTOR HEALTH DATA EXCHANGE PLATFORM THAT WILL LEVERAGE REVOLUTIONARY MEDICAL IMAGING TECHNOLOGY AND PUT THE POWER OF HEALTH DATA INTO THE HANDS OF YOU AND YOUR DOCTORS.

 

CytoSavvy

CytoSavvy is a digital pathology company.  They feel AI has a fatal flaw in that no way to tell how a decision was made. Use a Shape Based Model Segmentation algorithm which uses automated image analysis to provide objective personalized pathology data.  They are partnering with three academic centers (OSU, UM, UPMC) and pool data and automate the rule base for image analysis.

CytoSavvy’s patented diagnostic dashboards are intuitive, easy–to-use and HIPAA compliant. Our patented Shape-Based Modeling Segmentation (SBMS) algorithms combine shape and color analysis capabilities to increase reliability, save time, and improve decisions. Specifications and capabilities for our web-based delivery system follow.

link to their white paper: https://www.cytosavvy.com/resources/healthcare-ai-value-proposition.pdf

PotentialMetrics

They were developing a diagnostic software for cardiology epidemiology measuring outcomes however when a family member got a cancer diagnosis felt there was a need for outcomes based models for cancer treatment/care.  They deliver real world outcomes for persoanlized patient care to help patients make decisions on there care by using a socioeconomic modeling integrated with real time clinical data.

Featured in the Wall Street Journal, using the informed treatment decisions they have generated achieve a 20% cost savings on average.  There research was spun out of Washington University St. Louis.

They have concentrated on urban markets however the CEO had mentioned his desire to move into more rural areas of the country as there models work well for patients in the rural setting as well.

Please follow on Twitter using the following #hash tags and @pharma_BI 

#MCConverge

#cancertreatment

#healthIT

#innovation

#precisionmedicine

#healthcaremodels

#personalizedmedicine

#healthcaredata

And at the following handles:

@pharma_BI

@medcitynews

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Live Conference Coverage @Medcity Converge 2018 Philadelphia: Oncology Value Based Care and Patient Management

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D.

3:15 – 4:00 PM Breakout: What’s A Good Model for Value-Based Care in Oncology?

How do you implement a value-based care model in oncology? Medicare has created a bundled payment model in oncology and there are lessons to be learned from that and other programs. Listen to two presentations from experts in the field.

Moderator: Mahek Shah, M.D., Senior Researcher, Harvard Business School @Mahek_MD
Speakers:
Charles Saunders M.D., CEO, Integra Connect
Mari Vandenburgh, Director of Value-Based Reimbursement Operations, Highmark @Highmark

 

Mari: Building strategic partnerships with partners focused on population based health and evidence based outcomes. they provide data analytics and consultative services.  Incorporate risk based systems.  also looking at ancillary segments because they see cost savings.  True Performance is their flagship performance program and 11% lower ED (saving $18 million) rates and 16% lower readmissions ($200 million cost savings).  Also launched the Highmark Cancer care Program with Johns Hopkins.  They monitor the adherence pathways and if clinician shows good adherence they give reimbursements.

Charles:  Integra is a cloud based care platform focused on oncology and urology and allow clinicians to practice value based care. Providers must now focus on total cost including ER visits, end of life and therapies (which is half of total cost in US).  The actionable ways to reduce costs is by reducing ER visits.  What is working? Data on reimbursements models is very accurate so practices can dig into data and find effieciencies.  However most practices do not have the analytics to do this.

  • care navigation
  • care path based treatment choices
  • enhanced patient access and experience

What is not working

  • data not structured so someone has to do manual curation of records
  • flawed logic based on plurality of visits but physician doesn’t know who else they saw
  • target pricing not taking into account high prices of new therapies
  • lack of timely reporting either by patient or physician
  • insufficient reimbursements
  • technology limitations

 

4:10- 4:55 Breakout: What Patients Want and Need On Their Journey

Cancer patients are living with an existential threat every day. A panel of patients and experts in oncology care management will discuss what’s needed to make the journey for oncology patients a bit more bearable.

sponsored by CEO Council for Growth

Moderator: Amanda Woodworth, M.D., Director of Breast Health, Drexel University College of Medicine
Speakers:
Kezia Fitzgerald, Chief Innovation Officer & Co-Founder, CareAline® Products, LLC
Sara Hayes, Senior Director of Community Development, Health Union @SaraHayes_HU
Katrece Nolen, Cancer Survivor and Founder, Find Cancer Help @KatreceNolen
John Simpkins, Administrative DirectorService Line Director of the Cancer Center, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia @ChildrensPhila

 

Kezia: was a cancer patient as well as her child getting treated at two different places and tough part was coordinating everything including treatments and schedules, working schedules

Katrece: had problem scheduling with oncologists because misdiagnosis and her imaging records were on CD and surgeon could not use the CD

John:  the above are a common frustration among patients at a time when they don’t need the confusion. He feels cancer centers need to coordinate these services better

Sara:  trying to assist people with this type of coordination is very tough even with all the resources

Kazia:  she needed to do all the research on her own because big dichotomy being an adult and a pediatric patient where pediatrics get more information and patient centered care. She felt she felt burdening the physicians if she asked the same questions.  How can we get more interaction with primary care physicians and feel comfortable with their interaction?

