First published on PharmaVoice
Johnson & Johnson has announced a comprehensive 10-year initiative in support of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal target of ending the TB pandemic by 2030. With the goal of saving an estimated 1.8 million lives and preventing 12 million new TB infections in the next decade, J&J will work with partners to improve detection of undiagnosed cases of TB, broaden access to its novel medicine for multidrug-resistant TB, and accelerate R&D to discover next-generation TB treatments.
In Memoriam: Christine Pierre
Christine Pierre, an industry leader in the site arena, sadly passed away in October.
Christine represented the site community globally through hundreds of speaking engagements and research articles published in her name. Her contribution to furthering the sustainability of clinical research sites is unmatched. Having grown from 12 attendees to almost 1,000, the Global Site Solutions Summit is now recognized as the leading conference representing clinical research sites and is just one component of the work she has contributed to advancing clinical research. Christine dedicated almost three decades of her life to advancing the work and voice of clinical research sites. With this passion and vision, she conceptualized the first Site Solutions Summit in 2006 and founded the Society for Clinical Research Sites in 2012.
For her many contributions, inspired leadership, and passion, Christine was recognized as a PharmaVOICE Red Jacket in 2016., PharmaVOICE @Industry Events and RARE Patient Advocacy Summit
Global Genes honored the 2018 award recipients at the 7th Annual RARE Patient Advocacy Summit. More than 200 individuals and organizations worldwide were nominated by their peers for a RARE Champion of Hope award for their notable efforts in rare disease advocacy, teen advocacy, science, medical care, and treatment and collaborations. The summit is the largest gathering of rare disease patients, advocates, and thought leaders worldwide. More than 100 experts in rare disease led 40 educational sessions.
Wings Over Wall Street
Wings Over Wall Street’s (WOWS) annual benefit recognized Chef, Stephan Bogardus and Owner Claudia Fleming of the renowned North Fork Table & Inn. When Claudia’s husband, Gerry Hayden, was diagnosed with ALS, Stephan became his mentor’s hands at the restaurant.
WOWS raises critical funds to support the daily care and treatment of thousands of patients, families, and caregivers, and funds researchers and doctors seeking to advance treatments and cures.
Wings Over Wall Street is one of the most successful Muscular Dystrophy Association benefits to fund research to find a cure for ALS.
A New New Era of Patient-Focused Innovation
NORD’s annual meeting drew more than 800 individuals to Washington, D.C. The focus of this year’s summit — A New Era of Patient-Focused Innovation — was examined from a variety of perspectives throughout the conference. This year, senior officials from the FDA and NIH and more than 85 speakers and roundtable discussion leaders discussed how patients are helping drive research and drug development, the impact of grassroots advocacy, what can be learned from advances in cancer therapies, patient perspectives on gene therapy, current topics from the FDA, and what’s ahead for orphan drug development and more.
Merck Foundation Launches Song to Raise Awareness about Male Infertility
Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, has launched a song, Life is Bigger, to break the stigma around infertility in Africa as part of Merck More Than a Mother community awareness campaign. The song was written and is performed by Tom Close, a doctor and singer from Rwanda. Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and president of Merck More Than a Mother explains, “The song communicates an important message to the society that not only women but men too can be the cause of infertility. It also speaks about the stigma attached to infertility.”
There is a growing urgency for CRO expertise in early phase clinical research, i.e., first-in-human through proof of concept, finds a recent survey by Worldwide Clinical Trials. The percentage of respondents who were either likely or very likely to engage a CRO grew most sharply for early phase investigations, up 8% — from 55% in 2016 to 63% in 2017. Other findings:
There is stable growth in the overall demand for CROs — 68% of respondents said they were much more likely to hire a CRO than they were five years ago, in comparison to 65% in 2016.
Data quality tops the list of CRO evaluation criteria. In both 2016 and 2017, the most important factor in choosing a CRO was the ability to deliver high-quality data — with 92% in 2017.
Sponsors are looking for CROs that provide innovative solutions; 36% of respondents ranked overall trial management as the area that can make the greatest impact for the sponsor/CRO relationship.
Sponsors continue to push for clinical trial efficiencies. In fact, 74% still said costs are significant or very significant to new drug development.
Lifebox Launches Surgical Safety Campaign to Raise Awareness among Clinicians
The international nonprofit organization Lifebox has been making surgery safer for millions of patients throughout the world. Founded in 2011 by four of the world’s leading medical organizations with surgeon and writer Atul Gawande as its chairperson, Lifebox’s mission is to improve surgical safety in low-resource countries.
Lifebox has teamed up with healthcare advertising agency precisioneffect to launch the “Deadliest Conditions” campaign. This new surgical safety initiative aims to raise awareness among U.S. surgeons about the challenges that their peers in low-resource countries are up against, such as lack of electricity and basic surgical tools that can mean life or death for their patients. The campaign launched as surgeons gathered at the American College of Surgeons annual meeting in Boston in October, Dr. Atul Gawande spoke on the impact that a simple checklist — developed 10 years ago by the World Health Organization (WHO) — has had on surgical safety around the world, reducing complications and deaths by one-third.
Jounce Therapeutics Founder Receives Nobel Prize
Dr. James P. Allison, the scientific founder of Jounce Therapeutics, a clinical-stage company focused on the discovery and development of novel cancer immunotherapies and predictive biomarkers, was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation. He played a fundamental role in ushering in the era of cancer immunotherapy, including his contributions to the understanding of the basic science of CTLA-4. There are CTLA-4 inhibitors on the market, including BMS’ Yervoy.
Additionally, Japan doctor Tasuku Honjo won the 2018 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work on the PD-1 protein that is expressed on T-cells. PD-1 inhibitors are now key lynchpins in the pipelines of several companies, particularly Merck and its leading drug Keytruda and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo.
Merck Named to Time’s Genius Companies List
Time magazine has named Merck to its list of genius companies that are driving progress. Time’s global editors and correspondents nominate businesses that are inventing the future. Then the staff evaluates candidates on key factors, including originality, influence, success, and ambition.
Additionally, Project HOPE has honored Merck for its outstanding contributions in global health and humanitarian relief at the medical NGO’s 60th anniversary Gala.
Pharma Companies Recognized by Working Mother
Several pharmaceutical companies — including Abbott, Astellas Baxter, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson, Lilly, Merck, Novo Nordisk, Roche, Sanofi, and Takeda — have been named to Working Mother magazine’s 2018 100 Best Companies list.
The magazine honors organizations annually that lead in the areas of female career advancement. Companies are recognized for their forward-thinking initiatives that foster workplace flexibility, the advancement of women, maternity/paternity leave, child care support, and more.
Spectrum Named Medium PR Firm of the Year
Spectrum Science Communications, an independent health and science public relations agency, has been named PR News’ 2018 Medium PR Firm of the Year. This win comes during a pivotal year for the firm, during which it introduced Galileo6 as its first product, welcomed six senior hires into newly formed roles, and completed its sale to President and CEO Jonathan Wilson ahead of schedule.