💊 LifeArc invests in African scientists; WuXi Biologics partners with Boostimmune; Pfizer gets accelerated approval for myeloma antibody
#406 | Piecing together the long Covid puzzle; Parkinson’s treatment for alcohol use disorder; Making plastic from insects
Hello and welcome to The Kable for an edition that has Covid, layoffs, and FDA approvals. But first, British non-profit medical research organization LifeArc is partnering with the Francis Crick Institute’s Crick Africa Network to grant £7.5 million (~$9.5 million) to support African scientists in infectious diseases research. Yay!
In Saudi Arabia, the National Industrial Development Centre has signed an MoU with Jubail Pharma and RR Holding Co. to boost local production of chemical compounds used to make pharma products. The collaboration will help localize manufacturing of APIs, intermediate materials and chemicals. The Saudi government has also implemented regulatory reforms to encourage investment in the country’s pharma industry, which is projected to be worth SR56.6 billion by 2027.
In India, the National Medical Council (NMC) has introduced a penalty for doctors who don’t prescribe generic drugs. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) is not happy. While the NMC is aiming to reduce healthcare costs for citizens, the IMA doesn’t believe this decision is in patients’ interests, given concerns regarding generic drug quality.
WuXi Biologics and South Korean oncology biotech Boostimmune have inked an MoU to collaborate in the research and discovery of monoclonal antibodies, bispecific antibodies and recombinant proteins.
The Japanese government has awarded two grants totaling $115 million to Arcalis to support the production of mRNA vaccines and therapeutics in the country.
J&J is on a streak. In addition to accelerated approval for its multiple myeloma therapy, the company is now boasting US FDA approval of Akeega, a fixed dose combination to treat advanced prostate cancer with a BRCA mutation which no longer responds to hormone therapies.
But J&J isn’t the only company in the multiple myeloma treatment ring. Yesterday, the US FDA also granted accelerated approval to Pfizer for the use of its bispecific antibody, Elrexfio in patients with hard-to-treat or recurrent multiple myeloma.
Medtronic is in hot water again, with its dialysis catheters being found to potentially become blocked due to silicon lubricant buildup. The US FDA has handed the recall of the product its highest-severity Class I tag. Philips is in the same boat.
In the UK, the PMCPA – which oversees drug marketing regulations – has determined that Novartis “reduced confidence in, and brought discredit upon, the industry”. This breach is the gravest possible under Clause 2 of the ABPI Code, and concerns a podcast in which it presented questionable efficacy and safety claims about its drug Entresto. And this breach isn’t even a first for the company; they don’t seem to be learning from past mistakes.
Exor NV has bought 15% of health tech group Philips for €2.6 billion (~$2.8 billion). Exor’s portfolio also includes Ferrari, The Economist, and the Italian soccer club Juventus.