Penn study gives hospitals bad marks

A recent study led by University of Pennsylvania nursing professor Linda Aiken has found that hospitals have improved somewhat from the findings of a landmark report from the Institute of Medicine 20 years ago that determined that thousands of patients die in hospitals each year from preventable medical errors. Still, according to a new issue of Health Affairs devoted to that topic, various studies show that hospitals have more work to do.

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Inspection prompts FDA shutdown: Ketamine Trial Cut Off

In July a consumer rights group, Public Citizen, with 64 doctors, bioethicists and academics, called on the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minnesota because of concerns involving informed consent. What resulted was the suspension of a clinical trial, Ketamine Versus Midazolam for Prehospital Agitation.

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New cloud-based Parexel technology provides better patient interactions

Meaningful Data

Leveraging its relationship with Microsoft to assist with drug development, Parexel has introduced the world to several new patient-centric solutions that utilize its Perceptive Cloud platform. The patient-centric solutions for drug development feature mobile and wearable tech to make access to data for better patient interactions during clinical research faster and better, the company explained.

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Milestone procures $80M to fund at-home phase 3 trial of tachycardia rescue nasal spray

Bringing It Home

Etripamil, a “short-acting calcium channel blocker being developed for paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia, or PSVT, where the heart can beat over 200 times per minute,” is certainly exciting investors, according to an article by Conor Hale in Fierce Biotech. Milestone Pharmaceuticals of Montreal, Canada, has raised $80 million to fund its lead program, an at-home, phase 3 clinical trial of its nasal spray for rapidly reducing super high heart rates.

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Digital health startups need to analyze stakeholders

Cracking the Code

While some forms of high technology succeed using a “move fast and break things” approach, digital health startups have to go deeper into the requirements of the industry to “truly transform healthcare,” according to an article by Paul Yock, a cardiologist, health technology innovator, professor of medicine and bioengineering and founder of the Byers Center for Biodesign at Stanford University. Dr. Yock, writing in Fast Company (www.fastcompany.com/90251795/why-do-digital-health-startups-keep-failing, said that money and buzz are not enough to be successful in healthcare, “a much more complex and regulated industry.”

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Allogene begins Nasdaq trading at $18 per share

Living Drug

Allogene Therapeutics, a clinical stage biotech company specializing in allogeneic CAR-T (AlloCAR T) treatments for cancer, started trading on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange at $18 per share. The company, which launched in April 2018 with a $300 million Series A financing, is expecting to raise $288 million by selling about 16 million shares, reported Mark Terry in BioSpace.

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Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Stake in Startup Raises Concerns

More Entanglements?

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center – one of the nation’s most prestigious institutions – is in the news again. In a New York Times article by Charles Ornstein and Katie Thomas that was reported and written in a collaboration with ProPublica, the nonprofit investigative journalism organization, it is explained that a startup in which the hospital has a financial stake is raising red flags among the institution’s pathologists. The dissension comes on the heels of another ethical question.

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DSCS announces “the most practical clinical research conference ever created”

CliniCon19

DSCS Sweat Equity & Investments, LLC, has designed a value-added yearly conference for members of the clinical research community. The company describes it as “what a clinical research conference should be: site-centric, individually focused while catering towards experienced and novice clinical researchers alike, packed with practical and implementable strategies that are proven to produce results, and facilitating networking through arranged "speed dates" at set times.” The conference will be extended online to keep attendees connected with DSCS and each other and to provide “new insights into the industry as they occur in real time.”  

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Veeva announces single app to manage clinical trial data

Cloud Tool

Veeva Systems Inc. -- a leader in cloud-based software for the global life sciences industry -- is offering a new cloud-based application that combines several of its tools. It includes coding, EDC, data cleaning and reporting. Enabling companies to manage clinical trials from build through execution, the new app is designed to achieve a complete and concurrent view of all clinical data within a trial, according to the company.

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FDA suggests heavy fines for not posting clinical trial results online

Transparency 101

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a draft guidance statement proposing heavy fines for pharmaceutical companies and clinical research organizations (CROs) that neglect to post clinical trial results online. According to the statement, the FDA wants to fine organizations that fail to register clinical trials or to report results on to the government database ClinicalTrials.gov as much as $10,000 per day.

