LONDON – There was a substantial fall in neutralization titers against the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 in the stored sera of people who had received two doses of either Astrazeneca plc’s or Pfizer Inc./Biontech SE’s COVID-19 vaccines, with some samples failing to neutralize the virus at all, according to the latest data from the U.K. Com-Cov study.
Med-tech happenings, including deals and partnerships, grants, preclinical data and other news in brief: Cambridge Orthopaedic, Eurofins, Exthera, Leica, Predicate HPG, Surgicalone, Tianrong, Wilton Management.
Regulatory snapshots, including global drug submissions and approvals, clinical trial approvals and other regulatory decisions and designations: Acer, Aprea, Bayer, Brii, Cytodyn, Cytokinetics, Heron, Intercept, Nrx, Ocugen, Reata, Sesen, VBI.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is continuing a streak of investments in the med-tech space, signing a €20 million (US$22 million) loan agreement with Midiagnostics NV, to scale-up a new rapid COVID-19 PCR test. Leuven, Belgium-based Midiagnostics is developing a rapid PCR test for SARS-CoV-2, which can achieve an accuracy speed 20 times faster than classic PCR machines. A nasopharyngeal swab sample is transferred on a PCR testcard, from which the results are read by a compact reader. Pilot programs for the test began at Brussels Airport this month, with a market launch pegged for Spring 2022.
A cocktail of monoclonal neutralizing antibodies developed by Brii Biosciences Ltd. has become “the first locally-discovered and approved SARS-CoV-2 target-specific treatment in China, through a randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled trial,” Rogers Luo, president and general manager of greater China at the company, told BioWorld. The NMPA approved a combination of Brii’s amubarvimab and romlusevimab as a treatment for both adults and pediatric patients, ages 12 to 17, with mild and “normal type” COVID-19 at high risk for progression to severe disease, including hospitalization or death.
Cansino Biologics Inc. has entered a development and commercial supply partnership with Aerogen Ltd. for an inhalable version of its COVID-19 vaccine, Convidecia, also known as Ad5-nCoV. Cansino will combine Convidecia with Aerogen’s vibrating mesh aerosol drug delivery technology to produce a consistent droplet size for optimal lung deposition. The technology delivers up to six times more medication to the lungs compared to jet nebulizers. It also enables consistency and drug denaturing to improve efficacy. Cansino and Aerogen did not disclose the deal’s commercial terms.
LONDON – New figures underline the devastating effect the pandemic is having on cancer clinical research, with recruitment to U.K. studies falling by 60%. A total of 27,734 patients were recruited in 2020/21, compared to an average of 67,057 in the three years previously. Over those three years, recruitment had been on the rise, going from 61,810 in 2017/18 to 71,709 in 2019/20, according to figures compiled by the Institute of Cancer Research in London.