Moderna swells vaccine supply in deal with Biotech startup National Intelligence

USA – Moderna is expanding production of the genetic backbone of its coronavirus vaccine, signing a multi-year deal with the new biotech manufacturing startup National Resilience. The agreement, announced by Resilience, follows the company’s recent application for FDA authorization of a half dose of its vaccine as a third, booster shot six months after initial vaccination. While Resilience’s announcement did not specify how much the deal would boost Moderna’s production, the vaccine maker forecast earlier this year it could make between 800 million and one billion doses in 2021 and…

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Takeda jumps on Japan’s Moderna vaccine mess to secure Novavax supply deal

JAPAN – Japanese drug giant, Takeda, has announced a deal where the Japanese government has agreed to purchase 150 million doses of the Novavax shot that it will produce. As Moderna faces questions about contaminants found in its COVID-19 vaccines in Japan, the company’s distribution partner in the country, Takeda, is moving forward on its plans with Novavax’s licensing and production deal covering the country The Novavax shot remains in development, and the partners aim to start the rollout in Japan early next year. The government’s purchasing agreement is subject…

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Sanofi bolsters transplant business with acquisition of Kadmon for US$1.9 billion

FRANCE – French drug maker Sanofi is on the move to acquire Kadmon Pharmaceuticals for US$1.9 billion, reinforcing its transplant medicines business with a newly approved treatment for graft-versus-host disease. This new deal comes in hot on the heels of Sanofi’s purchase of another US biotech, Translate Bio for US$3.2 billion. Sanofi said it has offered US$9.50 per share in cash for Kadmon, representing a total equity value of approximately US$1.9 billion on a fully diluted basis, and that both companies’ boards unanimously approved the transaction. “The acquisition supports Sanofi’s…

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COVAX cuts vaccine delivery forecasts to developing world by 25%

AFRICA – Covax has slashed its forecasts for Covid-19 vaccine deliveries to the developing world by about 25 per cent this year after India’s export ban, manufacturing problems and delays in approvals of new shots knocked the programme off track.  Deliveries under the scheme to provide vaccines to low- and middle-income countries are ramping up, with 1.1bn doses set to be available for the rest of the year. However, the World Health Organization-backed programme will fall short of its target of delivering 2 billion vaccines this year, with a total…

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Zalgen Labs announces contract with CEPI for Lassa Fever study in West Africa

NIGERIA – Zalgen Labs has inked a three-year contract with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to provide its antibody testing kits for a study to assess the incidence of Lassa fever infections in West Africa. Under the terms of the contract, Zalgen will supply its Lassa fever antibody testing kits (ReLASV Pan-Lassa NP IgG ELISA) to CEPI’s Enable study partners in Benin, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, to test up to 7,000 participants for Lassa fever antibodies, specifically the anti-Lassa virus nucleoprotein human immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies.…

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Rwanda partners IFC to develop vaccine manufacturing capacity

RWANDA – Rwanda has joined forces with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to develop the nation’s capacity to produce essential vaccines for the African continent. IFC will assist the fast-developing nation to conduct diagnostic and feasibility studies needed to create a world-class vaccine manufacturing supply chain in Rwanda. Rwanda recently revealed its partnership with the leading biotechnology company, BioNTech, and the kENUP Foundation to develop a holistic manufacturing capability for mRNA vaccines. The partnership will also lead to the creation of facilities for the production of other vaccines and pharmaceutical…

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Tanzania secures nearly US$600 million from IMF for COVID relief

TANZANIA – The International Monetary Fund’s executive board has approved US$567m in emergency support for Tanzania to help it finance a COVID-19 vaccination campaign and meet the health and social costs of the pandemic, the IMF said in a statement. The IMF board approved a disbursement of US$189m to Tanzania under its Rapid Credit Facility (RCF), as well as US$378m under the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI), the global lender said. The COVID-19 outbreak and associated travel restrictions have led to the collapse of the tourism sector in the East African…

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Ethiopia receives US$1 million worth of TB testing machines from US

ETHIOPIA – Ethiopia has received a donation of 46 cutting-edge tuberculosis (TB) testing machines from the United states. The machines, which USAID estimates to be worth US$1 million, will help the government’s effort to reduce the time it takes to diagnose TB across the country from two days to two hours. USAID signed a statement of partnership agreement with the Federal Ministry of Health to accelerate our joint effort to end TB in 2019, and this donation is part of USAID’s commitment to supporting the people of Ethiopia to find…

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