PharmaTimes | October 15, 2019
Pfizer has announced the launch of a UK-wide campaign dubbed “Don’t be catfished by counterfeit medicines”. The campaign, which is targeted specifically at students, focuses mainly on Xanax (alprazolam), aiming to raise awareness amongst young people who are increasingly buying counterfeit medicines online, unaware of the serious risks they are taking. The company says that the campaign reflects how easy it is to be fooled when purchasing these products online, and will be run across Facebook and Instagram. Neville Broad, lab research manager at Pfizer said that the company is “taking the threats of counterfeit medicines into account for the utmost patient safety, coming up with new digital material in order to educate the public about the dangers of the medicines.” Reminding the public about the potential dangers of the fake treatments, he told PharmaTimes: “In the best case counterfeit medicines just don’t work, but in the worst case scenario they can kill you. We’ve seen all sorts of variations of counterfeits – ones that don’t contain the active ingredient of a drug, ones that contain too much or too little, other ingredients that might not be correct, in turn making the therapeutic effectiveness and safety of the drug totally incorrect and spurious. “First and foremost, we advise that patients go to their GP and get medicines through the prescription route, but asides from that they need to be looking at registered websites that are MHRA licensed and approved. If something looks too good to be true, it probably is. Avoid it. If it’s advertised as a cheap drug or advertised without packaging, that’s definitely a danger area.”
pharmaphorum | October 14, 2019
LA-based biotech ImaginAb has signed a multi-party agreement with pharma giants AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Takeda, for technology that allows scientists to see inside tumours, and monitor whether immunotherapies are taking effect. ImaginAb’s imaging technology targets and visualises CD8+ T cells that are called in to attack tumours by immunotherapies. The company’s ‘Minibody’ platform can assess the immunological status of each cancer lesion within a patient, potentially enabling treatment to be tailored quickly and specifically to the needs of a patient. Under the terms of the agreement, the collaborators will help guide a current ImaginAb-sponsored clinical trial that aims to evaluate the utility and value of CD8 ImmunoPET in immuno-oncology drug development. In return, the collaborators will gain early access to clinical and imaging data, and collectively contribute to the post-trial data analysis. The agreement builds on an impressive list of collaborators that are already helping to guide the technology: Imaginab is already working with Merck & Co., Boehringer Ingelheim, Nektar and Roche, some of the major players in cancer immunotherapy. ImaginAb was founded in 2007 by professor Anna Wu, and scientific advisor Robert Reiter. Beyond the founders, the company boasts a highly experienced executive team, board of directors and scientific advisory board including AACR President Dr Antoni Ribas, 2018 Nobel Laureate Dr James Allison, Dr Ramy Ibrahim of the Parker Institute and Dr Tim Irish, who also works for NICE as a non-executive director.
fiercepharma | June 20, 2019
The U.S. FDA compiles a list of off-patent drugs without an approved generic to encourage the development of copycats. Now, the Chinese authorities are rolling out a similar initiative, only with some extra incentives. On Thursday, China’s National Health Commission published (Chinese) its first proposed list of 34 drugs (full list below) that the agency says are already off patent or nearing patent expiration but have no generic drug application in the country or lack competition. The plan is to invite drugmakers to make copies—and here comes the key—under drug regulator’s priority review pathway, which was until now only given to innovative drugs. The list covers originators from many foreign pharmas, including Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Merck & Co., Johnson & Johnson, Roche, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Takeda, Eli Lilly, and more. And the drugs span a wide range of therapeutic areas, including HIV, anti-infectives, ophthalmology, cancer, blood and immune disorders, etc. Some prominent names can be found on the list. Teva’s multiple sclerosis blockbuster Copaxone, which just saw its first U.S. copycat from Mylan less than two years ago, is probably the best-selling drug on the list by global sales. Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Actelion’s pulmonary artery hypertension drug Tracleer and United Therapeutics' rival med Remodulin are both included. Roche’s CMV retinitis treatment Valcyte and chemotherapies Faslodex and Ixempra from AZ and BMS, respectively, are also among those listed. China made certain of its intention to make that list in January. At that time, it said the government would update the list at the end of each year starting from 2020. And key small molecules and biologics on the list will also be incorporated into state-backed R&D plans. The initiative is seen as another push by the Chinese government to bring in competition to rein in drug costs. In a recent decree, physicians are strictly not allowed to write brand names on prescriptions, and even if they do, pharmacists could fill them with generics.