This week in drug discovery (1-5 November) 

News round-up by DDW’s Megan Thomas for 1-5 November

DDW’s Megan Thomas has selected five stories which showcase the international scope of the drug discovery industry in terms of research, innovation, collaboration and development.

1. New consortium to boost Covid-19 vaccine production in South Africa

The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP), the World Health Organization (WHO), Afrigen Biologics, the Biologicals and Vaccines Institute of Southern Africa (Biovac), the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), and Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) have signed a letter of intent to address the global imbalance of manufacturing capacity for Covid-19 vaccines. 

2. COP26: Biopharmaceutical industry actions to tackle climate change

Ahead of COP26, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) led a joint statement from the pharmaceutical industry alongside other global associations.

3. SARS-CoV-2 virus does not infect blood vessels, study shows

University of Queensland (UQ) researchers have found that the SARS-CoV-2 virus does not infect blood vessels, despite the high risk of blood clots in Covid-19 patients. They found that the cardiovascular complications of Covid-19 are triggered by inflammation caused by infected airway cells.

4.Swedish government and industry to boost product partnerships

Flerie Invest led a syndicate of investors in the $52 million acquisition of Cobra Biologics, Charles River Laboratories’ DNA and protein manufacturing subsidiary in Sweden. The new entity, NorthX Biologics, will take over and expand the facility, which is equipped to provide GMP-grade plasmid DNA and technical protein manufacture at commercial scale.

5. UK becomes first country to approve a Covid-19 antiviral pill

The MHRA has authorised Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics’ molnupiravir pill for the treatment of at-risk Covid-19 patients, following positive clinical trial results.

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