💊 Pfizer's philanthropic pursuits; Gates Foundation goes further; TB to be or not to be?
#257 | A new Covid vaccine emerges in the UAE; Southeast Asia 2022; PWC predicts pharma purchases
Hello, and welcome back to The Kable for quite the feature-packed issue today.
Covid vaccines are still making news in various parts of the world. In the UAE, Hayat Biotech, a newly-formed JV between UAE's G42 group and China's Sinopharm, is making its own Covid vaccine, Hayat-Vax, as part of its tie-up with the Abu Dhabi Department of Health on research and manufacturing capabilities. While in India, the government has given the go-ahead for yet another vaccine, Covovax, as a heterologous booster dose for adults.
Every year PWC puts out its prediction for biotech and biopharma for the year ahead. Every year, it fails to reflect on its past predictions. Anyway, this year PWC says it expects a "flurry of biotech deals" in the $5 billion to $15 billion range. In a separate prediction on the capabilities of water for the year, PWC said water will continue to make things wet in 2023. And if you're willing to plunk down mucho dollars for that, we'll come up with an executive report for you with many more such predictions, most of which will even come true, for the next five years.
During the pandemic and even now (wait, are we in the post-pandemic world yet?), the EU has seen drug shortages across regions. Now, head honchos in the region have a plan to ensure no more shortages in the future. Update pharma laws to make manufacturers obliged to stock more drugs and to inform about shortages further in advance.
CEPI continues to make headway (or not) in its mission to have a vaccine ready for the next pandemic within 100 days. Its newest initiative? Doling out $4.3 million to Vaxxas for its needle-free mRNA patches.
Meanwhile, Gates Foundation itself has announced its largest-ever budget - $8.3 billion - this year, while the CEO takes potshots at critics who questioned the Gates Foundation's outsized influence at the WHO and other global orgs.
Not strictly life sciences news, but sustainability is a concern for pharma too, so this fits here. Google has, for the first time, shared data on how much water its server farms use. Important info for Big (and small) Pharma too, who is increasingly relying on Google Cloud for various solutions. So how much water did Google use? In the US alone, 13 billion litres in 2021.
We don't comment much on global politics in The Kable. However, when politics trumps science, we do believe we need to weigh in. The US state of Florida recommended against Covid vaccination. Now, a new study says Florida's surgeon general used careless research practices in making that recommendation.
Bayer's $60+ billion buy of Monsanto five years ago is coming back to bite it in the rear end. In the form of activist investor Bluebell Capital who's just bought an undisclosed stake in Bayer and is now activisting to break Bayer up.
And finally, a shark at an aquarium in the US gave birth to the Baby Jesus of sharks, heralding the likely end of the male species.
Also, take a look at the last of our 2022 recaps, where we take a look at the landscape in Southeast Asia.