Elsevier, the data analytics business specialized
in science and health, and Heel, a pharmaceutical company specialized in
developing and manufacturing medicines made from natural ingredients, have
recently completed a series of research projects with a focus on improving
exploratory preclinical studies.
“We at Heel are pioneers in the field
of systems research and have a strong commitment to scientific excellence and
the generation of evidence. Our aim is to find out how these medicines work in
the body and to develop therapies which are tailored even more to patients’
medical needs,’’ said Dr. Kathrin Hemmer, a scientist at Heel. “We chose to
partner with Elsevier because of its expertise in scientific information search.
Assistance from the Professional Services group allowed us to get a single
access to all the Elsevier’s R&D solutions advancing our exploratory
“Research success requires connecting, combining
and harmonizing data from different sources. We are helping researchers to select
the best evidence-based strategy for mechanism-based drug action”, said Dr.
Taisiya Bezhaeva, Professional Services Consultant at Elsevier.
“Together with Heel, we designed a
series of projects to find preclinical models for drug action discovery,
identify key biomarkers, and research platforms validated by the international
research community. We focused on the broad range of disease areas, overall
covering more than 10000 literature sources, as well as FDA and EMA drug
approval documents. We also supported researchers by providing key opinion leaders
(KOL) and potential academic and commercial partners helping Heel to direct and
facilitate the course of their studies”, said Dr. Maria Shkrob, Senior Consultant
in Professional Services at Elsevier.
Connecting, combining and harmonizing data from different
Big-data & evidence-based approach to identify complex molecular
mechanisms and biological networks for natural active compounds
Such approach combined with advanced text-mining technologies and
statistics is a powerful, feasible
and universal analytic method to select the best strategy for exploratory
research to demonstrate pharmacodynamic actions, safety and efficacy
Support to strengthen scientific credibility and
facilitate market positioning
As we close out the year, we asked several healthcare executives to share their predictions and trends for 2021.
Kimberly Powell, Vice President & General Manager, NVIDIA Healthcare
Federated Learning: The clinical community will increase their use of federated learning approaches to build robust AI models across various institutions, geographies, patient demographics, and medical scanners. The sensitivity and selectivity of these models are outperforming AI models built at a single institution, even when there is copious data to train with. As an added bonus, researchers can collaborate on AI model creation without sharing confidential patient information. Federated learning is also beneficial for building AI models for areas where data is scarce, such as for pediatrics and rare diseases.
AI-Driven Drug Discovery: The COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on drug discovery, which encompasses microscopic viewing of molecules and proteins, sorting through millions of chemical structures, in-silico methods for screening, protein-ligand interactions, genomic analysis, and assimilating data from structured and unstructured sources. Drug development typically takes over 10 years, however, in the wake of COVID, pharmaceutical companies, biotechs, and researchers realize that acceleration of traditional methods is paramount. Newly created AI-powered discovery labs with GPU-accelerated instruments and AI models will expedite time to insight — creating a computing time machine.
Smart Hospitals: The need for smart hospitals has never been more urgent. Similar to the experience at home, smart speakers and smart cameras help automate and inform activities. The technology, when used in hospitals, will help scale the work of nurses on the front lines, increase operational efficiency, and provide virtual patient monitoring to predict and prevent adverse patient events.
Omri Shor, CEO of Medisafe
Healthcare policy: Expect to see more moves on prescription drug prices, either through a collaborative effort among pharma groups or through importation efforts. Pre-existing conditions will still be covered for the 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions.
The Biden administration has made this a central element of this platform, so coverage will remain for those covered under ACA. Look for expansion or revisions of the current ACA to be proposed, but stalled in Congress, so existing law will remain largely unchanged. Early feedback indicates the Supreme Court is unlikely to strike down the law entirely, providing relief to many during a pandemic.
Brent D. Lang, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Vocera Communications
The safety and well-being of healthcare workers will be a top priority in 2021. While there are promising headlines about coronavirus vaccines, we can be sure that nurses, doctors, and other care team members will still be on the frontlines fighting COVID-19 for many more months. We must focus on protecting and connecting these essential workers now and beyond the pandemic.
Modernized PPE Standards Clinicians should not risk contamination to communicate with colleagues. Yet, this simple act can be risky without the right tools. To minimize exposure to infectious diseases, more hospitals will rethink personal protective equipment (PPE) and modernize standards to include hands-free communication technology. In addition to protecting people, hands-free communication can save valuable time and resources. Every time a nurse must leave an isolation room to answer a call, ask a question, or get supplies, he or she must remove PPE and don a fresh set to re-enter. With voice-controlled devices worn under PPE, the nurse can communicate without disrupting care or leaving the patient’s bedside.
Voice-controlled solutions can also help new or reassigned care team members who are unfamiliar with personnel, processes, or the location of supplies. Instead of worrying about knowing names or numbers, they can use simple voice commands to connect to the right person, group, or information quickly and safely. In addition to simplifying clinical workflows, an intelligent communication system can streamline operational efficiencies, improve triage and throughput, and increase capacity, which is all essential to hospitals seeking ways to recover from 2020 losses and accelerate growth.
Michael Byczkowski, Global Vice President, Head of Healthcare Industry at SAP,
New, targeted healthcare networks will collaborate and innovate to improve patient outcomes.
We will see many more touchpoints between different entities ranging from healthcare providers and life sciences companies to technology providers and other suppliers, fostering a sense of community within the healthcare industry. More organizations will collaborate based on existing data assets, perform analysis jointly, and begin adding innovative, data-driven software enhancements. With these networks positively influencing the efficacy of treatments while automatically managing adherence to local laws and regulations regarding data use and privacy, they are paving the way for software-defined healthcare.
Smart hospitals will create actionable insights for the entire organization out of existing data and information.
Medical records as well as operational data within a hospital will continue to be digitized and will be combined with experience data, third-party information, and data from non-traditional sources such as wearables and other Internet of Things devices. Hospitals that have embraced digital are leveraging their data to automate tasks and processes as well as enable decision support for their medical and administrative staff. In the near future, hospitals could add intelligence into their enterprise environments so they can use data to improve internal operations and reduce overhead.
Curt Medeiros, President and Chief Operating Officer of Ontrak
As health care costs continue to rise dramatically given the pandemic and its projected aftermath, I see a growing and critical sophistication in healthcare analytics taking root more broadly than ever before. Effective value-based care and network management depend on the ability of health plans and providers to understand what works, why, and where best to allocate resources to improve outcomes and lower costs. Tied to the need for better analytics, I see a tipping point approaching for finally achieving better data security and interoperability. Without the ability to securely share data, our industry is trying to solve the world’s health challenges with one hand tied behind our backs.
G. Cameron Deemer, President, DrFirst
Like many business issues, the question of whether to use single-vendor solutions or a best-of-breed approach swings back and forth in the healthcare space over time. Looking forward, the pace of technology change is likely to swing the pendulum to a new model: systems that are supplemental to the existing core platform. As healthcare IT matures, it’s often not a question of ‘can my vendor provide this?’ but ‘can my vendor provide this in the way I need it to maximize my business processes and revenues?
This will be more clear with an example: An EHR may provide a medication history function, for instance, but does it include every source of medication history available? Does it provide a medication history that is easily understood and acted upon by the provider? Does it provide a medication history that works properly with all downstream functions in the EHR? When a provider first experiences medication history during a patient encounter, it seems like magic.
After a short time, the magic fades to irritation as the incompleteness of the solution becomes more obvious. Much of the newer healthcare technologies suffer this same incompleteness. Supplementing the underlying system’s capabilities with a strongly integrated third-party system is increasingly going to be the strategy of choice for providers.
Angie Franks, CEO of Central Logic
In 2021, we will see more health systems moving towards the goal of truly operating as one system of care. The pandemic has demonstrated in the starkest terms how crucial it is for health systems to have real-time visibility into available beds, providers, transport, and scarce resources such as ventilators and drugs, so patients with COVID-19 can receive the critical care they need without delay. The importance of fully aligning as a single integrated system that seamlessly shares data and resources with a centralized, real-time view of operations is a lesson that will resonate with many health systems.
Expect in 2021 for health systems to enhance their ability to orchestrate and navigate patient transitions across their facilities and through the continuum of care, including post-acute care. Ultimately, this efficient care access across all phases of care will help healthcare organizations regain revenue lost during the historic drop in elective care in 2020 due to COVID-19.
In addition to elevating revenue capture, improving system-wide orchestration and navigation will increase health systems’ bed availability and access for incoming patients, create more time for clinicians to operate at the top of their license, and reduce system leakage. This focus on creating an ‘operating as one’ mindset will not only help health systems recover from 2020 losses, it will foster sustainable and long-term growth in 2021 and well into the future.
John Danaher, MD, President, Global Clinical Solutions, Elsevier
COVID-19 has brought renewed attention to healthcare inequities in the U.S., with the disproportionate impact on people of color and minority populations. It’s no secret that there are indicative factors, such as socioeconomic level, education and literacy levels, and physical environments, that influence a patient’s health status. Understanding these social determinants of health (SDOH) better and unlocking this data on a wider scale is critical to the future of medicine as it allows us to connect vulnerable populations with interventions and services that can help improve treatment decisions and health outcomes. In 2021, I expect the health informatics industry to take a larger interest in developing technologies that provide these kinds of in-depth population health insights.
Jay Desai, CEO and co-founder of PatientPing
2021 will see an acceleration of care coordination across the continuum fueled by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Interoperability and Patient Access rule’s e-notifications Condition of Participation (CoP), which goes into effect on May 1, 2021. The CoP requires all hospitals, psych hospitals, and critical access hospitals that have a certified electronic medical record system to provide notification of admit, discharge, and transfer, at both the emergency room and the inpatient setting, to the patient’s care team. Due to silos, both inside and outside of a provider’s organization, providers miss opportunities to best treat their patients simply due to lack of information on patients and their care events.
This especially impacts the most vulnerable patients, those that suffer from chronic conditions, comorbidities or mental illness, or patients with health disparities due to economic disadvantage or racial inequity. COVID-19 exacerbated the impact on these vulnerable populations. To solve for this, healthcare providers and organizations will continue to assess their care coordination strategies and expand their patient data interoperability initiatives in 2021, including becoming compliant with the e-notifications Condition of Participation.
Kuldeep Singh Rajput, CEO and founder of Biofourmis
Driven by CMS’ Acute Hospital at Home program announced in November 2020, we will begin to see more health systems delivering hospital-level care in the comfort of the patient’s home–supported by technologies such as clinical-grade wearables, remote patient monitoring, and artificial intelligence-based predictive analytics and machine learning.
A randomized controlled trial by Brigham Health published in Annals of Internal Medicine earlier this year demonstrated that when compared with usual hospital care, Home Hospital programs can reduce rehospitalizations by 70% while decreasing costs by nearly 40%. Other advantages of home hospital programs include a reduction in hospital-based staffing needs, increased capacity for those patients who do need inpatient care, decreased exposure to COVID-19 and other viruses such as influenza for patients and healthcare professionals, and improved patient and family member experience.
Jake Pyles, CEO, CipherHealth
The disappearance of the hospital monopoly will give rise to a new loyalty push
Healthcare consumerism was on the rise ahead of the pandemic, but the explosion of telehealth in 2020 has effectively eliminated the geographical constraints that moored patient populations to their local hospitals and providers. The fallout has come in the form of widespread network leakage and lost revenue. By October, in fact, revenue for hospitals in the U.S. was down 9.2% year-over-year. Able to select providers from the comfort of home and with an ever-increasing amount of personal health data at their convenience through the growing use of consumer-grade wearable devices, patients are more incentivized in 2021 to choose the provider that works for them.
After the pandemic fades, we’ll see some retrenchment from telehealth, but it will remain a mainstream care delivery model for large swaths of the population. In fact, post-pandemic, we believe telehealth will standardize and constitute a full 30% to 40% of interactions.
That means that to compete, as well as to begin to recover lost revenue, hospitals need to go beyond offering the same virtual health convenience as their competitors – Livango and Teladoc should have been a shot across the bow for every health system in 2020. Moreover, hospitals need to become marketing organizations. Like any for-profit brand, hospitals need to devote significant resources to building loyalty but have traditionally eschewed many of the cutting-edge marketing techniques used in other industries. Engagement and personalization at every step of the patient journey will be core to those efforts.
Marc Probst, former Intermountain Health System CIO, Advisor for SR Health by Solutionreach
Healthcare will fix what it’s lacking most–communication.
Because every patient and their health is unique, when it comes to patient care, decisions need to be customized to their specific situation and environment, yet done in a timely fashion. In my two decades at one of the most innovative health systems in the U.S., communication, both across teams and with patients continuously has been less than optimal. I believe we will finally address both the interpersonal and interface communication issues that organizations have faced since the digitization of healthcare.”
Rich Miller, Chief Strategy Officer, Qgenda
2021 – The year of reforming healthcare: We’ve been looking at ways to ease healthcare burdens for patients for so long that we haven’t realized the onus we’ve put on providers in doing so. Adding to that burden, in 2020 we had to throw out all of our playbooks and become masters of being reactive. Now, it’s time to think through the lessons learned and think through how to be proactive. I believe provider-based data will allow us to reformulate our priorities and processes. By analyzing providers’ biggest pain points in real-time, we can evaporate the workflow and financial troubles that have been bothering organizations while also relieving providers of their biggest problems.”
Robert Hanscom, JD, Vice President of Risk Management and Analytics at Coverys
Data Becomes the Fix, Not the Headache for Healthcare
The past 10 years have been challenging for an already overextended healthcare workforce. Rising litigation costs, higher severity claims, and more stringent reimbursement mandates put pressure on the bottom line. Continued crises in combination with less-than-optimal interoperability and design of health information systems, physician burnout, and loss of patient trust, have put front-line clinicians and staff under tremendous pressure.
Looking to the future, it is critical to engage beyond the day to day to rise above the persistent risks that challenge safe, high-quality care on the frontline. The good news is healthcare leaders can take advantage of tools that are available to generate, package, and learn from data – and use them to motivate action.
Steve Betts, Chief of Operations and Products at Gray Matter Analytics
Analytics Divide Intensifies: Just like the digital divide is widening in society, the analytics divide will continue to intensify in healthcare. The role of data in healthcare has shifted rapidly, as the industry has wrestled with an unsustainable rate of increasing healthcare costs. The transition to value-based care means that it is now table stakes to effectively manage clinical quality measures, patient/member experience measures, provider performance measures, and much more. In 2021, as the volume of data increases and the intelligence of the models improves, the gap between the haves and have nots will significantly widen at an ever-increasing rate.
Substantial Investment in Predictive Solutions: The large health systems and payors will continue to invest tens of millions of dollars in 2021. This will go toward building predictive models to infuse intelligent “next best actions” into their workflows that will help them grow and manage the health of their patient/member populations more effectively than the small and mid-market players.
Jennifer Price, Executive Director of Data & Analytics at THREAD
The Rise of Home-based and Decentralized Clinical Trial Participation
In 2020, we saw a significant rise in home-based activities such as online shopping, virtual school classes and working from home. Out of necessity to continue important clinical research, home health services and decentralized technologies also moved into the home. In 2021, we expect to see this trend continue to accelerate, with participants receiving clinical trial treatments at home, home health care providers administering procedures and tests from the participant’s home, and telehealth virtual visits as a key approach for sites and participants to communicate. Hybrid decentralized studies that include a mix of on-site visits, home health appointments and telehealth virtual visits will become a standard option for a range of clinical trials across therapeutic areas. Technological advances and increased regulatory support will continue to enable the industry to move out of the clinic and into the home.
Doug Duskin, President of the Technology Division at Equality Health
Value-based care has been a watchword of the healthcare industry for many years now, but advancement into more sophisticated VBC models has been slower than anticipated. As we enter 2021, providers – particularly those in fee-for-service models who have struggled financially due to COVID-19 – and payers will accelerate this shift away from fee-for-service medicine and turn to technology that can facilitate and ease the transition to more risk-bearing contracts. Value-based care, which has proven to be a more stable and sustainable model throughout the pandemic, will seem much more appealing to providers that were once reluctant to enter into risk-bearing contracts. They will no longer be wondering if they should consider value-based contracting, but how best to engage.
Brian Robertson, CEO of VisiQuate
Continued digitization and integration of information assets: In 2021, this will lead to better performance outcomes and clearer, more measurable examples of “return on data, analytics, and automation.
Digitizing healthcare’s complex clinical, financial, and operational information assets: I believe that providers who are further in the digital transformation journey will make better use of their interconnected assets, and put the healthcare consumer in the center of that highly integrated universe. Healthcare consumer data will be studied, better analyzed, and better predicted to drive improved performance outcomes that benefit the patient both clinically and financially.
Some providers will have leapfrog moments: These transformations will be so significant that consumers will easily recognize that they are receiving higher value. Lower acuity telemedicine and other virtual care settings are great examples that lead to improved patient engagement, experience and satisfaction. Device connectedness and IoT will continue to mature, and better enable chronic disease management, wellness, and other healthy lifestyle habits for consumers.
Kermit S. Randa, CEO of Syntellis Performance Solutions
Healthcare CEOs and CFOs will partner closely with their CIOs on data governance and data distribution planning. With the massive impact of COVID-19 still very much in play in 2021, healthcare executives will need to make frequent data-driven – and often ad-hoc — decisions from more enterprise data streams than ever before. Syntellis research shows that healthcare executives are already laser-focused on cost reduction and optimization, with decreased attention to capital planning and strategic growth. In 2021, there will be a strong trend in healthcare organizations toward new initiatives, including clinical and quality analytics, operational budgeting, and reporting and analysis for decision support.
Dr. Calum Yacoubian, Associate Director of Healthcare Product & Strategy at Linguamatics
As payers and providers look to recover from the damage done by the pandemic, the ability to deliver value from data assets they already own will be key. The pandemic has displayed the siloed nature of healthcare data, and the difficulty in extracting vital information, particularly from unstructured data, that exists. Therefore, technologies and solutions that can normalize these data to deliver deeper and faster insights will be key to driving economic recovery. Adopting technologies such as natural language processing (NLP) will not only offer better population health management, ensuring the patients most in need are identified and triaged but will open new avenues to advance innovations in treatments and improve operational efficiencies.
Prior to the pandemic, there was already an increasing level of focus on the use of real-world data (RWD) to advance the discovery and development of new therapies and understand the efficacy of existing therapies. The disruption caused by COVID-19 has sharpened the focus on RWD as pharma looks to mitigate the effect of the virus on conventional trial recruitment and data collection. One such example of this is the use of secondary data collection from providers to build real-world cohorts which can serve as external comparator arms.
This convergence on seeking value from existing RWD potentially affords healthcare providers a powerful opportunity to engage in more clinical research and accelerate the work to develop life-saving therapies. By mobilizing the vast amount of data, they will offer pharmaceutical companies a mechanism to positively address some of the disruption caused by COVID-19. This movement is one strategy that is key to driving provider recovery in 2021.
Rose Higgins, Chief Executive Officer of HealthMyne
Precision imaging analytics technology, called radiomics, will increasingly be adopted and incorporated into drug development strategies and clinical trials management. These AI-powered analytics will enable drug developers to gain deeper insights from medical images than previously capable, driving accelerated therapy development, greater personalization of treatment, and the discovery of new biomarkers that will enhance clinical decision-making and treatment.
Dharmesh Godha, President and CTO of Advaiya
Greater adoption and creative implementation of remote healthcare will be the biggest trend for the year 2021, along with the continuous adoption of cloud-enabled digital technologies for increased workloads. Remote healthcare is a very open field. The possibilities to innovate in this area are huge. This is the time where we can see the beginning of the convergence of personal health aware IoT devices (smartwatches/ temp sensors/ BP monitors/etc.) with the advanced capabilities of the healthcare technologies available with the monitoring and intervention capabilities for the providers.
Simon Wu, Investment Director, Cathay Innovation
Healthcare Data Proves its Weight in Gold in 2021
Real-world evidence or routinely stored data from hospitals and claims, being leveraged by healthcare providers and biopharma companies along with those that can improve access to data will grow exponentially in the coming year. There are many trying to build in-house, but similar to autonomous technology, there will be a separate set of companies emerge in 2021 to provide regulated infrastructure and have their “AWS” moment.
Kyle Raffaniello, CEO of Sapphire Digital
2021 is a clear year for healthcare price transparency
Over the past year, healthcare price transparency has been a key topic for the Trump administration in an effort to lower healthcare costs for Americans. In recent months, COVID-19 has made the topic more important to patients than ever before. Starting in January, we can expect the incoming Biden administration to not only support the existing federal transparency regulations but also continue to push for more transparency and innovation within Medicare. I anticipate that healthcare price transparency will continue its momentum in 2021 as one of two Price Transparency rules takes effect and the Biden administration supports this movement.
Dennis McLaughlin VP of Omni Operations + Product at ibi
Social Determinants of Health Goes Mainstream: Understanding more about the patient and their personal environment has a hot topic the past two years. Providers and payers’ ability to inject this knowledge and insight into the clinical process has been limited. 2021 is the year it gets real. It’s not just about calling an uber anymore. The organizations that broadly factor SDOH into the servicing model especially with virtualized medicine expanding broadly will be able to more effectively reach vulnerable patients and maximize the effectiveness of care.
Joe Partlow, CTO at ReliaQuest
The biggest threat to personal privacy will be healthcare information: Researchers are rushing to pool resources and data sets to tackle the pandemic, but this new era of openness comes with concerns around privacy, ownership, and ethics. Now, you will be asked to share your medical status and contact information, not just with your doctors, but everywhere you go, from workplaces to gyms to restaurants. Your personal health information is being put in the hands of businesses that may not know how to safeguard it. In 2021, cybercriminals will capitalize on rapid U.S. telehealth adoption. Sharing this information will have major privacy implications that span beyond keeping medical data safe from cybercriminals to wider ethics issues and insurance implications.
Jimmy Nguyen, Founding President at Bitcoin Association
Blockchain solutions in the healthcare space will bring about massive improvements in two primary ways in 2021.
Firstly, blockchain applications will for the first time facilitate patients owning, managing, and even monetizing their personal health data. Today’s healthcare information systems are incredibly fragmented, with patient data from different sources – be they physicians, pharmacies, labs, or otherwise – kept in different silos, eliminating the ability to generate a holistic view of patient information and restricting healthcare providers from producing the best health outcomes.
Healthcare organizations are growing increasingly aware of the ways in which blockchain technology can be used to eliminate data silos, enable real-time access to patient information, and return control to patients for the use of their personal data – all in a highly-secure digital environment. 2021 will be the year that patient data goes blockchain.
Secondly, blockchain solutions can ensure more honesty and transparency in the development of pharmaceutical products. Clinical research data is often subject to questions of integrity or ‘hygiene’ if data is not properly recorded, or worse, is deliberately fabricated. Blockchain technology enables easy, auditable tracking of datasets generated by clinical researchers, benefitting government agencies tasked with approving drugs while producing better health outcomes for healthcare providers and patients. In 2021, I expect to see a rise in the use and uptake of applications that use public blockchain systems to incentivize greater honesty in clinical research.
Alex Lazarow, Investment Director, Cathay Innovation
The Future of US Healthcare is Transparent, Fair, Open and Consumer-Driven
In the last year, the pandemic put a spotlight on the major gaps in healthcare in the US, highlighting a broken system that is one of the most expensive and least distributed in the world. While we’ve already seen many boutique healthcare companies emerge to address issues around personalization, quality and convenience, the next few years will be focused on giving the power back to consumers, specifically with the rise of insurtechs, in fixing the transparency, affordability, and incentive issues that have plagued the private-based US healthcare system until now.
Lisa Romano, RN, Chief Nursing Officer, CipherHealth
Hospitals will need to counter the staff wellness fallout
The pandemic has placed unthinkable stress on frontline healthcare workers. Since it began, they’ve been working under conditions that are fundamentally more dangerous, with fewer resources, and in many cases under the heavy emotional burden of seeing several patients lose their battle with COVID-19. The fallout from that is already beginning – doctors and nurses are leaving the profession, or getting sick, or battling mental health struggles. Nursing programs are struggling to fill classes. As a new wave of the pandemic rolls across the country, that fallout will only increase. If they haven’t already, hospitals in 2021 will place new premiums upon staff wellness and staff health, tapping into the same type of outreach and purposeful rounding solutions they use to round on patients.
Kris Fitzgerald, CTO, NTT DATA Services
Quality metrics for health plans – like data that measures performance – was turned on its head in 2020 due to delayed procedures. In the coming year, we will see a lot of plans interpret these delayed procedures flexibly so they honor their plans without impacting providers. However, for so long, the payer’s use of data and the provider’s use of data has been disconnected. Moving forward the need for providers to have a more specific understanding of what drives the value and if the cost is reasonable for care from the payer perspective is paramount. Data will ensure that this collaboration will be enhanced and the concept of bundle payments and aligning incentives will be improved. As the data captured becomes even richer, it will help people plan and manage their care better. The addition of artificial intelligence (AI) to this data will also play a huge role in both dialog and negotiation when it comes to cost structure. This movement will lead to a spike in value-based care adoption
AbCellera Biologics has been in the spotlight since coming up with Eli Lilly’s COVID-19 antibody drug bamlanivimab, and looks set to capitalise on that exposure with a sizeable initial public offering.
The Vancouver, Canada-headquartered biotech – which has been bankrolled in part by billionaire entrepreneur and venture capitalist Peter Thiel – plans to offer 23 million shares at a price of between $14 and 17%, which could raise $380 to $390 million.
If that target is hit it will be record for a Canadian biotech, overtaking the $253 million raised by Repare Therapeutics in the summer, and could value the company at up to $4.5 billion.
The company says in its IPO prospectus that it plans to list its shares on the Nasdaq Global Market under the ABCL ticker.
AbCellera is a specialist in applying artificial intelligence to drug discovery, specifically to sift through immune system data to find antibodies that can be developed as drugs. Its approach involves licensing rights to the antibodies to other pharma companies, rather than bringing its own candidates through development.
That has resulted in 26 partnerships, but the poster child of AbCellera’s portfolio is its alliance with Lilly for bamlanivimab (LY-CoV555), which was approved by the FDA and Canadian regulator for emergency use as treatment for mild-to-moderate COVID-19 patients last month.
The antibody can be given to adults and children who are at high risk of progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalisation, according to the FDA approval.
Starting from a single blood sample obtained from a recovered COVID-19 patient, AbCellera and Lilly identified the drug candidate within three weeks, and started clinical testing just 90 days after starting the programme.
Bamlanivimab is directed against the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, designed to block the virus’ attachment and entry into human cells.
In testing, bamlanivimab achieved a 72% reduction in hospitalisation risk compared to placebo in the BLAZE-1 study involving 465 COVID-19 patients. The drug is also being tested in other trials, including a phase 3 study looking at its role in prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Its Celium platform uses software, AI and visualisation tools to crunch through the massive amount of data generated during an antibody discovery campaign, reducing the time it takes to come up with a lead candidate.
AbCellera was founded in 2012 and posted $28 million in revenue for the 12 months ending 30 September.
Amanda Barrell explores how a perfect storm of changing economics, advances in technology, and the increasing volume of the patient voice is stoking change in the rare disease space.
New models of drug development are fuelling life-changing advantages in the rare disease space, previously an economic no-go area for pharma and biotech companies.
That was among the discussion points during Fighting Rare Diseases – The Science, Economics and the Patients, a webinar hosted by o2h Group.
Chairing the event, the company’s Prashant Shah, said: “Rare disease, by definition, means it affects a fairly small number of patients. But the economics are beginning to change, the return on investment is changing, and there is a lot more interest now.
“There are more organisations coming into play and patient groups and charity groups are becoming ever more active. I think there’s more hope for those suffering from rare disease than ever before.”
The interplay between technological advances, new models of drug development, and an increase in patient centricity, has created fertile ground for progress, the panel said.
“Partnering with patient groups has really been our superpower from the beginning, because they are the experts”
Michael Binks, vice president of Rare Disease Research at Pfizer, said: “There’s been a growing awareness of the magnitude of the unmet need, that there are 7,000 identified diseases…and very few therapies available for the majority of them.
“Key factors have been the emergence of communities around some of these diseases that have driven major legislative change and ensured that regulators are more flexible.”
This shift in the regulatory environment has made developing medications for the 300-500m people affected by rare disease globally more economically feasible, said Binks, whose company is focusing on gene therapies in the rare disease space.
There’s never been a better time for rare disease patients, said Tim Guilliams, CEO of AI-powered biotech company, Healx, who believes that technology such as machine learning (ML) is enabling researchers to take a new view on drug development
His company’s approach is to work with patient groups to understand unmet needs, then use ML to identify existing drugs that could tackle that need and bring them to trial.
“Drug discovery is really hard, and ML is not a magic wand. It’s really just bringing that component to the table to try to move as quickly as you can to get treatments into the clinic,” he said, adding that the method also needed the input of “amazing” pharmacologists, clinical experts, and patient advocates.
“Partnering with patient groups has really been our superpower from the beginning, because they are the experts,” he said.
Return on investment
Shah asked Binks and Guilliams if this paradigm shift in terms of patient involvement was contributing to higher returns on investment in clinical trials.
“It’s hard to put an absolute number on, because each disease has different endpoints, different number of patients that you can enrol, etc. but yes, we believe we can get the cost of clinical trials down significantly because of our model,” said Guilliams.
Binks said that working with patients early on could cut overall costs by reducing the likelihood of study failure.
“Running high-quality clinical trials is expensive. It is sometimes made more expensive by the frequency of failure because we don’t have an adequate understanding of the patient population or the disease.
“Bringing the patients and their families into the conversation early does help to define the clinical development path.”
Nicola Miller, editor-in-chief at Rare Revolution Magazine and co-founder and trustee of the Teddington Trust for those affected by Xeroderma Pigmentosum, said it made perfect business sense to involve patients in drug development early on.
For a start, she said, there is an assumption within the research community that everyone with a rare disease is seeking a curative treatment, yet many people accept their condition as part of who they are.
“We have all heard stories of where scientists have gone down a particular route, but they haven’t actually thought of engaging with the population as to what is the most debilitating part of their condition,” said Nicola.
“They could be developing something for photo sensitivity for a particular condition, for example, but generally people can cope with that, what they don’t want is a neurological decline which is going to impact their life.”
While some organisations were working well with patient groups, others appeared to be involved in more of a “box ticking operation” which doesn’t benefit anyone, she went on.
“There are huge sums of money and huge amounts of technology being ploughed into this area at the moment, so let’s make sure it’s going into the most beneficial point for the patients,” she said.
All three panellists agreed that there was an abundance of hope on the horizon for people living with rare diseases – so long as the whole community continues to work together to overcome the challenge.
“So many things are moving in the right direction: diagnosis, possible treatments, technology, and empowerment. It’s really incredible what is happening in this space now because that just wasn’t the case 20 years ago,” said Guilliams.
BioNTech may be deeply ensconced in the latter stages of its bid to bring a COVID-19 vaccine to market, but it’s still pushing forward on other fronts, including a partnership with InstaDeep to deploy artificial intelligence and machine learning across its business.
The two companies have been working together in this area since 2019, but BioNTech has opted to double down on the alliance with a revised agreement focusing on new immunotherapies for cancer and infectious diseases.
The headline news in the new agreement is the formation of a joint AI Innovation Lab – split between InstaDeep’s headquarters in London in the UK and BioNTech’s site in Mainz Germany – that will focus on drug discovery and design, protein engineering, manufacturing and supply chain.
One of the main research areas for the new lab will be the development of new vaccines and biologic drugs for the treatment of cancer and prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, including COVID-19.
InstaDeep – which was founded in Tunisia – has built its business across a range of sectors, mainly helping small- and mid-sized companies to develop bespoke apps harnessing computer vision, predictive analytics, 3D imaging, augmented and virtual reality, and deep learning. It was recently nominated by CB Insights as one of the 100 most promising AI start-ups in the world
With BioNTech, the company will focus on three main areas. The duo will apply InstaDeep’s protein design platform – called DeepChain – to engineer new mRNA sequences against protein targets, and also collaborate on sifting through anonymised patient data to identify new drug targets and biomarkers.
They will also use AI and machine learning to find ways to make manufacturing and supply chain processes more efficient, tapping into technologies like robotics and autonomous decision-making algorithms.
“Pairing BioNTech’s deep knowledge of the human immune system and scientific data-driven development approach with our AI platform could transform the way we discover and develop new drug classes for patients all over the world,” said Karim Beguir, InstaDeep’s chief executive.
A recent study by Kearney revealed that 68% of global industry leaders in the healthcare sector see AI and advanced analytics as major value drivers.
All attention at the moment is on BioNTech’s Pfizer-partnered coronavirus vaccine BNT162b, but it has a packed pipeline of earlier-stage projects, including a Roche-partnered mRNA-based drug for melanoma in phase 2 and several other cancer therapies in phase 1.
“We see a significant opportunity at the intersection of AI and immunology by computational design of new precision immunotherapies,” said BioNTech chief executive Ugur Sahin. “This collaboration will expand our digital capabilities and optimise our operations across the value chain.”
– Johnson & Johnson Innovation announces three strategic
collaborations with a focus on advancing healthcare solutions in China.
– The three strategic collaborations are focused on leveraging advances in science and technology to address areas of high unmet medical need across several areas, including discovery science, lung cancer, and medical devices
Johnson & Johnson Innovation, a division of Johnson & Johnson (China) Investment Limited, today announced three new collaborations with strategic partners in China. These latest collaborations, facilitated by the Johnson & Johnson Asia Pacific Innovation Center, showcase its broad innovation efforts and focus on leveraging advances in science and technology to address areas of high unmet medical need across several areas, including discovery science, lung cancer, and medical devices.
