Vaccine heroes? COVID-19 pitfalls, pricing put pharma on the spot

Fiercepharma | June 16, 2020

Pharma is looking to reset its image with COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, but landmines loom—with pricing likely the biggest. The halo from pharma’s rapid response in research and discovery—and the hope that a vaccine or effective treatments will allow the world to return to some sort of normal—has propelled the industry’s reputation at an all-time high. Forty percent of Americans say their opinion of the pharma industry has turned positive during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to The Harris Poll. However, pricing lurks just beyond the lab. Just this week in media, one well-known pundit posited in a Forbes column that the industry’s reputation hinges on the pricing of Gilead Sciences' treatment remdesivir, while another touted Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla’s promise to not price its vaccine too high in part because “people will not forget if you do that.”

Spotlight

The notable success of imatinib for the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia and trastuzumab for the management of HER2-positive breast cancer patients has generated great enthusiasm for the delivery of more effective and safer treatment to patients based on the genetic anomalies harbored by their cancer. Subsequently, the identification of driver mutations and cancer genome sequencing have facilitated the development of novel targeted anticancer agents.

Spotlight

The notable success of imatinib for the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia and trastuzumab for the management of HER2-positive breast cancer patients has generated great enthusiasm for the delivery of more effective and safer treatment to patients based on the genetic anomalies harbored by their cancer. Subsequently, the identification of driver mutations and cancer genome sequencing have facilitated the development of novel targeted anticancer agents.

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RESEARCH

Roivant Grows Computational Drug Discovery Engine with Acquisition of Silicon Therapeutics

Roivant Sciences | March 01, 2021

Silicon Therapeutics has assembled an exclusive industry-driving computational physics platform for the in silico design and optimization of small molecule drugs for testing disease targets. The platform incorporates custom strategies dependent on quantum mechanics, sub-atomic elements and measurable thermodynamics to beat basic bottlenecks in drug disclosure projects, for example, anticipating restricting energies and conformational conduct of molecules. Silicon Therapeutics' computational platform is controlled by a restrictive supercomputing group and custom equipment empowering exact all-molecule reenactments at organically important timescales. This computational platform is firmly incorporated with experimental laboratories equipped for biophysics, medical chemistry and biology to encourage the quick movement of drug applicants by expanding recreations with biophysical data. The organization has utilized these abilities to find numerous drug applicants. The procurement of Silicon Therapeutics supports and supplements Roivant's focused on protein debasement platform. That platform will be fueled by VantAI's high level AI models prepared on restrictive degrader-explicit experimental data and by Silicon Therapeutics' exclusive computational physics abilities, which help address a large number of the methodology explicit difficulties of degrader design and optimization. Coordinating Silicon Therapeutics and VantAI will empower Roivant to particularly catch the force of both computational physics and AI based ways to deal with drug design; for example, by joining exclusive computational physics reproductions as preparing data for VantAI's degrader-explicit profound learning models. "The combination of Silicon Therapeutics' integrated approach, platform and highly capable team with Roivant's technologies and commitment to transforming the pharmaceutical industry represents a new and exciting paradigm in drug discovery and development," said Roger Pomerantz, M.D., F.A.C.P., chairman of the board of directors of Silicon Therapeutics. About Roivant Sciences Roivant's mission is to improve the delivery of healthcare to patients by treating every inefficiency as an opportunity. Roivant develops transformative medicines faster by building technologies and developing talent in creative ways, leveraging the Roivant platform to launch Vants – nimble and focused biopharmaceutical and health technology companies.

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PHARMA TECH

KSP Specialty Pharmacy now offers access to non-oncology drugs and launches new website featuring pharmacy patient portal

Karmanos Cancer Institute | October 05, 2021

The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and KSP Specialty Pharmacy (KSP) are pleased to announce the launch of new services and a new website: www.ksppharmacy.org. The new site features provider resources and information for payers and pharmaceutical companies. Most notably, the site includes an online portal where patients can refill their prescriptions. This tool also allows patients to see their list of medications, get reminders and interact with their pharmacist. A portal for patient education and tips is forthcoming. Additionally, KSP has begun offering non-oncology specialty drugs to serve providers and patients throughout the McLaren Health Care network. KSP is a specialty pharmacy within the McLaren Health Care Network, serving the needs of patients with complex disease states and high-cost therapeutic treatments. KSP began as an extension of the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in 2019 and has since grown to assist with specialty medication needs of patients throughout the McLaren system in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. Additionally, the Karmanos ambulatory pharmacy, which provides non-specialty medication, has launched a portal with similar functionality. Those undergoing cancer treatment at Karmanos can now access their prescription information and request refills on the Karmanos pharmacy web page. We are continually striving to provide our patients with tools and convenience to help them understand their treatment. The new website and app will provide the outstanding service we offer over the phone and in person on a new, convenient platform, - Stephen Smith, RPh, MS, FASHP, Chief Pharmacy Officer. KSP provides patient care and customer service through a panel of expert clinical pharmacy specialists that can assist in drug education and management of not only a patient's specialty prescriptions, but their entire prescription portfolio. The pharmacy team has direct access to the patient's medical records and providers to ensure the time to delivery of the first dose is swift. In fact, the average rate to the first dose at KSP during fiscal year 2021 is 3.92 days, while the industry standard is more than ten days. A primary goal is to ensure that our in-house social worker and account resolution team find unique programs to allow patients access to high-cost medications without being financially burdened. This allows patients to stay adherent and compliant with their prescribed therapies and start a path to faster healing and recovery. Specialty medications are used to treat complex health conditions that include hepatitis C, multiple sclerosis, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, organ transplant, migraines and others. KSP Specialty Pharmacy's expanded services include the ability to dispense medications for patients within the McLaren Health System who face these disease states. These medications may need to be administered by a health care professional, self-injected or taken by mouth, which may require clinical monitoring. Specialty medications often require special handling, delivery and storage requirements. KSP is accredited by the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission (URAC) and the Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC). URAC designation was earned in 2020 and allows for the provision of agents in other specialized areas, such as HIV, gastroenterology, neurology and many others. About the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute Karmanos Cancer Institute is a leader in transformative cancer care, research and education through courage, commitment and compassion. Our vision is a world free of cancer. As part of McLaren Health Care, Karmanos is the largest provider of cancer care and research in the state of Michigan. For more than 75 years, our administrative and research headquarters, along with our premier specialty cancer hospital, have been located in downtown Detroit. Our 15 network sites throughout the state deliver market-leading cancer care and clinical trials conveniently to the communities where many of our patients live. Karmanos is recognized by the National Cancer Institute as one of the best cancer centers in the nation. Our academic partnership with the Wayne State University School of Medicine provides the framework for cancer research and education – defining new standards of care and improving survivorship.

