Fierce Pharma Asia—Pharma reputation in APAC; Bharat Biotech, Serum Institute, Fosun COVID vaccine work

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Pharma reputation, Bharat Biotech, Serum Institute of India and Fosun Pharma made our news this week. (Google)

Bristol Myers Squibb and Roche led pharma's reputation score in the Asia Pacific region as the entire industry topped Global RepTrack 100 annual survey. Bharat Biotech, Serum Institute of India and Fosun Pharma are all leveling up their COVID-19 vaccine work. And more.

1. BMS, Roche lead pharma reputation ranking, highest among all industries in Asia Pacific: survey

Pharms won the highest reputation score among 25 industries in the Asia Pacific region, according to the Global RepTrack 100 annual survey. Of all the drugmakers, Bristol Myers Squibb took the top spot, as Roche, Sanofi, Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly followed closely behind. The results were based on data from more than 68,000 respondents, and the key measurements in the region are products, governance and citizenship.

2. Bharat Biotech, government cash and partners in hand, aims for 700M COVID-19 shots per year

Bharat Biotech plans to boost production of its self-developed COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin to about 700 million doses a year. The company is upgrading two plants with nearly $200 million in funding from the Indian government. It also has three manufacturing partners to help reach the Covaxin production goal of 100 million doses per month set by the government.

3. Serum Institute nears $400M grant to boost AstraZeneca COVID shot production—just as material shortages mount

Apart from the $200 million to Bharat Biotech, India’s government also approved a $400 million grant to Serum Institute of India to boost production capacity of COVID-19 vaccines, including the AstraZeneca shot. Now the company aims to up its yield to over 100 million doses of the AZ shot per month by the end of May. It’s also on tap to manufacture about 1 billion doses of a Novavax vaccine in 2021.

4. Nearing a COVID-19 vaccine approval in China, Fosun gears up to launch BioNTech shot: report

China could approve BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine before July, a source told state-run Global Times. To prep for the potential launch, BioNTech’s local partner Fosun Pharma has readied a storage facility in Shanghai and has tested the cold-chain transportation system. The rollout will start with the shipment of 100 million doses under an order signed before, according to the source.

5. Lower Libtayo's price before Chinese PD-1s do, says analyst in open letter to Regeneron CEO

Three China-made PD-1s, with help from their foreign partners, will likely enter the U.S. market during the 2022-2024 timeframe. Based on the drugmakers’ previous comments, Bernstein analyst Ronny Gal figured they will offer the products at discounts to existing offerings. So he’s urging Regeneron CEO Len Schleifer to lower the price of its Sanofi-partnered Libtayo first.

6. Seagen, Astellas eye fast FDA review for Padcev's expanded bladder cancer use, with all-important Keytruda combo data to come

Seagen and Astellas secured FDA priority review for two Padcev bladder cancer applications. One would turn the drug’s conditional nod in patients who’ve received two prior therapies into a full one. The other would expand the drug into second-line treatment for patients ineligible for cisplatin chemotherapy. A front-line study pairing the drug with Merck’s Keytruda is expected to finish enrollment this year.

7. 'Gateway to China' Zai Lab aims for $750M to bankroll licensing deals, clinical trials

Zai Lab is offering $750 million in U.S. depository shares, hoping to raise money to strike new licensing deals for the Chinese market and support clinical trials. The money will also be used to boost commercialization efforts and to “enhance” its pipeline, according to a securities filing.

8. Astellas innovation awards offer up ideas to ease cancer patients' pandemic burdens

The year’s Astellas cancer care challenge attracted many submissions aimed at alleviating the burden and anxiety the COVID-19 pandemic created for cancer patients. Among the three finalists, Lisa McKenzie’s “Story Crafting” is a digital platform that helps cancer survivors tell their stories. Valeria Arango Vélez, M.D. and cancer survivor from Colombia created a mind-body therapy app. Omolola Salako of Nigeria won the top prize for her Oncopadi app that connects cancer patients to doctors.

Other News of Note:

9. With less demand for surgical relief during pandemic, Sun cuts poppy production in Tasmania

10. Seqster attracts funding from Takeda, 23andMe's Wojcicki for silo-smashing healthcare data platform

11. Eisai's new awareness campaign asks women to look out for endometrial cancer—for each other