Global Markets

UK Gov teams to aid academic gene therapy developers source vectors

Academics developing gene therapies often struggle to source vectors say the MRC and Lifearc, which plan to set up UK viral vector production network. The Medical Research Council (MRC) – a non-departmental government agency – and Lifearc – a research charity – announced plans for the network and a £16 million ($20 million) fund for the project on May 4. The idea is to provide grants UK-based research organizations can use to expand vector suites or repurposed facilities to make…

Pfizer, Sanofi, Novartis and Merck plants open during pandemic

Biopharmaceutical manufacturing is weathering COVID-19 relatively unscathed thanks to multi-sourcing strategies and newly available transport capacity. The coronavirus pandemic and the social distancing measures used to slow the spread of the virus have seen biopharmaceutical companies suspend trials and revise financial forecasts. Manufacturing, in contrast, appears to have suffered less impact judging by recent comments by leading manufacturers. For example, last week Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told analysts the firms manufacturing sites and related distribution channels operational are operating “without…

COVID-19 an opportunity for outsourcing sector, say leading CDMOs

COVID-19 has increased demand for outsourcing but it is too early to tell what long term impact the pandemic will have, say leading CDMOs. Lonza has received more than 40 inquiries about COVID-19 related projects, says CEO Albert Baehny. He told analysts the pandemic “has already offered some new and important opportunities, which are currently under review.” He added, “Inevitably we cannot engage and collaborate in all of those projects. Instead, we are focusing our efforts on selected key development…

Oxford University latest horse in COVID-19 race as AAV vaccine enters clinic

The first patients have been dosed with ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, an adenovirus vaccine vector (AAV) developed by the Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford. It becomes the fifth COVID-19 vaccine to enter the clinic. Clinical trials of the vaccine, based on an adenovirus vaccine vector (AAV) and the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, began today in healthy volunteers aged between 18 – 55 in Oxford, UK. The vaccine was developed at Oxford’s Jenner Institute and was chosen as the most suitable vaccine…

Sartorius’ strong Q1 shows ‘defensiveness of bioprocess industry,’ analysts

Sartorius reported pronounced year-on-year increases in sales and orders for its first quarter 2020, indicating the opportunities for bioprocessing and the resilience of biopharma amid the coronavirus pandemic. For many businesses, the first quarter 2020 could be described as exceptional; at best subdued, but more realistically unsettling or even disastrous. Since January, the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has led to systematic shutdowns and lockdowns, creating fiscal uncertainty and forcing many businesses to shut up shop. But for Sartorius Stedim Biotech, the…

COVID-19 pipeline: Industry flexing its Abs in fight against coronavirus

From Regeneron to GSK, monoclonal to bispecific, industry is increasingly looking at antibody (Ab) therapies to tackle the novel coronavirus. We bring you a comprehensive guide to what’s in the pipeline. Only six weeks ago, Bioprocess Insider brought to you a highlights reel of the treatments and prophylaxis in the development pipeline to treat COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). But six weeks is a very long time in a global pandemic, and since then new projects have begun…

J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine: ‘Four production plants, one billion doses by end of 2021’

J&J says its Janssen Adeno vector and PER.C6 technologies provide the ability to rapidly develop and upscale production of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate Not unexpectedly, much of Johnson & Johnson’s Q1 2020 financial call was taken up with talk of coronavirus. “COVID-19 is one of the most severe global health challenges we have seen in our lifetimes, but at the same time, we have unprecedented science and technology available today to help us mount a false and effective response,” said…

No official cases but North Korea looks to up coronavirus testing

North Korea has asked for help to increase COVID-19 monitoring capacity and has received reagents needed for testing, according to the WHO. Officially no COVID-19 cases have been reported in North Korea (DPRK). However, only a few hundred people have been tested for SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes the disease, according to World Health Organization (WHO) representative to DPR Korea, Edwin Salvador. “The WHO has been receiving weekly updates from the [DPRK] Ministry of Health on COVID-19. As of 2…

Cytiva on board for University of Queensland COVID-19 vaccine project

Cytiva – formerly known as GE Healthcare Life Sciences – will develop a prototype affinity resin to support a COVID-19 vaccine candidate being developed by the University of Queensland A team from the University of Queensland (UQ), Australia is working on a fast-tracked vaccine for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, using its molecular clamp’ technology. The platform tech, invented by UQ scientists and patented by UniQuest, aims to provide stability to the viral protein that is the primary target for our…

BAT biotech using tobacco to make COVID-19 vaccine candidate

British American Tobacco (BAT) will use its tobacco-based expression technology to make a not-for-profit vaccine candidate targeting the novel coronavirus. The vaccine candidate has been developed by Kentucky BioProcessing (KBP), the wholly owned subsidiary of the Big Tobacco firm BAT. “KBP recently cloned a portion of the genetic sequence encoding the selected coronavirus antigen – a substance which induces an immune response in the body and the production of antibodies,” a BAT spokesperson told this publication. “This sequence was then…