💊 Novo Nordisk goes big on expansions; Verve turns to base editing for cholesterol; The WHO profiles vaccines
#470 | Get up, stand up, move around; The kids aren't alright; Plastic polluters keep polluting
Hello, and welcome back to The Kable for a brand-new week with brand-new updates. Hope you had a relaxing weekend to prep you for what is a fully-loaded Kable today.
The Africa CDC and China CDC have committed to enhancing their collaboration in public health, particularly in areas like disease diagnosis and outbreak response, during a visit by China CDC officials to Africa. This enhanced collaboration was announced at the unveiling of the state-of-the-art Africa CDC Reference Laboratory, funded by China, which will play a crucial role in improving laboratory services, research, and disease response across the continent.
Elsewhere in Africa, an unknown disease has caused four deaths within a month at Ruyigi Central Prison, Burundi, with detainees experiencing symptoms like sudden speech loss and external bleeding.
South Korea's Celltrion Healthcare has won a bid to supply its autoimmune disease treatment Remsima to the Brazilian federal government for the third consecutive year, covering 60% of Brazil's infliximab market. The company, which has been the sole supplier to Brazil for two years, also plans to expand its presence in Central and South America with new products for autoimmune diseases and metastatic colorectal cancer.
In Bangladesh, Radiant Pharmaceuticals has partnered with Roche to co-promote medicines in Bangladesh, focussing on treating severe diseases such as cancer, ophthalmology, and neurology, aiming to improve patient care and raise awareness about Roche's oncology portfolio. Also in Bangladesh, the total toll from the ongoing dengue outbreak has now reached 1,476, with 10 new deaths recorded.
Contrary to global trends requiring increasing localisation of manufacturing and trials, Japan is planning on scrapping testing of new drugs locally to help global pharma makers launch new drugs faster.
Novo Nordisk is investing $6 billion over the next six years to expand its manufacturing capacity, primarily to meet the growing demand for its obesity and diabetes medications Wegovy and Ozempic. This expansion includes the construction of a new plant for producing APIs like semaglutide, used in both drugs, and a new packaging facility, with completion phases ranging from late 2025 to 2029. Despite ramping up production, Novo Nordisk has struggled to meet the soaring demand for these medications, with Wegovy sales increasing six-fold over the past year and supply restrictions being implemented to ensure continuity of care.
India recently celebrated Diwali, and three Indian cities are now among the world’s 10 most polluted cities, with New Delhi claiming top spot.
The UK's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) has recommended using GSK’s meningitis B vaccine, Bexsero, to reduce the rapidly increasing rates of gonorrhoea. If implemented, this would make the UK the first country to use a meningitis B vaccine for preventing gonorrhoea. The decision comes amid concerns about gonorrhoea becoming increasingly resistant to the last effective antibiotic, Ceftriaxone, with England experiencing around 80,000 cases annually.
And finally, Colombia has implemented a pioneering junk food law, introducing a progressive tax on ultra-processed foods, starting at 10% and eventually rising to 20% by 2025, aimed at combating diet-related non-communicable diseases like diabetes and heart disease. The law, which aligns tax policy with mandatory health warnings on unhealthy food packaging, has faced strong opposition F&B lobbies (big surprise there) but is seen as a potential model for other countries seeking to address similar health issues.