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Published on 23/04/21 at 10:58am
Top 10 news roundup

Among our top 10 stories this week: A study has found the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to have a significantly reduced efficacy against the South African variant, while J&J’s jab is set to resume across Europe. Elsewhere, Novartis’ MS treatment and AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo’s breast cancer drug have been recommended by NICE.

 1. Pfizer vaccine: Study finds increased breakthrough rates of South African variantPublished 19/04/21

A study published by Tel Aviv University has found an increased breakthrough rate of the South African variant of COVID-19 in people who have been vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine, finding the jab to have a significantly reduced efficacy rate against the mutation.

2. Novartis multiple sclerosis treatment recommended by NICE – Published 20/04/21

NICE have recommenced Novartis’ ofatumumab (Kesimpta) for the treatment of relapsing remitting MS (RRMS) in adult patients for use on the NHS in England and Wales.

3. NICE launch ambitious five-year patient access strategy – Published 19/04/21

NICE has unveiled its five-year plan to speed up patients’ access to the latest and most effective treatments with increased dynamism and collaboration at its centre.

4. Sanofi signs €414 million deal for C4XD oral IL-17A inhibitor programme – Published 19/04/21

Sanofi has signed an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement with C4X Discovery Limited for C4XD’s oral pre-clinical IL-17A inhibitor programme, which treats inflammatory diseases – a multi-billion-dollar market.

5. Merck cease development of $425 million COVID-19 treatment – Published 16/04/21

Merck (MSD) have ended the development of their MK-7110 drug for the treatment of hospitalised patients with COVID-19.

6. GW Pharma’s cannabidiol gains EC approvalPublished 21/04/21

GW Pharmaceuticals has received European Commission (EC) approval for the type II variation application for Epidyolex (cannabidiol), as an adjunctive treatment of seizures associated with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) for patients two years of age and older.

7. EMA to begin review of GSK and Vir’s COVID-19 treatmentPublished 16/04/21

The EMA have begun a review of GSK and Vir Biotechnology’s investigational COVID-19 antibody (VIR-7831) for patients at high risk of progressing to a severe form of the virus.

8. Enhertu now available via Cancer Drugs Fund following NICE decisionPublished 20/04/21

AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo have announced that NICE has approved Enhertu (trastuzumab deruxtecan) for use within the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) as an option for treating HER2 positive unresectable or metastatic breast cancer in adults who have received two or more prior anti-HER2 based therapies.

9. J&J COVID-19 vaccine to resume Europe rolloutPublished 21/04/21

The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine will continue its rollout in Europe, following a review from the EMA.

10. Lilly’s COVID-19 drug has EUA revoked in favour of combination therapyPublished 19/04/21

The FDA have revoked Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of Eli Lilly’s bamlanivimab drug for the treatment of COVID-19, per the pharmaceutical company’s request.


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