Medidata Acquires SHYFT Analytics

SHYFT CEO and Founder, Zack King.

Medidata has finalized their $195 million acquisition of SHYFT Analytics in order to create a force that will manage and optimize value across the clinical and commercial continuum. The new Intelligent Platform for Life Sciences will offer pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device companies a single platform that delivers market-leading applications, services, and proven data science capabilities, powered by the largest global pool of research data, third-party commercial data, and real-world data sources.

“SHYFT and Medidata share a common vision to transform how life sciences companies harness the value of data to advance enterprise decision-making and patient outcomes,” tweeted SHYFT CEO and Founder, Zack King. “Our talented team has had great success delivering value to the industry, and our combined technology will create something unique that will unlock enormous opportunities for our customers. We are thrilled to be joining forces with Medidata to further execute our mission to advance healthcare through analytics.”

Together, Medidata and SHYFT plan to enhance drug and device discovery, development, and commercialization by accelerating the regulatory approval process, minimizing risk with development and commercialization strategies, and optimizing outcomes for patients and providers with more precise drug therapies. The acquisition is set to close in the second quarter of 2018.

TG Therapeutics and Novimmune Partner to Fight B-Cell Cancers

TG Therapeutics and Novimmune SA have entered into a global collaboration to develop and commercialize the latter company’s novel first-in-class anti-CD47/anti-CD19 bispecific antibody known as TG-1801. The drug’s main target is hematologic B-cell malignancies, designed to target and deplete B-cells via multiple mechanisms that are not yet on the market. “We are delighted to see our first bispecific antibody move forward into the clinic with an experienced partner in the field of hematological malignancies, and to provide proof of principle for our completely novel approach,” said Chairman and Chief Executive Eduard Holdener of Novimmune in a statement. TG-1801 is expected to be the first anti-CD47 bispecific antibody worldwide that will go into clinical trials, which are expected to begin later this year or early in 2019.

Bayer Launches Hypertension Patient Support Program

Bayer’s myMentor website is a virtual support group for those who have just been diagnosed with hypertension. A new patient is able to view a mentor’s age, race, and gender so that everyone is able to find someone they can relate to and feel comfortable speaking with. Aleksandra Vlajnic, MD, Bayer’s VP of Medical Affairs says, “Our hope is that myMentor will provide an additional layer of support and emotional reassurance.”

Intouch Launches New Parent Group to Better Meet the Needs of Life Sciences Marketers

Intouch Solutions has announced a new organization of six affiliates that represents the agency’s diverse suite of capabilities and depth of service offerings. Intouch Group provides strategic and creative services, media planning and buying, enterprise technology solutions, and data analytics to global clients. “Our clients have been asking for us to align our operations to reflect our vast expertise and depth of service offerings,” Faruk Capan, CEO, Intouch Solutions, said in a statement. “We have achieved that goal with these changes, while maintaining our culture of collaboration and teamwork. Ultimately, this structure allows us to compete at a new level, and be seen as the powerhouse organization we are.”

The new Intouch Group is comprised of:

  • Intouch Solutions and Intouch Proto: Full-service creative agencies.
  • Intouch International: A full-service global agency and joint venture with Healthware International.
  • Intouch Media: A full-service media agency.
  • Intouch B2D: A technology and production services hub.
  • Intouch Analytics: A full-service analytics practice.

Intouch Group will be manned by 700 employees and maintain the same dedication to digital life sciences marketing excellence and an expanding ability to provide unique services to clients as the need arises.

8,000 AbbVie Employees Volunteer with the Heart of America Foundation

AbbVie employees will pitch in once again during the Heart of America Foundation’s fifth annual “Week of Possibilities” volunteer program. In more than 50 countries, approximately 8,000 employees will give 36,000 service hours in communities where they live and work, completing hands-on volunteer projects that enhance education and opportunities for the underserved.

