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Pharmaceuticals, health and wellness

With less demand for surgical relief during pandemic, Sun cuts poppy production in Tasmania

For many, the sedative power of poppies was introduced by Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, galloping through flowers before falling fast asleep. Those blooms now provide raw materials for opioid painkillers used by the millions worldwide. But like the Wicked Witch of the West, who cast that poppy spell on Dorothy, the coronavirus pandemic has put […]

Moderna eyes beefed-up vaccine production with the help of U.S.-brokered manufacturing talks: report

The feds already had a hand in Merck and Johnson & Johnson’s “wartime” COVID-19 production pact. Now, Moderna is reportedly in government-brokered talks with a potential manufacturing partner. Moderna on Tuesday met with specialty drugmaker Nexus Pharmaceuticals to discuss manufacturing of its mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine at the company’s new factory in Wisconsin, Reuters reports, citing sources […]

On a roll, Gilead snags 2nd Trodelvy nod—in bladder cancer—but Seagen and Astellas have set the bar high

On the heels of turning a conditional FDA nod for Trodelvy in triple-negative breast cancer into a full one, Gilead Sciences has snatched a second green light for the antibody-drug conjugate, this time in bladder cancer. But thanks to competitive data from a rival, pharma watchers have low sales expectations for the new indication. The FDA […]

Federal prosecutors launch Alnylam marketing probe, demanding Onpattro documents

Busy launching several new drugs, RNA biotech Alnylam posted a big revenue increase in 2020—and it expects more growth in 2021, partly thanks to its top-selling Onpattro drug. But now the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating its marketing practices for that very product.  The U.S. Department of Justice subpoenaed the biotech last week, demanding documents that detail its Onpattro marketing […]

India axes exports of Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir, plots boost to local production as COVID cases mount: reports

India is one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of drugs and vaccines, but that hasn’t made it immune to COVID-19 supply instability. Now, the government is locking up at least one treatment for itself. As COVID-19 cases mount—and demand for treatments spikes—India has banned exports of Gilead Sciences’ pandemic antiviral remdesivir, Bloomberg reports, citing a statement […]

AACR: In redemption of the PI3K drug class, Bayer’s Aliqopa leaps ahead of Gilead’s Zydelig in lymphoma

The PI3K inhibitors were once viewed as a blockbuster opportunity in blood cancer. But patient deaths in clinical trials for earlier-line use of Gilead Sciences’ first-to-market Zydelig dashed that hope. Now, in what could be viewed as a redemption of the drug class, Bayer’s Aliqopa has come up with a success safely. Adding Aliqopa to […]

J&J chief Gorsky’s $29.6M pay package prompts pushback from top proxy advisers ISS and Glass Lewis: report

With J&J chief Alex Gorsky’s 2020 pay now on the record, a pair of top proxy advisers are hitting back.  Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) and Glass Lewis put pressure on Johnson & Johnson investors to reject CEO Gorsky’s 2020 pay package worth nearly $30 million, Reuters reports. At the heart of the matter, the advisers argue that Gorsky is partially […]

Vertex CEO Kewalramani collects $9.1M in 2020 pay, less than her biopharma peers

Vertex CEO Reshma Kewalramani took the helm last April as one of a few women leading a drugmaker. Now, her pay package has gone public—and it’s smaller than the compensation collected by her peers. She nabbed $9.11 million for 2020, about half of what her predecessor, Jeffrey Leiden, made his final year in the CEO […]

Did pharma overshoot digital sales rep calls? Study charts decline in effectiveness

A year after the pandemic forced pharma reps to switch from in-person to digital sales calls, most visits are still virtual—and the industry is seeing mixed results. The good news is that in-person pharma sales calls are now in demand by physicians. Last month, 44% of healthcare professionals said face-to-face sales visits are their preferred […]

Cannes Lions Health goes virtual, giving up on a live show this year

The Cannes Lions Health ad festival is officially going digital for 2021. After opening registration in January for in-person attendance in the south of France in June, the healthcare advertising-and-creativity festival hit the reality of the ongoing pandemic. COVID-19 cases are rising again in France, and while vaccination efforts are ramping up, only healthcare workers, people ages 70 […]

Amarin launches Vascepa in all-important Europe as it slowly bleeds share to U.S. generic

A drug’s EU launch seldom becomes more important than its U.S. rollout from a market opportunity perspective, but that’s exactly what’s happening to Amarin’s fish oil-derived heart drug Vascepa. Amarin has started prepping sales reps in Germany for the planned launch of Vascepa—to be sold under the brand Vazkepa in Europe—before the end of September, […]

Furious Acadia takes shot at FDA, alleging sudden about-face in costly Nuplazid rejection

“Very disappointing” and “strongly disagree.” Those are the words Acadia Pharmaceuticals had for an FDA rejection of its label expansion for Nuplazid, criticizing the agency for suddenly changing its mind despite a prior agreement that was repeatedly reinforced over four years of communication. The FDA issued a complete response letter over Nuplazid for the treatment of hallucinations […]