Inova Top 10 Newsletter – September 2017

It was a historical month in the field of immuno-oncology and the biopharma industry in general. Last month, we’ve seen back-to-back news about CAR-T therapy, from Gilead Science’s $ 11.9 Billion acquisition of Kite Pharma to the approval of the first CAR-T therapy in the world from Novartis. Meanwhile, we have seen several articles putting partnerships with academia in the spotlight, particularly that of Takeda and Stanford’s, and other trending digital health partnerships such as those with Apple and Amazon.

1) In Historic First, FDA Approves Novartis CAR-T Therapy

After several years of development, and competitors in the pipeline, Novartis’ CAR-T therapy treatment, which will be marketed as Kymriah, was approved for young people up to age 25 with a form of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). This one-time therapy session comes with a price tag of $475,000. Kymriah is the first ever gene-altering therapy approved by the FDA, and achieved stellar results in the clinical studies – a huge breakthrough in the field of drug development.

2) Gilead Agrees To Buy Kite Pharma, Leaping Into CAR-T Cancer Therapy

With over $34 Billion cash-on-hand, the biopharma world was just waiting for Gilead to make a move. And so, as Kite Pharma is preparing for approval for its CAR-T therapy, the American biotech decides to acquire Kite Pharma for $11.9 billion (cash) — making it its biggest-ever deal, and the biggest in the field of immuno-oncology, so far.

3) 5 Important Healthcare Predictions For 2018

It’s the last quarter of the year and the industry is gearing up for what is to come in the next year. Deals and activities in the industry for the past few months have shown some trends that are shaping. Check out Forbes’ take on what these industry trends are, and where pharmaceutical companies are focusing on.

4) Stanford And Takeda Pharmaceuticals To Collaborate On Medicines Of The Future

We have seen Takeda establish partnerships for their various pipelines with biotechs and other pharma companies recently (even a famous superhero brand for their advertising). Suffice to say, Takeda recognizes the value of looking into external partners to leverage theirs and their partners’ expertise and to provide unique approaches in terms of drug development. This partnership is expected to facilitate a process that will “accelerate the translation of Stanford’s cutting-edge discoveries into real treatments for human disease,” as mentioned by Stanford’s Dr. Chaitan Khosla, who will lead the program.

5) Digital-minded Novartis Taps Apple’s ResearchKit For Smartphone MS Study

Novartis is launching a research study for people with multiple sclerosis (MS) that collects data via their smartphone, without the need for clinic visits.  Apple’s ResearchKit was launched in 2015, with the aim of generating more insightful and personalized data to aid researchers in their clinical studies, and to get more patients involved as well, through app development for their smartphones.  Apple’s ResearchKit will allow Novartis to have access to more personalized and accurate data, while at the same time minimizing inconveniences for patients.

6) Non-traditional Collaborations Fuel Biopharma Innovation

This article references to a recent study conducted by Deloitte on recent trends in Pharma collaboration called Partnering for progress How collaborations are fueling biomedical advances. It’s an interesting study on current trends on why biopharma companies partner, more than the traditional reasons of just asset-sharing, and risk-spreading. Partnerships are constantly increasing and in the most non-traditional ways.

7) Amazon Could Partner With A PBM To Blaze Its Trail Into Pharma: Analysts

Recent news on a “stealth team” working on healthcare projects and a recent hiring of a general manager on health care suggest that Amazon’s venture into the industry is imminent. A recent report from Goldman Sachs suggests that it won’t be easy for Amazon to venture into unchartered territories. Whatever it is, they will be needing strong established partners in the industry.

8) Ending The Era Of $100,000 Cancer Drugs

Learn how the biopharma industry and academia can possibly develop efficiencies to address escalating costs for drug discovery and development to provide cheaper and better cancer treatments to patients.

9) AstraZeneca Strikes $400 Million Parkinson’s Drug Deal With Takeda

In an attempt to focus on the development of cancer and respiratory drugs and veer away from neuroscience, Astra Zeneca strikes a deal to co-develop a drug for Parkinson’s disease with Takeda, another strong player in the field of neurosciences and in doing partnerships.

10) Collaborate or Collapse: Why Working Together is Essential for the Life Science Industry

This article presents a case for the need of collaboration in the life science industry. The author then outlines the current barriers within the industry, and how these can be overcome by collaborating. The author then reiterates that life science companies must learn to collaborate or they risk becoming irrelevant.

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