In the foot­steps of As­traZeneca, No­var­tis com­mits to car­bon-neu­tral sup­ply chain by 2030

Fol­low­ing in As­traZeneca’s car­bon-re­duced foot­steps, No­var­tis an­nounced new sus­tain­abil­i­ty tar­gets on Tues­day, which in­clude plans to neu­tral­ize sup­ply chain emis­sions in the next 10 years.

The Swiss phar­ma aims to be car­bon-neu­tral in its own op­er­a­tions by 2025, and across its sup­ply chain by 2030. To get there, it says it will re­duce ab­solute emis­sions by 35% across its val­ue chain, and fol­low a “dual strat­e­gy” to de­crease en­er­gy and fu­el con­sump­tion, im­prove ef­fi­cien­cy and adopt re­new­able en­er­gy sources. It au­dit­ed all ma­jor sites for po­ten­tial im­prove­ments.

“We have a long­stand­ing, com­pre­hen­sive en­er­gy and cli­mate pro­gram, which aims to im­prove en­er­gy ef­fi­cien­cy for all in­dus­tri­al and com­mer­cial op­er­a­tions and use re­new­able en­er­gy sources where avail­able and fea­si­ble,” the com­pa­ny stat­ed.

No­var­tis tout­ed what it’s al­ready do­ing to pre­serve the en­vi­ron­ment, in­clud­ing se­ques­ter­ing car­bon through forestry projects in Colom­bia, Mali, Chi­na and Ar­genti­na. It plant­ed 800 hectares of trees at the San­to Domin­go Es­tate in Ar­genti­na in 2007, then added 2,250 hectares in the fol­low­ing three years. By 2040, the com­pa­ny ex­pects to col­lect up to 2 mil­lion tons of car­bon diox­ide equiv­a­lents through the project. It al­so boast­ed of its Texas wind farm, and says it has sim­i­lar plans to achieve green en­er­gy in Eu­rope.

“Af­ter the suc­cess­ful com­ple­tion of a re­new­able pow­er pur­chase agree­ment in the US that achieved car­bon neu­tral­i­ty in that mar­ket for pro­cured elec­tric­i­ty we are now ac­tive­ly pur­su­ing a pan-Eu­ro­pean pow­er pur­chase agree­ment that will achieve the same, de­car­boniz­ing our pur­chased elec­tric­i­ty in one of our largest re­gions of op­er­a­tions and elim­i­nat­ing tran­si­tion risk as­so­ci­at­ed with car­bon pric­ing,” No­var­tis’ CDP cli­mate change in­for­ma­tion re­quest states.

The an­nounce­ment comes about 7 months af­ter UK-based As­traZeneca com­mit­ted to achiev­ing neg­a­tive car­bon emis­sions across its val­ue chain by 2030. The com­pa­ny will in­vest up to $1 bil­lion in its “Am­bi­tion Ze­ro Car­bon” strat­e­gy, which in­cludes us­ing re­new­able en­er­gy for pow­er and heat, and switch­ing to a 100% elec­tric ve­hi­cle fleet five years ahead of sched­ule.

“Cli­mate change is an ur­gent threat to pub­lic health, the en­vi­ron­ment and the sus­tain­abil­i­ty of the glob­al econ­o­my. Since 2015, we have re­duced our car­bon emis­sions from op­er­a­tions by al­most a third and our wa­ter con­sump­tion by al­most one fifth,” As­traZeneca CEO Pas­cal So­ri­ot said in a state­ment.

Secretary of health and human services Alex Azar speaking in the Rose Garden at the White House (Photo: AFP)

Trump’s HHS claims ab­solute au­thor­i­ty over the FDA, clear­ing path to a vac­cine EUA

The top career staff at the FDA have vowed not to let politics get in the way of science when looking at vaccine data this fall. But Alex Azar, who happens to be their boss’s boss, apparently won’t even give them a chance to stand in the way.

In a new memorandum issued Tuesday last week, the HHS chief stripped health agencies under his purview — including the FDA — of their rulemaking ability, asserting all such power “is reserved to the Secretary.” Sheila Kaplan of the New York Times first obtained and reported the details of the September 15 bulletin.

Eli Lilly CSO Dan Skovronsky (file photo)

#ES­MO20: Eli Lil­ly shows off the da­ta for its Verzenio suc­cess. Was it worth $18 bil­lion?

The press release alone, devoid of any number except for the size of the trial, added nearly $20 billion to Eli Lilly’s market cap back in June. Now investors and oncologists will get to see if the data live up to the hype.

On Sunday at ESMO, Eli Lilly announced the full results for its Phase III MonarchE trial of Verzenio, showing that across over 5,000 women who had had HR+, HER2- breast cancer, the drug reduced the odds of recurrence by 25%. That meant 7.8% of the patients on the drug arm saw their cancers return within 2 years, compared with 11.3% on the placebo arm.

