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Philippines' Medical Tourism, Ghent a MedTech Capital, Genesis Medtech in China, Sandoz's Rights to SB17, FDA Warns 8 Eye Care Companies, 2seventy's major layoffs
Free daily briefing for medical tourism, medtech, and general heathcare industry news.
Philippines DOT Boosts Medical Tourism for Growth
The Department of Tourism (DOT) in the Philippines is actively promoting medical tourism as a strategic growth segment in collaboration with industry stakeholders. They aim to focus on aesthetics, aging, and wellness sectors to capitalize on the industry's expected compound annual growth rate of 32.51% from 2022 to 2023. Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco emphasized the importance of elevating the Philippines' competitiveness in medical aesthetics and wellness to position it as a preferred global destination. The DOT has identified medical tourism as a priority in its National Tourism Development Plan, and recent partnerships, such as one with the Agora group, reflect the commitment to the growth of the industry.
Ghent, a MedTech Capital?
Ghent, Belgium, is emerging as a European technology capital, driven by its thriving healthtech cluster. The city boasts a robust ecosystem of academic institutions, research centers, and healthcare facilities. Key players include VIB, a biotech institute focusing on molecular mechanisms, Ghent University, renowned for medical sciences, and UZ Ghent, conducting clinical experiments and gene therapy research.
Flanders.bio fosters collaboration within the healthtech sector, while imec specializes in integrated circuits, smart health solutions, and life sciences, merging digital technology with life sciences. Imec.istart, their business accelerator, supports tech startups. Spin-offs from these entities like Ablynx and Confo Therapeutics have made significant breakthroughs in therapies.
Ghent also hosts platforms like GATE, which connects researchers, industry, and clinicians for advancements in gene, cell, and tissue engineering. The city is a hub for CAR-T therapy and autoimmune disease expertise. Newer startups like Ontoforce and IntelliProve are integrating data and AI in healthcare. Overall, Ghent's healthtech scene offers promising investment opportunities, combining biotech, medtech, digital health, and pharmaceuticals to shape a brighter future as a European technology capital.
Read the full article by LabioTech here.
Medtech Leads AI Innovation with Surging Patent Applications
The medical technology (medtech) sector is leading in AI innovation, with a significant increase in AI-based patent applications, according to a report by intellectual property firm Marks & Clerk. The number of AI patent applications in the medtech sector nearly quadrupled between 2018 and 2022, reaching 2,771 applications. This growth exceeded the overall AI sector's year-on-year percentage increase between 2014 and 2021. While AI-based medical imaging and diagnostics had the most applications in 2022, AI-based drug discovery saw a decline, possibly due to technology maturation or concerns over patentability. The report also highlights the global influence of AI in the medtech industry, with increased filings coming from Asia, especially China.
Genesis MedTech Introduces China's First NMPA-Approved Antibacterial Sutures for Surgical Site Infection Prevention
Genesis MedTech, a leading medical device company based in Singapore, has received approval from China's National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) for its innovative antibacterial sutures. These sutures are coated with triclosan, a powerful antimicrobial agent that effectively combats various bacteria, including MRSA, reducing the risk of surgical site infections. The company's CEO, Warren Wang, expressed excitement about this milestone, emphasizing their commitment to advancing healthcare through innovative products.
Centinel Spine Sells Spinal Fusion Business to Silony Medical, Shifts Focus to Disc Replacement
Centinel Spine, a medical device manufacturer based in Pennsylvania, has announced the sale of its spinal fusion product portfolio to Switzerland's Silony Medical International. This strategic move allows Centinel to shift its focus towards the sales of total disc replacement devices, aiming to gain a larger market share. The transaction includes Centinel's cervical and lumbar fusion products, such as the STALIF platform. Silony Medical sees this acquisition as an opportunity to challenge established players in the spinal fusion market, strengthening its technological capabilities and global reach. The transaction is expected to close within 45 days as both companies position themselves for growth in the evolving medical device industry.
