INDUSTRY FOCUS – The Latest and Greatest in Medical Innovation: A Survey of Pharmaceutical Companies and Healthcare Providers

By Kenny Lau


3M

This year marks the 50th (Golden) anniversary of the company’s first UV-blocking window film – a solution of providing sunlight control and comfort by rejecting solar heat with unique safety and security features designed for every home, every building and every automobile through material science.

Window films are a combination of function and form: invisibly allowing the light in while keeping the heat out, redirecting sunlight indoor onto the ceiling to light a room as deep as 40 feet from the window, providing a high-end look of dichroic glass without the high-end cost, and helping to shield occupants from natural disasters and blasts with a high level of optical clarity.

The technology has played a critical role in providing a form of “sun screen” for health reasons and, more importantly, in reducing energy consumption and driving down the cost per every watt of electricity, while improving scalability and reliability.

AbbVie

AbbVie, in cooperation with Neurocrine Biosciences Inc, has achieved positive top-line results from the clinical trials evaluating the efficacy and safety of Elagolix, a drug designated for premenopausal women suffering pain from endometriosis – a medical condition in which cells that normally line the uterus begin to grow outside of the uterus.

Elagolix, an orally administered gonadotropinreleasing hormone (GnRH) antagonist, has been studied in over 40 clinical trials with more than 3,000 subjects for diseases that are mediated by sex hormones, including uterine fibroids and endometriosis.

Trial results show that menstrual pain and non-menstrual pelvic pain associated with endometriosis are reduced after six months of continuous treatment, at month three and month six, as measured by the Daily Assessment of Endometriosis Pain scale. The new drug is anticipated for 2017.

AD MediLink

AD MediLink, a provider of independent health insurance advice and healthcare concierge services to individuals and businesses based in Hong Kong, France or Switzerland, has launched Hong Kong’s first Maternity Conference in the last quarter of 2015 – a one-day, admission-free event designed for the general public of Hong Kong.

The purpose of the conference was to gather various maternity experts, healthcare institutions and practitioners as well as relevant businesses and organizations to inform current and future parents on the subject of maternity and related healthcare options available in Hong Kong and to showcase their services in a one-stop shop.

The task for new parents and couples considering pregnancy is often to find a healthcare provider to suit their particular needs – a task which can be particularly challenging in Hong Kong where private healthcare is said to be one of the most expensive globally.

Allergan

Allergan has received a “Breakthrough Therapy” designation for a new anti-depressant named rapastinel from US FDA in an expedited approval process for new medicine showing clinical evidence of substantial improvement over existing therapies intended to treat a serious or life-threatening disease.

Rapastinel is being evaluated for adjunctive treatment of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), a medical condition which affects approximately 16 million Americans. It could potentially provide an additional option of drug treatment for some 70 percent of patients who do not respond well to other anti-depressants such as SSRIs (Prozac, Zoloft) and SNRIs (Effexor).

Unlike other anti-depressants, it has shown a rapid onset of efficacy one day after a single dose in a clinical trial of patients with MDD who have had an inadequate response to one or more antidepressants. No psychotomimetic or hallucinogenic side effects were observed with rapastinel.

Amgen

Amgen, in collaboration with UCB of Belgium, is developing an investigational bone-forming monoclonal antibody called romosozumab, for postmenopausal women suffering from the medical condition in which their bones become brittle and fragile. By inhibiting the hardening of protein, increasing bone formation and decreasing bone breakdown, romosozumab can potentially reduce the risk of fractures in women with osteoporosis.

Study results have shown that women having received injection of romosozumab monthly experienced a 36-percent reduction in the risk of a clinical fracture as well as a 73-percent reduction in the risk of a vertebral (spine) fracture in a 12-month period, compared with those receiving placebo.

In a 24-month period, romosozumab followed by denosumab (branded as Prolia and indicated as a treatment to increase bone mass) also reduced the risk of new vertebral fracture by 75 percent, compared with those subjected to placebo followed by denosumab.

Baxter

Baxter and Water Street Healthcare Partners have announced the approval by the US FDA of Cefazolin Injection in Galaxy Container, which is a flexible container made in a proprietary aseptic filling manufacturing process for an efficient, ready-to-use, flexible premix supply option of pre-operative prophylaxis treatment.

