LONDON – The latest epidemiological data from South Africa show it has entered a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, fueled by the Omicron variant of concern that was first detected in the country in late November. “We have moved from a total of 2,465 new cases last Thursday, when this variant was announced, to yesterday’s high of 11,535 [PCR confirmed infections],” said health minister Joseph Phaahla, in a briefing on Dec. 3.
Clinical updates, including trial initiations, enrollment status and data readouts and publications: 180 Life Sciences, Acasti, Amgen, Arbutus, Arca, Bonus, Hepagene, Humanigen, India Globalization, Immutep, Karyopharm, Redhill, Revelation, Spago, VBI, Ysopia.
LONDON – Each of six different COVID-19 vaccines given as booster doses were safe and increased immunity when administered after two doses of either Pfizer Inc.’s or Astrazeneca plc’s vaccine, according to the latest data from the U.K. Cov-Boost trial.
The emergence of the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus has sparked a vigorous reaction around the globe, which in the U.S. includes steps taken by the Biden administration to ensure that the roughly 100 million people who have received an initial vaccination regime will receive a booster if eligible. The administration also reported Dec. 2 that it will take steps to ensure that home testing will be covered by private payers, all of which amounts to a massive boost in business for manufacturers of vaccines and tests despite concerns about how the Omicron variant might affect vaccine and test performance.
Med-tech happenings, including deals and partnerships, grants, preclinical data and other news in brief: Aditxt Technologies, Aipharma Global Holdings, Becton, Dickinson and Co., Eurofins Scientific, Janssen Research & Development, Nurx, One Mind Psyberguide, Ovia Health, Syndi, Tempus, Venclose.
While discussing positive data on its lead candidate lenzilumab for treating hospitalized COVID-19 patients, Humanigen Inc.’s CEO sparred a bit with the FDA and its refusal to grant the treatment emergency use authorization. The monoclonal antibody, Cameron Durrant told investors on a Dec. 2 call, could possibly have saved 60,000 to 70,000 patients while the company waits for another meeting with the FDA.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit struck a blow Nov. 30 to Biogen Inc.’s blockbuster multiple sclerosis (MS) drug, Tecfidera, affirming a lower court’s determination that a patent claiming a method of treating MS was invalid for lack of written description. In two other precedential cases the next day, the appellate court opened the door for Arbutus Biopharma Corp. to seek royalties on Moderna Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccine.
The U.K. is stepping up its response to the Omicron COVID-19 variant after the country’s regulatory agency approved Xevudy (sotrovimab), the antibody therapy from Glaxosmithkline plc and Vir Biotechnology Inc. At the same time the country placed orders for 114 million more doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc., for use in 2022 and 2023.
Biopharma happenings, including deals and partnerships, grants, preclinical data and other news in brief: Cocrystal, Codiak, Entos, EOM, Fusion, Glaxosmithkline, Highlight, Huyabio, Immunocellular, Medigene, Moderna, Omeros, Orexo, Rayner, Shanghai Jemincare, Soligenix, University of Montréal, Vir.