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(Yahoo)   Merck bails on its covid vaccine program after sickening results   (finance.yahoo.com) divider line
    More: Followup, Stock market, Stock, Market capitalization, market capitalization of these stocks, experimental Covid-19 vaccines, company's efforts, Merck's Ebola inoculation, Chinese electric-vehicle maker NIO  
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4468 clicks; posted to Main » and Business » on 25 Jan 2021 at 12:59 PM (5 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2021-01-25 1:06:13 PM  
Sick.
 
2021-01-25 1:08:42 PM  
Guess they had difficulty developing the behavior monitoring microchips.
 
2021-01-25 1:08:59 PM  
Ok.  So, now voluntarily contribute all of your manufacturing facilities and expertise to making more of the vaccines that _actually_ work.

And if you don't?  Here's hoping Pres. Biden _really_ pushes the authority in the Defense Production Act.
 
2021-01-25 1:10:42 PM  
I can't really be annoyed.  They tried, they failed, they gave up.  What would have been wrong is if they continued to push a faulty product.
 
2021-01-25 1:11:40 PM  

Creepy Lurker Guy: I can't really be annoyed.  They tried, they failed, they gave up.  What would have been wrong is if they continued to push a faulty product.


The lesson is... never try.
 
2021-01-25 1:11:52 PM  

SFSailor: Ok.  So, now voluntarily contribute all of your manufacturing facilities and expertise to making more of the vaccines that _actually_ work.

And if you don't?  Here's hoping Pres. Biden _really_ pushes the authority in the Defense Production Act.


I was halfway into typing a similar post... thanks for letting me get back to doing nothing.
 
2021-01-25 1:12:31 PM  

Creepy Lurker Guy: I can't really be annoyed.  They tried, they failed, they gave up.  What would have been wrong is if they continued to push a faulty product.


Yep, they tried a different method, found it wasn't working and pulled the plug on it.  Happens all of the time, but at least it didn't lead to deaths and a slew of lawyer commercials.
 
2021-01-25 1:14:19 PM  
This just makes business sense.  Why would they pursue the vaccine when two already exist and are 95% effective?  Why waste the hundreds of millions of dollars and 2 years? Are they gonna create one that is 96% effective after most of the world is already vaccinated?

SFSailor: Ok.  So, now voluntarily contribute all of your manufacturing facilities and expertise to making more of the vaccines that _actually_ work.

And if you don't?  Here's hoping Pres. Biden _really_ pushes the authority in the Defense Production Act.


They won't have to be made.  Pfizer and Moderna will be made to license other pharmaceutical companies (including Merck) to manufacture their vaccines and will be allowed a reasonable profit margin.
 
2021-01-25 1:16:02 PM  

nursetim: Creepy Lurker Guy: I can't really be annoyed.  They tried, they failed, they gave up.  What would have been wrong is if they continued to push a faulty product.

Yep, they tried a different method, found it wasn't working and pulled the plug on it.  Happens all of the time, but at least it didn't lead to deaths and a slew of lawyer commercials.


Plus it will help in the pursuit of future vaccines. We will at least know this avenue probably won't work with other coronaviruses.
 
2021-01-25 1:18:15 PM  
Then force them to make someone else's successful vaccine under license. At gunpoint if necessary.
 
2021-01-25 1:21:53 PM  

SFSailor: Ok.  So, now voluntarily contribute all of your manufacturing facilities and expertise to making more of the vaccines that _actually_ work.

And if you don't?  Here's hoping Pres. Biden _really_ pushes the authority in the Defense Production Act.


Here's hoping you find enough of a brain to realize that the vaccines don't all magically fart out of identical machines and processes.

Both have about equal chances of happening.
 
2021-01-25 1:26:43 PM  
I was wondering why MRNA was up almost 10% today.
 
2021-01-25 1:33:24 PM  

SFSailor: Ok.  So, now voluntarily contribute all of your manufacturing facilities and expertise to making more of the vaccines that _actually_ work.

And if you don't?  Here's hoping Pres. Biden _really_ pushes the authority in the Defense Production Act.


I've been wondering about this for the last few weeks.  Why aren't all pharmaceutical companies with capable assets being forced to manufacture these vaccines?  Original manufacturers keep the IP and get a nominal royalty, others get some tolling fees and now you quadruple or more the production rate.  How is this approach not already being pursued?
 
2021-01-25 1:35:38 PM  
Why dick with that when they can sell boner pills and $3000 insulin?
 
