Sanofi Korea Coronavirus bribery vaccine probe; China bid for Novartis

Amid an ongoing outbreak of a deadly new coronavirus in China, AbbVie's HIV drug ritonavir and Gilead Sciences' remdesivir have emerged as possible treatments to fight it.

Sanofi Korea Coronavirus bribery vaccine probe; China bid for Novartis

Amid, an ongoing outbreak of a deadly new coronavirus in China, AbbVie's HIV drug Ritonavir and the Remdesivir of Gilead Sciences have emerged as possible treatments for combating it. A Sanofi executive has been detained in Korea as authorities dig into suspected bid-rigging vaccine procurement. Novartis plans to double its revenue of $2.2 billion in 2019 in China by 2024. As China is attempting to rein in the deadly new coronavirus, researchers are working on possible treatments. China's National Health Commission recommends AbbVie's HIV medication Kaletra (Aluvia) in its recently updated guidelines to treat pneumonia caused by the virus, officially known as 2019-nCoV. Even considering turning the Ebola vaccine Remdesivir against the current pathogen, Gilead Sciences. Scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences recently found that Remdesivir, chloroquine and ritonavir (a component in Kaletra) had demonstrated good anti-2019-nCoV activity in laboratory dishes.

One Sanofi executive in South Korea was arrested among seven people in a vaccine procurement bribery probe, reports MLex. A presumed cartel involving public and military immunization programs is being investigated by authorities. The probe could expand to other firms and involve purchases worth billions of dollars. Novartis has started reporting China's sales figures separately in its fourth-quarter earnings report. In the fourth quarter, China added $544 million to Novartis ' top line, up 21 % in constant currencies, bringing the country's full-year haul to around $2.2 billion. CEO Vas Narasimhan said the Swiss drug manufacturer wants to double that number of sales by 2024.

Biocon said it issued a Form 483 with five findings following a pre-approval inspection last week of a small molecule API facility and good manufacturing practices. An FDA review of a manufacturing facility in Aurobindo Pharma last autumn noticed more than half a dozen problems. The Indian company now said that it has received a letter called "Official Action Indicated," which indicates that inspectors will recommend more regulatory action.

In a new study published in mSphere, an American Society for Microbiology journal, an international team of scientists, including from the Chinese Academy of Sciences ' Mega-Science Center for Biosafety in Wuhan, suggests that targeted enrichment based on next-generation sequencing may increase sensitivity and reduce the costs of monitoring emerging coronaviruses. Chinese CDMO WuXi Biologics said it would continue to provide the essential drugs it manufactures during the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus. It said it has put together a team of over 100 R&D staff to work on a range of "neutralizing antibodies" from some of its biotech clients that can be used against 2019-nCoV.