Unhappy pupils more likely to be smokers and drinkers

PharmaTimes | August 20, 2019

New figures from NHS Digital have revealed that pupils who have recently smoked, drunk alcohol and taken drugs are more likely to be unhappy. Specifically, 51 Percent of young people aged 11 to 15 who had recently drunk alcohol, smoked cigarettes and taken drugs reported experiencing low levels of happiness compared to 36 Percent who had recently done just one of these things, and 22% who hadn’t recently smoked, drank or taken drugs. The report, ‘Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use among Young People 2018’ also revealed that 2% of pupils had recently smoked, drunk alcohol and taken drugs, 11% had done only one of these recent behaviours, with 84% having done none of these things. Further, the number of pupils that reported having ever smoked dropped from 19% in 2016, to 16% in this survey, making it the lowest rate recorded in the survey and marking a continuing decline from 49% in 1996. There was also a differentiation between classes, as pupils from more affluent families were more likely to have drunk alcohol in the last week: 13% of pupils from the most affluent families compared to 7% from the least affluent families.

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It is not surprising that mostly small to medium sized companies seek the help of specialist consultancies to find commercial partners or find in-licensing opportunities. Large pharma is in the attractive position that they get thousands of unsolicited licensing offers from small R&D companies every year and they have ample capacity to conduct due diligence on the promising candidates and partners.


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Basetwo Launches No-Code Artificial Intelligence Platform for Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, Raises $3.8 Million

Basetwo | May 27, 2022

Basetwo, a SaaS AI platform for manufacturers, announced it secured a $3.8M seed round led by Glasswing Ventures and Argon Ventures with additional funding from Caffeinated Capital, Graphite Ventures, MaRs IAF, Pareto Holdings, Plug and Play, and Quiet Capital. The funding supports the launch of the category-making Basetwo AI platform, a first-of-its-kind solution that enables process engineers to rapidly build digital twins of their manufacturing plants leveraging a familiar no-code interface. Basetwo promotes the digitalization of manufacturing systems to foster intelligent manufacturing across the global supply chain. Basetwo intends to be the default platform for continuous improvement in the current Good Manufacturing Process (cGMP), beginning with the pharmaceutical market and expanding to the food and beverage and chemical markets. The pharmaceutical manufacturing market has been challenged in the past two years due to the pandemic and associated supply chain issues. In addition, the rate of drug development and demand for pharmaceuticals has increased at an unprecedented rate, fueled by technological and economic advancement globally. However, manufacturing optimization to meet this demand is still rudimentary and inadequate to meet today’s and future needs. According to ABI Research the pharma industry is predicted to spend over $4.5 billion on digital transformation by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 27%. In addition, the market for digital twins is forecasted to reach $35.5 billion by 2026, a 37% CAGR, according to a recent ResearchandMarkets report, primarily driven by the growing applications of digital twin technology in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. Basetwo’s platform powered by “physics-informed machine learning” is well suited for pharmaceutical manufacturing. The Company’s no-code approach brings highly sophisticated capabilities from pre-built models to data pipelines and integrations within a complex manufacturing process to a format familiar to process engineers. Basetwo's ability to predict and understand manufacturing processes improves as more data is gathered, improving return on investment over time. “The introduction of our no-code AI platform lets manufacturers of any size leverage the power of the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine learning (ML) to develop digital twins easily, quickly, and economically. We are excited to have the backing and the expertise from Glasswing Ventures, Argon Ventures, and all our investors as we scale the business.” Thouheed Abdul Gaffoor, Co-Founder and CEO of Basetwo Having previously co-founded and exited Emagin, an AI startup in the heavy industry, Thouheed has seen first-hand the challenges that manufacturers face with maximizing value from machine learning initiatives. To address this challenge, Thouheed left his previous role as Head of AI at Autodesk, and partnered with Thamjeeth Abdul Gaffoor, who co-founded and served as the CFO at Emagin, Tawfeeq Abdul Gaffoor, former Software Engineer at Lyft and Databricks, and Kiefer Eaton, a pharmaceutical industry specialist from Johnson & Johnson. Together, the Basetwo founding team brings deep domain expertise in manufacturing, technology, and pharmaceuticals. “The pharmaceutical manufacturing market is at a critical point, having been heavily challenged by the pandemic and supply chain issues. By creating a digital duplicate of a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant, the Basetwo AI platform allows process engineers to analyze where things might break down — or run more efficiently, and increase resilience,” said Rudina Seseri, Founder and Managing Partner of Glasswing Ventures. “As a category maker, Basetwo has delivered a revolutionary AI-based no-code solution that enables manufacturers to use digital twins for optimization. We anticipate that Thouheed and his team will disrupt the status quo in manufacturing and affect significant change in the industry.” About Basetwo Basetwo is the first no-code AI platform that enables process engineers to rapidly build and operationalize digital twins of their manufacturing plants. From process development to commercial manufacturing, manufacturers use the digital twins they build with Basetwo AI to improve process efficiencies across the value chain. About Glasswing Ventures Glasswing Ventures is an early-stage venture capital firm dedicated to investing in the next generation of AI and frontier technology startups that enable the rise of the intelligent enterprise. The firm was founded by visionary partners with decades of experience in these markets, a disciplined investment approach, and a strong track record of industry-leading returns. Glasswing leverages its deep domain expertise and world-leading advisory councils to invest in exceptional founders who transform markets and revolutionize industries. About Argon Ventures Argon Ventures is a venture fund with a mission to amplify the energy of founders to launch breakthrough products to build impactful, global businesses. The firm’s Intelligent Industry Solutions investment thesis is centered on cutting-edge software platforms that accelerate productivity & drive top-line revenue, transform markets through radical efficiency and create enterprise value through data at scale. Argon’s portfolio spans a number of markets, including digital health, future of work, manufacturing, and others. The founding General Partners collectively bring over four decades of experience as successful operators, investors, advisors, founders and C-level executives of global companies.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

