Industry Briefs September 2016

Shire and Jennifer Aniston partner on Eyelove


Eyelove has emerged after the partnership between Jennifer Aniston and Shire plc. The educational campaign is intended to shine light on chronic dry eye, which affects over 16 million adults in the United States, most commonly affecting women and older people. Commonly reported symptoms include burning, itchy, stinging or gritty feeling, blurred vision, redness, and watery eyes making daily tasks such as driving or reading difficult. New York City will host the “eyelove art project” at the High Line on Friday, October 7th from 9 AM to 6 PM and Saturday, October 8th from 11 AM to 7 PM.

Aetna Also to Leave Obamacare in 2017

One of the country’s major insurers, Aetna, recently announced that it will no longer offer individual insurance products in roughly two-thirds of 778 counties, according to the New York Times. This follows similar and recent announcements by large insurers including Humana and UnitedHealthcare—all of which will deal a heavy blow to the Affordable Care Act.

Mark T. Bertolini, the Chairman and CEO of Aetna said the company suffered “total pre-tax losses of more than $430 million since January 2014 in individual products.” He added, “Individuals in need of high-cost care” make up a disproportionate share of enrollment in the company’s marketplace plans, and that the federal government is not adjusting its payments adequately to account for costs. In July, the Justice Department filed suit to block a proposed acquisition of Humana by Aetna.

“Aetna may not like the Justice Department’s decision to challenge its merger, and it has every right to fight that decision in court,” Senator Elizabeth Warren, (D-MA) said in a recent Facebook post, according to NYT. She added, “The health of the American people should not be used as bargaining chips to force the government to bend to one giant company’s will.” Of course this will have broad implications for pharma and pharma marketers.

Cancer Dream Team Emerges

Stand Up To Cancer and St. Baldrick’s Foundation and are working together on a collaboration titled SU2C-St. Baldrick’s Pediatric Cancer Dream Team, which intends to analyze and connect genomics and immunology with the goal of developing successful curative therapies under the formula discovery, development, and clinical trials. “The SU2C-St. Baldrick’s Pediatric Dream Team has brought together the two most promising arenas in childhood cancer,” says Dr. Crystal L. Mackall, “and we think we are revolutionizing the approach to this group of diseases.”

Stopping the Chikungunya Mosquito

Hawaii Biotech is working on developing a vaccine targeted to fight the viruses contracted by the bite of the Chikungunya mosquito, which include dengue and Zika. No current vaccine prevents these viruses, especially in tropical areas. The most commonly reported symptoms are fever and joint pain, and others include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, and rash.

Hawaii Biotech is working alongside of Baylor College of Medicine and the Sabin Vaccine Institute. “We’re thrilled to partner with Hawaii Biotech on this important vaccine. Chikungunya, like Zika, is infecting large populations in Latin America, the Caribbean region, and has begun in Texas. This is a disease that will be endemic to the Western Hemisphere for years to come,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor and president of Sabin Vaccine Institute.


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