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MSD's experimental vaccine to be used in fight against Congo Ebola outbreak

The Congo river in the Democratic Republic of Congo

MSD’s experimental drug rVSV-ZEBOV will be used in tackling the latest Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, after samples collected from hospitalised patients tested positive for the filovirus.

Vaccinations are set to begin today in the east of the DRC, according to a senior official at the health ministry as reported by Reuters. The experimental vaccine proved successful during an outbreak in north-western Congo just two weeks ago.

Pfizer to consider stockpiling medicines in preperation for no-deal Brexit

Pfizer is considering joining AstraZeneca, Sanofi and MSD in stockpiling medicines in preparation for a hard Brexit, it has emerged.

The revelation comes as International Trade Secretary Liam Fox suggested that a hard Brexit would be the most likely outcome of current Brexit negotiations.

MSD's ulcerative colitis drug scores expanded indication in Europe

New Jersey-based multinational MSD have announced that the European Commission (EC) has approved Simponi (golimumab) for early dose optimisation in ulcerative colitis (UC) for patients with body weight less than 80kg who do not respond adequately to induction therapy.

The approval follows a positive opinion issued by the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) in May 2018, based on findings from post-hoc analyses of the PURSUIT induction and maintenance studies.

Ferring's heat-stable drug could stop post-childbirth bleeding, WHO says

A new formulation of a drug to prevent excessive bleeding in women after childbirth could save thousands of lives, says a study co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Carbetocin, developed by Ferring Pharmaceuticals, could prove an alternative to oxytocin, which is currently recommended as the first-choice medicine for preventing excessive bleeding after childbirth.

AstraZeneca's Lynparza proves efficacy in first-line BRCA-mutated advanced ovarian cancer

AstraZeneca is celebrating alongside partner MSD with the reveal of new data on the use of Lynparza in the first-line treatment of BRCA-mutated advanced ovarian cancer, showing that the poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor met its primary endpoint and “significantly delays” disease progression – the first such drug to do so.

Novo's oral semaglutide beats Victoza and Januvia in diabetes

Novo Nordisk has released new data for its oral semaglutide diabetes therapy from two trials, showing that the GLP-1 analogue was more effective in reducing HbA1c and weight in patients compared to MSD’s Januvia (sitagliptin) and its own best-selling injectable treatment Victoza.

NICE recommends MSD's Keytruda for advanced PD-L1-positive lung cancer

UK drug watchdog NICE has chosen to issue final guidance recommending the use of MSD’s Keytruda (pembrolizumab) on the NHS for the treatment of previously untreated PD-L1-positive metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in adult patients.

The decision means that the drug is the first immunotherapy to prove its cost-effectiveness by sufficiently backing up its efficacy and to be recommended for baseline commissioning after following its exit from the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF).

MSD’s Keytruda scores impressive first-line lung cancer data

MSD Keytruda has enjoyed the most success of the PD-1/L1 therapies in clinical trials recently and it’s rapidly cementing its position as the leader in the field with another set of stellar data, this time in metastatic squamous non-small cell lung cancer on a first-line basis.

Keytruda was used in conjunction with chemotherapy and managed to hit both its primary endpoints in overall survival and progression-free survival.

Ebola threat intensifies in DR Congo

The Ebola virus

The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo is becoming increasingly serious, after it was confirmed that there was a case of a person infected by the virus in the city of Mbandaka.

The city has a population of approximately one million people and sits on the Congo River, a major trading avenue for the region.

Early this week it was announced that MSD would be supplying experimental as yet unapproved vaccines to attempt to curtail the Ebola outbreak but the situation threatens to potentially be beyond control if it spreads to other cities.

European approval for tablet formulation of Lynparza in ovarian cancer

AstraZeneca and MSD’s poly ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitor Lynparza (olaparib) has been approved for use in Europe, it has emerged, with the EMA awarding authorisation to the drug as a maintenance therapy in the treatment of platinum-sensitive relapsed ovarian cancer, regardless of BRCA status.

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