CCT Research Announces New Partnership with BEKHealth

CCT Research | February 18, 2022

CCT Research has announced an exciting partnership with BEKHealth. The collaboration streamlines access to electronic medical records (EMR) data, across CCT sites and drives a data-driven approach to trial execution and management. CCT has established itself as an innovator in conducting clinical trials. Using BEKHealth, a provider of software solutions for enhancing clinical research processes, will enable CCT to more accurately identify and fit studies to its sites. The deep commitment by both companies to improving the outcomes of clinical trials made the relationship a natural fit. “One of CCT’s driving forces is to promote an environment of innovation and continuous improvement. Our partnership with BEKHealth strengthens our ability to identify potential research participants, ultimately creating greater accessibility to clinical trials.” Jennifer Kocour, President, CCT Research More than just a “technology” partnership, this collaboration with BEKHealth is also patient-centric– which remains a top priority for CCT. Once studies are awarded, it will power onsite research by identifying patients who fit studies best, saving sites, patients, and staff time and hassle. “At the individual site level, our goal is to optimize research to be as beneficial to the practice and its patients as possible with minimal disruption to the clinics day-to-day operations. We view data and technology as central to that strategy and couldn’t be more excited to work with BEKHealth,” said Kyle McAllister, Vice President, Data & Analytics, CCT Research. “The breadth and depth of CCTs network was an exciting opportunity. The ability to leverage technology to centralize key drivers of success such as feasibility, site selection, patient recruitment and analytics drives a new paradigm in clinical research,” said Jason Baumgartner, CEO and Founder, BEKHealth. “Our platform is secure and activation creates a minimal burden on IT teams. What this means for the provider and patient is our collaboration will have a major impact quickly.” “We provide an integrated clinical operating platform that enables companies to streamline research across multiple key processes,” said Josh Ransom, PhD, Vice President, Customer Experience, BEKHealth. “Ultimately this means our partners can scale their businesses faster by improving operational efficiency while taking out manual and inefficient steps.” About CCT Research CCT Research is a network of clinical research sites embedded in the offices of skilled physicians conducting clinical trials to offer patients with innovative medical treatments and safe, effective care options. CCT Research was founded in 2017 and has more than 20 locations across Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Nebraska, Nevada, and Utah. The sites are located within physicians’ offices, within ACO networks, and several dedicated research centers. CCT supports research in Neurology, Family Practice, and Dermatology, with plans to include additional therapy areas soon. The company's unique model simplifies the process for trial participants and provides pharmaceutical sponsors with high-quality data.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Vivera Enters $23 Billion Telehealth Industry with Patent Allowance for MDZone

