KHN Morning Briefing

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After Feds Scale Back Money For Zika-Related Research, Sanofi Ends Vaccine Project

Sanofi was the only major pharmaceutical company working on a vaccine for the virus with a near-term market goal.

Stat: Sanofi Quietly Pulls The Plug On Its Zika Vaccine Project
Vaccine giant Sanofi Pasteur has quietly pulled the plug on its Zika vaccine project, a move that underscores how difficult it may be at this stage to develop a vaccine against the virus. The company announced the move in a statement posted on its website at 3 p.m. Friday, pointing to a decision by a federal funding body to scale back spending on Zika-related research. Sanofi said BARDA — the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, an arm of the Department of Health and Human Services — informed the company in mid-August that it was reducing its financial assistance for Sanofi’s Zika vaccine project. (Branswell, 9/2)

In other pharmaceutical news —

Bloomberg: Novartis Calls The Doctor To Push Breakthrough Drugs Forward 
The last time Novartis AG hired a new chief, the drugmaker went with a guy who spent years at companies that make bleach and ketchup. This time around, the Swiss company chose someone with a deep understanding of treatments for heart failure, cancer, and the infectious diseases that plague poor countries. On Monday, Novartis said Vas Narasimhan, who rose through its ranks to become global head of drug development, will take the reins. As of February, he’ll replace Joe Jimenez, who had stints at Clorox Co. and ConAgra Foods Inc. before running the North American and then European operations of H.J. Heinz Co. (Paton and Somayaji, 9/5)

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