SEATTLE – Tracing the family tree of COVID-19 through its evolving DNA sequence makes it possible to disprove many false claims circulating on social media about the novel coronavirus, and, in particular, that it was generated in a covert biological weapons program. “From everything I’ve looked at, there is zero evidence for genetic engineering; it looks like normal evolution,” said Trevor Bedford, a computational biologist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, who has been using genomes sequences taken from patient samples to track the spread of the virus since Jan. 11.
ANAHEIM, Calif. – Most medical device manufacturers follow a traditional, linear, task-driven approach for product development. Switching to a knowledge-driven approach, called agile-lean, may yield better results. That was the takeaway from a talk at MD&M West.
ANAHEIM, Calif. – The digital health wave is impacting seemingly every aspect of health care, from digital therapeutics where software is the therapy to powerful analytics that bring actionable insights to aid in a clinical situation.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Diabetes seems likely to be the first area to really show concrete products and results for the ambitious Verily Life Sciences, which is the med-tech business of Mountain View, Calif.-based Google parent Alphabet Inc. However, its two major diabetes partners both have been rethinking the relationship.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – While many of the presentations at the Precision Medicine World Conference revolved around clinical studies and their promise for future breakthroughs in health care, a continuous stream of companies made their pitches for translating these studies into actual products that can benefit patients now.
DUBLIN – “Welcome to the conversation,” Abbvie Inc.’s head of genomic research, Howard Jacob, an early pioneer of genomics-driven medicine, told delegates during a keynote address at the Genomics Summit 2020 event Jan. 23. Ireland is very much a latecomer to that conversation and it has yet, as a country, to figure out what the shape of its contribution to the genomic era of medicine is going to be.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – It has never been easy to get payers to reimburse in a timely and adequate fashion for novel diagnostics, making it notoriously difficult to build a business from them. But a few high-flying diagnostics companies, such as Madison, Wis.-based Exact Sciences Corp. and Redwood City, Calif.-based Guardant Health Inc., have been blazing the trail recently on how to rapidly scale up to become valuable commercial entities from origins as a research-based startup.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Just as it does with treatments, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) offers detailed guidelines on genomic testing by cancer type. These are key in determining what physicians can prescribe routinely and what insurers will cover. But those guidelines aren’t followed regularly outside a major research hospital setting, thereby obviating access to tumor genetic information that could help to better guide treatment. Even if current guidelines are followed, physicians and patients can get information back from the tests that neither party is prepared to process.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Peter Thiel is not a fan of incremental science. The high-profile venture capital investor, who invests across technology and the life sciences via various vehicles, including the Founders Fund, suggested that as academic and government bureaucracies have scaled up and rigidified over the last 50 or 60 years, that has eroded the ability of researchers to pursue innovative science.