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In this issue we find out about a new class of cancer therapeutics looking to increase efficacy and reduce toxicity in cancer treatment and examine the findings of a recent study by scientists at the University of Portsmouth, which spotlighted the unintended consequences of clinical antidepressants entering the environment.

Also, we take a look at the recently discovered Christensenella patent family to find out if this gut bacteria could form the foundation for the first drugs using microbiome bacteria, profile a new app developed by Roche to help match patients to clinical trials, and explore the results of Eli Lilly’s GIP and GLP-1 receptor agonist.

Plus, we examine how pharma companies and the pharma supply chain are tackling the challenges of controlling the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, find out how the UK’s relaxed cannabis regulations may impact clinical practice, and hear from speakers at the Medidata NEXT conference to find out how technology can help to solve current challenges in clinical trials.

In this issue

Developing a new class of cancer combo drugs
Cybrexa, a spin-out company from Yale University, is developing a new class of cancer therapeutics, looking to identify combinations of chemotherapy and DNA inhibitors to increase efficacy and reduce toxicity in cancer treatment. Abi Millar spoke to the company to find out more about its approach to oncology.
Read the article here.

Antidepressants in the environment: combatting pharmaceutical pollution
Research by scientists at the University of Portsmouth has found that traces of clinical antidepressants present in waste water, rivers and some coastal areas may have significant consequences for underwater wildlife. Sally Turner finds out what needs to be done by prescribers, patients, government and big pharma to help combat the problem.
Read the article here.

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Christensella: the key to unlocking gut microbiome-based drug discovery?
LNC Therapeutics recently signed an exclusive license agreement with Cornell University for its Christensenella patent, which covers a recently discovered family of gut bacteria considered to have the potential to unlock a wide range of therapeutic applications for conditions such as obesity and other metabolic diseases. Will this form the foundation for the first drugs using microbiome bacteria? Sally Turner finds out.
Read the article here.

Going digital to improve clinical trial enrolment
Clinical trial enrolment is a long-standing problem for drug developers, so it is hoped that a new app developed by Roche will empower physicians by matching patients to trials based on age, gender, biomarkers and tumour type. Chris Lo speaks to Roche’s Tim Jaeger to find out more about the Clinical Trial Match app and the future of digital trial enrolment and patient matching methods.
Read the article here.

Incretin combination therapy: a breakthrough for type 2 diabetes?
With unmet needs remaining in type 2 diabetes, pharmaceutical companies are becoming more experimental when developing new treatments. One trend includes combining drugs in one class to determine if they are more efficacious than one drug alone. This trend has been applied to incretins GLP-1 and GIP, with Eli Lilly recently publishing positive results for its drug candidate LY3298176. Allie Nawrat reports.
Read the article here.

Ebola in the DRC: vaccinating in a conflict zone
Attempts to control the Ebola outbreak in the north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have been hindered by ongoing conflict in the area. While Merck’s experimental Ebola vaccine was on the ground within a week of the outbreak being declared, violence and instability in the region is testing the limits of the supply and the effectiveness on vaccination strategies Chris Lo reports.
Read the article here.

Data overload: turning challenges into opportunities in clinical trials
Clinical research is garnering more data than ever before, but are we making the most of what is collected or are we at risk of getting overwhelmed by the sheer amount of data? This was a question high on the agenda at the recent Medidata NEXT conference. Susanne Hauner hears from Medidata’s leaders and customers how technology and processes need to evolve to enable better clinical outcomes.
Read the article here.

Data overload: turning challenges into opportunities in clinical trials
At Medidata NEXT in New York, Susanne Hauner sat down with Jackie Kent, Medidata’s senior vice president and head of product, to discuss how technology can help to solve current challenges in clinical trials.
Read the article here.

Next issue preview

In the next issue of Pharma Technology Focus, we look into the safety issues associated with valsartan and the knock-on effects for patients and the industry after much of the supply of API valsartan was recalled when traces of a probable carcinogen were found, and examine the future of AI in healthcare after the spectacular failure of IBM’s Watson Health.

Also, we review the history of one of pharma’s most humble and influencial allies – the Petri dish – to find out how it has influenced drug discovery in the past, and investigate the correlation between the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and infection with Herpes Simplex Virus 1 in people carrying a specific gene; can treating herpes prevent Alzheimer’s?

Plus, we speak to the team behind antiSMASH, an online tool being used by scientists in the hunt for bacterial metabolites, and explore ways that pharma companies are fighting respiratory issues caused by fine dust and pollution.