Cefazolin is an antibacterial agent called cephalosporin and is indicated for the prevention of infections, reducing the incidence for high-risk patients undergoing surgical procedures, and it is to be used to prevent infections that are proven or strongly suspected to be caused by bacteria.

Cefazolin injection has been on FDA’s drug shortage list for some time due to high demand. Cefazolin (2-gram) injection is the first of nine molecules actively under development to provide a much-needed option.

Cook Medical

A patient in the US has undergone treatment in a clinic in Cleveland, Ohio with Cook Medical’s new Zenith Alpha Thoracic Endovascular Graft – an improved version of a medical device used for conditions involving the blood vessels and, specifically, to reinforce a weak spot in an artery as blood pressure could inflate the surrounding area “like a balloon” and cause it to burst.

Zenith Alpha Thoracic is indicated for the endovascular treatment of patients with isolated lesions of the descending thoracic aorta having vascular anatomy suitable for endovascular repair. It was developed to provide vascular access and delivery with a lower profile device, allowing physicians to consider repair of blood vessels without resorting to larger-profile devices.

Zenith Alpha Thoracic – addressing unique disease pathology by fitting the device to the patient, not the patient to the device – is the newest addition to a growing family of endovascular grafts, which are normally tubes made of medical fabric and reinforced with a metal mesh.

Covestro

Covestro, formerly Bayer MaterialScience and a supplier of high-performance plastics for the medical technology sector, has partnered with Elcam Medical, a maker of OEM disposable medical devices, for the creation of a special three-way stopcock, a self-sealing valve which
prevents the backflow of infusion solutions and other fluids in a closed system for medical use in hospitals, thereby reducing the risk of infection from infusion ports that are open and hard to flush and clean.

The “Marvelous” stopcock, a Luer-activated valve that acts as a barrier against bacteria and a novel inner channel that ensures self-flushing and minimized residual volume, is made with the high-performance plastic commercially known as Makrolon. It is a new technology for the purpose of ensuring maximum patient safety by minimizing the possibility of infections from intravenous infusions as a result of minimal residual volume and continuous flushing of the interior volume of the stopcock.

Eli Lilly

Eli Lilly and Company’s Humulin R U-500 KwikPen, a pre-filled human injection device containing a highly concentrated formulation of insulin, is now available to treat high blood sugar in people with Type-1 and Type-2 diabetes who need more than 200 units of insulin per day. It is the only FDA-approved insulin that is five times more concentrated than standard U-100 insulin.

It was designed to eliminate the need for dose conversion and to deliver a large dose of insulin for patients with diabetes and severe insulin resistance. Humulin R U-500 was only previously available in a vial, administered with either a U-100 insulin syringe or a volumetric (tuberculin) syringe – a hassle for some patients as it requires conversion to “unit markings” or “volume markings” of their respective syringe.

General Electric

Aurora St Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin becomes the first hospital to use a newly developed ultrasound software as part of a larger system – all designed by GE Healthcare – to help physicians effectively diagnose cardiovascular conditions in patients, with life-like clarity of 4D images of the human heart’s chambers, valves, vessels and other intricate structures.

Traditional hardware-based beamforming machines can only process each individual piece of data separately, thus losing some in the process and leading to unclear images. Software beamforming, on the other hand, analyzes all of the data upfront and produces one, high-quality image at once.

The supercomputer-inspired software is able to collect a practically infinite amount of data from a patient on the spot and select pixel-by-pixel precise information for use in generating an image – all executed inside a machine that is portable, low-cost and without ionizing radiation.

Herbalife

Herbalife, a global nutrition company, has unveiled a new sports drink, CR7 Drive, in a campaign with soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, highlighting how a proper diet in combination with select nutrients can help bolster fitness and athletic performance.

CR7 Drive is a contemporary take on traditional sports drinks, without any artificial flavors or
sweeteners. The idea is to help athletes refuel and rehydrate before and during exercise with a light-tasting and refreshing experience, to supply carbohydrates as a source of energy and to replenish what is typically lost, such as key electrolytes, from heavy sweating.

Like all Herbalife24 products, CR7 Drive has been tested for all banned substances through the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) certification program, and it meets the stringent standards set forth by the Good Manufacturing Practices for dietary supplement.

