Before the lessons of COVID-19 fade into yesterday’s news, Congress should start preparing for the next pandemic, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) is advising. As the chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, the senator issued a white paper Tuesday identifying areas that must be addressed.
The COVID-19 pandemic has demanded much of the FDA, and commissioner Stephen Hahn said on a June 1 conference call that “there have been hiccups along the way” as the enormity of the threat came into view. The agency’s use of emergency use authorizations (EUAs) has drawn criticism, but Hahn defended those EUAs and other regulatory flexibilities even has he declared that the FDA is not “walking away from” randomized, controlled clinical trials as the gold standard for premarket review.
Fidget spinners are hand-held toys based on a roller bearing and three weighted lobes, which can spin freely, creating centrifugal force when activated manually. Generating centrifugal force with a fidget spinner takes neither electricity nor trained staff. And that has suggested to several researchers that such spinners, under the right circumstances, could be used for centrifugation under circumstances where reliably operating a centrifuge, for whatever reason, is a challenge.
Within a month of disclosing a CA$175.6 million (US$124.7 million) award from the Canadian government to use its antibody discovery platform for the analysis of patients who have recovered from COVID-19, Abcellera Biologics Inc. closed a $105 million series B financing aimed at expanding its capacity and investing in new technologies that complement its antibody discovery engine.
Navidea Biopharmaceuticals Inc. CEO Jed Latkin said positive findings from the second interim analysis of the phase IIb study called NAV3-31 “were certainly better than what we were looking for” and will “make our partnering discussions a lot more interesting.”
Scaling up to manufacture a massive volume of a COVID-19 vaccine, drug or innovative device that’s still in early stage development is easier said than done, especially in a global pandemic that has the supply chain stretched beyond capacity.
Mammoth Biosciences Inc., of South San Francisco, and London-based Glaxosmithkline plc (GSK) have joined forces to develop a point-of-care test to detect active COVID-19 infections using Mammoth’s CRISPR-based DETECTR platform. The two companies hope to submit an application to the U.S. FDA for emergency use of the test before the end of the year.
Just days after Clovis Oncology Inc.'s Rubraca (rucaparib) became the first PARP inhibitor approved by the FDA to treat certain cases of metastatic prostate cancer (mCPRC) in third-line care, the agency granted an even broader label in the indication to its first-in-class competitor, Lynparza (olaparib). Endorsement of second-line use of Lynparza in mCPRC and an overall survival (OS) benefit listed in its updated label will help rapidly establish it as "the drug of choice in the [second] line, leaving little commercial opportunities for Rubraca downstream," SVB Leerink analyst Andrew Berens said.
“Our window of opportunity is closing. If we fail to develop a national coordinated response, based in science, I fear the pandemic will get far worse and be prolonged, causing unprecedented illness and fatalities,” Rick Bright, former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, said today as he testified at a House subcommittee hearing on the U.S. response to COVID-19.
The May 12 Senate hearing regarding the COVID-19 pandemic included the usual conversations about contact tracing, but Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he is “cautiously optimistic” that one of the vaccines currently in trial in the U.S. will work, but that it is unlikely a vaccine will be ready by September 2020. In contrast, Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir said testing capacity may reach 50 million tests per month by that time, thanks in part to the fact that antigen testing is now part of the FDA’s emergency use authorization mechanism.