Regulations

Pfizer looks to freezer farms and thermal shippers to make COVID vaccine distribution ‘doable’

Pfizer says it is prepped to overcome the logistical challenges of distributing its mRNA vaccine against COVID-19 as it submits an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to the US FDA. Today, Pfizer submitted a request to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of BNT162b2, an mRNA vaccine candidate codeveloped with Germany’s BioNTech, against SARS-CoV-2. The news follows Phase III trial data showing the vaccine has an efficacy rate of 95% and marks a major milestone…

Iovance plant on track for 2022 and lifileucel BLA set for next year

Iovance Biotherapeutics says its new cell therapy plant in Philadelphia is on track to begin commercial production in 2022. The firm updated on development of the facility at the Navy Yard complex in Philadelphia during its Q3 earnings call, telling analysts clean rooms are due to be operational for clinical trial supply production in 2021. Iovance announced plans for the $125 million Philadelphia facility in May last year, explaining it would be used to make autologous TIL products including lifileucel…

CMO deficiencies land Sanofi with CRL for sutimlimab

Sanofi says it is working with its third-party manufacturer and the US FDA to resolve issues raised in the Complete Response Letter. French pharma giant Sanofi has suffered a setback after sutimlimab, its investigational monoclonal antibody for the treatment of hemolysis in adults with cold agglutinin disease, received a Complete Response Letter (CRL) from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The firm stated the letter refers to “certain deficiencies identified by the agency during a pre-license inspection of a…

Bluebird: CMC and COVID delays push sickle cell gene therapy BLA back to 2022

Bluebird bio has asked the US FDA to take a flexible and innovative approach to the CMC comparability data review for gene therapy candidate LentiGlobin. It had been estimated that bluebird bio was aiming to submit a Biologics License Application (BLA) for its gene therapy candidate LentiGlobin (autologous CD34+ cells encoding βA-T87Q-globin gene) in the second half of 2021. But following US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concerns, guidance has been put back by a year, management said on a…

Lilly confident in remediating troubled COVID mAb plant

Eli Lilly has engaged an external firm to conduct a comprehensive independent review after the FDA found data integrity issues at a manufacturing facility in New Jersey. Earlier this month, Reuters broke the news that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued Eli Lilly’s Branchburg, New Jersey manufacturing site with an “Official Action Indicated” (OAI) notice. This came after an inspection in November last year found that processing data had been deleted and not appropriately reviewed by the firm’s…

Novartis awaiting Italian plant inspection for FDA’s Leqvio decision

Novartis is confident of maintaining a December 2020 action date for its high cholesterol siRNA therapy Leqvio despite common COVID-related regulatory delays of three to five months. Earlier this month, Novartis received positive opinion from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for Leqvio (inclisiran), a small interfering RNA (siRNA) therapy for the treatment of adults with hypercholesterolemia or mixed dyslipidemia. The Swiss pharma giant is hoping for the same in the US, with a PDUFA date set for December 31 2020…

EMA committee nod for Orchard’s Libmeldy positive for AGC Biologics

AGC Biologics looks set to start making Orchard Therapeutics’ Libmeldy after an EMA panel recommended the gene therapy be approved. The agency’s the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) recommended approval last week, explaining Libmeldy (cryopreserved autologous CD34+ cells encoding the arylsulfatase-A, or ARSA, gene) slows down progression of the lysosomal storage disease, metachromatic leukodystrophy (MLD). Orchard CEO Bobby Gaspar welcomed the recommendation. He said it “brings us closer to delivering a one-time, potentially transformative therapy for eligible…

Tech used for new Ebola drug key to COVID-19 fight, Regeneron

Regeneron says rapid response technologies pioneered to combat Ebola are helping accelerate efforts to create COVID-19 countermeasures. Last week Regeneron won US FDA approval for Inmazeb (atoltivimab, maftivimab and odesivimab-), its treatment for Zaire Ebola. The product is made from three monoclonal antibodies that target the Ebola glycoprotein, preventing the virus binding and infecting cells. Regeneron created Inmazeb using the same rapid response manufacturing platform it is currently using for RGEN-COV2, its COVID-19 treatment candidate. Shawn Lawrence, senior director, cell…

J&J trial pause does not bode well for viral-vector COVID vaccines, analyst

Johnson & Johnson says the pausing of dosing in trials of its COVID-19 candidate is not unusual, but one analyst believes this could have significant negative impact for viral-vector based vaccines. Johnson & Johnson announced at the beginning of the week it has temporarily paused further dosing in all its COVID-19 vaccine candidate clinical trials due to an unexplained illness in a study participant. This included the Phase III ENSEMBLE trial of JNJ-78436735, also known as Ad26.COV2-S, recombinant, which is…

SQZ Biotech lines up $75m IPO for cell therapy R&D

SQZ Biotechnologies says its technology can produce cell therapies in less than 24 hours compared to a month or more for current products and is looking to use IPO proceeds toward the completion of Phase I development of its lead therapeutic candidate. In paperwork filed with securities regulators late last week, SQZ set a preliminary $75 million goal for its IPO. The Watertown, MA-based biotech has applied for a listing on the New York Stock Exchange under the stock symbol “SQZ.” SQZ…