The biggest stories coming out of Canadian pharma and healthcare, including AstraZeneca’s acquistion of Canadian biotech Fusion Pharmaceuticals; Valeo Pharma’s new senior executive and board of directors, and generics maker Apotex’s bid for Searchlight Pharma.

 

Canada, UK launched joint probe into 23andMe data breach, says Canada (Reuters)

The Canadian and British privacy authorities have launched a joint probe into a data breach at genetics testing company 23andme last year, Canada’s privacy commissioner said in a statement on Monday. Last October, 23andMe told some customers of a breach into the “DNA Relatives” feature that allowed them to compare ancestry information with users worldwide.

 

AstraZeneca completes Fusion Pharmaceuticals acquisition (Pharmaceutical Technology)

AstraZeneca has announced the conclusion of its acquisition of Canadian clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company Fusion Pharmaceuticals. Fusion specialises in the development of next-generation radioconjugates (RCs) for cancer treatment.

The acquisition is expected to help AstraZeneca transform cancer therapy by introducing more targeted treatments. A definitive agreement signed in March 2024 resulted in AstraZeneca, through a subsidiary, acquiring all outstanding shares of Fusion for $21.00 per share in cash at closing.

 

3 pharma companies recall generic prescription drugs over questionable test data (City New Toronto)

Health Canada says three pharmaceutical companies are recalling all lots of their prescription generic medication over concerns about the integrity of tests used to show their products work the same as the brand-name versions of the drugs.

Health Canada says the affected products relied on the bioequivalence test data conducted by India-based Synapse Labs Pvt. Ltd., which the European Medicines Agency noted inspections last December found “irregularities” and “inadequacies” in documentation and procedures used by the lab raised “serious concerns about the validity and reliability of data.”

 

Canada Pledges Nearly $4B to Improve Healthcare in Quebec (Medscape)

To improve timely access to high-quality healthcare in Quebec, the Canadian government signed two bilateral agreements with the province to invest more than $3.7 billion in federal funding in coming years, according to a recent announcement.

The two agreements represent the first funding to be provided under the government’s commitment to invest $6.7 billion in Quebec over 10 years. The first agreement includes $2.5 billion to support the 2023-2027 strategic plan of Quebec’s Department of Health and Social Services. The second agreement provides $1.2 billion for Quebec’s five-year action plan to help people age with dignity close to home through home care or a long-term care facility.

 

‘This is why we’re here’: A Winnipeg biotech company’s role in a new treatment used in Canada (CTV News)

A Winnipeg biotech company is being celebrated for its role in a first-of-its-kind treatment in Canada. It’s called phage therapy and it was used to treat a serious resistant infection.

“Bacteria phages are actually viruses that only infect bacteria. So they don’t infect human cells, animal cells, or event plant cells,” said Dr. Steven Theriault, the CEO of Cytophage Technologies. The therapy is antimicrobial and works where other medications do not. Cytophage is at the forefront of research and development.

 

Valeo Pharma announces senior executive appointment and board of directors change (Financial Times)

Valeo Pharma, a Canadian pharmaceutical company, today announced that Mr. Al Moghaddam has been appointed to the newly created role of Chief Development Officer (“CDO”) and consequently he is stepping down from the Company’s Board of Directors.

As Valeo’s new CDO, Mr. Moghaddam will lead the design and implementation of strategies to identify and negotiate with financial parties with a view to strengthening the Company’s capital structure in order to finance the future growth and development of the Company. He will work directly with the senior management team to plan, review, and revise the company’s development programs. Mr. Moghaddam will also support the development and growth of the business through building relationships in the industry, identifying both product and M&A opportunities.

 

Apotex acquires specialty drugmaker Searchlight in expansion move (Fierce Pharma)

Apotex, a Toronto-based generics maker, inked a deal to acquire fellow Canadian pharma company Searchlight Pharma.

The acquisition, which is expected to be completed by mid-year, is expected to boost Apotex’s expansion in the specialty branded pharma market with the addition of more than 60 products from Searchlight, the company said in an April 2 press release. The companies didn’t reveal the price of the buyout.

 

Quebec class action authorized against 16 pharma companies for role in opioid crisis (CBC)

A class-action lawsuit has been authorized to proceed against 16 pharmaceutical companies for their role in manufacturing, selling, marketing and distributing opioid drugs in Quebec. The lawsuit covers people who have been diagnosed with opioid use disorder since 1996, and their direct heirs if they are deceased.

That means there could be thousands of people in the province who could join the case, said Margo Siminovitch, with the Montreal-based firm Fishman Flanz Meland Paquin (FFMP).