In this week’s life sciences roundup: the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine has faced challenging headwinds in the past week as several European Union countries paused distribution pending additional information from the European Medicines Agency, and as the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the United States publicly rebuked data the company released. Both are unwelcome developments for a vaccine that is viewed as a key tool in ending the pandemic. We also look at U.S. Food and Drug Administration trends in 2021, the first drug-pricing reform hearings of the year, pocket-sized ultrasound devices and one company’s plan to disrupt the multibillion-dollar drug discovery industry.
Each week, we highlight five things you need to know about in the life sciences industry. Here’s the latest.
The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine is currently a critical part of the global vaccination push against COVID-19. However, in recent weeks the company saw distribution stop in several EU countries amid safety concerns, until the EMA reiterated its stance that the drug is safe. Then, just days later, the NIAID in the U.S. took the very unusual step of publicly disagreeing with statements made by the company as detailed in this article.
Outsourced Pharma recently published what they see as the most important trends in regulation they expect to see from the FDA in 2021. These trends range from continuing to be patient-focused when conducting trials and reiterating their support for advanced manufacturing technologies, to leveraging artificial intelligence and computer modeling in drug discovery.
A narrowly divided Congress passing a standalone drug-pricing bill seems doubtful. However, according to this Endpoints News article, Democrats are likely to include drug-pricing reform as a part of a broader bill as a way to offset other spending.
Last week, GE Healthcare announced its new FDA-approved pocket-sized ultrasound device. The device allows physicians the flexibility to remotely complete detailed scans and securely share those images with the patient.
There are a number of similar devices already on the market but demand for portable and personalized health care solutions continues to grow. A Markets and Markets research report found that the global ultrasound market was valued at $6.1 billion in 2020 and projected it to have a compounded annual growth rate of 6.1% annually to $8.2 billion by 2025.
Drug development programs take years or even decades to evolve and often cost billions of dollars. As such, the realm of drug discovery is ripe for disruptive opportunities enabled by computational science, artificial intelligence and big data, to name a few relevant technologies. Pharmaceutical Online interviewed Dr. Dietrich Stephan about his company, NeuBase, and what he sees as the future of drug discovery.