Press review

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Takeda joins pharma 'top 10' with Shire acquisition - Spanish newspaper

MADRID, 21 Aug (APM) - The acquisition of Shire has pushed Takeda up in the pharma ranking, within the global 'top 10' and made it the leading company in rare diseases, medical journal Diario Médico reported on Saturday.
The company heads the biotech CoVIg-19 alliance to develop a plasma-derived therapy for Covid-19 and has the potential to launch 12 new products by 2024. (APMHE 66858)
According to Stefanie Granado, Takeda head in Spain, the alliance is an unprecedented collaboration to face the challenges of the new pandemic. Speaking to the journal, Granado said that the current situation calls for "audacious moves" like this.
She said the immunoglobulin (H-Ig) developed by the alliance could become one of the options of early treatment for patients at risk of developing severe complications from Covid-19.
The production plan will allow availability if the therapy is eventually approved. The only potential problem is a shortage in plasma donation, she added.
Takeda is also carrying out repurposing studies of its hereditary angioedema drug Firazyr (icatibant) to treat Covid-19, she told Diario Médico.
The company's R&D is mainly devoted to oncology, gastroenterology, rare diseases and neurosciences, with 18% of sales invested in these areas (a three-fold increase over the past five years) and a portfolio of 40 potential new drugs, out of which 12 are expected to be launched by 2024.
Takeda is looking into expanding the indications of Hodgkin's lymphoma drug Adcetris (brentuximab vedotin) and preparing for the launch of Ninlaro (ixazomib) in multiple myeloma. Alunbrig (brigatinib) in advanced ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), has already been approved in Europe, pending pricing talks for its reimbursement in Spain.
Granado told Diario Médico that Spain is key for Takeda in terms of R&D, with more than 60 trials involving nearly 1,000 patients, many of whom suffer from rare diseases.
She added that the company is committed to finding new ways of making innovative treatments available and offered its risk-sharing agreement for the reimbursement of allogeneic MSC therapy Alofisel.

Risk of widespread use of anti-parasitic drug ivermectin

Fears of the new coronavirus has made some people get shots of anti-parasitic drug ivermectin (brand name Ivera) which was developed for animal health, with potential severe side effects, ABC reported on Sunday.
South American countries are incorporating it into their clinical Covid-19 guidelines, it added. "Researchers all over the world are appalled by the risks of using the drug massively and without control," it said.
Similarly to what happened with hydroxychloroquine, there are no solid data about the efficacy of ivermectin in Covid-19.
Spanish researchers from the Global Health Institute in Barcelona (ISGlobal) and the University of Navarra are currently assessing the safety and efficacy of one high, safe dose of the drug at early disease stages to reduce the viral load.
The trial started after the end of the nationwide confinement, when finding patients was not easy, but with the outbreaks that followed the first local festivities in Pamplona in July, the project reached the needed patient population, the newspaper added.

Spanish trials of Covid-19 vaccine to start soon

On Wednesday, daily newspapers ABC, La Razón and Europa Press agency quoted science minister Pedro Duque as saying that trials of Covid-19 vaccines would start soon with patients in Spain. Duque would not specify which vaccine he was talking about.
All potential approved vaccines will "of course" be available in Spain according to Duque, La Razón reported.
Pedro Duque said that Spain is a member of the European consortium to acquire vaccines, where the country "plays an enormously important role", La Razón added.

Launch of Sinopharm's coronavirus vaccine possible by year end

Chinese state-backed Sinopharm's Covid-19 vaccine could be available by the end of this year, daily newspapers ABC, El País, La Razón, La Vanguardia and medical journal Diario Médico reported on Tuesday. (APMHE 68590)
Two shots will be sold at €121, El País reported. ABC quoted local reports as saying that the vaccine will be available once Phase III trials are complete.

J&J buys U.S. Momenta for €5.4 billion

Johnson & Johnson is buying U.S. biotech Momenta for €5.4 billion, daily newspaper El Español, Europa Press agency, financial newspapers Expansión, Cinco Días, medical journal El Médico Interactivo and a number of regional newspapers reported on Thursday. (APMHE 68591)

Roche and Regeneron join forces to triple production of Covid-19 therapy

The production of antibody cocktail REGN-COV2, for Covid-19 will be more than tripled thanks to an agreement between Roche and Regeneron, financial newspaper El Economista reported on Tuesday. (APMHE 68587)
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