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PHARMA TECH

Innovation Zed Announce 2022 Launch of InsulCheck DOSE Add-on Technology for Insulin Pens

Zed | November 15, 2021

Innovation Zed, developer of novel diabetes management technologies headquartered at NovaUCD, at University College Dublin, Ireland are delighted to announce today the arrival of the much anticipated InsulCheck DOSE technology that will be coming to market in 2022. "It is with great excitement that we announce the arrival of our InsulCheck DOSE by Innovation Zed. As the third generation product of the InsulCheck family, this technology has been a dream of our company from its very inception and this product is the culmination of over a decade of work to support multiple daily injection (MDI) pen users. We understood the difficult challenges presented by various injection pens and in particular the difficulties in working on a technology to reliably and accurately support low-cost disposable pens. This is the reason we at Innovation Zed took an incremental approach to developing the InsulCheck DOSE product.We have taken a unique approach in developing this technology by working closely with users, caregivers, software developers, medical device specialists and previous generations of InsulCheck products to design and develop a product that bolsters and supports the needs of all stakeholders.'' Dr Dean Minnock, CEO at Innovation Zed Innovation Zed has collaborated with SHL Medical in the development of InsulCheck DOSE. SHL Medical is a world-leading provider of drug delivery solutions and also offers design-to-build and contract manufacturing services for various medical products through its subsidiary, SHL Technologies. What is InsulCheck DOSE? InsulCheck DOSE is a single unit add-on device for pen injectors that automatically captures dose value dialled, injection event time stamp, temperature and mounting/unmounting events. Through Bluetooth® Low Energy (BLE) technology, InsulCheck DOSE transmits these data points to a paired companion software platform in real time for inclusion in diabetes management therapy. "InsulCheck DOSE technology supports MDI users by enhancing their traditional injection pen and transforming it into a smart pen that can optimise their treatment and reduce the stresses caused by MDI therapy. Through this technology we are enabling every MDI user to make their existing injection pen a smart pen without having to compromise or change from their existing HMO or health service provider" - said Dr Minnock. InsulCheck DOSE Features The technology utilises a multi-sensor approach to accurately detect and register the actual dosage dialled and provide an injection event time stamp to log the event. The incorporated temperature sensors constantly monitor the ambient temperature of the area surrounding the injection pen, providing safety notifications to the user if the surrounding temperature may affect the drug housed inside the pen. Using an OLED display, InsulCheck DOSE provides visual information and feedback to the user, helping improve best practice procedures. A rechargeable lithium battery powers the DOSE device and is capable of operating well over 1 week at a time between charges. As a BLE enabled product, all data captured by InsulCheck DOSE is transferred in real time to a paired mobile application. If the user does not wish or is unable to remain connected with a companion software platform, InsulCheck DOSE has built-in memory to store over 40 days' worth of injection history at a time. Through modification of the sleeve component and firmware refinement, InsulCheck DOSE can become applicable to all injection pens for various drug treatments. At launch, it will support a range of reusable and disposable injection pens on the insulin market from Novo Nordisk, Lilly and Sanofi. "Our ability to learn, adapt and improve our technology is one of the key aspects of InsulCheck DOSE and one that separates us greatly from our competitors. The future-proof design of InsulCheck DOSE means that it can be adapted to support the various pen mechanisms in use today, whilst maintaining accuracy and reliability for the patient. Among the numerous unique features of this product is the built in Firmware Over The Air (FOTA) capability which allows continuous optimisation of the device's firmware even when deployed in the field. That future-proofing allows InsulCheck DOSE to adapt to physical injection pen variations from the pen manufacturers and improve on device performance 'on the go' from real world user behaviours" - said Dr Minnock. Value Proposition The InsulCheck DOSE device helps patients, automatically track their daily injection and monitor treatment adherence. The intended use of InsulCheck DOSE is as a supporting component in a management ecosystem for therapy optimisation, remote monitoring and enhanced connected care. Dr Minnock explained, "InsulCheck DOSE is a disruptive technology that will revolutionise an entire market and change the lives of millions of MDI users worldwide. Innovation Zed have entered into discussions with market leaders in the diabetes management sector with the intention of finding a strategic global partner in taking this InsulCheck DOSE technology to the market. InsulCheck DOSE is an attractive offering to any organisation working in this space as it can significantly enhance their existing offering to become more competitive and command new growth and additional market share." Conclusion InsulCheck DOSE enters production at the end of Q2 2022 and will be available as an FDA registered and CE marked product. Manufacturing of InsulCheck DOSE will be handled by Innovation Zed's existing manufacturing partner SHL Technologies, a subsidiary of SHL Medical. If you wish to understand InsulCheck DOSE or any of our technology offerings in greater detail, please feel free to visit our website or reach out to us directly.

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