Press review

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Drugs to treat alcoholism not effective, says review

Country : China, India, U.S., UK

Keywords :
LONDON, Sep 22 (APM) - None of the five drugs to treat alcoholism has a body of reliable evidence behind it, according to a scientific review published in the journal addiction.
Thursday's Guardian reported details from the study, which looked at 32 double-blind randomised controlled trials representing 6,036 patients, published between 1994 and 2015. None of them showed any improvement in the health of those taking the pills, because they measured only the reduction in the amount of alcohol drunk each day.
Researchers said the pills, including nalmefene and baclofen, had a low- or medium-level effect on the volume people were drinking. The other three drugs studied were acamprosate, baclofen and topimarate.

NICE backs BMS's Opdivo for lung cancer on CDF

NICE's decision to recommend Bristol-Myers Squibb's Opdivo through the Cancer Drugs Fund for patients with advanced lung cancer was picked up by the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph on Wednesday.
Both papers led with the angle that Opdivo was the drug that had earlier been denied to restaurant critic and columnist AA Gill as it had not yet been recommended by the HTA body.
It will initially be offered to 1,300 patients with lung cancer who have already received chemotherapy. They will receive treatment intravenously every two weeks and a month’s course will cost about 5,300 pounds.

Antibiotics not appropriate for ear infections, says NICE

UK regulators have issued guidance saying children with common ear infections should be treated at home with painkillers rather than given antibiotics as part of a crackdown on drug-resistant infections, the Daily Telegraph reports on Friday.
NICE said routine prescribing of antibiotics was not appropriate for middle ear infections and the drugs should only be used if normal symptoms worsen or fail to improve after three days.

New antibiotics needed to tackle drug resistance - WHO

The Guardian on Wednesday carried a warning from the World Health Organization (WHO) that there are too few antibiotics in the pipeline to tackle the global crisis of drug resistance. 
Around 700,000 people around the world die annually due to drug-resistant infections including drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB), HIV and malaria, said Tuesday's Daily Mail, which also carried the story. If no action is taken, it has been estimated that drug-resistant infections will kill 10 million people a year by 2050.

Immunocore receives investment for immunotherapies in infectious diseases

The Gates foundation is investing $40 million to help Immunocore develop immunotherapies for infectious diseases, the FT reported at the weekend.
The UK-based firm has concentrated so far on applying its T-cell receptor or TCR technology to treat cancer, where it has alliances with GSK, AstraZeneca and other pharmaceutical groups.
The new investment by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will extend the reach of TCR therapies to fight infections. The first targets will be HIV and TB. 
The investment was also picked up by the Sunday Times.

Autolus looking to break into Car-T therapies

The FT at the weekend reported on the work of Autolus, a UK-based start-up that is looking to break into the field of Car-T therapies for cancer.
Autolus, which was spun out of University College London in 2014, has received 70 million pounds funding from two recently floated UK bioscience investment groups, Syncona and Arix, and from Neil Woodford’s Woodford Patient Capital Trust. It is valued at about 110 million pounds.
It is carrying out three Car-T studies, looking at a therapy called Auto2 in multiple myeloma and another called Auto3 in two separate groups: children with leukaemia and adults with lymphoma.

Former GSK CEO Witty joins venture capital firm

Sir Andrew Witty, the former long-serving chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline, has jumped into the biotech venture-capital sector, joining Hatteras Venture Partners., said Tuesday's FT (APMHE 54772).
Witty is joining US-based Hatteras as a venture partner. Separately, GSK’s ex-research and development head Moncef Slaoui has joined European venture firm Medicxi.

China's Fosun revises offer for India's Gland Pharma

Chinese investment group Fosun says it has revised an offer for Indian pharmaceutical company Gland Pharma after regulators in India held up the $1.1 billion deal during a time of political discord between the two countries, said the FT at the weekend.
Fosun Pharma said in a regulatory filing that it would lower the stake it planned to take in the company from 86 to 74%, below the threshold needed for certain regulatory approval in India.

Alnylam shares up on positive data for RNAi drug

Alynlam shares were up 22% in pre-market trading on Wednesday after a trial success for its 'RNA interference', or RNAi, drug patisiran, reported that day's FT.
Alnylam and its partner Sanofi said they would seek to file the drug with regulators in the U.S. and elsewhere, putting them on track to win the first ever approval for an RNAi medicine.
The drug was tested in patients with a rare nerve disease known as familial amyloid polyneuropathy, and was found to significantly reduce nerve damage compared to a placebo, the company said.

Pfizer sues J&J over tactics to block biosimilar Remicade

Pfizer has sued Johnson & Johnson for using 'anti-competitive practices' to stifle access to a biosimilar version of arthritis drug Remicade, said the FT on Wednesday.
The lawsuit alleges J&J violated federal antitrust laws by signing 'exclusionary contracts' with health insurers to ensure its medicine, Remicade, was given preferential treatment over Pfizer's version of the drug, known as Inflectra.
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