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Ann Grey

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Industry Veterans Bring 360 Degree Insight to Developing Managed Market Solutions for Stakeholders

Trending Now: Customer-centric solutions address increasingly complicated market access challenges.

HealthSTAR Communications, a healthcare communications company, has launched Healthstar Market Access, a subsidiary created to deliver comprehensive, real-world, measurable, customer-centric solutions to increasingly complicated market access challenges in the industry. Healthstar Market Access is led by two well-known managed markets veterans, Scott Baxter, president, and Robert Poetsch, executive VP and general manager. Between them, the leadership provides a comprehensive understanding of managed markets, having held positions in the pharmaceutical/biotech, agency, and customer settings. This perspective allows for a true 360-degree view of market access dynamics enabling the development of strategies and programs that more accurately address stakeholder challenges.

Mr. Baxter joins the agency with almost 20 years of managed market experience in pharmaceuticals, starting his career at Merck-Medco, where he was manager of national accounts overseeing clients, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, Walmart, Boeing, Northwest Airlines, and the Department of Defense. Most recently, he was at Mosaic Managed Markets focusing on biologics and mastering perspective from both payers and nuanced distribution models.

“We will deliver smart strategy and excellent tactical execution, but most importantly, we’ll employ a nimbleness that will allow for real-time response and adjustments,” Mr. Baxter says.

Mr. Poetsch, who has almost 20 years of diverse experience in managed markets, starting at Medco and most recently leading Daiichi Sankyo, Boehringer Ingelheim/Pfizer’s Spiriva and Merck businesses at Mosaic Managed Markets.

“With today’s fluctuating healthcare environment due to healthcare reform, it is critically important for our customers to be delivering the right messages, in the right voice, to the right customer,” he says.

For more information, visit http://www.hsmarketaccess.com/history.html.

Publicis Touchpoint Solutions ­Expands Clinical Division
Publicis Touchpoint Solutions, a provider of customized, cross-channel, healthcare sales, service, and clinical teams, has expanded its clinical health education division, Touchpoint Clinical Solutions, with several new clinical teams comprising about 150 clinical health educators and medical science liaisons.

“As the focus on patient care and maintenance therapy increases, the role of the clinical professional continues to expand and become progressively more important,” says Diana Crawley, VP, Touchpoint Clinical Solutions.

Rick Keefer, president and CEO, Publicis Touchpoint Solutions adds, “The value proposition of clinical teams is compelling, and the industry is quickly embracing these types of programs. We partner with our clients to help them leverage the full value of engaging a clinical team and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.”
For more information, visit touchpointsolutions.com/clinicaled.html.

Moderna Launches Onkaido Therapeutics
Moderna Therapeutics, a pioneer in developing messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics, a revolutionary treatment modality to enable the in vivo production of therapeutic proteins, has launched Onkaido Therapeutics, a new venture focused exclusively on developing mRNA-based oncology treatments.

Onkaido Therapeutics launches with $20 million in committed capital from Moderna. The new company will focus initially on 15 pre-clinical drug candidates in the areas of apoptosis, central regulatory nodes, and immunotherapy. Several of these candidates are already under evaluation in in vivo disease models. By establishing Onkaido as a standalone unit, Moderna intends to accelerate the development of mRNA therapeutics for oncology and deliver the potential of these new cancer treatments to patients.

Stephen Hoge, M.D., senior VP, corporate development and new drug concepts at Moderna, takes on the added role of founding CEO for Onkaido, and Peter F. Smith, Ph.D., former head of non-clinical discovery and development at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, serves as founding chief scientific officer. For more information, visit modernatx.com.

Regeneron Launches New Human Genetics Initiative
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals has launched a new human genetics initiative via a new wholly owned subsidiary, the Regeneron Genetics Center (RGC). The objective of the RGC is to expand the use of human genetics for defining disease targets and improving the drug development process. The RGC will pursue both large population-based efforts as well as family-based approaches.

