💊 Indonesia and Kenya’s health sector partnerships; Saudi Arabia’s new NIH; The PATH to better health service financing
#411 | DNA origami against tumours; Scans to predict smoking; Water, water nowhere
Hello there. Welcome back to The Kable. Indonesia’s National Food and Drug Supervisory Agency (BPOM) and Kenya’s Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) have agreed to cooperate in the health sector. The two agencies have signed an MoU concerning pharmaceutical product regulation. The two countries have also inked an agreement for tech transfer and the manufacturing and marketing of Bio Farma’s vaccines in Kenya.
Japan’s Nagasaki University is collaborating with AI company NEC OncoImmunity (NOI) to kill very many birds with one stone. The partners will use NOI’s AI platform to optimise vaccine designs in pursuit of a universally and broadly protective shot against multiple pathogens within the same family. Their work will specifically focus on T cell and B cell vaccines targeting tropical infectious diseases.
To worry or not to worry? That is the question that scientists have about the highly mutated BA.2.86 Covid variant. BA.2.86 is fairly different from other circulating variants; most notably, it has several modifications to the spike protein which our antibodies target to neutralise the virus. So far, BA.2.86, a “variant under monitoring”, has been linked to only 6 cases in four countries. To many, this situation is reminiscent of Omicron’s early days – a strange new fellow that might quickly take the world by storm. None of the reported BA.2.86 cases appear to be linked, so it’s likely this variant is already spreading way farther than we realise. But it’s still early days; we’ll just have to wait and see.
India’s Alembic Pharmaceuticals and Aurobindo Pharma are citing manufacturing lapses as they recall 82,400 bottles of an ophthalmic solution and 96 bottles of a seizure medicine, respectively, in the US market.
Yesterday, the US FDA approved Abrysvo, Pfizer’s RSV vaccine, for use in women between 32 and 36 weeks of pregnancy to protect their babies.
The latest AI-driven drug discovery startup to bring in the $$$ is Genesis Therapeutics. With a $200 million Series B round, the startup will bring its AI-enabled pipeline into clinical development. Genesis’ physics-centric AI platform is designed to produce small-molecule drug compounds for difficult-to-treat diseases, with a current focus on oncology.
And finally, Moderna is collaborating with Chinese biotech CARsgen Therapeutics to evaluate the combined use of Moderna’s mRNA cancer vaccine with the latter’s CAR-T cell therapy to potentially treat gastric, pancreatic, and other digestive system cancers by targeting the Claudin18.2 protein.