Cidara Therapeutics announced Monday that J&J’s Janssen subsidiary will license the San Diego-based company’s universal influenza antiviral conjugate (AVC) technology—shelling out $27 million upfront (plus up to $753 million in milestone payments) for exclusive development and commercialization rights for Cidara’s CD388 and other influenza AVCs.

The novel immunotherapies have the potential to prevent and treat “all seasonal and pandemic” flu strains, according to Cidara’s press…


Sanofi announced Wednesday it will invest over $700 million to build a new vaccine facility in Toronto—increasing supply of its market-leading Fluzone high-dose quadrivalent influenza shot in Canada, the United States and Europe.

The press release quoted CEO Paul Hudson as saying that the new facility “will be a key resource to assist against future pandemics.” Sanofi expects the plant to be operational in 2026.

Roche announced Monday that it will buy California-based GenMark Diagnostics for $1.8 billion in cash.

The Swiss biotech will expand its portfolio with GenMark’s molecular diagnostic tests, including the ePlex Respiratory Pathogen Panel, which simultaneously screens for several bacteria and 21 viruses (including influenza A and B, RSV and SARS-CoV-2). The announcement came days after the U.S. FDA issued a warning about false positives from Roche’s own multivirus diagnostic.

GSK and Vir Biotechnology announced Wednesday that they are expanding their existing Covid-19 therapeutics collaboration to include research and development of treatments for influenza and other respiratory viruses, and exploration of up to three monoclonal antibodies to target non-influenza pathogens.

GSK will pay Vir $225 million upfront, increase its equity investment in the San Francisco-based biotech by $120 million, and shell out an additional $300 million if it exercises an…


The Journal of Clinical Investigation Tuesday published positive Phase 1 results from a U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases trial showing that Maryland-based Emergent BioSolutions’ single-dose intranasal, recombinant, replicating adenovirus influenza vaccine (Ad4-H5-VTN) was safe and produced a durable immune response.

Participants who received the investigational vaccine intranasally or via tonsillar swab had significantly higher H5-specific neutralizing…

Vaxess announced last week that the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency have awarded the Massachusetts company up to $2 million to develop mRNA-based vaccines and “other medical countermeasures.” The projects will use the company’s MIMIX smart release patch technology to develop refrigeration-free, single-dose products.

Vaxess has several deals in the works for its MIMIX technology, including a collaboration with GC Pharma to combine the…

The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) released a draft Tuesday of its Influenza Vaccines Research and Development Roadmap for public comment and review.

The 10-year plan for improving seasonal flu vaccines and developing new universal products will also provide “a mechanism for benchmarking and tracking progress” in R&D and will incorporate lessons from Covid-19 vaccine development “as appropriate,” the draft said.

The roadmap is planned for…

Covid-19 dominated the 39th J. P. Morgan Healthcare Conference (JPM), held virtually this week instead of at its customary haunt, San Francisco’s Westin St. Francis. Beyond much coronavirus chatter, the event also featured one major M&A announcement (Sanofi touting its $1 billion Kymab buy) and additional vaccine news from companies including GSK (for RSV), Moderna (for flu, HIV and Nipah) and Takeda (for dengue).

BioNTech CEO Uğur Şahin announced the German company’s plans to…

Russian state-owned conglomerate Rostec said in a press release last month that FORT—now owned by Rostec’s Natsimbio—is aiming for WHO prequalification of its Ultrix Quadri influenza vaccine.

The press release said work on prequalification is “underway” and success would “open up opportunities” in Europe, North America and Southeast Asia.

If successful, FORT would become only the second Russian manufacturer to achieve the PQ quality mark, after Chumakov Center’s yellow fever…


WHO awarded prequalification (PQ) status last week to AstraZeneca’s H5N1 live-attenuated intranasal spray.