- The UK-based GlaxoSmithKline has received initial approval from the UK regulator for its sotrovimab, a monoclonal antibody, which could be effective against Omicron variant.
- The UK pharmaceutical industry received a significant boost with an investment of £400 million from Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies.
The UK-based GlaxoSmithKline (LON: GSK) has received initial approval from the UK regulator for its sotrovimab, a monoclonal antibody, which could be effective against Omicron variant and is found to cut the hospital admission and death rates by up to 79%.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), has approved Xevudy or sotrovimab, developed by GSK and Vir Biotechnology for people with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are at high risk of developing acute disease symptoms.
Sotrovimab, a single monoclonal antibody, has been found highly effective when taken during the initial phases of infection and is approved for individuals of age over 12 years and weight over 40 kg. Reportedly, the government has already ordered 100,000 doses of GSK’s drug.
MHRA has said that it will be working with the company to gauge its effectiveness on the omicron variant, though it is too early to establish.
FTSE100 listed company GlaxoSmithKline is engaged in developing, manufacturing and marketing of medicine, vaccines, and various consumer healthcare products. It has operations in the UK and other countries.
The company had earlier announced an investment of £30 million towards research and development of a deep understanding of complex diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Also, the company plans to speed up the time required for the R&D of new medicines using advanced technologies. In recent years GSK has also put £275 million into its three manufacturing factories in the UK.
GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s shares last closed at GBX 1,541.2 on 1 December 2021, with a market cap of £77,549 million.
UK pharmaceutical industry gets investment of £400 million
In a separate major development, the UK pharmaceutical industry received a significant boost with an investment of £400 million from Japan-based owner Fujifilm, which is known for its photography legacy. The investment in the Teesside factory has been made through its biotechnology arm Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies. It is one of the largest single investments in the UK pharmaceutical manufacturing segment.
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The factory in Stockton-on-Tees had come to the limelight this year in February 2021, when it began manufacturing Covid vaccines for the US-based pharmaceutical company Novavax. The factory initially received an order to produce 60 million doses of vaccines. The factory also produces other biological materials like cell culture to treat cancer and viral vectors and microbes.
The new investment of £400 million will help the factory vaccines based on mRNA technologies that Moderna and Pfizer use to make their vaccines. Also, it will significantly boost the manufacturing output and increase the cell culture capacity by three times and a tenfold increase in gene therapy production. In addition, the new investment will provide employment opportunities and boost the workforce. The new facility is expected to be functional by 2023.
After the covid-19 pandemic, the UK pharmaceutical sector has received a lot of new investment from global firms, which has helped the country cement its position as a lifescience superpower and boost the research and development capability of the country and also help deliver life-changing medicines and vaccines to flight pandemic like situation.