From the FasterCures blog: Funding for translational research at NIH | Report: Drugmakers need new ways to fill clinical trials | Researchers inch toward a vaccine for Alzheimer's disease
January 17, 2013
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NIH director: Sequestration would devastate medical research
Each of the NIH's 27 institutes and centers face disruptive cutbacks if Congress does not act by March 1 to reverse automatic budget cuts. A slowdown in NIH funding since 2004, along with inflation, has already reduced the agency's purchasing power and left it unable to fund promising research, says Director Francis Collins. Moreover, NIH funds flow across the country, and cutbacks would mean nationwide job losses, Collins said. Politico (1/16)
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News from FasterCures
From the FasterCures blog: Funding for translational research at NIH
This month, the National Institutes of Health will be accepting its first round of applications for a new funding opportunity focused on supporting collaborative translational research projects. Learn how this is helping the NIH realize its vision to transform the translational process for the benefit of patients in this article on the FasterCures blog.
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Science and Technology
Report: Drugmakers need new ways to fill clinical trials
While about 89% of clinical trials meet their enrollment goals, 48% of trial sites miss enrollment and timeline goals, according to the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development. About 90% of drugmakers and research organizations use conventional methods such as physician referrals and mass media advertising to enroll participants, and only about 14% use social media, online data mining and electronic health records to recruit participants. "The emergence of open innovation models, where scientists worldwide openly share knowledge, and novel partnerships and alliances hold significant promise to transform the nature, pace, and cost of new drug development," said Kenneth Kaitin, the center's research director. Pharmalot/Pharma blog (1/15), PharmaTimes (U.K.) (1/17)
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Researchers inch toward a vaccine for Alzheimer's disease
Researchers at Université Laval and GlaxoSmithKline are reporting success in using monophosphoryl lipid A to stimulate the nervous system's immune response to Alzheimer's disease in mice. Weekly injections of MPL over 12 weeks eliminated up to 80% of brain plaques and improved the mice's cognitive function, researchers say. GSK has used the molecule as a vaccine adjuvant for years. Salon (1/16)
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Drugmakers focus on rare diseases, genetic targets
More than 5,400 drug candidates are being tested in patients, including many for rare diseases and disorders for which no new drugs have been introduced in 10 or more years, according to a report sponsored by Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. Hundreds of drugs being studied target genetic variations or are based on genes or cloned antibodies. Yahoo/The Associated Press (1/16)
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Finance and Economics
NIH funds 4 early-stage Alzheimer's disease trials
The NIH will grant up to $55 million over five years for four clinical trials to test Alzheimer's disease drugs or the effects of exercise in patients who have amyloid plaques in their brains but no symptoms of the disease. Researchers at Brigham and ­Women?s Hospital will receive about $36 million for a three-year trial and will reach out to industry and charitable foundations to help fund the $140 million study. The Boston Globe (tiered subscription model) (1/15)
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KPCB 15 investment fund sticks with health care
About 20% of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers' $525 million KPCB 15 fund will be invested in health care, says partner Brook Byers. Investors would like to find "a therapeutics company that is a new paradigm, that could become a platform, that could develop multiple products, partner some, and keep some," Byers said. Targeted drugs, health care IT and medical devices are likely investment targets, Byers said. Xconomy (1/16)
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Venture capitalists flocked to medical devices last quarter
Investors sank some $1.99 billion into the health care sector in the last quarter of 2012, compared with $1.89 billion in the last quarter of 2011, according to a CB Insights report. Forty-two percent of the health care deals in the fourth quarter were in medical devices, 15% were in biotech, 13% in drug development and 10% in pharmaceuticals. Most investments were in late-stage deals, the survey found. (1/16)
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Society and Ethics
Big Pharma still struggles with patient engagement, survey finds
Many drugmakers who recruit clinical trial participants through patient groups never report trial results to the patient groups and sever ties once a generic version of the tested drug hits the market, PatientView CEO Alexandra Wyke says. "It's not just financial either," Wyke said. "It's about how to empower these groups, how to provide solutions beyond a simple funding offer." (1/15)
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TEDMED panel discusses patient engagement
Patients, as the end users of health care, need to be engaged as active users in their own care, agreed experts at a TEDMED panel that took questions from Facebook and Twitter as part of the discussion. "If it doesn't matter to the patient, the 'innovation' is not helpful," breast cancer activist AnneMarie Ciccarella said via Twitter. "Patient input is essential at all points in care." (1/11)
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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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