Stéphane Bancel (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Mod­er­na to se­cure a UK pres­ence with $1B+ in new man­u­fac­tur­ing and R&D fa­cil­i­ties

As Mod­er­na keeps up the fight against Covid-19, re­cent­ly win­ning au­tho­riza­tion in the US for chil­dren un­der the age of five, the com­pa­ny is al­so look­ing to make a se­ri­ous in­vest­ment in the UK.

Ac­cord­ing to the UK gov­ern­ment, Mod­er­na will be look­ing to es­tab­lish a vac­cine re­search cen­ter and a man­u­fac­tur­ing site for a se­ries of vac­cines.

Mod­er­na will es­tab­lish this new mR­NA In­no­va­tion and Tech­nol­o­gy Cen­tre to de­vel­op mR­NA vac­cines for a wide range of res­pi­ra­to­ry dis­eases, in­clud­ing Covid-19.

For the man­u­fac­tur­ing of the vac­cines, the com­pa­ny will open a large-scale mR­NA man­u­fac­tur­ing cen­ter which will man­u­fac­ture their Covid-19 vac­cine and oth­er vac­cines for flu and RSV. Con­struc­tion is ex­pect­ed to start as ear­ly as this year, with the first vac­cines due to be pro­duced in 2025.

While there is no con­fir­ma­tion on the size, cost or even the lo­ca­tion of the new fa­cil­i­ty, and in­quiries from End­points News to Mod­er­na have not been an­swered, the Fi­nan­cial Times said the fa­cil­i­ty could be lo­cat­ed any­where be­tween Lon­don, Ox­ford and Cam­bridge, dubbed the “Gold­en Tri­an­gle.”

The FT said the site will man­u­fac­ture up to 250 mil­lion dos­es per year, in­clud­ing some for ex­port, and the deal, which will last 10 years, will be fi­nal­ized this sum­mer and be worth 1 bil­lion pounds ($1.2 bil­lion).

“We are com­mit­ted to glob­al pub­lic health, and as we con­tin­ue to ex­pand in­ter­na­tion­al­ly, we are pleased to bring lo­cal mR­NA man­u­fac­tur­ing to the UK. We look for­ward to es­tab­lish­ing our re­search and de­vel­op­ment ac­tiv­i­ties and ca­pa­bil­i­ties in the coun­try,” said Mod­er­na CEO Stéphane Ban­cel.

The UK has been anx­ious to seek sup­port from the big phar­ma play­ers as it looks to carve out a spe­cial place for the Gold­en Tri­an­gle. R&D al­so runs deep in the UK as it does of­fer some key at­trac­tions to drug and vac­cine de­vel­op­ers, as well as a large and no­table sci­en­tif­ic com­mu­ni­ty.

How­ev­er, the UK is not the on­ly coun­try that Mod­er­na is look­ing to set up shop for vac­cine man­u­fac­tur­ing. The com­pa­ny is in­vest­ing 530 mil­lion eu­ros ($560 mil­lion) in Spain through its man­u­fac­tur­ing part­ner­ship with ROVI and is es­tab­lish­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties in Aus­tralia and Cana­da.

Paul Hudson, Sanofi CEO (Cyril Marcilhacy/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

FDA side­lines Paul Hud­son's $3.7B MS drug af­ter es­tab­lish­ing link to liv­er dam­age

One of Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson’s top picks in the pipeline — picked up in a $3.7 billion buyout 2 years ago — has just been sidelined in the US by a safety issue.

The pharma giant put out word early Thursday that the FDA has put their Phase III studies of tolebrutinib in multiple sclerosis and myasthenia gravis on partial clinical hold, halting enrollment and suspending dosing for patients who have been on the drug for less than 60 days. Patients who have completed at least 60 days of treatment can continue therapy as researchers explore a “limited” — but unspecified in Sanofi’s statement — number of cases of liver injury.

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Phar­ma re­acts to post-Roe; Drug­mak­ers beef up cy­ber de­fense; Boehringer, Roche qui­et­ly axe drugs; and more

Welcome back to Endpoints Weekly, your review of the week’s top biopharma headlines. Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Current Endpoints readers can visit their reader profile to add Endpoints Weekly. New to Endpoints? Sign up here.

As a reminder, we are off on Monday for the Fourth of July. I hope this recap will kick off your (long) weekend well and that the rest of it will be just what you need. See you next week for a shortened edition!

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Eric Hughes, incoming Teva EVP of global R&D and CMO

Te­va chief raids Ver­tex for his new glob­al head of re­search and de­vel­op­ment

Teva CEO Kåre Schultz has found his new R&D chief and CMO in Vertex’s ranks.

