While recent problems in Russia's economy have thrown some deals off course, Western drugmakers in the last several years have built or bought production capacity in Russia to tap what has been seen as an important emerging market. India's Lupin jumped into that market, picking up a company that will give it a production toehold there.
The HIV-oriented joint venture of Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline and Japan's Shionogi is turning to a Chinese manufacturer for a cheap supply of dolutegravir, the active ingredient in its Tivicay. The deal is seen as a way to cut the cost in China and some other developing countries of the JV's newest HIV fighter.
Ethicon, the Johnson & Johnson unit devoted to surgical tools, is moving to defend its bariatric surgery territory as a slew of noninvasive medical devices to treat obesity line up to gain approval in the U.S. It will spend $3.2 million on more than 20 clinical trials to examine how early surgical intervention can be used to improve conditions such as obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
Several years ago, GlaxoSmithKline committed $50 million to set up an antibiotics facility in Singapore to do continuous processing, a radically different manufacturing approach that has a much smaller footprint, and so much lower operating costs and less environmental impact, than traditional batch processing. The drugmaker now says it is ready to embark on a £38 million expansion there.
Hedge fund managers are so flush that now they're giving money away. A pair of prominent fund heads have led a collection of wealthy individuals to back a project at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard researching the bacteria behind tuberculosis with $20 million. The goal is to better understand the bacteria itself, as well as how drug resistance forms in it and to develop a rapid diagnostic test for drug-resistant TB.
China is a hotbed of med tech growth, with local companies competing against foreign devicemakers for their cut of the profits. One Chinese company got a boost in the race, as the World Health Organization (WHO) approved Wuhu SNNDA Medical Treatment Appliance Technology's circumcision device for HIV prevention.
Last month, reports said Valeant was eyeing up one of Egypt's largest drugmakers. Now, word has it, those talks have progressed, and the Canadian pharma could be ready to pull the trigger in the coming weeks.
China's growing vaccine industry scored again on Friday when the World Health Organization announced that it had approved a Chinese flu vaccine.
Pfizer has broken ground on a $90 million facility that is being built in Suzhou, China, it announced Monday. The additional capacity is needed as demand for its supplements grows in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly in China.
Western drugmakers have long struggled with India's populist attitude toward patents, but hoped there would be some light at the end of the tunnel with the latest spate of trade negotiations over generic drugs in the country. But Doctors Without Borders is none too pleased with the proposed trade changes and is urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi to adopt a similar attitude and stand up to international pressure.