2020-03-13| Asia-PacificCOVID-19

Weekly Cover: Takeda Initiates Development of Potential COVID-19 Therapy TAK-888

by GeneOnline
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By Ching-Hsu Yang, Ph.D. Candidate

1.Takeda Initiates Development of Potential COVID-19 Therapy TAK-888

Cambridge, Massachusetts and Osaka, Japan, March 4, 2020

Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (TSE:4502/NYSE: TAK) recently announced the company’s plasma-derived therapy, an anti-Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (anti-SARS-CoV-2) polyclonal hyperimmune globulin (H-IG), to treat high-risk individuals with Covid-19. Meanwhile, the company revealed to the media that it is also studying whether it’s currently marketed and pipeline products may be effective treatments for infected patients.

About Plasma-Derived Therapies

Plasma-derived therapies are important to treat patients with a variety of rare, life-threatening hereditary disorders for which little or no other treatment options are available. Hyperimmune globulins are plasma-derived therapies that have previously been shown to be effective in treating severe acute respiratory viral infections and may be a choice for COVID-19 therapy.

About Takeda

Takeda Pharmaceutical Company is a global, values-based, R&D-driven biopharmaceutical leader headquartered in Japan. As a leader in plasma-derived therapies with more than 75 years of experience, Takeda is investing heavily in the manufacture of a potential anti-SARS-CoV-2 treatment, referring to as TAK-888.

About SARS-CoV-2

SARS-CoV-2, previously known by the provisional name 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), is a positive-sense single-stranded RNA virus contagious in humans and is the cause of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

2. Bora Pharmaceuticals to Acquire GSK Mississauga-based Facility

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Taiwan-based Bora Pharmaceuticals reached a deal Monday, rendering a Taiwan-based contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) a North American manufacturing factory. The 400 employees of the plant will be provided with positions in Bora, while GSK employees being relocated to other GSK sites, according to their websites.

About Bora Pharmaceuticals

Bora Pharmaceuticals Co., LTD is a leading CDMO which specializes in complex modified-release manufacturing and solvent processing for non-sterile oral solid dosage forms.


About GlaxoSmithKline

GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK) operates as a research-based pharmaceutical company that develops, manufactures, and markets vaccines, prescription, and over-the-counter medicines, as well as health-related consumer products. GSK provides products for infections, depression, skin conditions, asthma, heart and circulatory disease, and cancer.

3. ADx Healthcare to Launch Alzheimer’s Test in Japan

U.S. diagnostic services entity ADx Healthcare announced on March 3 that the firm has partnered with Japan-based Nakanoshima Clinic and San Francisco health IT company Ixlayer, to initiate a polygenic-risk score test, GenoRisk, for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease in Japan.

The panel includes both risk-associated and protective genes which influence the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, according to the company’s CEO Steve Booth.

About ADx Healthcare

Washington-based ADx Healthcare is a private, physician-owned healthcare entity that provides private-pay genetic testing and diagnostic services for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia healthcare.

4.Merck and the WEHI Discover Novel Class of Candidate Anti-malaria Agents

Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, and the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI) in Melbourne, Australia, announced on March 4, the development of potential antimalarial agents.

The two companies identified novel dual inhibitors of plasmepsins IX and X (PMIX and PMX), proteases that are essential to Plasmodium falciparum, the primary cause of the disease.

Malaria is a severe public health problem worldwide. According to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Malaria is one of the leading causes of death and disease in many developing countries.

About the WEHI

The Institute is one of Australia’s leading biomedical research organizations, with a national and international reputation for performing highly in many medical fields.

About Merck

Merck, known as MSD outside the US and Canada, has been operating for more than 125 years. The Company has put forth drugs and vaccines for many of the world’s most daunting diseases in pursuit of its goal to save and improve lives.

5.First Potential Treatment for COVID-19 Greenlighted by Korean Authorities

South Koreas’ Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has approved the application from Seoul National University Hospital (SNUH) and ImmuneMed to use its patented virus suppressing factor (VSF) as a COVID-19 treatment.

VSF is an interferon-like molecule first observed in mouse models, which was later also found in humans. As an endogenously secreted agent, it can defend the attacks from viruses by binding to the surface protein on infected cells and adjusting inflammatory proteins to inhibit the virus reproduction and further inflammation








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