The Future of Molecular Testing Assessed
Other developments in gene therapy, the return of Vioxx and the most impressive biotech startups are in the news.
How Will Labs Use Expanded Molecular Testing Capacities Post-COVID-19?
With COVID-19 vaccinations beginning this week in the US, the country is entering a new stage of the pandemic that could ultimately end in widespread suppression of the virus. The implications of this development for the lab industry are not entirely clear, but after almost a year spent building out molecular capacities to meet COVID-19 test demand, the question of what to do with that capacity in a post-COVID-19 environment looms on the horizon. (Bonislawski, 12/21)
Uniqure's Hemophilia B Gene Therapy Program Put On Hold
UniQure, the Dutch gene therapy company, said Monday that it had temporarily halted the clinical development of its hemophilia B treatment after a patient was diagnosed with liver cancer. The clinical hold, mandated by the Food and Drug Administration, encompasses three ongoing studies of Uniqure’s hemophilia B gene therapy called etranacogene dezaparvovec. Patient dosing in all three studies had already been completed and there is no plan to enroll or treat new patients, the company said. (Feuerstein, 12/21)
Agios Sells Cancer Business To French Drug Maker For Up To $2 Billion
Agios Pharmaceuticals said Monday that it is selling its cancer business to the French drug maker Servier — a decision that will narrow the biotech’s focus to developing medicines for inherited diseases and enable a shareholder-friendly stock repurchase program. (Feuerstein, 12/21)
Vioxx, Drug Safety, And The Legacy Of Sen. Michael Enzi
The prescription painkiller originally known as Vioxx may be making a comeback after its maker, Merck, abruptly pulled it from the market in 2004 following studies that showed the drug roughly doubled patients’ risks of heart attack and stroke and may have contributed to an estimated 60,000 deaths. According to STAT, Tremeau Pharmaceuticals, a privately held Massachusetts drug company, is about to begin clinical trials of rofecoxib (the generic name for Vioxx) as a treatment for hemophilic arthropathy, a persistent joint disease for which doctors often prescribed Vioxx off-label. (Northrup, 12/21)
Health Tech's Newest Unicorn Is Running Toward Medicaid Patients
It has become a business imperative in American medicine to marginalize patients on Medicaid. Their health problems can be costly and complicated — often, the product of other structural barriers that stand in the way of good health — and lower government reimbursement means doctors typically lose money on their care. (Ross, 12/22)
The Most Impressive Biotech VCs Of 2020
Behind almost every biotech IPO, every merger, and every buyout are a set of venture investors who stand to profit. In 2020, thanks to an extraordinary stock market and increased attention on the biopharma industry, those investors found themselves in a valuable spot. (Sheridan, 12/22)