More than a dozen high-profile robotics researchers expressed the need for robots to play a greater role in managing the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, as well as in future preparedness. They pointed to three broad medical areas where robots can make a difference: clinical care with applications such as telemedicine and decontamination; logistics for delivery and handling of medical waste; and reconnaissance such as quarantine enforcement. The academics noted that these robotic uses were outlined first during the 2015 Ebola outbreak – and are starting to be put to the test particularly in proof-of-concept efforts in China. Medical robotics companies, such as Austin, Tex.-based hospital robot assistant startup Diligent Robotics and San Antonio-based robotic disinfection player Xenex, are working toward better supporting a strapped medical community. The editorial appeared in the March 25 issue of Science Robotics.
The stimulus bill passed by the U.S. Senate last night on a vote of 96-0 does more than throw $2 trillion into the war against COVID-19. “This is not … a stimulus package. It is emergency relief,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on the Senate floor before the vote. Some of that relief translates into new authorities federal health agencies can use in the future. For instance, the bill, which is scheduled for a House vote tomorrow, gives the FDA more tools to mitigate potential drug and device shortages, requires the National Academies to report on the security of the U.S. drug and device supply chain and allows the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to more easily partner with the private sector on R&D during public health emergencies.
Leuven, Belgium-based Midiagnostics, which is looking to bring miniaturized, rapid tests with built-in connectivity to patients and clinicians, reported the completion of a €14 million (US$15.4 million) investment round. The company intends to use the funds to speed the development of its proprietary nanofluidic processor on a chip and prepare it for industrial-scale manufacturing. “The continued commitment of our founding partners Imec and JHU, our existing shareholders and this latest endorsement by two highly successful serial entrepreneurs further strengthens our confidence in the future of Midiagnostics,” said Nicolas Vergauwe, CEO of Midiagnostics. "They share our view that Midiagnostics has the potential to disrupt and transform the industry by making diagnostic information as readily accessible as digital information on a smartphone.”
DUBLIN – Bio-Europe Spring’s virtual panel on the partnering dynamic between big pharma and microbiome-focused biotech firms was essentially an in-house webinar hosted by Seventure Partners, a Paris-based venture capital fund that has led the way in investing in microbiome-related therapeutics, diagnostics and other products. Venture partner Eric de La Fortelle did the honors as moderator, while Seventure’s CEO and managing partner, Isabelle de Cremoux, participated as a panelist alongside representatives from two portfolio firms, Maat Pharma SA CEO Hervé Affagard and Thomas Mitchell, vice president, program and alliance management at Microbiotica Ltd. For skeptics, the microbiome field has always appeared long on promise but short on delivery. Clinical validation, solid proof of concept and evidence of efficacy – the usual stuff that drives partnering deals in biotech – has always appeared to be just over the next hill or right around the next corner. At the same time, any new therapeutic modality takes time to mature. “We’re old enough to know with every new class, there’s always been people who are very skeptical,” de Cremoux said. “When they see good data, it changes their minds.”
The U.S. FDA has greenlighted labeling for Physiq Inc.’s Pinpointiq continuous remote monitoring system for use during the COVID-19 pandemic. The machine learning-based platform, including Physiq’s Multivariate Change Index (MCI), will allow doctors to track physiologic changes in homebound, quarantined or high-risk patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, freeing up hospital beds for the sickest patients and reducing exposure of doctors and nurses to the highly contagious disease.
TORONTO – That old military saw “an army marches on its stomach” might just as easily apply to transport of much needed ventilators for patients suffering from the coronavirus. Mounting systems for ground and air ambulances like the Bracket Pro Serie for Ventilators launched March 5 by Quebec City-based Technimount System Inc. are the “soldiers” carrying ventilators and other medical devices for hospital bound patients, Technimount CEO Carl Bouchard told BioWorld. “Nothing in North America is designed to carry multiple devices, including those required on a stretcher,” said Bouchard. “This is exactly our mission. Mounting brackets like ours help ambulance crews better manage equipment so they can better focus on patients.”
The articles from BioWorld’s ongoing coverage of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak are available at www.bioworld.com/coronavirus. Note that we have added three critical tables which are constantly updated:
Ads Biotec, Agnovos Healthcare, Aim Immunotech, Atum, Babcock, Biostage, Bone Therapeutics, Butterfly Network, Castle Biosciences, Clinone, Conversion Labs, Danaher, Dariohealth, Diazyme Laboratories, Exthera, Fitbone, Grifols, Henry Schein, Ifirst, Immunexpress, Ixlayer, Kurabo, Lumos Diagnostics, Microbiosensor, Orthofix, Prisma Health, Quidel, Suse, Twist Bioscience, Vero Biotech