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Weekly News Round-up – 22/1/21

6 months ago By Josh Neil
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Proventa International Weekly News

In the news this week, collaboration within the pharma industry continues to struggle as it is revealed that the WHO’s platform for industry collaboration over COVID-19 goes entirely unused. In other news, Merck finally loses its hepatitis C patent infringement case against Gilead as the Supreme Court fails to take up the challenge, and Eli Lilly brings on board cancer immunotherapy products through a Merus alliance.

W.H.O.’S COVID PLATFORM UNUSED SINCE START OF PANDEMIC  – C-Tap, the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 program to allow pharma companies to share expertise, treatment and technology around the virus, has received no contributions over its eight-month lifespan. C-Tap was created to pool treatment data in order to allow manufacturers to produce equipment, drugs and vaccines without patent challenges or legal issues. This in turn would lower costs and ease drug shortages. Critics of the WHO initiative argued that patent rights have fuelled the speed of COVID-19 vaccines, and that simply ignoring IP rights will not overcome problems around access.

SOUTH AFRICA MUST PAY 2.5x EU PRICE FOR OXFORD/AZ VACCINE – South Africa, the worst-hit country in Africa for COVID-19, must pay nearly 2.5 times the amount countries in Europe are paying for the Oxford University / AstraZeneca vaccine. According to South Africa’s deputy director general of health, Anban Pillay, the increased cost of $5.25 is because other countries contributed more to the vaccine’s R&D.

MERCK LOSES $2.4 BILLION COURT BATTLE AGAINST GILEAD – Merck has lost its $2.4 billion court challenge against Gilead, after the Supreme Court refused to take up the case. Merck’s subsidiary Idenix Pharmaceuticals had initially claimed Gilead had infringed one of its hepatitis C patents with two blockbusters, Sovaldi and Harvoni, a claim that was eventually quashed by federal courts. 

In other news: 

R&D
Eli Lilly allies with Merus in $1.6 billion cancer immunotherapy deal

Clinical
Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID vaccine works against UK variant
Merck/GSK lung cancer drug bintrafusp fails late-stage trials

That’s all for now. See you next week!

Joshua Neil, Editor
Proventa International

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