Sun Pharma’s innovation arm strives to complete Covid-hit clinical trials
Sun Pharma Advanced Research Company Limited (SPARC) aims to complete the current ongoing clinical trials that were impacted due to Covid-19 pandemic, the company said during its 17th Annual General Meeting held last week.
Pharma major Sun Pharmaceutical’s arm SPARC, a clinical stage bio-pharmaceutical company into innovation in therapeutics and delivery, last year started to see an uptick in New Chemical Entity (NCE) assets under clinical development in the patient recruitment which was hampered due to Covid-19 related challenges in the last couple of years.
Several significant clinical trials are ongoing which are expected to help the company’s business. Studies for Chronic Myelogenous Leukaemia, lewy body dementia, psoriasis and atopic dermatitis are continuing to recruit patients. SPARC also initiated the phase 1 study metastatic breast cancer patients.
“In order to advance our pre-clinical assets and to augment our R&D pipeline, we had obtained shareholders’ approval at the last AGM to raise an additional sum up to Rs 1,800 crores, which was valid for one year. The said fund raise could not be concluded due to adverse market conditions. Hence, the Company seeks a fresh approval by way of an enabling resolution to raise a sum up to Rs 1,800 crore ($225 million) to meet its growth plans,” said Dilip Sanghvi, chairman, SPARC.
SPARC focuses on discovery and research of novel drugs prioritised in three therapeutic areas i.e. oncology, neurology and immunology. According to the company, during FY22, SPARC raised $148 million to complete the ongoing clinical studies.
“The key objective for SPARC in the near term is to ensure completion of the ongoing clinical trials to deliver the next set of catalysts and to work with its partners for successful commercialisation of the partnered assets,” he said.
SPARC has engaged multiple US academic centres for joint development programs targeting novel biology in the area of oncology, neuro-degeneration and immunology. During FY 2021-2022 SPARC progressed on multiple collaborative projects and also acquired exclusive rights for antibody against a unique oncology target from Biomodifying Inc.
As the clinical programs mature, Sanghvi said, SPARC’s pipeline build-up is primarily driven by the company’s partnerships and collaborations with emerging biotech companies and academic institutes globally.
The FY 2021 – 2022, after making the Phase 3 studies results public for its ophthalmology programs, SPARC licensed the commercialisation rights for its products PDP-716 and SDN-037 to Visiox Pharma, a specialty pharma company focused on ophthalmology.
Additionally, SPARC in-licensed the worldwide rights to a novel cancer antibody. The company in its annual report released last month said that while lab operations of SPARC resumed in earnest in 2020 and continued in 2021, COVID-19 continued to impact enrolment for its clinical studies.
In FY 2021-2022, SPARC continued to put in place measures to improve enrolment and ramp-up patient recruitment in FY 2022-2023. Company’s lead asset an anticancer agent–vodobatinib is also currently being tested in early-stage Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and late-stage refractory Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML).