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Astellas Oncology Fifth Annual C3 Prize Winners

Astellas Oncology has named the winners of its 5th Annual C3 Prize(Changing Cancer Care), a global challenge that sparks cancer care innovations beyond medicine to advance ideas that make a big impact in the cancer community. The program awards up to $200,000 in grants and resources to help winners further advance their ideas.

Astellas Oncology named Dr. Omolola Salako, founder and CEO of Oncopadi, from Lagos, Nigeria, as this year’s C3 Prize Grand Prize Winner. Astellas will award $100,000 in grants and resources to advance her winning idea of a web and mobile app that connects cancer patients with specialists and hospitals, Dr. Salako, a radiation oncologist, was inspired to make a difference in the cancer community after her sister passed away from advanced kidney cancer. With the funds from the C3 Prize, Dr. Salako intends to expand the reach of Oncopadi, so that more people can connect with specialists and receive treatment earlier, before their cancer has progressed.

The C3 Prize Innovation Prize winners include: Dr. Valeria Arango Vélez and Lisa McKenzie. Dr. Vélez, founder of Healing Presents, from Medellín, Colombia, is an integrative oncologist who also personally experienced cancer. She developed a mind-body therapy app designed to help people to better cope with the daily emotional challenges of their cancer journey. Ms. McKenzie, New Orleans, La., founder of You Night Empowering Events, is an entrepreneur who witnessed the challenging emotional journey of cancer care after two good friends experienced cancer. She developed a virtual narrative therapy program that brings together small groups of women impacted by cancer to share their stories, with an emphasis on emotional healing after treatment.

“The C3 Prize started as a hopeful idea five years ago and has since become a transformative global initiative that embodies the Astellas Oncology central mission: to make every day better for people impacted by cancer,” says Mark Reisenauer, senior VP, oncology business unit, Astellas. “We are proud to support this year’s winning ideas, which have the potential to transform the cancer care experience for people across the world.”

W2O Becomes Real Chemistry

W2O, the healthcare marketing and communications company founded 20 years ago by Jim Weiss, CEO, has transformed into a unified health innovation company named Real Chemistry. After 20 years, this new chapter integrates 12 acquisitions to deliver data-driven, tech-enabled health marketing and communications solutions, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to company executives, Real Chemistry is designed to address the forces driving this disruption, including digitization, consumerization, and value-based care. Real Chemistry combines award-winning expert services in digital marketing, creative, and communications with clinical trial, health economics and outcomes, and value, pricing, and access advisory expertise. All of these expert services are powered by proprietary data and technology that deliver comprehensive health solutions for the challenges facing healthcare companies today.

“For 20 years, our work and our passion have been about making the world a healthier place for all,” Mr. Weiss says. “Innovation in healthcare has never been faster or more important. The pandemic has shown us that communication plays a more vital role than ever to ensure life-changing healthcare solutions get to the right person at the right time and place. That is why this moment is about so much more than a new name or approach. It’s about how our ethos of action, our two decades of intentional evolution, and our drive for constant improvement helped us create what we see as the real chemistry between people and the brands born to change their lives.”

The company is positioned to address the changing healthcare ecosystem, which is being driven by health and digital literacy, agency, and self-determination of care as patients increasingly take control of their own health. Because of the acceleration of change, Real Chemistry executives recognize it’s critical that information and services are delivered via intelligent technologies, with the goal of tailoring solutions to each individual at any place, time or context — from clinical trial design to treatment and ongoing health communication.

ICON Support of Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 Vaccine Trial

ICON, a global provider of outsourced drug and device development and commercialization services to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries, and government and public health organizations, provided clinical trial services to the Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine program.

ICON worked with 153 sites in the United States, Europe, South Africa, and Latin America to ensure the recruitment of more than 44,000 trial participants over a four-month period. ICON provided site training, document management, and operational support for patient informed consent form review, coordinated eConsent in most countries, and assisted with clinical supply management services.

Pfizer and BioNTech were the first to announce positive efficacy results from a Phase III, late-stage study of a COVID-19 vaccine and to receive Emergency Use Authorization in individuals 16 years of age or older from the FDA.

“We are proud to have supported Pfizer and BioNTech on one of the largest and most expeditious randomized clinical trials ever conducted, and to have helped accelerate their mission to develop the world’s first safe and effective investigational vaccine for COVID-19,” says Steve Cutler, CEO, ICON.
“Through close collaboration with Pfizer and BioNTech, we used a full suite of innovative approaches and technologies to support achieving fast site activation, patient recruitment, and remote and on-site monitoring, which enabled us to meet accelerated study timelines on the way to delivering high-quality data for regulatory approval. I’d like to thank all of the study team members from Pfizer, BioNTech, and ICON who collaborated so well. This trial has demonstrated the benefits of a strong sponsor/CRO partnership and has redefined industry expectations in terms of trial management and speed, while never compromising safety, quality, and integrity.”