John: there is this dichotomy especially on wait times for adults is usually longer.  We can also improve patient experience with counseling patients

Katrece: Just working with a patient navigator is not enough.  The patient needs to take charge of their disease.

Sara: Patient communities can help as sometimes patients learn from other patients.

Amanda:  in breast cancer , navigators are common but must take care they are not only people patients see after a while

John:  at CHOP they also have a financial navigator.  On the adult side there are on call financial navigators.  Recent change of the high deductible plans are a major problem.  Although new families are starting to become comfortable with the financial navigator

Katrece:  guiding your children through your experience is important.  It was also important for her to advocate for herself as she had three different sites of cancer care to coordinate and multiple teams to coordinate with each other

Amanda:  A common theme seems to be hard trying to find the resources you need.  Why is that?

Kazia:  Sometimes it is hard to talk about your disease because it can be emotionally draining comforting other people who you told about the disease and they are being empathetic.  Sometimes they want to keep their ‘journey’ to themselves

John:  A relative kept her disease secret because she didn’t want to burden others…. a common cancer patient concern

Sara: Moderation of a social group is necessary to keep it a safe space and prevent trollers (like in Facebook support groups).

Kazia:  most group members will get together and force those trollers out of the group

Katrece: alot of anxiety after treatment ends, patient feels like being dropped on the floor like they don’t get support after treatment.  If there were survivorship navigators might be helpful

Amanda: for breast cancer they do a Survivor Care Package but just a paper packet, patients do appreciate it but a human coordinator would be a great idea

 

 

 

 

Please follow on Twitter using the following #hashtags and @pharma_BI

#MCConverge

#cancertreatment

#healthIT

#innovation

#precisionmedicine

#healthcaremodels

#personalizedmedicine

#healthcaredata

And at the following handles:

@pharma_BI

@medcitynews

 

Please see related articles on Live Coverage of Previous Meetings on this Open Access Journal

LIVE – Real Time – 16th Annual Cancer Research Symposium, Koch Institute, Friday, June 16, 9AM – 5PM, Kresge Auditorium, MIT

Real Time Coverage and eProceedings of Presentations on 11/16 – 11/17, 2016, The 12th Annual Personalized Medicine Conference, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL, Joseph B. Martin Conference Center, 77 Avenue Louis Pasteur, Boston

Tweets Impression Analytics, Re-Tweets, Tweets and Likes by @AVIVA1950 and @pharma_BI for 2018 BioIT, Boston, 5/15 – 5/17, 2018

BIO 2018! June 4-7, 2018 at Boston Convention & Exhibition Center

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/press-coverage/

 

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WEGO Health Awards Competition Focuses on Patients

Author: Gail S. Thornton, M.A., PhD(c)

WEGO Health, a network of over 100,000 influential members of the online health community, empowers patients who drive the health care conversation online.

For their annual “health activist” award competition this year, Gail Thornton, was nominated as the editor/author of a series of compelling patient profiles on chronic and invasive medical conditions that are posted on the online scientific journal, Leaders in Pharmaceutical Business Intelligence.

“The story of patients and their health journey is a critical one to tell and I was blessed to have such inspirational, caring people who shared their lives with me,” said Gail Thornton.” Also many thanks to  Aviva Lev-Ari for her vision in creating this series — and for considering me to be part of it all.”

The series also will be part of an e-book, entitled, The VOICES of Patients, Health Care Providers, Care Givers and Families: Personal Experience with Critical Care and Invasive Medical Procedures, Leaders in Pharmaceutical Business Intelligence (LPBI) Group. Here is the link:  https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/biomed-e-books/series-e-titles-in-the-strategic-plan-for-2014-1015/2014-the-patients-voice-personal-experience-with-invasive-medical-procedures/

final series E covers volumes 1_4-vol1

 

“Your contribution to the e-Book is very substantial in bringing the LIVE voices of Patients and Health Care Providers to the EAR of the Public at large,” said Aviva Lev-Ari, Ph.D., R.N., on 9/13/2016, Director and Founder, Leaders in Pharmaceutical Business Intelligence (LPBI) Group, Boston.

Also thanks to Gabriela Contreras for suggesting some of these patients.

Please visit the the link below to review Gail’s nomination details and to endorse her!

https://awards.wegohealth.com/nominees/12485

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Live Notes from @AACR’s #cbi16 Meeting on Precision Medicine: 5:10PM Big Idea A survivor’s Story

Tom Whitehead, father of Emily, CHOP’S first CAR-T success story

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D.

  • Emily Whitehead was 5 years old when came to UPENN and CHOP (2010) with unresponsive leukemia
  • she was healthy up to day she was diagnosed and went to Hershey Medical Center and recieved diagnosis of CLL (came in with 21 bruises, symptom of leukemia)
  • parents told her that it would be the roughest time of her life but they would always tell her the truth about what would happen
  • she started to have relapsed disease
  • Dr. Sue Reingold at CHOP said to get transplant but could do at Hershey
  • Feb. 2012 thought got a matching donor but up to May did not find one, they wanted to do new rounds of chemo but Emily did not want that and CHOP suggested a new drug but they felt it was not right for her

 

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