Editor’s note: Welcome to Editors' (re)View, our editors’ takes on things going on in the pharma world that deserve some extra consideration.
Innovating to meet customer needs
I recently was invited to speak on a ‘real-world voices’ panel at MasterControl’s Masters Summit. The annual event offers education, inspiration and a little bit of fun for quality and manufacturing professionals in life sciences.
Besides the obvious highlight of getting to hear Neil deGrasse Tyson speak for the first time (and the secondary highlight: my neon pink heels that I wore during my panel), the event reminded me of why we originally launched the Pharma Innovation Awards program.
The awards, which started as the All Star Innovators circa 2013, were transitioned into the Pharma Innovation Awards in 2018 (because even the best of us eventually run out of baseball puns). Part of my motivation in revamping these awards was conversations I was having at industry events and on the tradeshow floor. As an editor, I have always loved hearing the stories behind companies’ new equipment launches. In a perfect world, equipment vendors listen to the needs of their pharma customers and adapt products to solve the industry's challenges.
I was reminded of this at the Master’s Summit Hackathon welcome reception. Cleverly disguised as a rooftop happy hour, the event was actually a user-feedback generating machine. Attendees broke into 15 'pods' and each pod came up with 12 new ideas for features they personally wanted to see added to MasterControl software solutions. The top 16 ideas were put into a March Madness-like bracket, and the next day, attendees got to vote bracket by bracket in real-time from their apps. MasterControl engineers were on-site and coded an impressive 12 most popular features into the software — and had it finished by the end of the event. All of those features will be active in the next quarterly release of the product.
Not only did it give MasterControl 180 pieces of specific customer feedback, but it also made attendees part of the process. Imagine if we all had that opportunity for every platform we used? (I have some choice feedback for Microsoft regarding Outlook...)
I think it's important that we take the time to recognize technology innovators working behind the scenes to give pharma the tools it needs to succeed. I hope everyone will take the time to read our upcoming cover story, where we will go into detail about this year’s Pharma Innovation Award winners and celebrate the pharma equipment and technology leaders who listen to the needs of the market and their customers. —Karen Langhauser
It's been a busy season for antibody-drug conjugates, with major players strategically expanding their capabilities and portfolios.
Today, we reported that Merck entered a potential $22 billion deal with Daiichi Sankyo to co-develop three ADC oncology candidates, patritumab deruxtecan, ifinatamab deruxtecan and raludotatug deruxtecan. The drugs are being evaluated for treatment in non-small cell lung cancer, small cell lung cancer and advanced ovarian cancer.
Earlier this week, Eli Lilly entered into an agreement to acquire Mablink Bioscience, a pre-clinical biotech based in France. This acquisition provided Lilly access to Mablink's innovative hydrophilic drug-linker technology, PSARLink, which can potentially revolutionize the design of ADCs, enhancing their effectiveness.
Just a few days prior, BioNTech and MediLink Therapeutics also revealed a collaboration focused on developing an ADC targeting the human epidermal growth factor receptor 3 (HER3). The strategic partnership, which could surpass $1 billion, gives BioNTech exclusive global rights to one of MediLink's ADC assets and substantial financial agreements, strengthening the company's position in the battle against various cancer types.
Back in September, Samsung Biologics invested in AimedBio, a Korean biotech, marking the CDMO's significant entry into the ADC sector. The investment was made through the Samsung Life Science Fund, and it was accompanied by R&D agreements, demonstrating Samsung's commitment to diversifying its portfolio.
The developments reflect the growing prevalence of ADCs in the pharma industry and the concerted efforts of key companies to advance this promising field.
— Andrea Corona