2021-01-25 1:38:23 PM  

SFSailor: Ok.  So, now voluntarily contribute all of your manufacturing facilities and expertise to making more of the vaccines that _actually_ work.

And if you don't?  Here's hoping Pres. Biden _really_ pushes the authority in the Defense Production Act.


Basically, that's what's happening on vaccine glass vial production. Vial producers basically had significantly large numbers of orders for glass vials for vaccines from major manufacturers. They ended up figuring that some of the manufacturers would fail in their quest to make a COVID-19 vaccine, and that their glass supply would be reallocated to those that were successful.

NPR's Planet Money discusses this in their episode "Before The Shot In The Arm"

[Host Sarah] GONZALEZ: Stefan [MARC SCHMIDT in charge of global sales at a German company called Schott.] They are the biggest makers of fancy medical glass., says this has created kind of an overbooking problem. There are only so many vials Schott can make in a year. But they say not everyone is going to need vials at the exact same time, so they're hoping they'll be able to trade orders - that Schott can be like, listen, Company D, you don't have a vaccine yet; this other company does. Can we maybe give them your vial order just until your vaccine is ready?
 
2021-01-25 1:38:46 PM  
This is sort of bad guys.    This was vaccine development that would have been our normal best shot at a vaccine only 5 years ago.  If this was COVID-14 instead of COVID-19 we would be at ridiculous infection rates and no vaccine on the horizon.  Weakened Virus immunology is supposed to be the strongest weapon, with side effects and all that, but no immune response is extremely novel.

We appear to be way luckier with our mRNA for efficacy and timing than we had any damn right to be.
 
2021-01-25 1:42:47 PM  

dbaggins: This is sort of bad guys.    This was vaccine development that would have been our normal best shot at a vaccine only 5 years ago.  If this was COVID-14 instead of COVID-19 we would be at ridiculous infection rates and no vaccine on the horizon.  Weakened Virus immunology is supposed to be the strongest weapon, with side effects and all that, but no immune response is extremely novel.

We appear to be way luckier with our mRNA for efficacy and timing than we had any damn right to be.


Not to mention great timing with respect to migration to cloud workplace platforms. Can you imagine trying to work from home 10 years ago?
 
2021-01-25 1:47:34 PM  
external-content.duckduckgo.comView Full Size

What me?  Lackluster?
 
2021-01-25 1:49:58 PM  

dbaggins: This is sort of bad guys.    This was vaccine development that would have been our normal best shot at a vaccine only 5 years ago.  If this was COVID-14 instead of COVID-19 we would be at ridiculous infection rates and no vaccine on the horizon.  Weakened Virus immunology is supposed to be the strongest weapon, with side effects and all that, but no immune response is extremely novel.

We appear to be way luckier with our mRNA for efficacy and timing than we had any damn right to be.


No!  Bad!  No cookie!  Stop typing words and thinking they are coherent.

Merely was developing an oral vaccine and a single dose injectable.

The single dose injectable probably works just provided very weak immunity.  (Yes single dose flu vaccine, but really isn't the goal just activation of memory component and a new round of affinity maturation?)

Oral vaccines are a pain due to stomach pH, intestinal retention, mucosal barrier etc etc.  Basically you need far more antigen, there are additional considerations regarding adjuvant etc.

In either event it is totally unsurprising that their approaches failed.  They were higher risk, lower efficacy but far more marketable alternatives.  Lets be honest if they managed to get a vaccine dose into a oral tablet/solution the world would be ordering that first.  The down side would be manufacturing would require a hell of a lot more antigen which would probably slow roll out.
 
2021-01-25 1:50:45 PM  

Misch: Basically, that's what's happening on vaccine glass vial production. Vial producers basically had significantly large numbers of orders for glass vials for vaccines from major manufacturers.


They should be collecting the used ones and re-filling them. Glass can be cleaned and sterilized to remove any biological contamination. We figured out how to do this with milk back in the 1800s. Empty vaccine vials were flagged as a possible supply constraint months ago, plenty of time to set up the infrastructure to collect and reprocess them.
 
2021-01-25 1:55:15 PM  
Cool!  A new zombie with a simple-minded personal insult.  Great addition to the site, Drew.  That'll drive traffic up.

And here I was wondering why I can't manage to find my wallet.
 
2021-01-25 2:34:51 PM  

Nick Nostril: Then force them to make someone else's successful vaccine under license. At gunpoint if necessary.


