Speaking of the future: Amazon Alexa and the voice-enabled app market for pharma and healthcare – Endpoints News

Speaking of the future: Amazon Alexa and the voice-enabled app market for pharma and healthcare – Endpoints News

Worried about that cough or wondering what different medications can be taken at the same time? Just ask Alexa. That’s what more and more people are doing as voice assistant uptake continues with healthcare use especially on the rise.
Voice assistants for healthcare jumped from just 7.5% of US adults using them two years ago to 21% in 2021, according to recent Voicebot research, and shakes out to more than 54 million people. The boost was likely aided by the Covid-19 pandemic when consumers turned to Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for answers at home – while at the same time, health and pharma companies were rolling out new voice solutions advancing AI initiatives. Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant and Echo is by far the leading platform in 70% of homes that use smart speakers.
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Count GSK in for the pneumococcal vaccine race.
The British pharma is wagering $2.1 billion in cash — plus up to $1.2 billion in milestones — to buy out Affinivax and its 24-valent pneumococcal vaccine candidate, now in Phase II, as well as the technology that gave birth to the shot.
“The proposed acquisition further strengthens our vaccines R&D pipeline, provides access to a new, potentially disruptive technology, and broadens GSK’s existing scientific footprint in the Boston area,” said outgoing R&D chief Hal Barron, who’s leaving in August to run the cell rejuvenation startup Altos Labs.
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In 2014, GSK faced two back-to-back Phase III flops for the heart drug darapladib it once hoped would be a blockbuster. Those failures effectively dimmed the light on the entire group of fatty acid enzyme inhibitors from which darapladib hailed.
Now, some eight years later, the pharma giant is shipping off a series of those Lp-PLA2 inhibitors to SciNeuro, a startup built by GSK’s former R&D head in Shanghai, Min Li — though the deal does not include darapladib. But SciNeuro is taking Lp-PLA2 inhibitors in a very different direction: Alzheimer’s.
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As Sanofi prepares to present its hemophilia A pitch to the FDA, regulators are acknowledging the potential of the Big Pharma’s experimental drug.
The agency granted breakthrough therapy designation to Sanofi’s factor VIII replacement therapy efanesoctocog alfa early Wednesday morning, roughly three months after the program read out positive Phase III data. It’s a boost for Sanofi and partner Sobi, who are trying to beat several gene therapies to market and take on Roche’s Hemlibra, among other prominent drugs from Bayer, Takeda and Novo Nordisk.
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Putting immuno-oncology front and center in its R&D strategy, Astellas has brought in a low-profile team to help hunt for its next wave of therapies.
Its partner of choice is a little biotech called GO Therapeutics, whose specialty is making antibody-based drugs that specifically target cancer glycoproteins. Whereas GO will be tasked with identifying antibodies to two targets, Astellas will be responsible for the subsequent research, clinical development as well as commercialization.
A pharmaceutical contract manufacturer that has been growing its presence in the US has secured itself a sizable contract from the US government.
Jubilant HollisterStier, a subsidiary of Singapore-based Jubilant Pharma Limited, has entered into a cooperative agreement for $149.6 million with the Army Contracting Command. The deal is also in coordination with the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (JPEO-CBRND) on behalf of BARDA.
Just when the pharma industry thought today’s $3 billion GSK buyout might kick off M&A season, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission said later in the afternoon they’re putting on a 2-day workshop in two weeks that will focus on “new approaches to enforcing the antitrust laws in the pharmaceutical industry.”
The virtual workshop will include a keynote from FTC commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, who has previously sought to block key pharma mergers and recently pulled together international partners from Canada, the UK and the EU, to identify concrete and actionable steps to review and update their analyses of pharma mergers. This workshop is the culmination of the work of this group of regulators, known collectively as the Multilateral Pharmaceutical Merger Task Force, the FTC said.
The prospect of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) paying for Biogen’s controversial Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm opened up a multi-billion-dollar can of worms late last year that CMS now says it won’t right until 2023, leaving the agency with little explanation for major premium and deductible increases for seniors this year.
Back in November 2021, CMS explained that Medicare Part B will have to increase its standard monthly premium — from $148.50 in 2021 to $170.10 in 2022 — in part because of the massive spending that could occur should the agency sign off on a national coverage decision for Aduhelm, and its $56,000 annual price tag next year.
Celebrity chef Michelle Bernstein is talking about her psoriatic arthritis for the first time in a Novartis-sponsored podcast with the National Psoriasis Foundation. Bernstein is a James Beard award-winning chef, TV cooking show host and Miami restauranteur whose career in the kitchen was jeopardized by her condition.
On the “Psound Bytes” podcast and in social media posts, Bernstein talks about her diagnosis more than 3 years ago – and never having heard of the condition until she was diagnosed. She was having trouble grasping pans and using cooking tools such as tongs at work, but used avoidance tricks to make sure others didn’t find out. Bernstein confided in her sister who suspected psoriatic arthritis.
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Roche just turned the spinal muscular atrophy race up another notch.
The Big Pharma company won another FDA approval for its oral SMA drug Evrysdi, though Tuesday’s green light comes for babies younger than two months old. It’s the first such approval for any SMA drug available to administer at home in this infant population.
“The approval of Evrysdi for pre-symptomatic babies is particularly important, as early treatment of SMA, before symptoms start to arise, can help babies to achieve motor milestones,” Phase II principal investigator Richard Finkel said in a statement.
Bioscience & Technology Business Center
The University of Kansas
Lawrence, Kansas
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