Glob­al Fund nets record haul of $14B to elim­i­nate HIV, TB and malar­ia

The glob­al fund that was es­tab­lished to fight some of the world’s dead­liest dis­eases — HIV, TB, and malar­ia — raised a record $14.25 bil­lion yes­ter­day from donor coun­tries, NGOs, and pri­vate com­pa­nies.

While the to­tal still fell short of its tar­get of rais­ing $18 bil­lion, the Glob­al Fund said this was the largest amount raised since the or­ga­ni­za­tion was set up in 2002, adding that the do­na­tions could help save 20 mil­lion lives and avert 450 mil­lion new in­fec­tions.

Pres­i­dent Joe Biden, who host­ed the Fund’s sev­enth re­plen­ish­ment yes­ter­day on the side­lines of a UN meet­ing in New York, pledged the high­est amount — $6 bil­lion — and $1 bil­lion for every $2 bil­lion com­mit­ted by the rest of the world, which amounts to 30% more than the US pledged in the pre­vi­ous re­plen­ish­ment in 2019.

“It’s an in­vest­ment that will save an­oth­er 20 mil­lion lives, re­duce mor­tal­i­ty from these dis­eases an­oth­er 64% in the next four years,” Biden said.

Oth­er ma­jor do­na­tions came from Cana­da ($1.2 bil­lion), the Eu­ro­pean Com­mis­sion ($715 mil­lion), Japan ($1 bil­lion), Ger­many ($1.3 bil­lion) and France ($1.6 bil­lion). The UK, which has still not pledged a do­na­tion, has come un­der sharp crit­i­cism.

“The Unit­ed King­dom, cur­rent­ly the Glob­al Fund’s third largest donor, and the Re­pub­lic of Italy re­stat­ed their sup­port for the cru­cial work of the Glob­al Fund and com­mit­ted to pledge in the com­ing weeks,” the fund said in a state­ment.

A few oth­er coun­tries in­creased their do­na­tions com­pared to pre­vi­ous re­plen­ish­ment pledges. South Ko­rea quadru­pled its fund­ing from $25 mil­lion in 2019’s re­plen­ish­ment to $100 mil­lion this time. Kenya in­creased its do­na­tion from $6 mil­lion to $10 mil­lion.

Don­ald Kaberu­ka

Many low-in­come coun­tries al­so made con­tri­bu­tions. Ugan­da pledged $3 mil­lion, while Malawi promised $1 mil­lion. In­done­sia made its first-ever do­na­tion, pledg­ing $10 mil­lion.

“The world has demon­strat­ed that HIV, malar­ia and TB can be con­quered by sci­ence, lead­er­ship and a crit­i­cal mass of re­sources. We have rea­son to cel­e­brate. But the job is not yet done. COVID-19 has been a set­back, a crit­i­cal set­back, but we must con­tin­ue to aim for 2030 elim­i­na­tion,” said Don­ald Kaberu­ka, chair of the Glob­al Fund board.

Mean­while, the Glob­al Fund has stuck a deal with Pfiz­er for the pro­cure­ment of six mil­lion dos­es of Covid-19 an­tivi­ral Paxlovid. A to­tal of 132 coun­tries will have ac­cess to the drug sub­ject to lo­cal reg­u­la­to­ry ap­proval or au­tho­riza­tion.

Has the mo­ment fi­nal­ly ar­rived for val­ue-based health­care?

RBC Capital Markets’ Healthcare Technology Analyst, Sean Dodge, spotlights a new breed of tech-enabled providers who are rapidly transforming the way clinicians deliver healthcare, and explores the key question: can this accelerating revolution overturn the US healthcare system?

Key points

Tech-enabled healthcare providers are poised to help the US transition to value, not volume, as the basis for reward.
The move to value-based care has policy momentum, but is risky and complex for clinicians.
Outsourced tech specialists are emerging to provide the required expertise, while healthcare and tech are also converging through M&A.
Value-based care remains in its early stages, but the transition is accelerating and represents a huge addressable market.

FDA ad­vi­sors unan­i­mous­ly rec­om­mend ac­cel­er­at­ed ap­proval for Bio­gen's ALS drug

A panel of outside advisors to the FDA unanimously recommended that the agency grant accelerated approval to Biogen’s ALS drug tofersen despite the drug failing the primary goal of its Phase III study, an endorsement that could pave a path forward for the treatment.