It's probably not that simple. I don't think other pharmaceutical companies are capable of making mRNA vaccines yet.
 
2021-01-25 2:36:05 PM  
Hopefully the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is successful.  That should pick up some of the slack
 
2021-01-25 2:39:57 PM  

SFSailor: Cool!  A new zombie with a simple-minded personal insult.  Great addition to the site, Drew.  That'll drive traffic up.

And here I was wondering why I can't manage to find my wallet.


They were rude about it but your comment was ill-informed. As was pointed out, vaccine manufacturing plants aren't generic. They are purpose built. It could even be more work to reconfigure one to make the mRNA vaccines than to build a new one from scratch.
 
2021-01-25 3:04:21 PM  

Ivo Shandor: Misch: Basically, that's what's happening on vaccine glass vial production. Vial producers basically had significantly large numbers of orders for glass vials for vaccines from major manufacturers.

They should be collecting the used ones and re-filling them. Glass can be cleaned and sterilized to remove any biological contamination. We figured out how to do this with milk back in the 1800s. Empty vaccine vials were flagged as a possible supply constraint months ago, plenty of time to set up the infrastructure to collect and reprocess them.


The people "running" things until last Thursday were so incompetent that with 6 months advance notice to plan, their answer to distribution was "cold call states asking where to send it, and don't even keep a notepad of how much went where."

There's no such thing as "plenty of time" with that level of incompetence.
 
2021-01-25 3:13:58 PM  

johnny_vegas: Hopefully the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is successful.  That should pick up some of the slack


Pending approval, they claim they'll have 100 million doses ready to go by spring, and that's just for the US.
 
2021-01-25 3:30:37 PM  

Ivo Shandor: Misch: Basically, that's what's happening on vaccine glass vial production. Vial producers basically had significantly large numbers of orders for glass vials for vaccines from major manufacturers.

They should be collecting the used ones and re-filling them. Glass can be cleaned and sterilized to remove any biological contamination. We figured out how to do this with milk back in the 1800s. Empty vaccine vials were flagged as a possible supply constraint months ago, plenty of time to set up the infrastructure to collect and reprocess them.


I'm going to challenge your assertion. The problem with recycling used vials is that you really don't know what's inside a used vial. You're certainly correct that if each vial of vaccine was carefully washed right after it was emptied, stored in a controlled way and shipped back, they could probably come up with a good method to rewash and sterilize the vials. But it would be more expensive than making them from scratch and more risky.

You have to figure out ahead of time all the things that might go wrong, and you can never figure them all out. But you have to come up with ways to detect the things you can imagine, put in place all sorts of controls and testing, keep up an intense monitoring scheme. It's all very involved.

When you make things from scratch there's far better control of the raw materials and everything about the production environment is designed from the beginning to avoid contamination. You're adapting off systems that have been in place and a regulatory environment that has people with years of training skilled at keeping things on track.  You'd be amazed at the level of testing that goes into anything considered as Water For Injection or that goes into a vial that an injectable substance is taken from.
 
2021-01-25 3:32:49 PM  

pheelix: johnny_vegas: Hopefully the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is successful.  That should pick up some of the slack

Pending approval, they claim they'll have 100 million doses ready to go by spring, and that's just for the US.


Yep and at one dose only per person that accounts for ~40 % of the eligible population
 
2021-01-25 3:56:35 PM  

pheelix: johnny_vegas: Hopefully the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is successful.  That should pick up some of the slack

Pending approval, they claim they'll have 100 million doses ready to go by spring, and that's just for the US.


Sounds like emergency approval is imminent. Moar vaccinez plz?!!
 
2021-01-25 4:10:11 PM  

nursetim: Creepy Lurker Guy: I can't really be annoyed.  They tried, they failed, they gave up.  What would have been wrong is if they continued to push a faulty product.

Yep, they tried a different method, found it wasn't working and pulled the plug on it.  Happens all of the time, but at least it didn't lead to deaths and a slew of lawyer commercials.


They tried the old "killed virus" method and they started later. Newer technology is new.

/sucks to be them
 
2021-01-25 4:26:52 PM  

Apocalyptic Inferno: SFSailor: Ok.  So, now voluntarily contribute all of your manufacturing facilities and expertise to making more of the vaccines that _actually_ work.

And if you don't?  Here's hoping Pres. Biden _really_ pushes the authority in the Defense Production Act.

