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DoD | Human Trials Begin for Army-Developed Zika Vaccine

By Cheryl Pellerin, DoD News, Defense Media Activity / Published Nov. 8, 2016

A clinical trial began yesterday at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, where 75 participating healthy adults were vaccinated with a Zika virus vaccine that the institute’s scientists developed earlier this year, Walter Reed officials announced today.zika

Laboratory-confirmed Zika virus disease cases reported to ArboNET by state or territory as of Nov. 2, 2016. ArboNET is a national surveillance system for arthropod-borne virus diseases in the United States, such as those from ticks and mosquitoes.

The Phase 1 trial will test the safety and immunogenicity — the ability of the vaccine to trigger an immune response in the body — of the purified, inactivated Zika virus vaccine called ZPIV. The vaccine is being tested at WRAIR’s Clinical Trial Center in Silver Spring, Maryland.

“The Army has moved efficiently from recognizing Zika virus as a threat, producing ZPIV for use in animals and demonstrating its effectiveness in mice and monkeys, producing ZPIV for human testing, and now initiating clinical trials to establish its safety and build the case for subsequent efficacy trials,” Army Col. (Dr.) Nelson Michael, director of WRAIR’s Military HIV Research Program, or MHRP, and Zika program co-lead, said in a statement.

Efficacy refers to the vaccine’s ability to demonstrate a health effect when tested in a clinical trial.  “All of this,” he added, “was done in 10 months.”

Dr. Kayvon Modjarrad, Zika program co-lead and associate director for emerging infectious disease threats at WRAIR’s MHRP, said the Army was able to move so quickly in developing, manufacturing and testing a Zika vaccine “because of its extensive experience with this vaccine platform and longstanding investments in the understanding and mitigation of flaviviruses like yellow fever, dating back to the founding of WRAIR.”

DoD Zika Response

WRAIR officials say this study is part of the Defense Department response to the ongoing Zika outbreak in North and South America and Southeast Asia.

For service members, there are concerns about infection during deployment and travel, but also in the continental United States, where most military installations are concentrated in southern states. There, climate conditions and mosquito populations favor Zika transmission, WRAIR officials say.mosquito

Zika virus is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito — Aedes aegypti, shown here, and Aedes albopictus. The same mosquitoes spread dengue and chikungunya viruses. The mosquitoes typically lay eggs in and near standing water in things like buckets, bowls, animal dishes, flower pots and vases. They prefer to bite people and live indoors and outdoors near people. Mosquitoes that spread chikungunya, dengue, and Zika are aggressive daytime biters, but they can also bite at night. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on a person already infected with the virus. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people through bites. CDC photo by James Gathany

As of Nov. 2, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 149 cases of Zika infection were confirmed in the military health system, including four pregnant service members and one pregnant family member.

Zika infection during pregnancy, CDC says, can cause a birth defect of the brain called microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects.

Other problems have been detected among fetuses and infants infected with Zika virus before birth, such as defects of the eye, hearing deficits and impaired growth. And reports have increased about Guillain-Barré syndrome, an uncommon sickness of the nervous system, in areas affected by Zika, CDC says.

But even Zika infections without symptoms “can lead to severe birth defects and neurological complications,” Zika study principal investigator Army Maj. (Dr.) Leyi Lin said, adding, “A safe and effective Zika vaccine that prevents infection in those at risk is a global public-health priority.”

Zika and Other Flaviviruses

Flaviviruses like Zika are found mainly in mosquitoes and ticks and cause widespread morbidity and mortality worldwide. Other mosquito-transmitted viruses that are members of the flavivirus genus include yellow fever, or YF, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, or JE, and West Nile viruses, according to the CDC web page.

“We want to assess the safety and immune response of the ZPIV vaccine in JE and yellow fever YF vaccine recipients because these vaccines may alter the response to the ZPIV vaccine,” Lin said.

“Uniquely,” he added, “illness as a result of natural infection from JE, YF or Zika could be more severe when prior flavivirus infection or vaccination exists. Our study assesses co-vaccination to learn how to reduce risk when protecting against circulating flaviviruses.”

This is important for service members who are vaccinated against other flaviviruses and then stationed in or deployed to areas where Zika is becoming endemic, WRAIR scientists say.

Zika Vaccine Platform

WRAIR’s inactivated flavivirus vaccine platform was the same technology the institute used to create its Japanese encephalitis vaccine, licensed in 2009.

An earlier preclinical study found that rhesus monkeys vaccinated with ZPIV developed a strong immune response and were protected against two strains of Zika virus.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, or NIAID, part of the National Institutes of Health, helped identify the viral strain used in the ZPIV vaccine, supported the preclinical safety testing and is sponsoring the conduct of this trial.