Central to the work of the RGC is a collaboration with the Geisinger Health System of Pennsylvania. A collaboration is also in place with the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health, and the center intends to develop relationships with other academic, government, and integrated medical systems.

“Regeneron has always believed in the power of genetics to help shape our understanding of disease and to guide development of novel therapeutics,” says George Yancopoulos, M.D., Ph.D., chief scientific officer and president, Regeneron Laboratories. “However, there have been major limitations that have prevented optimal utilization of human genetics at a large-scale. We believe that we can now address these limitations, and that now is the time to increase our investment in human genetics. Over the last year we have been building a world-class facility and top-notch team to carry out large-scale sequencing, and today we are announcing that our Regeneron Genetics Center is operational.

“We have also started to engage in collaborations that we believe will enable the kinds of genetics discoveries that will lead to better patient care, insights into which patients might best respond to investigational treatments, and leads for new disease targets to develop novel therapeutics,” he adds. “The relationship with Geisinger is a cornerstone of the effort we are building, which we believe can advance the goals of human genetics research and personalized medicine.”
For more information, visit regeneron.com.

Atlantic Bio Sci Using Crowdfunding to Support Autoimmune Project
Atlantic Bio Sci, a biotechnology company startup, has begun a crowd-funding project through Medstartr to “Help Control Autoimmune Disease Now.”

Autoimmune diseases affect 20 million to 50 million people in the United States, and according to recent studies these numbers are rising annually for unknown reasons. There is a lack of sufficient treatment options for chronic autoimmune diseases such as Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis (MS), systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjögren’s syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and others. Unfortunately, no disease modifying drugs are FDA approved for Type 1 diabetes or for primary progressive MS which means that once the autoimmune disease process starts, it cannot be stopped. For other autoimmune diseases that have FDA approved treatments the current marketed treatments are biologic drugs that are administered via injection. Although these drugs have decreased disease symptoms and slowed disease progression for some patients, they do not work for all patients and they often have undesirable side effects including leaving patients susceptible to infections and certain cancers.

This crowdfunding project will fund development of Atlantic Bio Sci’s lead oral drug candidate (ABS11) in pre-clinical studies of three autoimmune diseases chosen from Type 1 diabetes, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis/juvenile arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, colitis or Sjögren’s syndrome. If additional funds are raised, preparation for an FDA filing can begin which is required before clinical trials in patients can start. Each donation of any amount comes with rewards and allows backers to vote for the autoimmune disease they choose to be tested in the next Atlantic Bio Sci preclinical study. All donations will be used for drug development costs. No salaries are paid by Atlantic Bio Sci.
For more information, visit medstartr.com/projects/263-help-control-autoimmune-disease-now#about.

The Biotechnology and ­ Drug-Discovery Laboratory Opens
The Center for Healthcare Innovation at Stevens Institute of Technology has opened the Biotechnology and Drug-Discovery Laboratory. The lab opened January 2014 as a new biotechnology and drug discovery enterprise that is partnering with other Stevens faculty, students, and external academic and industry collaborators.

Established in part with a generous donation of equipment and supplies from Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. and support from the New Jersey Department of Labor, seven former Roche personnel with expertise in this area recently joined Stevens as faculty and researchers in this new initiative. Laboratory staff also include three new professors who have more than 90 years of combined R&D experience in pharmaceutical and biotech corporate laboratories.

According to Dr. Peter Tolias, professor and director of the Center for Healthcare Innovation, the Stevens Institute of Technology serves as a center for research in the areas of preclinical gene cloning and purification of therapeutic proteins, assay development and robotic drug screening, as well as provides industry collaborators with a local academic partner for research and workforce training.

“The new Stevens laboratory also furthers efforts to nurture entrepreneurship, contributes to maintaining New Jersey as a pharmaceutical and biotechnology hub, and positions Stevens as a premier research university and industry partner for biotechnology and drug discovery,” Dr. Tolias says.
For more information, visit stevens.edu/chi/biotech.

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