Health News Roundup: Moderna expects to price its COVID vaccine at about $130 in the US; Biden signs bill requiring declassification of COVID origins information and more
Gordon, a Republican, signed the law as a federal judge in Texas considers ordering a nationwide ban on the abortion pill mifepristone in response to a lawsuit by anti-abortion groups. US FDA to take steps to help gene therapies get accelerated approval The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is moving to optimize the development of gene therapies, including encouraging the use of biomarkers to help get accelerated approval of therapies for serious conditions, an agency official said.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Moderna expects to price its COVID vaccine at about $130 in the US
Moderna Inc expects to price its COVID-19 vaccine at around $130 per dose in the U.S. going forward as purchases move to the private sector from the government, the company’s president Stephen Hoge said in an interview on Monday. “There are different customers negotiating different prices right now, which is why it's a little bit complicated,” Hoge said ahead of a Congressional hearing run by Democratic U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders on Moderna’s pricing plans.
Biden signs bill requiring declassification of COVID origins information
U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday signed a bill that requires declassification of information related to the origins of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, the White House said. Biden said he shared Congress' goal of releasing as much information as possible about the origin of COVID-19.
Vaccine makers prep bird flu shot for humans 'just in case'; rich nations lock in supplies
Some of the world's leading makers of flu vaccines say they could make hundreds of millions of bird flu shots for humans within months if a new strain of avian influenza ever jumps across the species divide. One current outbreak of avian flu known as H5N1 clade 220.127.116.11b has killed record numbers of birds and infected mammals. Human cases, however, remain very rare, and global health officials have said the risk of transmission between humans is still low.
BioNTech signs deal to co-develop OncoC4's cancer drug
Germany's BioNTech SE said on Monday that it signed a deal with privately held OncoC4 Inc to co-develop and commercialize its cancer antibody drug candidate. OncoC4 will get a $200 million upfront payment and is eligible to receive development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments as well as double-digit tiered royalties.
FDA staff says safety issues with Biogen's ALS drug to not prevent approval
The U.S. health regulator's staff said on Monday safety issues with Biogen Inc's drug to treat an ultra-rare form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, should not prevent its accelerated approval. A panel of outside advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday will closely scrutinize mixed efficacy data from the drug's late-stage trial and vote on the drug's effectiveness, and if reduction of a key protein related to the disease is enough to conclude that it may benefit ALS patients.
Pressure rises on Bayer chair as DWS criticises excess board seats
Asset manager DWS on Monday joined in criticism of the multiple board commitments of Bayer's chairman, adding to upheaval at the drugmaker, which is the target of activist investors in the run-up to a change of CEO on June 1. Hendrik Schmidt, a corporate governance expert at Germany's DWS, told Reuters that his questions at Bayer's annual shareholder meeting on April 28 will include whether Chairman Norbert Winkeljohann plans reduce the number of board positions he holds.
Brazil court to rule on cannabis cultivation, may open door to planting
A Brazilian appeals court has agreed to rule on whether companies and farmers can plant cannabis in the country, which could open the door to legal cultivation for medicinal and industrial purposes after legislative efforts stalled in recent years. The decision by the Superior Court of Justice (STJ), Brazil's top appeals court for non-constitutional matters, was made public on March 14 and established its jurisdiction for a nationwide precedent regarding the import of seeds and planting of cannabis.
Britain reports case of atypical mad cow disease
Britain has reported a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly called mad cow disease, in the southwestern county of Cornwall, the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) said on Monday. The case of the case of atypical H-type BSE was confirmed in a 17-year-old indigenous cow on a beef suckler farm, WOAH said in a note, citing information from the British authorities.
Wyoming governor signs law outlawing use of abortion pills
Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon on Friday signed into law a bill outlawing the use or prescription of medication abortion pills that was passed by the state's Republican-controlled legislature earlier this month. Gordon, a Republican, signed the law as a federal judge in Texas considers ordering a nationwide ban on the abortion pill mifepristone in response to a lawsuit by anti-abortion groups.
US FDA to take steps to help gene therapies get accelerated approval
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is moving to optimize the development of gene therapies, including encouraging the use of biomarkers to help get accelerated approval of therapies for serious conditions, an agency official said. Biomarkers, such as pulse and blood pressure, are characteristics of the body that you can measure. The FDA will support using biomarkers as substitutes for other biological indicators in gene-therapy clinical trials to help clinch "accelerated approval", the agency's Peter Marks said on Monday.
(With inputs from agencies.)
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