WRAIR, NIAID and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, have established a joint research collaboration agreement to support the vaccine’s development.

The Pilot Bioproduction Facility at WRAIR manufactured the ZPIV vaccine being used in Phase 1 clinical studies, and the Army recently signed a cooperative research and development agreement to transfer the ZPIV technology to Sanofi Pasteur to explore larger-scale manufacturing and advanced development. BARDA recently awarded a six-year contract to Sanofi Pasteur to further develop this vaccine to licensure, according to the WRAIR release.

Other ZPIV Trials

WRAIR’s ZPIV candidate also will soon be part of an NIH trial that began in August. The NIH vaccine contains DNA that instructs volunteers’ cells to make certain Zika proteins that then illicit an immune response. As part of that study, WRAIR’s ZPIV vaccine will be given to volunteers as a booster after they receive the NIH DNA vaccine, WRAIR officials say.

Three more Phase 1 trials using ZPIV are scheduled to begin this year, the WRAIR release noted:

— St. Louis University researchers, through the NIAID-funded Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units network, will examine the optimal dose of the vaccine to be used in larger studies.

— Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School researchers will evaluate the safety and immune response from a compressed vaccine schedule.

— The Ambulatory Center for Medical Research, part of Ponce Health Sciences University in Puerto Rico, will examine the vaccine’s safety and immune response in participants who have already been naturally exposed to Zika or dengue viruses.

The WRAIR trial that began yesterday is sponsored by NIAID and funded by the Army and the Defense Department.

For more information about how Sentry’s proven vaccine management system can protect your vaccine throughout the global supply chain, contact Sentry via email or by phone at 1-866-757-7400.

For more information: https://www.defense.gov/DesktopModules/ArticleCS/Print.aspx?PortalId=1&ModuleId=753&Article=999584

Sentry’s New Vaccine Storage Campaign

Sentry BioPharma Services is proud to announce its new vaccine storage and distribution services campaign. Sentry’s decade long commitment to protect product integrity  married with its state-of-the-art facility provides the life sciences industry with a unique level of quality, regulatory and operational advantages that strengthen the vaccine supply chain. Sentry’s vaccine program advantages include:

Proven Track Record of Compliant Vaccine Storage, Rotation And Vaccine Drug Distribution

vaccinecampaignSentry’s long and unblemished regulatory inspection history is a reflection of its superior approach to standard operating procedures and temperature sensitive product management.

Large Scale Repository and Tracking Capabilities Through Advanced Inventory Management Systems

Live 24/7 real-time inventory tracking ensures full visibility of inventory throughout an organization and accurate tracking compliant with GMP storage regulations 21 CFR Parts 210 and 211. High-touch communication with the Sentry Operations and Quality Teams provides proper distribution of vaccines for routine fulfillment or pandemic response.

Advanced Building Management Systems That Monitor And Control Temperature Of Storage Environments

Sentry’s validated cold chain storage environments minimize time-out-of-refrigeration (TOR) risks, helping to reduce or eliminate waste attributable to deficient storage methods. The facility’s multi-tiered security structure and flexible storage options help fulfill requirements for specific seasonal or stockpile campaigns.

Trusted By Hospitals, Government Healthcare Agencies, And Manufacturers To Protect Vaccine Products And Stockpile

Over its ten years as a contract service organization, Sentry has been a trusted partner to hospitals, vaccine manufacturers and government healthcare organizations concerned with drug product integrity, vaccine storage security, risk management and timely vaccine distribution.

For more information about how Sentry’s temperature sensitive product management expertise can help you optimize your seasonal vaccine stockpile requirements, contact Sentry via email or by phone at 1-866-757-7400.

Sentry’s Controlled Substance Program Strengthens the Reliable and Secure Pharmaceutical Drug Supply Chain

Regulatory oversight shapes every dimension of controlled substances: licensing, registration, storage, security, use, inventory and controlled drug disposal. Finding a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) licensed partner to store, distribute and manage returns and destruction of Schedule III-V controlled substances while maintaining regulatory and quality standards required for a secure pharmaceutical supply chain can be a challenge. Sentry BioPharma Services provides seamless product management required to safeguard controlled substances which are brought into Sentry’s custody and care.

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Features & Benefits of Sentry’s Controlled Substance Program

DEA Regulation Secure Storage – Inspected and approved by the Drug Enforcement Administration  in 2014, Sentry’s state-of-the-art controlled substance capacity provides secure and reliable storage to support your pharmaceutical supply chain needs.

