What We’re Reading: Eli Lilly to Buy Prevail Therapeutics; Extra Doses of Pfizer Vaccine; Breast Cancer Drug Approved

December 17, 2020
AJMC Staff

Eli Lilly & Co is set to acquire Prevail Therapeutics Inc for almost $1 billion; Pfizer’s coronavirus disease 2019 vaccine vials found to contain extra doses; a new treatment has been approved for patients with advanced breast cancer.

Eli Lilly Set to Acquire Prevail Therapeutics

With a goal of adding gene therapies to its portfolio, pharma giant Eli Lilly will purchase Prevail Therapeutics, a biotech firm specializing in gene therapies meant to slow or stop underlying disease processes in neurodegenerative diseases (eg, Parkinson disease, dementia), reports Bloomberg. In addition to its reported payout of $22.50 per share, and with projected 2021 sales of up to $28 billion, Eli Lilly will pay up to $4 more per share when the first Prevail product gets regulatory approval. One of Prevail’s founders is The Silverstein Foundation for Parkinson’s with GBA, or glucocerebrosidase, a deficit of which can lead to Gaucher disease. Mutations in the GBA1 gene, which encodes this enzyme, are known risk factors for Parkinson disease.

FDA to Allow Pharmacists to Administer Additional COVID-19 Vaccine Doses

Originally thought to only hold 5 doses, Pfizer’s vials containing its coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine have been found by some pharmacists to contain up to 7 doses, according to Politico. This equates to possibly 40% more doses of the vaccine being available than previously thought. FDA now says “it is acceptable to use every full dose obtainable,” after hundreds of these extra doses were reportedly discarded earlier in the week by pharmacists, who reached out to Pfizer for guidance after noticing the abundance. A reported 307,642 individuals have died from COVID-19 in the United States.

MacroGenics Reportedly Receives FDA Approval for Breast Cancer Drug

MacroGenics, a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing monoclonal antibodies against cancer, has received FDA approval for its drug margetuximab-cmkb (Margenza) plus chemotherapy to treat patients with advanced breast cancer, details Reuters. These patients must have failed at least 2 prior therapies. Expected to launch in March, the drug carries with it a boxed warning of teratogenic risk, as well as a risk of left ventricular dysfunction, a condition known to lead to heart failure.