General Healthcare News:
Sandoz Secures Exclusive Rights to Samsung Bioepis' Biosimilar to J&J's Stelara as Spin-Off Approaches
Sandoz, a division of Novartis, has signed a development and commercialization agreement with Samsung Bioepis for SB17, a biosimilar to Johnson & Johnson's Stelara. This deal grants Sandoz exclusive commercialization rights for SB17 in the U.S., Canada, Switzerland, U.K., and the European Economic Area. The financial terms of the agreement remain undisclosed. Sandoz aims to enhance its immunology patient offerings and expand its biosimilar portfolio, which includes in-house assets and partnerships with other companies. This agreement comes as Sandoz prepares for a spin-off into a separate entity, pending approval from Novartis shareholders, and follows the upcoming expiration of patent protections for a key molecule in Stelara's formulation.
FDA Issue Warning Letters to 8 Eye Products Companies
Yesterday, the FDA has issued warning letters to eight companies for marketing unapproved eye products that claim to treat conditions like conjunctivitis, cataracts, and glaucoma. These products are illegal and may pose health risks, particularly those containing silver, which can lead to skin and eye discoloration. The FDA is urging consumers to consult with healthcare professionals if they have used these products and is taking legal actions against the companies involved, including product seizure and import alerts.
These eight companies are:
DR Vitamins, LLC dba DR Vitamin Solutions
Natural Ophthalmics, Inc.
TRP Company, Inc
Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.
FDA Questions Efficacy of Alnylam's Patisiran for Cardiomyopathy Treatment
The FDA has raised concerns about the efficacy of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals' drug, patisiran (Onpattro), for the treatment of cardiomyopathy associated with transthyretin amyloidosis (ATTR-CM). This comes ahead of an FDA advisory committee meeting scheduled for September 13. Although Alnylam's APOLLO-B study met its primary and secondary endpoints with statistically significant results, the FDA questioned the clinical meaningfulness of these outcomes, particularly in relation to patients on background therapy with tafamidis. The FDA has requested the advisory committee's input on whether patisiran provides a clinically meaningful treatment option for ATTR-CM patients and if there is a specific patient population that could benefit from patisiran monotherapy or combination therapy with tafamidis. This development may pose an opportunity for Alnylam to challenge Pfizer's market-leading position with tafamidis in treating ATTR-CM, with an FDA decision expected by October 8.
2seventy Announces Major Restructuring: CEO to Depart, Workforce Cut by 40%
2seventy, a biotech company, has initiated a strategic restructuring plan to streamline its operations and reduce costs. As part of this reorganization, they will cut 40% of their workforce, eliminating 176 positions, incurring a one-time cost of $9 million but aiming for annual savings of $65 million. CEO Nick Leschly will step down and become the chairman of the Board of Directors once a successor is found. The company will also adjust its earnings outlook for its gene therapy Abecma, expecting lower U.S. revenue for 2023, but remains optimistic about its potential expansion and continued profitability.
Rome Therapeutics Raises $72M in Series B Extension with Backing from J&J and BMS for Dark Genome Drug Discovery
Boston-based biotech company Rome Therapeutics has secured an additional $72 million in Series B financing, bringing their total funding to $149 million. The funding round gained support from pharmaceutical giants Johnson & Johnson and Bristol Myers Squibb. Rome Therapeutics specializes in exploring the "dark genome," an uncharted part of the human genome primarily consisting of genomic repeats in non-coding regions. They plan to advance their lead candidate, an inhibitor of LINE-1 reverse transcriptase, into clinical trials to potentially treat autoimmune diseases like lupus. Additionally, Rome Therapeutics has programs focused on oncology and neurodegeneration in its discovery pipeline.
