Industry Insight: Healthcare

Industry Insights: Healthcare 14 August

Industry Insights: Healthcare 14 August

  • Reading time:3 mins read

Here are three briefly summarised articles to help keep you informed of the latest developments in the industry. This week our industry insights look at news highlighting how artificial intelligence (AI) could be used for cancers of unknown primary origin, further findings from a Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy trial, and a new novel oral treatment for postpartum depression.

Cancer of unknown primary origin are cancers that cannot be traced back to a primary site. They account for 3-5% of all cancers, making it difficult to select appropriate treatment.


Scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed an AI-based tool that uses tumour gene sequencing data to predict the primary source of a patient’s cancer. This model, named OncoNPC, was able to accurately predict the origin of around 80% of tumours with known types and could classify at least 40% of tumours of unknown origin with high confidence.
These findings raise hope that more patients will have access to appropriate targeted therapies, rather than general chemotherapy.

The SELECT cardiovascular outcomes trial compared once-weekly semaglutide with placebo in 17,604 overweight or obese adults aged 45 years or older with established cardiovascular disease and no prior history of diabetes.
The initial company announcements report that semaglutide compared to placebo resulted in a statistically significant and superior reduction of MACE of 20%. MACE was defined as cardiovascular death, non-fatal myocardial infarction, or nonfatal stroke.

Novo Nordisk plans to formally present these results at a scientific conference (location and date yet to be announced) later this year.

The FDA has approved zuranolone for treating postpartum depression as a once-daily pill taken for 14 days. Until now, treatment for postpartum depression was only available as an IV infusion given over 60 hours requiring monitoring by healthcare professionals.

Zuranolone has been investigated in two randomised, double-blinded placebo-controlled trials, with patients in the zuranolone group demonstrating significant improvement in their symptoms. Some women were reported to show symptomatic improvement by as early as day three, with the effect being maintained at four weeks after the last dose.

Zuranolone is produced by Sage Therapeutics and Biogen. It is expected to launch in the fourth quarter of 2023, with pricing yet to be announced.

Elion Medical Communications