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Pharmaceuticals, health and wellness

Pfizer, AstraZeneca COVID vaccines probed in Europe after reports of heart inflammation, rare nerve disorder

Europe’s drug regulator says it’s evaluating an assortment of potential side effects following inoculation with leading COVID-19 vaccines, including heart inflammation, facial swelling and a rare nerve-degenerating disorder. Yet in most circumstances, it’s not clear whether the vaccines are to blame.  In AstraZeneca’s case, the European Medicines Agency’s safety committee, known as PRAC for short, said […]

Fierce Pharma Asia—BeiGene touts Q1, PARP inhibitor nod; Astellas culls muscle disease pact

BeiGene’s first-quarter sales jumped 104% year over year to $106 million as it started to benefit from demand surging on new national reimbursement coverage. The Chinese biotech also won a local go-ahead for a PARP inhibitor to challenge incumbents Lynparza and Zejula. Astellas walked away from a muscle disease pact with Cytokinetics after a midstage trial flop. […]

Catalent snares yet another Belgian CDMO to boost fast-growing cell and gene therapy campus

Since purchasing cell and gene therapy CDMO MaSTherCell early last year, Catalent has been on an M&A tear in Belgium. With yet another deal, it’s bringing another local manufacturer—and a new factory—into the fold. Catalent has acquired Promethera Biosciences’ cell therapy manufacturing subsidiary Hepatic Cell Therapy Support (HCTS)—the fourth company to join Catalent’s swiftly-growing cell and gene therapy campus […]

Moderna CEO says he’s not losing any sleep over Biden’s support for COVID-19 vaccine waiver

Moderna shares plummeted overnight alongside fellow COVID-19 drugmakers after the Biden administration came out in favor of temporarily waiving intellectual property rights for their vaccines. But to Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel, the newly U.S.-backed measure is not a concern.  “I didn’t lose a minute of sleep over the news during the night,” Bancel told analysts following the company’s […]

Alkermes debuts alcohol dependency campaign as pandemic fuels increased drinking

Alkermes started planning a alcohol dependency awareness campaign before the pandemic, but its launch now coincides with a much-publicized increase in alcohol use—and misuse. The debut comes as study after study note marked increases in alcohol consumption during the pandemic. While not all drinking is problematic, spikes in binge drinking, especially among women, are causing concern. According to the […]

Black doctors read COVID tweets in fun, fact-filled campaign to raise vaccination awareness

Dr. Reed Tuckson laughs as he reads a tweet from his phone: “‘Once COVID is over’ is starting to sound a lot like ‘when Rihanna releases a new album.’” The former commissioner of public health in Washington, D.C., isn’t just checking his Twitter feed, though. He’s reading tweets posted by Black people about COVID for a new public […]

Lonza plots $935M in capacity upgrades in Europe and U.S., plans to add 550 jobs over next 3 years

Even as COVID-19 manufacturing dominates headlines, Swiss CDMO juggernaut Lonza is taking steps to keep the rest of its production arsenal competitive. The company’s latest move? A nearly $1 billion investment to boost capacity at sites in Europe and the U.S.  Lonza has designs on an 850 million Swiss franc ($935 million) expansion at sites in Switzerland and […]

Biden admin backs proposal to suspend intellectual property on COVID-19 vaccines, angering industry

Bucking the pharma industry on the closely watched issue of patent rights for COVID-19 vaccines, the Biden administration came out in favor of a proposal at the World Trade Organization (WTO) to suspend intellectual property protections for pandemic shots. In a statement Wednesday, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said the “extraordinary circumstances” of the pandemic call for […]

Cellares raises $82M to drive work on cell therapy ‘factory-in-a-box’

As cell therapies take the cancer world by storm, drugmakers are on the prowl for the latest and greatest ways to produce the complex medicines. Life sciences technology firm Cellares thinks the answer could fit in a box—a factory-in-a-box, to be precise—and the company just raised $82 million to take that work to the next […]

Boehringer Ingelheim lines up celebrity judges for songwriting contest in lung disease awareness campaign

Who better to judge a songwriting contest than a team of musicians—and a few sports figures, of course? That’s who’s included in the celebrity lineup of judges for Boehringer Ingelheim’s “Breathless Ballad” songwriting contest. Queen Latifah, The Bacon Brothers and Paul Shaffer are joining longtime BI ambassador Bernie Williams, a New York Yankees’ former star and Grammy-award […]

Eli Lilly faces employee complaints, FDA troubles at factory making COVID-19 drug: report

Quality control problems have already plagued one COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer in Baltimore, Maryland. Now, it appears they’re threatening to trip up a major pandemic therapeutic supplier as well.  Eli Lilly employees have accused an executive at the drugmaker’s Branchburg, New Jersey, manufacturing site of altering FDA-required documents in an effort to downplay serious quality control […]

Pfizer’s Hospira recalls hospital anesthetics, flags ‘moderate to high severity’ safety risks

Pfizer has largely turned a corner on its sterile injectables business after snapping up Hospira in 2015. Still, a labeling snafu has landed the company’s injectables subsidiary back on the FDA’s recall list.  Pfizer’s Hospira is recalling one lot each of the injectable hospital anesthetics bupivacaine hydrochloride (HCL) and lidocaine HCL after an investigation into a […]