The collaborations are as follows:
1. Leveraging AI in drug discovery – Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, one of the
Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, has established a
multi-target drug discovery collaboration with Insilico Medicine Hong Kong
Ltd., a Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS @ Shanghai resident
company specializing in AI-based drug
The agreement will leverage Insilico Medicine’s AI-based platform to design small-molecule hits with the defined properties for several targets nominated by Janssen. The collaboration aims to generate novel and fully patentable chemical scaffolds for difficult targets using AI-based drug designing, potentially leading to significant reductions in time and cost in identifying biologically active hits against selected targets.
2. Developing AI solutions for lung cancer detection
– The Lung Cancer Initiative at Johnson & Johnson in China,
through its affiliate Johnson & Johnson (China) Investment Limited, has entered
into a research collaboration with Diannei (Shanghai) Biotechnology Co. Ltd., a
Chinese company specializing in AI solutions for lung cancer management. The
agreement will see both parties work together to develop computer vision AI for
lung cancer diagnosis. Diannei’s expertise is in developing AI solutions with
deep learning for medical image analysis.
3. Innovative healthcare solutions for sports injury
– Johnson & Johnson Medical (Shanghai) Limited (JJMS) announced an
agreement with Taikang Online Insurance Co. Ltd. (Tk.cn), a Chinese online
healthcare insurance company, to develop an innovative sports injury-related
insurance package. JJMS will support Tk.cn by offering its industrial insights,
while Tk.cn designs reimbursement coverage to sports enthusiasts which aim to
enable timely diagnosis and appropriate surgical treatment for patients.
Why It Matters
“Johnson & Johnson has deep roots in China for the past 35 years to address the growing needs of patients and consumers. We are delighted to mark the third annual CIIE, a significant platform that supports the expansion, innovation and internationalization of the Chinese business environment, by announcing these new collaboration agreements,” said Will Song, Global Senior Vice President, China Chairman, Johnson & Johnson*. “These agreements span a diverse range of focus areas and represent a valuable opportunity to advance human health for the country by connecting global and local innovators with the expertise of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies to help transform great ideas into breakthrough solutions.”
– Mission Bio launches industry’s first and only
single-cell multi-omics platform, is announcing the launch of its most
comprehensive instrument to-date, to save the industry billions of dollars in
drug development costs and bring life-saving treatments to market at least six months
– Mission Bio’s Tapestri Platform, the first single-cell platform capable of detecting DNA and protein changes simultaneously, gives a profound insight into the mutations that drive disease to enable faster, more successful development of precision cancer therapies.
– Spun out of the lab at UCSF and since led by a former
Berkeley engineer, the company has caught the attention of strategic investors
like Mayfield and Agilent, who see it as one to rival 10x Genomics.
MissionBio, Inc., a South San Francisco, CA-based
company announced the launch of a complete Tapestri® Single-cell Multi-omics
Solution, the most comprehensive single-cell multi-omics platform on the
market. With a new instrument, single-cell
multi-omics reagent kits, TotalSeq-D™ antibody content from BioLegend, and
visualization software, the complete package provides layered insight into
multiple analytes across all blood cancers, reducing drug development time and cost by at least half.
The company is partnering with BioLegend, a global leader and provider of
world-class, cutting-edge antibodies and reagents, to develop antibody panels
for single-cell protein detection with the new device.
Single Cell for DNA and Protein?
complexity of cancer cannot be overcome without
comprehensive tools. Running a large-scale clinical study costs around $40
million, and the pharmaceutical industry is losing $50 billion a year on failed
clinical trials and ineffective drugs. It is essential to identify precision
biomarkers and characterize resistance mechanisms — both DNA mutations and
protein expression– to minimize losses, maximize treatment efficacy, and
accelerate time to market.
our technology, you can unlock the ground truth of cancer:
our DNA-Protein kit offers, for the first time, the
ability to understand the communication pathway all the way from the blueprint
of life in the center of the cell — DNA — to the exterior of the cell via
surface proteins, without inference or conjecture,” explained Nigel Beard,
Ph.D., Chief Technology Officer and SVP of Operations of Mission Bio. “It’s a product builders’ dream to deliver a disruptive
technology that truly empowers our customers with the potential to unravel the
many connected threads that make up the complexity of cancer.”
Uniquely Detect DNA & Protein Simultaneously from the Same Cell
Mission Bio’s new solution
can uniquely detect DNA and protein simultaneously from the same cell and is
already adopted by marquee NCI Cancer Centers,
including MD Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial
Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, University of
Texas, Southwestern Medical Center, and the University of California, San
Francisco. The offering sets a new standard for
comprehensive single-cell multi-omics, providing:
2x Faster Analysis – The new Tapestri
Instrument uniquely enables a simpler workflow for faster time-to-data.
By integrating both genotype and phenotype data on a single Tapestri run,
researchers save weeks in processing and analysis time in
running a single multi-omics workflow.
Get More Out of Your Sample – Save precious
samples by utilizing new reagent kits for a single
workflow to obtain both mutation data and protein expression.
– New Tapestri Cell Protein Staining Reagent Kits from Mission Bio are optimized with a fully developed protocol and compatible with new TotalSeq-D kits from BioLegend and existing Tapestri Core Reagent Kits.
– The 45-plex TotalSeq-D Heme Oncology Cocktail is the first catalog panel in partnership with BioLegend for single-cell surface protein detection with the Tapestri Platform. The panel is pre-mixed, titrated, and lyophilized and consists of antibodies applicable to various hematological malignancies.
Visualization Tools for
Integrated Insights – From novice users to savvier bioinformaticians, the
updated Tapestri Pipeline and Insights software provide publication-ready
visualization tools that make it easier to understand data — from raw
sequencing files to multi-dimensional cluster plots.
“The value of connecting the mutations in single-cells with their immunophenotypes directly has been a game-changer in allowing us to discover cell surface markers that identify disease stem cells. Merging multiple assays saves us a tremendous amount of time and allows for better insights into disease biology so that we can develop more precise and effective therapies,” said Stephen Chung, M.D., University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center.
insitro has landed another big biopharma partnership, signing a five-year collaboration with Bristol Myers Sqibb to develop therapies for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD).
Neurodegenerative disorders such as ALS and FTD are considered a challenging therapeutic area, with no disease modifying treatments available today.
insitro uses machine-learning technology to discover novel drug targets and patient segments. Since its inception in 2018, the company has brought on several high-profile partners and investors.
Last year, the company signed its first major multi-million dollar research collaboration with Gilead Sciences to target liver disease, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). insitro scored $15 million through the deal and could receive a further $1 billion.
Under the terms of the agreement with BMS, insitro will get $50 million in cash upfront but could be eligible for up to $2 billion if other milestones are reached. insitro’s platform, the insitro Human (ISH) platform, will be used to create induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) derived disease models in ALS and FTD.
The platform applies machine learning, human genetics, and functional genomics to generate predictive in vitro models that provide insights into disease progression. BMS will have the option to select targets identified by insitro and then lead clinical development. BMS said it will be responsible for regulatory submissions and commercialisation activities.
“We believe that machine learning and data generated by novel experimental platforms offer the opportunity to rethink how we discover and design novel medicines,” said Richard Hargreaves, senior vice president, head of neuroscience TRC research and early development at BMS.
Insitro recently boosted its machine-learning portfolio, with the acquisition of rival company Haystack Sciences. The private, San-Francisco based company focuses on DNA sequencing technology. It synthesises, breeds and analyses large combinatorial chemicals that are encoded by DNA sequences called DNA-encoded libraries, or DEL’s. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
– The U.S. government’s Joint Pathology Center, which
houses the world’s largest human tissue repository, today announced that
Proscia, a leading digital and AI pathology company, will provide end-to-end
modernization of JPC’s pathology operations.
– The multi-phase project will digitize the world’s
largest human pathology specimen repository in order to enhance biomedical
research for cancer and infectious diseases like COVID-19, and enable easier
data sharing with researchers, diagnosticians, and educators to facilitate
– The digitization of JPC’s repository will also unlock
previously untapped medical data in order to accelerate the development of
AI-powered pathology applications for building personalized therapeutics.
Joint Pathology Center (JPC),
the premiere pathology reference center for the U.S. government, has selected Proscia’s Concentriq platform
for a complete transformation of its pathology practice. Proscia is a Philadelphia,
PA-based provider of digital and computational pathology solutions.