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Data Cubed uses gaming technology to facilitate human interaction in clinical trials: Making a Game out of It

Basing its approach on popular computer games, Data Cubed has created a platform that could “increase patient engagement in clinical research,” according to an article by Melissa Fassbender in OutsourcingPharma.com. In 2016 when Data Cubed (D3) was founded, the company took advantage of several trends -- structured big data, mobile technologies, patient-centric care, and social networks, the article explained.

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Forbes contributing writer takes aim at Harvard professor who pans pharma

Disclosure Dilemma

Leading cancer researcher Dr. Jose Baselga, the former chief medical officer of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, did not disclose income he received from biopharmaceutical companies in articles that he published in major medical journals and, as a result, resigned from his position. This prompted a scathing response from Dr. Marcia Angell, a senior lecturer at Harvard Medical School and the first woman to serve as editor-in-chief of The New England Journal of Medicine.

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Uninsured People and Clinical Trials

Both ethical and practical issues raise concerns

 How does an uninsured person’s participation in a clinical trial affect the outcome? Does the lack of affordability of healthcare give rise to untenable situations in choosing participants for clinical trials?

 These were some of the issues addressed by George Marzouka, MD, who wrote an article called “Ethical Concerns Arise in Clinical Trial Enrollment as Number of Uninsured and Underinsured Americans Skyrockets” in Medical Bag recently.

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Innovation in Pharma: Is there a problem, and can it be fixed?

In an article in Forbes, healthcare contributing writer Standish Fleming dissected the theories of blogger Kelvin Stott in his recent posts, “Pharma’s broken business model, An industry on the brink of terminal decline.” Stott thinks technology can solve pharma’s problems, while Fleming thinks “but the solution to the innovation crisis, if there is one, lies not in technology but a new business model.”

 First of all, Fleming points to the decline in productivity in pharma, which could reach a no-profit status by 2020. According to Fleming, Stott “diagnoses the problem as a failure of technology and so looks for a science-based solution to the innovation crisis. What he finds provides no way out of the dilemma.”

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Can virtual clinical trials be as good as the real thing?

New Reality

 While the drug testing is real, the recruitment, the screening and the venue are changing the way clinical trials are conducted, reported an article by Barbara Mandark in Undark and reprinted by Fast Company.

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Attacking Alzheimer’s: Human-on-a-chip model could lead to better treatments

Alzheimer’s is a “devastating memory-wasting disease that has continually seen failure after failure in the clinic,” according to an article by Ben Adams in Fierce Biotech. With no cure yet in sight, a medical technology company in Florida has taken a new approach to simulating a human with the condition.

Hesperos, an Orlando-based company that to characterize an individual’s biology with human-on-a-chip microfluidic systems, has garnered National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding for Alzheimer’s “human-on-a-chip” trials. The company received a phase 1 grant from the National Institute on Aging in order to “realistically mimic the biology of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and the effects of potential new therapies under realistic human physiological conditions,” NIH said.

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Theranos Dissolving: Health startup will pay off creditors from remaining cash and cease to exist

It looks like the end is near for a beleaguered Silicon Valley company. The move comes after a failed attempt by the company to sell itself, during which it reached out to more than 80 potential buyers through Jefferies Group.

Theranos, a blood-testing company embroiled in federal fraud charges against its founder and its COO, is formally dissolving, according to a story in The Wall Street Journal. The company sent an e-mail to shareholders explaining its dissolution and plan to pay out its remaining cash to creditors. The e mail from Chief Executive David Taylor also explained, “Unfortunately, none of those leads to buyers has materialized into a transaction. We are now out of time.” The letter was published by the WSJ.

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AstraZeneca agrees to pay $110 million for Texas Medicaid fraud suits

Super Settlement

Drug making giant AstraZeneca is prepared to settle two lawsuits in Texas accusing the company of "off-label marketing" of rosuvastatin calcium (Crestor—AstraZeneca) and quetiapine fumarate (Seroquel—AstraZeneca) to Medicaid providers in Texas. The settlement has a hefty price tag of $110 million, according to an announcement by the state attorney general.

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Three AI companies take on metabolism and diseases related to aging

AI and Aging

Developing medicines to combat aging-related diseases will be the focus od three organizations in a joint venture, according to an article by Conor Hale in Fierce Biotech. Hale recently reported that Insilico, Juvenescence and the Buck Institute were forming an artificial intelligence (AI)-based venture to expedite drug discovery as it applies to metabolism and aging-related diseases. It seems that the bottom line is only part of the story.

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