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Weekly News Round-up – 8/1/21

1 week ago By Josh Neil
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Proventa International Weekly News

Vaccines dominate the news this week, as multiple companies come ever closer to having their products greenlit for market. Janssen’s single-shot vaccine could be approved within weeks, while Moderna’s vaccine sees EU take-up and AZ/Oxford University’s product seems set for UK rollout. In other news, Amazon moves forward in its pharma businesses, and AbbVie scores vital phase 3 wins with its Humira follow-up Skyrizi.

UK BRACES FOR AMAZON COMPETITION IN PHARMA SPACE – Since Amazon launched its Pharmacy service in the US in November 2020, pharma sectors around the world have been preparing themselves for increased competition from the technology giant. Amazon Pharmacy allows users to buy pharmaceutical products through Amazon and receive unlimited free two-day deliveries, as long as they have Prime membership.

While Amazon has yet to announce plans for the rest of the globe, their vast marketing budget and resources could damage competition in a number of areas. This is in addition to the fact that in the UK, drug prices are regulated, so while the company could not compete with others on price, they could do so on speed and convenience. 

JANSSEN’S SINGLE-SHOT VACCINE COULD SEE APPROVAL IN WEEKS – The UK has ordered around 30 million doses of Janssen’s new single-shot vaccine, built on similar technology to the AstraZeneca/Oxford University product. This comes as the MHRA increases its staff numbers to ensure testing of vaccine batches is accelerated from 20 days to only five, in order to roll out vaccination across the UK. 

Janssen’s vaccine has the potential to reach the government target of vaccinating the four most vulnerable groups in the UK by March 2021. The drug is currently undergoing final data examinations following a trial of 30,000 individuals in November 2020. 

UK SET TO FALL BEHIND AS EU APPROVES MODERNA’S COVID VACCINE –  Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine has been approved in the EU, meaning that the UK could fall behind due to separate Brexit drug approval rules. This means that while the EU has secured 160 million doses of the vaccine, enough to inoculate around 18% of its population, the UK has ordered only enough for .5%. 

Modern’s vaccine currently seems to be the most effective, at around 95%, with AZ/Oxford University’s vaccine – which has been approved in the UK – currently at only around 62% effectiveness.

Moderna is in talks with UK regulators regarding approval. 

In other news: 

Clinical

Abbvie finds phase 3 successes with Humira successor Skrizi

Tocilizumab and sarilumab reduce fatality risk in severe COVID-19 patients

Manufacturing

AZ/Oxford University vaccine ready for UK rollout

Moderna makes new manufacturing deal with Swedish CDMO Recipharm

That’s all for now. See you next week!
Joshua Neil, Editor
Proventa International

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