Pharma Technology Focus – Issue 68
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Pharma Technology Focus – Issue 68

27 Feb 2018

In this issue: The benefits of seamless clinical trials, a new functional cure for HIV, using mRNA to target cancer tumours, the potential of magnetic hyperthermia in killing cancerous cells, a look at drug pricing policies around the world, and more.

Pharma Technology Focus – Issue 68

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As pressure increases on the pharma industry to speed up the drug development and approvals process while maintaining safety, ‘seamless’ clinical trials – where phases are combined – are garnering attention. We find out more about the benefits of this adaptive approach to drug development.

We also round up the biggest differences between drug pricing models and policies around the world, take a closer look at the tragic consequences of the recent explosion of fentanyl abuse and its appropriation by the illegal drug trade, and find out more about a new compound that, when combined with standard antiretrovirals, has been shown to suppress HIV production in infected cells.

Finally, we look into the potential of a new project to develop mRNA cancer vaccines, and speak to University of Surrey scientists about their work on developing nanoparticles which heat up to a temperature high enough to kill cancerous cells, before self-regulating and cooling down.

In this issue

Seamless trials: the key to more drug approvals?
The number of seamless clinical trials in the oncology space has spiked in recent years. Elly Earls meets researcher Dr Pedro Barata to find out about the benefits of this approach and where else it could be used.
Read the article here.

Cost control: drug pricing policies around the world
Despite sustained scrutiny on the cost of medicines across the globe, there is little consensus on the optimal balance between protecting industry innovation and ensuring adequate access to effective treatments. Chris Lo looks at drug pricing models and polices around the world.
Read the article here.

Fentanyl: where did it all go wrong?
Fentanyl, a powerful opioid painkiller developed in the early 1960s, has been an important part of pain management strategies for decades, but a recent explosion of fentanyl abuse has had tragic consequences. Abi Millar tracks fentanyl’s development history.
Read the article here.

A functional cure for HIV? New approach blocks and locks the virus
New research has opened the door to a completely different approach to tackling HIV infections. Elly Earls meets lead author of the study, Susana Valente, to find out more.
Read the article here.

Revolutionising cancer treatment: using mRNa to target tumours
Eli Lilly recently announced it is investing $1.8bn in a project to develop mRNA cancer vaccines. While work is still at an early stage, research suggests that mRNa could guide immune attacks on tumours. Abi Millar explores the potential of this approach.
Read the article here.

Turning up the heat on nano research
Scientists from the University of Surrey have developed nanoparticles that heat up to a temperature high enough to kill cancerous cells, but then self-regulate to cool down before damaging healthy tissue. Abi Millar finds out more about the potential of magnetic hyperthermia.
Read the article here.

Introducing Master Data Management 2.0
Unless life sciences firms can exploit their product data compliance efforts to transform everyday operational processes, they will limit the return on their investment as they prepare for new requirements. A new approach to managing data could help, according to AMPLEXOR’s Siniša Belina.
Read the article here.

Transforming healthcare: pharmacovigilance, smart pharma and digital health
The pharmaceutical industry is undergoing dramatic change as new technologies bring about rapid disruption. Dr Andrew Rut, CEO of MyMeds&Me, considers how the latest technological advances are helping to improve patient outcomes.
Read the article here.

Next issue preview

Pfizer is closing its neuroscience unit, effectively ending its research into Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and intends to reallocate funding to areas where it thinks it can make a bigger impact. We reflect on the difficulties involved in improving treatment options for those suffering from degenerative neurological conditions, looking at previous Pfizer attempts to develop drugs and today’s research landscape.

We also take a look at the world’s pharma manufacturing hotspots, consider the obstacles on the road to developing a universal flu vaccine, and speak to researchers at Cardiff University who have developed a tool to systematically test the likelihood that a drug will undergo ‘racemisation’, i.e. turning into an inert or even dangerous version of itself once it enters the body.

Finally, we explore the use of growth drugs in unmet clinical needs and as a solution to cosmetic issues, and find out more about a new method of screening a person’s diverse set of antibodies, which could unlock the potential for rapid therapeutic discoveries.