Since 2014, AbbVie has helped make the “Week of Possibilities” a reality. In the beginning, the aim of the program was to help those without proper access to education in their home city of Chicago. Now, the AbbVie Foundation’s reach has spread to over 50 countries and it will be providing more than 12,000 students in more than 20 schools with refreshed and refurbished learning, meeting, and playing spaces in the United States alone this year.

According to Heart of America, studies have shown that poorly maintained schools communicate to children that they are not a priority, and these children have lower self-esteem, lower achievement, and lower overall participation in school and community affairs. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) rates the condition of U.S. public schools as “D+”, with an estimated $38 billion annual underinvestment in K-12 facilities needed to provide “healthy, safe, and modern learning environments.” AbbVie has expressed its dedication to addressing this need for the fifth year in a row. Because the AbbVie Foundation has impacted nearly 19 million lives around the world since it was established in 2014, The Civic 50 recognizes AbbVie as one of the most community-minded companies in America.

“Over the past five years, AbbVie employees have given their time, talent, and resources to build strong communities and improve and rejuvenate education spaces. These efforts in our hometown and around the world have achieved tremendous and inspiring results,” said Richard A. Gonzalez, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, AbbVie, in a statement. “I am exceedingly proud of our employees’ generosity and dedication to transforming education and strengthening our communities.”

Pfizer Rolls Back Drug Hikes

After Trump called out Pfizer for recent drug price hikes, the administration and the global leader in big pharma have been trying to work out a compromise that has resulted in Pfizer conceding to defer its new prices until the government provides it long-awaited drug pricing blueprint or until the end of the year, whichever comes first. Democrats especially are wondering what contributed to the groundbreaking decision.

Senator Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, wants to know if Pfizer will be receiving any special treatment from the Trump administration in exchange for the delay. In letters to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Pfizer CEO Ian Read, Wyden asked for specifics about which price hikes will be deferred, what the administration specifically agreed to in exchange for the delay, and an estimate for lost revenue due to the delay.

Senator Ron Wyden, D-Oregon

Wyden is concerned that the recent talks, while they might provide an immediate, positive result for patients, may violate the federal non-interference clause. In an accompanying statement, Sen. Wyden said that “secret, sweetheart arrangements with pharmaceutical companies are exactly why America’s drug pricing system is broken.”

Mayo Clinic Seeks to Prove the Value of Blockchain with Medicalchain Collaboration

Medicalchain and Mayo Clinic have entered into a joint working agreement that they believe will provide U.S. healthcare with the security it needs via the blockchain crypto system. The two organizations share a vision to develop blockchain services for immediate problems that healthcare systems face today, such as data security, fragmentation, high costs, and lack of patient centricity. “We are thrilled to be working with Mayo Clinic,” Dr. Abdullah Albeyatti, CEO of Medicalchain, said in a statement. “Mayo Clinic will provide their world-class healthcare and health IT expertise, while Medicalchain will provide our knowledge of blockchain and crypto. Together we will work on several use cases using blockchain-based electronic health records. There’s a lot of opportunity out there, and we feel this working agreement will be of benefit to all healthcare stakeholders.”

Women Are a Tough Target for Marketers

Pharma marketers have always had a difficult time marketing to women since they are proven to prioritize their own health after their family’s health. A recent survey of more than 1,000 women from GCI Health, HealthyWomen, and REDBOOK magazine, finds that while 83% of women direct their family’s health decisions, fewer than half are willing or able to make time for their own health check-ups. And 77% say their job schedule is the reason they don’t have time to get regular screenings or check-ups. GCI Health CEO Wendy Lund says that marketers can address women’s time-crunched information-seeking health queries by being prompt and succinct.

“The good news is that these women are open to self-help expertise. In the time they do have, they are actively seeking information,” she said. “It is critical that pharma marketers understand everything these women have going on in their lives so they can effectively communicate with them and educate them.”

Lund believes it’s time for pharma marketers to accept that women are wise to place their family’s needs before their own. The conversation for bettering their health should be shifted towards the quickest and easiest ways to do so rather than a push to make women make more time for themselves than they are able.

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