Industry Insight: Healthcare

Industry insights: Healthcare 28th of August

Industry insights: Healthcare 28th of August

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Here are three briefly summarised articles to help keep you informed of the latest developments in the industry. This week take a look at new US Government funding into vaccines and therapies for COVID and FDA clearance for new AI technology to help spot lung nodules. We also explore the impact of Keytruda (pembrolizumab) in oncology.

The US Government has awarded $1.4 billion for the development of new COVID therapies and vaccines. This is part of a $5 billion initiative, “Project NextGen”, by the US Department of Health and Human Services. The majority of this, $1billion, has been awarded to four Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) clinical trial partners to support phase IIb clinical trials. $326 million has been awarded to Regeneron Pharmaceuticals to support a next-generation monoclonal antibody for COVID-19 prevention.

The other awards have gone to Global Health Investment Corp. ($100 million) and Johnson & Johnson Innovation ($10 million). We will be keeping an eye out for the new developments that come from this investment.

VisiRad XR has received FDA 510(k) clearance to help radiologists detect lung nodules in chest X-rays. VisiRad XR is an artificial intelligence (AI) powered software that aims to increase the number of lung nodules and masses detected through routine care (both in outpatient and emergency settings). It has been designed to integrate into radiology workflows, with AI-detected lesions being highlighted back to radiologists for review. This FDA approval was based on submission of a retrospective standalone study and a multi-centre clinical validation study. The hope is that with earlier detection of nodules, patients will have improved outcomes with treatment.

Evaluate’s “World Preview 2023: Pharma’s Age of Uncertainty” report has provided its top drug projections for 2028. Merck & Co’s Keytruda is projected to become the world’s top selling drug in 2028, expecting to reach $30 billion in worldwide sales. Keytruda is a PD-1 inhibitor used for multiple cancers, including melanoma, triple-negative breast cancer and kidney cancer. Evaluate has also stated that this figure does not include estimations for the subcutaneous form of melanoma that is currently in phase III trials. This subcutaneous form could generate a further $2.4 billion in sales. Further treatment indications for Keytruda are likely to be announced (helping to increase sales), so watch out for new approval announcements from Merck.

Elion Medical Communications