The latest news from Swiss pharma and healthcare, including the startling announcement that Switzerland is set to destroy a full nine million doses of expired Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, with over five million more likely to follow. Elsewhere, Swiss health insurance premiums are set to see their largest rise since 2010 and Novartis’ Q3 results show a drop in net profit amid the company’s restructuring efforts.


Rich countries are destroying covid vaccines they hoarded while much of the world still waits for their first shot (Quartz)

Switzerland is a country of 8.6 million people. As of Oct. 16, according to data compiled by Our World in Data, it had delivered a total of 16.1 million doses of the covid vaccine—or 1.85 doses per person (though only 70% of the Swiss population actually decided to receive at least one shot).

Like many other wealthy nations, the country bought many more vaccines than it needed—a total of nearly 32 million—to account for potential quality issues, or supply delays. As a result, it has large amounts of excess doses it did not use—and now won’t.

This week, the nation announced it would destroy 9 million doses of Moderna vaccines that have already expired, and more than 5 million more will likely follow, as they are due to expire in February.


Swiss health insurance set to rise by most since 2010 (Le News)

On 27 September 2022, the Swiss government published health insurance premiums for 2023. On average premiums will rise by 6.6% with large variations depending on age and where you live.

The 6.6% average increase in 2023 is the fifth largest rise since Switzerland’s current system of health insurance began in 1996. The last time it rose more was in 2010 when it leapt 8.7%.


Altamira finds buyer for Zilentin inner ear unit so Swiss biotech can go all-in on RNA (Fierce Biotech)

In a move to become a “pure play” RNA company, Altamira Therapeutics is selling off 90% of its Zilentin subsidiary and its inner ear R&D work for the chance to make up to $55 million in biobucks.

The buyer has agreed to acquire 90% of Zilentin’s share capital for an immediate cash consideration of $1 million, a proposal set to close Oct. 28. The buyer also has a second cash payment of $25 million ready to go upon exercising an option to acquire the rest of Altamira’s legacy inner ear therapeutics.

The Swiss company said it will receive $2 million in cash upfront from the buyer, identified only as a “European family office.” Investors appeared to warm to the idea, sending Altamira’s stock up 83% to 60 cents a share by 11 am ET from a closing price on Thursday of 32 cents.


Novartis Net Profit Down In Q3 Amid Restructuring (Barrons)

Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis on Tuesday reported a sharp drop in net profits in the third quarter, weighed down by the cost of restructuring.

Novartis in a statement reported a 43 percent fall in third-quarter net profits to nearly $1.6 billion.

Turnover fell by four percent to $12.5 billion on the strength of the US dollar but rose by four percent in local currency, it said.


Roche’s COVID drugs tumble $1B as new eye launch Vabysmo rushes to counter biosimilar-hit Lucentis (Fierce Pharma)

Roche’s COVID-19 therapies Ronapreve and Actemra gave the drugmaker a sales boost a year ago amid a surge in infections. But as cases ebb and new coronavirus variants emerge, sales of the drugs are falling sharply.

Sales from Regeneron-partnered COVID antibody Ronapreve and anti-inflammation med Actemra slid nearly 1 billion Swiss francs year over year in the first nine months of 2022. About 900 million Swiss francs of the drop happened in the third quarter alone, Roche CEO Severin Schwan said during a conference call Tuesday.