Controlled Substance Importation/Exportation – Sentry’s controlled substance importation and controlled substance exportation capabilities provide pharmaceutical organizations unique flexibility in the drug supply chain. This coupled with Sentry’s high quality standards affords pharmaceutical companies a competitive advantage throughout the drug development process.

Redundant Systems and Extensive Security Measures Product safety, identity, strength, purity and quality (SISPQ) remain intact.  Sentry features which support this agenda include:

  • Auxiliary power feeds and back-up systems
  • Continuous (24/7) security monitoring
  • Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) status which allows controlled substances to be internationally shipped directly to Sentry where DEA, Customs & Border Patrol (CBP) and FDA clearances can be obtained within the security provided by Sentry’s GMP facility
  • Physical plant security
  • Redundant HVAC systems
  • Secure data and document programs

Pharmaceutical Labeling and Packaging – Sentry’s light pharmaceutical manufacturing capabilities help streamline clinical trial distribution and commercial drug distribution with one stop shop GMP labeling and GMP secondary packaging.

Drug Product Return and Drug Disposal Services – Sentry completes the controlled substance supply chain with a full-service approach to product guardianship.  Our drug product return and drug destruction program ensures project integrity, reliable inventory tracking and public safety from development to launch.

For more information about how Sentry can provide controlled substance supply chain solutions for your project, contact Sentry via email or by phone at 1-866-757-7400.

Sentry Raises Public Awareness for DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Initiative

As part of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Initiative (NTBI), people will be able to dispose of expired, unwanted or unused prescription drugs on Saturday, October 22, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at numerous collection sites around the U.S.

The DEA collected a record amount of meds during the 11th annual National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on April 30, 2016.  According to the DEA’s May 6, 2016 press release, the DEA and over 4,200 of its state, local, and tribal law enforcement partners collected 893,498 pounds of unwanted medicines—about 447 tons—at almost 5,400 sites spread through all 50 states, beating its previous high of 390 tons in the spring of 2014 by 57 tons, or more than 114,000 pounds.

dea-take-back-day

The top five states with the largest collections, in order, were:

  1. Texas (almost 40 tons)
  2. California (32 tons)
  3. Wisconsin (31 tons)
  4. Illinois (24 tons)
  5. Massachusetts (24 tons)

“I am very proud of our state officials and residents,” said Ms. Jennifer Marcum, Sentry BioPharma Services’ chief executive officer.  Ms. Marcum continued, “Indiana’s authorities collected 29,125 pounds (14.6 tons).  That’s an enormous amount of unwanted prescription drugs and controlled substances to be safely removed from the pharmaceutical supply chain.  The statistics best illustrate how much the people of Indiana care about this important matter; no question about it.”

Marcum continued, “During the event, people can anonymously bring unwanted prescription pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter (OTC) medications to a participating drop-off site for proper drug disposal by law enforcement authorities with no questions asked.  The service is free and an ideal way to preserve the environment from pharmaceutical contamination.  This is a terrific opportunity to safely dispose of accumulated prescription drugs and medications that may have expired or are simply unwanted.”

The FDA’s Ilisa Bernstein, Pharm.D., J.D., offers a few more helpful tips when discarding drugs:

  1. Scratch out all identifying information on the prescription label to make it unreadable. This will help protect your identity and the privacy of your personal health information.
  2. Do not give your medicine to friends. Doctors prescribe medicines based on your specific symptoms and medical history. Something that works for you could harm another person.
  3. When in doubt about proper drug disposal, ask your pharmacist.

For more information about the DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Initiative, general public inquiries can be made by calling the DEA toll free at: 1-800-882-9539.

If you would like to learn more about Sentry’s pharmaceutical drug destruction services, please contact Sentry via email or by phone at 1-866-757-7400.

Features & Benefits of a Pharmaceutical Foreign Trade Zone

What is a Foreign Trade Zone?

The U.S. Foreign Trade Zone program was established by the Foreign Trade Zone Act of 1934 to “expedite and encourage foreign commerce” in the United States. Certain geographical areas, in or adjacent to Customs Ports of Entry, can obtain foreign-trade zone (FTZ) status and receive commercial merchandise under the same Customs standards as if it were outside the commerce of the United States. Any merchandise, including pharmaceutical products, admitted and held in a foreign trade zone can be exempt of any Customs duties, tariffs and other ad valorem taxes. No duty or back taxes are charged on “value-added,” or foreign-sourced parts or materials incorporated into a finished product using U.S. parts and labor until the product is officially imported into the U.S. Commerce. This tariff and tax relief lowers the costs of U.S.-based organizations engaged in international trade while creating and retaining employment and capital investment opportunities that result from those operations.

