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.
DUBLIN – The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), a public-private research partnership between the European Commission (EC) and Europe’s pharmaceutical industry, has boosted funding for a fast-track response to the COVID-19 pandemic from €45 million (US$48.8 million) to €72 million.
HONG KONG – Japan has become the first country in the world to approve Veklury (remdesivir), Gilead Sciences Inc.’s experimental drug, to treat COVID-19. The fast approval was based on U.S. data and that country’s emergency use of the drug to tackle the pandemic, although it is unclear whether the drug is safe or effective for treating COVID-19.
Liquid biopsy startup Grail Inc., of Menlo Park, Calif., has reeled in $390 million in a series D financing that included new investors Public Sector Pension Investment Board and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. Prior investor Illumina Inc., of San Diego, also participated in the round, as well as two unidentified backers.
DUBLIN – Thrive Earlier Detection Corp. and its academic and clinical collaborators have provided a first glimpse at the utility of a liquid biopsy test as a screening tool for picking up cancers in an asymptomatic population. In an interim one-year readout of data from the prospective five-year DETECT-A study in 10,000 women, an early version of Thrive’s Cancerseek test picked up 26 cancers ahead of standard-of-care screening, while the latter modality picked up another 24 cancers that Cancerseek missed.
Given all the public-private partnerships responding to the need for timely COVID-19 therapies, diagnostics and vaccines, the demands to forgo patents or exclusive licenses for coronavirus products and the clamor that industry shouldn’t “profit” from U.S. taxpayer-supported research are growing louder.