Week of Nov. 28, 2022

This week we look at mRNA technology that could be used in a universal flu vaccine, the rise in digital therapies despite a lack of insurance coverage, and another drug breaking the record for most expensive in the world. We also look at a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention program to monitor wastewater for polioviruses. And finally, we highlight an artificial intelligence solution for heart disease detection.

Each week we highlight five things affecting the life sciences industry. Here’s the latest.

Current season flu vaccines are designed to target up to four influenza viruses that are predicted to be the most prevalent in a given year. For years, vaccine developers have explored a universal flu vaccine which would protect against a significantly larger number of viruses. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have developed an mRNA-based vaccine that has shown efficacy in animals against 20 subtypes of the flu. This technology is similar to that used by Pfizer and Moderna in the COVID-19 vaccines.

Over the past few years, digital solutions such as video games and mobile monitoring applications have been used to treat various mental health disorders. Several such solutions have received Food and Drug Administration approval and have been proven to eliminate or reduce the amount of medication needed by patients. Despite significant strides in this sector, many insurance companies are reluctant to cover such therapies, leaving patients to have to pay for these treatments out-of-pocket.

Earlier this year bluebird bio received FDA approval for two drugs that cost $2.8 million and $3 million per dose. This week Hemgenix, a gene therapy for hemophilia B, developed by CSL Behring and uniQure was approved. The drug will debut at a price tag of $3.5 million per dose, breaking bluebird’s record.

In response to concerns of vaccine-derived polioviruses in the United States, the CDC has launched a program to detect evidence of polioviruses in wastewater in various communities. More recently, wastewater surveillance has been used throughout the U.S. to monitor the prevalence of the COVID-19 virus.

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital are studying a new approach that relies on AI to diagnose potentially fatal heart conditions. The deep learning AI system was trained based on review of nearly 150,000 chest X-rays taken from over 40,000 participants in a previous trial for conditions that could lead to an adverse cardiac event. Researchers have conducted a 10-year trial of the technology and noted a “significant association” between participants that were identified as “at-risk” by the system and those that went on to experience adverse events over the course of the study.

Source link: https://realeconomy.rsmus.com/5-things-to-know-in-life-sciences-week-of-nov-28-2022/ by Justin Culbertson at realeconomy.rsmus.com