Press review


Xarelto and Eylea key to Bayer's growth - Spain's head of medical affairs

MADRID, 5 June (APM) - Xarelto (rivaroxaban) and Eylea (aflibercept) have been Bayer's best sellers and crucial in the company's first-quarter results, Guido Senatore, head of medical affairs in the country said in an interview with financial newspaper El Economista published on Thursday.
Asked about the company's sales of prescription medicines, which rose by 4.4% to €4.5 billion (APMHE 67093), he said that the best performing drugs were Xarelto and Eylea. He said: "These are two extremely innovative drugs, which caused paradigm shifts in their respective indications with considerable improvements in patients' quality of life."
Senatore said the company is looking into new indications for both of them: peripheral artery disease and coronary heart disease for Xarelto and improved posology for Eylea.
He added that oncology, ophthalmology, cardiovascular, women's health and haemophilia are also important areas. New biologicals planned to be launched in Spain are prostate cancer drug Nubeqa (darolutamide), tropomyosin receptor kinase (TRK) inhibitor Vitrakvi (larotrectinib) and heart failure medicine candidate vericiguat.
According to Senatore, it is still unclear if the withdrawal of restrictions to newer anticoagulants drugs (NOACs) such as Xarelto in some autonomous regions, will be maintained after the Covid-19 crisis. (APMHE 66768)

ASCO stories in Spanish newspapers, medical journals

This week, a number of daily newspapers and medical journals carried stories about the virtual annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).
On Saturday, daily newspaper ABC reported that a study presented at the meeting found that chemotherapy is linked to higher mortality in patients with lung cancer and Covid-19.
Medical journal Diario Médico's first ASCO story was an introduction to an "unusual, virtual" meeting.
"During the 56th ASCO meeting there will be no attendees from around the world walking through the long corridors of McCormick Place Convention Center, where it has taken place from 2009," the journal reported. In April, the convention center became a field hospital, it added.
On Sunday, EFE agency carried a story with highlights of advances in lung, colorectal and bladder cancer. EFE mentioned Merck Sharp & Dohme's Keytruda (pembrolizumab), the combination of AstraZeneca's Imfinzi (durvalumab) plus tremelimubab, Pfizer/Merck KGaA's Bavencio (avelumab) and AstraZeneca's Tagrisso (osimertinib). (APMHE 67593, APMHE 67608, APMHE 67547)
On Monday, medical journal Gaceta Médica carried a story about a study which opens the possibility for use of precision medicine in children with cancer.

Covid-19 pandemic exposes Spain's lack of vaccine production muscle

Only one company based in Spain is known to be able to produce a potential Covid-19 vaccine, daily newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Viralgen, a company from the Basque Country, is the first and so far, the only one which has planned to manufacture a potential Covid-19 vaccine should it be necessary. Specialised in genetics, the firm is also involved in the CAR-T market, El País reported.
Viralgen CEO Javier García Cogorro, told the newspaper: "Manufacturing vaccines was by no means in our plans. Luk Vanderberghe, from the Grousbeck Genic Therapy Center called us at the end of March to find out who could manufacture his vaccine and escalate production to millions of doses."
That is how the company joined the Massachusetts General Brigham Hospital (MGB), Novartis, the University of Pennsylvania and U.S. firms Aldevron and Catalent in their project for a Covid-19 vaccine. Over the next few months, their experimental vaccine will be tested in animals.
Even though the World Health Organization, pharma and entities involved in the development of vaccines have said access will be equal, the situation with medical supplies at the beginning of the pandemic, with some countries blocking supplies, does not support an optimistic view of the future vaccine, El País said.
Regarding vaccines, nationalism would be a wrong approach, but if you have the means for manufacturing, you can guarantee supplies in your country. Otherwise maybe not, García said.

Grifols to invest €130 million in new plant in Barcelona

Plasma derivatives specialist Grifols plans to invest €130 million in a new manufacturing plant in Barcelona, daily newspaper La Vanguardia, financial newspapers El Economista, Expansión and Cinco Días reported on Saturday.
The company has already bought the land at Llica de Vall in Barcelona, where a new plant of its bioscience division and diagnosis products will be located, Cinco Días reported.

Moderna shares up following inclusion in U.S. support initiative

Immediately after U.S. president Donald Trump named Moderna among the five companies most likely to develop a Covid-19 vaccine, the company's shares rose 5%, financial newspaper Cinco Días reported on Wednesday. (APMHE 67629)
The other chosen companies included in the U.S. government's initiative to accelerate the development of a vaccine are AstraZeneca (with the University of Oxford), Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co and Pfizer/BioNTech, Cinco Días reported.

Spain ranks third by number of patients in Covid-19 trials

Spain is among the countries with more patients recruited in Covid-19 trials, daily newspaper ABC, medical journal Acta Sanitaria report on Friday. (APMHE 67616)
A total of 300,000 patients are expected to be included in these trials globally. Volunteers recruited in Spain account for 8.5% of them, with 25,000, ABC reports.

Merck & Co's Kenneth Frazier: 'George Floyd could be me'

Merck & Co's chief executive Kenneth Frazier was quoted in a story about U.S. prominent executives who have spoken against racism.
In an interview with CNBC, he said: "What the African American community see in that tape is that an African American man, who could be me or any other African American, is being treated as less than human."



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