💊 Pfizer pulls out of cancer drug alliance with Merck KGaA; Neuralink seeks brains to stick implants in; US pins hopes on its bioeconomy
#306 | BioNTech ups R&D spends; Smelling sweat no longer offends; Reducing inequality pays dividends
Hello, and welcome back to another day with The Kable. A fairly eventful day at that.
Rich from its Covid shot sales, Germany’s BioNTech intends to spend 2.4 to 2.6 billion euros on R&D this year, up about a billion euros from its R&D spending last year. This money is going towards testing four new infectious disease vaccines and a continued focus on oncology.
Hamburg-headquartered Evotec announced that it has received another grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, this time worth $6.6 million, for its TB drug discovery efforts.
USA’s Eli Lilly continues to up its investments in its manufacturing facilities, the latest being a $500 million investment in its API and mAb production site in Limerick, Ireland.
Speaking of R&D, Elon Musk’s Neuralink is on the lookout for a clinical trials partner to test its brain-computer interface devices in humans, subject to regulatory approval, of course. Would you give Musk your brain for science?
Meanwhile, Pfizer is saying bye to the drug Bavencio as the company ends its long-standing alliance with Merck KGaA, handing the latter exclusive global rights to bladder, kidney and skin cancer immunotherapy.
As part of a collab between Egypt’s VACSERA and India’s Serum Institute, Egypt’s Health Minister has opened the first hep B and pentavalent vaccines production line, with an anticipated production capacity of 100 million doses annually.
While the Indian government is allowing drug companies to increase prices of essential medicines in line with the change in the annual Wholesale Price Index, Pakistan has deferred a decision on pharma companies’ request to raise the prices of over 100 medicines as soaring inflation and a weakened currency raise production costs.
Indian Immunologicals Ltd (IIL) has received a thumbs up from national and state drug controllers to manufacture and market its measles-rubella vaccine, which it developed collaboratively with Polyvac, Vietnam.
India’s Alembic Pharma may have received a Form 483 from the US FDA, but the same facility has completed Brazil’s ANVISA’s GMP audit with no observations at all.
In good news for Argentinian lungs, the Ministry of Health has banned the import and sale of e-cigarettes.
In Argentina, dengue numbers have doubled in a week, almost reaching 9,400 cases across 13 provinces, with chikungunya cases to give them company.
In Kenya, the cholera outbreak shows no signs of abating, as the country’s recorded cases cross the 7,500 mark.
In New York, the poliovirus is back, as a wastewater sample has tested positive for the virus, stoking fears that a summer wave may be coming.
In spite of its core anti-poverty mandate, experts fear that the World Bank’s new reforms might be doing just the opposite.
And speaking of the World Bank, here’s a model their officials might want to study; it suggests that investing in poverty and inequality reduction measures could bring the global population down to 6 billion by the end of the century.
In China, an employee of Japan’s Astellas Pharma has been detained on suspicions of violating the country’s criminal and anti-espionage laws.
And finally, after yet another school shooting in the United States, Scientific American brings back this story from last year on how firearms now kill more one to 24-year-olds in the US than motor vehicle accidents do.