COVID-19 vaccine makers are shifting gears and planning for a smaller, more competitive booster shot market after delivering as many doses as fast as they could over the last 18 months.

Although 2020 was a tough year for the biopharma industry — and most other industries as well — it appeared to rebound significantly in mid-2021. However, biotech stocks are generally getting hammered during 2022, although to be fair, the entire stock market is down.

Severe obesity may weaken the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in those who have never been infected with the coronavirus, according to a small Turkish study. Additionally, South African researchers have found infection with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus can significantly improve the immune system’s ability to protect against other variants, but only in people who have been vaccinated.

The Janssen COVID-19 vaccine is now limited to certain individuals ages 18 and up after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration downgraded its emergency use authorization.

Novartis temporarily suspended the production of the company’s Lutathera and Pluvicto cancer therapies at facilities in Italy and New Jersey after potential quality issues were discovered in their manufacturing.

AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo’s breast cancer therapeutic Enhertu received supplemental approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Enhertu was approved for treating adult patients with unresectable or metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer who have received a prior anti-HER2-based regimen either in the metastatic setting or in the neoadjuvant or adjuvant setting and have developed disease recurrence during or within six months of completing therapy.

Novartis announced positive news for patients with metastatic breast cancer. New data showed Kisqali (ribociclib), in combination with the chemotherapy drug fulvestrant, added nearly 16 months of survival benefit to the lives of patients compared to fulvestrant alone. 

Teva

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries believes the company would have to pay around $2.6 billion in cash and medicine to settle thousands of lawsuits alleging the world’s largest generic firm and other drug manufacturers fueled the U.S. opioid epidemic.

Washington reached a $518 million settlement with drug distributors McKesson Corp., AmerisourceBergen Corp. and Cardinal Health, ending a months-long trial over the companies’ alleged role in fueling the opioid epidemic in the state, the three companies announced on May 3.

Bayer

Bayer’s Nubeqa drug won priority review status from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, as the German drugmaker seeks to widen the use of the prostate cancer drug from an early disease stage to metastatic cases.