💊 Big yay for GSK; Thumbs up for Eli Lilly’s Alzheimer’s drug; BMGF plots access to childhood shots
US gov takes Gilead to court; Merck KGaA travels to South Korea; Menopause and brain health
Hello there. Welcome back to The Kable for another day of life sciences updates. And in case you didn't know, today is Star Wars day, a good day to gift someone The Kable, saying, "May the source be with you."
In the US, the government is taking Gilead Sciences to court as it seeks over $1 billion from the company for failing to compensate the CDC for its contributions. Based on a Gilead-CDC collaboration, CDC scientists discovered that Gilead’s Truvada could help prevent HIV; the government holds four patents for HIV prevention drug regimens and is claiming it is owed a share of the billions the company has made in profits off the drug.
Novartis, too, is seeing some courtroom action as Amgen is suing Novartis’ Sandoz for infringing patents Amgen holds on its bone-strengthening drugs.
Germany’s Merck KGaA is making its way into South Korea, where it wants to build its Asia-Pacific BioProcessing Centre, a biopharma raw materials production facility which will support commercial biotech and pharma manufacturing customers in the region. The life sciences hub Daejeon City and the country’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy are helping fund the initiative.
Slowly and steadily, in the coming months, Pfizer is going to extricate itself from GSK spin-off consumer health business Haleon, of which it currently owns 32%
Money continues to pour into biopharma. Cowen Healthcare Investments has closed a nearly $556 million fund which will go towards mid- to late-stage companies in the biopharma, diagnostics and digital health space. Longwood Fund, meanwhile, has added a fresh $180 million to its corpus reserved for early-stage biotechs.
Eisai and Biogen’s Leqembi finally has some competition in the Alzheimer’s space as, after decades of efforts to develop a treatment, Eli Lilly announced yesterday that its experimental drug, Donanemab, slowed cognitive decline by 35% over a period of 18 months in a phase 3 study. The study met all primary and secondary endpoints, and the company intends to submit the drug for FDA approval this quarter. Concerns about ARIA – a brain condition associated with haemorrhages and swelling which occurred as a side effect in some participants – remain.
In Mexico, officials are celebrating. The country finally has its own Covid vaccine. Yay! Except it’s a couple of years too late. It probably doesn’t work very well against currently circulating strains. There’s no news of any formal authorisation for the shot. And vaccine uptake has dropped significantly since last year. Too little, too late, Mexico.
Who says video games are only for kids? Definitely not Akili Interactive. The company’s EndeavorRx video game-based therapeutic – which is already cleared by the FDA to improve ADHD symptoms in children between 8 to 12 years of age – boosted attention in adults with ADHD far more than it did in studies in teenagers and children.
A joint report by PwC India and the US-India Chamber of Commerce (USAIC) titled “Clinical Trial Opportunities in India” claims that India is emerging as a favourable destination to conduct clinical trials. Top biopharma companies should look towards the private sector in the country, especially in tier-1 cities with high disease prevalence, for easier access to patients, sites and investigators.
Remember the irony of the Covid outbreak at the US CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service Conference? It turns out close to three dozen people linked to the conference have tested positivefor the virus. The CDC has launched a probe.
If you’re in the UK and you planned to venture out to the Linjoy Wildlife Sanctuary, cancel your plans; authorities have closed the nature reserve to the public for three days as dozens of birds have been dropping dead from what could be bird flu.
Yesterday, the WHO announced that it has dismissed the Danish scientist who led Covid-origin investigations in China based on findings of sexual misconduct against him.
And finally, in Pakistan, the National Institute of Health recently confirmed the country’s third case of mpox.