BioInItaly Newsletter

La vetrina del biotech italiano all’estero


08 mar, 2016

World’s first material formulations laboratory to make MINERV PHAs advanced bioplastic 
Bio-on S.p.A., the leader in eco-sustainable chemical technologies, has created the world's first facility for developing and making MINERV PHAs bioplastics. It will be reserved to Bio-on technicians and managers and to the licensees of Bio-on technology, which make PHAs formulations to replace the majority of widely used plastics (PP, PE, PS, PC and many more). "We have created this innovative production and research centre thanks to an initial investment of 1 million Euro, which is part of an overall commitment of 2 million Euro, needed to meet the high number of requests from multinationals around the world who want to replace the high-polluting oil-based plastic they currently use with a biopolymer of exceptional performance and characteristics such as our MINERV PHAs," says Bio-on Chairman Marco Astorri, "It's a commitment we have taken on in order to respond to the high demand for licenses for plants using Bio-on's innovation and we think it is important to boost and spread our technology at global level." The project is managed by Bio-on's technicians and researchers and aims to follow the same development approach as that adopted by conventional chemical companies, but with a totally eco-sustainable and naturally biodegradable end material. Thousands of types of oil-based plastics now exist for myriad different uses. Each of these is called a product "grade" and each one comes with its own technical datasheet. In recent months, our technicians have developed over 100 different grades, which are capable of replacing as many types of oil-based plastics. 300 million tons of high-polluting plastic are produced and sold every year. "With this investment," explains Bio-on Chairman Marco Astorri, "our goal is to use our extraordinary product in as many applications as possible. And this is precisely what multinationals are asking us for, particularly leaders in the Automotive, Design, Packaging, Biomedical, Painting, and Diagnostic sectors." 
The end use of MINERV PHAs biopolymers is a very important aspect because, despite the highly automated production cycle, Bio-on's technology introduces completely new concepts: a high-polluting industrial process such as that for plastic production can become eco-sustainable and environmentally friendly. "It is not just a case of introducing new technology," explains Bio-on vice-Chairman Guy Cicognani, "the history of the chemical industry will be rewritten, and that is why new MINERV PHAs biopolymers will lead this change." The new centre opened in Bologna and is added to Bio-on's existing laboratories, where the first semi-industrial plant is located for PHAs production from sugar beet, sugar cane and crude glycerol (biodiesel waste). 

Drug Discovery Collaboration between Grünenthal and Axxam
Grünenthal capitalizes on Axxam’s drug discovery platform and expertise to identify small molecule lead structures for its early pipeline in pain and inflammation
Grünenthal and Axxam announced that they have entered into an integrated collaboration. The objective is to discover novel small molecule lead structures for the development of pain and inflammation therapeutics by combining Axxam’s drug discovery platform with Grünenthal’s expertise on emerging and innovative biological pathways and targets. The collaboration aims to support Grünenthal’s objective to identify compounds that could help patients with pain or inflammatory diseases, a focus of the family owned research-based pharmaceutical company. Axxam will apply its integrated and innovative early drug discovery platform by combining it with its extensive expertise for innovative biological pathways and targets. This will include assay development, screening activities, Hit finding and follow up activities.

Zambon Launches Xadago® (Safinamide) In Italy For Patients With  Mid- To Late-Stage Parkinson’s Disease 
Zambon S.p.A., an international pharmaceutical company strongly committed to the central nervous system (CNS) therapeutic area, and its partner Newron Pharmaceuticals S.p.A. (“Newron”), a research and development company focused on novel CNS and pain therapies, announced the launch of Xadago® (safinamide) in Italy for the treatment of mid- to late-stage Parkinson’s disease (PD). Following the launch in Switzerland, Germany and Spain, Xadago® (safinamide) is now available in Italy as add-on therapy to a stable dose of levodopa (L-dopa) alone or in combination with other PD therapies for mid-to late-stage fluctuating patients.
Prof. Fabrizio Stocchi from IRCSS S. Raffaele, Rome, declared that “safinamide represents an important option for patients with PD already treated with L-dopa alone or with other therapeutic combinations. Its dopaminergic and non dopaminergic properties introduce a novelty within the drugs for PD treatment.” Prof. Stocchi added: “Safinamide has been demonstrated to significantly increase on time with no, or non-troublesome dyskinesias in addition to an improvement of motor functions (UPDRS III). Studies performed in patients on L-Dopa have demonstrated its efficacy in benefiting both short-term (6 months) and long-term (up to 24 months) quality of life outcomes. Safinamide has been investigated in double blind, placebo-controlled studies of up to 24 months' duration, where it showed a good safety profile with maintenance of the clinical benefits." Maurizio Castorina, CEO of Zambon SpAsaid: “The launch of Xadago® in Italy makes us particularly proud because it is the result of Italian research excellence and a major step forward in the treatment of this progressive disease. We are committed to developing innovative therapies for patients suffering from PD and other central nervous system diseases and we look forward to launching this new chemical entity in other European countries in the near future.”

Axxam and the NEOMED Institute to Collaborate on the Discovery and Development of a Novel Drug to Treat Metabolic Diseases 
Axxam SpA, a leading discovery company with expertise in target biology and a broad range of early phase discovery solutions and NEOMED Institute, a public-private organization dedicated to drug discovery and the development of therapeutics up to human proof of concept, announced today that they have entered into a strategic drug discovery partnership. The aim of the collaboration is to identify and develop novel small molecule agonists of FFA4 (also known as GPR120) linked to a range of metabolic and inflammatory diseases. Several preclinical studies and human genetics data support the development of a GPR120 agonist as a highly differentiated treatment of diabetes with potential to impact a number of parameters, including protection of the pancreatic β-cells. The collaboration will be based around the optimization of classes of molecules discovered using Axxam’s High Throughput Screening platform and the AXXDIV2.0 compound library. Under the terms of the collaboration, Axxam and NEOMED will integrate their efforts to generate clinical candidates to be developed further to demonstrate clinical proof of concept.