Modernize World’s Largest Human Tissue Repository
The Joint Pathology Center seeks to preserve, modernize, and
grow the nation’s oldest tissue repository to promote biomedical research. Over
the past century, it has collected approximately 55 million glass slides, 31
million paraffin-embedded tissue blocks, and over 500,000 wet tissue samples,
which have provided critical insight into our understanding of current and
future disease; data from the repository was used to sequence the 1918
influenza virus that killed more than 40 million people worldwide and can
similarly help us to combat COVID-19. The
rise of digital pathology, which captures high-resolution images of tissue
specimen, is enabling JPC to realize even more value from its data by making it
readily accessible to clinicians, pathologists, and healthcare data analysts.
Digital pathology also gives way to the introduction of computational pathology
applications leveraging artificial intelligence to unlock new insights that
drive drug discovery and routine diagnosis.
At the center of this modernization effort, JPC will
digitize its tissue archive, the world’s largest repository of human pathology
specimen, to capitalize on this invaluable source of medical data. The digital
repository will provide increased access to data for driving medical advances
related to infectious diseases and cancer as well as accelerate the development
of computational pathology applications establishing diagnosis, prognosis, and
personalized therapies for patients.
Proscia’s Concentriq Platform to Serve As Foundation for
Digital and Computational Pathology
As digitizing the world’s largest human tissue archive
depends on scalable software infrastructure, JPC has selected Proscia’s Concentriq digital and
computational pathology platform to provide this foundation. Concentriq is a
singular image and data management platform that unifies pathology operations
across the connected enterprise and accelerates workflows. With Concentriq, JPC
will provide its network of researchers with intuitive, secure access to its
data and streamline collaboration, enabling them to more easily analyze
thousands of diseases and find new ways to fight them. Additionally, JPC will
deploy Concentriq to digitize its routine pathology consultations and overcome
the delays that result from sharing physical specimen in an effort to improve
patient outcomes by providing accurate, timely pathology findings.
Why It Matters
Digitizing the repository also holds significant potential
for advancing the development of computational pathology applications spanning
diagnosis, prognosis, and personalized care. Training and validating even a
single application requires massive volumes of images to ensure that it can
account for the variability seen in practice, and JPC’s archive is unmatched in
its ability to provide this data for countless diseases and use cases. As JPC
delivers these applications, it can deploy them, along with other computational
solutions, into its research and clinical workflows leveraging Proscia’s
“JPC’s modernization effort marks a monumental leap forward for the field of pathology, and we’re excited to be a part of it,” said David West, CEO of Proscia. “Concentriq sits at the intersection of digital and computational pathology across research and clinical practice, providing JPC with the tools needed to finally realize the full promise of its data and transform routine diagnosis.”
While the definition of real world evidence is still evolving, most proponents associate it with data that is derived from medical practice among heterogeneous sets of patients in the real world setting. It is the integration of data gathered from various sources, such as EHRs, medical charts, patient claims and billing activities, product and disease registries. The data collected from the aforementioned sources has proven to be a potential alternative and complement to traditional RCTs. It holds out the promise of reducing time and costs of product approvals, identifying new uses for existing products, increasing our ability to treat rare diseases, and improving clinical practices for using drugs and medical devices.
Real world evidence has the potential to support aspects of drug development and commercialization. It can expedite the generation of hypotheses, enable identification of sub-populations with higher risk-benefit ratios to target development efforts, support more efficient and targeted patient recruitment, reduce the burden of data collection and reporting, and lead to earlier conclusions about effectiveness and faster decisions about value and reimbursement. Real world evidence makes possible a new paradigm for closely monitoring the safety and efficacy of drugs prior to and after their approval. This close-monitoring during clinical trials, post-approval commitment phase, or after approval of a subset of patients (through a combination of personal monitoring devices, smartphone apps, phone calls and virtual visits) are likely to benefit patients, researchers and regulators. It is anticipated that the US FDA, European Medicines Agency (EMA) and other regulatory authorities are likely to increase the utilization of real world evidence in influencing the regulatory decisions associated with the safety and efficacy of medical products.
Real World Data Sources
Potential Applications of Real World Evidence
Real world evidence has enormous potential to contribute towards healthcare decision-making, in terms of pre-approval and post-approval guidelines. It can significantly decrease the time and cost of drug development, and can aid in the early stage research in order to discover new innovative treatments. Further, it eliminates the necessity of recruiting clinical subjects to analyze the safety factors of a treatment. If the data generated through real world evidence is of sufficiently high quality, then it can certainly influence the clinical decision-making processes of the regulatory authorities.
Growth Drivers and Challenges
Over the years, industry stakeholders are increasingly utilizing real world evidence in order to reduce costs and optimize operations of their product lifecycle. The numerous potential applications of real world evidence in establishing patient safety standards, ensuring effectiveness of a product and treatment paths, productive market assessment and the disease patterns have further augmented its necessity. Although real world studies have numerous opportunities in the healthcare sector, there are several associated challenges, which act as road blocks to their future growth. The major road block for optimum utilization of real world data is the availability of data in complex or scattered form that has to be structured in order to derive meaningful insights from it.
Due to regulatory opportunities and payer demands, the interest in real world evidence in the pharmaceutical industry is continuously increasing. The ongoing advances in compute power and data analytics are allowing stakeholders to gain accurate and reliable insights from EHR data in unique ways. These successful efforts are leading to specific advantages for a given therapy in patient sub-groups.
Genesis to receive an up front and is eligible to receive pre/ clinical and regulatory milestones along with royalties on sales of approved drugs emerges from the collaboration
The collaboration leverages Genesis’ graph machine learning and drug discovery expertise to identify drug candidates for therapeutic targets across multiple disease areas
Genesis has developed Dynamic PotentialNet and other neural network algorithms, examining drug-target complexes as flexible, spatial graphs, with the advantage of superior potency and selectivity prediction uniquely toward novel, previously undruggable targets and characterized therapeutic targets
Click here to read full press release/ article | Ref: BusinessWire | Image: BusinessWire
The deal with Roche subsidiary Genentech is likely not the last for Genesis Therapeutics, which is based on AI research undertaken at Stanford. Such partnerships are potentially lucrative for drug-discovery startups.
libraries (DELs) have been gaining a lot of traction in hit finding and drug
discovery in recent years. Regarded by some as a truly revolutionary advance in
chemistry, a DEL is a mixture of millions of small molecules in which each
molecule is conjugated to a DNA-oligomer that encodes its chemical structure.
The mixture can be stored in a simple test tube.
DEL screening is now being widely used by pharmaceutical companies to find novel chemical matter that modulates protein targets of interest. As Chemical & Engineering News has reported, there have been a quickly growing number of industry deals in this space. Vertex Pharmaceuticals has paired up with X-Chem in order to utilize their DELs for drug discovery. Amgen acquired Nuevolution to use the biotech’s DELs in search of drug candidates. And Hitgen has partnered with heavy hitters like Johnson & Johnson, Merck, and Pfizer.
Dr. Andreas Brunschweiger, Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at TU Dortmund University, has been engaged in interesting research involving DNA-encoded chemical libraries and addressing some of the challenges in using them as a small molecule screening technology. In an upcoming webinar, he will be presenting some insights from his research.
October 14, the webinar will feature Dr. Alex Satz, senior director of DEL
strategy and operations at WuXi AppTec, giving an informative overview of DELs.
This will be followed by a presentation from Dr. Brunschweiger on research
showing how a cheminformatics workflow can inform DEL design, and how the
screening of a proof of concept DNA-encoded library led to compound
To learn more about this research and DELs, register here to attend the webinar.
COVID-19 has put a tremendous burden on hospitals, and the clinicians, nurses, and medical staff who make them run.
Many hospitals have suffered financially as they did not anticipate the severity of the disease. The extended duration of patient stays in ICUs, the need for more isolated rooms and beds, and the need for better supplies to reduce infections have all added costs. Some hospitals did not have adequate staff to check-in patients, take their temperature, monitor them regularly, or quickly recruit nurses and doctors to help.
AI can greatly improve hospital efficiency, improve patient satisfaction, and help keep costs from ballooning. Autonomous robots can help with surgeries and deliver items to patient’s rooms. Smart video sensors can determine if patients are wearing masks or monitor their temperature. Conversational tools can help to directly input patient information right into medical records or help to explain surgical procedures or side effects.
We’ve become familiar with devices in and around our homes that use AI for image and speech recognition, such as speakers that listen to our commands to play our favorite songs. This same technology can be used in hospitals to screen patients, monitor them, help them understand procedures, and help them get supplies.
Screening is an important step in identifying patients who may need medical care or isolation to stop the spread of COVID-19. Temporal thermometers are widely used to measure temperatures via the temporal artery in the forehead, but medical staff has to screen patients one by one.
Temperature screening applications powered by AI can automate and dramatically speed up this process, scanning over 100 patients a minute. These systems free up staff, who can perform other functions, and then notify them of patients who have a fever, so they can be isolated. Patients without a fever can check-in for their appointments instead of waiting in line to be scanned.
