Current winners of the Covid-19 vaccine race previewed plans for their windfalls at last week’s 40th J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, which took place virtually for the second consecutive year.

Moderna trumpeted $17.5 billion in 2021 Covid-19 product sales and sounded an optimistic note about the year ahead, claiming $18.5 billion in advance purchase agreements for vaccine or booster doses for delivery in 2022. Also, CEO Stéphane Bancel embraced the goal of bringing to market a “pan…

Decreased Shigella prevalence may “partly explain the mortality benefit” observed in children under age 5 who received azithromycin in the Africa-based MORDOR trial, according to a study published last week in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

The new study analyzed samples from child participants in 30 villages in Niger and found a 64% reduction in Shigella infections after two years in those who received Pfizer’s Zithromax tablet biannually compared to children treated with a placebo.…

The state of the fight: 

A booster dose of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin increased neutralizing antibodies up to 265-fold.
  WHO added therapies from Eli Lilly and GSK/Vir to its list of recommended Covid-19 treatments.
  Novartis will pay over $162 million to in-license Molecular Partners’ ensovibep antiviral candidate.



Two doses of Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine reduced the risk of Covid-19 hospitalization by 94% among adolescents ages 12…

Dosing has begun in a British Phase 1 trial of a lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis drug candidate, AWZ1066S, the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) announced last week.

Developed through a partnership between Japan’s Eisai, LSTM and the University of Liverpool, the therapy targets symbiotic Wolbachia bacteria in adult worms rather than killing the worms themselves, an approach that may reduce treatment time and accelerate the timeframe of disease elimination “from…

Merck KGaA will bolster its mRNA contract manufacturing business with the $780 million acquisition of Exelead, an Indiana-based CDMO, the multinational announced last week.

Exelead’s specialties include lipid nanoparticle-based drug delivery technology used in mRNA-based therapeutics, according to a Merck press release.


Sanofi is backing out of a collaboration with Sangamo Therapeutics to develop a gene-edited sickle cell disease therapy, California-based Sangamo announced last week.

The news came weeks after Sangamo touted favorable proof-of-concept data on SAR445136 from a Phase 1/2 trial. In the press release, Sanofi’s R&D chief attributed the move to a strategic focus on “universal genomic medicine approaches.” But BioPharma Dive noted that Sangamo’s product is “far behind” a rival gene…

The state of the fight: 

India granted Biological E’s Corbevax—a low-cost, patent-free vaccine—its first regulatory authorization.
  A J&J booster was 85% effective against hospitalization in South Africa during the Omicron wave.
  India authorized molnupiravir but omitted the antiviral from its recommended clinical protocol on safety concerns.



Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin generated “superior antibody responses” in children…

RNA therapeutics specialist Sirnaomics wrapped up 2021 with a $64 million IPO on the Hong Kong stock exchange, Clarivate BioWorld reported Tuesday.

Based in Maryland and Suzhou, the company’s pipeline includes influenza A and Covid-19 therapies and a Covid-19 vaccine. Its lead candidate is a Phase 2 oncology and dermal fibrosis treatment, per a press release.

Meanwhile, Israel’s BiondVax announced on December 23 a $9.8 million raise from a follow-on offering of American…

The state of the fight: 

Oral antivirals from Pfizer and Merck notched U.S. FDA authorizations.
  Earlier use of remdesivir cut the risk of death or hospitalization by 87% in a new study.
  The Novavax vaccine secured a second WHO Emergency Use Listing.


The AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine starts waning in protection against serious illness within three months of the second dose, according to cohort studies in Brazil and Scotland published…

Nigeria’s May & Baker is set to expand in West Africa by partnering with companies in Ghana and Senegal, local media said Monday.

CEO Patrick Ajahn was quoted at a media event as saying that his company has decided to “pick a few companies that we can partner with so that issues of registration do not arise.”

May & Baker is recertifying GMP at its Ogun State Pharmacentre as part of its expansion, Ajahn added.

Company revenue reportedly grew from $15.5 million…