HK Adventist Health

Adventist Health has teamed up with Total Loyalty Company (TLC) for a project aiming to help companies improve the health and wellbeing of their employees as well as the level of employee engagement and productivity. Their collaboration project – Corporate Wellbeing Solution (CWS) –caters to companies unable to internally develop and sustain effective, ongoing programs, making a program with a high level of sophistication available particularly to SMEs.

CWS targets structured health campaigns, information seminars, practical classes as well as healthy perks and lifestyle benefits, with a year-round program, supported through a web portal and mobile app, to drive interaction between employees and teams with a game-changing approach to corporate wellness. Hong Kong Adventist Hospital is the first hospital in Hong Kong designated by World Health Organization (WHO) as a health-promoting hospital.

Kimberly-Clark

Kimberly-Clark reported a fourth quarter 2015 net sales of US$4.5 billion, a six-percent decrease compared to the same period a year ago, as changes in foreign currency exchange rates reduced sales by 11 percent. Organic sales rose five percent, including a nine-percent increase in developing and emerging markets and a five-percent volume increase in the North American consumer products business.

Performance benefited from organic sales growth, cost savings, input cost deflation and a lower share count. Full-year adjusted earnings per share were US$5.76 in 2015, up 5 percent compared to adjusted earnings per share from continuing operations of US$5.51 in 2014. Adjusted earnings per share in 2016 are expected to range from US$5.95 to US$6.15.

At the end of 2015, Kimberly-Clark deconsolidated its Venezuelan business from the company’s balance sheet and moved to the cost method of accounting for its operations in Venezuela. The company recorded an after tax charge of US$102 million in the fourth quarter of 2015 as a result.

Matilda International Hospital

Matilda International Hospital (MIH) has added to its portfolio Hong Kong’s first and only Certified Infant Massage Instructor Course for Japanese speakers, a five-day course presented and certified by the Sweden-based International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM), following the courses in English and Cantonese first introduced in 2009.

Each year an IAIM instructor travels to Hong Kong to train instructors-to-be, and hundreds have been certified to teach others the techniques of infant massage and promote bonding between mothers and babies in private sessions. The exercise of infant massage has been attributed to reducing stress, promoting breastfeeding and enhancing parent-child bonding in adults, while babies have been noted to experience better bowel movement as well as less discomfort from colic, teething and emotional stress.

Mead Johnson

Mead Johnson Hong Kong has made a donation of HK$1 million to the Joshua Hellmann Foundation for Orphan Disease (JHF) for the launch of VITAL STEP – a screening and educational program for newborns against Inborn Errors of Metabolism (IEM), a rare form of
metabolic diseases that can cause developmental delays and shortening of life. One in every 4,000 newborns in Hong Kong suffers from IEM.

The program is a critical step in supporting the research and development of screening tests, conducting seminars for expecting parents, and helping families of diagnosed cases. The company also helps pay for the costs of IEM screenings at CUHK’s Center of Inborn Errors of Metabolism (CIEM) for 500 babies born in the last two months of 2015. The program is dedicated to Joshua Hellmann, deceased at age 15 after a five-year battle with Melas Syndrome, a metabolic disorder that occurs when lactic acid builds up in the bones.

Pfizer

Pfizer has received FDA approval for two new drugs: 1) QuilliChew ER in extended-release (long-acting) chewable tablets for patients with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and 2) XELJANZ XR extended-release tablets as the first and only once-daily oral treatment of moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Approximately eleven percent of children between ages 4 and 17 in the United States have had diagnosis of ADHD, a neurobehavioral disorder with symptoms including difficulty paying attention, impulsivity and being overly active. QuilliChew ER is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant indicated for the treatment of ADHD.

RA is a chronic, inflammatory autoimmune disease with which the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues. XELJANZ XR is a Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor, and is the only JAK inhibitor included in the 2015 American College of Rheumatology Guideline for the Treatment of RA.

Philips

Philips is poised to introduce a next-generation monitoring solution, enabled by wearable biosensors and supporting software, for at-risk patients in low acuity hospital settings.

The new medical-grade, connected biosensor automatically and continuously measures vital signs, then transmits the data to a connected clinical decision support software application, and promptly notifies medical personnel when signs exceed preset limits.

