All articles by Sally Turner

Sally Turner

The Mighty: how patients and pharma align in the age of social media

The Mighty is a social media platform specifically for people and communities living with disease, chronic illness or mental health conditions. Pharma companies are beginning to engage with the platform as a way to communicate with patients and gain insights into how they talk about their conditions, to improve their marketing. Sally Turner reports.

Gene genie: can CRISPR-Cas9 deliver on its promise to transform genome therapy?

Experimental treatments based on CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology are at a crossroads, with the first European trial now enrolling patients and new clinical applications and delivery methods steadily emerging. It’s not all good news though; two studies in 2018 found that a majority of patients had T-cell immunity against a type of Cas9. Sally Turner investigates at this important juncture.

Drugs from corn? Harvesting Mirexus’ phytoglycogen nano-particle

For decades, scientists have been trying to produce safe, cost effective nanomaterials. Now, Canadian company Mirexus may have found a way to do this, using technology to extract a non-toxic, nano-material from corn. Sally Turner spoke to CEO of Mirexus to find out more.

Christensella: the key to unlocking gut microbiome-based drug discovery?

LNC Therapeutics recently signed an agreement with Cornell University for its Christensenella patent, a recently discovered family of gut bacteria considered to have the potential to unlock a wide range of applications for conditions such as obesity and other metabolic diseases. Will this form the foundation for the first drugs using microbiome bacteria?

Pat-INFORMED: the solution to drug patent procurement issues?

Many countries do not have the equivalent to the US’s Orange book, meaning that health officials are wasting time establishing whether patents have been taken out on medicines. Leading biopharmaceutical companies have worked together to develop Pat-INFORMED, a new global platform that could allow government procurement agencies to access information on thousands of individual patents anywhere in the world.

Antimicrobial resistance: is pharmaceutical pollution creating superbugs?

In 2001 the European Commission identified a link between antibiotic waste and the threat of superbugs resulting from antimicrobial resistance, yet to date, no effective measures have been taken to prevent this. What should drug companies and legislators be doing to curb the threat?

The Express Scripts story: super-pharmacies and the US drug industry

Express Scripts, the largest independent manager of pharmacy benefits in the United States, recently updated the formula it uses to decide which drugs to sell, a move that resulted in some surprises for big pharma. Analysts fear the move will hit some of the major drug companies where it hurts, but how do the mega pharmacies make these decisions and what does it tell us about the strategies that ultimately guide the US drug industry?

The problem with drug patents: can a new global approach help?

Many countries do not have the equivalent to the US’s Orange book, and as a result health official are waste time establishing whether drug patents have been taken out on medicines. As a solution, leading biopharmaceutical companies, the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the IFPMA have worked together to develop Pat-INFORMED, an innovative global gateway.

Is the microbiome as important for precision medicine as genetics?

The field of personalised medicine has been dominated by genetics, not surprising given our unique DNA footprints. However, studies have begun to point to the microbiome – the community of bacteria, viruses and microorganisms that inhabit the human body – as critical for functioning and metabolism, and therefore a perfect target. Could understanding the microbiome supplant genetics?

Selling cells: the economics of CAR-T therapy

As a new class of CAR-T cell therapies move through clinical trials and the first of these innovative treatments enters the market, the therapy is causing almost as much consternation as excitement in the healthcare sphere. While CAR-T looks set to transform the treatment of cancer, what does the future hold for one of the industry’s most advanced – and expensive – treatments?