Spotlight: January 2024
Updated: Feb 13
Words by Jade Williams
GOLD takes a look at some of the top pharma news stories of the past month including emerging technologies, new facilities on the horizon and more
A new diagnostic tool that can detect lung cancer using nanosensors and a urine sample is unveiled by engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). MIT hopes that this inhaler technology could replace or complement the gold standard of lung cancer diagnosis and have a significant impact in low-to-middle income countries.
Dr Yvonne Greenstreet, CEO, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, is announced as the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association’s Woman of the Year for 2024. The award is given to an female executive working in healthcare or pharmaceuticals who is a champion for women in the workplace. Dr Greenstreet won for her three decades of hard work in the industry, including her role in earning Alnylam a place on Fortune's 'Best Workplaces for Women' list.
Boehringer Ingelheim pledges €120m to expand its Koropi plant in Greece to help expand its global manufacturing capacity. The development will create 110 additional jobs and boost medicine exports from Greece, the company says. This includes an expansion of Boehringer's production of Jardiance, its Eli Lilly-partnered blockbuster. The plant will also have capacity for drugs in “late-stage development” further down the line.
A survey by the UK's Health Security Agency shows that people living with HIV in the UK still face stigma and discrimination, although at a slightly lower rate than in 2017 when the survey was last conducted. In addition, the report shows that pill burden, the number of pills a person has to take each day, has decreased. The number of patients on single pill regimens increased from 35.7% in 2017 to 54.0% in 2022, making adherence easier.
To support its commercial ambitions in the UK, GSK announces it will invest more than £200m in its supply network in the country over the next two years. This will see the company build new facilities and assembly lines across the country, in addition to the multi-year, £67m upgrade of its Montrose manufacturing site in Scotland, which is already underway.
The US Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party introduces the BIOSECURE Act – a bill to ensure that "foreign consulting biotechs of US national security concern" do not gain access to the country's taxpayer dollars. The bill specifically targets CDMO giants WuXi AppTec and WuXi Bio, as well as Chinese genomics companies BGI Group, MGI and Complete Genomics.
AbbVie announces it is to expand its biologics manufacturing capacity in Singapore with a $223m investment that will add 500 jobs to the site when completed. The company says it's invested more than $740m over the past decade to acquire, upgrade and expand its Singapore facility, which is its only manufacturing site in Asia.
Elon Musk's neurotech company Neuralink reveals that the first person to receive one of its brain implants is "recovering well". Announced in a post on X, the company's founder said that initial results from the trial showed an increase in neuron recognition - positive results for Musk, who intends for the product to be used by patients who have lost the use of their limbs.