Fu­ji­film con­tin­ues its biotech build­ing spree with new fa­cil­i­ty in Chi­na

A Japan­ese con­glom­er­ate is mak­ing a big play in Chi­na with the open­ing of a new fa­cil­i­ty, as it con­tin­ues to ex­pand.

Fu­ji­film Irvine Sci­en­tif­ic has opened its new In­no­va­tion and Col­lab­o­ra­tion Cen­ter in Suzhou New Dis­trict, Chi­na, an area in Jiang­su province specif­i­cal­ly des­ig­nat­ed for tech­no­log­i­cal and in­dus­tri­al de­vel­op­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to Fu­ji­film, the 12,000-square-foot site will be re­spon­si­ble for the com­pa­ny’s cell cul­ture me­dia op­ti­miza­tion, analy­sis and de­sign ser­vices. Cell cul­ture me­dia it­self of­ten re­quires cus­tomiza­tion of for­mu­las and pro­to­cols to achieve the de­sired quan­ti­ty and qual­i­ty of ther­a­peu­tic de­sired. Fu­ji­film Irvine Sci­en­tif­ic is of­fer­ing these ser­vices from its head­quar­ters in Cal­i­for­nia and Japan to its cus­tomers glob­al­ly, as well as in Chi­na now.

Fu­ji­film Irvine Sci­en­tif­ic did not dis­close the sum of the fa­cil­i­ty’s cost to End­points News.

“In the past decade, the world has seen rapid growth in Chi­na’s bio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal, vac­cine, cell and gene ther­a­py mar­kets. The speed of ap­proval of biosim­i­lar drugs and in­vest­ment by the gov­ern­ment to make more af­ford­able drugs avail­able to its peo­ple is ac­cel­er­at­ing that growth,” said Bob New­man, chief sci­ence of­fi­cer of Fu­ji­film Irvine Sci­en­tif­ic in an email.

New­man al­so ac­knowl­edged that the mar­ket for cell cul­ture me­dia in Chi­na has been ex­pand­ing rapid­ly and is ex­pect­ed to con­tin­ue to grow as re­searchers and drug man­u­fac­tur­ers need bio­process­es to dri­ve down the cost of ther­a­peu­tics.

Fu­ji­film is al­so in­creas­ing the num­ber of sales and tech­ni­cal sup­port staff through­out Chi­na to meet the needs and sup­port the an­ti­body in­dus­try in Chi­na. How­ev­er, the com­pa­ny did not dis­close the num­ber of work­ers be­ing hired.

This open­ing comes as Fu­ji­film is mak­ing oth­er ma­jor moves and in­vest­ments glob­al­ly.

Last year, the com­pa­ny an­nounced that it was ex­pand­ing its Arm­strong R&D Cen­ter of Ex­cel­lence in Cal­i­for­nia to com­mit to the ad­vance­ment of dis­cov­ery re­search, bio­pro­duc­tion and cell and gene ther­a­pies. That same year, the com­pa­ny al­so opened a new drug man­u­fac­tur­ing site in Tilburg, Nether­lands. In March of this year, Fu­ji­film ac­quired re­com­bi­nant pro­tein mak­er Shenan­doah Biotech­nol­o­gy for an undis­closed amount, al­low­ing it to eas­i­ly tran­si­tion be­tween pre­clin­i­cal and clin­i­cal phas­es of tri­als.

Vas Narasimhan (Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

No­var­tis de­tails plans to axe 8,000 staffers as Narasimhan be­gins sec­ond phase of a glob­al re­org

We now know the number of jobs coming under the axe at Novartis, and it isn’t small.

The pharma giant is confirming a report from Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger that it is chopping 8,000 jobs out of its 108,000 global staffers. A large segment will hit right at company headquarters in Basel, as CEO Vas Narasimhan axes some 1,400 of a little more than 11,000  jobs in Switzerland.

The first phase of the work is almost done, the company says in a statement to Endpoints News. Now it’s on to phase two. In the statement, Novartis says:

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How pre­pared is bio­phar­ma for the cy­ber dooms­day?

One of the largest cyberattacks in history happened on a Friday, Eric Perakslis distinctly remembers.

Perakslis, who was head of Takeda’s R&D Data Sciences Institute and visiting faculty at Harvard Medical School at the time, had spent that morning completing a review on cybersecurity for the British Medical Journal. Moments after he turned it in, he heard back from the editor: “Have you heard what’s going on right now?”

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Sanofi to cut in­sulin prices for unin­sured from $99 to $35, match­ing the in­sulin cap com­ing through Con­gress

As the House-passed bill to cap the monthly price of insulin at $35 nationwide makes its way for a Senate vote soon, Sanofi announced Wednesday morning that beginning next month it will cut the monthly price of its insulins for uninsured Americans to $35, down from $99 previously.

