💊 India's Doceree expands into Southeast Asia; Sweden's Sobi buys CTI BioPharma; Pfizer takes cancer testing to LatAm, Africa, the Middle East and Asia
A panzootic in progress; A comprehensive genetic map; One Covid shot for a lifetime
Hello there, Reader. Welcome back to The Kable. You’ve probably noticed that we like to keep things fun and light here. And it’s not always easy, considering the topics we cover are, well, disease, drugs and climate doom.
But this is the view (for one of us at least) as we write about today’s mostly sunny day in life sciences. Barring this first story and a couple more.
The US FDA has issued alerts against buying three dietary supplements - Fast-Act Rheuma Capsule, New Fast-Act Rheumatism Capsule, and UA-Block - which are being sold for the treatment of joint pain and rheumatoid arthritis. These products are easily available online and in retail stores, but it turns out that they contain some active ingredients which aren’t listed on their labels. Consuming these supplements could come with serious risks of cardiovascular events, gastrointestinal damage, and adrenal suppression with prolonged use or due to interaction with other medications individuals may be taking.
But coming to those more positive updates, we promised. Japan’s GHIT Fund has secured a three-year, $24 million pledge from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This pledge will contribute towards GHIT 3.0 – the public-private partnership’s latest five-year plan to combat infectious diseases which affect the world’s underserved populations.
The Indian health tech firm Doceree has entered a long-term partnership with Singapore-headquartered Hello Health Group. This partnership will give Doceree access to 8 key South East Asian markets, including Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesia and Singapore.
Meanwhile, “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli-founded company Vyera Pharmaceuticals, its parent company, and four other companies have all filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Not a good look for a man who was already handed a lifetime ban from running pharma companies (not that that was a deterrent).
Over in Europe, Swedish pharma Sobi has done some shopping. The company, which specializes in rare diseases, is acquiring CTI BioPharma for $1.7 billion. This deal gives Sobi access to Vonjo, the JAK inhibitor which received accelerated approval from the FDA last year for the treatment of a rare bone marrow cancer called myelofibrosis.
Sandoz is investing €25 million in its Holzkirchen site with the intention of developing it into a hub for its Biopharma Technical Development. The company is also partnering with Just-Evotec Biologics to develop and manufacture a number of biosimilars, expanding its pipeline to 24 biosimilar assets.
As if having two parents wasn’t enough, a handful of kids in the UK have been born by combining DNA from three people. We guess avoiding inheriting genetic diseases is worth the payoff of having an additional person to nag you.
In Spain, climate change is affecting street cleaning and agriculture. The country is banning some outdoor work during extreme heat conditions.
Across the European region, the WHO claims that about one in three primary school-aged children is living with obesity or overweight. This proportion is only set to go up.
Pfizer and Thermo Fisher are coming to over 30 countries across LatAm, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The two companies are collaborating to increase local access to next-gen sequencing-based testing for lung and breast cancer patients in geographies where advanced genomic testing hasn’t previously been as widespread or even existent.
China’s population is getting older, and this is worst for the country’s manufacturers of baby and children’s products. Domestic sales are on a downward slope, so these companies are looking to diversify into products for adults or to sell to other countries.
We’ve lost poultry; we’ve lost pigs. Now it’s time to see a decline in cattle. At least in South Korea, where authorities have ordered the culling of hundreds of cattle after detecting cases of foot and mouth disease.
And finally, bird flu is still around and flying across species. Three pumas, two red foxes, and one striped skunk are flu-ing it up. This is one of the worst wildlife disease outbreaks ever, affecting wild birds and other non-avian species. Scientists are calling it a panzootic.