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Small bottles marked “smallpox” appeared in a vaccine research institution of Merck company in the United States

On November 16 local time, several US media quoted the US Centers for Disease Control and prevention as saying that vials marked with “smallpox” were found in the vaccine research institute of a Merck pharmaceutical factory on the outskirts of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the vial marked “smallpox” was accidentally found by a staff member of the agency while cleaning the refrigerator. At that time, the staff member was wearing gloves and masks. The Centers for Disease Control and prevention did not disclose other information.
It is reported that because the smallpox virus is too dangerous, only two laboratories in the world are authorized to store samples, one in Russia and the other is a subsidiary of the CDC in Atlanta.
It is reported that the CDC, its government partners and law enforcement agencies are investigating the matter. The Centers for Disease Control and prevention stressed that there was no indication that anyone had touched the vials.
The Department of homeland security, the National Institutes of health and Merck did not respond to requests for comment.
Merck is called Merck sharp & Dohme (MSD) in countries outside the United States and Canada. It is not only an American pharmaceutical enterprise, but also one of the largest pharmaceutical enterprises in the world. Merck is headquartered in Kenilworth, New Jersey.

What we need to know ahout the COVID-19 Delta variant:

What do you know?
It spreads very fast. As of August 4, 2021, delta variants have covered more than 130 countries. In many countries, the number of coronavirus diseases has exceeded α The variation, including the United States, is considered to be 55% to 90% easier to spread than the previous covid-19 variation. Experts believe that the infectivity of the delta is 30% to 100% higher than that of alpha.
Researchers are still not sure why the delta variant is more likely to spread than other variants. They believe that changes in the mutant protein may make it easier to enter human cells. Another early study showed that the mutation of delta variant may help it better fuse with human cells after attaching itself. If it can easily mix with your cells, it can infect more cells and overwhelm your immune system.
It seems to affect young people more often. In the UK, studies have shown that children and adults under the age of 50 are 2.5 times more likely to be infected.
Symptoms seem to be more severe and occur faster. If the patient has delta variation, he is more likely to be hospitalized. Studies have shown that its risk of hospitalization is almost twice that of alpha variation.
In China, doctors say patients with delta mutation are more serious than those they treated in the early stage of the pandemic. Their condition seems to be declining faster.
Zoikovi 2019 coronavirus disease research, an application that allows people to track symptoms, shows that covid-19 symptoms in the UK may change with the spread of delta variants.
The main symptoms reported on the application include:
headache
sore throat
runny nose
fever
Cough is becoming less and less common, and loss of smell is no longer among the top ten common symptoms. The researchers worry that people may mistake the symptoms for a bad cold, so as to avoid isolation and lead to the spread of the mutant virus.
How to protect yourself
Vaccination is your best choice. The report showed that two doses of Pfizer biontech vaccine had 79% protective effect on Delta variant infection. If infected, it seems to have a 96% effect on hospitalization.
Due to delta variation, the success rate of two doses of AstraZeneca vaccine in stopping hospitalization was 92%. No deaths were reported in the vaccinated population.

Bristol Myers Squibb cooperated with Exscientia to develop immunomodulatory candidate drugs using AI

Recently, Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) announced the application of an immunomodulatory candidate drug developed by exscientia.
Exscientia, an AI driven pharmaceutical technology company, has designed three drugs in phase I human clinical trials. At present, exscientia has offices in Oxford, Miami, Vienna and Osaka. On April 27, exscientia announced that it had completed the round D financing of US $225 million led by Softbank vision fund. In addition, Softbank vision fund also provided another US $300 million investment commitment, and exscientia decided whether to inject capital at its own discretion.
It is understood that exscientia has two cooperation with Bristol Myers Squibb, focusing on multiple treatment fields, including oncology and immunology. In May this year, the two sides reached a cooperation agreement with a potential value of more than $1.2 billion.
The licensed candidate drug targets a key immune kinase. Due to the need to combine selectivity and overall drug characteristics, it has been proved that this immune kinase is difficult to target.
In order to design new drug candidates that can overcome these problems, exscientia uses its end-to-end platform to promote the discovery process, including artificial intelligence driven design, structural biology, chemistry, pharmacology and later preclinical research.
Exscientia’s precision design approach focuses on simultaneously addressing parameters important to the overall therapeutic performance of the target, such as efficacy, selectivity, safety and physicochemical properties. Its AI platform is suitable for solving multi-objective design problems, so as to find new drug candidates with excellent characteristics efficiently and quickly.
Andrew Hopkins, CEO of exscientia, commented: “we focus on designing accurate engineering drugs for challenging drug product characteristics with ‘patient first’ AI technology, and the efficiency of our platform is very high. This candidate drug molecule is the 150th new compound designed and tested, which was identified within 11 months after we started drug design. Through cooperation with Bristol Myers Squibb, coupled with its world-class clinical research and commercialization capabilities, we look forward to advancing the candidate drug to the next stage of development. “
Rupert Vessey, a research and development president of Bristol Myers Squibb, said: “we are pleased to obtain the license of the first candidate drug for strategic cooperation with exscientia. AI learning will continue to play an important role in drug discovery, and exscientia has provided a promising development direction in the field of immunology. We look forward to working together to further promote this candidate drug and bring more benefits to patients. “
It is understood that Bristol Myers Squibb will be responsible for the clinical and commercial development of candidate drugs. Under the terms of the agreement, exscientia will receive an option exercise fee of US $20 million, including the possibility of achieving additional development milestones and royalties for the net sales of any commercial products.