By a 9-0 vote, members of the Peripheral and Central Nervous System Drugs Advisory Committee said there was sufficient evidence that tofersen’s effect on a certain protein associated with ALS is reasonably likely to predict a benefit for patients. But panelists stopped short of advocating for a full approval, voting 3-5 against (with one abstention) and largely citing the failed pivotal study.

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Chat­G­PT with phar­ma da­ta de­buts for med­ical meet­ings, be­gin­ning with AACR

What do you get when you combine ChatGPT generative AI technology with specific pharma and clinical datasets? A time-saving tool that can answer questions about medical conference abstracts and clinical findings in seconds in one new application from ZoomRx called FermaGPT.

ZoomRx is debuting a public version of its generative AI product specifically for medical conferences beginning this week for the upcoming American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting that runs April 14-19.

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Alaa Halawa, executive director at Mubadala’s US venture group

The ven­ture crew at Mubadala are up­ping their biotech cre­ation game, tak­ing care­ful aim at a new fron­tier in drug de­vel­op­ment

It started with a cup of coffee and a slow burning desire to go early and long in the biotech creation business.

Wrapping up a 15-year discovery stint at Genentech back in the summer of 2021, Rami Hannoush was treated to a caffeine-fueled review of the latest work UCSF’s Jim Wells had been doing on protein degradation — one of the hottest fields in drug development.

“Jim and I have known each other for the past 15 years through Genentech collaborations. We met over coffee, and he was telling me about this concept of the company that he was thinking of,” says Hannoush. “And I got immediately intrigued by it because I knew that this could open up a big space in terms of adding a new modality in drug discovery that is desperately needed in pharma.”

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Sanofi, Re­gen­eron boast PhI­II win with Dupix­ent in COPD, clear­ing first bar for ex­pan­sion

Dupixent, the blockbuster anti-inflammatory drug from Sanofi and Regeneron, has cleared a high-stakes Phase III study in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the companies announced Thursday morning.

If they hold up in a second, identical trial, the data pave the way for Dupixent to become the first biologic to treat patients whose COPD remains uncontrolled despite being on maximal standard-of-care inhaled therapy — the patient population studied in the pivotal program. The companies had spotlighted this as a key readout as they look to expand the Dupixent franchise and explore its full potential.

In­cyte wins ac­cel­er­at­ed ap­proval for PD-1 in rare skin can­cer

Incyte touted an accelerated approval for its PD-1 retifanlimab in a rare skin cancer on Wednesday, roughly a year and a half after the drug suffered a rejection in squamous cell carcinoma of the anal canal (SCAC).

Retifanlimab, marketed as Zynyz, was approved for metastatic or recurrent locally advanced Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC), a fast-growing skin cancer typically characterized by a single, painless nodule. It’s roughly 40 times rarer than melanoma, according to the nonprofit Skin Cancer Foundation — but incidence is growing, particularly among older adults, Incyte said in its announcement.

A new study finds that many patient influencers are sharing prescription drug experiences along with health information.

So­cial me­dia pa­tient in­flu­encers ‘danc­ing in the gray’ of phar­ma mar­ket­ing, more clar­i­ty need­ed, re­searcher says

It’s no surprise that patient influencers are talking about their health conditions on social media. However, what’s less clear is what role pharma companies are playing, how big the patient influencer industry is, and just how is information about prescription drugs from influencers relayed — and received — on social media.

While University of Colorado associate professor Erin Willis can’t answer all those questions, she’s been researching the issue for several years and recently published new research digging into the communication styles, strategies and thinking of patient influencers, many of whom partner with pharma companies.

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Drug short­age so­lu­tions brought be­fore Sen­ate Home­land Se­cu­ri­ty com­mit­tee

With more than 300 active drug shortages, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs had its hands full on Wednesday with multiple experts testifying on drug shortages and possible solutions.

A picture of the shortage situation. presented by Erin Fox, an adjunct professor at the College of Pharmacy at the University of Utah, explained how some patients have died due to drug shortages, including with medication errors when substitutes were dosed incorrectly or when an emergency product was not available.

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FDA re­jects Ab­b­Vie's in­fu­sion ther­a­py for Parkin­son's, re­quests more in­fo on pump de­vice

The FDA rejected AbbVie’s 24-hour infusion therapy for Parkinson’s, saying it needs more information on a device used to administer the treatment before it can clear it.

The Chicago-area drugmaker said in a press release that the complete response letter from the agency didn’t include any requests for more efficacy or safety trials related to the drug, known as ABBV-951. The company said it aims to “resubmit the NDA as soon as possible.”

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