Moderna said Thursday that the company is on track to release early data next month from a late-stage trial of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine. "Since we are following the ZIP codes (US geographic areas) and the counties from which these participants come, we have pretty sophisticated models of what to expect, and I think we're on track for those expectations," said Tal Zaks, Moderna's chief medical officer.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci said the US will likely know whether there will be a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19 "sometime in December," based on projections from leading vaccine makers Moderna and Pfizer. Initial doses of a vaccine, if validated, will likely become available to high-risk Americans by year's end or early 2021, Fauci said.
Takeda Pharmaceutical of Japan is reportedly in talks with Moderna for the importation and distribution of 50 million doses of its investigational COVID-19 vaccine. Takeda will handle seeking regulatory approval for mRNA-1273, with supplies to be delivered beginning in the first half of next year.
Enrollment of patients will resume next week for the trial testing the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the UK's Oxford University being conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Two shots had already been received by 36 volunteers prior to the study being halted temporarily in September.
Novartis has unveiled plans to acquire Vedere Bio for $280 million, which includes an upfront payment of $150 million and the balance to be paid as milestone payments. The purchase will strengthen Novartis' presence in the gene therapy field with access to two early-stage programs to treat blindness-causing diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa.
Sanofi will collaborate with Merck subsidiary MSD to evaluate the preliminary efficacy, pharmacokinetics and safety of the latter's candidate THOR-707 in combination with Keytruda, or pembrolizumab, in patients with various types of cancer.
The full genome of a variety of miscanthus, a wild perennial grass, has been sequenced by an international bioenergy research team of more than 40 collaborators. A potential biomass source, miscanthus grasses are a renewable alternative to fossil fuels that are petroleum-based.
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