This week we take a look at AstraZeneca’s attempt at funding a Diabetes drug, Novartis investing heavily in Kidney Disease, the FDA placing a clinical hold on Mersana’s cancer drug after a patient fatality, and other top news!
AstraZeneca has allocated $85 million to Quell Therapeutics, a UK biotech firm, to support the development of a “one-and-done” cell therapy for type 1 diabetes. Quell aims to create an immune cell product that restores the body’s blood sugar regulation, offering a long-lasting solution without the need for lifelong insulin injections. The funding from AstraZeneca will accelerate Quell’s preclinical and clinical programs, advancing the innovative approach to treating type 1 diabetes.
Bon Secours Mercy Health, a healthcare system, and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS), a health insurance provider, are locked in contract negotiations at an impasse. Disagreements over reimbursement rates and contract terms may impact thousands of patients insured through Anthem BCBS, potentially leading to increased out-of-pocket costs or the need to find alternative healthcare providers within the insurance network. Both parties are actively working towards a resolution to ensure continued access to healthcare services.
Novartis, a pharmaceutical company, has successfully acquired Chinook Therapeutics, a biotech firm focused on precision medicines for kidney diseases, in a $3.2 billion deal. This acquisition aligns with Novartis’ strategy to expand its portfolio in the renal space. Chinook’s lead product candidate, atrasentan, is in late-stage clinical development for rare kidney diseases. Novartis aims to leverage Chinook’s expertise and pipeline to advance innovative therapies addressing unmet medical needs in kidney disease, ultimately improving patient outcomes and quality of life.
Mersana Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, has been hit with another setback as the US FDA has placed a partial clinical hold on its cancer drug candidate, XMT-1536. The hold was prompted by the death of a patient in a phase 1 trial due to severe liver toxicity. Mersana previously experienced an FDA hold in 2017 for a different drug candidate. The company is collaborating with the FDA and conducting an investigation to determine the cause of the adverse event. Development of XMT-1536 will be paused until the hold is lifted.
Eisai, a Japanese pharmaceutical company, is currently under investigation following a ransomware attack on its computer systems in May. The attack resulted in unauthorized access to Eisai’s network and potential theft of sensitive data. Eisai is responding to the incident, implementing measures to control it and mitigate any harm to its operations and data security. The company is collaborating closely with law enforcement agencies and cybersecurity professionals to probe the attack and bolster its cybersecurity protocols. The company has assured that safeguarding patient data and upholding the integrity of its systems are Eisai’s foremost concerns amidst this demanding circumstance.
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