Health News Roundup: Novo Nordisk contracts South Africa's Aspen to produce insulin for African nations; Boston Scientific to pay $850 million upfront to buy Relievant Medsystems and more
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Novo Nordisk contracts South Africa's Aspen to produce insulin for African nations
Novo Nordisk has contracted Aspen Pharmacare to produce human insulin on its behalf in South Africa for export to African countries through a low-cost government tender system, the Danish drugmaker said on Tuesday. Announcing the deal on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Novo said the contract will lead to the production of 16 million vials of insulin next year, marking its "expanded commitment" to improving access to life-saving insulin to people living with diabetes in Africa.
Boston Scientific to pay $850 million upfront to buy Relievant Medsystems
Medical device maker Boston Scientific said on Tuesday it would buy private medical tech company Relievant Medsystems for an upfront cash payment of $850 million, in a bid to expand treatment options for chronic low back pain. The transaction, which Boston Scientific expects to close in the first half of 2024, also includes undisclosed additional payments contingent on sales performance of Relievant over the next three years.
European Commission authorises GSK's HIV prevention drug
The European Commission has authorised GSK's HIV-focused unit ViiV Healthcare's cabotegravir long-acting injectable and tablets, the British drugmaker said on Tuesday. Cabotegravir is recommended in combination with safer sex practices for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to reduce the risk of sexually-acquired HIV-1 infection in high-risk adults and adolescents weighing at least 35 kilogrammes, according to the company.
Exclusive-Novo Nordisk hires private U.S. firm to handle some Wegovy pen assembly -source
Novo Nordisk has hired U.S. private contract manufacturer PCI Pharma Services to handle assembly and packaging of Wegovy, a source familiar with the matter said, as it races to boost output of the weight-loss drug to meet demand.
Philadelphia-based PCI, which has 15 facilities in North America, Europe and Australia, is putting together the self-injection pens used to administer Wegovy, said the source, who declined to be named because the information is confidential.
BeiGene regains rights for cancer drug after Novartis deal termination
Beigene said on Tuesday it would regain rights to develop and sell its cancer drug globally from Swiss drugmaker Novartis after the companies mutually decided to end their licensing deal. Beigene will get back full global rights to the drug, tislelizumab, or Tevimbra, with no royalty payments due to Novartis.
Climate change impeding fight against AIDS, TB and malaria
Climate change and conflict are hitting efforts to tackle three of the world's deadliest infectious diseases, the head of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has warned. International initiatives to fight the diseases have largely recovered after being badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Fund’s 2023 results report released on Monday.
GE HealthCare gets $44 million grant to develop AI-assisted ultrasound tech
GE HealthCare Technologies Inc has received a grant of more than $44 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop AI-assisted ultrasound technology, the company said on Monday. The grant will facilitate development of AI-assisted ultrasound imaging auto-assessment applications and tools to help address maternal and fetal health and respiratory diseases.
Novo Nordisk shares fall after media report about quality lapses at U.S. plant
Novo Nordisk's shares fell on Monday after financial news agency MarketWire reported that U.S. drug regulators had recently issued a report detailing quality control lapses at the group's Clayton, North Carolina plant, citing sources. Reuters was not immediately able to authenticate the report. Novo Nordisk declined to comment on the report, but said in an emailed statement that the site was "running and producing for the market".
EU antitrust regulators raid cardiovascular medical device company
EU antitrust regulators on Tuesday raided a cardiovascular medical device company in an EU country on concerns that the company may have abused its market power in breach of the bloc's antitrust rules. "The European Commission is carrying out unannounced inspections at the premises of a company active in medical devices for cardiovascular applications," the EU competition enforcer said in a statement.
BioNTech wins up to $90 million in funding for mpox vaccine development
Germany's BioNTech announced on Monday a partnership with a global coalition for up to $90 million in funding to support the development of mpox vaccine candidates. BioNTech would initiate an early-to-mid stage trial for the vaccine program BNT166 to prevent mpox, a viral illness that causes skin rashes and could be transmitted to humans through physical contact.
(With inputs from agencies.)