Day Gooch Apppointed as Chief Growth Officer at Vit-Best Nutrition
Day Gooch has been appointed as the Chief Growth Officer for Vit-Best Nutrition, a prominent contract manufacturer in the nutritional supplement industry, and its leading supplement brand, Doctor's Best. Gooch, an experienced executive in the health and wellness sector, is expected to play a pivotal role in driving growth initiatives, expanding product offerings, and strengthening relationships with leading retailers. His extensive background includes leadership positions at organizations like the Vitamin Shoppe, Sam's Club, and Walmart, making him a valuable addition to the team.
10th Annual EngAGE Event Showcases Bill Nye and Darlene Love to Transform Aging
Hebrew SeniorLife, a nonprofit provider of senior health care and living communities affiliated with Harvard Medical School, is hosting its 10th annual EngAGE event on October 16, 2023, at the Museum of Science in Boston. The event features renowned scientist Bill Nye, known for "Bill Nye the Science Guy," and Grammy Award-winning singer Darlene Love. EngAGE 2023 is a mixed-media program with guest speakers, entertainers, and a "Science Fair" highlighting research on aging, with proceeds benefiting Hebrew SeniorLife's health care, communities, research, and teaching efforts focused on improving the experience of aging.
ACC Partners with Amgen and Esperion to Boost LDL Screening for Better Cardiovascular Care
The American College of Cardiology (ACC) is partnering with Amgen and Esperion to launch a new quality improvement campaign called "Driving Urgency in LDL Screening." This initiative aims to increase the rate of diagnostic LDL screening in patients, both those without a prior cardiac event and those with known cardiovascular disease. The goal is to help clinicians identify individuals who require treatment based on medical guidelines. Cardiovascular disease is a leading global cause of death, and high LDL cholesterol levels significantly increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. The program will target approximately 30,000 primary care providers and cardiologists, implementing education and awareness efforts to improve active LDL screening and treatment, ultimately enhancing cardiovascular care and patient outcomes.
Bioconjugation and Labeling Services Market Poised for Strong Growth Until 2035: Insights and Trends
The Conjugation and Labeling Services Market is expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 10% until 2035, according to a report by Roots Analysis. The pharmaceutical industry faces challenges in bioconjugation chemistry expertise, leading many organizations to outsource antibody conjugation and protein labeling services. Over 240 global companies offer these services, with more than 40% providing services for both proteins and antibodies. These service providers are expanding their capabilities to meet evolving client needs and forming numerous partnerships to enhance their offerings. The market is projected to see steady growth, with opportunities in various types of molecules, conjugates, labels, and key regions.
Florida Cancer Specialists Welcomes Dr. Raphael Bosse, Hematologist and Oncologist
Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute (FCS) has welcomed Dr. Raphael Bosse, a Board-certified hematologist and medical oncologist with an MD and PhD in Molecular Cell Biology & Hematology from the University of Florida College of Medicine. Dr. Bosse completed his residency and fellowship training at the University of Florida Health Shands Hospitals in Gainesville and brings extensive research experience to the practice. FCS, known for its commitment to cutting-edge treatments and clinical trials, is excited to have Dr. Bosse join their team at the Naples-Goodlette location in Collier County, Florida.
Renowned Neuro-Oncologist Dr. Linda Liau Joins Northwest Biotherapeutics' Scientific Advisory Board
Dr. Linda Liau, an accomplished figure in the field of neuro-oncology and the Principal Investigator of the Phase 3 trial for DCVax®-L in glioblastoma treatment, has joined Northwest Biotherapeutics' Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). Dr. Liau serves as the Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at UCLA and is known for her extensive research and contributions to brain cancer biology and immunotherapies. Her expertise will be invaluable as the company seeks DCVax-L approval and explores future clinical programs.
Northwest Biotherapeutics, a biotechnology company, is dedicated to developing personalized immunotherapy products for cancer treatment with a focus on effectiveness, reduced toxicity, and cost-effectiveness. Their lead program involves a Phase III trial of DCVax®-L for newly diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), an aggressive form of brain cancer. Additionally, the company has developed DCVax®-Direct for inoperable solid tumor cancers, and they plan to pursue Phase II trials for this treatment as resources permit.
