Press review

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Global pharma bleeds talent to China start-ups

LONDON, 22 June (APM) - Multinational drug companies in China are fighting to hold on to top talent as senior local staff leave to join a booming domestic biotech sector drawing record investment, the weekend's Financial Times reported.
Former chief executives at multinationals including Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson have switched to local companies in recent months as the domestic industry develops drugs for global markets.
They are joining a sector that received a record $11.7 billion of venture capital in 2017, more than double the $5.3 billion in 2016, with about $2.6 billion going to drug developers, according to consultancy ChinaBio.
In addition, Chinese drug companies raised more than $3.1 billion from equity markets last year, and billions more from licensing agreements.

Sarepta shares soar 50% on DMD data

The FT on Wednesday said Sarepta Therapeutics' shares soared over 50% on Tuesday after the U.S. biotech reported promising data for a gene therapy for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). (APMHE 58579)
While the study involved three patients only, Sarepta said the results were positive, including "significant decreases" in levels of serum creatine kinase, an enzyme linked to muscle damage of which DMD patients typically have high levels.
Sarepta already has U.S. approval for another DMD treatment, eteplirsen.

Pharma execs warn on Brexit impact

Pfizer’s UK managing director Erik Nordkamp has warned that Britain could lose its leading position in life sciences because of Brexit and the NHS’s slow uptake of innovative medicines, the FT reported on Tuesday.
Nordkamp’s written comments to the FT came the same day as a number of world-leading pharma companies geared up to meet with UK government ministers including business secretary Greg Clark. (APMHE 58564)
They are demanding more rapid implementation of the UK life sciences industrial strategy (APMHE 56182) launched last year, with promises to improve NHS uptake of new medicines, asking for a “clear and binding legal commitment” on the matter, Nordkamp said.

Recordati family in talks to sell stake in pharma company

The holding company behind Italy’s Recordati family has confirmed it is in talks with private equity group CVC to sell a stake in its pharma company, the FT said on Wednesday.

Shire shares up on U.S. Cinryze paediatric approval

Shire's shares rose on Thursday after it received U.S. approval for hereditary angioedema drug Cinryze (c1-esterase inhibitor) (APMHE 58603) in children, The Times reported.
It said the FTSE 100 pharmaceutical company was one of the top FTSE 100 risers that day, with shares up 2% to £41.04. It noted that Shire has recommended a £45 billion takeover approach from the Japanese pharmaceuticals company Takeda.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval was an extension to an existing authorisation in adolescents and adults. The FDA’s extension means it is the first medicine of its kind available to children aged six and older in the U.S., The Times said on Thursday.

Biotech battle over 'human mice' secrets

Cambridge-based biotech Kymab that is creating a colony of "human" mice, is locked in a 'Tom and Jerry-style' fight with U.S. pharma company Regeneron, The Sunday Times reported.
Kymab, which is backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and counts fund manager Neil Woodford among its investors, is seeking permission to appeal to the Supreme Court in a row over patents, the paper said.
It follows a ruling by the Court of Appeal earlier this year that Kymab infringed a patent belonging to U.S. company Regeneron. A previous judgment ruled that Regerenon's patent was insufficient.
The paper said the legal tussle relates to Kumab's "Kymouse" work, in which it manipulates the genome of mice. Kymab removes the genes that make antibodies in mice and replaces them with human antibody genes.
This means that when the mice are vaccinated, they make human antibodies.
The Court of Appeal suspended an injunction that stops Kymab from infringing the patents, allowing the company to apply to the Supreme Court.
Chief executive David Chiswell said: "If it goes against us, we'll have to go through our fridges and freezers ad destroy or quarantine the mouse embroys. But that won't put us out of business. We can continue doing clinical trials."

Roche takes control of Foundation Medicine

The FT on Tuesday recorded that Roche is paying $2.4 billion to buy the rest of Foundation Medicine (FMI), raising its best on the U.S. genomic profiling group's ability to personalise cancer care. (APMHE 58561)

Pharma earns around $5 billion a year from farming antibiotics

Pharmaceutical companies are earning about $5 billion a year from producing antibiotics for farm animals, The Guardian said on Tuesday, citing calculations by agricultural business analyst Animal Pharm.
The European animal antibiotics market is worth about $1.25 billion a year, and the U.S. animal antibiotics industry about $2 billion a year, it said.
The figures are reported as authorities worldwide attempt to crackdown on antibiotic use to tackle antimicrobial resistance, including in the food chain. The paper accused pharmaceutical companies of continuing to lobby against stricter regulation of antimicrobials, which have a wide range of uses. In a second article the same day, it added that critics have accused the industry of slick PR campaigns about antibiotics in food which muddy the water around a serious public health risk.
The Guardian noted that the global antibiotics market is worth about $45 billion, and so the $5 billion annually from antibiotics produced for farm animals represents a significant revenue source for the big pharmaceutical companies.
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