In other company news, ICON has agreed to purchase PRA Health Sciences. The consolidation brings together two organizations with a history of robust growth and performance ready to build on this strength using the outstanding talent of both companies to deliver enhanced value to patients, customers, employees, and shareholders. The combination will address the growing market need for decentralized and hybrid trial solutions from a differentiated combination of mobile and connected health platforms, a global site network, home health services, and wearables expertise. The combined business will have formal strategic partnerships with a majority of the top 20 biopharma companies, providing a platform for growth and innovation.

Cardinal Health and eMed to Distribute Millions of At-Home COVID-19 Tests

eMed, a digital health company democratizing healthcare through digital point-of-care solutions, and Cardinal Health, a healthcare distributor, global manufacturer, and solutions provider, are collaborating to distribute millions of at-home COVID-19 rapid tests to pharmacies across the continental United States, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands.

“There is a significant need for affordable, easily accessible coronavirus testing in this country now and in the future,” says Dr. Patrice Harris, CEO of eMed. “This collaboration with Cardinal Health puts us closer to consumers, providing them with pickup options at convenient pharmacy locations they frequent, know, and trust.”

The tests require no additional equipment, are authenticated, and deliver results within minutes. The eMed tests will be distributed to pharmacies nationwide and be available for consumer pickup. Users will complete a questionnaire form at eMed.com, then present the completed form at a participating pharmacy to be evaluated by a pharmacist. Following a consultation with a pharmacist, they will receive a test for at-home administration if eligible.

“This collaboration will enable all pharmacies nationwide to offer convenient, at-home tests to their patients, and help protect against the further spread of COVID-19 in their communities,” says Victor Crawford, pharmaceutical segment CEO for Cardinal Health.

The Economic Cost of Rare Disease — $1 Trillion

A recent study from EveryLife Foundation estimated the economic cost of 379 rare diseases reached nearly $1 trillion in the U.S. in 2019. This unique and vulnerable population requires a personalized and patient-first approach that focuses on and customizes services for small patient populations.

The components to determine the total economic burden of rare diseases include direct medical costs, and indirect costs: productivity loss, nonmedical, and uncovered healthcare costs. All these components are necessary for inpatient or outpatient care physician visits, prescription medications, durable medical equipment, transportation, education costs, paid daily care and healthcare services not covered by insurance, and experimental treatments and medical foods, just to name a few.

According to Donovan Quill, CEO of Optime Care, a patient-first approach can deliver expertise to overcome the limitations of legacy care models and providing cost-effective programs. This streamlined approach includes financial advantages, assurance that products are properly and promptly distributed, and patient services designed to ensure compliance and quick, accurate reimbursement processing.(PV)


Telemedicine Fast Facts
20% — the total of all medical visits conducted last year via telemedicine
$29.3 billion — the financial value of telemedicine visits this year
38% — the increase in the number of physicians reporting telehealth as a skill from 2019 to 2020
57% — the increase in the number of Americans participating in at least one telemedicine visits since the coronavirus pandemic began

Source: Doximity Physician Network


Woman of the Week Podcast Series


Heidi Hunter, President, Cardinal Health Specialty Solutions
Amy DuRoss, CEO and Cofounder, Vineti
Michelle Hefley, Co-Founder, Managing Partner, Chairman, Optime Care
Dr. Joanne Quan, Chief Medical Officer, Modis Therapeutics, a Zogenix company
Dr. Susan Galbraith, Senior VP and Head of Research and Early Development, Oncology R&D, AstraZeneca
Sponsored by AstraZeneca


Contributed Article:
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Provided By: etectRx

Woman of the Week: A 2020 Anthology
Provided by: PharmaVOICE

Therapeutic Digest:
March: Endocrinology
Provided by: PharmaVOICE and ThinkGen

Webinars/Virtual Panels:
Live Virtual Panel: Emerging Safety Trends for COVID-19 Vaccines
April 29
Sponsored by: Covance

Next Gen Patient Services Models — Leveraging Innovative Technology to Increase Speed to Therapy and Better Serve Patients (On Demand)
Sponsored by: EVERSANA

How Medicaid URA Cap Removal Impacts Manufacturer Operations & the Drug Discount Landscape (On Demand)
Sponsored by: Kalderos

Partnering with Patients to Transform Rare Disease Research (On Demand)
Sponsored by: Parexel


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