Medcura Adds Dr. John Barry and J.P. McAfee to Leadership Team for Hemostatic Innovations
Medcura Inc., a leading medtech company, has appointed two new members to its leadership team on September 12, 2023. Dr. John Barry has been named as the Group Vice President of R&D and Operations, responsible for overseeing surgical platform development, pre-clinical trials, and product line extensions. He brings over 20 years of experience in product development and has previously worked with Miromatrix Medical and Baxter Advanced Surgery. J.P. McAfee, JD, has been appointed as the Vice President of Legal Affairs and Compliance, where he will serve as general counsel and manage legal aspects such as risk management, contracts, and compliance. McAfee has eight years of experience in advising medical device manufacturers and comes from Biom'up USA, Inc., and Globus Medical Inc. Medcura specializes in developing innovative hemostatic products with proprietary technology, including surgical gels, foams, powders, and putties designed to stop internal bleeding quickly in various medical settings, and they aim to compete in a significant market.
Healthcare Services Veteran Steve Hynes Joins SCM's Board
Steve Hynes has been appointed to the Board of Directors of Specialty Care Management (SCM), a healthcare cost containment and claims management services company catering to the self-insured market. Steve brings extensive experience in healthcare services and technology, having previously served as Co-Founder and CEO of MRO Corp., which underwent successful transformations and acquisitions during his tenure. SCM's CEO, Craig Clemente, expressed excitement about Steve's appointment, citing his expertise in scaling healthcare services companies with institutional backing. SCM specializes in designing programs for catastrophic claim categories like dialysis, oncology, air medical ambulance, and transplant, aimed at helping self-insured clients manage risk and reduce costs.
Infortrend Storage Empowers South Korean Biotech's AI-Driven Drug Research
South Korean biotech company Portrai Inc. has partnered with Infortrend Technology, a leading enterprise storage manufacturer, to enhance their pharmaceutical drug development research. Portrai Inc. specializes in RNA analysis technology called "Spatial Transcriptomics" combined with AI, generating substantial data for their research. Infortrend provided them with an EonStor GS 3024 unified storage solution, offering up to 1.2PB of storage capacity and ensuring data stability and efficient management for their advanced research needs.
Belgium's Relu Achieves ISO13485 Certification for High-Quality Dental AI Software
Relu, an OEM software provider in the dental industry based in Belgium, has obtained ISO13485 certification from EU Notified Body Kiwa Dare, which is the global quality standard for medical device companies. This certification enhances the quality and regulatory compliance of Relu's AI-driven workflow automation software for dental treatment. It also simplifies the integration process for their partner dental software companies, demonstrating Relu's commitment to providing trustworthy AI solutions in implantology and orthodontics to improve patient care and dental treatments.
Arzeda and W. L. Gore Partner for Advanced Protein-Driven Materials Innovation
Arzeda, a leading Protein Design Company, has announced a joint development agreement with W. L. Gore & Associates, a global leader in advanced materials science. Building on their successful 2022 collaboration, they aim to leverage Arzeda's Intelligent Protein Design Technology to innovate in materials science, focusing on sustainability and performance improvement. This partnership combines Arzeda's protein design expertise with Gore's materials science knowledge to address industry challenges while reducing environmental impact, with specific details undisclosed.
AFSP Champions Mental Health and Suicide Prevention in Hispanic Communities
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is actively working to address the rising suicide rates in Hispanic and Latinx communities, which saw a nearly 7% increase nationally from 2018 to 2021. In recognition of National Hispanic Heritage Month, AFSP is promoting actions to reduce mental health and suicide stigma in these communities. They are organizing bilingual presentations, such as "Talk Saves Lives™," to educate and raise awareness about suicide prevention among Latinx and Hispanic populations. AFSP also encourages open and authentic conversations about mental health through their #RealConvo guide and participation in 'Out of the Darkness' awareness walks. Additionally, they offer support programs, research grants, and are committed to increasing staff diversity to better serve these communities.
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