Tonix & Southern Research expand COVID-19 vaccine collaboration to include T cell study

0

New York biopharma, Tonix Pharmaceuticals, has expanded its strategic collaboration with Southern Research to include a study of T cell immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 in volunteers who have recovered or remain asymptomatic after exposure to COVID-19.

The research is part of an ongoing and broader collaboration between Tonix and Southern Research to develop and conduct animal testing of Tonix’s TNX-1800, which is a live replicating virus vaccine designed to protect against COVID-19.

The data will support the interpretation of animal trial results with TNX-1800, which are expected in the fourth quarter of 2020 and subsequent human trials.

Seth Lederman, President and CEO of Tonix, said: “We believe that protective vaccines against the SARS-CoV-2 virus will be similar in that regard.

“The data we plan to collect from recovered and asymptomatic COVID-19 volunteers will inform vaccine development on how to safely provide to vaccine recipients the same immune responses that others got from recovering from actual CoV-2 infection.

“If approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in healthy, non-pregnant adults without moderate or severe eczema, TNX-1800 would feature single-dose immunity without the use of adjuvants, ease of manufacturing on readily available systems, and glass-sparing distribution since we believe 100 doses of TNX-1800 could be packaged in a single vial.

“Our goal with TNX-1800 is to develop a vaccine that is well tolerated, produces strong, long-lasting immunity, and can be rapidly and broadly deployed.”

UK launches antibiotic buying scheme to tackle AMR

The NHS is launching a “pioneering scheme” to provide new antibiotics to patients by offering to pay pharma companies upfront for their work.

The move will help to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and help to protect UK patients.

The NHS is offering 2 contracts to pay pharma companies at the start of their work for access to innovative antibiotics, incentivising them to bring new classes of the drugs to patients across the UK for the first time in almost 30 years.

Of particular interest are antibiotics that can provide alternative treatment options for serious infections, such as bloodstream infections, sepsis and hospital-acquired pneumonia.

The high cost and low returns associated with antibiotic research and development makes it commercially unattractive. This is why the drugs will be paid for by the world’s first ‘subscription-style’ payment model for antibiotics and will be made available to UK patients as soon as possible, potentially as early as 2022.

“This new way of buying antibiotics for patients in the NHS breaks down restrictive barriers to offer companies a vital springboard to foster innovation and develop potentially life-saving new products,” said Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

Professor Dame Sally Davies, UK Special Envoy on Antimicrobial Resistance, said: “The payment model, which was launched in July 2019, will pay pharmaceutical companies upfront for access to their antibiotic product, based on a product’s value to the NHS, rather than how much is used.

“This aims to incentivise companies to invest in researching and developing new antibiotics, helping secure much-needed alternative treatment options for NHS patients.”

Two drugs that have proven to be both safe and effective will be selected to undergo health technology assessment (HTA) by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) throughout 2021 using adapted methods for antimicrobials. The HTA will be used to decide the level of the subscription payment.

Novartis expands sickle cell disease programme to Uganda & Tanzania

0

Novartis and its partners announced the expansion of the Africa Sickle Cell Disease program to East Africa with the signature of two new memoranda of understanding with the Ministries of Health of Uganda and Tanzania.

The programme – first launched in Ghana in November 2019 – aims to improve and extend the lives of people with sickle cell disease (SCD) in sub-Saharan Africa, with plans to reach a total of 10 countries by 2022.

“In this time of worldwide uncertainty, it is even more important to support people living with chronic conditions like sickle cell disease,” said Dr Patrice Matchaba, Group Head of Global Health & Corporate Responsibility at Novartis.

“We are excited to join forces with the Ministries of Health of Uganda and Tanzania and local partners to reimagine treatment and care for people with sickle cell disease.”

Within the scope of these public-private partnerships, Novartis and its partners have agreed to explore collaboration opportunities aimed at tackling the growing burden of SCD in their countries.

The partners intend to develop and implement a comprehensive approach that includes making diagnosis and treatment available, accessible and affordable for patients and their families; promoting scientific research, training and education; and pursuing robust monitoring and evaluation of the program.

As a next step, Novartis plans to work with the respective Ministries of Health to further define the scope of each collaboration and explore opportunities for additional partnerships.

In Ghana, the program is already making progress with more than 2,000 patients being treated with hydroxyurea in 11 treatment centres across the country.

To date, Novartis has delivered more than 60 000 treatments of hydroxyurea in Ghana, helping ensure SCD patients have uninterrupted access to treatment during the global pandemic.

At the same time, Novartis has registered the medicine for the treatment of SCD in Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. Hydroxyurea is a commonly used medicine for patients with SCD in developed countries, and is approved for use in both adults and children.

In addition, Novartis has signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of Ghana with the intent to collaborate on promoting education, research, advocacy and capacity building to advance Ghana’s national health agenda to improve the health and well-being of people with SCD.