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December 21, 2017

Pharma Technology Focus – Issue 66

In this issue: Breaking cancer’s drug addiction, the NHS’ decision to switch from biologics to biosimilars, Elsevier’s common model for data sharing, a generic antiretroviral for HIV/AIDS, the opioid addiction crisis in the US, and more.

By Katie Woodward

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Cancer cells can become addicted to the drugs designed to kill them, and now scientists from The Netherlands Cancer Centre have uncovered the mechanism behind it. We find out why cells die en masse when treatment is removed and how this could be exploited in a clinical setting.

We also take a look at the NHS’s plans to cut £300m from its annual pharmaceuticals bill by using cheaper, generic alternatives to the most expensive drugs, find out more about Elsevier’s Unified Data Model, which has been donated to The Pistoia Alliance with the aim of publishing an open and freely available format for the exchange of drug discovery data, and take a closer look at a deal to sell the first generic antiretroviral for HIV/AIDS containing dolutegravir.

Finally, we speak to the Four Thieves Vinegar collective, which is working to allow people to develop their own medicines, and explore the issue of opioid addiction in the US, after Seattle became the latest city to sue big pharma.

In this issue

Breaking Cancer’s Drug Addiction Cancer cells can become addicted to the drugs designed to kill them, and now a group of scientists from The Netherlands Cancer Institute has discovered the underlying mechanism. Abi Millar finds out more. Read the article here.

An Accessible Treatment Under a breakthrough pricing agreement, a generic antiretroviral for HIV/AIDS containing dolutegravir will become available across the developing world for just $75 per person per year. Abi Millar finds out more. Read the article here.

Removing Barriers Elsevier has donated its Unified Data Model to The Pistoia Alliance, a not-for-profit alliance that works to improve innovation in life sciences R&D. Abi Millar finds out how it could become a common model of data sharing. Read the article here.

DIY Medicines As a response to high drug prices, a collective called Four Thieves Vinegar wants to allow people to develop their own medicines. Chris Lo considers the risks and asks, what does this emerging niche say about the pharmaceutical industry? Read the article here.

From Biologics to Biosimilars Switching from biologics to biosimilars will allow the NHS to treat more patients more effectively for the same amount of money. Elly Earls meets Warwick Smith, director general of the British Biosimilars Association, to find out how. Read the article here.

The Blame Game US states and cities are lining up to sue big pharma over its contribution to the opioid addiction crisis, arguing that pharma companies hid the addiction risks of their drugs. Chris Lo investigates to what extent the industry is responsible. Read the article here.

Next issue preview

The evolving nature of cancers, by which they develop resistance to drugs, is one of the biggest research challenges in the field of oncology. With even the most advanced therapies often thwarted by sudden relapse in patients, how does cancer drug resistance work, and how are researchers working to tackle the issue?

We also take a look at the BeHEARD Challenge, which offers rare disease research projects a chance to win grants and other support to accelerate their work, consider the definition of over the counter drugs after India’s decision to rethink which medicines can and cannot be sold without prescriptions, and investigate the pharmaceutical properties of the slipper limpet.

Finally, we track the achievements to date in the eradication of polio and speak to Dundee University about how the institution’s work is having a significant impact on areas including cancer, arthritis and diabetes research.

Yearbook issue available now

In this special issue of Pharma Technology Focus, we round up the biggest stories to hit the pharmaceutical industry in 2017, including PhRMA’s decision to launch a new requirement that mandates a minimum R&D spend by all members, in an attempt to address the ongoing issue of US drug pricing.

We also consider the potential implications of increased use of artificial intelligence in the life sciences industry, speak to pharma insiders and analysts to find out what the future holds for the British and European pharma sectors as the UK negotiates Brexit, and explore the outlook for companies trying to press ahead with information management initiatives on the back of IDMP.

Finally, we take a closer look at the innovative and successful clinical trials making headlines this year, from an Irish biotech’s fight against diabetes using a new peptide, to a round-up of promising milestone trials for the treatment of cystic fibrosis.

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