πŸ—ž Mosquitoes fight back; 8 new health agreements for Indonesia; A fine for Sun Pharma;

Hello and welcome back to The Friday Kable, your round-up of the most interesting life sciences stories this week.

And what a week it has been with a new anti-malarial mAb showing brilliant results. And mosquitoes trying to fight back by colonising new geographies. In Uganda, the dead are rising from their graves... to spread Ebola. J&J spends big bucks on cardiac implants. RSV vaccines might finally see the light of day with Pfizer and GSK both lining up regulatory filings. And speaking of long-awaited vaccines, it may be time to put gonorrhoea in the rearview. Elsewhere a vaccine institute set up by Merck is making a next-gen version of Merck's Zaire Ebolavirus vaccine. All this and more happened this week. Dig in.

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Negotiations for an India-UK trade deal (FTA) have become controversial after a leaked intellectual property chapter put up on the trade portal bilaterals.orgΒ  seems to put access to affordable, lifesaving generic medicines from India at risk. This is because The UK can seek continuous patent extension through tweaks known as evergreening without being challenged by India. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) worry this rule is beyond the provisions of the TRIPS agreement delaying the availability of affordable generic medicines by years.
(The Hindu)

The end of malaria may be on the horizon after an experimental monoclonal antibody successfully prevented malaria infections in adults for at least six months. The antibody was developed by US National Institutes of Health researchers and tested in Mali. The one-time dose was administered by IV; however, a shot version is also in early testing currently.
(The New England Journal of Medicine)


Indonesia has signed eight health agreements with partner countries on the sidelines of the upcoming G20 Summit. Contracts range from expansion of medical services, mRNA sequencing, research on medicines and vaccines for various diseases, VTDs tools in LMIC, and placement of nurses and a clinical research unit in the country.

Korea's JW Group has signed a research agreement with US-based Kure.AI to develop three innovative anticancer therapies to treat solid cancer using the CAR NK cell therapy and expand the drug pipeline.
(Korea Biomed)

In Sri Lanka, the economic downturn has led to massive shortages of medicines and supplies. Doctors have sounded the alarm for months, but with little or no scope for improvement, they are now leaving the country for better prospects elsewhere.
(Arab News)

Indonesia revoked the licenses of two local manufacturers, PT Yarindo Farmatama and PT Universal Pharmaceutical Industries, in connection with the syrup-based pediatric deaths. Both companies used substandard ingredients in high quantities and failed to report changes in these ingredients. The role of Dow Chemical, Thailand, the maker of one of the contaminated solvents used in the syrup, is also being investigated.

India's Sun Pharma has been fined Rs. 2 crores by the Punjab Pollution Board. The company has been told to reduce manufacturing capacity by 50% after untreated effluent from the API plant was reportedly stored in open ponds leading to groundwater and soil pollution that affected the health of residents.
(The Tribune)

China has banned the import and sale of GSK's Avodart through its volume-based drug procurement programme (VBP)for the next 18 months after GSK's prostate treatment, Avodart failed a recent quality check.

In India, 75% of the corporate workforce is at a high risk of developing diabetes. In addition, pre-diabetes risk is higher at mid to senior management posts (40 and above) due to low levels of physical activity.

Maiden Pharma has failed another quality test.
(The Tribune)


Abu Dabhi's Mubadala Health and Bahrain's wealth fund Mumtalakat are collaborating to set up a long-term care and post-acute rehabilitation facility in Bahrain, operated by Amana Healthcare.

IDH's Jordanian subsidiary, Biolab, is entering a $19.7 million joint venture with Saudi's Izhoor Holding to launch high-quality diagnostics services in the Kingdom.
(Integrated Diagnostics Holdings)


A continent with a demand for vaccines worth over $1 billion annually, Africa's global vaccine supply is at a negligible 0.1%. And Gavi, the vaccine alliance, is set to change the dynamics by drafting a 10-point plan for sustainable vaccine manufacturing capabilities across Africa in line with the African Union 2040 vision and G7 policy commitments.(Gavi)

The invasive mosquito, An. stephensi, usually found in Asia, is causing unusual malarial outbreaks in Ethiopia. This city-dweller specie thrives in populated areas, prompting the WHO to take new preventive actions.

