Press review

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Lilly invests €65 million in new insulin production line at Florence site

MILAN, 12 July (APM) - Eli Lilly is investing €65 million in a new insulin manufacturing line at its site near Florence which exports 98% of its production, About Pharma reported on Wednesday.
The company held an event to celebrate its 60 years operating in Italy. In the last 14 years, it has invested €517 million in the site which is at Sesto Fiorentino. The new production line is expected to be completed before the beginning of 2020, About Pharma said.
The group has been making human insulin analogues of DNA recombinant origin since 2009 at the plant. It has grown to employ around 700 people out of Lilly's total Italian workforce of 1,100.
Cristiano Demolli, director of the production site Lilly Italy, highlighted its importance worldwide. "This manufacturing site has attracted continuous investment from the parent company and produces more than 50% of the global total of Lilly insulins and latest generation pre-filled syringes, exporting 98% to around 70 countries, European and non-European," he was reported as saying.
Concetto Vasta, Lilly's public affairs director, emphasised the importance of government institutions supporting his group’s commitment to Italy. "We believe there are still all the conditions for continuing to invest here," he said.

'Marathon' talks for new health pact with regions start

Talks for a new a new health pact with regions, which will decide the programme to be followed in the next three years, started at the beginning of the week, Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Monday.
Health minister Giulia Grillo called for a "marathon" consultation with stakeholders, including pharma, to hammer out a plan (APMHE 63460).
One of the main subjects to be dealt with is management of patients with chronic diseases. These patients face long waiting lists and not all the drugs they need are being reimbursed in all regions.
Pharma and other industries were due to take part in the talks later in the week, the paper said.

Biotech raises €5.6 million for cystic fibrosis study

Kither Biotech, which was spun out of the University of Turin, has raised €5.6 million to start clinical testing of drug candidates for a number of diseases, ANSA reported on Saturday.
In addition to cystic fibrosis, the R&D will be for the development of new drugs for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and other respiratory diseases, the news agency said.
The investors include a number of Italian venture capital firms, including Invitalia Ventures and Business Angel Igeali, which is part of the Italian Angels for Growth network, as well as private investors.
"We have the resources, experience and determination to achieve important short-term goals, in the awareness of the impact our development programs could have on tens of thousands of patients," Emilio Hirsch, one the founders of Kither, said.

Italians can use cannabis for pain relief despite negative appraisal

Italians will continue to be able to use cannabis for pain relief and other therapeutic purposes despite a negative appraisal by a health ministry advisory body, Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Wednesday.
Health minister Giulia Grillo had asked the Superior Health Council (CSS) to look at the use of cannabis in pain relief and treatments and the possibility of updating legislation.
According to Wednesday's La Repubblica, the advisory body told the minister that therapeutic cannabis "is not a drug, it has not been subjected to EMA or AIFA checks and therefore cannot be considered a treatment". It suggested that it should be tested in a clinical setting because there is not enough evidence of its real capacity to provide pain relief.
However, as Il Sole 24 Ore reported in its Wednesday edition, that the health minister decided that this was not advising against use of the drug.
"I want to reassure the patients in treatment and their associations that the advice of the Superior Health Council does not contain negative recommendations. Therefore, the therapeutic use of cannabis will not be stopped and will continue to be ensured under the current legislation," she said.

Chiesi's sales grew 11.6% to €957 million in first half

Chiesi had sales of €956.8 million in the first half of 2019, 12% higher than in the same period a year earlier, La Repubblica reported on Tuesday.
In 2018, sales rose almost 8% to almost €1.8 billion, its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) was €512.7 million, the paper said. The Parma-based group invested €381.8 million, 22% of its revenues, in R&D last year, the 13th highest of any pharma group in Europe. Chiesi has 47 research projects underway and 54 clinical trials.
The company is constructing a new environment-friendly headquarters in Parma. The €50 million building is expected to be completed by the end of 2020, the paper said.
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