The life sciences industry saw the first meaningful activity around drug pricing reform as Democratic lawmakers included language in their domestic spending package. At the same time, innovation and investment continue to exemplify the life sciences ecosystem.
By the way, we’re a little late in getting our “5 things to know in life sciences” post out for last week. Enjoy this slightly delayed one and look for another later this week.
A week ago, chances were slim for drug pricing reform to be included in the Democratic Congress’s domestic spending package. Now, a more limited set of controls on prices is likely to be included if this bill passes, such as caps on out-of-pocket costs for seniors, limits on the cost of insulin and giving Medicare a framework for negotiating the prices on a limited number of drugs.
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has partnered with the investment firm Flagship Pioneering to create a new company looking for a cure for CF. This collaboration is about more than just the capital each is contributing. It brings strong patient advocacy from the CF Foundation to help guide research and development decisions, and is providing technology platforms Flagship has access to through its portfolio of companies.
Intuity Medical launched their Food and Drug Administration-approved Pogo Automatic blood glucose monitoring device this week in the U.S. The device collects and analyzes the blood all in one step, eliminating the need to carry test strips and lancets. The device and app make it easier for patients with diabetes to regularly monitor and manage their blood glucose levels.
Virtual clinical trial companies have benefited significantly from the trend toward virtualization. Medable, one of the emerging companies in the space, recently secured $304 million in series D funding, pushing its valuation to approximately $2 billion. Virtual trial companies have seen over $1.7 billion in outside investment since January 2020 with over 75% of that coming in the past six months. According to PitchBook data, the market is valued at over $10 billion as of October 2021 and will continue to grow through the remainder of the year into 2022.
DeepMind’s development of AlphaFold, which uses artificial intelligence to predict the structures of human proteins, has led to the creation of the most complete picture of the human proteome. DeepMind has made this database open source and free to use encouraging scientists to advance medicine at an accelerated rate. DeepMind was acquired by Alphabet in 2014; the underlying technology and discoveries of DeepMind and AlphaFold now serve as the platform for Isomorphic Laboratories, Alphabet’s first endeavor into drug discovery and development. Isomorphic is the latest company to enter the AI-driven discovery space which seeks to significantly reduce the cost and time of bringing new drugs to market.
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