COVID-19 treatments will continue to lift pharma sector, according to Moody’s

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The pandemic has eased throughout much of the world. But demand for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments continues to be brisk, according to ratings agency Moody’s. In general, the pandemic will contribute to the pharmaceutical industry’s projected EBITDA growth rate of 4% to 6% over the coming 12 to 18 months, the firm concluded.

While a significant number of vaccines and antivirals are already in use, more will likely win regulatory authorization in the coming months. But the volume of future COVID-19 therapy sales will hinge upon “how the pandemic evolves,” the Moody’s report acknowledged. 

Other factors driving growth include growing healthcare use as countries such as the U.S. continue to lift COVID-19 restrictions. 

Oncology, one of the most rapidly growing pharma areas, is likely to continue its growth trajectory. Moody’s expects immuno-onco…

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50 of 2020’s best-selling pharmaceuticals

Drug sales in 2020 proved more resilient than many experts anticipated in the early days of the pandemic. Still, the impact on many injectable drugs was tangible in the first half of the year as hospitals initially dissuaded patients from seeking in-person treatment. But sales were generally strong for the full year.

AbbVie’s injectable biologic Humira brought in nearly $20 billion in sales in 2020, with $16 billion in the U.S. alone. A year earlier, sales of the drug were $19.17 billion.

Get the full story from our sister site, Drug Discovery & Development. 

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Pharma’s top 20 R&D spenders in 2020

[Lab image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay]The past year has been an unprecedented time for the pharmaceutical industry.

On the one hand, the pandemic resulted in substantial delays to clinical trials while also forcing sponsors to rethink clinical trial design to protect participants. But on the other hand, the pandemic underscored the importance of the pharma industry in society. 

While the pandemic certainly was a driver for substantial R&D spending in the industry in 2020, a significant expense for many companies last year was licensing fees and other acquisition costs. That trend is not just apparent for Incyte, which tops this list, but also for several other companies in this ranking of 20 firms, which are ranked below based on the percent of revenue they invest in R&D. (To find out the top 50 pharma companies, check out our recently published ranking here.)

Get the full picture from our sister site, Drug Discovery & Development. 

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Pharma’s top 20 R&D spenders in 2020

[Lab image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay]

The past year has been an unprecedented time for the pharmaceutical industry.

On the one hand, the pandemic resulted in substantial delays to clinical trials while also forcing sponsors to rethink clinical trial design to protect participants. But on the other hand, the pandemic underscored the importance of the pharma industry in society. 

While the pandemic certainly was a driver for substantial R&D spending in the industry in 2020, a significant expense for many companies last year was licensing fees and other acquisition costs. That trend is not just apparent for Incyte, which tops this list, but also for several other companies in this ranking of 20 firms, which are ranked below based on the percent of revenue they invest in R&D. (To find out the top 50 pharma companies, check out our recently published ranking here.)

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FDA approves Bristol-Myers Squibb immunotherapy for gastric cancer

The FDA announced today that it approved Opdivo (nivolumab) in combination with chemotherapy to treat gastric cancer, among other diseases.

Opdivo, developed by Bristol-Myers Squibb, when used in combination with certain types of chemotherapy is designed to treat advanced or metastatic gastric cancer, gastroesophageal junction cancer and esophageal adenocarcinoma. It is now the first FDA-approved immunotherapy for the first-line treatment of gastric cancer, according to a news release.

The monoclonal antibody is designed to enhance T-cell function to inhibit tumor growth. In a randomized, multicenter, open-label trial of 1,581 patients with previously untreated advanced or metastatic gastric cancer, gastroesophageal junction cancer and esophageal adenocarcinoma, the 789 patients who received Opdivo with chemotherapy lived longer on average than the 792 patients who received chemo alone.

Median survival for patients who received Opdivo plus chemotherapy c…

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The top 5 pharma firms by reputation

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Recent research from reputation data specialist RepTrak (Boston) indicates that the pharma industry had the largest year-over-year reputational improvement of any sector, according to its roundup of top 100 corporations. The sector saw significant gains in consumers’ perception of its citizenship and governance. 

Now ranked eighth overall, the pharma industry came in just ahead of the consumer services industry and just behind the automobiles and components sector. 

The pharma industry began to see its reputation improve beginning in the second quarter of 2020, when the industry claimed a leading role in pandemic recovery, according to RepTrak.

In the Asia-Pacific region, the pharmaceutical sector has the highest reputation of any industry, according to RepTrak’s report. 

In creating the listing, RepTrack surveyed 68,577 people in 15 countries, asking them to a…

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NIH starts Phase 3 trial of blood clotting treatments for COVID-19

[Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash]

The NIH announced today that it has launched the last of three Phase 3 clinical trials to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of blood thinners to prevent life-threatening blood clots in adults diagnosed with COVID-19.

As part of the Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) initiative, the trial will study the use of Bristol Myers Squibb/Pfizer’s Eliquis blood thinner in patients discharged from the hospital following a case of moderate-to-severe COVID-19. The other two ACTIV studies already underway involve hospitalized COVID-19 patients and people with COVID-19 who have not been hospitalized.

The trials are taking place at more than 100 sites worldwide.

Researchers noticed early in the COVID-19 pandemic that many people who died has blood clots throughout their bodies — clotting that can cause multiple health c…

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6 notable pulmonary fibrosis research efforts 

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is frequently a debilitating disease associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Although a rare disease, its incidence has increased in recent decades, and it leads to more deaths than some cancers. 

The treatment landscape for the condition changed in 2014 when FDA approved the first drugs indicated for IPF, nintedanib from Boehringer Ingelheim and pirfenidone from Roche (OTCMKTS:RHHBY). 

[Related: The pulmonary fibrosis treatment landscape: An expert interview]

Research on pulmonary fibrosis has increased in recent years. 

Here’s a summary of notable IPF research: 

Boehringer Ingelheim has an international study investigating a phosphodiesterase 4b (PDE4b) inhibitor in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Researchers have found that the drug has anti-fibrotic effects in animal models and lung fibrosis …
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Real estate firms tout former Bristol-Myers Squibb facility as an ‘innovation campus’

The Princeton West Innovation Campus in Hopewell, N.J. [Image courtesy of Bristol Myers Squibb]

Lincoln Equities Group and H.I.G. Realty Partners announced today that they’ve acquired the 1.2 million-square-foot life sciences campus that Bristol-Myers Squibb owned outside Princeton, N.J.

Brokerage firm JLL is helping the real estate outfits market the 433-acre “Princeton West Innovation Campus”  in Hopewell, N.J., to life sciences companies as a secure, multipurpose research and development (R&D) and biologic/pharmaceutical manufacturing campus.

“Given the current public health crisis, we anticipate pharmaceutical and life sciences manufacturers to consider ‘reshoring’ and expanding operations in the U.S.,” Joel Bergstein, president of Lincoln Equities Group, said in a news release. “This spacious, modern BMS campus — located in the center of ‘Einstein’s Alley’ in Central New Jersey — i…

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