Pharma Tech Focus July 2017

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Research into cancer drugs is booming, and with so many trials already under way (many with little success), it begs the question, 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.

In this issue

The Canadian Cure
A new bill wants to solve the US’s drug pricing issues by bringing in cheaper drugs from Canada, but critics say it’s a band-aid solution that simply isn’t viable. Elly Earls reports.
Read the article here.

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Playing the Field
Research into cancer drugs is booming, with immunotherapies generating a particular buzz. With so many avenues already being explored (many with little success) it prompts the question, what’s left? Abi Millar looks at underexplored fields in immuno-oncology.
Read the article here.

Time for Reform
Outdated European regulations are depriving children of access to the latest cancer treatments. Elly Earls asks The Institute of Cancer Research’s Dr Eva Sharpe why now is the time for reform and how the rules need to change.
Read the article here.

The HIV Showdown
On 30 May, Gilead Sciences announced that clinical trials evaluating a fixed-dose combination of bictegravir and emtricitabine/tenofovir alafenamide met their primary objectives of non-inferiority for the treatment of HIV-1. David Fratoni, PharmaD, healthcare analyst for GlobalData, reports.
Read the article here.

Resisting the Heat
Current vaccines for rabies and yellow fever are plagued by the difficulties of transporting temperature-controlled drugs. A new European consortium led by KU Leuven may have the solution. Elly Earls finds out more.
Read the article here.

The Silent Treatment
The Medicine Company’s inclisiran could halve cholesterol in patients at high risk of cardiovascular disease. Unlike previous treatments, it works by ‘switching off’ one of the genes responsible for high cholesterol. Abi Millar profiles this new approach.
Read the article here.

The Resource Pool
Adaptive clinical trial models, which allow researchers to tweak a trial as it progresses, are becoming increasingly popular. Abi Millar finds out whether pharma companies are willing to make changes to allow for more flexible protocols.
Read the article here.

Next issue preview

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry’s new president has said that drug firms could reconsider their operations in the UK if the government doesn’t increase its spending on NHS treatments and patient access to new medicines. We find out more about the association’s hopes for healthcare investment.

We also consider the reform plans proposed by US industry lobbying group PhRMA as the group considers new rules for membership, take a closer look at a new drug development technology platform based on gamma delta T-cells from human tissues, which could lead to new immunotherapies for a range of cancers, and ask whether plans to import drugs into the US could compromise drug quality and make it impossible to guarantee supply chain integrity.

Finally, we find out more about a new treatment for cystic fibrosis, and consider whether personalised treatment could help doctors prescribe the most effective drug for panic disorder sufferers.

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