Pfizer announced on Monday that it would purchase Palo Alto-based Anacor Pharmaceuticals for $4.5 billion. Anacor does not yet have any marketed products. However, its eczema medication, Crisaborole, is presently under review by the FDA and sparked Pfizer’s interest.

GlobalData’s industry pipeline database reports Anacor also working on TB, lymphatic filariasis, Chagas and malaria products. The company also recently completed a Human…

Mentions: Pfizer, Anacor, TB, LF, Chagas, malaria, drugs

Roche filed a lawsuit to Delhi’s High Court on Tuesday against the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) and Hetero Drugs in an attempt to block the regulatory board’s biosimilar approval of Roche’s bestselling cancer drug, Avastin, Mumbai’s The Economic Times reports.

This is the third time this year that activists and drug companies have used India’s courts to dispute access to medicines. Last week, an Indian human rights group…

Mentions: Roche, DCGI, Gilead, MSF, Pfizer

In survey results published Monday by South Korean newspaper Dong-A Ilbo, the country’s biotech and pharmaceutical industries are expected to produce 10 new drugs by 2020.

BioSpectrum reported on the survey and added that South Korean companies have 56 clinical trials in progress.

Global health commentators are suggesting South Korea could be the next country to make a significant contribution to global health product R&D and…

Mentions: GHIT

An Indian human rights group and a U.S.-based non-profit have joined forces to challenge the Indian Patent Office (IPO) over its decision to grant a patent to Gilead for its hepatitis C treatment.

Two months ago, MSF also filed a suit in India to block Pfizer from patenting its Prevnar pneumococcal vaccine product in the country.

India’s International Business Times quoted a Delhi Network for Positive People representative as…

GSK, Pfizer and Sanofi boasted business successes in Q1 2016. However, Merck reported a 1% decline in overall revenue.

Merck’s Gardasil franchise enjoyed a 5% sales increase, but its Zostavax shingles product dropped 28% because of weak U.S. sales, according to Merck’s Adam Schechter, president of global human health.

Meanwhile, GSK’s sales rose an impressive 23% to $1.28 billion, in part because of the performance of its…

Mentions: GSK, Pfizer, Merck, Sanofi, vaccines

The BBC and Voice of America (VoA) reported on yellow fever vaccine shortages this week.

Journalists quoted WHO as saying its vaccine stockpile has run out while responding to an outbreak in Angola that has claimed 277 since December 2015 and now spread to DRC, Kenya and China with potential to “lead to a global health crisis”.

Identifying market failures as a root cause, VoA interviewed Institut Pasteur de Dakar’s yellow fever…

Health policy researchers warned this week that the value to industry of FDA priority review vouchers (PRVs) could drop, if congress expands the scheme.

Duke University’s faculty director of its health sector management program, David Ridley, and Novartis’ global director of health economics outcomes research, Stephane Régnier, said “Congress should be cautious about expanding the voucher program, because increasing the number of…

Mentions: PRVs, Novartis

Sanaria, the Maryland-based biotech focused on malaria eradication, reported this week that its experimental P.falciparum and sporozoites (PfSPZ) malaria vaccine has provided protection for more than one year in 55 percent of people without prior malaria infection.

In a study by the University of Maryland School of Medicine and NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), five groups of 57 volunteers received…

Mentions: malaria, Sanaria, vaccines

Two former Serum Institute of India (SII) employees were accused this week of stealing confidential vaccine information from SII and filing for a patent for their new employer, Hilleman Laboratories.

Dr. Manoj Kumar Chhikara and Dr. Rakesh Rana worked on the MenAfriVac vaccine at SII until their departure in 2011 and 2013, respectively. India’s The Financial Express reported that while at Hilleman Laboratories, the pair posed as…

Mentions: SII, Hilleman, MenAfriVac

Takeda announced this week that it had received $38 million in grant funding from the Gates Foundation to develop a low-cost polio vaccine.

Business Wire, Reuters and other news agencies reported the investment as enabling Takeda to provide at least 50 million doses of Sabin-strain IPV to the 73 countries Gavi supports.

Takeda quoted its president and CEO Christophe Weber as saying, “Takeda is honored to partner with the Gates…

Mentions: Takeda, BMGF, IPV, Gavi

India’s health ministry has rejected Sanofi’s request to waive further clinical trials for its dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia, according to local media.

Dengvaxia is the world’s first dengue vaccine and received regulatory approval in Brazil, El Salvador, the Philippines and Mexico in December 2015.

All new drugs and vaccines introduced in India must be approved by India’s subject expert committee (SEC), technical committee and apex…

Mentions: Sanofi, dengue

Reuters reported yesterday that France’s President François Hollande would push fellow leaders at this month’s G7 meeting in Japan to regulate international drug prices.

The news agency quoted three sources as saying “the issue was now on the summit agenda and health ministers will continue work on it in Kobe in September when other parties, such as the pharmaceutical companies themselves, could potentially be involved”.

France…

GeoVax Labs presented the latest developments in its vaccine program at Emory University’s international conference on Zika this week. The Atlanta-based clinical-stage biotechnology company said in a press release that its vaccine would be a “best candidate” in terms of safety, efficacy, durability of protection and ease of administration. However, additional steps in animal efficacy tests are needed before human trials can begin.

Dr.…

Mentions: Zika, GeoVax Labs

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine awarded this week a worldwide license for a patented Lysosome-Associated Membrane Protein (LAMP) DNA vaccine technology to Baltimore-based Pharos Biologicals that Pharos will use for its Zika candidate vaccine.

The company plans Phase I trials by this fall. Other Zika vaccine candidates from Inovio and NIH are also expected to begin trials in 2016.

Pharos was formed in December 2015 and will also…

ImmBio, a Cambridge University start-up supported by the Gates Foundation, made the news this week when it announced to London’s The Telegraph that it has developed a new pneumococcal vaccine that it thinks will challenge Pfizer’s PCV product.

The company’s PnuBioVax is about to start human trials and could come to market as early as 2021, according to ImmBio. The company says its single-protein based vaccine is cheaper to produce than…

Mentions: Pfizer, PCV

Sanofi announced global vaccine sales growth this week of 8.2% to $719 million in the first quarter of 2016, led by emerging market polio, pertussis and Hib product sales.

Emerging markets enjoyed an impressive 37% increase in vaccine sales, while vaccine sales in developed markets suffered an 8.1% decrease.

According to Sanofi’s press release, its DTaP-IPV-Hib product (Pentaxim) in China and DTaP-Hep-Hib-IPV product (Hexaxim) in…

Mentions: Sanofi, vaccines

GSK and the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) announced this week that they would start Phase III trials of the P.vivax treatment tafenoquine.

One randomized double-blind study will evaluate the efficacy, safety and tolerability of tafenoquine co-administered with chloroquine as a cure. The other will compare incidence of red blood cell destruction with primaquine, the currently approved P.vivax treatment.

GSK quoted MMV’s chief…

Mentions: GSK, MMV, malaria, tafenoquine