Merck announced on Friday that it would acquire Brazilian animal health product manufacturer Vallée S.A. for $400 million. Originally founded to produce a foot-and-mouth vaccine, Vallée now also manufactures animal parasiticides, anti-infectives and other vaccines. The company has distribution centers in Brazil and operations in Bolivia, Mexico, Venezuela and Paraguay, according to Merck’s press release.

Mentions: Merck, animal health

Media group Bloomberg launched a month-long focus this week on the pharmaceutical industry with reporting on maternal immunization, antimicrobial resistance, Zika, drug pricing, and an interview with Gates Foundation co-chair, Bill Gates.

Bloomberg gave positive coverage to GSK, Pfizer and Novavax for working on group B strep and respiratory syncytial virus vaccines for maternal immunization, and to the sector as a whole for intending…

U.S. FDA has warned two Chinese drug companies for manipulating testing and falsifying API test results.

One of the companies, Shanghai Desano Chemical Pharmaceutical (Desano), works with ViiV Healthcare to supply ViiV’s HIV/AIDS drug dolutegravir in China and other developing countries. The FDA’s warning letter said Desano “conducted ‘unofficial’ testing without appropriate documentation, justification, and investigation,” among other…

Mentions: FDA, ViiV, HIV/AIDS

MilliporeSigma, the life sciences division of Germany’s Merck KGaA, announced on Tuesday that it will work with the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) to develop stronger vaccine manufacturing processes and expand access to vaccines in low and middle-income countries.

MilliporeSigma will provide funding and expertise in vaccine clarification and purification, according to the company’s press releases.

The partnership will…

India’s The Economic Times reported on Tuesday that Panacea Biotec has launched its type 2 diabetes drug, Tenapan. Panacea’s shares traded up almost 10 percent on Bombay’s stock exchange on the news.

Mentions: Panacea

Sanofi and Boehringer Ingelheim announced on Monday their aim to complete a €22.8 billion asset swap by the end of the year.

In a deal initiated in December, Sanofi will trade its animal health business unit (Merial) for Boehringer Ingelheim’s consumer healthcare (CHC) business. According to the companies’ press releases, Sanofi will incorporate Boehringer Ingelheim’s CHC business in all countries excluding China.

The asset swap…

Mentions: Sanofi, GSK, Novartis, Bayer, Merck

Hyderabad-based Dr. Reddy’s and GSK have severed their agreement to jointly enter emerging markets, India’s business news magazine, Mint, reported on Saturday.

According to GSK, the companies partnered in 2009 to sell selected drugs manufactured by Dr. Reddy’s and marketed by GSK in emerging markets in Africa, Asia-Pacific (excluding India), Latin America, and the Middle East.

In its Securities Exchange Commission report filed on…

Reuters reported on Thursday that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is expected to relocate from its London headquarters to another city because of Britain’s decision last week to leave the EU.

EMA is the largest EU agency in Britain and has been based in London since 1995. Should EMA relocate, Britain will have to re-establish its own drug approval system, potentially leaving new medicines left in “regulatory limbo,” according to…

Mentions: EMA

Gavi announced on Thursday that its board has approved malaria vaccine pilots, a new framework for financial support to countries, and a 2016-2020 supply and procurement strategy.

According to the alliance’s press release, Gavi will provide up to $27.5 million to support the first phase of WHO’s field tests of GSK’s RTS,S vaccine, if other funders match its commitment.

Of particular interest is the impact of three out of four RTS,…

Media outlets reported on Thursday that Inovio Pharmaceuticals has received FDA approval to begin testing its Zika vaccine candidate in humans.

Inovio and its partner GeneOne Life Sciences will test their GLS-5700 Zika vaccine in 40 healthy humans in the coming weeks with Phase I interim results expected later this year, according to the company’s press release.

The Associated Press reported that Inovio is ahead of the National…

Mentions: Inovio, Zika, vaccines

Sandoz, Novartis’ generics unit, announced on Monday that it plans to launch five biosimilar drugs by 2020, creating competition for major pharmaceutical companies.

The planned biosimilars will challenge Amgen’s Enbrel and Neulasta, AbbVie’s Humira, J&J’s Remicade, and Genetech’s Rituxan. According to Sandoz, its rivals generated approximately $43 billion in sales of these treatments last year.

Mumbai-based Cipla announced on Friday that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Russia’s Nacimbio to collaborate on new antiviral medical products for HIV and hepatitis C treatments.

The companies expect a joint manufacturing facility in Russia to be completed next year and drugs to be available on the Russian market from 2018.

Mentions: Cipla, HIV, hep C, drugs

WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization has recommended that countries use a dose-sparing yellow fever shot to help alleviate vaccine shortages.

According to a WHO press release last week, SAGE found sufficient evidence to determine that one-fifth fractional dosing of yellow fever vaccine “could be a safe and effective option for mass vaccination campaigns to control urban outbreaks in situations of acute…

Pfizer announced on Thursday that it has begun construction of a new $200 million biologics and vaccines manufacturing building at its campus in Andover, MA.

The new facility will provide Pfizer with more modern, lower cost single-use bioreactors and disposable process technology infrastructure, according to the company.

The new building is expected to be operational in January 2019.

Mentions: Pfizer, vaccines

Merck announced on Thursday that clinical trials of its commercially-important non-small cell lung cancer drug, Keytruda, have successfully reached their primary endpoint of progression-free survival.

An independent data monitoring board determined that the results of Merck’s 305-person clinical trial showed patients to be more responsive to Keytruda than individuals treated with current standard-of-care platinum-based chemotherapies.…

Mentions: Merck

Novartis and the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) have announced an expanded partnership to develop an antimalarial compound, KAF156.

The compound builds on the success of Novartis’ first antimalarial treatment, Coartem, that was launched in 1999. Coartem was the first fixed-dose artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) and has since become the standard of care in malaria treatment.

Developed by the Novartis Malaria…

Mentions: Novartis, MMV, malaria

Media outlets reported new acquisition activity among generic companies this week.

Fosun made a $1.27 billion bid to acquire Hyderabad-based Gland Pharma. If approved, this will mark the first time a Chinese company takes over an Indian one, according to India’s The Economic Times. Baxter and Advent also bid on the sterile injectable manufacturer, however, Baxter’s bid expired at the end of May and Advent is said to dropped interest.…

Mentions: Fosun, Teva, generics

GSK announced last week that its vaccines division chairman, Moncef Slaoui, will retire at the end of June, 2017.

Slaoui joined GSK in 1988 and previously headed GSK Biologicals where he helped develop GSK’s rotavirus, pneumococcal and HPV vaccines. In 2014, Vaccine Nation included him on its list of 50-most-influential-people in vaccines. In his current role, he oversaw the company’s asset swap with Novartis last year.

Slaoui…

Mentions: GSK, vaccines

The FDA announced on Friday it has approved PaxVax’s Vaxchora, a cholera vaccine for adults ages 18 to 64.

Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said this latest approval “represents a significant addition to the cholera-prevention measures currently recommended by the Centers for Disease Control for travelers to cholera-affected regions.”

Vaxchora is the only approved cholera vaccine in…

Mentions: cholera, vaccines

ViiV Healthcare announced on Friday that it has received FDA approval to lower the required weight for its HIV treatment, dolutegravir, allowing many more children to benefit from the drug.

With this approval, children who weigh at least 30 kilos are now eligible to receive the drug. The previous threshold was at least 40 kilos.

Dolutegravir 10mg and 25mg pills are available to children and adolescents living with HIV, aged 6 to…