Press review

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Italian company producing Covid-19 vaccine candidate for Oxford University, AstraZeneca partnership

FLORENCE, 1 May (APM) - An Italian company is producing the vaccine candidate being used in trials by AstraZeneca and Oxford University as they move forward with testing, Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Thursday.
Advent is a contract manufacturing organisation which is part of the IRBM research group at Pomezia, south of Rome. It is fully committed to providing expertise and production capacity for the Covid-19 programme to support the subsequent phases of development, validation and production of the vaccine, IRBM's president, Pietro Di Lorenzo, announced on Thursday.
"If all the tests produce the positive results that we are hoping for, there will be a first stock of anti-Covid vaccine available by December to start vaccinating the more vulnerable categories," he said.
The partnership between Oxford University and AstraZeneca is looking to adopt a no-profit model for the duration of the pandemic, the paper noted.
Thursday's Il Secolo XIX also reported on the partnership's vaccine testing programme.
IRBM's Di Lorenzo stressed that developing a vaccine is linked to "a thousand variables" which makes it difficult to predict how long it will take.
"What can be said is that clinical trials are currently underway on 520 healthy volunteers and a clinical trial with 3,000 healthy volunteers is already being prepared," he was quoted by the paper as saying.
He continued: "We are very active in producing and distributing the necessary doses of vaccine for the trials and if these tests give a positive response, we may have a vaccine by the end of September."

Pharma CEO appointed vice-president at confederation of industry

A pharma CEO has been appointed to be vice president of Confindustria as a new team takes over at the Italian confederation of industry, Askanews reported on Thursday.
Francesco De Santis is head of the Italian company Italfarmaco who is also on the board of the branded lobby group Farmindustria, The pharma organisation's president, Massimo Scaccabarozzi, welcomed his inclusion in the new Confindustria team.
"We are especially pleased that one of them is Franceso De Santis who is one of our own, head of a company with a strong exports performance and vice president for research and development (in Farmindustria) which is recognition of our sector’s continuing focus on innovation," he said.
Scaccabarozzi wished the new Confindustria president, Carlo Bonomi, well. However, he also highlighted the challenges that lie ahead for the industry body. He said it may be difficult to safeguard and represent the interests and views of companies at a time of deep recession caused by the pandemic and when there is an increasing "anti-industry" feeling.
According to Scaccabarozzi, many of the appointments to Confindustria are of executives who work in the health sector.

GSK starts compassionate use programme for Zejula in ovarian cancer

GlaxoSmithKline has started a compassionate use programme for the oral PARP inhibitor Zejula (niraparib) for ovarian cancer patients, Quotidiano Sanità reported on Thursday.
The initiative is part of the services the company has decided to provide to patients during the Covid-19 emergency. It is designed to avoid people going to hospital during this period.
Through a partnership with EVIMED, which specialises in preventative medicine, patients can have blood tests done at their homes.
Subsequently, EVIMED will deliver Zejula on the agreed days and times, to adult patients with advanced ovarian cancer, as a maintenance treatment. The schedule and delivery will all be coordinated by an oncology specialist and the reference hospital pharmacy.
Another part of the service is to refer patients to regional centres as a part of the BEYOND (BEtter qualitY Of life by reduciNg Day Hospital access) programme.
Moving patients from injectable drugs to oral therapies improves quality of life for patients and reduces the costs for the health system, Quotidiano Sanità said.
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