Novartis cancer drug falls short of primary endpoints at Phase 3 trial

SWITZERLAND – Novartis has announced that the primary endpoints of a Phase 3 trial evaluating canakinumab drug failed in its second attempt, missing targets to improve overall survival rates for lung cancer patients and arrest the progression of free-survival of people with the condition. According to the Swiss pharmaceutical company, the CANOPY-1 trial did not show statistical significance in overall survival or progression-free survival, which is the amount of time a patient can live without the disease progressing. Canakinumab failed to meet its primary endpoints in the CANOPY-1 Phase III…

Read More

Roche ties up with Ibex Medical Analytics to develop AI-based cancer detection

SWITZERLAND – Roche has announced a collaboration with Ibex Medical Analytics, an Israeli artificial intelligence-based cancer diagnostics startup to develop artificial intelligence assisted cancer detection device to help diagnose early cancer detection. The companies will collaborate to create an embedded image analysis workflow for pathologists to use the cloud version of Roche’s uPath enterprise software to access Ibex’s AI algorithms, insights, and decision support tools. The US Food and Drug Administration recently granted Breakthrough Device Designation to Ibex’s Galen platform, which is CE marked in Europe for breast and prostate…

Read More

FDA OK’s Roche novel therapy for non-small cell lung cancer

SWITZERLAND – Roche, a global pioneer in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics has announced that The FDA has approved Tecentriq as adjuvant treatment after surgery and platinum-based chemotherapy for adults with Stage II-IIIA non-small cell lung cancer. The approval was based on preliminary findings from the Phase III IMpower010 study. Following surgery and platinum-based chemotherapy, treatment with Tecentriq, or atezolizumab, reduced the risk of disease recurrence or death by 34 percent in people with Stage II-IIIA non-small cell lung cancer, compared to best supportive care. Tecentriq has previously demonstrated clinically significant benefit…

Read More

WHO report highlights global shortfall in investment in mental health

SWITZERLAND – The World Health Organization’s new Mental Health Atlas has shown a disappointing picture of the global failure to provide people with the necessary mental health services, at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the growing need to support mental health. The World Health Organization’s new Mental Health Atlas provides an unpleasant picture of the global failure to provide people with the necessary mental health services, at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the growing need to support mental health. The latest edition of the Atlas, which…

Read More

Swiss Pharma Novartis scores milestones in equitable healthcare access

SWITZERLAND – Novartis hosted its eighth annual ESG investor meeting, where it shared progress toward its Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) targets and provided updates on its most important ESG topics, such as access to medicines, patient health and safety, innovation, and ethical standards. Access to medicines remains one of the world’s most pressing healthcare challenges, and as confirmed by the recent Novartis materiality assessment, it is one of the company’s most important ESG topics. According to the WHO, more than 2 billion people worldwide do not have access to…

Read More

Novartis pushes further into gene therapy for the eye with deal for Swiss startup

SWITZERLAND – Novartis has bought a second biotech startup developing gene therapies for the eye, Arctos Medical, a small Swiss company spun out of the University of Bern. Arctos, which previously received financial backing from Novartis’ venture fund, specializes in optogenetics, a field of research which uses light to probe the behavior of neurons. Drawing on this science, Arctos is attempting to transform other types of retinal cells into photoreceptor-like cells by delivering a gene that encodes for a light-sensitive protein. Arctos, and now Novartis, envision this technology could be…

Read More

WHO sets new standards on air pollution levels as well as an updated Mental Health Action plan

SWITZERLAND – The World Health Organization has issued new guidelines on air pollution which will dramatically reduce the levels of particulate matter (PM) and other pollutants linked to a range of diseases. These illnesses include heart disease, lung cancer, stroke, and respiratory diseases including asthma. “Since WHO’s last 2005 global update, there has been a marked increase of evidence that shows how air pollution affects different aspects of health,” said the global health body. Air pollution is implicated in some 7 million premature deaths each year, more than 90% of…

Read More

Roche strikes US$3 billion deal with Adaptimmune to develop cell therapies for cancer

SWITZERLAND – Roche has acquired rights to a group of off-the-shelf cancer cell therapy programs from Adaptimmune, agreeing to work with the biotech on five “shared cancer targets” as well as some additional personalized T cell therapies. The Swiss drugmaker will pay Adaptimmune US$150 million now and could add another US$150 million over five years if the deal remains active that long. The deal could be worth more than US$3 billion if various milestones are met, though that money isn’t guaranteed. Adaptimmune could also opt for royalties on sales or…

Read More

Covid-19 pandemic sets back fight against HIV, TB, Malaria globally

SWITZERLAND – The COVID-19 pandemic had a devastating impact on the fight against HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria in 2020, according to a new report released by the Global Fund. Burnet Institute Director and CEO Professor Brendan Crabb AC said a key lesson from the report is the urgent need for more COVID-19 vaccines in developing countries to alleviate pressure on their health systems. “The big issue is that these diseases – pandemics of the past for us – are linked to struggling health systems in countries very close to…

Read More

WHO sounds alarm over improper dementia care despite rising case numbers

SWITZERLAND – More than 55 million people worldwide are living with dementia, a neurological disorder that robs them of their memory and costs the world US$1.3 trillion a year, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said. The progressive condition can be caused by stroke, brain injury or Alzheimer’s disease and with populations ageing, the number of sufferers is projected to rise to 78 million by 2030 and 139 million by 2050, the WHO said in a report. Yet only one in four countries has a national policy in place to…

Read More