COVID-19 Industry News

Merck Spends $425 Million to Acquire OncoImmune’s COVID-19 Therapy

On November 23rd, Merck announced they would acquire the company OncoImmune, to add CD24Fc, a first-in-class recombinant fusion protein, to their toolbox to fight COVID-19. CD24Fc was recently showed to reduce the risk of death for severe and critical COVID-19 patients by more than 50%. With this acquisition, Merck adds another promising therapeutic to their products to combat the pandemic. They are currently on clinical trials for two vaccine candidates as well as an anti-viral drug. At the time of writing, there have been over 12.2 million confirmed cases and almost 257,000 deaths in the US since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even with the positive news from Moderna, Pfizer and BioNTech, and AstraZeneca regarding the efficacy of their vaccines, they will not be available to the general public immediately. According to Alex Azar, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, vaccines should be available to...
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Merck Spends $425 Million to Acquire OncoImmune’s COVID-19 Therapy
COVID-19 North America

COVID-19: After Lilly, Regeneron Bags EUA for its Antibody Therapy

On November 21st, the F.D.A issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s COVID-19 antibody cocktail therapy and became the first in the United States or Europe to do so. The experimental treatment was given to US President Donald Trump that he said helped cure him of the disease and had trials showing it to be 95% effective. The President received it through the FDA’s 'compassionate use' provision, where unapproved drugs are administered to seriously ill patients who have no other treatment options.   Regeneron’s Technology The treatment works by combining two drugs, casirivimab (REGN10933) and imdevimab (REGN10987), and administering them both in an IV. These drugs are monoclonal antibodies raised against the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The two antibodies create an “antibody cocktail” to seek out and bind to the coronavirus’ spike protein and prevent its entry into healthy human cells. The cocktail is a...
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COVID-19: After Lilly, Regeneron Bags EUA for its Antibody Therapy
COVID-19 Feature

Cheaper and Fridge-Stable AstraZeneca Vaccine is 90% Effective in Preventing COVID-19

November 23, 2020 - As we approach the end of the year, companies working on COVID-19 vaccines have started rolling out data from their Phase 3 trials - first Pfizer and BioNTech, then Moderna, and now AstraZeneca. In an interim analysis, AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford declared today that their vaccine, AZD1222 (or ChAdOx1 nCoV-19), made up of weakened adenovirus packed with the genetic material of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, could fight COVID-19 with an average efficacy of 70%.   Highly Effective This number certainly sounds less impressive than Pfizer’s and Moderna’s mRNA vaccines, which showed an efficacy of 95% and 94.5%, respectively. However, this average number has been derived from two different dosing regimens, one which showed 90% efficacy and the other 62%. The difference lies in the level of the dose administered. In the most effective vaccine group, participants were first administered a half dose followed by a...
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Cheaper and Fridge-Stable AstraZeneca Vaccine is 90% Effective in Preventing COVID-19
Asia Insight Industry News

D3 Bio Launches with $200 Million to Advance Precision Medicine in Oncology and Immunology Space

On November 17th, global biotech D3 Bio launched with a $200 million Series A financing by Boyu Capital, Matrix Partners China, Wuxi AppTech, Temasek, and Sequoia. The funding will support the development of D3 Bio’s portfolio in oncology and immunology to address the current inefficacious medical treatments in an extraordinary approach. The mainstream approach to R&D usually begins with laboratory insights, rather than a standard-of-care approach. However, D3 plans to implement a standard-of-care approach that utilizes existing clinical data to lead to discovery and then returns to drug development. “This cycle of drug development that allows for subsequent discovery and innovation is at the core of D3 Bio. In fact, it underlies our name: Development leading to Discovery that then leads back to more Development or D3 Bio,” said ex-AstraZeneca executive and the D3 Bio’s Co-Founder, George Chen, M.D. “Our mission at D3 Bio is to build a global biotechnology...
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D3 Bio Launches with $200 Million to Advance Precision Medicine in Oncology and Immunology Space
Clinical Trials Industry News

uniQure’s Gene Therapy Impresses in Pivotal Trial Raising Hopes of a Hemophilia B Cure

Hemophilia B is predominantly an inherited bleeding disorder characterized by the genetic deficiency of essential clotting factor IX (FIX). In healthy individuals, bleeding is controlled by the activation of a coagulation cascade. However, in hemophilia B patients, uncontrolled bleeding occurs either spontaneously or after injuries due to the low levels of factor IX. On November 19th, uniQure N.V. announced positive data from its Phase 3 HOPE-B trial that evaluated etranacogene dezaparvovec, a gene therapy designed to treat hemophilia B. The drug is administered through the injection of an adeno-associated virus serotype 5 (AAV5) vector delivering a gene cassette with the patent-protected Padua variant of Factor IX (FIX-Padua), which provides the patient 8x the normal copy of factor IX. “We believe that etranacogene dezaparvovec has the potential to be a first- and best-in-class gene therapy for patients with hemophilia B,” stated Matt Kapusta, Chief Executive Officer of uniQure.   Clinical Trial Results...
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uniQure’s Gene Therapy Impresses in Pivotal Trial Raising Hopes of a Hemophilia B Cure
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INTERVIEW

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COVID-19 Interview

Prof. Han van den Bosch: The Mammoth Task of Vaccinating the World

As COVID-19 continues to snowball into a massive health and economic concern, the world is anxiously anticipating a vaccine. While Russia's vaccine was approved in August, several biopharma giants worldwide have progressed their candidates to Phase III evaluations in a rush to deliver them at an unprecedented speed. Yet, "vaccine development is one thing, vaccination is another," says Prof. Han van den Bosch, a seasoned veteran in the vaccine development space. Dr. van den Bosch is an emeritus professor of "International Public Health" at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. He has held top management posts in the industry in global R&D and has been instrumental in developing vaccines for various diseases. We invited him for a discussion to obtain expert...
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Prof. Han van den Bosch: The Mammoth Task of Vaccinating the World
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INDUSTRY

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Merck Spends $425 Million to Acquire OncoImmune’s COVID-19 Therapy

On November 23rd, Merck announced they would acquire the company OncoImmune, to add CD24Fc, a first-in-class recombinant fusion protein, to their toolbox to fight COVID-19. CD24Fc was recently showed to …

ASIA INSIGHT

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D3 Bio Launches with $200 Million to Advance Precision Medicine in Oncology and Immunology Space

On November 17th, global biotech D3 Bio launched with a $200 million Series A financing by Boyu Capital, Matrix Partners China, Wuxi AppTech, Temasek, and Sequoia. The funding will support …

TECHNOLOGY

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Novel Lipid Nanoparticle Delivery System Enables CRISPR Gene Editing to Combat Cancer

Since the discovery of CRISPR and its application in biomedical research, it has undergone various iterative cycles of design optimization to address some of the limitations of off-target effects and …

NORTH AMERICA

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COVID-19: After Lilly, Regeneron Bags EUA for its Antibody Therapy

On November 21st, the F.D.A issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s COVID-19 antibody cocktail therapy and became the first in the United States or Europe to …

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