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Dan Skovronsky, Eli Lilly CSO

UP­DAT­ED: An­a­lysts are quick to pan Eli Lil­ly's puz­zling first cut of pos­i­tive clin­i­cal da­ta for its Covid-19 an­ti­body

Eli Lilly spotlighted a success for one of 3 doses of their closely-watched Covid-19 antibody drug Wednesday morning. But analysts quickly highlighted some obvious anomalies that could come back to haunt the pharma giant as it looks for an emergency use authorization to launch marketing efforts.

The pharma giant reported that LY-CoV555, developed in collaboration with AbCellera, significantly reduced the rate of hospitalization among patients who were treated with the antibody. The drug arm of the study had a 1.7% hospitalization rate, compared to 6% in the control group, marking a 72% drop in risk.

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Greg Friberg (File photo)

#ES­MO20: Am­gen team nails down sol­id ear­ly ev­i­dence of AMG 510’s po­ten­tial for NSCLC, un­lock­ing the door to a wave of KRAS pro­grams

The first time I sat down with Amgen’s Greg Friberg to talk about the pharma giant’s KRAS G12C program for sotorasib (AMG 510) at ASCO a little more than a year ago, there was high excitement about the first glimpse of efficacy from their Phase I study, with 5 of 10 evaluable non-small cell lung cancer patients demonstrating a response to the drug.

After decades of failure targeting KRAS, sotorasib offered the first positive look at a new approach that promised to open a door to a whole new approach by targeting a particular mutation to a big target that had remained “undruggable” for decades.

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#ES­MO20: Out to beat Tagris­so, J&J touts 100% ORR for EGFR bis­pe­cif­ic/TKI com­bo — fu­el­ing a quick leap to PhI­II

J&J’s one-two punch on EGFR-mutant non-small cell lung cancer has turned up some promising — although decidedly early — results, fueling the idea that there’s yet room to one up on third-generation tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

Twenty out of 20 advanced NSCLC patients had a response after taking a combination of an in-house TKI dubbed lazertinib and amivantamab, a bispecific antibody targeting both EGFR and cMET engineered on partner Genmab’s platform, J&J reported at ESMO. All were treatment-naïve, and none has seen their cancer progress at a median follow-up of seven months.

Donald Trump and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, before boarding Marine One (Getty Images)

Pric­ing deal col­laps­es over Big Phar­ma's re­fusal to is­sue $100 'cash card­s' be­fore the elec­tion — re­port

Late in August, as negotiations on a pricing deal with President Trump reached a boiling point, PhRMA president Stephen Ubl sent an email update to the 34 biopharma chiefs that sit on his board. He wrote that if the industry did not agree to pay for a $100 “cash card” sent to seniors before November, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows was going to tell the news media Big Pharma was refusing to “share the savings” with the elderly — and that all of the blame for failed drug pricing negotiations would lie squarely on the industry.

#ES­MO20: It’s not just Keytru­da any­more — Mer­ck spot­lights 3 top ear­ly-stage can­cer drugs

Any $12 billion megablockbuster in the portfolio tends to overshadow everything else in the pipeline. Which is something Merck can tell you a little bit about.

Keytruda not only dominates the PD-(L)1 field, it looms over everything Merck does, to the point some analysts wonder if Merck is a one-trick pony.

There’s no shortage of Keytruda data on display at ESMO this weekend, but now the focus is shifting to the future role of new drugs and combos in maintaining that lead position for years to come. And the pharma giant has a special focus for 3 early-stage efforts where Roger Perlmutter’s oncology team is placing some big bets.

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#ES­MO20: As­traZeneca bur­nish­es Tagris­so's ad­ju­vant NSCLC pro­file with 'un­prece­dent­ed' re­duc­tion in brain mets. Can they win over skep­tics?

When AstraZeneca trumpeted “momentous” and “transformative” results for Tagrisso earlier this year at ASCO, some practitioners threw cold water on the ADAURA fervor. Sure, the disease-free survival data look good, but overall survival is the endpoint that matters when it comes to choosing adjuvant therapy for non-small cell lung cancer patients, the experts said.

The OS data still aren’t here, but AstraZeneca is back at ESMO to bolster their case with a look at brain metastasis data.

Exelixis CEO Michael Morrissey (file photo)

#ES­MO20: Look out Mer­ck. Bris­tol My­ers and Ex­elix­is stake out their com­bo’s claim to best-in-class sta­tus for front­line kid­ney can­cer

Now that the PD-(L)1 checkpoints are deeply entrenched in the oncology market, it’s time to welcome a wave of combination therapies — beyond chemo — looking to extend their benefit to larger numbers of patients. Bristol Myers Squibb ($BMY} and Exelixis {EXEL} are close to the front of that line.

Today at ESMO the collaborators pulled the curtain back on some stellar data for their combination of Opdivo (the PD-1) and Cabometyx (the TKI), marking a significant advance for the blockbuster Bristol Myers franchise while offering a big leg up for the team at Exelixis.

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