LONDON – Positive interim data from the U.S. trial of Astrazeneca plc’s COVID-19 vaccine have added yet more evidence it is effective in older adults and quelled concerns about serious thrombotic events that led countries in Europe to pause use of the vaccine earlier this month. Overall, the vaccine showed 79% efficacy in preventing symptomatic COVID-19, and was 100% effective in preventing serious disease and hospitalization. The effect was comparable across different ethnicities and age groups, with 80% efficacy in participants over 65 years of age. The analysis is based on 141 cases of COVID-19 infection.
Now that Johnson & Johnson (J&J), through its Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit, has won the FDA’s nod for Ponvory (ponesimod), market factors will decide how the once-daily oral selective sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor 1 modulator fares against several others already approved in the class.
Although U.S. President Joe Biden has yet to nominate his choice to lead the FDA, his nomination of Xavier Becerra as the next Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary – and Becerra’s Senate confirmation March 18 – could signal a shift to a more conservative approach at the FDA when it comes to approving new drugs and devices.
A data-blocking rule set to go into effect in the U.S. April 5 could make it easier for sponsors to get the real-world data they need to demonstrate postmarket evidence of the safety and efficacy of their drugs and devices and to develop future products.
In a year impeded by the monumental challenges of a worldwide pandemic yet powered by near-record drug development and approvals, the Drugs to Watch 2021 report has narrowed a wide and tough field to four treatments that could achieve blockbuster status in the next five years. The drugs included in the report, an annual view of powerhouse drug development that Clarivate plc began issuing in 2013, are cited as possibly being well on their way to annual sales of more than $1 billion each.
The voluminous American Rescue Plan – the second largest stimulus package in U.S. history – has something for everyone. Almost. The $1.9 trillion package that passed the Senate over the weekend and is expected to be passed by the House March 9 failed to extend the current moratorium, set to expire April 1, on the 2% Medicare sequestration.
China’s most important annual government meetings, known as the “Two Sessions,” kicked off March 4 and biopharma executives that were also delegates to the National People's Congress (NPC) suggested that approval for trials should be stricter to avoid repetitive R&D and called for innovative drugs to get into the state insurance list – and to patients – faster.
From the time it paused inspections of drug manufacturing sites a year ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA conducted only three foreign “mission-critical” inspections in fiscal 2020. Those were in Canada, Germany and India, according to a new U.S. Government Accountability Office report.
A new once-daily attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) drug developed by prodrug specialist Kempharm Inc. has won FDA approval under the brand name Azstarys. The medicine combines serdexmethylphenidate, Kempharm's prodrug of the CNS stimulant dexmethylphenidate, with immediate-release d-MPH, the core medicine in the now off-patent product Focalin, a refined formulation of Ritalin.