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UK MPs call for Brexit priority over pharma industry

A new report published by the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee has called for the UK government to ensure that the pharmaceutical industry is aligned as closely as possible to European regulation post-Brexit.

The call is the most direct recommendation yet, from within government, for what the pharmaceutical industry has been asking for since Brexit was first announced.

Roche gets NICE approval for advanced bladder cancer

Though trial results for Tecentriq (atezolizumab) may not necessarily be going Roche’s way, after a combination treatment failure, the treatment is still gaining ground with regulators for its initial treatment focus in bladder cancer.

NICE has announced that the immunotherapy will be made available for patients with advanced bladder cancer as a second-line treatment.

How to treat colds? Target the person, not the virus

Researchers from Imperial College London have discovered how to interfere with one of the building blocks that allows the common cold to replicate rapidly in the human body.

In a different way of approaching the complicated issue of trying to combat the rhinovirus, the therapy works by targeting the host’s cells instead of the virus.

In particular, it targets the N-myristoyltransferase (NMT) protein, which the virus needs to construct a protein ‘shell’ to protect the virus genome.

FDA issues warning letter over potential for poisoning at India plant

The FDA has noted a number of failings at a plant in Gujarat, India, but mostly significantly was the finding that the company had failed to test for diethylene glycol (DEG) in the components of its drugs.

It was actually a massive case of DEG poisoning in 1937 that led to the FDA known today, after the deaths of 105 people in the US led to the introduction of the Federal, Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act the following year.

Smell test targets asymptomatic malaria carriers

Asymptomatic carriers of malaria may be responsible for the onwards transmission of up to 90% of cases, highlighting the importance of a new method of quickly identifying these individuals. Current tests can be unreliable or simply not carried out, if there are no symptoms.

However, new research has been able to identify these individuals far more reliably than conventional screening methods.

Emergex secures funds in race to develop universal flu vaccine

UK-based biotech, Emergex Vaccines, has received £1 million to push its universal flu vaccine through preclinical tests, in the hope of progressing the candidate through to the clinic as quickly as possible.

The biotech will receive £979,318 as part of Innovate UK’s mandate of working with people, companies and partner organisation to drive science and technology innovations.

Takeda financials show why the Shire deal was needed

After posting its financials from 2017 and its guidance for the year to come, it’s clear to see why Takeda needed to inject some growth into the company through its mega-merger with Shire.

It performed well in 2017, with operating profit soaring by 55.1% on the previous year but this was partially based on the sale of its stake in Wako Pure Chemicals Industries for $1.7 billion.

Pharma unfazed by Trump price-reduction proposals

IMAGE: Michael Vadon

President Trump’s speech on Friday afternoon had been long-anticipated, ever since he was elected and then hammered the pharma industry with talk over how it was “getting away with murder”.

The moment of truth arrived on how drastically Trump would target the industry and the answer turned out to be only in minor ways.

Trump’s rhetoric was still fierce, “The drug lobby is making an absolute fortune at the expense of American consumers – no industry spends more on lobbying than the pharmaceutical health products industry.”

Top Ten most popular articles on this week

It’s been a week in which one of the largest pharmaceutical takeovers in history took place and yet it’s not the most talked about event of the week nor our biggest story of the week.

The reason? Well, when you have a perfect storm of a big pharma company, an under-the-table deal and President Trump all involved in a single story, it’s probably going to blow everything else out of the water.

Read our the week's ten most popular articles on now:

AZ’s Fasenra stumbles in P3 for COPD

AstraZeneca’s Fasenra arrived later on the scene than GSK rival med, Nucala, and so it needed to quickly rack up indications to mount a serious challenge – in COPD, at least, that looks more unlikely after the treatment wasn’t able to meet its primary endpoints in a Phase 3 trial.

Fasenra is already approved to treat severe eosinophilic asthma in major markets around the world but was hoping to add to this with an expansion into treating exacerbations in those with moderate to very severe COPD.

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