San Diego Life Sciences Roundup: Zogenix, Arena, Sorrento, and More

San Diego Life Sciences Roundup: Zogenix, Arena, Sorrento, and More

San Diego’s Zogenix ran up against new political opposition to its opioid pain-killer, Zohydro. I have a rundown on the latest chapter in the ongoing Zohydro saga, along with the rest of the local life sciences news.

—Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick declared a statewide public health emergency last week to combat the growing abuse of opiates. As part of the ban, Patrick has prohibited the sale of Zohydro ER—the extended release formulation of pure hydrocodone made by San Diego-based Zogenix. In a statement, Zogenix said it was unprecedented for the governor to single out a specific FDA-approved prescription medication: “Most other opioid medications on the market today are both equal to or more potent than Zohydro ER (e.g., oxycodone, fentanyl, hydromorphone and oxymorphone), and all are available in higher strengths per unit-of-use than Zohydro ER. Claims that Zohydro ER is ‘more powerful’ or ‘more addictive’ than other commonly prescribed opioids are not supported by scientific data.”

—San Diego’s RuiYi said it has raised $15 million to advance its pipeline of monoclonal antibody drug candidates in China. RuiYi CEO Paul Grayson said the company has a series of technologies for selecting and producing monoclonal antibodies with unique pharmacological characteristics that could make them highly selective and long acting—resulting in significantly lower production costs.

—San Diego’s Arena Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ARNA) said it has begun testing lorcaserin (Belviq), which is already approved as a  weight-loss drug, in mid-stage clinical trials to help smokers kick the habit. The 12-week trial, conducted with the Japanese drugmaker Eisai, will enroll about 600 active smokers. In a regulatory filing, Arena said lorcaserin is believed to … Next Page »

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