Softbank invested US $5 billion in Roche, a Swiss pharmaceutical giant, and became a major shareholder

People familiar with the matter said that Softbank group has quietly established a US $5 billion stake in Roche, Switzerland, betting on the company’s strategy of using data to develop drugs and become one of Roche’s major shareholders. Softbank believes that the value of Roche’s Genentech is seriously underestimated, and the department focuses on data-based drug discovery and development. At present, Roche is developing a new pill for the new crown virus and is studying a disease treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. In June this year, the United States approved aduhelm, a drug of Biogen company for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, which is a positive signal for Roche.

The world’s largest pharmaceutical company unexpectedly announced the change of CEO

On Thursday, US Eastern time, Johnson & Johnson, the world’s most valuable pharmaceutical company, announced that Alex Gorsky, chairman of the board of directors and CEO of the company since 2012, will be changed to executive chairman from 2022, and the post of CEO will be taken over by Joaquin duato, the current Vice President.
Gorsky said in a statement that stepping down from the front line is the most difficult decision I have made in my life. However, for the company and organization, it is the right time to complete the personnel turnover when the performance of the three business departments continues to be strong, and the same is true for his individual. Due to family health, he will spend more time on his family.
During Gorsky’s nearly ten-year tenure, he led hundreds of mergers and acquisitions and cooperation, which promoted the company’s amortized earnings per share to increase by nearly 85%. In the field of oncology, the company’s revenue increased from US $2 billion in 2012 to US $12 billion in 2020. Over the past decade, the company’s market value has risen from $180 billion to $470 billion, and its share price has risen 170% over the same period. It is worth mentioning that with the recent spread of the epidemic in many countries, Johnson & Johnson’s share price continued to set a record high on Tuesday.
While affirming the achievements, Gorsky’s tenure also witnessed some of the biggest crisis events in Johnson & Johnson’s history, including a large number of lawsuits against the doping of carcinogen asbestos in baby talcum powder and allegations of contributing to the opioid crisis in the United States.
SEL Hardy, an analyst at CFRA research, interpreted the incident as an unexpected leadership change. Although the company is in a challenging period, considering Du Anqing’s famous executive and successful career in the industry, the handover is likely to be very smooth.
Duato has worked at Johnson & Johnson for more than 30 years. At present, duato is responsible for the company’s pharmaceutical and consumer health business, with an annual revenue of about $60 billion. Duato has served as chairman of the American pharmaceutical research and Manufacturers Association and is currently a member of the Advisory Committee of the school of pharmacy of Tsinghua University.
Gorsky expressed great confidence in duato’s succession as CEO. They have worked together for more than 25 years. Duato has always had great enthusiasm for solving difficult medical and business challenges. In the past few years, duato has guided the enterprise’s strategic planning process and is responsible for implementing large-scale technology transformation. Covid-19 is also responsible for the rapid response of the company to the new crown epidemic, and the initiatives to lead and coordinate the protection of workers and ensure the continuous operation of the business and supply chain worldwide. Johnson is looking forward to opening up a new chapter under his leadership, Duato.

