Sequoia, Google, Tencent invest $15M in China AI biotech startup XtalPi

AI Answers

A new round of funding will give XtalPi, a computation-driven Chinese startup, a chance to provide applications of artificial intelligence for drug research and development. Leading the charge in the $15 million series B round of finance are high-profile technology investors Sequoia China, Google and Chinese internet giant Tencent, according to an article by Angus Liu in Fierce Biotech.

Major companies partner to control drug costs

Three very large companies, Berkshire Hathaway, Amazon and JPMorgan Chase bank, have agreed to jointly address the costs of prescription drugs for their combined 1.1 million employees, reported Ben Popken and Lucy Bayly on NBC News. The partners will create a new company to provide drugs “…at a reasonable cost.” An event of this size could have an impact on all of medical economics.

New Apple Health Data App

Apple is providing easy access to complete medical records

The inability of medical providers to share data has been called the interoperability crisis” and has a harmful impact on care. Patients’ data often exists as PDF files connected to e-mails, which inturn are only reachable through “patient portals,” which can be incomplete and not open to all providers.

FDA outlines “multiarm, multicompany” collaborations

In an effort to reduce the number of patients needing to receive placebos in clinical trials and to lower overall costs, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has come up with a draft proposal that shows how drug developers targeting rare pediatric diseases can form collaborations to “streamline their clinical development programs.” According to an article by Nick Paul Taylor in Fierce Biotech, FDA officials would like for drug developers to think about joining forces to run tests on multiple candidates in single trials.

Getting Genomics Data: DNAnexus completes $58 million financing round from strategic investors

Major companies have invested in a $58 million financing round for DNAnexus, a California-based genomics platform firm that offers a worldwide network for sharing and management of genomic data and tools to expedite genomics research. Directed by the healthcare-focused investment firm Foresite Capital, the funding included strategic investment from Microsoft, Alphabet’s investment arm GV (formerly Google Ventures) and Wuxi, reports Angus Liu in Fierce Biotech.

Personnel Problems in Clinical Trials

Worker shortages, uneven performance top list

Despite the many advances in instrumentation and procedures, the clinical research sector still faces a major hurdle, reports Jim Kremidas, executive director of the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP), on the website both a shortage of workers in several categories including investigators, coordinators and site monitors, and the uneven performance and variability among research personnel. In the article, “A turning point: Examining the clinical research workforce in 2018,” he makes a case for bringing more people into the workforce and imbuing them with the appropriate skills to succeed.

Startups with potential can take advantage of Peter Thiel's Science Exchange marketplace

Breakout Labs, a science-oriented investing group that is part of Peter Thiel’s Thiel Foundation, has signed the outsourcing R&D marketplace for Science Exchange’s portfolio companies. Science Exchange will furnish immediate access to research services from more than 2,500 CROs, academic laboratories and government facilities and assist in matching providers with each Breakout company’s R&D needs, reported Angus Liu in Fierce Biotech.