‘Right To Try’ Experimental Medications Stance May Be Adopted In Republican Platform
Laws have passed in 31 states that allow terminal patients access to unapproved treatments. In other development news, a drug to help severe postpartum depression shows promising results in a clinical trial. And, in a first for a major venture capital firm, Flagship Ventures hires a new chief medical officer.
Republicans Embrace The ‘Right To Try’ To Get Experimental Medicines
The “Right to Try” movement may be embedded in the Republican Party platform. Amid the run up to the Republican National Convention that begins in Cleveland next week, the party has adopted an amendment in its draft platform that endorses a controversial stance toward obtaining treatments for fatal illnesses. Known as Right to Try, the concept is designed to allow desperately sick people to gain access to experimental medicines. (Silverman, 7/12)
Experimental Drug Shows Promise For Quick Treatment Of Postpartum Depression
An experimental drug touted as a breakthrough for treating severe postpartum depression is showing some promising results in a small clinical trial. Sage Therapeutics, based in Cambridge, Mass., reported on Tuesday that 7 of the 10 women who took the drug in the trial experienced significant improvement in their depression within 60 hours of the injection. That effect was maintained for 30 days. Among the 11 women who took the placebo, just one experienced remission within 60 hours. Interestingly, none of the patients who took the drug reported psychiatric side effects, such as abnormal dreams, insomnia, and anxiety — but 5 of the 11 women on the placebo reported such symptoms. (Keshavan and Garde, 7/12)
VC Firm Hires Medical Officer To Boost Drug Development
Flagship Ventures has hired a former Tufts medical dean and top official at the drug giant Merck & Co. to be its chief medical officer, believed to be the first executive to hold that position at a major venture capital firm. The hiring of Dr. Michael Rosenblatt, set to be disclosed Wednesday, adds a leading biomedical figure in the Boston area and nationally to the team at Flagship, which has created and funded high-profile biotechs such as Moderna Therapeutics Inc. and Editas Medicine. Flagship’s founder and chief executive, Noubar Afeyan, said his aim is to help the venture firm’s companies make smart drug development decisions and expose its young entrepreneurs to the ideas and network of a senior executive from Big Pharma and academic medicine. (Weisman, 7/13)