As the months of 2021 tick by, the percentage of Americans vaccinated is rapidly increasing. This offers the hope of a return to more normal life but also raises new questions, including whether companies can mandate vaccines or how we track the virus. We also look at the lack of diversity on the boards of life sciences companies, Food and Drug Administration complete response letters and a promising new class of drugs for diseases like Huntington’s disease.
Each week, we highlight five things you need to know about in the life sciences industry. Here’s the latest.
States, schools, employers and other large organizations will soon be faced with the decision of whether to mandate employees, students or other groups to be vaccinated for COVID-19 before returning in person. This is a difficult decision that weighs the collective benefits of vaccinations against individual choice.
In a new report, investment firm Deerfield Management looks at the gender make-up of directors at private companies and the investors that fund them. The firm found that nearly half of the 140 mature private companies it assessed had no female board members and that overall, women occupy only 10% of board seats.
Evaluate Vantage has analyzed the filing of CRLs—the FDA’s complete review of data submitted on a given new drug application—from the past five years and found that the number filed in 2020 was roughly steady compared to prior years. There could be an uptick, however, in 2021 as the FDA takes a tougher stance on applications.
MIT Technology Review looked this week at the current surge in spending on genetic sequencing of positive COVID-19 tests to track the evolution of the virus and the emergence of new variants. This is a welcome development and will provide a high-level view we have lacked for most of the pandemic on the state of the virus in the United States. However, strict privacy laws may limit the ability to track patient outcomes, raising questions about the true value of this investment.
For decades, scientists have understood the genetic cause of diseases like Huntington’s disease. Unfortunately, for patients and their families, this has not led to improved treatments or cures. However, a class of drugs called antisense oligonucleotides offer some amount of hope despite setbacks in clinical trials.