In Uganda, the leading cause of Ebola spread is the dead bodies of Ebola victims exhumed for traditional funeral rituals. One body alone has led to 23 infections and 546 contacts traced from that burial.

The Institute of Human Virology (IHV) has received two grants totalling $7.5 million from the National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute (NCI) to prevent cancer and improve screening in Sub-Saharan Africa.
(Institute of Human Virology)

In a new twist, The Gambia says it has not yet been confirmed that the paediatric deaths from acute kidney injury were caused by sub-standard cough syrup since some fatalities were reported despite quality medication or without drug consumption.With a dentist-to-population ratio of 1:70,000, Kenya is fighting a slow battle against fast-rising oral diseases. While employing dentists is imperative, experts recommend deploying advanced technology and training community health workers to ensure early diagnosis, screening and treatment.

Despite Nigeria's brain drain crisis that has led to a massive shortage of doctors and nurses, medical graduates are still struggling to find employment there.
(Daily Trust)

Rest of the world

The US FDA has rejected Gilead's hepatitis delta virus (HDV) drug, Hepcludex, already authorised in Europe, not for safety or efficacy but for manufacturing and delivery concerns. In March, Gilead faced a similar issue with its HIV candidate, Lenacapavir.
(Fierce Pharma)

Mo₹€ Mon€Β₯

Australian vaccine maker CSL's subsidiary CSL Seqirus is partnering with US biotech Arcturus Therapeutics in a $4 billion-plus biobucks deal to access their mRNA vaccine technology for influenza, COVID-19 and other respiratory viral diseases. The announcement comes soon after Arcturus' mRNA Covid-19 vaccine cleared primary and secondary endpoints in a Phase 3 trial.

J&J is pumping in $16.6 billion for the heart-pumping maker, Abiomed, to boost medical device growth currently languishing in the single digits. The deal is the largest since its $30 billion buyout in 2017 for the Swiss rare disease biotech Actelion.

Connected medical devices in hospitals and homes are vulnerable to bugs and cyber attacks, costing healthcare companies millions in ransom. MedCrypt, a cybersecurity solution provider, has raised $25 million to scale detection capabilities and offer regulatory-based cybersecurity solutions to healthcare providers.


Pfizer's maternal RSV vaccine candidate cleared one of the two primary endpoints in the Phase 3 trial. RSV, or Respiratory syncytial virus, is one of the leading causes of respiratory illness and hospitalisation, and a vaccine is long overdue. With this clearance, Pfizer leads the RSV vaccine race and plans to apply for FDA approval by this year-end.

Singapore's Hilleman Laboratories is collaborating with MSD to develop a next-gen thermostable Zaire ebolavirus vaccine based on MSD's approved ERVEBO vaccine that can be stored in refrigerators. The collaboration aims to create a multi-dose presentation to help facilitate community vaccination, increase production capacity and widen vaccine access in LMICs.
(Bio Spectrum Asia)

Gonorrhoea, a highly antibiotic-resistant sexually transmitted infection, affects 105 million people annually, 80% of whom are women. But not for long. Swiss-based clinical-stage biotech LimmaTech Biologics AG and Australia's Griffith University are collaborating to co-develop and commercialise the world-first gonorrhoea vaccine.
(Griffith University)

Nota Bene

The WHO and World Meteorological Organization (WMO) have launched climahealth.info, a knowledge platform dedicated to climate and health that offers stakeholders and researchers a way to connect, use research data and advocate for action and investment.

FAO has received a $250 million USAID grant to boost efforts to strengthen global health security and agrifood systems. Through this grant, USAID and FAO will continue collaborating with partner countries and stakeholders by implementing the Quadripartite One Health Joint Plan of Action (OH-JPA) to enhance critical capacities that prevent, detect, and respond to emerging infectious diseases of animal origin at the source.

That's it for the week. Thanks for reading The Friday Kable. This post is public, so feel free to share it.

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