Global Pharma Briefs: News from Sanofi, GSK, Pfizer, AbbVie, Biogen

A roundup of news from China (Sparx Therapeutics), France (Sanofi), the UK (Pfizer, AbbVie, and Biogen) and the US (GSK, Nkarta, and USP).


Sparx Therapeutics To Build for Antibody Drug Mfg Facility
Sparx Therapeutics, a Chicago-based bio/pharmaceutical company, has announced plans to build a 1.2-million-square-foot commercial manufacturing facility antibody drug production n Yangzhou, China.

The plan includes a new 400,000-square-foot cleanroom and total bioreactor capacity of 80,000-liters in separate cleanroom suites. The facility is projected to be in operation by the end of 2022.

Sparx uses artificial intelligence for its target-mining engine, allowing identification of cellular targets which can be used for biological activity. This target discovery platform is combined with a multi-component antibody optimization system and four ADC technologies.

Source: Sparx Therapeutics


Sanofi To Divest Eight Consumer Healthcare Products to Hypera Pharma
Sanofi has agreed to sell to Hypera Pharma, a Brazilian pharmaceutical company with a position in branded prescriptions, consumer health, and branded generics, eight consumer healthcare products commercialized in Latin America. The agreement also includes prescription products from Sanofi’s General Medicine portfolio.

The transaction is expected to close at the end of 2021, subject to approval of relevant regulatory authorities and other customary closing conditions. Sanofi says it does not anticipate any impact of this divestiture to its Latin American-based workforce.

Source: Sanofi


Pfizer, AbbVie, Biogen Enter into Genetic-Sequence Analysis Pact
Pfizer, AbbVie, and Biogen have entered into a genetic exome sequence analysis collaboration to create a browsable resource linking rare protein-coding genetic variants to human health and disease.

Managed by the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts of Technology and Harvard University, the browser gives access to results from analyses of whole exome sequencing data from 300,000 UK Biobank research participants. These genetic data have been paired with detailed health information to create the browsable resource.

The companies engaged with the Broad Institute for data processing and to conduct single variant and gene-based association testing with nearly 4,000 UK Biobank phenotypes to identify associations between distinct genes or genetic variants and disease.

The UK Biobank whole exome sequencing data has been generated as part of the UK Biobank Exome Sequencing Consortium, formed in 2018, which, in addition to AbbVie, Biogen, and Pfizer, includes additional industry partners, supporting a trend across the industry to collaborate in a precompetitive manner for generating the source data for an improved understanding of human biology and disease.

Source: Pfizer and Biogen


GSK To Close Tennessee Mfg Facility
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has filed an official WARN Notice with the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development notifying the agency of a permanent closure of its site in Memphis, Tennessee, effective June 20, 2021, with all separations to be complete by September 1, 2021. The total number of affected workers is 156.

Source: Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development

Nkarta Establishes Cell-Therapy Mfg Facility, HQ
Nkarta, a South San Francisco, California-based company focused on developing allogeneic natural killer (NK) cell therapies for cancer, has signed a lease agreement for a facility to support research and development and future commercial manufacturing of its cell-therapy pipeline and also serve as the company’s headquarters.

The newly leased 88,000-square-foot facility in South San Francisco will be built out as a multi-product facility and is expected to be operational by the end of 2023. At full capacity, the manufacturing center is expected to have the flexibility to produce commercial supply of multiple cell-therapy products. Nkarta will also consolidate administrative offices and research and development laboratories at the new site.

The manufacturing center will be custom designed to complement Nkarta’s technology platform and for the production of its off-the-shelf NK cell therapy investigational products. Nkarta plans to produce materials for potential clinical trials and commercial launch at the new center.

Source: Nkarta

USP Acquires Pharmatech Associates
United States Pharmacopeia (USP), a non-profit scientific and standards-setting organization, has acquired Pharmatech Associates, a global consultancy for the life science industry.

Pharmatech helps manufacturers with regulatory requirements to bring products to market, scale up manufacturing, manage quality control, and address quality problems. Pharmatech Associates and its employees will continue day-to-day operations independent of USP.

Source: United States Pharmacopeia and Pharmatech Associates

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