The effective rate of Johnson & Johnson HIV vaccine phase II trial in Africa is only 25%

It is reported that Johnson & Johnson HVTN 705 / hpx2008 vaccine has recruited nearly 2600 young women in five countries in sub Saharan Africa. In 2020, young women in this region accounted for 63% of the new HIV infections in the world. The vaccine needs to be vaccinated four times in total, and the time of test data analysis is two years after the first vaccination. According to statistics, 63 of 1109 people vaccinated with placebo were infected with the virus, while 51 of 1079 people vaccinated were infected with the virus, with a corresponding effective rate of 25.2%. Johnson & Johnson said that the overall tolerance of the vaccine was good, and there were no serious adverse reactions during the trial.
It is worth mentioning that Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine uses the same adenovirus platform as the company’s new crown vaccine, and has been supported by the National Institute of national and infectious diseases (NIAID) and the gates Melinda foundation. Dr. fudge, director of NIAID, commented that although the results of this experiment are certainly not what we expected, we must make full use of the experience gained from this experiment.
Paul Stoffels, vice chairman of Johnson & Johnson Executive Committee and chief scientific officer, said that HIV is a unique and complex virus, which has long posed unprecedented challenges to vaccine development because it has the ability to attack, hijack and escape the human immune system. Although we are disappointed that the candidate vaccine does not provide sufficient protection, this study also provides us with important scientific findings to help us continue to find vaccines that can prevent HIV.
In addition to the vaccine tested in Africa, Johnson & Johnson is also conducting phase III test of another HIV vaccine HVTN 706 / hpx3002 in Europe and America, which is mainly aimed at another group of susceptible people. At the same time, the HIV strains prevalent in Europe and America are also different from those in Africa.
Although there are effective treatments to alleviate the virus in the medical community, HIV vaccine is still a crucial link from the perspective of virus. At present, trials of mixing different vaccines are still under way in Africa, and the highly anticipated Moderna HIV vaccine will also be put into human trials within this year.

Bayer, Germany: how to reposition the pharmaceutical business under the shadow of glyphosate?

Investors were very disappointed with Bayer’s performance report released on the 5th. Its share price fell more than 7% on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, ranking first in the decline of DAX index shares. On the same day, the German chemical pharmaceutical giant also announced its fourth major M & A in a year. This shows that under the negative impact of glyphosate problem, the company is promoting the expansion of its drug research business through acquisition.
Bayer Group, headquartered in Leverkusen, reported on the 5th that affected by the provision for special expenses related to glyphosate litigation (3.9 billion euros), the group had a net loss of 2.33 billion euros in the second quarter. Bayer has provided more than 10 billion euros in reserves for glyphosate litigation last year. So far, the negative impact related to Bayer’s acquisition of Monsanto is expected to basically end.
Bayer’s sales in the first half of the year increased by 1.2% to 23.18 billion euros, of which the sales growth in Asia Pacific region was 4.9%, faster than that in Europe (1.9%) and North America (still negative growth). Bayer also raised its annual sales growth forecast to 6% from the previous 3%.
Bayer Group’s overall loss in the first half of the year was nearly 250 million euros, which was much lower than the loss of 8 billion euros in the same period of the previous year. However, compared with other large German listed companies that frequently released far higher than expected second quarter performance reports recently, Bayer’s performance report on Thursday disappointed investors.
On Thursday, Bayer’s shares on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange plunged 7.60%, not only ranking first in the decline of DAX index shares, but also the highest trading volume of the day. At present, Bayer’s share price is close to 46 euros per share, and its market value is less than 40% of the much smaller Merck group, and only more than half of the German biotechnology company that successfully developed the new crown mRNA vaccine.
Bayer CEO Werner Bowman said on Thursday that the sales momentum of all businesses is expected to remain optimistic. He also highlighted the latest investments in the pharmaceutical sector.
On the same day, Bayer announced that it would acquire American biotechnology company video at a price of up to US $2 billion. The California based company specializes in identifying new binding sites in disease-related proteins and is carrying out preclinical projects based on this technology.
In Bayer’s view, video technology is an ideal supplement to Bayer in the field of pharmaceutical chemistry. The head of Bayer’s pharmaceutical department said that this will enable Bayer to “develop first-class candidate drugs, so as to increase the value of Bayer’s product portfolio”.
It is understood that before Bayer made an offer, video had prepared for an initial public offering. Bayer now pays $1.5 billion directly to its owners and will pay another $500 million based on some development results. The company will be managed as an independent department within Bayer pharmaceutical.
This is Bayer’s fourth research-oriented pharmaceutical acquisition in less than a year. A few weeks ago, the group strengthened its research and development capacity in cancer drugs based on the coupling technology of radioactive atoms and active components molecules by taking over Noria treatment and PSMA treatment companies in the United States.
Last October, Bayer acquired ask biology, an American company specializing in gene therapy, which greatly strengthened its position in the field of gene and cell therapy. In August 2020, Bayer acquired Kandy therapy, a British company, which is studying a drug to treat menopausal symptoms.
German industry experts pointed out that under the shadow of glyphosate problem, Bayer is promoting the expansion of its drug research business through acquisition. Through the recent acquisition, Bayer’s platform strategy is clearer. The group’s goal is to acquire expertise that can be used in a wide range of diseases and to broaden R & D channels on a relatively large scale.
The acquisition of video is in line with this strategy. It is said that the biotechnology company has developed a so-called chemotherapeutic protein technology, which can identify proteins particularly accurately to find possible targets of therapeutic agents.
Jeff Hatfield, the boss of video, said that 90% of disease-related proteins cannot be affected or blocked by therapeutic agents at present. However, with its new technology, hundreds of new attack targets have been identified.
For Bayer, the new round of acquisition is also to reserve the pharmaceutical business after 2024, when its current best-selling anticoagulant xarelto and ophthalmic drug eylea will lose patent protection. The acquisition aims to provide a basis for extensive renewal and expansion of the scope of drugs over the next five years.
Recently, the company’s drug kerendia for renal failure was approved in the United States. The launch of the new anti-cancer drug nubeqa is also progressing smoothly, exceeding expectations. In the first half of 2021, Bayer Group’s drug sales increased by 3.8% to 8.86 billion euros, of which the growth rate in the second quarter reached 12.1%. This puts Bayer back in the middle of the industry.

