Pharma Tech Focus June 2017

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A team of researchers has challenged the standard pharma industry defence of high US drug prices, which states that these premiums fund global R&D efforts. We find out more about drug pricing and innovation, and whether the industry is perpetuating a misleading conception between the two.

We also speak to regenerative medicine biotech company BlueRock Therapeutics to ask which stem cell based therapies it’s working on, examine the results of a study to measure the effects of cognitive-enhancing drugs such as Ritalin and caffeine, and consider whether crowdfunding could unlock the potential of repurposed cancer therapies.

Plus, we find out more about trends in pharma contract manufacturing, and take a closer look at the potential applications of synthetic DNA motors in living cells, including controlling the release of drug doses in patients’ own cells.

In this issue

Challenging the Link
A new study claims to debunk the well-worn connection between inflated US drug prices and big pharma’s R&D spending. But what is the connection between innovation and pricing in the pharma space? Chris Lo reports.
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The Brexit Effect
As the European Medicines Agency prepares to leave London following the UK’s Brexit decision, proposed restrictions on the movement of labour could make it harder for life sciences companies to find skilled labour. Dr Jutta Hohenhörst, international account manager at Schlafender Hase, considers what this could mean for IDMP preparations.
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Canada’s Stem Cell Contender
Toronto-based regenerative medicine biotech BlueRock Therapeutics was launched in December with a massive $225m series A financing. Chris Lo finds out what stem cell-based therapies the company is working on.
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Brain Boosters
The growing trend for the unlicensed use of cognitive-enhancing drugs to improve performance is prompting calls for more research into the field. Chris Lo asks, has the era of brain-boosting ‘smart pills’ arrived?
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Crowdfunding for Cancer
The Care Oncology Clinic is crowdfunding to help provide patients access to four repurposed drugs, alongside conventional NHS cancer drug treatment therapy. Abi Millar finds out more.
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The Future is Personal
Cancer therapy as we know it is evolving. With many patients not responding or reacting badly to generalised treatment, Nadia McLurcan, GlobalData healthcare analyst, considers the rising demand for more individual treatment.
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Contract Manufacturing Trends
Outsourced contract manufacturing in the pharmaceutical industry is stronger than ever. But how can CROs leverage their capabilities to better serve growth in new markets? Abi Millar finds out from an expert roundtable.
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Small and Mighty
For the first time, miniscule molecular machines designed for early disease detection and targeted drug delivery have been shown to work in living cells. Elly Earls meets the researchers behind the breakthrough to find out more.
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Next issue preview

Research into cancer drugs is booming, and with so many trials and avenues already being explored (many with little success), it begs the questions, what exciting new avenues are left? We take a closer look at some of the underexplored fields in oncology.

We also speak to the Institute for Cancer Research to find out how European cancer trial regulations need to change to better serve children, examine a new bill being proposed in the US that could allow commercial importation of drugs from Canada, and find out more about a new temperature-stable and easy-to-produce rabies and yellow fever vaccine that could save thousands of lives.

Finally, we profile a new approach to cutting cholesterol that uses an RNA interference therapy to switch off one of the genes responsible for high cholesterol levels, and learn more about Medidata Balance, a randomisation and trial supply management tool that allows users to pool clinical supplies across multiple trials at the same site.

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