As a result of the sudden Zika virus outbreak, both big pharma companies and non-profits alike are diving head first into vaccine research in hopes of halting this life-threatening virus. First to the table was Sanofi Pasteur, announcing that they “would lead the way against Zika”. Following their successful launch of the dengue fever vaccine, Sanofi is confident they can tackle Zika as the two viruses are similar in nature. Apart from Sanofi’s progress, the WHO has announced that fifteen other groups, both government agencies and big pharma are also working on a vaccine formulation.
To read more about progress on the Zika vaccine, click here.
This year’s DTC Perspectives Top 25 Marketers of the Year list includes ad campaigns both old and new. In addition to the long-advertised household names such as Viagra from Pfizer and Crestor from AstraZeneca, brand managers for some up-and-coming drugs made the cut as well. Such campaigns include Jardiance from Eli Lilly, Belsomra from Merck, and Entyvio from Takeda. Jennifer Kovack, Director of Publishing and Awards at DTC was quoted saying, “the mix of young and old drug campaigns is relatively new to the awards, partly because of the way the industry is changing and adopting more patient-centric marketing methods”.
To read the full article from Fierce PharmaMarketing, click here.
Despite pressure from all angles for stricter limits on prescription drug ads, the industry continues to expend billions on their campaigns. Sky-high spending has been continuously increasing over the past few years; surpassing the $5 billion mark this year. It is estimated that one quarter of this $5.2B came from five campaigns: Humira, Lyrica, Eliquis, Cialis, and Xeljanz. According to DTC Perspectives CEO and Chairman Bob Ehrlich, “there’s no doubt that [direct-to-consumer advertising] is now seen as almost a must-do for a drug that wants to be big”.
To read more about the controversy over pharmaceutical advertising, click here.
New technology in the form vitamin-sized capsules, known as edible electronics, may be the future of colorectal cancer screening. Currently in development, such capsules can be swallowed and used to capture images inside the digestive tract. One design known as PillCam, from Medtronic, uses two mini-cameras that are capable of capturing 35 frames per second. What distinguishes PillCam is its ability to harvest images of the small intestine; a particularly difficult spot to reach with the traditional scope. Innovative as they are, edible electronics are not yet a perfect formulation. During a procedure, doctors can spot polyps and usually remove them on the spot. With a PillCam, photos can be captured, but nothing can be removed. Despite this, the FDA has approved Medtronic’s device for screening certain types of colon cancer in those not suited for anesthesia. Looking forward, researchers strive to turn these capsules into full functioning robots, which are capable of both capturing images and performing tasks.
For more information about edible electronics, click here.
With a sweeping 89-4 Senate vote, Dr. Robert M. Califf was confirmed as FDA Commissioner on Wednesday, February 24th. A cardiologist by training, Dr. Califf spent years supervising clinical trials within the pharmaceutical industry. In his interview, Califf stressed the importance of using electronic medical databases as early-warning systems to identify safety lapses of drugs and devices. Further, he is adamant on the subject of identification numbers on medical devices; explaining that such numbers will allow the FDA to distinguish between minor device glitches, and those that are a major safety threat. Lastly, Califf expressed his discontent on the topic of opioid painkillers, and believes regulation needs to made priority.
To read more from WSJ about Dr. Califf, click here.
MP Global products, an environmentally-friendly flooring and packaging company, is proud to advertise that they “were green before it was even fashionable”. In early February, the Thermal Packaging Products division introduced a line of insulated cotton packaging used for temperature sensitive pharmaceuticals and consumer products. In addition to being completely biodegradable, the recycled cotton fibers also contain an antimicrobial additive for cross-contamination prevention, and are super-absorbent to contain possible spills. These liners have far more features than traditional foam packaging, all while being eco-conscious. With the “go green” trend stronger than ever, MP Global may have just struck gold.
Managing type I diabetes requires tedious daily logging, a system that is far from perfect and in need of a technological face-lift. There are two primary sources for logging the data; the traditional paper forms method, and the newer continuous glucose monitors. Due to serious drawbacks with both methods, John Costik, an engineer and father of 4-year old type I diabetes patient, decided to take the system into his own hands. Costik was quoted saying, “I wanted our lives to be simple, and I wanted Evan to live a long time, and diabetes to be a nuisance, not a huge struggle”. The result? He designed a simple code that transmits the monitoring data onto a spreadsheet that can be viewed on the web, an Android mobile, and even his Pebble smartwatch. After sharing his ingenious design via twitter, he has inspired many others to concoct their own homespun solutions to their medical devices. User-driven technology is driving device innovation, and has even prompted the FDA to reclassify remote glucose-monitoring devices, hence delaying the approval process for large device companies.
To learn more about the do-it-yourself revolution, click here.
Just a few weeks ago across the pond, the NHS Physical Health Monitor (for Lithium) was released as an app for smartphones in London, UK. Lithium Carbonate is the most common form of treatment for Bipolar Disorder in the UK. The major drawback to this treatment is that it requires strict regulation and frequent health checks. Back in 2013, St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust and South West London partnered up in attempt to streamline this regulation process and make it easier for the patient. The final result? An innovative app that addresses the need for a safe and convenient way to prescribe, administer, and monitor Lithium. Looking forward, they plan to extend the app’s capabilities to manage a broader range of treatments.
To learn more from Pharmaceutical Technology, click here.
At this year’s CES conference, MC10’s two showcased products were nothing short of groundbreaking. By debuting two different wearables, one aimed to satisfy the medical community while the other targeting the general consumer, the company succeeded in sparking interest. The first product, known as BioStamp Research Connect, is designed to assist researchers with a multitude of health-related deficiencies. Inside the band-aid sized wearable contains both a gyroscope and an accelerometer, which are aimed towards tracking electrical activity, motor skills, and movement. To top it off, this miniature device can perform a real-time ECG. Moving on to their consumer oriented product, MC10 has partnered with L’Oréal to create My UV Patch. Designed to monitor sun exposure, this stretchy sticker syncs with smartphones to review results, and even includes helpful tips about healthy tanning.
Only time will tell how these two new innovations will fair in the 2016 market. To learn more, click here to read about it in Tech Times by Horia Ungureanu.