Novartis establishes the first car-t production facility in Asia

Previously, many pharmaceutical giants had great interest in the booming field of cell therapy and gene therapy, but they were plagued by a common challenge: how to manufacture these therapies quickly and cheaply?
Last year, Novartis said that Japanese regulators had approved its foundation for biomedical research and innovation in Kobe to commercialize the production of kymriah, making it the first market-oriented factory in Asia to produce this next-generation anti-cancer therapy.
Novartis has established another factory in Stein, Switzerland and recruited 450 new employees to produce this therapy. Kobe’s factory will increase kymriah’s global production footprint. Novartis also commercially produces kymriah in factories in Morris plain, New Jersey and Les Ulis, France, while commercially producing kymriah in the contract manufacturing plant of Fraunhofer Institute of cell therapy and immunology, Leipzig, Germany.
According to a statement, Novartis also plans to produce the therapy at cell therapies in Australia and cellular biomedicine group in China. Recently, the FDA also approved the expansion of Novartis Morris plain plant.
A Novartis spokesman did not say how much capacity the Kobe plant would add to kymriah’s global footprint, but he pointed out that the company had more than tripled kymriah’s capacity in the past year. As logistics challenges have hindered the promotion of kymriah, Novartis hopes to rapidly expand the geographical footprint of this therapy.
Novartis opened a bottleneck by starting the Stein plant in Switzerland to provide tailored cell therapy for European patients. Previously, European patients needed two transatlantic flights to the company’s only factory in Morris plain, USA.
Kymriah was originally approved by FDA in August 2017 for the treatment of recurrent or refractory (R / R) B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (all), making it the first car-t approved in the United States for the treatment of any indication. Novartis subsequently obtained kymriah’s approval for the treatment of B-cell lymphoma in May 2018 and is seeking the third indication for the treatment of follicular lymphoma. The company is expected to submit an application in 2021.
At the time of opening, the Stein plant in Switzerland employed 185 employees, many of whom worked in Novartis’s “traditional chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing” plants in Basel, schweizerhalle and Stein, Switzerland. Novartis plans to increase the number of employees to 450 within three years and invest US $90.6 million.
With the approval of new cell and gene therapies expected to gradually increase in the next few years, pharmaceutical manufacturers are paying huge investments to overcome the expected manufacturing crisis.
Yescarta, a cell therapy company from Geely De’s kite, is the second car-t therapy approved by FDA. The company has also been expanding rapidly, including the construction of a long-awaited 117000 square foot factory in segro Amsterdam Airport Industrial Zone (SPAA) in June 2020.
According to chuck calderaro, head of global technology operation of kite, this latest facility is Geely De’s “next step” in upgrading the global manufacturing industry of yescarta, because the plant will be able to meet the needs of 4000 patients for yescarta every year.