FasterCures responds to release of 21st Century Cures Act discussion draft | Value and Coverage program welcomes new advisory council | Biogen teams up with Google on MS research project
January 29, 2015
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Lawmakers release first draft of 21st Century Cures bill
House lawmakers released the first draft of a bill aiming to streamline medical research. Proposals include increased funding for the NIH's National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences and for the Common Fund, expanding NIH authority to fund high-risk, high-reward research, streamlining the grant process, supporting more young scientists, expanding compassionate use programs and incorporating patient feedback into the FDA's regulatory approval process. Another proposal in the package would create public-private research consortia, which is "how you get the NIH and FDA to link arms," said FasterCures Executive Director Margaret Anderson. Health Data Management (1/29), Nature (free content) (1/28), (1/27)
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News from FasterCures
FasterCures responds to release of 21st Century Cures Act discussion draft
Earlier this week, the 21st Century Cures Act discussion draft was released by the U.S. House of Representatives Energy & Commerce Committee. The result of nearly a year's worth of listening and learning from the biomedical and patient communities, this draft legislation aims to streamline and modernize the discovery, development and delivery of new therapies to patients. FasterCures congratulates Chairman Fred Upton and Rep. Diana DeGette for their leadership to address entrenched systemic challenges that slow medical progress. Read more.
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Value and Coverage program welcomes new advisory council
FasterCures today announced the formation of its Value and Coverage Advisory Council, a diverse group of nine experts who will provide guidance on fostering a coverage and reimbursement environment that incentivizes biomedical innovation and ensures that patients have meaningful access to life-saving therapies. Representing varied interests -- including patient groups, industry and payers -- they share a common goal of ensuring that patient perspectives are captured and used to inform coverage decisions. Find out more about the Value and Coverage program.
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Science and Technology
Biogen teams up with Google on MS research project
Google and Biogen are launching a joint project to identify environmental and biological factors that contribute to multiple sclerosis. The companies will use sensors, software and data analysis tools to gather and analyze data from MS patients. (1/29), Bloomberg (1/27)
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How to make precision medicine work
A precision medicine initiative announced by President Barack Obama in his State of the Union address might kick-start dormant projects to build a national database of genetic profiles, two National Academy of Sciences panelists say. Neither public nor private health insurance typically covers genetic testing, but according to biologist Keith Yamamoto, vice chancellor of research at the University of California, San Francisco's medical school, routine testing could reduce overall health care spending because insurers could stop paying for drugs that will be ineffective in certain patients. The FDA would also have to change how it approves drugs, says Lynn Etheredge, director of the Rapid Learning Project. Reuters (1/28)
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Finance and Economics
Study: JOBS Act accelerates flow of IPOs
Since the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act was enacted in 2012, it has boosted the rate of startup IPOs by 25% over 2001-2011 levels, according to a study by the University at Buffalo School of Management. Pharmaceutical and biotech firms account for two-thirds of such deals. (1/28)
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Obama proposes increased funding to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria
President Barack Obama will request $1.2 billion in his budget proposal to better monitor and treat antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Under the proposal, the NIH and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority would receive $650 million to develop new drugs and diagnostics. The CDC would receive $280 million for disease tracking of outbreaks of drug-resistant infections, and the FDA would receive $47 million for new drug reviews and livestock monitoring. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (1/27)
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Streamlined FDA procedures stimulate VC drug investment
Venture capitalists are accelerating their investment in drug development as a result of changes in the FDA's approval process, an industry analyst says. Data from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association indicate that venture capital investment in the sector increased 29% last year. (Philadelphia)/PhillyDeals blog (1/26)
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U.S. to donate $1B for international immunization efforts
The U.S. pledged to give $1 billion over the next four years to GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, to help the group expand vaccination efforts for children in developing countries. "This is part of our goal of ending preventable child deaths," said Katie Taylor, interim child and maternal survival coordinator for the U.S. Agency for International Development. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (1/26)
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Policy and Regulation
Bill would call for higher government medical research funding
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill, has introduced a bill that would boost research funding for the NIH, the CDC and other U.S. agencies. The American Cures Act would require the government to increase the research budgets of these agencies by at least 5% per year. Durbin said the drop in research funding is a threat to the nation's position as a scientific innovation leader. The Hill (1/28)
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Mason to become ONC's CMO
Dr. Thomas Mason will succeed Dr. Jacob Reider as the chief medical officer of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT. Mason is the chief medical informatics officer for the Cook County Health and Hospitals System's Ambulatory & Community Health Network, where he supervised the deployment of an outpatient EHR platform. "Tom, as am I, is a huge champion for advancing a person-centered, interoperable, learning health system that results in better care, better quality and better outcomes for individual, community and population health," said National HIT Coordinator Dr. Karen DeSalvo. Healthcare Informatics online (1/28)
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Society and Ethics
Opinion: Data will drive life sciences industry to accountable care
Health care providers are undergoing a transition from a fee-for-service model to one based on value and outcomes, but drug and device makers are still in the "sick care" business, writes Kyle Samani, CEO of smart glasses developer Pristine. "The road to better measurement of product efficacy may lie with embedded sensors ... [that] capture data 100 or even 1000 times per day, rather than weekly or monthly during physician office visits," Samani writes. Data from sensors embedded in drugs and medical devices would allow for precise treatments tailored for each patient, Samani writes. HIT Consultant (1/26)
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FasterCures is an action tank that works across sectors and diseases to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the medical research enterprise. FasterCures, a center of the Milken Institute, is nonpartisan and independent of interest groups.
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