Industry Briefs June 2015

Bayer Names “Breathless Moments” Winner


A beautiful sunset photo taken by NJ-resident Patricia Middings won Bayer’s “Breathless Moments” campaign, which invited photographers to showcase “inspirational events, sights or moments in time that can take a person’s breath away,” according to a company spokesperson. Bayer’s objective was to raise awareness about chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) through public relations and social media.

Professional Television Network Adopts New Name

Professional Television Network recently changed its name to Healthcasts, LLC. The new name better reflects its ongoing evolution as a highly personalized, interactive educational platform for healthcare professionals including physician content delivered across multiple devices used by today’s clinicians use.

“From the beginning, our commitment has been to create a relationship with our physician members so we can provide them with an educational experience that best serves their changing needs,” John Theobald, Healthcasts’ Chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “Our unparalleled research and data analytics has driven our evolution over the years, allowing us to have a better understanding of the physicians we serve.”

HIV/AIDS a Top Priority for GSK

A cure for HIV/AIDS is the focus of a collaboration between GSK and the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. The two organizations will form a new company called Qura Therapeutics and launch an “HIV Cure Center” in Chapel Hill. The HIV Cure center will focus exclusively on finding a cure for HIV/AIDS, while Qura Therapeutics will handle the business side of the partnership including intellectual property, commercialization, manufacturing and governance.

“In the next five to 10 years we should gain more knowledge around the various mechanisms that could contribute to a cure and maybe in the next 10 to 20 years we can really bring these modalities together,” Zhi Hong, head of GlaxoSmithKline’s infectious diseases therapy area unit, told Reuters.

Personalized Medicine for CD, Diabetes and Asthma

AstraZeneca is expanding its personalized medicine efforts into cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and asthma by entering an agreement with Abbott Laboratories and, in a separate deal, collaborating with the Montreal Heart Institute (MIH).

Under the collaboration, AstraZeneca and MIH will screen samples of up to 80,000 patients for genes associated with cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, while uncovering the genetic traits linked to better treatment outcomes. Under the Abbott agreement, Abbott will work to develop companion diagnostic tests to identify patients with severe asthma who are most likely going to benefit from AstraZeneca’s investigational biological therapy tralokinumab.

Moderna Launches New Venture Company for Rare Diseases

Moderna Therapeutics announced the launch of Elpidera LLC, a company dedicated to the advancement of messenger RNA (mRNA)-based medicines for the treatment of rare diseases. The company will draw from Moderna’s mRNA platform to create new therapies to address diseases in small patient populations and severe unmet medical needs. The company, the third in a series of venture companies created by Moderna, will be led by Dr. Greg Licholai who is an industry leader with vast experience in drug development, rare diseases and R&D innovation.


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