💊 EMA issues guidance for industry to tackle drug shortages; Astellas and Sony’s ADC partnership; Scribe inks research collab with Lilly subsidiary
Cipla makes HIV prophylaxis in South Africa; New genetic determinants of Covid unveiled; Drink tea, cure malaria
Hello and welcome back to another edition of The Kable, in which we’re bringing you news of more ADC-linked partnerships, developments on promising new treatments for depression and anxiety, and your daily dose of bird flu updates.
Astellas and Sony Corporation are partnering up to immerse themselves in the exciting ADC space, using the latter’s unique polymeric material, Kiravia Backbone. Together, the companies will develop a new antibody-drug conjugate platform which they hope will result in better-performing ADCs. They have already conducted feasibility studies using human cancer cells, and aim to increase the drug-to-antibody ratio (DAR) for cancer treatments. All new things for Sony, but not so much for Astellas, which already has its Seagen-partnered, FDA-approved ADC Padcev for patients of advanced or metastatic urothelial cancer.
Scribe Therapeutics, co-founded by CRISPR pioneer Jennifer Doudna, is on a research collab spree. After striking deals with Sanofi and Biogen, Scribe is now entering a research collaboration with Eli Lilly subsidiary, Prevail Therapeutics. Prevail is making an upfront payment of $75 million to the gene-editing company for exclusive rights to its CRISPR X-Editing technologies, which Prevail will use to develop in vivo treatments for neurological and neuromuscular disorders. Scribe also stands to make up to $1.5 billion in biobucks, given Prevail’s research touches certain milestones.
Meanwhile, the EU and the US have launched a joint health task force to cooperate on cancer, global health threats, and related supply chains and infrastructure. The task force has already set up two working groups focused on prevention, detection and care of childhood and young adult cancer, and lung cancer. The task force is also prioritizing women’s rights and reproductive health as they set up more working groups.
In Indonesia, the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation and the country’s Ministry of Health are collaborating on the Indonesian Health Sector Growth Programme. The IFC will provide advisory support and financing to early-stage Indonesian companies in the pharma, vaccine and medtech sectors.
Big Pharma could take a leaf out of BeiGene’s book. In January, the biotech won FDA approval for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, or CLL, indication for its drug Brukinsa. And now, the company has signed a deal with Max Foundation to provide the drug FOC to CLL patients in 29 LMICs over a period of three years.
The UK’s National Institute of Health and Care Excellence has approved 9 new digital therapies for the NHS to use for patients with mental illnesses – 6 therapies for anxiety and three for depression. Cognitive behavioural therapy or CBT services will use an app or website to give patients more options to access medical health and get a personalised treatment approach. As long as they actually use the app/website and don’t get distracted by their doomscrolling.
In India, the pharma industry is seeking an exemption from ceiling price for low-priced formulations up to Rs. 5 per unit and an exemption from the implementation of trade margin rationalization for formulations priced lower than Rs. 10 per unit.
As if being in poor health wasn’t bad enough, the NHS’s recently published Health Survey for England shows that those reporting bad or very bad health were over thrice as likely to also report feeling lonely.
In the US, bird flu has officials approving the emergency use of an avian influenza vaccine to protect the endangered California condor.
And finally, in Nigeria, resident doctors from public hospitals have commenced a five-day strike, demanding better pay and working conditions.