💊 CEPI funds Gennova's Disease X vaccine development; DualityBio and BioNTech expand collab; SK Bioscience claims Novavax stake
#402 | The hottest July ever; An "unknome" of proteins; Mighty mitochondria against age-related diseases
Hello! Welcome back to The Kable. The life sciences industry has been in full swing since we last met, so we have no time for chit-chat today. Straight to the news.
In May, the Egyptian Drug Authority inked an MoU with the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe, allowing the latter to rely on the former’s procedures as a reference in the field of pharma registration. Within this framework, Egypt has now dispatched the first shipment of pharmaceuticals manufactured by many local firms to Zimbabwe.
After the last of 18 outbreaks at commercial farms came to an end, Argentina is now bird flu-free!
Meanwhile, UNICEF highlights how at 76%, South Asia has the highest percentage of children exposed to extreme heat. This means that 460 million children in the region are experiencing 83 or more days a year with 35+°C temperatures. And this analysis is not even based on recent record heat data; it’s based on 2020 data.
Japan’s Astellas Pharma is investing $50 million in the US-based startup Poseida Therapeutics. Half of that amount will go towards acquiring Poseida shares, while the other half is a one-time payment for a right of exclusive negotiation and first refusal to license one of Poseida’s clinical-stage programmes, a CAR-T cell therapy for multiple solid tumours.
South Korea’s Kakao Healthcare has entered an agreement with Novo Nordisk. The companies intend to link Kakao’s digital blood sugar management service with Nordisk’s smart sensor to develop a service which allows patients to check blood sugar in real-time and inject insulin accordingly.
In lieu of payment owed, South Korea’s SK Bioscience is claiming a small stake in Novavax and maintaining its strategic relationship with the company.
Also in South Korea, biopharma manufacturer Celltrion has opened a global R&D centre to support breakthrough therapies.
CEPI is providing up to $3.6 million in funding to India’s Gennova Biopharmaceuticals to advance the development of a self-amplifying thermostable mRNA vaccine platform to develop vaccines against Disease X.
China’s CanSino Biologics has agreed to provide contract development and manufacturing services to support AstraZeneca’s mRNA programme, particularly investigational mRNA vaccines. Last month, even Moderna announced a deal to develop and produce mRNA products in China.
Bavarian Nordic has announced topline results from the phase 3 trial of its chikungunya virus vaccine candidate meant for people aged between 12 and 64 years. The vaccine resulted in high levels of immunity two weeks, and 6 months, after a single shot.
After cutting 132 jobs in January, Emergent BioSolutions is saying ta-ta to another 400 people and scaling back operations at some of its facilities.
Duality Biologics is expanding its collab with BioNTech to develop, manufacture, and commercialise a third ADC candidate globally, barring mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions. The ADC candidate in question targets solid tumours and is currently in a phase 1/2 clinical trial.
Another collab expansion is taking place between Astex Pharmaceuticals and Merck. This one is a worldwide research collaboration and license agreement to identify small molecule candidates targeting a tumour suppressor protein. Astex will receive an upfront payment of $35 million and potential milestone payments up to $500 million per programme.
And finally, Israeli biopharma firm Mileutis is giving the world ways to keep antibiotics out of dairy cows. News of the company’s non-antibiotic, non-hormonal therapy for cow infections must be moosic to dairy farmers’ ears.