• Clinuvel releases positive preliminary results from pilot study
  • Cann’s Mildura cannabis facility is ready
  • Imugene signs deal with Merck
  • Respiri provides wheezo to children’s hospital in Michigan

The ASX 200 Health Index (XHJ) is trading lower by 0.20% at the time of writing, compared to the broader index which is down by 0.50%.

Clinuvel Pharma (ASX:CUV) has released positive preliminary results from its pilot study in arterial ischaemic stroke (AIS).

The trial, called CUV801, focused on the safety of multiple afamelanotide doses and patient recovery over 42 days, using the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale and brain imaging.

Conducted at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, the study had enrolled six patients who had suffered a stroke of the left half of the brain.

All patients also carried an increased risk of stroke due to a history of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Four patients, who were administered only two doses of afamelanotide, have been judged to have already recovered well.

Five of the patients were discharged from hospital by day 9, with one patient with a complex medical history passing away following a second stroke.

This fatal event was assessed by the specialist treating neurologists and the study safety committee as unrelated to the administration of afamelanotide.

“This is the first time that a melanocortin has been administered to stroke patients,” said Clinuvel’s Head of Clinical Operations, Dr Pilar Bilbao.

“No adverse drug reactions were reported, and a meaningful improvement was seen in five of the six patients’ health by day 8,” he explained.

“We are now awaiting the results from the final evaluation of the patients at day 42, which will give us further data on afamelanotide as a possible treatment for this life-threatening disease.”

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Cann’s Mildura facility is ready

Cannabis company Cann Group (ASX:CAN) said that its new state-of-the-art production facility near Mildura has reached the practical completion stage.

Cann also announced that the Office of Drug Control (ODC) has granted the necessary permit to allow commercial cultivation activities to commence.

The ODC permit has been issued under the ODC’s recently revised “single licence” regulatory framework, under which Cann has now been transitioned to a perpetual licence at all three of its production and research facilities.

The permit allows Cann to transfer medicinal cannabis plants from Cann’s Southern facility to Mildura, which is expected to further establish the company’s leading position in plant genetics.

The first commercial crop is expected to be harvested by June this year.

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Imugene signs collaboration deal with Merck

Cell therapy specialist Imugene (ASX:IMU) announced a new clinical trial collaboration and supply agreement with MSD, a tradename of global player Merck & Co.

Signed in New Jersey US, the agreement will the allow the evaluation of Imugene’s HER-Vaxx, in combination with MSD’s anti-PD-1 therapy, pembrolizumab, in patients with HER-2 positive gastric cancer.

“HER-Vaxx has already shown a tolerable safety profile and encouraging efficacy in patients with metastatic HER-2 positive gastric cancer,” said Leslie Chong, CEO of Imugene.

“We now look forward to further evaluating HER-Vaxx with pembrolizumab in a relapsed metastatic setting.”

Under the deal, Imugene will be the sponsor of the study, and will fund the clinical study from existing funds. MSD will provide pembrolizumab for the duration of the study.

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Respiri to provide wheezo in Michigan

Respiri (ASX:RSH) announced its first pilot program involving wheezo with the Children’s Hospital of Michigan.

The program will provide the full RPM (remote patient monitoring) solution, including patient engagement for a select group of children living with asthma.

The wheezo devices will be supplied and paid for by Access Telehealth, with Medicaid reimbursing the monthly data fees.

Medicaid in the US is a federal and state program that helps with healthcare costs for some people with limited income and resources.

“Respiri is well placed to establish its product offerings across the lucrative and CPT (Current Procedural Terminology) reimbursable US market,” said CEO, Marjan Mikel.

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