In this week’s news, Ensysce teams up with Quotient Sciences, Bora expands CDMO capabilities  Everstone acquires a controlling stake in Softgel Healthcare, and more. 

Ensysce teams up with Quotient
Ensysce Biosciences, a clinical-stage biotech company applying transformative chemistry to improve prescription drug safety, and Quotient Sciences, a drug development and manufacturing accelerator, announced a partnership to support the development and clinical testing of PF614-MPAR.  PF614-MPAR is a novel opioid combination product for the potential treatment of chronic pain that is designed to prevent both abuse and overdose.

Bora expands CDMO capabilities
Fast-growing contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), Bora Pharmaceuticals, has completed the acquisition of TWi Pharmaceutical, a technology-based company specializing in the development and commercialization of niche generic drugs.

WHO calls for greater investment into research for millions living with long COVID
Modeling indicates a 307% increase in cases identified between 2020 and 2021. The World Health Organization (WHO) has called on countries to take the post-COVID-19 condition seriously by urgently investing in research, recovery, and rehabilitation. New modeling conducted for WHO by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine in the US, shows that in the first two years of the pandemic, at least 17 million individuals across the 53 Member States of the WHO European Region may have experienced the post-COVID-19 condition, also known as long COVID.

Everstone acquires a controlling stake in Softgel Healthcare
Singapore-headquartered Everstone Capital, the private equity arm of the Everstone Group announced the acquisition of a controlling stake in Softgel Healthcare (SHPL), a specialized niche dosage form focused manufacturing player catering to the global nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, and OTC segments.

This partnership aims to transform SHPL into a scaled, diversified, and globally recognized contract research, development, and manufacturing organization in India with support of the strategic resources of Everstone.

Takeda splashes 300M euros to expand plasma-derived therapy production site amid pandemic recovery
The Japanese pharma giant is investing nearly 300 million euros to build a new production facility for plasma-derived therapies and a new warehouse at its existing Lessines site in Belgium, the company revealed on Tuesday during a celebration of the site’s 50th anniversary.

Also in the news

Novartis probed by Swiss authorities over ‘unlawful’ patent use. In a statement, the regulator says that Novartis “allegedly attempted to protect its drug for the treatment of skin diseases against competing products by using one of its patents to initiate litigation proceedings.”

The saga of Bayer’s beleaguered CEO Werner Baumann may be drawing to a close. Following years of push-and-pull over the German conglomerate’s top post, Bayer has quietly started a hunt for Baumann’s successor.

AstraZeneca stumbled several times during the testing and rollout process for its COVID-19 vaccine and never secured an authorization in the U.S. Upset over investment losses, some AZ shareholders opted to sue the drugmaker but their effort has now been rebuffed.

CDMO trends

Some developments of note in the contracting sector:

Global CDMO Batavia Biosciences boosts GxP compliance and inspection readiness with Veeva quality applications.

Investors in Societal CDMO (NASDAQ: SCTL) from three years ago are still down 87%, even after a 14% gain this past week. Societal CDMO isn’t currently profitable, so most analysts would look to revenue growth to get an idea of how fast the underlying business is growing.

Oxford Biomedica’s first half was impacted by rapid decline in COVID-19 vaccine demand. Gene and cell therapy pharma services company Oxford Biomedica (OXB) said first half revenues fell 21% year-on-year to £64 million driven by a 24% reduction in COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing sales to £57.3 million.