Novel Treatment Strategies Could Help Combat the Opioid Crisis

Technology Networks | October 09, 2019

Novel Treatment Strategies Could Help Combat the Opioid Crisis
Concerns over the opioid epidemic have sparked a strong scientific interest in why some people become addicted while others don’t. Now, researchers are proposing novel treatment strategies that could help prevent abuse of opioids and other substances. scientists in health behavior, neuroscience, pain management and addiction describe advances in brain science that can explain an individual’s vulnerability to substance abuse and dependency. Those discoveries hold implications for the opioid crisis in the United States and beyond, the authors say. “Addiction is a disease of decision-making; the majority of people have intact brain mechanisms of decision-making that keep them resilient to succumbing to an addiction,” says Antoine Bechara, lead author on the report and a psychological scientist at the University of Southern California. “But a small percentage have a weakness in this mechanism and they are rendered more vulnerable.

Spotlight

To promote sustainable development, the smart city implies a global vision that merges artificial intelligence, big data, decision making, information and communication technology (ICT), and the internet-of-things (IoT). The aging issue is an aspect that researchers, companies, and the government should devote efforts in developing smart healthcare innovative technology and applications. In this paper, the topic of disease diagnosis in smart healthcare is reviewed. Typical emerging optimization algorithms and machine learning algorithms are summarized. Evolutionary optimization, stochastic optimization, and combinatorial optimization are covered.

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Invitae to Acquire Ciitizen to Strengthen its Patient-Consented Health Data Platform to Improve Personal Outcomes and Global Research

Invitae | September 07, 2021

Invitae , a leading medical genetics company, today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Ciitizen, a patient-centric consumer health tech company. Backed by a16z, Section 32 and Verily, Ciitizen is working to build a global platform to help patients collect, organize, store and share their medical records digitally. The acquisition would enhance Invitae's platform by providing patients an easy-to-use, centralized hub for their genomic and clinical information, which together comprise a powerful dataset with the potential to drive research and improve healthcare decision making. "Invitae is relentlessly pursuing a day when genetics is used routinely to improve healthcare for billions of people around the globe. We believe combining Ciitizen's state-of-the-art, transparent and patient-consented platform with our technologies and services will accelerate our evolution into a genome information company that informs healthcare throughout one's life. This would give us the ability to engage patients, create an innovative patient-centered data ecosystem and deliver better outcomes for everyone. Invitae views the acquisition of Ciitizen as an important part of its strategy to be the industry leader across the genetic testing, software and health information technology spaces," said Sean George, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of Invitae. "Ciitizen has already helped patients take ownership of their medical records to optimize therapy for themselves and contribute their data towards a variety of goals, including research on rare diseases," said Anil Sethi, CEO and founder of Ciitizen. "Patients leave a breadcrumb trail of records behind them, and we believe access to this real-world data is key to personalized therapeutics in the future. The combination of lifelong health history together with Invitae's world-class genetic and data services would enable a digital ecosystem of personalized services for each patient. Democratization of patient-consented data is expected to improve outcomes by providing access to third-parties for whom the patient has granted consent. Unlike many health data companies, we operate on the premise that it's the patient's data, not ours." Invitae is working to aggregate results from the world's genetic tests into a single, easy-to-use service that makes genetic information accessible to all who can benefit from it - always with patient consent. Over the past five years, Invitae has completed 13 acquisitions that have expanded its testing menu, lowered the cost of its tests, improved its customer experience and enhanced its ability to attract partners. Invitae raised more than $1.4 billion since the beginning of 2021, in part to identify and acquire key assets that bring the company closer to delivering on its vision. The addition of Ciitizen is expected to empower Invitae to more quickly extend its platform, adding a complementary patient service that streamlines the process of collecting and organizing health information from any source and uses machine learning to transform the unstructured (and largely untapped) health information to enable better care decisions, find clinical trials, and power research using real-world evidence. In addition, as the use of Invitae testing and the Ciitizen service expands, third-party access to consented genomic and other clinical data can be democratized to power a variety of applications that can enhance Invitae's business and growth strategy. About Invitae Invitae Corporation is a leading medical genetics company, whose mission is to bring comprehensive genetic information into mainstream medicine to improve healthcare for billions of people. Invitae's goal is to aggregate the world's genetic tests into a single service with higher quality, faster turnaround time, and lower prices. About Ciitizen Ciitizen is a patient-centric consumer health technology platform that enables patients to collect, store and share their medical records in a single location. Ciitizen developed proprietary machine learning and AI technologies to abstract critical information from unstructured health records to advance the understanding of diseases, match patients with potentially life-saving clinical trials, and enable better care decisions. Ciitizen also provides valuable big data analytics and data quality technologies to the network of Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) to produce research-ready, regulatory-grade data within minutes, instead of hours or days, and ensure HIEs can comply with the Information Blocking regulations.

