Alcon to acquire Ivantis for USD 475 Million 

Alcon announced that it intends to buy glaucoma surgery device maker Ivantis for USD 475 million upfront.

Geneva, Switzerland-based Alcon aims to support its portfolio across cataract, refractive, retina and glaucoma offerings by taking over Ivantis and its novel Hydrus Microstent for minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS).

Ivantis designed the Hydrus Microstent to decrease intraocular pressure for open-angle glaucoma patients in connection with cataract surgery. A five-year study showed that 65% of Hydrus Microstent patients remained medication-free at five years post-implant with a more than 60% reduction in risk of invasive secondary glaucoma surgeries compared to cataract surgery alone, as per a news release.

The FDA approved the Hydrus Microstent in August 2018 for utilisation with cataract surgery in the U.S. It is indicated for primary open-angle glaucoma in conjunction with cataract surgery or as a standalone procedure in the U.K., Canada, Australia, Singapore and Germany.

Alcon will pay the USD 475 million upfront and may be needed to make further contingent payments upon achieving certain regulatory and commercial milestones. The company anticipates closing the transaction in the first quarter of 2022.

Philips to extend its cardiac diagnostics and monitoring portfolio with the acquisition of Cardiologs

Royal Philips, a global leader in health technology, declared that it had signed an agreement to takeover Cardiologs, a France-based medical technology company zeroing in on transforming cardiac diagnostics using artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud technology. Cardiologs will further bolster Philips’ cardiac monitoring and diagnostics proffering with innovative software technology, electrocardiogram (ECG) analysis and reporting services. The transaction, subject to customary closing conditions, is anticipated to be completed in the coming months. The financial details of the transaction were not revealed.

The acquisition of Cardiologs is a strong fit with Philips’ current portfolio of cardiac care solutions. This comprises real-time patient monitoring, therapeutic devices, telehealth and informatics for the hospital, and ambulatory cardiac diagnostics and monitoring solutions added through the latest acquisition of BioTelemetry, Inc.

Cardiologs will supplement this delivery with a vendor-neutral heart disorder screener and ECG analysis applications based on machine learning algorithms. Developed in partnership with leading physicians, Cardiologs’ technology expedites diagnostic reporting, decreases the occurrence of reporting errors and efficient clinician workflow and patient care, strengthening clinicians to proffer expert cardiac care faster and more smoothly. CE-marked and FDA cleared for cardiac arrhythmias detection, Cardiologs’ technology is made on a growing database of more than 20 million ECG recordings and supported by several clinical publications.

Once-failed cancer drug from BioXcel progresses in immunotherapy in mouse models 

When BioXcel Therapeutics raised USD 60 million in an initial public offering a few years back, it said it would pour part of the proceeds into developing talabostat. This drug flunked a phase 3 trial in pancreatic cancer in 2007. Now, BioXcel, along with collaborators at Georgetown University, has preclinical data hinting the drug may boost the advantages of immunotherapy in this tough-to-treat cancer.

Georgetown researchers tested talabostat (also known as BXCL701) alone and alongside a treatment that prohibits the immune checkpoint PD-1 in pancreatic cancer mouse models. Both treatments decreased tumour growth, and the combination significantly grew the recruitment of cancer-fighting immune cells, the researchers observed in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer.

Talabostat works by prohibiting the protein dipeptidyl peptidase (DPP). Knowing that earlier studies had cued the drug might improve immunotherapy, the Georgetown researchers intended to check what would happen if they combined it with PD-1 inhibition. Checkpoint blockade has worked in many cancer types but has so far not happened in pancreatic cancer.

They discovered that talabostat built up the infiltration of T cells and natural killer (NK) cells into the pancreatic tumour environment. Combining the drug with anti-PD-1 therapy not only decreased tumour growth and enhanced immune activity, but it also created “immune memory” in 10 out of 13 mice that had been cured by the initial therapy, allowing them to clear some tumors after they were re-exposed to pancreatic cancer months later.

The researchers believe the key to the combination’s effectiveness rested in the recruitment of NK cells, which combat cancer in two ways: They kill cancer cells directly, and they release “signaling molecules” that regulate other aspects of the immune system in ways that control tumour growth, they elaborated in a statement.

Penumbra’s Indigo system CAT RX catheter meets primary endpoint in Cheetah trial

Healthcare company Penumbra declared that its Indigo system CAT RX catheter had met the primary endpoint in the Cheetah clinical study.

The trial has displayed the safety and performance of persistent aspiration thrombectomy with Indigo system CAT RX catheter in high-risk patients with acute coronary syndrome.

In the study, Penumbra’s device has shown high rates of blood clot removal, blood flow restoration and myocardial perfusion in conjunction with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) in patients with high thrombus burden.

The prospective, single-arm and multicentre study recruited 400 patients with high thrombus burden who were treated with persistent mechanical aspiration thrombectomy with CAT RX prior to PCI.

The trial’s crucial findings comprise a significant reduction in thrombolysis in myocardial infarction (TIMI) thrombus grade and enhanced TIMI flow grade, improved myocardial blush grade (MBG) and no device-related serious adverse events.

Penumbra said that the CAT RX procedure took around 69 seconds to complete in the study. It led to improved visualisation of target lesions by about 95% and indicated low rates of distal embolisation.

Penumbra chief medical officer Dr James Benenati said that the CHEETAH study throws light on the safety and performance of CAT RX for eliminating blood clots in the coronary arteries and restoring blood flow in a short period.

The findings hint that continuous aspiration should be a key consideration. Eliminating the blood clots enhances perfusion to the heart and allows for more precise visualisation of coronary lesions, potentially improving patient outcomes.

Under the Indigo Aspiration System, the Indigo CAT RX Aspiration Catheters and Indigo Separator 4 eliminate fresh, soft emboli and thrombi from vessels in the coronary and peripheral vasculature.