Press review


Head of French vaccine committee hopeful about Covid-19 vaccine in Q1 2021

PARIS, 28 Aug (APM) - The head of French vaccine committee Marie-Paule Kleny told Liberation (p.5) she is hopeful a vaccine for Covid-19 will be available in Q1 of 2021, the paper reported on Monday.
She said that initial results in animals and humans were promising but that people should not be too enthusiastic. She added that if trials continue to show positive results, a vaccine should be ready in Q1 2021 and given production capacity, should be on the market by Q2.
She noted that it was possible a vaccine could be available in one country, notably the U.S., before it is available in others.

Promising results for anakinra in Covid-19

Anakinra - marketed by Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB under the name Kineret - has had promising results in treating Covid-19, reported Le Parisien (p.19) on Monday.
In trials carried out in Marseille - south France - it prevented deaths in 12 patients with severe Covid-19, compared to a control group where two patients died.
Le Parisien noted that in severe cases of Covid-19, patients usually die following a cytokine storm a week after symptoms appear. Anakinra - an anti-inflammatory usually used for rheumatological diseases - appears to stop this cytokine storm from happening.
L'Humanité also reported on the story on Tuesday (p.8).

Takeda sells consumer healthcare division

Takeda has sold its consumer healthcare division to Blackstone for over €1.9 billion, reported Les Echos (p.13) on Tuesday (APMHE 68638).
Like other pharma companies, Takeda is selling off its over-the-counter (OTC) division to focus on speciality drugs, noted the economic daily.
With the sale, Takeda is hoping to pay off some of its €26 billion debt, incurred when it bought Shire for €52 billion.
In addition to selling off its consumer healthcare division, Takeda Consumer Healthcare Company Limited (TCHC), Takeda has sold other OTC drugs to Celltrion.
It is planning to sell off at least €8.4 billion of assets this year.

Théa eyes U.S. market via partner Similasan

Théa Pharmaceuticals has the U.S. market in its sites after acquiring a minority stake in over the counter (OTC) ophthalmology company Similasan, reported Les Echos (p.18) on Tuesday (APMHE 68675).
At the same time as using Similasan - in which it will have a majority stake in two years - Thea is carrying out traditional sales representative visits to sell its own ophthalmology products to ophthalmologists.
However, president Jean-Fréderic Chibret said the company will not abandon its traditional European market - where it makes the majority of its sales with 70% in France alone - and it is using its new subsidiary Theo Open Innovation to sign research agreements.

EC signs 80 million vaccine deal with Moderna

The European Commission (EC) has signed an agreement for 80 million vaccine doses, reported Les Echos (p.11) on Tuesday (APMHE 68648).
The 80 million doses will be available for all member states and the agreement includes the option to buy an additional 80 million.
The agreement - which will take effect as soon as the vaccine is proved to be safe and effective - will be funded by the emergency funds Brussels set up June 2020.
The Moderna agreement is the fifth such vaccine-based agreement the EC has signed, after similar ones with Sanofi/GlaxoSmithKline for 300 million doses, Johnson & Johnson for 200 million, AstraZeneca for 300 million and CureVac for 225 million.
La Croix (p.7) reported on the story on Wednesday. On Thursday (p.16), Les Echos noted Moderna reported positive Phase I results for its vaccine (APMHE 68676).

AstraZeneca starts Phase I for potential Covid-19 treatment

AstraZeneca announced on Tuesday that it had started a Phase I for a potential Covid-19 treatment, reported Le Figaro (p.9) in a brief on Wednesday.
The drug - named AZD7442 - has been given to 48 volunteers in the UK who will be monitored to see if it is safe and see how the human body reacts.
Results are expected in the second half of this year and Phase II and III trials will follow on larger scale if the results are positive to test its efficacy.
Le Parisien also covered the story in a brief on Wednesday (p.10).

Teva facing charges in U.S. over pricing fixing

Teva is facing charges in the U.S. over accusations of price fixing between 2013 and 2015, reported Les Echos in a brief (p.16) on Thursday (APMHE 68663).
The U.S. authorities are accusing the company and its associates of price fixing, rigging tenders and allocating customers.
In total, Teva is said to have charged customers $350 million more than they should have paid.
Teva denies the charges.

Bayer to pay $1.6 billion to end contraceptive related complaints

Bayer announced last week that it will pay $1.6 billion to end 90% of almost 39,000 complaints relating to its contraceptive device Essure, reported Les Echos (p.14) on Monday (APMHE 68612).
Bayer said it is in discussions with plaintiffs who have not accepted the agreement, the paper added.
Essure - which was withdrawn from the market in 2017 everywhere except the U.S. where it was withdrawn in 2018 - has caused many complaints from its users.
Several legal procedures on the contraceptive are ongoing in France, with four women saying in February that they want to take the state to court.
The paper noted that this is the second time Bayer is paying out to end legal suits in the U.S. after paying out almost $10.9 billion in June to end suits linked to weedkiller RoundUp.



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