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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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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FDA issues guidelines for cancer drug studies

Seamless Clinical Trials

On August 10 the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issued a 14-page “draft guidance” to assist sponsors in designing and conducting first in human (FIH) clinical trials that accelerate “the clinical development of cancer drugs through multiple expansion cohort study designs,” according to an article by Zachary Brennan in Regulatory Focus, an online publication of the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society (RAPS). RAPS is a global organization of and for those involved with the regulation of healthcare and related products.

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Market research study focuses on clinical trials

Global Growth

Clinical trials, research studies performed on humans, are designed to gain specific information about biomedical interventions such as vaccines, treatments and drugs in order to prove the safety and efficacy of the products.


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FDA approves extended use of cystic fibrosis drug

Victory for Vertex

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of Vertex Pharmaceuticals’ ORKAMBI® for 2- to 5-year-old children with cystic fibrosis (CF) who have two copies of the F508del-CFTR mutation. Applicable to 1,300 children with the most common genetic form of the disease, the drug is the first medicine approved to treat the underlying cause of CF in this population.

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Gottlieb proposes plan to simplify FDA structure

Reorganizing FDA

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who became the 23rd Commissioner of the Food and Drug Agency (FDA) on May 11, 2017, is proposing “to flatten out FDA’s structure by having the Center directors report directly to him, instead of through a level of “directorates” between the commissioner and Center staff,” as reported by Jill Wechsle of Pharmaceutical Executive. The objective is “to give more authority to the agency’s six product regulatory Centers and to the Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA) and will ensure that the commissioner remains in close contact with the Center leadership,” according to Gottlieb in an email to FDA staff this week.


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Market surge creates opportunities and challenges

Biopharma in China

The sophistication of drug production in China has come a long way in a short time, offering both opportunities and challenges for Chinese and Western pharma and biotech companies, according to an article by Peter Young in Pharmaceutical Executive. In recent memory, China was “principally a low cost, low quality producer of pharmaceutical intermediates and fine chemicals,” according to Young, but the country cleaned up its manufacturing practices, developed more sophisticated medicines, conducted clinical trials, improved its regulatory system and developed “a more diversified, modern system of providing patient care.”

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Breath test detects cancer markers

Early and Effective

After his wife died of colon cancer at 36 in 2014, Billy Boyle, 39, became a man on a mission. Boyle, who had been doing research on how volatile organic compounds (VOCs) could be used to diagnose complications from chemical warfare, applied the idea to a breath test that could detect cancer-linked chemicals at very early stages.

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Artificial intelligence system projects future symptoms

Predicting Progression of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease, the sixth leading cause of death in the US, kills more senior citizens than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. The disease affects millions of people annually, says the Alzheimer’s Association. If diagnosed early, as much as $7.9 trillion in medical and care costs could be saved, according to an article by Kyle Wiggers in Venture Beat.

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Gene editing technology turns cancer cells against themselves

CRISPR Combats Cancer

Recently, Gilead’s Yescarta and Novartis’ Kymriah took healthy immune-boosting T cells from patients and engineered them to recognize and destroy cancer. Now researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital are creating cells that kill cancer by modifying tumor cells instead of T cells, according to Arlene Weintraub in Fierce Biotech.

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Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple Spur Life Science Growth

Leading the Way with Strategic Partnerships

Frost & Sullivan, which analyzes markets to help investors, corporate leaders and governments navigate economic changes and identify disruptive technologies and companies, as well as Mega Trends and new business models, predicts that data monetization, direct-to-consumer and eCommerce business models will create growth opportunities in life sciences.

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Shkreli seems to be sharing biotech tips from prison

Voice Behind the Wall

Does a prison sentence for securities fraud silence somebody who still thinks he has a lot to say? Martin Shkreli, the former pharmaceutical executive who was sentenced to serve seven years for securities fraud, may be blogging biopharma tips from prison, according to Amirah Al Idrus of Fierce Biotech.

In the combative, "insolent" tone that he used outside of the prison walls, somebody who sounds like Shkreli is writing a blog using TRULINCS, a limited e-mail system employed by corrections systems. He sends the posts to a friend, who then publishes them. In the first of these posts, disseminated July 1, Shkreli said, "I’ll be discussing biopharmaceuticals and other topics. I am not recommending any stocks or making investment advice. This is merely me 'thinking out loud'."

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Lack of CMC information puts clinical hold on trial

CAR-T Crossroads

Ziopharm Oncology, a Boston-based biotechnology company focused on the development of immunotherapies using gene- and cell-based therapies to treat patients with cancer, believes that its point-of-care CAR-T production technology will eliminate the complex, expensive supply chain and facilities needed to manufacture first-generation therapies from Gilead and Novartis. “Instead of shipping cells from hospitals to production plants and back again, all processing will take place within two days at the healthcare center, thereby driving down treatment costs,” reported Nick Paul Taylor of Fierce Biotech.

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FDA approves first medicine made from marijuana in US

Help without High

On Monday the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the country’s first medication derived from marijuana. GW Pharmaceuticals’ Epidiolex, is a drug administered as an oil to treat two kinds of epilepsy, Dravet or Lennox-Gastaut syndromes.

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