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Earlier this week, pharmaceutical giant Lilly published in the Journal of the American Medical Association the results of its phase 3 trial for donanemab, an antibody treatment for Alzheimer’s. The drug works by removing a protein called beta amyloid from the brain, which has been associated with the progression of the neurodegenerative disease. The phase 3 study found that the progression of Alzheimer’s was slowed by about 35% compared to a placebo, with the biggest benefits coming to those in the earliest stages of the disease.
This finding comes in the same month that rival Alzheimer’s drug lecanemab, marketed by Biogen and Eisai as Lequembi, was approved by the FDA. That drug also showed a modest decline in the progression of Alzheimer’s in clinical trials. Both drugs, however, have serious side effects that include potentially fatal brain swelling. This means that doctors and care providers will have to carefully balance the risks versus the benefits of these treatments. One advantage of Lilly’s drug is that patients who were taken off the drug once all the plaques were removed from their brain and put on placebo continued to show a slowdown of cognitive decline, meaning donanemab may not need to be continuously taken.
Lilly has applied for full FDA approval of donanemab, and a decision is expected by the end of the year.
This AI Chatbot Has Helped Doctors Treat 3 Million People–And May Be Coming To A Hospital Near You
The problem with turning to the internet for medical advice is that you can come away thinking that you either have a headache or a brain tumor – but the reality is you probably just have a headache. With K Health, Allon Bloch is creating an antidote to “Dr. Google” that ingests your symptoms and medical history via an AI-powered chatbot, sifts through the data of millions of patients and suggests a medical condition based on how you compare to other people like you. “We’re trying to mimic the best doctor in the world,” says Bloch, 53, cofounder and CEO of the seven-year-old New York-based startup. On Monday, the company announced a new $59 million investment and a strategic partnership with Cedars-Sinai to bring its technology to one of California’s biggest hospitals.
Read more here.
Pipeline & Deal Updates
RSV: The FDA approved AstraZeneca’s monoclonal antibody treatment Beyfortus to prevent respiratory syncytial virus—the leading cause of hospitalizations in U.S. infants less than a year old.
Birth Control: The FDA approved the first ever over-the-counter birth control daily pill, a major development amid a heightened debate over contraception in the wake of the Supreme Court’s momentous decision last summer to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Unmet Needs: Flagship Pioneering has signed a joint development deal with Pfizer have agreed to each invest $50 million upfront into a collaborative program between Flagship’s portfolio of biotech companies and the pharmaceutical giant for 10 single-asset programs targeting current unmet needs. The deal is potentially worth up to $7 billion in milestone payments along with royalties for drugs developed.
Dental Supply: Torch Dental, an “all-in-one” supplier for dentist offices, announced a $28 million series B round led by Health Velocity Capital. The new capital is geared towards the expansion of its business and to set up more customer opportunities.
Early-Stage Biotech: Westlake Village Partners announced that it has launched its third fund, this one of $450 million, which is geared towards incubating and growing early stage biotech companies in the Los Angeles region.
This Startup Just Raised $32 Million To Keep Cancers From Recurring After Surgery
When someone has a tumor localized to one part of the body, the traditional treatment is pretty simple: use surgery to cut it out. But such surgeries aren’t perfect. Tumors can and do grow back. Cambridge-based Surge Therapeutics aims to change this with the hydrogel immunotherapy treatment it is developing, which is applied during surgery with an aim to decrease the likelihood that the cancer comes back. On Wednesday, the company announced it has raised a $32 million series B round, led by Bioluminescence Ventures and including participation from Piedmont Capital, KdT Ventures and other firms.
Read more here.
Other Healthcare News
The heart-healthy benefits of exercising for 150 minutes per week remain the same no matter how that exercise is split across days, a new study suggests, which means that “weekend warriors” who exercise for an extended period of time only once or twice per week experience the same benefits as someone who exercises in shorter spurts more frequently.
Johnson & Johnson is allowing Stop TB Partnership, a Switzerland-based nonprofit, to distribute a generic version of its tuberculosis drug SIRTURO in low- and middle-income countries.
A study of 57 different sports supplements revealed that 89% of these products had labels that inaccurately indicated the quantities of their ingredients and 12% of them contained ingredients prohibited by the FDA.
Rates of suicide and suicide attempts among teenagers were at their lowest when schools were closed for the Covid-19 pandemic, a new study finds, pointing to an overall pattern that shows mental health in children and teenagers is at its worst while school is in session.
Norovirus (aka “stomach flu”) cases aboard cruise ships have spiked for the first time in over 10 years, and experts believe more lenient travel restrictions and an increase in cruise passengers following the Covid pandemic are to blame.
Despite rising costs, health insurers UnitedHealthGroup and Elevance Health both saw profit increases during the second quarter of this year.
Bill Gates Is Backing A Secret Startup Drilling For Limitless Clean Energy
As Many As 700,000 Turkish TikTok Accounts Were Hacked Before The Country’s Presidential Election
This AI Watches Millions Of Cars Daily And Tells Cops If You’re Driving Like A Criminal