This week we highlight the increasing importance of environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives in the Asia Pacific medtech sector, as well as the potential of semaglutide, a diabetes and weight loss medication, in treating alcohol use disorder. We also look at the pharmaceutical industry’s growing focus on antibody-drug conjugates as a key technology in oncology dealmaking. Additionally, we explore the UK government’s £2 billion investment in engineering biology and the stopping of enforcement of Minnesota’s prescription drug price control law.
Each week we highlight five things affecting the life sciences industry. Here’s the latest.
ESG initiatives are gaining increasing importance in the Asia Pacific medtech sector as revealed by a recent survey which included over 800 employees and executives from medtech companies across six Asia Pacific markets. The survey found that a significant majority of medtech customers have already defined ESG strategies, and a substantial number of medtech employees reported that their companies have established ESG ambitions with specific targets. LangBuisson reports that the survey also indicates a rising trend in the significance of ESG criteria in supplier selection over the next few years. However, the medtech sector faces challenges like the absence of comparable and reliable data for informed ESG-related investments and decisions. Countries like Australia, China, Japan and South Korea have shown notable progress in environmental policies, while India and Vietnam are still in the early stages of environmental development.
Recent research has indicated that semaglutide, a medication commonly used for diabetes management and weight loss, may also be effective in treating alcohol use disorder (AUD), according to Healthline. A case series involving six patients who were being treated with semaglutide for weight loss showed incidental improvements in their AUD symptoms. This improvement is thought to be because of semaglutide’s effects on dopamine, the “pleasure” hormone, which is often over-activated in addiction. While larger studies are needed to confirm semaglutide as a viable treatment for AUD, experts consider the findings promising. They suggest that semaglutide could be a beneficial treatment option for individuals with AUD, especially those who also meet criteria for its use in diabetes or obesity management.
The pharmaceutical industry is increasingly focusing on antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) as a key technology in oncology dealmaking, signaling a significant shift in cancer treatment strategies. Money Control reports that these targeted cancer drugs are designed to deliver chemotherapy directly to tumors, offering a more precise approach to cancer care. The recent surge in interest and investment in ADCs, highlighted by several high-profile acquisitions and deals, marks a departure from decades of fluctuating attention and development in this field. The successful design and testing of these drugs, which involve the intricate engineering of antibodies and chemotherapies, have now reached a level of maturity and efficacy that positions them as potential mainstays in cancer treatment. This renewed commitment to ADCs in the pharmaceutical industry reflects a broader trend towards more targeted and effective cancer therapies, moving beyond traditional chemotherapy methods.
The UK government has unveiled a £2 billion vision for the field of engineering biology, announced by Science, Research and Innovation Minister Andrew Griffith, reports European Biotechnology. This investment aims to harness the potential of engineering biology, a field that could revolutionize sustainable food production, medical treatments, and fuel creation. The vision involves applying rigorous engineering principles to biology, enabling the construction of new or redesigned biological systems, such as cells or proteins. This approach has already led to breakthroughs like mRNA vaccines and is identified as one of the five critical technologies for rapid growth. The UK aims to become a world leader in responsible engineering biology innovation by 2030, investing in research and development, infrastructure, and regulation to boost innovation and address potential risks effectively.
A federal judge has ruled against the enforcement of Minnesota’s new law aimed at controlling the prices of generic prescription drugs, citing a violation of the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution, reports the Minnesota Reformer. The law, passed this year and signed by Governor Tim Walz, sought to prohibit generic drug manufacturers from imposing “excessive” price increases, defined by specific percentage benchmarks. But a trade group of drug manufacturers challenged the law, alleging economic damages. The ruling by federal Judge Patrick J. Schiltz indicates that the law oversteps constitutional boundaries by attempting to regulate transactions outside of Minnesota.
For more insights in life sciences, check out RSM’s industry outlook.