This week we highlight an international collaboration for an innovative under-the-skin insulin delivery device, a focus on improving diversity for clinical trials and a promising COVID-19 vaccine for children under 5. Finally, at-home testing for sexually transmitted diseases is coming, and the University of California, San Francisco has recently announced plans that would allow their Ph.D. students to spend a portion of their studies working at biotech companies. Each week we highlight five things you need to know about in the life sciences industry. Here’s the latest.
Please note that next week we will not be publishing our “5 things” post in observance of Memorial Day.
Sernova, a Canadian clinical stage regenerative medicine company, and German pharmaceutical company Evotec are collaborating on an innovative insulin delivery device to treat Type 1 diabetes. The product would be implanted in the body and would replace external insulin pumps and manual injections. A small pouch containing therapeutic cells is designed to be implanted under the skin and produce an unlimited supply of insulin.
Amid the growing calls for increased diversity in clinical trials, Pfizer has partnered with Headlands Research to launch clinical trial sites specifically targeted at diverse patient populations. A new site is being launched in Brownsville, Texas, a city with a population of over 180,000 where over 94% of the population is Hispanic or Latino. The industry is focusing on improving representation of racial and ethnic minority populations as well as members of the LGBTQIA+ community, older adults, pregnant and lactating individuals, and people with disabilities in clinical trials.
Many parents of children under 5 have been waiting since last year for a COVID-19 vaccine to be available for their children. There finally appears to be hope on the horizon with Pfizer announcing positive results for a three-dose regimen of its vaccine in children under age 5 (and older than 6 months). The next step will be submission to the Food and Drug Administration and its decision on whether to grant an emergency use authorization.
COVID-19 caused many relationships between patients and their health care to be upended. In some cases, people opted to delay preventative care, causing even worse outcomes. One potential positive resulting trend is that people have become more comfortable doing at-home health-related testing. Now, public health officials and lawmakers are looking to build from that momentum to encourage at-home testing for sexually transmitted infections. However, there are trade-offs between making testing more accessible and ensuring support and accuracy.
When thinking of internship programs, most people may picture undergraduate students working in a corporate setting for a semester to put their academic learning to a real-world test. Now, a similar idea is being tried at the University of California, San Francisco to help its Ph.D. students prepare for work in private sector biotech after gaining their doctorate.