The global generics giant, which has some 3,500 staffers in the R&D group, has named Eric Hughes to the top research spot in the company. He’ll be replacing Hafrun Fridriksdottir, who held the role for close to five years, on Aug. 1.

Hughes hasn’t been at Vertex for long, though. He jumped from Novartis less than a year ago, after heading the immunology, hepatology & dermatology global development unit. Before that, he completed a five-year stint as head of early clinical research for the specialty discovery medicine department in the exploratory clinical & translational research group at Bristol Myers Squibb, according to his LinkedIn profile.

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#BIO22: Man­ag­ing a biotech in tur­bu­lent times. 'There's a per­fect shit­show out there'

On Tuesday, June 14, Endpoints News EIC John Carroll sat down with a group of biotech execs to discuss the bear market for industry stocks and how they were dealing with it. Here’s the conversation, which has been lightly edited for brevity.

Martin Meeson, sponsor opening:

Thank you, John. Hello everyone. My name’s Martin Meeson, I’m the CEO of Fujifilm Diosynth. For those of you who don’t know Fujifilm Diosynth, we operate in the development of clinical and commercial product scale up, we have facilities in Europe and the US, and around about 4,000 employees. We run on average about 150 programs, so when it comes to managing in turbulent times over the last two years, we’ve had quite a lot of experience of that. Not just keeping the clinical pipelines and the commercial pipelines open, but also our response to the pandemic and the molecules that we’ve had within there. One of the phrases that I coined probably about a year ago when we were talking at JP Morgan, was I talked about managing through turbulent times. Well, it’s become the fact that we are not managing and leading through these times, we are managing in them, which is why that’s really the purpose of and the topic that we’ve got today.

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No­var­tis to re­sume the pro­duc­tion of two ra­di­oli­gand ther­a­pies af­ter re­solv­ing qual­i­ty is­sues

Earlier this year, Novartis touted its radioligand as a major piece to counter competition in the cancer space. However, the physical production of its products has had anything but a smooth ride.

In May, Novartis had to suspend production of Lutathera and Pluvicto, its two primary radiotherapies. According to the company, this was done out of an abundance of caution as a result of potential quality issues identified in its manufacturing. The production suspension impacts the commercial and clinical trial supply of the products.

Amgen's taking social media followers around the globe as it introduces the many different

From Tam­pa to Mu­nich, Am­gen’s ‘Places’ cam­paign in­tro­duces its lo­ca­tions around the world

Amgen is taking social media followers around the world with its latest corporate campaign. Called “Places of Amgen,” the twice monthly posts highlight the biopharma’s different offices and sites – and the people who work there.

Each post runs on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram with details about the work Amgen does in that location, when it was established, comments from people who work there and other interesting facts. The most recent one about Paris, France, for example, notes that Amgen France last year signed a French association charter committed to the inclusion of LBGT+ people in the workplace.

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On Friday, Lonza announced plans to construct a large-scale commercial drug product fill and finish facility in the town of Stein, Switzerland.

Lon­za to in­vest $500M+ on fill-fin­ish fa­cil­i­ty on its home turf

Lonza has been expanding its reach across the globe, bringing sites in China and the US online this year, but now they are looking closer to home for their next major investment.

The Swiss manufacturer on Friday announced plans to construct a large-scale commercial drug fill and finish facility in the town of Stein, Switzerland. The new facility will be delivered through an investment of approximately CHF 500 million, or $519 million, and is expected to be completed in 2026. The facility will also be constructed on the same campus as Lonza’s current clinical drug product facility.

Credit: Shutterstock

Bio­haven takes mi­graine cam­paign to pa­tients' Twit­ter feeds, months ahead of Pfiz­er takeover

Two weeks ago, Biohaven hit an all-time high in weekly Nurtec prescriptions. CEO Vlad Coric attributes at least some of that success to a new interactive Twitter campaign that encourages patients to free their feed of potential migraine triggers.

Earlier this month, Biohaven in partnership with Twitter launched the #RelieveYourFeed campaign that allows users to customize their app settings based on their migraine triggers.

Oncologists on Twitter are talking up ASCO studies, health equity and burnout, according to new deep dive research from Harris Poll (via Shutterstock)

What’s been on in­flu­en­tial on­col­o­gist­s' minds? Most­ly AS­CO, but al­so health eq­ui­ty, ac­cord­ing to new Har­ris Poll re­search

Over the past few months, oncologists have been talking a lot about the ASCO conference. Not surprising considering its import and the study data presented, but what may be less expected is the second most talked about topic of health equity.

That’s according to data from The Harris Poll and the new expert network the researcher is building out. While the company has been doing deep data dives into specific health issues or conditions for pharma clients, it’s now monitoring influencer networks of therapy area specialists to find out what experts are really thinking about.