AI systems can also perform other screening functions, such as helping monitor if patients are wearing masks and keeping six feet apart. They can even check staff to ensure they are wearing proper safety equipment before interacting with patients.
2. Virtual Nurse Assistant
Hospitals are dynamic environments. Patients have questions that can crop up or evolve as circumstances change. Staff have many patients and tasks to attend to and regularly change shifts.
Sensor fusion technology combines video and voice data to allow nurses to monitor patients remotely. AI can automatically observe a patient’s behavior, determining whether they are at risk of a fall or are in distress. Conversational AI, such as automatic speech recognition, text-to-speech, and natural language processing, can help understand what patients need, answer their questions, and then take appropriate action, whether it’s replying with an answer or alerting staff.
Furthermore, the information recorded from patients in conversational AI tools can be directly inputted into patients’ medical records, reducing the documentation burden for nurses and medical staff.
3. Surgery Optimization
Surgery can be risky and less invasive procedures are optimal for patients to speed up recovery, reduce blood loss, and reduce pain. AI can help surgeons monitor blood flow, anatomy, and physiology in real-time.
Connected sensors can help optimize the operating room. Everything from patient flow, time, instrument use, and staffing can be captured. Using machine learning algorithms and real-time data, AI can reduce hospital costs and allow clinicians to focus on safe patient throughput.
But it’s not just the overall operations. AI will allow surgeons to better prepare for upcoming procedures with access to simulations beforehand. They will also be able to augment procedures as they happen, incorporating AI models in real-time, allowing them to identify missing or unexpected steps.
Contactless control will allow surgeons to utilize gestures and voice commands to easily access relevant patient information like medical images, before making a critical next move. AI can also be of assistance following procedures. It can, for example, automatically document key information like equipment and supplies used, as well as staff times.
During COVID-19, telehealth has helped patients access their clinicians when they cannot physically go to the office. Patients’ adoption of telehealth has soared, from 11% usage in 2019 in the US to 46% usage in 2020. Clinicians have rapidly scaled offerings and are seeing 50 to 175 times the number of patients via telehealth than they did before. Pre-COVID-19, the total annual revenue of US telehealth was an estimated $3 billion, with the largest vendors focused on the “virtual urgent care” segment. With the acceleration of consumer and provider adoption of telehealth, up to $250 billion of current US healthcare spend could potentially be virtualized.
Examples of the role of AI in the delivery of health care remotely include the use of tele-assessment, telediagnosis, tele-interactions, and telemonitoring.
AI-enabled self-triage tools allow patients to go through diagnostic assessments and receive real-time care recommendations. This allows less sick patients to avoid crowded hospitals. After the virtual visit, AI can improve documentation and reimbursement processes.
Rapidly developing real-time secure and scalable AI intelligence is fundamental to transforming our hospitals so that they are safe, more efficient, and meet the needs of patients and medical staff.
About Renee Yao
Renee Yao leads global healthcare AI startups at NVIDIA, managing 1000+ healthcare startups in digital health, medical instrument, medical imaging, genomics, and drug discovery segments. Most Recently, she is responsible for Clara Guardian, a smart hospital ecosystem of AI solutions for hospital public safety and patient monitoring.
The six-year-old Google-backed company was founded by three MIT physicists and hopes to use its technology to make drug discovery faster and less cumbersome by combining physics, AI and cloud computing.
– Repurpose.AI, has partnered with Scripps Research to
discover drug candidates that may be repurposed to treat COVID-19.
– The partnership will leverage Repurpose.AI’s ActivPred
AI Drug Discovery Platform, an unbiased drug, target, and disease agnostic
digital chemistry engine, to discover drug candidates to treat COVID-19.
Scripps Research is
teaming up with Repurpose.AI, an AI
drug discovery company to develop COVID-19 therapeutics. The partnership will
leverage Repurpose.AI’s ActivPred AI Drug Discovery Platform, an unbiased drug,
target, and disease agnostic digital chemistry engine, to discover drug
candidates to treat COVID-19. Previously, the company has successfully utilized
the platform to discover REP-001, REP-002, and REP-003 – three Phase II/III
ready small molecule assets for the treatment of gastric, neurological, and
weight disorders, respectively.
Scripps Research scientists together with Calibr,
its drug development division, will leverage its COVID-19
screening models and commitment to drug repurposing as part of the partnership.
Calibr previously established the ReFRAME collection, the world’s leading
collection of known drugs, comprising over 14,000 compounds that have been
approved by the FDA for other diseases or have been extensively tested for
human safety, which it is bringing to bear on the current pandemic. The
collaborative work with Repurpose.AI will augment this effort by characterizing
compounds not identified to date using conventional repurposed drug screening
“We could not be more excited about our partnership with Scripps Research and Calibr. Like Repurpose.AI, Calibr is committed to ending the scourge of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Our goal is to move therapeutics from the computer to the clinic in a fraction of the time typically required to discover and bring new drugs to market and alleviate the suffering of patients afflicted by COVID-19. Creating therapeutics to treat COVID-19 also allows the global community to go back to work and for children to go back to school. Repurpose.AI and Calibr are committed to doing our part to ensure that happens sooner rather than later,” said Dr. Daniel Haders II, Ph.D., Executive Chairman at Repurpose.AI.
AI-Driven Drug Discovery
Repurpose.AI, a Nex Cubed digital health
portfolio company, has harnessed the predictive prowess of artificial
intelligence and machine learning with its ActivPred AI Drug Discovery Platform
to discover drugs that may be repurposed to serve as therapeutics to treat
patients suffering from COVID-19. The drugs that Repurpose.AI discovers for
COVID-19 can enter clinical trials in as little as several months.
Repurpose.AI’s Drug Library
Repurpose.AI’s Drug Library is comprised of approximately
4,000 drug compounds that have been approved for commercial use by the U.S.
FDA, or similar agencies, and 20,000+ drug compounds that are known to have
successfully navigated a Phase I (human safety) clinical trial. All drugs have
a full pre-clinical program, an existing or legacy supply chain, and are known
to be safe and well-tolerated in humans.
It is important to note that the process of drug discovery is extremely demanding, both in terms of capital and time. In fact, the overall amount spent on R&D initiatives in the pharmaceutical / biotechnology sector has increased from around USD 128 billion in 2008 to USD 165 billion in 2018. Moreover, only a small fraction of early stage therapeutic candidates are able to make it past preclinical evaluation. According to a study conducted on terminated drug development programs, the high rate drug failure in clinical trials was primarily attributed to problems associated with their pharmacokinetic profiles, absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion (ADME) properties and inherent toxicity.
With increasing cases of drug failure, due to problems associated with pharmacokinetic profiles of candidate therapies, ADME properties and inherent toxicity, industry players are actively looking for more advanced solutions. Drug developers prefer to opt for contract service providers that offer a range of capabilities, such as design, synthesis, initial scale-up, in vitro ADME testing, safety pharmacology, under one roof; this guarantees a certain degree of ease of operation, and enables sponsors to shortlist and rely on a capable partner for their outsourcing requirements.
Service Providers Offering In Vitro ADME Testing Services
Over 95 CROs, featuring a mix of small-sized (less than 50 employees, 42%), mid-sized (50-200 employees, 17%), large companies (200-1,000 employees, 15%) and very large companies (more than 1,000 employees, 26%), offer contract services for in vitro ADME testing.
To know about the companies that claim to offer in vitro ADME testing services, check out our report here
What is the Regional Distribution of Service Providers?
Majority of the CROs (nearly 80%) are based in North America and Europe. Within North America, the US has the maximum number of players, whereas, in Europe, most of the service providers are distributed across France, Germany, the UK, and Spain. A relatively smaller, but growing, proportion of such players are situated in the Asia-Pacific region; India, China, and Australia have a significant number of firms that claim to offer ADME testing services.
Which Company Has an Edge Over Other Companies?
With so many players in the market, it may become baffling to decide on which company would serve your purpose. Some companies do have advantages over other competitors, in terms of their experience, and service portfolio. With the intention to develop a better understanding of the overall potential and capabilities of industry players involved in this domain, we carried out a benchmarking analysis of the various stakeholders across different geographies.
