pandemics

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.

Local media reported last week that authorities in India have moved to unblock construction of a long-delayed new biotechnology park in Odisha State, paving the way for Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) to manufacture vaccines on the property.

Mint quoted state officials who said they had granted “required statutory clearances” and that construction should start within two weeks.

The news outlet also quoted BBIL chair Krishna Ella as saying his company…

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommended granting marketing authorization for J&J subsidiary Janssen’s Ebola vaccine last week.

The EMA noted that the two-dose regimen—unlike Merck’s single-dose shot—is not suitable for outbreak response “where immediate protection is necessary,” and Janssen in a separate press release said that it designed the regimen (Ad26.ZEBOV and MVA-BN-Filo eight weeks apart) for preventive vaccination of at-risk populations.

Still, during the…

Novavax will acquire Czech Republic-based Praha Vaccines from Cyrus Poonawalla Group, the companies announced today, delivering $167 million to the Serum Institute of India (SII) parent entity as SII ramps up capacity for several Covid-19 vaccine projects.

The sale centers on Praha’s currently underutilized biologics manufacturing facility, which Maryland-based Novavax said will provide capacity for “over 1 billion doses” annually of its own coronavirus vaccine candidate. Novavax and…

The European Investment Bank (EIB) announced today that it will help the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and its members investigate potential EIB financing strategies and external funding options for “large-scale vaccine development projects.”

According to the press release, both entities will also explore ways to improve the “overall financing ecosystem” for investments in pandemic preparedness, including the development of a new financing mechanism to mobilize…

Scripps Research announced last week that the Gates Foundation is giving its drug development division Calibr a $50 million grant to produce novel preclinical candidates for TB and malaria, as well as support research for pandemic preparedness, vaccine development, new contraceptives and gut health programs.

The five-year award, which includes support for repurposing existing drugs for neglected disease burdens, brings the total commitment from the Gates Foundation to Scripps…

Seqirus announced this week that the U.S. FDA has granted accelerated approval for Audenz, its adjuvanted, cell-based pandemic flu vaccine against influenza A H5N1 for people aged six months and older.

According to an FDA letter, Seqirus will produce the shot under contract to the U.S. government as part of national pandemic preparedness initiatives, and not for commercial distribution.

In other flu news, Clinical Infectious Diseases published study results this week that…

WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization released the full report of its October 2019 meeting this week, sharing recommendations on supply shortages and key vaccines.

On human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination, SAGE reaffirmed its recommendation of a two-dose schedule in girls aged 9-14. However, the experts said countries “should temporarily postpone” male, older age group and multi-age cohort (MAC) vaccination because of current supply shortages. SAGE said…

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) called last week for bids to develop vaccine-adaptable platforms against future outbreaks of “Disease X”—as-yet-unknown emerging infectious diseases and pathogens.

CEPI’s targets are “16 weeks from antigen identification to product release” for clinical trials, 6 weeks from administration of a first dose to “achieving an immune response likely to result in a clinical benefit,” and 8 weeks to manufacture 100,000 doses—from a “go…

The independent Global Preparedness Monitoring Board released its first annual report today, saying the world has been in a “cycle of panic and neglect when it comes to pandemics: we ramp up efforts when there is a serious threat, then quickly forget about them when the threat subsides.”

Convened in May 2018 by the World Bank and WHO, GPMB’s group of 15 experts called for more leadership by heads of government, country systems strengthening, preparation for worst-case scenarios,…