MADRID, 4 Sep (APM) - Investment funds from the Persian Gulf are showing increased interest in pharma companies as key target in diversification strategies, daily newspaper El Mundo reported on Sunday.
The state investment fund of Saudi Arabia has bought €8.6 billion in stock over the past few months. Among the new companies included in those operations is Pfizer. The firm has a long-standing relationship with the country and opened a new manufacturing plant there in 2029, the newspaper noted.
According to the newspaper Qatar, "a political rival for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates" is also looking for opportunities amid the global public health crisis. In July, the Qatar Investment Authority, with $328 billion worth of stock in a number of industries, acquired an undisclosed portion of Germany's CureVac, the German biotech developing a mRNA-based vaccine against Covid-19, El Mundo reported.
The newspaper quoted expert Ghanem Nuseibeh as saying: "Pharmaceutical companies have been a target for investment funds from the Persian Gulf at different levels for a long time as a diversification strategy. The new coronavirus has pushed for a reconsideration of direct investments in pharma and the convenience of local manufacturing [of medicines]."
Sovereign funds, which are among the most potent globally, are being diversified beyond oil and its derivatives. Moreover, according to Nuseibeh, an increasing and sustained interest in pharma will be a key trend in the future for these countries.
The recent establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates opens new opportunities in the area of medical industries. The expert said that representatives of these funds are looking for potential investment in pharmaceutical companies globally, including China, Europe and Korea.
Novartis focused on improved drugs' access, environmental policies
During a virtual meeting, Novartis announced that one of its main goals is increasing by 200% the number of patients treated with "strategic, innovative" products and by 50% its "emblematic access programmes", medical journal Acta Sanitaria reported on Thursday.
If these plans succeed, adding up planned new initiatives to improve access, the number of patients treated with Novartis medicines worldwide could be higher than 23 million people, the journal said.
Novartis' chairman Joerg Reinhardt said that these are the key goals of the firm's Environmental, Social and Governance (ASG) strategy. He was quoted in the story as saying: "ASG is a strategic priority for the board."
The company's chief executive Vas Narasimhan, also a speaker, added: "[The firm] continues taking brave steps to deepen its impact on the main global challenges, like drug access and climate change. Establishing these goals as key for stakeholders, we incorporate ASG deeper into the core of our commercial operations and reinforcing our commitment to communicating our progress in a transparent manner."
Sanofi starts Phase I/II trial of Covid-19 vaccine candidate
Sanofi has announced the start of a Phase I/II trial of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate, expecting results by December, financial newspapers Cinco Días and El Economista report on Friday. (APMHE 68760
Both newspapers took Sanofi to their respective headlines, adding that the French company has partnered with GlaxoSmithKline to develop the vaccine.
El Economista carried the headline: 'Sanofi, like the tortoise, moves forward slowly but steadily, trying its vaccine in humans'.
Unrelated, numerous stories about the availability of a Covid-19 vaccine have been published daily in the most important national and regional newspapers, including reports of available vaccines by the end of this year and experts' safety concerns if development is excessively fast.
On Friday, daily newspaper ABC quotes Andalusian health chief Jesús Aguirre as saying that "hopefully" citizens in the region will start receiving the vaccine in December or January 2021. On Wednesday, the same paper carried comments by renowned doctor Pedro Cavadas, who doubts there will be a Covid-19 vaccine available for the population in less than "a few years".
Government supports pharma's role towards economic recovery
Industry minister Reyes Maroto has said that the need to guarantee a strategic reserve of healthcare products, including medicines, has been made evident during the pandemic and that the government will support pharma as a key industry in this regard and towards economic recovery, medical journal Diario Médico reports on Friday.
Maroto added that one of the important lessons from the pandemic is that public and private organisations is effective and key to save lives.
Corticosteroids reduce Covid-19 mortality
The World Health Organization (WHO) has updated its guidance on the use of corticosteroids in patients with severe Covid-19 after clinical trials show a 30% drop in mortality with these drugs, daily newspaper El País reported on Thursday.
Various clinical trials support the use of this family of anti-inflammatory drugs as the most effective treatment option in hospitalised patients with severe Covid-19, the newspaper reported. (APMHE 68639