Friday, August 28, 2015

This week in ePharma: Google Life Sciences joins the Digital Health Race and more!

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Google search logo
Earlier this week Sergey Brin made an official announcement about the Google's life sciences team moving into a separate Life Sciences venture with its own CEO. These changes are a part of the company's recent reorganization. Life Sciences is aiming big at making progress in health tech sphere. Google Smart Contact lenses is currently the most well-known project under Life Sciences.

Digital health app connected to a mobile device, connected to a computer and a virtual doctor. mHealthComputers are to become more humanized. More and more research companies are working their way into reading human emotions and interpreting them digitally. The goal is to use the data to make health wearables more sensitive to an individual user and therefore increase the effectiveness of the devices. Affectiva is one of the companies conducting such research. With the statement "Leading global expert in emotion analytics and insights" Affective claims to have analyzed 2,756,949 faces to date.

Bayer Healthcare logo
Digital health accelerator program? Sure. Two words: Germany, Bayer. “Grants4Apps Accelerator” program funded by Bayer Healthcare will sponsor five digital health startups who focus their research around such topics as predicting behavior, improve health in the work place, patient empowerment and others. The five health tech companies for Grants4Apps Accelerator 2015 have already been chosen. Within the given 100 days the Bayer Healthcare program guarantees to provide mentorship by Bayer's experts, office space,  and funding of 50,000€.

Another health tech accelerator program is launching, this time locally, in Pittsburgh. A large nonprofit health and wellness company Highmark Health has built VITAL - a program that aims to speed up an approval process for healthcare innovators. The VITAL innovation program promises to simplify the whole procedure from submitting a proposal to its evaluation and funding, and therefore make new technologies available to consumers faster.

Stay tuned for our weekly news round up! 

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About the author: Ksenia Newton, a Digital Marketing Assistant at IIR USA, Pharma Division, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. She can be reached at

Friday, August 21, 2015

ePharma news: This August - The Ice Bucket Challenge is back | "Viagra" for women is about to hit the market and more

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The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is back with the hashtag #EveryAugustUntilACure
Do you remember the Ice Bucket Challenge that took over the world last year? A brilliant campaign that was initiated by ALS Association in hopes to raise money for the Lou Gehrig's disease research, went viral not just in the U.S. but globally as well. By the end of 2014 the ALS Association was able to raise $115 million dollars. This August the Ice Bucket Challenge is back, and the funds collected last year are partially allocated toward the Lou Gehrig's disease research project conducted by Biogen Inc. and the Columbia University Medical Center. Earlier this year Biogen announced a $30-million-dollars funding that the company has committed to (plus, $3.5 million dollars raised by the Ice Bucket Challenge promotion.) The project is said to monitor 1,500 patients with the disease through clinical trial in efforts to find the cure.

Addyi is a "female version" of the Viagra pill produced by Sprout Pharmaceuticals
A "female version" of Viagra has just been approved by the FDA. Addyi is the first of its kind drug aiming at treatment of sexual desire disorders (HSDD) in both genders. HSDD stands for hypoactive sexual desire disorder, and as stated on the FDA official page: "HSDD is characterized by low sexual desire that causes marked distress or interpersonal difficulty and is not due to a co-existing medical or psychiatric condition, problems within the relationship, or the effects of a medication or other drug substance. HSDD is acquired when it develops in a patient who previously had no problems with sexual desire." It's noteworthy that the drug manufacturer Sprout Pharmaceuticals has been previously turned down twice, because the benefits of Addyi were said to be outweighed by the side effects and the risks caused by taking the drug. The Addyi drug has been approved with a strong warning against taking it with alcohol and other drugs because of its potentially toxic effect on the organism, and it will only be available through certified medical professionals. 

This week Kite Pharma is on a news but unfortunately not for a break through research but because of one of the patient's death while in a blood cancer clinical trial. The LA Times reported, that during the conference call the Kite Pharma CEO Arie S. Belldegrun stated, "A clinical investigator of the study conducted an in-depth review of the death and concluded that this death was unrelated to our product."
Following the investigation the FDA allowed the Kita Pharma company to continue with clinical trials.

Bionic wearable-technology earbuds Here Active Listening from Dobbler Labs
Image courtesy:
Earbuds that will turn down the noise volume around you including the sound of crying babies? - Yes, please! A wearable-technology startup Doppler Labs has invented a wireless earbuds device that aims at increasing and adjusting your hearing depending on your personal comfort level. With the mission "Change the Way We Hear the World" and the price tag of $199, Here Active Listening is targeting audiophiles first. The company has posted a testimony-video by Hans Zimmer, a world-famous Grammy-winning composer, who in his support to the Here Active Listening gadget stated, "The way we find our place in the world is through touch, eyes, and hugely - through ears. You want to be able to select what you hear. It's about having control of your life."

Stay tuned for our weekly news round up! 

Subscribe to our Blog or follow us on Twitter: @epharma


About the author: Ksenia Newton, a Digital Marketing Assistant at IIR USA, Pharma Division, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. She can be reached at

Friday, August 14, 2015

This week in ePharma: FDA issues a warning to K. Kardashian's promoted morning-sickness drug

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FDA issues a warning to Diclegis, the morning-sickness drug promoted by Kim Kardashian
In the week of July 24th it was announced that Diclegis has partnered with Kim Kardashian in promotional efforts of the new morning-sickness drug. This week the FDA has issued a warning over K. Kardashian's drug promotion on social media. In particular, it was stated that there was a violation of the federal drug-promotion rules. The reality star has never mentioned any side effects in her testimonial statement favoring the drug on Instagram. On August 7th the FDA has posted a warning letter addressing the drug's and Kardashian's promotional efforts as misleading and indicating that the social post was submitted as a complaint to the OPDP Bad Ad Program, the program that was designed to monitor and supervise the truthfulness of the prescription drug advertising and promotional efforts.