Benefits to the Biopharmaceutical Industryshutterstock_367703690

Pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies can take advantage of Sentry’s GMP temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical storage and light manufacturing facility, which  resides in a foreign trade zone.  Sentry’s zone allows drug product to reside within the product’s designated temperature range, (such as API, biologics, controlled substances, etc.), while awaiting clearance for importation by the CBP and approved for distribution by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

During its stay in the FTZ, the biopharmaceutical  product can be further labeled and secondarily packaged  while greatly mitigating the numerous logistic and economic challenges encountered throughout the  drug importation and development process.

Logistic Benefits 

Unlimited Storage Terms Term of pharmaceutical material storage in an FTZ is indefinite.
Eliminated U.S. Quota Restrictions Product previously subject to quota limitations is now exempt from such restrictions.
Strengthened Foreign Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Eliminate administrative and importation hold-ups at Customs and ports of entry by bringing product straight to our GMP pharmaceutical storage environments ensuring product integrity: safety, identity, strength, purity and quality (SISPQ) along the drug supply chain.
Uninterrupted Local Manufacture Prior to Importation Product can be labelled, kitted and packaged and stored in the United States until need for importation into U.S. Commerce and Customs Clearance.
Expedited Release to Market Product can be held in an FTZ until FDA approval, greatly reducing time and logistic hassle from manufacturer to end-user.

Economic Benefits 

Duty Deferral or Duty Aversion  Import, admit and hold product without paying U.S. Customs duties.
Zero Inventory Taxes All materials held in an FTZ are exempt from state, county and local ad valorem taxes.
Country of Origin Marking and Labeling Country-of-origin labels are non-required on product admitted to an FTZ freeing companies from this expense.

Sentry BioPharma Services’ pharmaceutical supply chain management expertise and FTZ status across all storage environments ensures product integrity and project management flexibility.

For more information about how Sentry’s Foreign Trade Zone can help you optimize your medical and pharmaceutical import/export process, contact Sentry via email or by phone at 1-866-757-7400.

Read more about the Greater Indianapolis Foreign Trade Zone: inzone.org

Sentry Goes Purple in June for Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month

Sentry is going purple! On Friday, June 24, 2016 Sentry BioPharma Services invites employees to wear the color purple in recognition of Alzheimer’s and brain awareness month.

SBS-Approved-Logo-High-Res-With-Trademark__03.10.11Orange-Purple

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States; it kills more citizens annually than prostate and breast cancer combined. Worst of all, there presently is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers possess great hope that there will be treatments that can stop or slow Alzheimer’s in the near future.

The National Institute on Aging (NIA), one of the 27 Institutes and Centers of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), leads a broad scientific effort to understand the nature of aging and to extend the healthy, active years of life. NIA is the primary Federal agency supporting and conducting Alzheimer’s disease research. For more information about Alzheimer’s disease, please watch the video below.

Several medications are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Donepezil (Aricept®), rivastigmine (Exelon®), and galantamine (Razadyne®) are used to treat mild to moderate Alzheimer’s (donepezil can be used for severe Alzheimer’s as well). Memantine (Namenda®), is used to treat moderate to severe Alzheimer’s.

These drugs work by regulating neurotransmitters, the brain chemicals that transmit messages between neurons. They may help maintain thinking, memory, and communication skills and help with certain behavioral problems. However, these drugs don’t change the underlying disease process. They are effective for some but not all people and may help only for a limited amount of time.

For more information about how Sentry can implement a custom solution to meet your unique GMP storage and pharmaceutical cold chain challenges, contact Sentry via email or by phone at 1-866-757-7400, for a complimentary, no obligation phone call with one of Sentry’s problem-solving experts.

Sentry Helps the DEA to Raise Public Awareness about the 11th National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Initiative

As part of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Initiative (NTBI), people will be able to dispose of expired, unwanted or unused prescription drugs on Saturday, April 30, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at numerous collection sites around the U.S.

“The DEA’s program is designed to focus national attention on the proper disposal of prescription drugs and controlled substances,” said Ms. Jennifer Marcum, Sentry BioPharma Services’ chief executive officer.  Marcum continued, “During the event, people can bring their unwanted prescription pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter (OTC) medications to a participating drop-off site for proper drug disposal by law enforcement authorities with no questions asked.  The service is not only free and anonymous, but also an ideal way to preserve the environment from unwanted pharmaceutical contamination.  This is a terrific opportunity for those who missed the previous events, or who have subsequently accumulated unwanted, unused prescription drugs, to safely dispose of those medications.”

