Health News Roundup: AstraZeneca says Catalent deal shows need for in-house capacity; Walgreens CEO appoints finance chief, new healthcare unit head and more


Devdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 09-02-2024 10:35 IST | Created: 09-02-2024 10:28 IST
Health News Roundup: AstraZeneca says Catalent deal shows need for in-house capacity; Walgreens CEO appoints finance chief, new healthcare unit head and more
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Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Gilead-backed biotech Kyverna's shares surge over 50% in stellar debut

Shares of Kyverna Therapeutics jumped 55.7% in their market debut on Thursday, giving the biotech company that is backed by Gilead Sciences a market capitalization of $1.4 billion. Emeryville, California-based Kyverna's stock opened at $34.25, above the initial public offering (IPO) price of $22 per share.

Dengue spreads fast in Brazil prompting emergency health measures

Dengue fever has surged in Brazil's hot rainy season, forcing health authorities to take emergency measures and start mass vaccination against the mosquito-borne illness. In the first five weeks of this year 364,855 cases of infection have been reported, the Health Ministry said, four times more than dengue cases in the same period of 2023.

Illumina forecasts flat 2024 sales as sluggish demand drags on

Illumina on Thursday forecast its annual core business revenue to be nearly flat compared to fiscal year 2023 as subdued demand for its genetic testing tools and diagnostics products extends into this year. The gene sequencing machine maker has witnessed a year of sluggish demand for its tools and services due to cautious customer spending and a protracted recovery in its key market, China. The company's fourth-quarter revenue was $1.12 billion, compared with an estimate of $1.09 billion, helped by strong demand for its consumables and DNA sequencing instruments, NovaSeq X. It shipped 79 units of the instrument during the quarter and 352 for the full year 2023. The gene sequencing company said it is focusing its financial outlook on core Illumina, as the specific timing and impact of its Grail divestment remains uncertain.

US Senate Democrats grill pharma CEOs on drug prices

U.S. Senate Democrats grilled three top pharmaceutical executives over the high cost of prescription drugs on Thursday but failed to extract any commitments from them to lower prices.

Bristol Myers Squibb CEO Chris Boerner, Merck CEO Robert Davis, and Johnson & Johnson CEO Joaquin Duato appeared before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), with Davis and Duato only agreeing to do so last week in response to a subpoena threat.

Healthpeak Properties tops expectations for quarterly FFO

Healthpeak Properties topped market expectations for fourth-quarter funds from operations (FFO) on Thursday, on the back of strong demand for its medical office and life science properties. The U.S. healthcare-centric real estate investment trust (REIT) mainly owns medical office and life science assets, as well as a handful of senior housing, hospital and post-acute care assets.

Moderna-backed Metagenomi cuts US IPO valuation target to $563 million

Genetic medicines company Metagenomi Technologies said on Thursday it is aiming for a valuation of $563 million in its U.S. initial public offering (IPO), a number that is at the low end of its initial target range. The company, backed by Moderna and Bayer Healthcare, plans to raise about $93.8 million by selling 6.25 million shares at $15 apiece.

Eli Lilly to offer low-cost insulin, donate to clinics in Minnesota settlement

Eli Lilly agreed to provide low-cost insulin to patients and donate free insulin to clinics, to settle a lawsuit by Minnesota that accused the three largest insulin makers of deceptively raising the price of the diabetes treatment. The settlement filed on Wednesday in a New Jersey federal court calls for Lilly to offer patients in Minnesota who pay out-of-pocket the ability to pay no more than $35 a month for its insulin products.

High-dose opioid reversal spray no better than lower dose in field, US study finds

A high-dose version of the opioid reversal spray naloxone, made by Hikma Pharmaceuticals, did not result in an increased survival rate compared with lower-dose versions of the drug when administered in emergency situations by New York law enforcement, according to a U.S. study. The analysis also suggests that those given the higher 8 milligram strength spray were more than twice as likely to experience opioid withdrawal symptoms compared to other sprays such as Narcan that use a 4 mg dose.

Walgreens CEO appoints finance chief, new healthcare unit head

Walgreens Boots Alliance's CEO Tim Wentworth on Thursday finalized the appointment of its finance chief and named a new head of its nascent healthcare unit, as he aims to turn around a dive in the company's stock price. The pharmacy chain operator's stock has declined 38% in the last twelve months as Walgreens grapples with waning demand for COVID products and decreased spending on personal care and beauty products by inflation-weary consumers.

Astrazeneca says Catalent deal shows need for in-house capacity

The sale of listed contract drugmaker Catalent to the parent of Novo Nordisk this week demonstrates the importance for big pharma companies of building an independent supply chain, Astrazeneca said Thursday. AstraZeneca, which is a client of Catalent for some of its drug manufacturing, is working to boost its in-house capacity to cut reliance on contract drugmakers, Chief Executive Pascal Soriot told reporters after the release of fourth-quarter results.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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