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Manufacturing and Production


UK universities join forces for early-stage COVID-19 therapy testing platform

A coalition of UK universities have come together to build a new clinical trial and drug testing platform to evaluate early efficacy of potential therapies for the treatment of COVID-19, it has been announced.

The group of partners includes the University of Liverpool, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Southampton Clinical Trials Unit, University of Southampton and Lancaster University, among other partners. Together, they have revealed AGILE, a platform which aims to provide a “proof of confidence engine” to determine the efficacy of potential novel coronavirus therapies.

Scientists urge World Health Organization to reconsider stance on COVID-19 airborne spread

239 scientists from over 30 countries are urging the World Health Organization to put more focus on assessing the possible airborne spread of COVID-19.

Ahead of their upcoming paper, “It is time to address airborne transmission of COVID-19,” the group of scientists sent a letter outlining the evidence that smaller particles of the virus can infect people while airborne.

Emergent forges five-year partnership to produce one billion doses of Janssen's COVID-19 vaccine

As many pharma firms move to secure upscaled manufacturing capacity for their potential COVID-19 vaccines, Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen has done the same through a new deal with Emergent BioSolutions to manufacture the active pharmaceutical ingredients for the former’s adenovirus-based vaccine candidate for COVID-19.

This new agreement will last five years, the first two of which are valued at around $480 million, and follows the $135 million partnership forged between the two companies in April for drug substance manufacturing technology transfer services and capacity, with a g

Johnson & Johnson cuts price of anti-TB medicine in poorer countries

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Johnson & Johnson have announced that it will cut the price of its tuberculosis drug Bedaquiline, sold under the brand name Sirturo.

The price will be cut from $400 to $340 for a six month treatment in low to middle income countries, which will include 135 nations. This comes to about $1.50 per day for treatment. This could lead to estimated savings of $16 million for national tuberculosis programs according to the Stop TB Partnership.

Jonathan Sackler, co-owner of Purdue Pharma, dies from cancer

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Jonathan Sackler, son of Purdue Pharma founder Raymond Sackler, died on 30 June from cancer, according to the company. He was 65.

Jonathan served as an executive board member for Purdue but had recently stepped down, while retaining his ownership of the company. He had also been Vice President in the past, but was not as involved as his brother Richard who was Chief Executive.

Tesla to offer "microfactories" to scale up production of CureVac's potential COVID-19 vaccine

Image credit: JD Lasica,

Electric car firm Tesla has announced it will be supplying mobile molecular printer capacity to German firm CureVac, and possibly others, to help scale up manufacture of its potential COVID-19 vaccine.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk made the announcement personally over Twitter on 1 July, tweeting: “Tesla, as a side project, is building RNA microfactories for CureVac & possibly others.”

Top Ten most popular articles on this week

Gilead features prominently in the news this week, as the US bought most of the world’s stock of the company’s drug remdesivir, which is one of the only drugs proven to treat COVID-19, while announcing it will charge $2,340 for a 5 day course of the treatment.

India to go ahead with human trials of COVID-19 vaccine in July

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A trial of a new Indian made vaccine will begin testing in humans from July.

The vaccine is called Covaxin and has been developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with India’s National Institute of Virology and the Indian Council of Medical Research.

Roche's Phesgo combo secures US approval for metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer

The FDA has awarded marketing authorisation in the US to Roche’s Phesgo, a combination of subcutaneously injected Herceptin (trastuzumab) with hyaluronidase, alongside intravenous chemotherapy in the treatment of early and metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer.

The US regulator moved to approve the therapy based on Phase 3 data demonstrating Phesgo generated non-inferior levels of Perjeta in the blood during a dosing interval compared to intravenous Perjeta alone, hitting its trial’s primary endpoint.

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