💊 Dengue ventures far from home; Moderna kills two birds with one stone; Lotte Biologics enters Korean economic zone
#443 | New PAHO tool for pharmacies; Vegetarianism in your genes; New nasal vaccine is the bee's knees
Hello and welcome back to The Kable, dear reader. Today, we’re kicking things off with news from the Americas. PAHO recognises how crucial it is to integrate pharmacies into primary healthcare services if the region is to build resilient health systems. Accordingly, the agency has presented a new pharmaceutical services indicator tool for countries to assess service provision quality in terms of quality assurance, pharmaceutical care, service management, research, and human resources. This tool was tested in 80+ pharmacies in Argentina and Peru before its launch. At the same meeting, PAHO also launched the Pharmaceutical Services Network of the Americas, or RedSFar, to promote cooperation and information-sharing between regional health authorities.
Lotte Biologics plans to set up three new bio plants in Korea by 2030. The company has kicked things off by inking a land purchase agreement with the Incheon Free Economic Zone Authority. Eventually, the plants will have a total antibody drug production capacity of about 360 kL. Lotte may also add small-scale bioreactors to produce clinical materials and facilities to produce finished drug products to this project. That’s not all, though – we can also expect a Bio-Venture Initiative which will offer incubation, acceleration, and support programmes for bio-ventures.
In a case of two birds-one stone, interim results from a phase 1/2 trial have revealed that Moderna’s combination Covid + flu shot generated a strong immune response compared to individual vaccines for each. Compared to GSK and Sanofi’s flu shots, the very creatively named mRNA-1083 was safe and effective against all four A and B flu strains in older adults. A late-stage trial is planned for later this year. We’ll probably see these vaccines getting regulatory approval by 2025. This is promising news for Moderna, which recently scaled back Covid vaccine manufacturing to align with the "post-pandemic" slump in demand.
In the sole acquisition story for today, Japan’s specialty pharma company Kyowa Kirin is set to acquire British gene therapy company Orchard Therapeutics for $477.6 million.
And finally, bird flu, which has been back in the news lately after a brief hiatus. The most recent report comes from Mexico, where authorities have confirmed the first case of H5N1 in a wild bird, a migratory duck. The country’s poultry farms, however, are bird flu virus-free. This news comes on the same day that Mexico actually declared the country free of bird flu, a year after starting a vaccination campaign.