GlaxoSmithKline and U.S. partner Vir Biotechnology will boost production of their antibody-based COVID-19 treatment by adding a second manufacturing plant to help meet soaring demand in the United States.

After a rejection from GlaxoSmithKline on a proposed £50 billion (about $68 billion) buyout of GSK’s consumer healthcare business, Unilever announced that the global consumer product giant will not increase its bid.

Hal Barron, who guided the reinvigoration of the pharmaceutical direction at GlaxoSmithKline, is departing the company as GSK undergoes a planned demerger later during 2022.

GlaxoSmithKline declined all three of Unilever’s offers to acquire GSK’s consumer healthcare business, saying the proposal undervalued the division’s present and further worth. 

Johnson & Johnson on January 14 said the company agreed to pay $44 million to resolve claims that it fueled the opioid epidemic in New Mexico, a state which originally opted against participating in a nationwide settlement resolving thousands of similar cases.

A safety panel of the European drug regulator on January 14 recommended adding a rare spinal inflammation called transverse myelitis as a side effect of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine.

A Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine booster shot is 85 percent effective in protecting against being hospitalized by the Omicron variant for 1-2 months after the shot is received, the head of South Africa’s Medical Research Council (SAMRC) said on January 14.

GSK and Vir Biotechnology said on January 13 they are seeking an expansion to the U.S. approval of their antibody-based COVID-19 treatment to include an option for the therapy to be given as a shot in the arm.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration added another warning to the regulatory agency’s fact sheet for Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine. In other news, as the Omicron variant rips through the United States, top health officials have noted that the variant is so contagious that if you come into contact with it, you are likely to catch it.

As part of a restructuring of the company’s research and development areas, Tokyo-based Daiichi Sankyo announced the closing of the Plexxikon R&D subsidiary in South San Francisco.