Billing itself as “the most patient-centric pharmacy”, San Francisco-based Alto Pharmacy has acquired the assets of smart pill bottle developer Round Health, according to a blog post by the medication adherence startup. CNBC was the first to write about the deal and noted that Alto intends to integrate Round Health into the products and services it provides. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The deal fits into a broader trend of acquisitions in this digital health subsector to improve adherence and healthcare consolidation in general.
MADRID (Reuters) – Cancer doctors are widening the net for immunotherapy, a hot new class of drugs that enlist the body’s defenses in the fight against tumors. The latest research shared with 23,000 experts at Europe’s top oncology meeting shows how medicines that have already delivered durable benefits in metastatic disease can also work well at an earlier stage. The findings promise to expand the market for established immuno-oncology (I-O) drugs from companies like Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Roche, while opening up a window for relative latecomers such as AstraZeneca.
ZURICH/MADRID (Reuters) – Swiss drugmaker Novartis notched a trial win for its drug cocktail against skin cancer on Monday, while a rival treatment from Roche with slipping sales failed in a separate study with a similar patient group. All the medicines were tested in melanoma patients who had undergone surgery to cut out tumors and had a genetic mutation called BRAF, making them likely to respond to the targeted cancer pills. Patients with BRAF mutations constitute around half of the melanoma population. Novartis’s mix of Tafinlar and Mekinist slashed the risk of melanoma returning or death by 53 percent versus placebo in patients with stage III disease, according to data released at the European Society for Medical Oncology Congress in Madrid. “These are the best results ever shown for an adjuvant (post-surgery) treatment in stage III melanomas,” said Axel Hauschild of the University of Kiel, Germany, one of the main researchers on the Novartis trial. “These are practice-changing results.”
(Reuters) – Arizona sued Insys Therapeutics Inc on Thursday, accusing the drugmaker of engaging in a fraudulent marketing scheme aimed at increasing sales of a fentanyl-based cancer pain medicine called Subsys. The lawsuit by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich in Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix comes during a series of federal and state investigations centered on Insys’ drug Subsys amid a national opioid addiction epidemic.
The lawsuit accused Arizona-based Insys of paying doctors sham speaker fees in exchange for writing prescriptions of Subsys and of misleading insurers into believing patients who were prescribed the opioid had cancer when they actually did not.
The top drug recycling engine in the game, Roivant Sciences, has raised a massive $1.1 billion equity investment round led by Softbank Vision Fund, with support from existing shareholders. Announced Wednesday, the company said the new capital injection is designed to “accelerate the launch of new subsidiaries within and beyond the biopharmaceutical industry.” That means expanding the Vant empire, which includes Axovant, Myovant, Enzyvant, Dermavant, Urovant, and now Data-you guessed it-vant. The latter is branching out from the traditional biopharmaceutical approach to instead target healthcare through the lens of health IT.