Global Pharma Briefs: News from Pfizer, Merck KGaA, and Sanofi

A roundup of news from Canada (AbCellera), Germany (Merck KGaA and MoonLake Immunotherapeutics), and the US (Pfizer, Sanofi, and Acella Pharmaceuticals).


AbCellera Breaks Ground on New Global HQ
AbCellera, a Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-based biopharmaceutical company, has broken ground on an expanded global headquarters in Vancouver.

The company’s planned tech campus includes two facilities totaling 380,000 square feet that will be developed in partnership with the Dayhu Group, a Vancouver-based real estate investment, development, and property management company, and Beedie, a Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada-based real estate developer. The facilities are expected to be completed in 2023 and 2024.

AbCellera expects to add hundreds of employees to its current 250-person workforce over the next few years (as reported on April 29, 2021).

AbCellera says its long-term vision at its Vancouver site is to build a clinical-grade GMP antibody manufacturing facility.

Source: AbCellera


Merck KGaA, MoonLake Immunotherapeutics Enter Pact for Psoriasis Drug
Merck KGaA, through one of its subsidiaries, has entered into an out-licensing agreement with MoonLake Immunotherapeutics, a Zug, Switzerland-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on inflammatory skin and joint diseases, for sonelokimab, a treatment for moderate-to-severe chronic plaque-type psoriasis.

MoonLake Immunotherapeutics will assume full responsibility for the research, development and commercialization of sonelokimab. The company plans to accelerate the development of the asset in multiple inflammatory diseases in dermatology and rheumatology, including psoriatic arthritis (PsA), ankylosing spondylitis (AS), and hidradenitis suppurativa (HS). Phase II programs in PsA, AS and HS are expected to be initiated soon (as reported on May 3, 2021).

A Phase IIb clinical trial of sonelokimab was completed by Merck KGaA through a co-development agreement with Avillion, a London, UK-based company focused on increasing research and development output.

Merck KGaA acquired full, exclusive rights to sonelokimab through a 2013 global development and commercialization agreement with Ablynx (now part of Sanofi).

Source: Merck KGaA and MoonLake Immunotherapeutics


Pfizer’s Hospira Issue Voluntary Recall of Two Lots of Anesthetics
Hospira, a Pfizer company, is voluntarily recalling one lot of 0.5% bupivacaine hydrochloride injection, USP 30 mL, and one lot of 1% lidocaine HCl Injection, USP 30 mL, to the hospital/institution level due to mislabeling whereby a portion of each lot was incorrectly labeled as the other product.

Bupivacaine hydrochloride injection is indicated in adults for the production of local or regional anesthesia or analgesia for surgery, dental and oral surgery procedures, diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, and obstetrical procedures. Lidocaine HCl Injection is indicated for the production of local or regional anesthesia by infiltration techniques such as percutaneous injection and intravenous regional anesthesia by peripheral nerve block techniques such as brachial plexus and intercostal and by central neural techniques such as lumbar and caudal epidural blocks.

The product lots were distributed nationwide to wholesalers, distributors, retailers, and hospitals in the US, Puerto Rico, and Guam from December 29, 2020 to April 15, 2021.

Source: US Food and Drug Administration

Acella Pharmaceuticals Issues Recall of Certain Lots of Thyroid Drug
Acella Pharmaceuticals, an Alpharetta, Georgia-based specialty pharmaceutical company, is voluntarily recalling certain lots of 15-mg, 30-mg, 60-mg, 90-mg and 120-mg NP Thyroid, Thyroid Tablets, USP [levothyroxine (T4) and liothyronine (T3)] to the consumer level due to routine testing that found these lots to be sub-potent.

NP Thyroid, Thyroid Tablets, USP are composed of levothyroxine and liothyronine and are used to treat hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). The products subject to recall are packed in 100-count and 7-count bottles.

These lots were distributed nationwide in the US to Acella’s direct accounts, including wholesalers, pharmacies, and healthcare offices.

Source: US Food and Drug Administration

Sanofi, Stanford Medicine Enter into Pact To Accelerate Immunology Research
Sanofi has entered into a three-year immunology research collaboration with Stanford University’s School of Medicine.

Together, the two organizations and their scientists will work to advance the understanding of immunology and inflammation through open scientific exchange. Additionally, Sanofi will provide funding and scientific inputs into projects of mutual interest, crossing multiple therapeutic areas, including autoimmune diseases and inflammatory conditions.

Sanofi and Stanford Medicine will create a Joint Steering Committee to fund up to three programs a year. Sanofi will host an annual research forum for researchers from both organizations to further exchange ideas, share knowledge and perspectives on relevant scientific matters, and discuss collaborative research projects. Full details of the research projects can be found here.

Source: Sanofi

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