The announcement from Sanofi, which allows the uninsured to buy one or multiple Sanofi insulins (Lantus, Insulin Glargine U-100, Toujeo, Admelog, and Apidra) at $35 for a 30-day supply effective July 1, follows House passage (232-193) of the monthly cap in March, with just 12 Republicans voting in favor of the measure.

Aurobindo Pharma co-founders P. V. Ram Prasad Reddy (L) and K. Nityananda Reddy

Au­robindo Phar­ma re­ceives warn­ing let­ter from In­di­a's SEC fol­low­ing more FDA ques­tion marks

Indian-based generics manufacturer Aurobindo Pharma has been in the crosshairs of the FDA for several years now, but the company is also attracting attention from regulators within the subcontinent.

According to the Indian business news site Business Standard, a warning letter was sent to the company from the Securities Exchange Board of India, or SEBI.

The letter is related to disclosures made by the company on an ongoing FDA audit of the company’s Unit-1 API facility in Hyderabad, India as well as observations made by the US regulator between 2019 and 2022.

Bob Nelsen (Lyell)

As bear mar­ket con­tin­ues to beat down biotech, ARCH clos­es a $3B ear­ly-stage fund

One of the biggest names in biotech investing has a whole lot of new money to spend.

ARCH Venture Partners closed its 12th venture fund early Wednesday morning, the firm said, bringing in almost $3 billion to invest in early-stage biotechs. The move comes about a year and a half after ARCH announced its previous fund, for almost $2 billion back in January 2021.

In a statement, ARCH managing director and co-founder Bob Nelsen appeared to brush off concerns about the broader market troubles, alluding to the downturn that’s seen several biotechs downsize and the XBI fall back to almost pre-pandemic levels.

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Lina Gugucheva, NewAmsterdam Pharma CBO

Phar­ma group bets up to $1B-plus on the PhI­II res­ur­rec­tion of a once dead-and-buried LDL drug

Close to 5 years after then-Amgen R&D chief Sean Harper tamped the last spade of dirt on the last broadly focused CETP cholesterol drug — burying their $300 million upfront and the few remaining hopes for the class with it — the therapy has been fully resurrected. And today, the NewAmsterdam Pharma crew that did the Lazarus treatment on obicetrapib is taking another big step on the comeback trail with a €1 billion-plus regional licensing deal, complete with close to $150 million in upfront cash.

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(AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

Some phar­ma com­pa­nies promise to cov­er abor­tion-re­lat­ed trav­el costs — while oth­ers won't go that far yet

As the US Department of Health and Human Services promises to support the millions of women who would now need to cross state lines to receive a legal abortion, a handful of pharma companies have said they will pick up employees’ travel expenses.

GSK, Sanofi, Johnson & Johnson, BeiGene, Alnylam and Gilead have all committed to covering abortion-related travel expenses just four days after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and revoked women’s constitutional right to an abortion.

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New Charles River Laboratories High Quality (HQ) Plasmid DNA Centre of Excellence at Bruntwood SciTech’s Alderley Park in Cheshire, United Kingdom. (Charles River)

Charles Riv­er Lab­o­ra­to­ries to start cell and gene ther­a­py man­u­fac­tur­ing at UK site in Sep­tem­ber

While Massachusetts-based Charles River Laboratories has been on an acquisition spree, they are not against planting their flag. The latest move by the company sees them crossing the pond to establish a manufacturing site in the UK.

The company on Tuesday opened its cell and gene therapy manufacturing center at Bruntwood SciTech’s Alderley Park in Cheshire, United Kingdom. The expansion follows Charles River’s acquisition of Cognate BioServices and Cobra Biologics in 2021 for $875 million. Cognate is a plasmid DNA, viral vector and cell therapy CDMO.

Bristol Myers Squibb (Alamy)

CVS re­sumes cov­er­age of block­buster blood thin­ner af­ter price drop fol­lows Jan­u­ary ex­clu­sion

Following some backlash from the American College of Cardiology and patients, Bristol Myers Squibb and Pfizer lowered the price of their blockbuster blood thinner Eliquis, thus ensuring that CVS Caremark would cover the drug after 6 months of it being off the major PBM’s formulary.

“Because we secured lower net costs for patients from negotiations with the drug manufacturer, Eliquis will be added back to our template formularies for the commercial segment effective July 1, 2022, and patient choices will be expanded,” CVS Health said in an emailed statement. “Anti-coagulant therapies are among the non-specialty products where we are seeing the fastest cost increases from drug manufacturers and we will continue to push back on unwarranted price increases.”