Press review

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Takeda Italy completes integration of Shire, plans €50 million investment in plasma-derived business

FLORENCE, 24 Apr (APM) - Takeda Italy has completed integrating Shire's operation into its own and outlined its plans for the future including a €50 million investment in its plasma-derived business, La Repubblica reported on Thursday.
The combined operation in the country has a portfolio of more than 40 drugs for rare diseases, 900 employees and the prospect of launching 17 new therapies over the next five years, the paper said.
The Japanese group has a global presence in over 80 countries with an aggregate turnover of over $30 billion and it operates in a wide range of therapeutic areas: oncology, gastrointestinal diseases, neuroscience, rare diseases, plasma-derived therapies and vaccines.
Takeda Italy's CEO, Rita Cataldo, described the merger as "the union of two key pharma players" and an opportunity for new treatments for patients and healthcare professionals as well as for the development and growth of professionals and the healthcare sector.
She said: "Our factory in Rieti, one of the most important Italian biotech production sites with a worldwide expertise in the alcohol fractionation of plasma, will soon undergo a new significant expansion after the approval of a €50 million investment plan to increase plasma production capacity to 4 million litres a year by 2023."
The paper also noted that Takeda is part of initiatives in the plasma field to combat the coronavirus. The group has started a collaboration with other leading global companies in the processing of plasma to accelerate the development of a potential therapy based on hyperimmune immunoglobulins for the treatment of patients with Covid-19, La Repubblica said.

Sanofi appoints new country manager in Italy

Sanofi has appointed Marcello Cattani to be the new country lead and general manager in Italy, Askanews reported on Wednesday.
He takes over from Hubert de Ruty who will now head the general medicines business unit of Sanofi France.
Cattani has worked in Sanofi since 2015, after stints at Procter & Gamble Pharma and Bristol-Myers Squibb where he built up experience in various specialist areas including immunology, cardiovascular and metabolic, oncology and haematology.

Number of recovered Covid-19 patients overtakes infections for first time

Italy reported a higher number of patients recovering from Covid-19 in a day than the number of new infections, the first time it has happened since the beginning of the epidemic, according to Friday's Il Sole 24 Ore.
There were 2,646 new infections reported in the latest bulletin published on Thursday compared with more than 3,000 patients reported to have recovered. Four regions had no new deaths and the number of people currently infected fell significantly.
Health minister Roberto Speranza described the figures as encouraging signs. "It is important because it shows the measures adopted are working and the sacrifice of so many Italians is taking us in the right direction," he said.
Italy is due to end lockdown on 4 May but the authorities have warned that it will not mean everything opens up at the same time, the paper said. Schools are not expected to be allowed to start again and everyone will be expected to continue wearing a mask when out of their homes.

Pharmacy/motorcyclists partner for medicines home delivery service

Trade association Federfarma has joined forces with the Italian Motorcycling Federation (IMF) to improve and expand a medicines home delivery service, according to Thursday's Il Sole 24 Ore.
A toll-free number has been provided for patients so that they can continue to be supplied with medications during the lockdown. "It is only intended for non-urgent cases and is reserved for people who are unable to go to the pharmacy, due to disabilities, serious illness or because they are in quarantine (but who are not positive to Covid-19), and have no one to ask to do it for them," the partners said.
The members of the motorcycle federation, all of whom will be working as volunteers, will be linked up to individual pharmacies for the home delivery of medicines.

Rare diseases groups call for €1.2 billion funding during Covid-19 crisis

Rare diseases groups have called for €1.2 billion of funding to be made available during the Covid-19 crisis to ensure vulnerable patients are not left behind, Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Monday.
A group of parliamentarians want an amendment in legislation currently being debated to close a tax loophole for heated tobacco products. Currently, they are taxed at 75% less than ordinary tobacco products even though they are not recognised by national and international health authorities as having any lower risk than traditional cigarettes, the paper said.
The proposal is for heated tobacco products to be taxed at the same rate. This would allow for €1.2 billion to be provided for rare disease patients during the pandemic so that they can continue to be cared for and treated with the appropriate therapies.
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