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BioWorld Insider Podcast
One-on-one with medical innovators
Breakthrough medicines, billion-dollar deals, spectacular clinical successes and crushing failures all play a part in biopharma’s dynamic story. Developers make scientific advancements with the potential to change everything, only to face regulatory conundrums and ever-fluctuating markets. BioWorld tracks key events in the fast-moving sector every business day. Now, the BioWorld Insider podcast lets you hear directly from the movers and shakers whose collective work is changing how we all live. Join us each week for a new conversation.
With the study of long COVID-19 continuing to evolve, the BioWorld team is taking a closer look at the condition -- a complex syndrome affecting more than 100 million people globally -- and what's being done about it. In this episode, BioWorld Senior Science Editor Anette Breindl and Staff Writer Lee Landenberger, fresh off writing a pair of detailed stories about these issues, join us to talk about how consensus around what long COVID is has emerged. Why is that consensus important and what sort of treatments are in the pipeline? Are patients moving closer to the center of the conversation as we continue to navigate this pandemic, which the World Health Organization reminded us recently is very much not yet over? Listen to find out!
Could investments in biopharmaceutical companies in 2022 be as aggressive as 2021, which saw a record 1,968 biopharma deals worth about $213.5 billion? So far, 2022 may be the lowest financing year since 2017 overall. But, drilling down to venture capital, private companies raised $5.7 billion in Q1 through 129 transactions, making it the second-best first quarter in history with 2021 at the top. Apparently, investors and private companies have maintained their appetite into 2022. Simultaneously, deal volume is down but values are up, which means that biopharma executives are realizing they can gain access to innovative technologies for a lot less money through licensings and collaborations. BioWorld Senior Analyst Karen Carey explores the data withstaff writer Lee Landenberger, explaining what happened in Q1 and where Q2 is headed.
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) always had a full schedule, but COVID-19 amped it up tremendously. Some public health policy observers wonder whether the increased responsibility meets the CDC’s needs and if the CDC pays enough attention to the committee. William Schaffner, professor of preventive medicine in the Department of Health Policy as well as professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, joined ACIP in 1982. He has deep insight on how the committee works as the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases’ liaison to ACIP. He joined BioWorld staff writer Lee Landenberger to talk about the committee and how it makes the big decisions that ultimately affect public health policy.
The increasing use of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies across all stages of drug development is presenting interesting new challenges around the world. One key question of growing importance: Can an AI algorithm be an inventor? If so, can the AI system apply for or receive a patent? We spoke to Ryan Abbott, a professor of law and medicine, as well as the leader of the Artificial Inventor Project and Jim Belfiore, senior vice president of innovation at Clarivate, to learn more about the implications of these questions and how patent offices and courts are handling them so far. What’s at stake in recognizing a more prominent role for AI in the innovation sphere? Could AI inventorship potentially create IP asset inflation? Listen to find out.
The FDA’s June 2021 approval of Aduhelm (aducanumab), the first plaque-targeting therapy, rattled the company, regulators and the market. BioWorld brought together two experts to get their thoughts as each is involved in developing vaccines or treatments for Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. Michael Agadjanyan is the president of Nuravax Inc., which is developing antibodies for preventing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. We also spoke with Robert Glanzman, who is chief medical officer of Clene Nanomedicine Inc., which is developing a nanotherapeutic for Parkinson’s disease. Both have strong views on Aduhelm. They also had a spirited debate on the science of curing dementia.
In another record year for biopharma fundraisings, more money than ever pulsed through the industry. The volume and value of pharma IPOs and venture capital financings are at their highest levels. Private financings for 2021 easily outdistanced those from 2020, much of it powered by SPACs. Where is it all going in 2022? Two experts joined BioWorld to share their thoughts. Kleanthis Xanthopoulos is a co-founder and executive chairman of Shoreline Biosciences. For more than 20 years he’s been an executive, company founder, CEO, investor and board member in biopharma research. Also joining the discussion was Joe Hernandez, CEO and executive chairman of Blue Water Vaccines, who founded or led eight health care and pharmaceuticals companies.
Complex manufacturing processes and supply chains have always been part of the biopharma industry story, with many people in more than a few nations typically involved along the way. While that observation applies to plenty of other areas of business, Paul Testa, executive vice president for operations and supply chain at Tokyo-based Kyowa Kirin, tells us about the crucial difference with medicine: “We can wait for toilet paper or building materials, but the patient cannot wait because their health care is at stake,” he said. Continuity, reliability of supply, business process and automation were all key priorities for him before the pandemic and haven’t drastically changed since. But “there's an added layer of complexity with COVID and a lot of the intricacies of managing those details that we all deal with,” he said. How does the Japanese concept of 和 (wa) fit in? Listen to find out.