💊 Pfizer spreads some pre-Christmas cheer; Jazz and Autifony shake hands; Almirall digs deep in AI with Absci
#472 | The world is in hot water; Viruses have vampires of their own; Pesticides come for human sperm
Hello, and welcome back to yet another exciting issue of The Kable, filled with news about developments, drugs, disease, deals, and downsizing.
First up, for the deniers. Climbing temperatures, coupled with a longer-than-usual rainy season, are ensuring Bangladesh's ongoing dengue outbreak continues raging. An outbreak that is the country's deadliest in recorded history.
On the other side of the planet, in Brazil, rising temperatures have led to health warnings, with 3,000 towns having issued heatwave warnings. Local health authorities have attributed these heatwaves to El Niño and, of course, climate change. How hot are the heatwaves, you ask? Brazilian capital Rio de Janeiro recorded 52.5°C on the thermometer.
Speaking of climate change, like pretty much everything else, healthcare and drug manufacturing systems too need a drastic overhaul to keep up with the challenge. Singapore's Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore (NUS Medicine) is aiming to lead the way with the recent launch of its Centre for Sustainable Medicine. The goal? To decarbonise healthcare and "prepare" for climate-related health exigencies.
Moving to corporate updates, the first one of the day is a deal between Autifony Therapeutics and Jazz Pharmaceuticals. The neuroscience discovery pact between the two, worth up to $770.5 million, sees them collaborating on the development of new drugs targeting neurological disorders, focusing on two ion channel programs. Autifony will handle preclinical development, while Jazz will manage clinical development, manufacturing, regulatory affairs, and commercialisation, with the deal including milestones and royalties for Autifony based on future sales.
In more deal-making, Almirall and Absci have formed a partnership to develop AI-designed therapeutics for chronic dermatological diseases, combining Absci’s generative AI technology with Almirall's expertise in dermatology. Absci stands to receive up to $650 million in fees and milestones, along with royalties, for creating therapeutic candidates for two dermatological targets.
Remember we spoke about downsizing earlier? It is none other than Pfizer who continues to spread the festive cheer in that department. In today's round of job cuts, the company is benching 500 people and axing its Pharmaceutical Sciences Small Molecule (PSSM) capabilities at its plant in Sandwich, Kent in the UK.
The US FDA continues to send out warning letters, and Amazon continues to receive them. In the latest update, the agency has cautioned the ecommerce platform against the ongoing sale of 7 unapproved eye drops. This new warning comes barely a month after the FDA asked people to avoid buying 26 OTC eye drops.
Research into women’s health has been one of the most chronically underinvested areas in public health. The US is looking to change that with the launch of a new initiative to enhance research on women's health, addressing America's rising maternal mortality rates and health disparities among nonwhite women. The initiative aims to improve research approaches and funding, focusing on conditions like endometriosis and autoimmune diseases and addressing the significant health inequities faced by women of colour and women with disabilities.
And finally, worried about getting type 2 diabetes? Just kick that butt and watch your risk fall by 40%.