Vivera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. | April 25, 2022

Vivera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is pleased to announce that it has received a Notice of Allowance for U.S. Patent Application No. 17/066,985 entitled, "Self-Contained, Portable, Sanitization Device and Telemedicine Station," for the Company's MDZone platform from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. This Notice of Allowance indicates that the patent application has passed its examination for issuance. MDZone will be a HIPAA compliant, portable telemedicine station that will allow patients to access health care and connect with a medical provider remotely. Broadly patented for multiple points of utilization, MDZone will make health care more affordable and accessible than ever for communities across the country. Telehealth services and technology are often more convenient in terms of both scheduling and transportation than in-office visits and have been instrumental in improving access to medical care for many patients. Patients who can benefit from telehealth include those with mobility limitations or other challenges that can make it difficult to attend in-person doctor visits. Virtual care has also been considered a tool to increase accessibility to health care in rural communities where physician shortages are more prevalent. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the use of telehealth for various appointment types, including general wellness and preventative care, medication management, and pre-visit lab orders. Lockdowns, social distancing, hospitals at capacity, and delayed surgeries and routine preventative care visits have contributed to a current surge in serious illnesses and even an increased incidence of death from medical complications that could have been prevented. While telehealth won't completely replace in-office appointments, it is helping a health care system, stretched thin on everything from beds to staffing to heightened costs, with a more streamlined and effective touchpoint to provide patients with enhanced access to medical care. "The pandemic prompted a shift in the rapid adoption of telehealth services worldwide. A number of serious illnesses and even deaths could have been prevented if we had technology like MDZone available from the beginning of the pandemic to provide quality care to patients from the comfort of their homes, schools, or offices. Many people developed new medical conditions or experienced worsening of existing ones, and their suffering could have been prevented if we had the right systems in place." Paul Edalat, CEO of Vivera MDZone is designed to be a complete turn-key solution for health screenings. It can measure a patient's biometric data, including heart rate, blood pressure, and blood glucose, and allow the medical provider to provide interactive medical evaluation and feedback. If the measured values were outside of recommended ranges, the patient would be provided with a treatment plan, which could include dietary change suggestions, a prescription for medication, a lab order, or a recommendation for an in-person. "MDZone will give people access to health care as often as they need it without having to visit a doctor's office," said Vivera's Chief Medical Officer, Stephen J. McColgan, M.D., M.B.A. "In turn, they will be able to make real-time decisions about their treatment plan, translating to better patient outcomes." Even with patients returning to in-person doctor's office visits, the need for telehealth services is expected to continue increasing. In 2021, the U.S. telehealth market size was valued at $23.5 billion and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 44.4% from 2022 to 2028. In addition to making health care more accessible, MDZone will also make it more affordable. Vivera's technology can be life-changing for low-income communities and schools with limited resources. Many schools don't have a full-time on-site nurse. By utilizing the telemedicine station to conduct student health screenings, MDZone may eliminate the need to see a nurse in some instances while still providing quality care. Vivera maintains a solid intellectual property strategy with six patents granted and 26 patents pending. Receiving its patent for MDZone as a self-contained, portable telemedicine station will strengthen and expand the Company's patient-centric patent portfolio. About Vivera Pharmaceuticals Vivera Pharmaceuticals is an innovative, science-driven pharmaceutical company located in Southern California. The Company has global exclusivity to license the patented and patent-pending TABMELT® sublingual drug delivery system for pharmaceutical use and holds its own issued patents on ZICOH®, a smart dose-controlled medical device. It also has patents pending on its telemedicine station, MDZone. With multiple divisions, including its pharmaceutical, neurosciences, medical technology, biosciences, and advanced diagnostics divisions, Vivera Pharmaceuticals is vertically integrated with patented technology, manufacturing capabilities, and distribution for its products.

