Health News Roundup: Pfizer's COVID outlook cuts hit other vaccine maker shares; Lonza says has capacity to fill GLP-1 weight loss drugs and more
The drugmaker says Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) also recommended the approval for extending dosing of the drug to 200 days from 100 days, following a type of transplant in adult patients. Norway reports bird flu outbreak in backyard poultry Norway has reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza, commonly called bird flu, among poultry in the northern part of the country, the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) said on Tuesday.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
J&J to restructure orthopedic business after medical device sales miss
Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday said it has embarked on a two-year restructuring program for its orthopedics business after third-quarter medical devices sales fell short of Wall Street expectations, reflecting the company's narrowed focus since spinning off its consumer health unit. J&J said it plans to exit certain markets and stop selling some orthopedic products as part of the restructuring program.
Rite Aid files for bankruptcy faced with high debt, opioid lawsuits
Debt-laden U.S. drugstore chain Rite Aid filed for bankruptcy protection late on Sunday and said it would close underperforming stores, sell its pharmacy benefit company Elixir and resolve lawsuits over its sale of addictive opioid medications. Rite Aid, one of the largest U.S. pharmacy retailers, stumbled under its high debt, revenue declines, increased competition, and opioid litigation, according to its court filings.
Pfizer's COVID outlook cuts hit other vaccine maker shares
Pfizer set off a fresh round of concern about the size of the U.S. COVID-19 vaccine and treatment market in the long term, driving down shares on Monday of its German partner BioNTech and smaller rival Moderna. Vaccine makers are depending on the U.S. market as many countries have more limited yearly campaigns for giving updated shots. For BioNTech, Moderna, and Novavax, COVID vaccines remain their only approved products.
Merck's Keytruda gets FDA nod for expanded use in lung cancer
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved the expanded use of Merck & Co's blockbuster immunotherapy Keytruda in early-stage patients with non-small cell lung cancer who can get their tumors removed surgically. The U.S. health regulator's approval extends Keytruda's use in combination with chemotherapy as a treatment given before surgery to shrink the size of the tumor in patients.
Moderna reaffirms annual COVID vaccine sales forecast
Moderna on Monday reaffirmed its forecast of $6 billion to $8 billion in COVID vaccine sales for the year, after rival Pfizer slashed forecast for its vaccine last week. Moderna said it will have "improved visibility" about the expected U.S. market size for vaccines after observing trends through October 2023.
Lonza says has capacity to fill GLP-1 weight loss drugs
Lonza said on Tuesday it has capacity to fill syringes to serve makers of highly popular new weight-loss drugs in a class known as GLP-1, though it does not produce the active ingredient in those drugs. The Swiss drug contract manufacturer, which is holding a capital markets day on Tuesday, said it is producing an excipient, the industry term for an ingredient that helps the body to absorb the main active substance, for one GLP-1 drug.
EU regulator backs use of Merck's viral infection drug
Merck & Co said on Tuesday the European Union medicines regulator recommended a marketing authorisation for the company's drug Prevymis to treat a type of infection in adult kidney transplant recipients at high risk. The drugmaker says Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) also recommended the approval for extending dosing of the drug to 200 days from 100 days, following a type of transplant in adult patients.
Norway reports bird flu outbreak in backyard poultry
Norway has reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza, commonly called bird flu, among poultry in the northern part of the country, the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) said on Tuesday. The bird flu outbreak was found in a backyard with 19 domestic birds, the Paris-based body said, quoting information from Norway's health authorities.
Four-day work week boosts Spanish workers' health, pilot programme shows
Four-day work weeks improved Spanish workers' health such as by lowering stress while reducing fuel emissions and benefiting children, a pilot programme showed on Tuesday. The coastal city of Valencia - Spain's third-largest with more than 800,000 inhabitants - scheduled local holidays to fall on four consecutive Mondays between April 10 and May 7 this year. The project affected 360,000 workers.
Novo Nordisk in $1.3 billion deal to buy hypertension drug
Novo Nordisk has agreed to buy ocedurenone, a drug for uncontrolled hypertension with potential application in cardiovascular and kidney disease, from KBP Biosciences for up to $1.3 billion, the Danish drugmaker said on Monday. "This deal is closely aligned with our strategic focus on expanding from our core in diabetes into other serious chronic diseases, including through novel drug modalities," Novo said in a statement.
(With inputs from agencies.)