Pfizer plans to ramp up antiviral pill production in fight against Omicron variant

USA – Pfizer CEO, Albert Bourla has confirmed the company’s plans to increase production of its Paxlovid antiviral treatment in order to combat the spread of the new Omicron variant. Bourla has said that the drugmaker has committed to producing 80 million doses of Paxlovid, a developing antiviral, up from the previous target of 50 million. The efficacy data for Pfizer’s oral COVID-19 drug now look so promising that the Big Pharma company is increasing manufacturing capacity even before the FDA’s anticipated emergency use authorization. Scientists and health officials have…

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Johnson & Johnson to split into two publicly traded companies

USA – Johnson & Johnson, the world’s largest health-care conglomerate, has announced plans to separate its consumer products business from its pharmaceutical and medical device operations, resulting in the formation of two publicly traded companies. The consumer arm – comprised of million- and billion-dollar brands and offering products such as mouthwash, shampoo, and skincare – will form a new publicly traded company in the next 18 to 24 months. The pharmaceutical and medical device division, which includes advanced technologies such as robotics and artificial intelligence, would keep the Johnson &…

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Huge blow to Gilead’s and Merck’s HIV strategy as safety concerns mar once-weekly HIV drug combination

USA – Gilead Sciences, Inc. and Merck have temporarily suspended enrollment in a Phase 2 clinical study evaluating an investigational once-weekly oral combination treatment regimen of islatravir and lenacapavir as combination treatment  in HIV patients. The decision comes less than a week after Merck revealed that dosing in a separate study evaluating its drug, islatravir, in combination with another therapy known as MK-8507, a novel non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) had been halted. The study recently discovered that patients who received the drugs had lower levels of certain types of…

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GSK & Vir Biotech sign pact with U.S to supply Covid-19 antibody therapy doses worth US$1 billion

USA – The US government has signed contracts worth approximately US$1 billion to secure the antibody-based Covid-19 treatment developed by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Vir Biotechnology, the drug makers have announced. GSK and Vir said in a joint statement that the treatment, branded Xevudy, will be available in the United States by December 17, with the government having the option to purchase additional doses until March 2022. Other public deals for the drug, on the other hand, include 10,000 doses for Canada and up to 220,000 doses for the European Union.…

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Bayer, Dr. Reddy’s settle patent row over cancer drug Nexavar

GERMANY – Bayer Healthcare and Amgen subsidiary Onyx Pharmaceuticals have agreed to drop their patent lawsuit against Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories over the proposed generic version of Nexavar. According to a filing in Delaware federal court, the parties agreed to dismiss the case with prejudice, which means it cannot be brought again. Nexavar is used to treat cancers of the liver, kidneys, and thyroid. According to a Bayer report, the drug earned the company more than US$700 million in global sales in fiscal year 2020. According to an Amgen filing with…

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Pfizer, US ink US$ 5.29 billion deal for Covid pill

USA – Pfizer Inc has announced that the US government will pay US$5.29 billion for 10 million courses of its experimental COVID-19 antiviral drug, as the country seeks promising oral treatments for the disease. The agreement covers roughly twice as many treatment courses as Merck & Co Inc has agreed to supply the US under its contract. The Pfizer pill is nearly 25% less expensive, costing around US$530 per course, compared to around US$ 700 for Merck’s. Pfizer has applied for emergency approval of the drug, known as Paxlovid, after…

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Merck has bagged another early cancer nod for Keytruda with FDA approval in post-surgery kidney cancer

USA – US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) has approved Merck & Co.’s immunotherapy Keytruda for use in early kidney cancer, making it the first treatment of its kind available to patients whose renal cell carcinoma tumors haven’t spread widely. The approval for Keytruda includes adjuvant use — after surgery to remove a kidney or metastatic lesions — for patients who are at intermediate or high risk of their cancer recurring. The approval of Keytruda in this setting comes about six months after Merck revealed preliminary findings from a study…

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Pfizer applies for emergency use authorization of its novel COVID-19 pill

USA – Pfizer, a US-based pharmaceutical giant has asked the Food and Drug Administration to approve its experimental COVID-19 pill for emergency use, setting the stage for a likely launch of the promising therapy in the coming weeks. The treatment was shown in clinical trials to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death by 89 percent in people at high risk of severe illness. Results of that trial, which was halted early after researchers reported the drug’s efficacy, showed that treatment reduced the risk of hospitalization or death from COVID-19…

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Roche terminates partnership to develop COVID-19 pill with Atea

SWITZERLAND – Roche Holding AG has terminated its collaboration with Atea Pharmaceuticals Inc.to develop a COVID-19 antiviral pill, the Swiss drugmaker has announced. The partnership termination has happened a month after the drug failed to help patients in a small study. Many pharmaceutical companies are racing to develop an oral pill that can be taken as an early at-home treatment to help prevent COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths, a promising new weapon in the pandemic’s fight. Following promising data, pills from Merck & Co Inc. and Pfizer Inc are currently being…

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India’s Sun Pharma forearming to produce Molxvir, a generic variation of Merck’s Molnupiravir

INDIA – Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, a leading pharmaceutical manufacturer in India, is gearing up to introduce Merck Sharpe Dohme and Ridgeback’s molnupiravir under the brand name Molxvir. The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) is currently reviewing clinical data of molnupiravir for the treatment of COVID-19 in adults in India. Molnupiravir is the first oral antiviral approved by the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adults. It is under review by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Emergency Use…

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