News

Novartis bids farewell to vaccines with $7.1B sale to GSK

After years of struggles and months of speculation, Novartis is finally kissing its vaccines unit goodbye. As part of a company-wide revamp, the Swiss drugmaker will send the division to the U.K., where GlaxoSmithKline will be waiting with open arms to take on a vaccines business that will give it an edge in meningitis and bolster its pipeline.

U.K. health secretary asks Novartis CEO for Bexsero price cut

When a U.K. advisory committee reversed its earlier guidance and recommended the country's National Health Service add Novartis' meningitis B vaccine Bexsero to its national immunization program, it did so on condition that the NHS secure a "cost-effective price" for the jab. And now, it seems the country and the Swiss company may have different ideas of what that price should be.

Merck, Sanofi hope for sales expansion with two-dose Gardasil switch

Now that the European Commission has officially approved a two-dose Gardasil regimen for early teens, Merck and Sanofi will see the number of shots per patient fall. But that doesn't mean they'll necessarily take a sales hit, with the move potentially expanding overall access and providing a bump both drugmakers could use.

Ebola deaths rise to 135 as vaccine research lags

As the death toll from the Ebola virus in West Africa climbs to 135 people, a vaccine to combat the deadly virus remains years out of reach.

Sanofi and Pitt join up to test wannabe dengue blockbuster

Sanofi's dengue fever candidate is on the verge of regulatory applications after 20 years in the lab and more than $1.4 billion spent on R&D. Now the pharma giant has forged a new collaboration to help assess the jab's postintroduction effectiveness.

New Novartis director will implement Bexsero on U.K. immunization program

Dr. John Porter, formerly the U.K. medical team lead for Pfizer, will become Novartis' medical affairs director for Northern Europe.

Whooping cough mutations may be weakening vaccine effectiveness

Whooping cough is back with a vengeance, and the culprit may be the changing nature of the bacterium that causes the highly infectious disease.

Dynavax initiates PhIII study it hopes will quell FDA's safety concerns

FDA and EMA requests for more data on hepatitis B candidate Heplisav have set Dynavax Technologies back time and again. Now, Dynavax is embarking on a new trial it hopes will address some of those safety concerns.

Report: Emergency flu vaccine manufacturing site will be online by 2017

One of three manufacturing sites commissioned by the Department of Health and Human Services to quickly develop and produce flu vaccines in the case of a pandemic is expected to be fully operational by 2017, officials say.

Colorado Senate hears vaccine bill testimony

Though the bill passed in the House after a bipartisan 42-19 vote, opponents have accused its sponsor of treating parents like "idiots" and "morons."

WHO offers road map for new vaccine introduction

To help countries achieve the maximum impact of new vaccines, the World Health Organization has released new guidance on how to introduce new vaccines in existing immunization programs.

Merck KGaA lung cancer vaccine gets a second shot with start of PhIII trial

Merck KGaA has breathed some life back into its lung cancer vaccine, which many wrote off after it tanked in a Phase III trial in late 2012. After vowing to make a renewed effort to find some value in the jab last September, this week the company announced the start of a new Phase III study.

Novartis' Bexsero wins FDA 'breakthrough' status

A couple of weeks ago, the FDA handed Pfizer's meningitis B candidate its breakthrough therapy designation, setting it up for a race to market with Novartis' Bexsero. Now, the Swiss company's jab has one to match, meaning it may not be long before it can start contributing some much-needed sales to Novartis' vaccines unit.

Amgen's closely watched melanoma prospect misses PhIII survival endpoint

Amgen's cancer-fighting viral vaccine has been rolling through Phase III, producing a series of positive results. But after missing a secondary endpoint in overall survival, the California-based biotech's hot prospect now has a big blot on its resume.

Mutations during vaccine making weakened last year's flu jab

Last year's flu vaccine didn't provide as much coverage as scientists had hoped, and now researchers from Canada's British Columbia Centre for Disease Control think they have discovered the culprit.

GSK will tailor vaccine portfolio, improve access as part of wider Africa initiative

GlaxoSmithKline has long been a leader in producing vaccines for Africa, but now it's going one step further. The British pharma will tailor a portfolio of meds to address specific health needs on the continent and increase the registration of drugs and vaccines it already has, the company said this week.

GlaxoSmithKline admits defeat in PhIII cancer vaccine trial

Less than two weeks ago, after its cancer vaccine flopped in a Phase III lung cancer trial, GlaxoSmithKline said it would continue looking for improvements among patients with a certain genetic makeup. But no longer: The British drugmaker has put the kibosh on the trial, establishing that it won't be possible to ID a subpopulation that will benefit.

CDC: Flu vaccination cuts children's risk for intensive care hospitalization

Vaccination against the flu reduces a child's risk of intensive care hospitalization related to the flu by 74%, according to a CDC study published recently in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Trump's Twitter tirade blames vaccines for autism increase

Donald Trump has once again pushed a debunked link between vaccines and autism, this time weighing in after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a report indicating that the number of children in America with the disorder has jumped from 1 in 88 two years ago to 1 in 68.

Vaccines sale figures into Baxter's breakup plans

The same day Baxter announced it would be dividing into separate biopharma and med tech companies come 2015, it revealed plans to sell its vaccines unit as part of the larger breakup.