Pharma News for the Week of April 20, 2020


Jerusalem-based OurCrowd announced today that it would lead a $12 million investment in the newly formed startup MigVax, an affiliate of The Migal Galilee Research Institute. The institute has previously developed a vaccine against a Coronavirus strain which causes bronchial disease affecting poultry. The safety and effectiveness of the poultry vaccine has been proven in animal trials carried out at Israel’s Veterinary institute where 80% of tested chickens were cleared of the virus in 6 days vs. only 10% that were inoculated with the currently commercially available vaccine. (Forbes)

Despite typically high safety stock levels and buffer inventory across the biopharma supply chain, there are signs that the sum and magnitude of supply chain disruptions could impact the industry’s ability to get treatments to patients. In the last two months since the pandemic began, 15 new drugs have been added to the FDA drug shortage list. (MedCityNews)

In March, Congress passed a coronavirus bill including $3.1 billion to develop and produce drugs and vaccines. The bipartisan consensus was unusual. Less unusual was the successful lobbying by pharmaceutical companies to weaken or kill provisions that addressed affordability — measures that could be used to control prices or invalidate patents for any new drugs. The American health care industry is not good at promoting health, but it excels at taking money from all of us for its benefit. It is an engine of inequality. (NYTimes)

Consumers’ impression of pharma companies has soared during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 40% now reporting that they have a more positive view of the industry than they did before the pandemic began, according to recent data from The Harris Poll. (Fiercepharma)

Express Scripts recently reported a spike in prescriptions for medications targeted to the treatment of anxiety, depression, and insomnia as the COVID-19 crisis was gathering steam, a development that should not come as a surprise to anyone. In the face of ambiguity people tend to become more fearful, anticipating the worst possible scenario. This reaction reflects a natural defense mechanism — the fight or flight response — in the face of real or imagined danger. (Forbes)