This week we take a look at a possible treatment for HIV, Johnson & Johnson’s latest collaboration for myeloma, Pfizer’s IPD vaccine approval, and other top news!
Researchers have developed a drug technology that can significantly reduce HIV replication in humanized mice. The technology is called Locked Nucleic Acid (LNA) antisense oligonucleotides, which can target the genetic material of the virus and prevent its replication. In the study, the drug technology reduced viral replication by more than 90% in mice infected with HIV. This discovery can pave the way for the development of novel treatments for HIV in humans.
Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has entered into a $245 million deal with Cellular Biomedicine to develop a CAR-T cell therapy for multiple myeloma. The therapy targets B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA), which is found in multiple myeloma cells. The agreement includes an initial payment of $75 million to Cellular Biomedicine and up to $170 million in milestone payments. The CAR-T therapy is still in preclinical development.
Travere Therapeutics’ drug, sparsentan, has failed to meet its primary endpoint in a Phase 2 clinical trial for the treatment of IgA nephropathy. In April, the FDA had granted approval to the drug for treating focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), a rare kidney disease. However, the latest trial of the drug did not result in a significant reduction in proteinuria, which is an important marker for measuring kidney function. Travere Therapeutics is currently exploring the drug’s potential in other indications.
Astellas Pharma has announced its plan to acquire Iveric Bio, a biopharmaceutical firm focusing on developing innovative therapies for ophthalmic diseases, for $5.9 billion. Iveric Bio’s lead drug candidate, Zimura, is being developed to treat geographic atrophy, a primary cause of irreversible vision loss. This acquisition will enable Astellas Pharma to broaden its ophthalmology portfolio and advance groundbreaking treatments for patients with vision loss.
Pfizer’s Prevnar 20 vaccine has received FDA approval for use in children aged six weeks to five years to prevent invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD). Prevnar 20 can safeguard against 20 serotypes of Streptococcus pneumoniae, a bacterium that can cause severe diseases such as pneumonia, meningitis, and bloodstream infections. The vaccine has been approved for adults over the age of 18 already. The clearance for use in infants and children offers an essential additional tool for preventing IPD.
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