FiercePharmaAsia—Takeda's cell therapy center; Celltrion's COVID-19 antibody; Dr. Reddy's Revlimid deal

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Takeda, Celltrion, Bristol Myers Squibb and Dr. Reddy's made our news this week. (Google)

With a focus on cell therapies, Takeda opened a new R&D manufacturing center in Boston as the Japanese pharma moves operations into the area. Celltrion is eyeing more late-stage trials as its COVID-19 antibody drug passed an early safety test. Bristol Myers Squibb inked a settlement with Revlimid patent challenger Dr. Reddy's that will allow the Indian firm to start launching a copycat in limited amounts after March 2022. And more.

1. Takeda unveils new Boston R&D manufacturing center for cell therapy pipeline push

Takeda opened a 24,000-square-foot clinical manufacturing center in Boston. The new facility will handle manufacturing of cell therapies for clinical development, with an initial focus on oncology. The projects include TAK-007, a phase 1/2 off-the-shelf CAR-NK cell therapy the company is developing in collaboration with MD Anderson Cancer Center in non-Hodgkin lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

2. Celltrion passes early safety trial for anti-COVID-19 antibody as key tests await

Celltrion unveiled encouraging safety results from its anti-COVID-19 monoclonal antibody CT-P59. Top-line phase 1 data showed no “significant drug-related adverse events, and importantly there were no adverse events from the maximum tolerated dose cohort.”

3. After win at patent office, Bristol Myers inks Revlimid deal with Dr. Reddy's

Pharma watchers skeptical of Bristol Myers Squibb’s $74 billion Celgene deal have questioned patent challenges to Celgene’s top-selling med Revlimid. Now, though, BMS has inked a patent settlement with Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, allowing the Indian generics company to start with a “volume-limited” launch sometime after March 2022. The limit—as yet undisclosed—will be removed on Jan. 31, 2026.

4. Novavax adds antigens to COVID-19 production pact with Indian vaccines giant

The Serum Institute of India will join five other manufacturers helping produce the antigen component of Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, NVX-CoV2373. The goal is for the Indian company to produce 1 billion doses of the shot for low- and middle-income countries starting in mid-2021.

5. Taking a cue from traditional Chinese medicine for transdermal insulin delivery

Taking a cue from traditional massage-like Chinese therapy “tuina,” researchers from Singapore developed a pressure device that, when applied to a fold of skin, temporarily changes the skin barrier to form “micropores” that greatly increase its ability to absorb drugs. The team showed that this technique helped deliver 40 times more insulin in mice than other transdermal methods did.

6. MSD Korea names new chief amid allegation of collecting doctors' personal info (Korea Biomedical Review)

Merck & Co., known as MSD outside of the U.S., is transferring Kevin Peters, current CEO of its Thailand unit, to lead its Korea operation, effective Nov. 1. The news came as MSD Korea’s labor union accused the company of illegally collecting doctors’ information without their consent and forcing sales reps to record doctors' private conversations through a marketing practice monitoring program.

7. Takeda accentuates the positives for adult ADHD patients in new 'V is for Vyvanse' campaign

In its new “V is for Vyvanse” campaign, Takeda wants to emphasize what adults with ADHD can achieve, including focusing on details well enough to organize clothes by color. The effort uses letters of the alphabet to describe symptom control in a positive fashion. For example, “F is for better focused,” and “I for less impulsive.”