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Good morning, everyone, and welcome to another working week. We hope the weekend respite was relaxing and refreshing, because that oh-so familiar routine — online meetings, deadlines, and what-not — has predictably returned. But be honest — this is hardly a surprise, yes? So to fortify ourselves, we are firing up the coffee kettle and brewing a needed cup of stimulation. Our choice today is salted caramel mocha, a reminder, for us, anyway, of the Jersey shore. Please feel free to join us. Meanwhile, here are a few tidbits to help you start your engines. Hope that all goes well today and that you conquer the world. …

Merck plans to acquire Prometheus Biosciences for $10.8 billion, adding a pipeline of experimental drugs to treat immune-related diseases, STAT writes. For Merck, acquiring Prometheus is part of a corporate strategy to bolster its research pipeline and introduce new medicines before its Keytruda blockbuster cancer therapy loses patent protection in 2028. The centerpiece of the transaction is a Prometheus drug called PRA023, which is being developed for inflammatory bowel diseases — chronic conditions in which a person’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells, tissues, or organs.


Catalent warned that slow production at three facilities will impact its fiscal 2023 results and its chief financial officer stepped down, Reuters says. The contract manufacturer disclosed “productivity issues” at its gene therapy manufacturing site in Harmans, Md., after a slower-than-expected ramp up in production capacity. Catalent also faced similar challenges at its facilities in Bloomington, Ind., and Brussels, Belgium. The company makes drug substances and finished drug products for manufacturers, including Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. Catalent is currently the sole contract manufacturer for Novo Nordisk’s highly popular weight loss drug Wegovy.

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