Roche Pharma Research & Early Development has developed a smartphone app to continuously monitor changes in patients with Parkinson’s disease. The hopes are the app will be able to collect data that can significantly improve medicine development program in Parkinson’s disease. Currently the app is in Phase I trial run with the the help of Prothena, a late-stage clinical biotechnology company that focuses on discovery, development and commercialization of programs with aim of potential treatment of diseases.

With the team of researchers from Oxford, Cambridge and London with backgrounds in medicine, behavioral health, bioengineering, design, and software the startup Hinge Health has set a goal to improve the lower back pain for many employees who spend most of the day at their desks, and help their employers reduce absenteeism and health costs. Hinge Health has produced a program that consists of physiotherapy, personalized coaching, weight loss, ability to tracking progress, and peer support opportunity. The program is a package that includes sensor bands, a tablet computer with software, and a number of other accessories. Based in London, the Hinge Health startup is currently aiming at the US market.

FDA has lost a battle for off-label marketing if the claims are truthful.
On August 7th the federal judge of the Federal District Court in Manhattan Paul A. Engelmayer has ruled that off-label marketing can be done legally even if the FDA has not approved for as long as the claims are truthful based on the First Amendment (Freedom of Speech.) This precedent sets the history, because in the past many companies have lost this fight in court and ended up paying large settlements.

Here you can read How to Recognize and Report Off-Label Pharmaceutical Marketing.

Stay tuned for our weekly news round up! 

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About the author: Ksenia Newton, a Digital Marketing Assistant at IIR USA, Pharma Division, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. She can be reached at

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Take Your Pharma Sales and Marketing Strategy to the Next Level at PharmaNEXT

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Innovative, growth-oriented pharma companies are creating integrated commercial strategies to sustain and grow market share. The major shift in the pharma marketplace needs a different operating model where sales and marketing teams must work together and leverage innovation, technology and analytics to develop new go-to-market strategies.

The brand new PharmaNEXT conference will address these changes with boot camps, visionary keynotes, interactive debates, a curated expo hall, and more.

Here’s a look at the innovative sessions formats you will experience at PharmaNEXT:

NEXTTalks: Speakers share progress and report on real life examples of applications, success and failures. Hear from best-in-class practitioners on how to leverage innovation, technology and analytics to create new, effective operating models.

Think Tanks: Attendees split up in open roundtable discussions each based on one industry challenge to solve. Attendees can rotate to join in multiple open discussions on pertinent industry topics.

Bootcamps: Hand-on sessions with tangible takeaways and instant ROI. Take a deep dive into the most relevant topics in the next generation of pharma’s commercial strategy.

Think Tank Recaps: Think Tank leads to share findings with each working group and create actionable solutions for implementation.

Download complete agenda for program details:

Join us for next generation strategies and solutions that await you at PharmaNEXT - the latest educational and networking experience focused on elevating your pharma commercial strategy to the next level.

Your future depends on how your respond to this change.

As a valued member of our LinkedIn community you get $100 off the current rate when you register using code XP2040blog:

We hope to see you in Philadelphia this fall!

The Pharma Next 2015 Team

Friday, August 7, 2015

This week in ePharma: The Future is here: FDA o'kays the 3-D printed drug and more!

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The Future is here! The biotech industry continues to explore the possibilities of 3-D print technology, and one of its latest developments is a 3-D-printed pill.

FDA approves the first 3D-printed drug
FDA gives a go to the first ever 3-D printed drug against epilepsy called SPRITAM. Some of the benefits of a 3-D-printed drug are the ability to manufacture the drugs with high dose of the active element levetiracetam in one dosage and to produce pills identical to one another making it easier for patients to swallow. As NPR stated the drug is expected to hit the market in 2016.

Yelp partners with ProPublica, to provide Yelp's users with with healthcare statistics on hospitals and clinics around in the US. ProPublica is a nonprofit organization based NYC whose mission is "Journalism in the Public Interest." ProPublica does investigative reporting in many fields include healthcare. What Yelp is aiming for is to be able to better navigate its users and help them make more conscious decisions regarding their health. The statistics will include such categories as the number of beds available at a hospital, wait times
and more.

The Next Web in its article "Can tech help overcome addiction?" explores a new trend in mobile app development - mobile health apps focused on creating bonds between people with similar challenges such as sobriety, past drug addiction and others. It's been documented that there's a strong relationship between isolation and addiction, therefore more and more tech start ups shift their attention toward building mobile health apps that provide support from communities of like-minded. One of such mobile health apps is called My Sober Life that aims to support young people in their path to sobriety.

It's been reported that Hospira's Symbiq Infusion System (an IV pump) has a security loop that allows unauthorized users to access the equipment remotely and control the dosage of drugs delivered. And while no security breaches has been revealed, the FDA issued a safety alert urging hospitals to stop using the system as a prevention measure.


Stay tuned for our weekly news round up! 

Subscribe to our Blog or follow us on Twitter: @epharma


About the author: Ksenia Newton, a Digital Marketing Assistant at IIR USA, Pharma Division, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. She can be reached at