Fierce Pharma Asia—Takeda's Maverick buyout; Brii COVID antibodies' trial halt; Dr. Reddy's generic Lipitor recall

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Takeda, Brii Biosciences and Dr. Reddy's Laboratories made our news this week. (Google)

Takeda is buying its partner Maverick Therapeutics for its T-cell engager platform. The NIH has ended a clinical study testing Brii Biosciences' anti-coronavirus antibody cocktail in hospitalized patients. Dr. Reddy's Laboratories is pulling a large volume of its generic Lipitor off U.S. pharmacy shelves due to impurities. And more.

1. From partner to part of the family: Takeda pulls the trigger on Maverick buyout

Takeda exercised an option to buy out Maverick Therapeutics as part of a collaboration deal penned in early 2017. For up to $525 million upfront, Takeda’s getting full control of Maverick’s COBRA T-cell engager platform and the cancer pipeline built around it. These assets include lead candidate MVC-101, now known as TAK-186, which is in a phase 1/2 study in solid tumors that express EGFR.

2. NIH stops trial of Brii's COVID-19 antibodies in hospitalized patients for futility

Brii Biosciences’ BRII-196 and BRII-198 became the latest anti-coronavirus antibodies to fail in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The NIH closed a sub-study testing a combo of the two meds in the master ACTIV-3 trial after an independent data monitoring committee noticed the cocktail wasn’t offering any benefits. It also stopped assessing Vir Biotechnology and GlaxoSmithKline’s antibody therapy, VIR-7831, for the same reason. Antibodies from Regeneron and Eli Lilly had previously suffered the same fate in hospitalized patients even though they worked in the ambulatory setting.

3. Dr. Reddy's pulls hundreds of thousands of bottles of Lipitor generic over impurity fears

Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories is recalling hundreds of thousands of bottles of its generic version of cholesterol drug Lipitor in the U.S. due to impurities. The products were manufactured either in India or France and distributed by the company’s New Jersey operation.

4. U.S. focus on Pfizer production could delay manufacturing of other COVID-19 vaccines, Serum Institute CEO warns

The U.S. has blocked exports of certain materials needed in the vaccine manufacturing process as it tries to secure supplies to produce COVID-19 shots, including Pfizer and BioNTech’s mRNA shot. That could spell trouble for manufacturers of other shots around the globe, Serum Institute of India chief Adar Poonawalla said during a World Bank panel. He warned that the supply restriction could limit its output for a Novavax candidate, for which it’s a major producer.

5. Exelixis licenses WuXi Biologics drug panel for development of novel cancer biologics (release)

Exelixis, to boost its oncology pipeline beyond small-molecule Cabometyx, has licensed a panel of monoclonal antibodies against an unidentified target from WuXi Biologics. The company plans to develop antibody-drug conjugate, bispecific and other novel biologics based on the portfolio. WuXi Bio will get a “modest” upfront fee, plus milestone payments and tiered royalties on sales.