Industry News: Volume 1, Issue 15

Now proven against coronavirus, mRNA can do so much more

by Maggie Fox—When the final Phase 3 data came out last November showing the mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna were more than 90% effective, Dr. Anthony Fauci had no words. He texted smiley face emojis to a journalist seeking his reaction.

This astonishing efficacy has held up in real-world studies in the US, Israel and elsewhere. The mRNA technology — developed for its speed and flexibility as opposed to expectations it would provide strong protection against an infectious disease– has pleased and astonished even those who already advocated for it.

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Is pharma ready to talk cure in cancer? Maybe with equitable access, more screening, ASCO preview panel says

by Beth Snyder Bulik—As the American Society of Clinical Oncology conference preps to open this week, AstraZeneca asked cancer experts what they think about mentioning the C-word—in this case, cure—in talking about cancer treatment. 

The panel of cancer experts, oncologists, researchers and patient advocate leaders offered many perspectives and personal examples, but not surprisingly, didn’t come to a simple consensus.

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With new CEO, Veracyte outlines €260M deal for French test maker HalioDx and global cancer testing expansion

by Conor Hale— On the first day for its new CEO, Veracyte is keeping him busy by unveiling an acquisition that aims to dramatically widen the company’s global footprint in cancer diagnostics.

The company’s €260 million deal for HalioDx, a test maker based in the south of France, earmarks it as Veracyte’s new European base of operations—providing its first entry points not only to the continent but also into immuno-oncology testing and in vitro diagnostic kit manufacturing for lab customers.

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Brain-computer interface allowing ‘locked-in’ ALS patients to communicate earns European approval

by Andrea Park—The dream of a device converting nonverbal amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients’ brainwaves into speech could finally become a reality now that a neural signal processing platform designed to do just that has received regulatory clearance in Europe.

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AHIP launching first rebranding effort in nearly 2 decades

by Paige Minemyer— The top insurance lobbying group is launching a rebrand as the line between payer and provider grows increasingly blurred.

America’s Health Insurance Plans announced this week that it will go by simply AHIP moving forward, and said it is launching a new tagline: Guiding Greater Health. AHIP’s membership includes dozens of the country’s largest health plans.

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‘Time has come’ for pandemic treaty, WHO chief says

by Morgan Winsor—The head of the World Health Organization has called for launching negotiations on an international treaty on pandemic preparedness and response to better ready the world for the next disease outbreak.

“This is an idea whose time has come,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysesus said Monday during the final day of the World Health Assembly in Geneva. “The safety of the world’s people cannot rely solely on the goodwill of governments.”

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Have American tourists been missed? ‘You have no idea,’ say European hotel owners

by Yuliya Talmazan— They have a reputation for being loud and obnoxious, but as Europe looks set to reopen its borders to foreign visitors in time for the summer travel season, it’s hoping American tourists will make a comeback.

The European Union signaled last week that it will ease restrictions for vaccinated travelers from outside the bloc, including the United States. The E.U. shut its borders last year in a bid to stop Covid-19 from spreading, but many member states that are heavily reliant on tourism are desperate for foreign travelers to return.

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