Mon 28th January – Fri 1st February
Monday 28th January
Novartis has urged the government to minimize Brexit disruptions as much as possible
Novartis has released a statement expressing its concern over the state of medicine supply to the UK adding that it has begun to increase its inventory across its portfolios of medicines in the UK. The arrival of the statement stems from the events of Theresa Mays Brexit deal rejection and the heightened chance of a no deal being reached. The statement also brought attention and an appeal for the Government to make minimizing the disruption as the highest priority. With calls for a comprehensive continuity plan that includes the Department of Health, Social Care and the NHS, to ensure medicine can still reach the patients. It is also essential for NHS trusts and pharmacists to adhere to the governments advice to not stockpile medicine, so supply can be managed centrally, minimizing the risk of medicine shortages across the UK.
Novartis currently imports 120 million packs of medicine to the UK from Europe.
Tuesday 29th January
GSK and Sanofi join FinnGen, joining the ranks of Pfizer, AstraZeneca and MSD
GSK and Sanofi have joined Finland’s largest scale genomics project, based on the data from 500,000 biobank volunteers. FinnGen will be one of the largest studies of its kind, representing 10% of the Finnish population and being five times larger than England’s comparable project of 100,000 volunteers. FinnGen can cover a greater number of individuals because it uses a less comprehensive genomic mapping approach, which identifies a single nucleotide polymorphism while the UK project is involved in the whole genome, which takes longer and costs more, but could lead to a deeper understanding of the influence of genes on disease. This project aims to contribute towards genetic research by identifying new therapeutic targets and diagnostics for treating numerous diseases.
Matt Nelson, Head of Human Genetics at GSK stated that: “FinnGen offers an exciting collaborative opportunity to study genetic impacts on human conditions over time in a world class research environment.”
FinnGen is expected to continue for 10 years, with a current budget of €59m
Wednesday 30th January
The UK Biotech Industry boomed in 2018, despite Brexit fluctuations
According to a BioIndustry Association (BIA) Report, UK biotech attracted a record breaking £2.2bn in investment last year, with UK firms claiming 40% of the venture capital funding that went to the sector across Europe. This is £1bn more than the amount raised in 2017. BIA chief executive stated that this report clearly shows investors, see the value and want to be apart of the UKs fast- growing biotech opportunity.
A clear trend shown in the 2018 report is that biotech's are staying private for longer, with only just five IPOs in the year coming from Orchard Therapeutics, Autolus, Sensyne Health, Acacia Pharma and Renalytix Al. Other trends include the diversification of the industry with new business models in areas such as Artificial Intelligence as well as receiving investment from Chinese and US investment groups. And despite a weak pound, UK companies where just as much the acquirer and the acquired with 8 acquisitions by UK domiciled companies in the year, compared to seven involving overseas firms.
Thursday 31st January
GSKs Advair Diskus faces first American biosimilar
GSKs hugely successful respiratory blockbuster Advair finally faces its first biosimilar from Mylan after a series of delays. The FDA approval of this drug puts a risk of decline in Advairs $1bn sales. Mylans drug termed Wixela Inhub has made it to the market head of rivals such as Novartis and Himka/Vectura with all of these generics slowed down by not showing sufficient equivalence with Advairs dry powder inhaler.
Analysts are predicting that Mylans generic could make around $250 million in sales this year, with a drop-in opportunity because GSK have been heavily discounting its brand to maintain market share. The delays in competition for Advair, gave it hundreds of million of dollars in revenue as well as time while new CEO Emma Walmsley, aimed at reinvigorating the company.
Friday 1st February
European Medical Agency departs London ahead of Brexit
The EMA lowered the 28 flags of the member states as it follows its move from London to Amsterdam. EMA executive director Guido Rasi, expressed his thanks to the UK for its contribution towards the agency. Although the move from Canary Wharf is without some drama, as the EMA is battling the owners of the Canary Wharf over its right to break the 2011 lease. With the EMA arguing that Brexit amounts to ‘an event of frustration’, that means it has the right to break early and the Canary Wharf group arguing that Brexit was predictable as it had been in the Conservative manifesto.
The outcome of this suit could be proven to be very important for other business that have leased facilities trying to relocate away from the UK as a result of Brexit.
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