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…

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…

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…

Pfizer and BioNTech will jointly develop a third mRNA-based vaccine using Pfizer’s antigen technology and BioNTech’s mRNA platform—this time against shingles.

Under deal terms announced Wednesday, BioNTech will lock up $75 million in cash and an equity investment of $150 million from Pfizer. The German company could also earn milestone payments worth up to $200 million and a share of the profits, according to a joint press release. Pfizer, meanwhile, will get $25 million upfront from…

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…

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) are lobbying the U.S. government to force Pfizer and Moderna to share their Covid-19 mRNA technology with developing country vaccine manufacturers, the organizations said last week.

In an open letter, the activist groups quoted a December report by researchers from MSF and AccessIBSA that identified 100 manufacturers across Africa, Asia and Latin America with the “technical requirements and quality standards to manufacture…

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…

The EMA’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) recommended approval of Pfizer’s 20-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in adults, the company announced last week. Prevnar 20—to be marketed in Europe as Apexxnar—scored its U.S. FDA nod in June.

Pfizer remains locked in a next-gen PCV race with Merck, whose 15-valent shot crossed the regulatory finish line after Pfizer’s in the U.S. but took first place in the E.U.

Emergent BioSolutions has dosed the first participant in an Australia-based Phase 1 trial of its nanoparticle-based universal flu vaccine candidate, the Maryland company announced last week.

The study will evaluate the influenza virus A component of EBS-UFV-001. Emergent plans future studies of additional components that would protect against all influenza A and B strains, according to its press release.

Emergent licensed the shot’s self-assembling nanoparticle technology from…