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BenchSci Named a Deloitte Technology Fast 50™ Company as Impact on Drug Discovery Grows

BenchSci, Deloitte Technology Fast 50™ | November 23, 2021

BenchSci, an emerging global leader in machine learning applications for novel medicine development, announced it ranks 19th among the country’s fastest-growing technology companies in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50™. The program awards companies for their rapid revenue growth, entrepreneurial spirit, and bold innovation, and consists of public and private companies in the tech sector which have transformed the industry. “This recognition is a confirmation of our groundbreaking work to bring novel medicine to patients faster. Our machine learning technology decodes and organizes the world’s most comprehensive biomedical dataset like a Ph.D. scientist. As a result, we eliminate experiments that delay progress and drain research budgets in the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies. This award reflects the value we’re bringing not only to our customers’ research productivity but to all of us who benefit from healthcare innovation.” Liran Belenzon, CEO, BenchSci To qualify for the Tech Fast 50™, companies must have been in business for at least four years, have revenues of at least $5 million, be headquartered in Canada, own proprietary technology, conduct research and development activities in Canada, and invest a minimum of five percent of gross revenues in Research and Development. Founded in 2015, BenchSci has rapidly grown its customer base since launching commercially in 2017. In addition to powering research in over 4,300 academic labs, BenchSci is an indispensable tool for preclinical R&D in 15 of the top 20 global pharmaceutical companies. A remote-first company with headquarters in Toronto, BenchSci is a leader in biomedical machine learning and continuously invests in researching and developing AI-powered tools to help scientists run more successful experiments. “I am thankful for the innovation and commitment of our team members that enable scientists to accelerate drug discovery,” continues Belenzon. “We are honored with the trust our customers place in us as we build the next generation of products that will continue to transform R&D.” About the Deloitte Technology Fast 50™ program The Deloitte Technology Fast 50 program is Canada’s pre-eminent technology awards program. Celebrating business growth, innovation and entrepreneurship, the program features distinct categories, including the Technology Fast 50 ranking, Enterprise Fast 15, Clean Technology, and Companies-to-Watch. The program also recognizes companies within the North American Technology Fast 500 ranking, identifying technology companies in the United States and Canada. The 2021 program sponsors include Deloitte, RBC, EDC, Miller Thomson, Clarity Recruitment, and Lafond. About BenchSci BenchSci’s vision is to bring novel medicine to patients 50% faster by 2025. We’re achieving it by empowering scientists with the world’s most advanced biomedical artificial intelligence to run more successful experiments. Backed by F-Prime, Gradient Ventures (Google’s AI fund), and Inovia Capital, our platform accelerates science at 15 top-20 pharmaceutical companies and over 4,300 leading research centers worldwide. We’re a Deloitte Tech Fast 50 and CIX Top 10 Growth company, certified Great Place to Work®, and top-ranked company on Glassdoor.

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Pfizer, BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine works in more contagious coronavirus variants

Pfizer | January 11, 2021

Newly emerged variants of the novel coronavirus have sparked a key question: Will existing COVID-19 vaccines be less effective against them? But scientists have preliminary data showing that may not be the case, at least for Pfizer and BioNTech’s shot. Researchers from the University of Texas and Pfizer found that, in lab dishes, the vaccine was able to neutralize an engineered version of a variant, which bears an N501Y mutation in its spike protein. The finding was published in bioRxiv and hasn’t been peer-reviewed. Variants of coronavirus with this mutation were first discovered in the U.K. and South Africa and immediately grabbed global attention because they are more contagious. Currently available COVID vaccines—including Pfizer and BioNTech’s Comirnaty, or BNT162b2—target the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus behind COVID-19. The N501Y mutation improves the ability of the virus’ spike protein to bind to its receptor on human cells, making it easier to gain entry for infection. To test whether Comirnaty worked against the mutation, the scientists collected antibodies from 20 vaccinated trial participants and compared their ability to kill off the engineered virus with the N501Y mutation to their ability to neutralize the strain on which Pfizer and BioNTech based Comirnaty.

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Spotlight

To promote sustainable development, the smart city implies a global vision that merges artificial intelligence, big data, decision making, information and communication technology (ICT), and the internet-of-things (IoT). The aging issue is an aspect that researchers, companies, and the government should devote efforts in developing smart healthcare innovative technology and applications. In this paper, the topic of disease diagnosis in smart healthcare is reviewed. Typical emerging optimization algorithms and machine learning algorithms are summarized. Evolutionary optimization, stochastic optimization, and combinatorial optimization are covered.