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Catchup Capsule: Key APAC Insights You Need To Read

Executive Summary

Given its ever-growing role as a critical component of the global biopharma industry, you can’t afford not to be up to speed on Asia. This biweekly selection of insights from our experienced on-the-ground team will help.

A selection of key stories you may have missed from the Asia-based content team for the Pink Sheet and Scrip over the past few weeks, reflecting the diversity of issues facing the biopharma industry in this fast-changing and critical region.

In this edition: a major logistics firm makes plans to ship coronavirus vaccines globally, Japan says it would like to issue more world-first drug approvals, how Chinese returnees are building their firms with ambitious plans, progress in Alzheimer's in Korea, and India chips in with the production of coronavirus vaccines.

(Highlighted text provides links to the original story.)

Getting The Vaccines Out

A senior executive from major global logistics group DHL shares insights talks to Anju Ghangurde in Mumbai around how the company is preparing to deliver the upcoming COVID-19 vaccines across the world. While it has prior experience with the "deep frozen" temperatures needed for some candidates, there will still be specific challenges and complexities involved, including around the security of shipments.

Japan Eyes More Global-First Approvals

Highlighting progress it has made to systems and approval times over the past few years, Japan’s regulatory agency, the PMDA, says it wants to raise even further the number of “Japan-first” approvals it grants, as part of its stated mission to get safe and effective new drugs to patients more quickly. Ian Haydock reports from Tokyo that around 20% of the 400 new active ingredients approved in the country 2008-19 met this criterion. 

Returning To Success

As Chinese returnees transform their startups to fully-fledged biopharma operations with a full product lineup and the global market in sight, the journey has been filled with challenges. In this new mini series, based on interviews and on-the-ground reporting, Beijing-based Brian Yang takes a closer look at several companies' experiences, in this case Gan & Lee, which has faced speed bumps on the way to building its presence in diabetes.

Korean Progress In Alzheimer's

After announcing positive topline Phase II results for its Alzheimer’s candidate late last year, South Korea's GemVax releases additional data showing significant improvement in secondary outcomes in the highly challenging disease. Jung Won Shin reports from Seoul that the findings are further raising expectations for the novel peptide drug, in an indication that has seen numerous late-stage failures over the past few years.

Wockhardt Adds Vaccine Volume 

As the UK regulatory authorities prepare to grant approval to the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca PLC COVID-19 vaccine, Indian pharma firm Wockhardt Limited is set to supply 100 million doses for the UK government’s own use and its commitments to the World Health Organization. Vibha Ravi in Mumbai writes the company is also in talks with global vaccine developers to manufacture their COVID-19 vaccines for emerging economies. (This article has been made free access for non-subscribers.)

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