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PHARMACY MARKET

Entos Pharmaceuticals Announces Senior Leadership Appointments to Expand Executive Team and Accelerate Growth

Entos Pharmaceuticals | March 07, 2022

EDMONTON, Alberta Entos Pharmaceuticals a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing genetic medicines with its Fusogenix proteolipid vehicle (PLV) nucleic acid delivery platform, today announced two executive-level appointments, Dr. Steve Chen as Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and Jason Ding as Chief Business Officer (CBO). Dr. Steve Chen brings over 20 years of academic research and pharmaceutical biotechnology experience across multiple therapeutic areas to Entos. He will be responsible for the strategy, direction, and execution of Entos’ clinical development programs and medical affairs activities. Before this position, Dr. Chen served as the CMO of Cellics Therapeutics and has held leadership positions at La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company, Takeda, Eli Lilly and Company, and Amylin Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Chen also led the clinical research unit at the Center for Human Nutrition at UCLA and was a staff physician for emergency medicine at West Los Angeles Veteran Affairs Hospital. He obtained his medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and his B.Sc. and B.A. degrees in Bioengineering and Chinese Studies from UC San Diego. “Steve Chen has a track record of working with companies developing revolutionary therapeutic approaches for complex diseases. We are thrilled to welcome him to our team at such a pivotal time as we continue to expand our footprint and grow our pipeline of Fusogenix PLV nucleic acid therapies.” John Lewis, Ph.D., Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Entos Mr. Jason Ding has almost 20 years of financial and transactional expertise in the life science and healthcare industry. He will oversee Entos’ overall business strategy, building upon the company’s foundation for sustainable, scalable growth and developing partnerships with pharmaceutical companies. Before joining Entos, Mr. Ding served as a Partner and Senior Managing Director in Deloitte’s investment banking practice and as a National Life Sciences & Healthcare Transactions Leader spearheading transactions with a cumulative value of over $1.5 billion in the last two years. He has worked with start-ups, large public companies, and global consulting companies and has been an investor and a Board member for numerous life science and industry organizations. Mr. Ding is a Fellow of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta (FCPA, FCA), a Chartered Business Valuator (CBV), and ICD.D designation with the Institute of Corporate Directors. He received his BSc. and BCom. from the University of Alberta. “We’re excited to have Jason Ding join our team, bringing extensive financial and transactional expertise within the biotechnology and health tech sectors,” said John Lewis, Ph.D., Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Entos. “His insight and perspectives are invaluable as we execute on current partnerships and seek to expand our network to bring next-generation Fusogenix PLV nucleic acid therapies to patients in need.” The appointments come on the heels of exciting momentum for Entos, having entered into a collaboration with Eli Lilly in January, where Lilly acquired rights to Entos’ Fusogenix PLV nucleic acid delivery technology to research, develop and commercialize Fusogenix PLV products for central and peripheral nervous system disease indications. As part of the Alberta provincial government’s effort to grow Canada’s biomanufacturing capacity, Entos also received a commitment of $15.5 million in funding from the province in December 2021 to establish a commercial manufacturing facility in Edmonton, Alberta. About Entos Pharmaceuticals A new reality in genetic medicine lies ahead, one that will be ushered in with the advent of safe, effective, and redosable nucleic acid delivery technologies. At Entos, we develop next generation genetic medicines using our proprietary Fusogenix proteolipid vehicle (PLV) drug delivery system. Fusogenix PLVs are formulated with FAST proteins to enable the delivery of mRNA or DNA into target cells through direct fusion.

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Spotlight

It is not surprising that mostly small to medium sized companies seek the help of specialist consultancies to find commercial partners or find in-licensing opportunities. Large pharma is in the attractive position that they get thousands of unsolicited licensing offers from small R&D companies every year and they have ample capacity to conduct due diligence on the promising candidates and partners.

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