Recently, in February 2020, Eurofins Discovery and PharmaResources, a leading CRO based in China, announced a commercial cooperation agreement to provide PharmaResources’ customers with expedited access to Eurofins Discovery’s pharmacology and ADMET portfolio to accelerate their client’s drug discovery timelines. Earlier in July 2019, SEKISUI XenoTech announced collaboration with the Drug Development Solutions Center to offer a full suite of ADME testing services. In May 2020, SEKISUI XenoTech received a US patent for an in vitro method to evaluate xenobiotics as immune-modulators of drug transport and metabolism For More Insights check out the report here
Cancer is considered to be the second leading cause of mortality, after cardiovascular diseases, accounting for every sixth reported death in the world. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) states that the number of new cancer cases is expected to grow to 27.5 million across the globe, by 2040. Experimental evidence has shown that defects in the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) repair machinery are one of the primary causes for both generation and maintenance of cancer. It is a well-known fact that DNA is the reservoir of genetic information in all cells. Defects in deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) repair have been shown to be one of the primary causes of cancer. Moreover, tumor cells that are characterized by impaired DNA repair pathways typically become reliant on alternative DNA repair pathways for survival. This phenomenon is commonly referred to as oncogene addiction.
What is the Basic Concept of Synthetic Lethality?
Inhibitors of such compensatory repair pathways have the potential to sensitize cancer cells to DNA damaging agents and other therapeutic regimens. On the other hand, the simultaneous inactivation of certain pairs of genes have been shown to cause cell death. This phenomenon is known as synthetic lethality. In cancers, where mutations have led to the loss of function of one gene, using a drug molecule that specifically targets the corresponding gene of the synlet pair has been demonstrated to be a viable and effective therapeutic regimen.
What is the recent activity on Social Media Platforms?
Further, recent activity on Twitter (2,100+ tweets) confirms the rising interest in this domain as stakeholders attempt to harness the therapeutic potential of synthetic lethality. In addition to PARP inhibitors / BRCA mutations, ATM, ATR, CHK1, KRAS and RAD51, are presently considered amongst the most prominent synlet targets, which are being investigated in the clinical stages of development. Further, CDK12, PI3K, PLK1, PTEN, SNF and WRN are synlet targets that are currently being evaluated in preclinical studies.
What are the most popular synlet targets being explored for drug development?
Significant advances in research have led to the discovery of a wide array of synlet targets; over time, substantial intellectual capital has been generated and validated by eminent scientists from renowned research institutes. Specifically, 55+ targets are already clinically / preclinically validated, while over 160 targets have been mentioned in various research publications (with no drug candidate so far).
Recent Approvals: Drug Watch 2020
It is worth noting that, till date, only four molecules have been marketed, namely olaparib (2014), rucaparib (2016), niraparib (2017) and talazoparib (2018). Recently, in April 2020, the USFDA approved GSK’s PARP inhibitor, niraparib, for expanded use as a maintenance therapy in advanced ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer patients in complete or partial response to frontline platinum-based chemotherapy. In January 2020, the USFDA granted priority review designation to a supplemental new drug application (sNDA) for olaparib as maintenance therapy in advanced ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer patients in complete or partial response to frontline platinum-based chemotherapy. In January 2020, NICE recommended olaparib for use in the NHS for BRCA-positive patients in the second-line, post-platinum-chemotherapy treatment setting for ovarian cancer. In January 2020, the USFDA granted fast track designation to Clovis Oncology’s rucaparib for prostate cancer. In addition, two molecules, veliparib (developed by AbbVie) and pamiparib (developed by BeiGene), are in phase III of development and are likely to reach the market in the near future.
How is the current and estimated opportunity segmented across key market segments?
The present market is driven by the sales generated by four approved PARP inhibitors, niraparib, olaparib, rucaparib and talazoparib. Future growth of the market is likely to be driven by the success of clinical outcomes of late-stage molecules; industry stakeholders are optimistic about the vast potential of PARP inhibitors.
To get detailed insights on the key players, synlet targets, funding and investment trends research landscape, recent developments and the likely market evolution, check out the report here
The concept of targeted protein degradation presents revolutionary drug development opportunities and is anticipated to bring about a paradigm shift in modern healthcare. While conventional medicines, such as small molecule inhibitors and monoclonal antibodies, address fewer than 20% of the proteome, targeted protein degradation offers a unique means to tap into the rest of the vast, unexplored proteome.
The science behind this innovation revolves around the use of specially designed small molecules that are capable of recruiting the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) to selectively eliminate a target protein, via proteolysis.
Over the years, significant progress has been made towards understanding the physiochemical and biological properties of these bifunctional molecules. In fact, a variety of other chemical entities and molecular glues have been developed for the treatment of a variety of clinical conditions. The growing popularity and interest in the therapeutic potential of these molecules is evident across modern scientific literature (500+ related articles on NCBI’s PubMed portal), and from social media chatter (4,000+ tweets posted on the platform, Twitter, over the last three years).
Current pipeline of targeted protein degradation-based drugs
During our research, we came across close to 90 targeted protein degradation-based therapeutics that are being investigated for a wide variety of application areas. The first targeted protein degrader, called proteolysis targeting chimera (PROTAC), was developed about a decade ago, and is currently accounting for more than 30% of the pipeline drugs. These are being developed primarily to treat advanced oncological disorders (such as acute myeloid leukemia, breast cancer, lung cancer, multiple myeloma, and prostate cancer). A few drugs are also being evaluated for the treatment of non-oncological indications.
ER+/HER2- is the most popular target protein, as per the current drug development focus in this domain. Specifically, in the clinical pipeline, about 10 drugs are being developed to target ER+/HER2-; examples include (in decreasing order of clinical phase of development) elacestrant (phase III), SAR439859 (phase II), G1T48 (phase I/IIa), LSZ102 (phase I/Ib), ARV-471 (phase I), AZD9833 (phase I), AZD9496 (phase I), D-0502 (phase I), GDC-9545 (phase I) and GDC0927 (phase I).
Most of the molecules that we came across are being evaluated as both monotherapies and combination therapies (56%), whereas around 26% are being investigated as monotherapies alone. Given that majority of the therapeutics are small molecules, the most preferred route for the delivery of targeted protein degradation-based therapeutics is oral route (over 85%), followed by the intravenous route (~11%).
During our research, we came across more than 60 clinical trials that have been registered across different geographical locations for evaluating targeted protein degradation-based therapeutics. Examples of the most active industry players in this domain include (in decreasing order of number of clinical trials) Celgene, Samus Therapeutics, Medivir, AstraZeneca, Radius Pharmaceuticals, Genentech, Sanofi, Arvinas, CellCentric, and InventisBio.
For further information on this emerging domain, check out the report here.
Over time, the complexities associated with drug discovery have increased, especially in case of large molecule drugs, which are inherently more complex than conventional small molecules. As a result, an increase in the overall research and development (R&D) expenditure in the pharmaceutical / biotechnology sector has been witnessed. In addition to the complexities involved, the drug discovery process is extremely demanding, both in terms of capital expenses and time.
What is the current market landscape of in silico service providers?
Around 40% of the companies claim to specialize in antibodies, proteins and peptides across different steps of drug discovery. Within the antibodies segment, nearly 60% of in silico service offerings are focused on the discovery of monoclonal antibodies. This is followed by companies providing services for antibody fragments (43%), bispecific antibodies (34%) and polyclonal antibodies (26%).
What are the novel computational techniques for the overall drug discovery process?
The integration of novel computational techniques, such as artificial intelligence and cloud-based platforms, with in silico approaches is likely to revolutionize the overall drug discovery process.
What is the likely cost saving opportunity associated with the use of in silico tools?
In silico drug discovery approaches have been estimated to save nearly 35% of the total cost involved in developing a new drug, resulting in growing demand for more efficient drug discovery services for large molecules. By 2030, we anticipate net, annual cost savings of over USD 23 billion to be brought about by the adoption of in silico tools in large molecule drug discovery processes. The computation approach also enables researchers to expedite the overall process, thereby, saving a significant amount of time, as well.
What are the popular business strategies being used by in silico drug discovery service providers?
Computational technologies have evolved significantly in the past few years. However, one of the key challenges faced by in silico drug discovery service providers is the lack of clarity on which business model should be adopted in order to maintain an edge in this highly competitive industry. In order to achieve success, it is highly important for service providers to choose a model / strategy (based on their current capabilities) that is not only beneficial for their business, but also provides various advantages to their partners (pharmaceutical companies / academic players). For instance, our proprietary analysis indicated that most of the players engaged in the in silico drug discovery services market are challenger firms. We believe that these players should continue to offer customized services to the clients and expand their services offerings for novel biologic classes.
Likely Growth of the In Silico Drug Discovery Services Market
North America and Europe are anticipated to capture over 75% of the market share by 2030. Within North America, US is anticipated to hold the 90% of the market share. It is worth mentioning that the market in Asia-Pacific region is anticipated to grow at a relatively faster rate (16.1%).
To get detailed insights about this market, check out the report here