By mid-January 2021, the U.K., South Africa and Brazil had confirmed that “variants of concern” were driving massive surges in COVID-19 cases in their countries. Once alerted, other nations found these troubling strains rapidly multiplying within their populations as well. At the time, the world had reported 90 million cases, creating abundant opportunities for the coronavirus to mutate. Of those cases, the virus in just 360,000 had been sequenced – and nearly all of them from just a handful of countries.
As of the end of January, SARS-CoV-2 has demonstrably infected more than 100 million individuals globally. It has killed more than 2 million. And the long-term sequelae of COVID infections – to say nothing of the health consequences of grief, social isolation and widespread economic distress – are still unfolding and will be for years to come.
LONDON – After a number of equivocal small studies, the U.K. Recovery trial has applied its heft to turn in statistically significant evidence that the rheumatoid arthritis treatment Roactemra (tocilizumab) reduces mortality in hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
PERTH, Australia – After hitting a few setbacks in recent months, regenerative medicine company Mesoblast Ltd. believes it finally has a path to market with its allogeneic mesenchymal precursor cell therapy, rexlemestrocel-L, in chronic low back pain.
Nearly five months after its tau-directed antibody, semorinemab, failed to demonstrate efficacy in a phase II trial in Alzheimer’s disease, AC Immune SA is back with positive data on a different approach with its anti-phospho-tau vaccine candidate, ACI-35.030.
Clinical updates, including trial initiations, enrollment status and data readouts and publications: AC Immune, Acer, Actinium, Almirall, Artios, Athenex, Benevolentai, Kite, Mesoblast, Olatec, Outlook, Urovant.
Panbela Therapeutics Inc. hit a speed bump with its phase I trial in the ever-challenging indication of pancreatic cancer (PC), as an independent data safety monitoring board (DSMB) recommended that dosing be held for patients until more safety information is available about polyamine analog SBP-101.
KRAS is the most frequently mutated oncogene in solid tumors in general, and in lung tumors in particular. There are more patients whose lung tumors are driven by KRAS mutations than by ALK, Ros, Ret and TRK alterations. Combined. And after 40 years, they look to be getting a targeted therapy, or even two.
PERTH, Australia – Synthetic cannabinoid company Botanix Pharmaceuticals Ltd. announced top-line data from a phase IIa study showing that two different formulations of BTX-1801, a synthetic cannabidiol (CBD), eradicated Staphylococcus aureus (staph) in the nose, meeting study endpoints for safety and efficacy.