This week we’ve highlighted the RSV vaccine race, J.P. Morgan’s private equity life sciences investment, a new product promoting decentralized oncology trials, the shocking expected cost of gene therapies, and Moderna’s revised earnings forecast amid falling COVID-19 cases.
Each week we highlight five things affecting the life sciences industry. Here’s the latest.
Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, infections are increasing across the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Large pharmaceutical companies have turned their sights toward RSV vaccinations. While GlaxoSmithKline stopped three trials of its RSV vaccine this year for undisclosed safety reasons, Pfizer is showing promising results in its maternal vaccine to protect newborns. According to a Pfizer analysis, the vaccine reduced the rate of severe respiratory tract illness caused by RSV by 81.8%. Additionally, medical visits for RSV were 57.1% lower for children whose mothers received the maternal vaccine.
J.P. Morgan has launched a new private equity arm aimed at life sciences. The group is led by a who’s who of life sciences talent. The group sees a “pretty strong investment space” in the first half of next year. They’ve hinted that the J.P. Morgan health care conference, which is held in January each year, will be a critical kicking-off point for identifying new investment prospects. This serves as a positive outlook for an industry that has faced significant funding challenges this year.
Medable, a leader in decentralized clinical trial (DCT) technologies, has launched a new product suite aimed at improving oncology patient access, enrollment and retention in clinical trials. The company cites a distressing 3% to 5% average cancer trial participation rate in a population that is often open to cutting-edge treatments. Using the Medable platform, the company claims to have already screened over 22,000 cancer patients across 3,300 sites and 60 countries.
While gene therapies make up the cutting edge of treatments coming out of global biotechs, much progress needs to be made before they will be available to the general public. This article explores the cost of gene therapies noting that $2 million gene therapies could become the new norm.
Alongside global COVID-19 cases falling 17% the week of Oct. 24, Moderna has lowered its full-year sales guidance by up to $3 billion due to reductions in its advanced vaccine purchase agreement forecasts. Forecasts pin Moderna’s expected revenues this year at $21.3 billion with next year’s revenues dropping to around $9.5 billion.