Americans that participated in the DEA’s tenth annual National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on September 26, 2015, turned in more than 350 tons of unwanted or expired medications for safe and proper drug disposal at more than 5,000 take-back collections sites available in all 50 states and U.S. territories.  When the results of the ten prior Take-Back Days are combined, the DEA, and its state, local, and tribal law-enforcement and community partners have removed 5,525,021 pounds of drugs from circulation.

“The numbers are shocking—approximately 46,000 Americans die each year from drug-related deaths.  More than half of those are from heroin and prescription opioids,” said Acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg.  “With four out of five new heroin users starting with prescription medications, I know our take-back program makes a real difference.”  The NTBI addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue.  According to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.5 million Americans abused controlled prescription drugs.  That same study showed that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.  The DEA’s NTBI events are also a significant piece of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy’s prescription drug abuse prevention strategy.

Sentry BioPharma Services will also continue its support of the DEA’s efforts by helping to raise public awareness of this important initiative.  For more information about the drug disposal program, general public inquiries can be made by calling the DEA toll free at: 1-800-882-9539.

Sentry BioPharma Services Confirms Attendance at BIO 2016 in San Francisco, California

Sentry BioPharma Services returns to the birthplace of biotech, San Francisco, California in June 2016. This marks Sentry’s 11th consecutive year attending the Biotechnology Innovation Organization’s (BIO’s) International Convention. Sentry leadership selects this conference annually primarily because it attracts over 15,000 biotechnology and pharma representatives from all over the world who unite for one week in the U.S. The topics discussed during this event and in the exhibit hall cover a wide spectrum of relevant life science topics as well as areas like drug discovery, GMP compliance, bio-manufacturing, genomics and cell therapy.

“BIO One-on-One Partnering™ serves as a cost effective way to interact globally without the extensive international traveling requirements” states Sentry’s President, Tim J. Mitchell. “There are 3,100+ companies participating in these meetings. We find the online scheduling tool to be exceptionally user-friendly and effective which allows us to interact with a vast number of prospective pharmaceutical partners and companies developing biological products. We efficiently present information concerning our customized pharmaceutical labeling, packaging and kitting processes. We also entertain numerous questions concerning Sentry’s international drug distribution services in the pavilions and/or at booths in the exhibit hall, all within the allotted 25-minute time frame. It’s amazing what can be accomplished in 3 1/2 days at BIO!”

The BIO One-in-One Partnering™ feature allows Sentry’s leaders to network and discover new opportunities and potential partnerships. Please meet us at the 2016 BIO International Convention in San Francisco, USA.

Contact Sentry via email or by phone at 1-866-757-7400.

https://convention.bio.org/2016/

Sentry BioPharma Services Implements Technology Upgrade with State-of-the Art Systems

Sentry BioPharma Services admits one of the most exciting and frustrating aspects of information technology is the speed with which change occurs. New hardware and software products emerge with attractive features that make it easier for users to perform their jobs.

This becomes even more challenging when upgrade activities must comply with GAMP5 and 21 CFR Part 11 for GMP systems. The pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries mandate change control and software validation to prove control, avoid a breach and maintain data integrity. This is a very intentional process.

Information technology comprises:

  • Client software
  • Computer systems
  • Network devices (routers, switches, network printers)
  • Network infrastructure (cabling, internet connection)
  • Peripherals (monitors, scanners, local printers)
  • Security devices (firewalls, biometric and smart card readers, IDS appliances)
  • Server hardware
  • Server software
  • Software packages

In 2012, Sentry BioPharma Services planned a multi-year technology upgrade program which commenced with an upgrade of user’s work stations, business servers and moved into upgrading the company’s non-GMP enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to optimize efficiencies. In the past two years, Sentry successfully upgraded and validated the building management system (BMS).

“Sentry’s information technology program is important to all of our pharmaceutical and biotech clients,” says Jennifer Marcum, CEO. She continues, “The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) warns of sophisticated cyber attackers and nation-states planning to exploit vulnerabilities to steal information and corrupt systems. The ‘bad guys’ are developing capabilities to disrupt, destroy, or threaten the delivery of essential services globally. We must be vigilant in maintaining awareness and managing the risks to thwart their plans whenever possible.”

Sentry’s technology upgrade program even includes upgrading the company’s website with mobile-friendly enhancements designed to improve prospective and existing client’s Web experience. The new website “Go Live” date is presently scheduled for the end of March, 2016.

https://www.dhs.gov/topic/cybersecurity