Dosing has begun in a British Phase 1 trial of a lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis drug candidate, AWZ1066S, the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) announced last week.

Developed through a partnership between Japan’s Eisai, LSTM and the University of Liverpool, the therapy targets symbiotic Wolbachia bacteria in adult worms rather than killing the worms themselves, an approach that may reduce treatment time and accelerate the timeframe of disease elimination “from…

Japan’s Global Health Innovative Technology Fund announced $21 million in product development investments on Wednesday.

More than two-thirds of the awards will help advance six ongoing projects, while the rest fund four new investments: a leishmaniasis drug from Takeda and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative; a malaria therapy from Eisai, the Medicines for Malaria Venture and the University of Dundee; a tuberculosis drug from Daiichi Sankyo RD Novare and the TB Alliance; and a…

The state of the hunt:

With their mRNA vaccine showing an interim efficacy rate above 90%, Pfizer and BioNTech may have the necessary data to apply for U.S. FDA Emergency Use Authorization this month.
  Eli Lilly snagged the first FDA EUA for an anti-SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibody.
  Indonesia and Morocco laid out plans for Covid-19 mass immunization campaigns before year-end.



Phase 3 candidates:


Takeda announced Monday that it would sell its Japanese consumer healthcare business for $2.3 billion to U.S. buyout fund Blackstone Group. The Japanese company has been selling noncore assets worldwide as it seeks to refocus its business and reduce debt following a $59 billion acquisition of Britain’s Shire last year.

Financial Times reported that Blackstone hopes the move will “spur a series of similar asset sales”—allowing it to ultimately create an over-the-counter (OTC) drug giant…

A letter published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) further boosted the use of a three-drug regimen of Merck’s ivermectin, Eisai’s diethylcarbamazine and GSK’s albendazole (IDA) against lymphatic filariasis.

In a follow-up to a three-year study published in 2018, researchers found only a single microfilaria in one out of 36 people who’d received a dose of IDA five years earlier, the letter said.

The authors told Healio that the new regimen may require “only…

The Lancet Infectious Diseases published Phase 1a/b results last week showing that the novel anti-malarial SJ733 displayed a favorable pharmacokinetic, tolerability and safety profile in study participants. The results support further development of the P. falciparum ATP4 inhibitor as a fast-acting component of combination therapy.

Earlier this month, Japan’s Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT) announced a $5.1 million award to Eisai and its academic partners to develop the…


PLOS Medicine published results last week of a multicenter, open-label, cluster-randomized study that showed a triple-drug lymphatic filariasis (LF) treatment containing Merck’s ivermectin, Eisai’s diethylcarbamazine and GSK’s albendazole (IDA) was as safe as a two-drug combination containing diethylcarbamazine and albendazole (DA) widely used in elimination programs today.

Because small clinical trials have shown that IDA treatment is superior to DA, the combination has the “potential…


Setbacks in large drug programs hit pharma companies last week. First, Johnson & Johnson announced that it is taking a nearly $700 million impairment charge after abandoning its respiratory syncytial virus and human metapneumovirus drug development program, Reuters said.

Separately, Biogen lost more than $18 billion in market value after ending two late-stage trials of its Alzheimer’s disease drug, aducanumab. According to Reuters, the impact of the news on product development…

Japanese companies Eisai and Takeda announced this week that they are opening their chemical libraries to the Global Antibiotic Research & Development Partnership to screen for novel compounds with antibacterial activity.

Institut Pasteur Korea will carry out the testing against bacteria identified as a critical priority on WHO’s global priority pathogen list.

The Access to Medicine (AtM) Foundation published its 2018 biennial ranking today of what leading pharma companies are doing to improve access to their products in low- and middle-income countries.

GSK topped the list for the sixth consecutive time since the index started in 2008, winning praise as the “most access-oriented” of the 20 companies measured and for its “long-standing foundation of projects, initiatives and policies.”

Novartis with its Novartis Access Principles rose…