As Pandemic Continues, Rafael Pharmaceuticals Enrolls Patients in Phase III Pancreatic Cancer Trial

| April 17, 2020

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That simple truth about the severity of the disease is one of the reasons that Rafael Pharmaceuticals is slowly continuing with a Phase III trial in metastatic pancreatic cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic. While many companies have paused enrollment in clinical trials during the outbreak, Cranbury, N.J,-based Rafael opted to continue to enroll patients in its Phase III AVENGER 500 study of its lead compound CPI-613 (devimistat) in combination with modified Folfirinox (mFFX) as first-line therapy for the disease. Sanjeev Luther, president and chief executive officer of Rafael Pharmaceuticals, told BioSpace that the company made the decision to continue to enroll the trial, which was 75% filled, due to the short timeline patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer have. After discussing the matter of the trial with the company’s leadership team, Luther said they felt comfortable leaving the decision of whether or not the trial should continue to the conducting institute.

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4 Tech Trends That Will Shape Pharma in the Coming Years

Article | May 25, 2021

Technological innovations disrupt many industries, but the speeds of their adoption in the pharma industry have become more rampant than ever. A report from global market advisory firm ABI Research predicts that by 2030, the pharma industry will have spent over $4.5 billion on digital transformation. This is due to many things, from the need to optimize production lines to patent protection. A decade from the forecasted market peak there have already been many applications of these rising tech trends. So let’s have a look at some of them: Digital monitoring system Pharma businesses need to comply with certain regulatory requirements before their drugs can be sold on the consumer market. For example, they need to be stored at a certain temperature. The state of the drugs manufactured and used during clinical trials also needs to be monitored. Fortunately, digital monitoring systems created by companies like Aptar Pharma, Primex, and Monnit, have made it easier to provide the reports regulatory boards such as the Food and Drug Administration and Central require. Aptar Pharma, for instance, offers sensors that can monitor and record the patients’ adherence level during ophthalmic clinical trials. Meanwhile, Monnit’s freezer monitoring solution provides data logs that can be filed as proof of compliance. It doesn’t matter what kind of pharma data you need — there will be a digital monitoring system that can help you collect it. Extended reality Extended reality (XR) is used to describe all real-like virtual environments that are generated by computer programs. The two most common types of XR are augmented reality (AR), where digital graphics are overlaid onto the real world, and virtual reality (VR) where the user is “transported” to a digital world through headsets. To create realistic projections, VR and AR technologies are built with complex and densely packed electrical PCB designs. From wiring the schematic to comparing physical validation rules, all of this is carefully done to ensure that the technology has all the 3D features it needs. Pharma has many uses for this kind of technology. For example, one of Augray’s solutions is to allow researchers to better visualize human models using XR. XR can also be used in lab and manufacturing training. Before letting people train onsite, XR solution providers like SoftCover VR and Labrodex Studios can create simulations that let them familiarize themselves with the equipment virtually. This is very important in the pharma industry, as one error can easily contaminate the drugs. Artificial intelligence Whether it’s for drug discovery research or clinical trials, artificial intelligence (AI) can help accelerate the process. AI is a technology that “learns.” AI programs, after they’re made, are immediately trained to detect patterns and features in the data to help collect insights. British startup Pangaea Data helps global pharma companies identify patient cohorts and trials using AI algorithms. AI can also be trained to perform mundane tasks more efficiently, like arrange clinical data for researchers or gather studies. An AI program called Atomwise does this by analyzing thousands of existing medicines and picking out the ones that can be repurposed to treat diseases it wasn’t initially made for. This was even the AI that identified two drugs that could mitigate Ebola’s effects in 2015, saving multiple lives. In the future, AI can be taught more things that will allow them to aid medical research. Additive manufacturing Additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3D printing, is an industrial production process that lets businesses create 3D products using successive layers of a specific material. Since 3D printers will literally print any object with the right blueprints, additive manufacturing has been a big help in the mass production of drugs. However, researchers are now finding more uses for additive manufacturing — one of which is in the field of precision medicine. Precision medicine takes into account the patient’s lifestyle, history record, and even genetics. Eventually, they're given medicine that’s specially tailored for their body. Since blueprints can easily be edited, combining drugs can be done faster and with more accuracy. Of course, additive manufacturing’s application in this field is still at its testing phases, but researchers are hopeful about the results. New discoveries are made in the pharma industry thanks to technology, and more will continue to do so as long as breakthroughs are made. Businesses should always be updated on these emerging trends, lest they want to be left behind by the competition.

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Coronavirus Pandemic Brings Hundreds Of U.S. Clinical Trials To A Halt

Article | April 11, 2020

Rene Roach fired off a quick email in late March for an update on a colorectal cancer clinical trial for which she hoped to qualify. Worried about the coronavirus, she asked, almost as an afterthought, whether the study had been put on hold because of the pandemic.The answer crushed her: It had been. "That's when COVID-19 shut down everything," says Roach, 50, of Germantown, Md. Roach assumed that there would be workarounds for patients like her, who have stage IV cancer. These patients often depend on clinical trials as their best chance to knock cancer out when other therapies have failed. For now, she's being treated with traditional chemotherapy, but she was counting on the drug cocktail from the clinical trial. She figures if chemo was going to rid her body of cancer for good, it would have done so already.

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WALGREEN’S IN HOT WATER OVER PHONY PHARMACIST

Article | February 11, 2020

The drugstore chain agreed to pay $7.5 million in fines after an unlicensed pharmacist at several San Francisco Bay locations illegally filled more than 700,000 prescriptions over a ten-year period. According to California prosecutors, Kim Thien Le stole license numbers from other pharmacists to fill prescriptions for Fentanyl, morphine, and other painkillers. Le pleaded guilty to multiple felony impersonation counts. Walgreen’s agreed to the settlement to avoid being charged with consumer fraud in Alameda and Santa Anna Counties. Prosecutors alleged that Walgreen’s failed to verify Le’s license and did not conduct a thorough background check. The company insisted it has taken remedial measures.

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Clinical Supply Availability & Speed to Study Start-Up

Article | March 26, 2020

If you’re part of a clinical study team racing a new product to commercialization, you likely live by these two simple rules: time is money, and the first one to market wins. But just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s easy. That ticking clock is background noise to the responsibilities of regulations, study protocols, supply chains, and patient recruitment — all the details that must be worked out before a study can even begin. The pressure is always there. The longer it takes for a study to start, the longer it takes to complete.

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Spotlight

Sensely

Sensely is a digital health company powered by an avatar-based, empathy-driven clinical platform that helps clinicians and patients better monitor and manage their health. The Virtual Medical Assistant avatar is equipped with a set of remote diagnostic tools and leverages natural user interfaces to facilitate the assessment of a patient’s condition and provide insights for meaningful follow-up. Sensely provides access to high quality medicine by bringing back old-fashioned at home visits enabling billions to live better and thrive.

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