The biopharmaceutical sector is stumbling through the early months of 2022, as investors appear to be pulling back from the enthusiasm that marked much of the last two years. BioWorld’s Biopharmaceutical Index (BBI) is down 4.2% through last week and the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index shows a drop of more than 15%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) has likewise fallen 5.58%. In contrast, BBI had a 10.5% gain in 2020 and a 5.93% gain in 2021.

Biontech and Medigene join forces to research TCR-based immunotherapies 

Biontech SE and Medigene AG have signed a three-year research collaboration to develop T-cell receptor (TCR) based immunotherapies against cancer. Medigene will receive €26 million ($29 million) up front and could receive hundreds of millions of euros per drug in milestone payments from the deal, which will also covers research funding for the period of the collaboration.

Synairgen shares smashed after phase III trial of inhaled COVID therapy fails

Shares in Synairgen plc (LSE:SNG) have cratered after a phase III trial of its inhaled COVID-19 therapy SNG-001 failed to produce conclusive results, with the company blaming improvements in standard care for the disappointing findings in patients hospitalized with the disease.

China’s COVID-19 booster program widens choices

China is the latest country mixing things up when it comes to COVID-19 boosters. Since boosters were implemented in China in October, adults have been given a booster that’s the same technology as their primary regimen, which consisted of one of three inactivated vaccines produced by Sinopharm Group Co. Ltd. and Sinovac Biotech Ltd. Now they’re being offered wider choices for a booster, including a protein subunit COVID-19 vaccine made by Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceutical Co. Ltd. or a viral vector vaccine from Cansino Biologics Inc. China’s National Medical Products Administration said Feb. 21 that it’s encouraging sequential immunization, which mixes boosters and primary vaccines, to reinforce herd immunity against COVID-19.

LSD1 target’s popularity rising in cancer and other indications

Jubilant Therapeutics Inc. started 2022 with an IND clearance for JBI-802, its oral, selective dual inhibitor of lysine-specific demethylase 1 (LSD1) and HDAC6, setting up a year that could be important one for LSD1 candidates in the hands of other players as well. A controller of the methylation of histone H3, LSD1 is one of the flavin-dependent oxidases. It’s over-expressed in a variety of settings, including cancer.

Going digital: EU adopts standard for ePIs

Paving the way for wider dissemination of up-to-date information on drugs approved in the EU, the European Medicines Regulatory Network adopted a common standard for the electronic product information (ePI), which includes the package leaflet for patients and the summary of product characteristics for health care professionals. Because the ePI can be updated as soon as new information becomes available, it will help with informed decision-making, according to the EMA. Besides harmonizing ePIs, the new standard offers opportunities to personalize product information to individual needs and “to make it more easily accessible to users with diverse abilities,” the EMA said.

Holiday notice

BioWorld's offices were closed in observance of Presidents Day in the U.S. No issue was published Monday, Feb. 21.

Also in the news

4D Pharma, AB Science, Abbvie, Actinium, Akebia, Alpha Cognition, Aobiome, Armata, Astrazeneca, Athira, Beigene, Bicara, Biocryst, Biohaven, Biontech, Cancer Prevention Pharmaceuticals, Cansinobio, Eli Lilly, Emergex, Eyebio, Homology Medicines, Horizon, Innocare, Innovent, Inserm, Karyopharm, Medigene, Moderna, Noema, Novelmed, Novobiome, Obi, Ocugen, Odeon, Orphazyme, Otonomy, Panbela, Provention, RDIF, Renovorx, Rezolute, Rosvivo, Semarion, Valneva, Zenith Epigenetics