I've been wondering about this for the last few weeks.  Why aren't all pharmaceutical companies with capable assets being forced to manufacture these vaccines?Original manufacturers keep the IP and get a nominal royalty, others get some tolling fees and now you quadruple or more the production rate.  How is this approach not already being pursued?


Because there are a lot of other drugs that need to be made as well. What about the people who neeed these other meds? Are you going to stop making heart meds in order to make more vaccine?
 
2021-01-25 4:59:12 PM  

Creepy Lurker Guy: I can't really be annoyed.  They tried, they failed, they gave up.  What would have been wrong is if they continued to push a faulty product.


Yep, this is a sign that the system works.
 
2021-01-25 5:03:42 PM  

wademh: I'm going to challenge your assertion. The problem with recycling used vials is that you really don't know what's inside a used vial.


They would be coming back from medical facilities, not collected by some hobo on the side of a highway. Wash them with something like piranha solution, heat them to 400°C, etc. and you aren't likely to have a problem with contamination.

I agree it's simpler to only use new materials, but if there's a chance of having the rate-limiting step in a global vaccine distribution program be supplying little glass bottles then it's worth putting in some extra effort. A small company with some experience in the relevant technologies could have spun up this capability over the last 6 months and could have been in production today, for a relatively small investment in custom machinery.
 
2021-01-25 5:18:28 PM  

Ivo Shandor: wademh: I'm going to challenge your assertion. The problem with recycling used vials is that you really don't know what's inside a used vial.

They would be coming back from medical facilities, not collected by some hobo on the side of a highway. Wash them with something like piranha solution, heat them to 400°C, etc. and you aren't likely to have a problem with contamination.

I agree it's simpler to only use new materials, but if there's a chance of having the rate-limiting step in a global vaccine distribution program be supplying little glass bottles then it's worth putting in some extra effort. A small company with some experience in the relevant technologies could have spun up this capability over the last 6 months and could have been in production today, for a relatively small investment in custom machinery.


That "small company" would have zero chance. One reason that Big Pharma is big is that there are huge regulatory high hurdles. Even the IT infrastructure is highly regulated. GMP regulations are not something you pick up on in the process of a few months. It's years of background and training. And the hurdles for anything that gets injected are that much higher again.

You originally made a comparison to recycling milk bottles. They have regulations on milk that put a measurable limit on the amount of feces that can be in the milk before it gets pasteurized, as in you can have this much but not more. With things that get injected, they put limits at "none". They test the water that's used in the bathrooms where employees (hopefully) wash their hands. The difference between a manufacturing lab and a standard science lab are absolutely huge.
 
2021-01-25 5:49:12 PM  

SFSailor: Ok.  So, now voluntarily contribute all of your manufacturing facilities and expertise to making more of the vaccines that _actually_ work.

And if you don't?  Here's hoping Pres. Biden _really_ pushes the authority in the Defense Production Act.


Unfortunately, Merck's vaccine is radically different from the mRNA vaccines used by Pfizer and Moderna.  IIRC, it's a bit more like J&J's, and it was one of the five vaccines the US was ordering, so now we've got to play catch up for the doses of Merck we were expecting.
 
2021-01-25 5:50:33 PM  

billstewart: SFSailor: Ok.  So, now voluntarily contribute all of your manufacturing facilities and expertise to making more of the vaccines that _actually_ work.

And if you don't?  Here's hoping Pres. Biden _really_ pushes the authority in the Defense Production Act.

Unfortunately, Merck's vaccine is radically different from the mRNA vaccines used by Pfizer and Moderna.  IIRC, it's a bit more like J&J's, and it was one of the five vaccines the US was ordering, so now we've got to play catch up for the doses of Merck we were expecting.


Merck was not part of Operation Warp Speed.
 
2021-01-25 6:04:49 PM  
As the great sage Kenneth Rogers once said "you have to know when to fold 'em".
They're just wasting man-hours at this point (and chasing a classic sunk cost fallacy).
 
2021-01-25 7:26:12 PM  

ansius: Creepy Lurker Guy: I can't really be annoyed.  They tried, they failed, they gave up.  What would have been wrong is if they continued to push a faulty product.

Yep, this is a sign that the system works.


Now we just need to get the Australian government to buy more of the good Pfizer/Moderna vaccines instead of the trifling number it has ordered. I don't want a 70% protection AstraZeneca vaccine when there are better options available.
 
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