Singapore based P.E major buys out Indian Calibre Chemicals for US$100 million

SINGAPORE – Private equity major Everstone has announced acquisition of a controlling stake in Calibre Chemicals, which is a specialty ingredients player focused on the pharmaceutical, nutritional and personal care segments, for a reported US$100 million (around Rs 730 crore). The city-based, privately-held Calibre was established in 1984 and manufactures a range of specialty chemicals falling into two product lines–mineral derivatives (iodine, selenium, cobalt) and peroxygens (persulphates, perchlorates). Calibre also offers various packaging solutions including paper cartons, HDPE drums, LDPE bags, steel drums and fiber drums apart from manufacturing various…

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Management software, “Bloom”, revolutionizes mPharma’s operations

GHANA – Bloom, a management software used by mPharma, has allowed the Ghanaian healthcare startup to coordinated pharmacies within its network sell medicines at the same price to customers, a remarkable milestone. Bloom enables mPharma to quickly standardized operations by networking the pharmacies through a technology platform. It has enabled the pharmacies to introduce mutti, a membership-based loyalty program and implement primary care services, including point of care testing and disease management solutions. In July, mPharma inked a deal with Absa bank Ghana to launch Absa Mutti, a platform that…

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GlaxoSmithKline, SK bioscience start final trial of COVID-19 jab

BRITAIN – British drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline and South Korean peer SK bioscience have announced the commencement of final stage trials of a Covid-19 jab after positive early results. The vaccine is facing a Phase 3 clinical trial to assess its safety and immunogenicity when compared with AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine, the two companies said in a joint statement. GSK is still trailing in the wake of Anglo-Swedish rival AstraZeneca, which rapidly developed a successful jab alongside Oxford University despite having little prior experience in vaccine development. The new jab combines SK…

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Johnson & Johnson’s HIV vaccine fails mid-stage study in Africa

AFRICA – Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) has said its experimental vaccine failed to provide enough protection against HIV in sub-Saharan Africa to young women who are at high risk of being infected. The mid-stage trial failure highlights the challenges of vaccine development, especially for HIV or human immunodeficiency virus, which has no approved vaccines. “HIV is a unique and complex virus that has long posed unprecedented challenges for vaccine development because of its ability to attack, hijack and evade the human immune system,” Paul Stoffels, J&J’s chief scientific officer, said…

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Biogen offers free Alzheimer’s drug as Medicare payment uncertainty remains

USA – Biogen is providing its controversial and expensive new Alzheimer’s drug free of charge for some patients amid slow claim reviews by Medicare, according to sources familiar with the situation. The development underscores the division among doctors about whether the $56,000-a-year drug helps patients and how uncertainty about reimbursement from Medicare, the U.S. government health plan for people over age 65, has held back prescriptions and sales. Aduhelm, which is given as a monthly infusion, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in June even though one…

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Kenya grants Emergency Use Authorization for the INDICAID COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test

KENYA – PHASE Scientific’s INDICAID COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test has received Emergency Use Authorization from the Ministry of Health (MOH) of the Republic of Kenya. The authorization enables the test to be used in Kenya for the identification of COVID-19 cases, facilitating early isolation, diagnosis and treatment of patients. The INDICAID COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test is a lateral flow immunoassay designed for qualitative detection of SARS-CoV-2 antigens. Unlike other testing methods that use nasopharyngeal swab specimens, INDICAID uses nasal swab specimens to provide fast results within 20 minutes without need…

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WHO sounds alarm over rising COVID-19 deaths in Europe

EUROPE – The World Health Organization has warned that another 236,000 people could die from COVID-19 in Europe by December 1, sounding the alarm over rising infections and stagnating vaccine rates on the continent. The warning comes as the world passed the grim milestone of 4.5 million deaths from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to a recent AFP tally. Infections rates are ticking up globally again, as the highly transmissible Delta variant takes hold, especially among the unvaccinated, preying on populations where anti-virus measures have been relaxed.…

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France to donate 10 million vaccines to Africa over three months

AFRICA – France has committed to provide the African continent with 10 million doses of AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines over the next three months following a new partnership between France and the African Union. The vaccines will be allocated and distributed in the framework of the AU’s African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) and the partnership for equitable vaccine rollout known as Covax, according to a statement issued by the Elysée palace. “The Covid-19 pandemic can only be overcome through intense cooperation,” Macron said in the statement, emphasising France’s “solid partnership”…

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New, potentially lethal COVID-19 variant detected in South Africa

SOUTH AFRICA – South Africa has identified a potential variant of interest (VOI) of COVID-19 that is assigned to the Phylogenetic Assignment of Named Global Outbreak Linages (PANGO) lineage C.1.2. According to the reports, the C.1.2 strain of coronavirus was first detected in May 2021 in South Africa when the country was experiencing the third wave. Speaking to the media, the officials stated that the C.1.2 variant of COVID-19 has since been detected across the majority of the provinces in South Africa and in seven other countries spanning Africa, Europe,…

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Sanofi, Regeneron burnish their blockbuster Dupixent franchise

FRANCE – As a stable of new players sets out to topple Dupixent’s status as the reigning antibody treatment for atopic dermatitis, the blockbuster’s developers are moving the goalposts. Dupixent has aced a Phase III trial involving 162 children between 6 months and 5 years old, Sanofi and Regeneron say, becoming the first biologic drug to show efficacy in this young population. When given Dupixent on top of standard of care topical corticosteroids, 28% of patients achieved clear or almost-clear skin compared to 4% of those on placebo — thus…

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