Pharma giants make progress in pivot to mRNA technology in race for next-gen influenza vaccines, but hurdles remain

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mRNA technology helped propel the development of some of the most successful drugs in pharma history — notably, the Comirnaty COVID-19 from Pfizer generated almost $56 billion in 2022 while Moderna’s Spikevax vaccine raked in $18.4 billion. But with demand for COVID-19 vaccines cooling, drug developers are aiming to extend the dominion of mRNA technology to flu vaccines. This month, Moderna and the CureVac/GSK alliance announced promising interim results for their respective flu vaccine candidates. Meanwhile, a year ago, in September 2022, Pfizer announced a phase 3 study for its mRNA-based influenza vaccine. NIH is also developing an mRNA vaccine that promises to provide protection against all known influenza subtypes. A phase 1 study of it is underway.

Sanofi has acknowledged the promise and perils of mRNA flu vaccines

Sanofi, a prominent flu vaccine maker, has acknowledge…

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White House targets blockbusters in Medicare’s price negotiation strategy

Photo by Tabrez Syed on Unsplash

The Biden-Harris Administration has nominated 10 drugs for price negotiations directly with pharmaceutical giants after capping monthly insulin costs at $35.

Americans have historically paid more for prescription drugs than most other major economies. In a fact sheet, the White House highlighted that seniors paid $3.4 billion in out-of-pocket costs for these drugs just last year. Biden, like Trump before him, aim to bring prices more in line with those of other advanced nations.

This move is not isolated. The Biden Administration has implemented other cost-saving measures, such as reining in the cost of insulin and making some vaccines free for Medicare beneficiaries.

All of the 10 drugs on the list were blockbusters. Eight of the 10 were among the bestselling drugs of 2022. The remaining two are insulin formulations from Novo Nordisk: Fiasp and NovoLog.

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