Last week in pharma… 12th August

12th August, 2022

ramarketing news round-up 

Catalent to acquire Metrics, new drug pricing bill and deficient RNA editing implicated in inflammatory diseases and more!

Catalent to Acquire Metrics Contract Services for $475M

Expanding high-potency capabilities and oral drug development and manufacturing capacity.

Catalent, Inc. has reached an agreement to acquire Metrics Contract Services, a full-service specialty contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) with a facility in Greenville, NC, for $475 million from Mayne Pharma Group Limited. The acquisition will strengthen Catalent’s capabilities in integrated oral solid formulation development, manufacturing and packaging to help customers simplify and accelerate their programs, while also expanding Catalent’s capacity to handle highly potent compounds.

The 333,000 square-foot Greenville facility features capabilities to accelerate and de-risk customer programs from early development through commercial launch through a streamlined one-site solution.

Over the past five years, the facility has seen more than $100 million in capital improvements and now includes 16 manufacturing suites, with 11 designed to handle highly potent compounds, as well as two packaging lines that can support a large variety of development and commercial supply programs. The facility’s estimated annual production capacity exceeds one billion oral solid dose units.

Senate passage of drug pricing bill brings major defeat closer for pharma industry

According to Biopharma Dive the legislation would allow Medicare to negotiate prices on dozens of drugs by 2029 – authority that pharma has long resisted. Senate Democrats passed major drug pricing legislation on Sunday in a significant political defeat for the pharmaceutical industry, which has for decades staved off any attempt to limit drugmakers’ pricing power.

The $739 billion climate, tax and healthcare legislation, dubbed the Inflation Reduction Act, passed 51-50 on a party-line vote, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaker. The House of Representative will take up the measure on Friday and is expected to quickly pass it and send it to President Joe Biden for his signature. A pared-down version of the White House’s “Build Back Better” plan, the bill would still represent an important legislative victory for his administration.

Omicron mutations help it evade antibodies

According to DDN the omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 contains a whopping 60 mutations compared to the original Wuhan strain, a striking number that garnered widespread media attention and concern from researchers. The highly mutated variant is efficient at evading vaccine- and natural infection-induced antibodies and antibody treatments. But its stealth came at a cost.

The full sequence of the omicron variant was first released on November 24, 2021. Scientists identified it as a variant of concern only two days later due to its high mutational burden, particularly in the spike protein, which mediates SARS-CoV-2’s entry into cells via the ACE2 receptor. Omicron’s spike protein carries 37 mutations; its predecessor, gamma, has 12 mutations in its spike protein.

Deficient RNA editing implicated in inflammatory disease

According to TheScientist following transcription, RNA molecules can undergo modifications. For example, nucleotides may be inserted, deleted, or changed. One of the most common edits, which new research shows plays an important role in the onset of inflammatory disease, is the transformation of the nucleotide adenosine into inosine within a double-stranded RNA. A study published Wednesday (August 3) in Nature reveals that genetic variants that dampen this specific modification are associated with an increased risk of autoimmune and immune-mediated inflammatory disorders such as psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, and type 1 diabetes. The authors propose that a sensor protein likely mistakes these less-edited RNAs for foreign molecules, triggering an inflammatory response.

Pharmaceutical contract packaging company Tjoapack reveals the benefits of doubling its plant capacity, creating a more agile supply chain and dabbling in blockchain.

Tjoapack ’s CEO, Dexter Tjoa, speaks to Packaging Gateway’s Ryan Ellington about the company’s recent US$10.4m (EUR10m) Netherlands plant expansion to produce a new packaging line for its pre-filled syringes. He also reveals insights on the company’s ESG efforts, tackling supply chain challenges and the importance of data security.