It is an integrated solution designed to help doctors detect early signs of deterioration in patients, with a connection to analytics tools and dashboards to meet the goal of giving clinicians insights as a way to help improve access to care. With a growing aging population and a rising number of people suffering from chronic illnesses, healthcare providers are seeking more cost-effective ways to monitor, diagnose and treat patients.

Sealed Air Corp

Sealed Air Corp’s Diversey Care division is test-driving IntelliTrail, a full-service, intelligent cloud-based fleet management system combining smart technology, GPS tracking and web applications to provide managers with real-time visibility of fleet performance. It is part of an expanding “Internet of Clean” platform with numerous technology solutions for high grade commercial cleaning.

A device is physically mounted on the designated equipment and contains a SIM card and hardware to record and transmit data. Users have access to machine data including geographical position, run time and critical service information such as battery state – which collectively can help reduce total cost of ownership and enhance quality of service.

Sinophi Healthcare

Sinophi Healthcare, a UK company which manages and invests in hospitals across China, has signed seven hospital deals in China. These are focused on proton therapy to treat cancer, including one oncology hospital with a proton center, one maternity hospital in the city of Huai’an, and five other Sinophi Proton Centers in Beijing, Changchun, Fuzhou, Luoyang and Nanjing.

The combined total investment in building, infrastructure, operation and costs is worth £800 million.

Sinophi Healthcare has agreed to build some additional Proton Centers in a number of hospitals: China-Japan Union Hospital of Jilin University in Changchun, Jilin
Province; Beijing Shijitan Hospital of Capital Medical University in Beijing; Nanjing Drum Tower Hospital of Nanjing University Medical School in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province; Luoyang Central Hospital of Zhengzhou University, in Luoyang, Henan Province; and Fuzhou City Health Bureau in Fuzhou, Fujian Province.

Walgreens Boots Alliance

Walgreens Boots Alliance has acquired Sleek Capital Limited, owner of the Sleek MakeUP brand. With over 20 years of experience in the beauty industry, Sleek MakeUP is recognized for its innovative, high-quality products in the beauty industry and is particularly known for superior performance cosmetics with strong pigmentation.

The acquisition will accelerate the international growth of Sleek MakeUP through an expanded network of retail channels and selected third party retailers.

Walgreens Boots Alliance is the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise.

The company was created through the combination of Walgreens and Alliance Boots in December 2014, bringing together two companies with well-recognized brands, complementary geographic footprints, shared values and a heritage of trusted health care services through pharmaceutical wholesaling and community pharmacy care dating back more than 100 years. It is now one of the world’s largest purchasers of prescription drugs and many other health and wellbeing products.

Waters Corp

Waters Corporation, a developer of advanced analytical and material science technologies and a pioneer in separations science, laboratory information management, mass spectrometry and thermal analysis systems for over 50 years, has introduced two new chemistries, pushing the limits of separation efficiency and throughput in highly advanced scientific applications.

The idea is to improve the resolution, speed, and sensitivity of separations, a scientific process of “mass transfer” turning a “mixture of substances” into two or more “distinct mixtures.” The enhanced process will give scientists additional selectivity choices, allow them to develop methods quickly and generate more information with every analytical run in their laboratory works.

The two additions are CORTECS C8 and CORTECS Phenyl (that latter is available in particle sizes measuring 1.6 and 2.7 micron). These are built on proven solid-core particle technology and are designed for scientists who need to expand their chromatographic separation space.

Zuellig Pharma

Asia-based healthcare services provider Zuellig Pharma has renewed a major regional contract with research-based pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), committing to continuing their current distribution partnership in Asia worth over US$1 billion in annual sales. The agreement covers 10 key markets across North and South East Asia and paves the way for the two companies to explore new areas of partnership and innovation in Zuellig Pharma’s core distribution service, as well as its fast evolving new areas of healthcare solutions.

Discussions between Zuellig Pharma and GSK are underway to flesh out details of several key strategic initiatives, specifically ways to enhance a number of key areas: market reach and patient access, cold-chain innovation to enhance GSK’s end-to-end vaccine management, data analytics to explore new ways in which data can be leveraged to further empower how GSK interacts with – and serves – its customers and patients; and various other areas of digital technology.

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