News Scan for Feb 12, 2018

H7N9 case in China
;
Cell-based flu vaccine
;
NIH drug funding

H7N9 illness reported from China's Guangdong province

China has reported another H7N9 avian flu infection, marking only the third case of the sixth wave of illness activity that began in October, according to a report today from Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection (CHP).

The patient is from Guangdong province in southern China. No other details were available about the patient, other than that he or she got sick in Zhongshan and that the illness is the first of the year from Guangdong province. The earlier two infections involved people from Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Yunnan province.

China's number of H7N9 illnesses is down markedly compared with last season, which saw an early surge of cases and by far the most cases (almost 800) compared with the earlier waves. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization says 1,625 H7N9 cases have been confirmed since February 2013.
Feb 12 CHP statement
Jan 24 FAO update

 

Sanofi licenses cell-based flu vaccine technology from Korean company

SK Chemicals Co., a vaccine maker based in South Korea, announced today that it has signed an agreement worth as much as $155 million to license its cell-culture technology to Sanofi Pasteur for developing a universal flu vaccine, Yonhap News Agency reported today.

According to the report, SK Chemicals has commercialized cell-culture–based trivalent and quadrivalent flu vaccines since 2015. The agreement stipulates that the company will receive an initial $15 million payment, followed by $20 million after technology transfer is completed. With milestones and additional royalties, the agreement could reach $155 million.

In August 2017, Sanofi completed the acquisition of Protein Sciences, part of Sanofi's plan to explore non–egg-based influenza vaccine manufacturing technology.
Feb 12 Yonhap story
Aug 28, 2017, Sanofi press release

 

NIH funding study shows large fraction of funds go to new drugs

Funds from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) contributed to research associated with every new drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration from 2010 through 2016, according to an analysis published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Funding the basic research that leads to new drug development accounts for more than 20% of the NIH budget, the study authors found.  More than $100 billion and 200,000 fiscal years of federal (primarily NIH) funding was found in each of the 210 novel drugs developed over the 6-year study period.

After chemotherapy drugs (antineoplastic agents), anti-infectives, including drugs targeting HIV and hepatitis, were the most common type of new medicine approved between 2010 and 2016.

The authors suggest that earlier analyses underestimate the scope of public funding in drug development and research. A restricted NIH budget, they conclude, could lead to fewer new drugs.

"This work shows that a large fraction of the NIH research budget is focused on the basic research required to bring new products to market," the authors write. "Any reduction in this funding that slows the pace of this research could significantly delay the emergence of new drugs in the future."
Feb 12 PNAS study  

Newsletter Sign-up

Get CIDRAP news and other free newsletters.

Sign up now»

OUR UNDERWRITERS

Unrestricted financial support provided by

Bentson Foundation 3M Gilead 
Grant support for ASP provided by

  Become an underwriter»