The latest news from UK pharma, including AstraZeneca’s decision to create a dedicated business unit for its COVID-19 vaccines, GSK’s raised profits forecast, and CDMO Almac’s move to create over 1,000 new jobs at its facilities in Northern Ireland over the next three years.


AstraZeneca to create dedicated Covid vaccines unit (The Guardian)

AstraZeneca is to create a new vaccines unit as the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker plans for the future of its coronavirus shot beyond the pandemic.

The company said the reorganisation would bring together people who had previously been based in different parts of the business, and will be dedicated to the Covid-19 vaccine and tweaked versions to deal with new variants of Sars-CoV-2.


GSK raises profit forecasts in boost for under-fire Walmsley (FT)

GlaxoSmithKline has raised its full-year profit forecast after beating expectations in the third quarter, a fillip for chief executive Emma Walmsley as she battles a growing number of activist investors.

The UK drugmaker now expects adjusted earnings per share to decline between 2 and 4 percentage points, better than its previous prediction of a mid-to-high single-digit drop.


Sanofi winds $40m into UK gene therapy firm Gyroscope (PharmaPhorum)

French drugmaker Sanofi has made a $40 million investment in Gyroscope Therapeutics, with another $20 million potentially on offer as the UK biotech advances its clinical-stage gene therapies for ophthalmic diseases.

The investment gives Sanofi rights of first refusal on GT005, Gyrocope’s lead gene therapy for geographic atrophy (GA) secondary to age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a major cause of blindness, in select geographies.


Almac: Northern Ireland pharma firm plans 1,000 new jobs in NI (BBC)

Northern Ireland-based pharmaceutical company Almac has said it intends to create 1,800 jobs over the next three years.

More than 1,000 of those will be at its Northern Ireland facilities.

Almac, which develops its own drugs, is one of Northern Ireland’s largest employers, with about 6,000 people across its global operations.

A major part of its business is manufacturing and conducting tests for big global firms.


UK biotech investment shows no sign of slowing down (BioPharma Reporter)

Autolus Therapeutics becomes the latest biotech located in the UK’s ‘golden triangle’ to receive significant investment.


Blood Cancer UK partners with RareCan to improve delivery of clinical trials (European Pharmaceutical Manufacturer)

Charity Blood Cancer UK has teamed up with oncology company RareCan to support the organisation’s delivery of clinical trials focussed on the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of rare cancers.

The partnership will see Blood Cancer UK join the charity network GIST Cancer UK as RareCan’s partner. The aim is to enable people living with forms of rare blood cancers, such as leukaemia, lymphoma, and myeloma, to volunteer to take part in potentially lifesaving clinical research, by providing tissue and blood samples, and genetic data.