Accelerating Change Marks 2012 for Life Sciences - A handful of therapeutics have performed extremely well in 2012, but as a whole, life-sciences are still down from 2010. - BioPharm International

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Accelerating Change Marks 2012 for Life Sciences
A handful of therapeutics have performed extremely well in 2012, but as a whole, life-sciences are still down from 2010.


BioPharm International
Volume 26, Issue 1, pp. 16-17

Through the first 11 months of 2012, FDA approved 31 new drugs and biologics, one more than approved for the same period a year ago. These approvals included Vertex Pharmaceuticals' Kalydeco, a targeted therapy for cystic fibrosis patients who have a specific gene mutation that drives their disease. Pfizer won approval for Xeljanz, the first oral disease-modifying drug for rheumatoid arthritis in more than a decade. The year also saw the European Medicines Agency issue the first approval in the western world for a gene therapy, UniQure's Glybera, a treatment for a rare, inherited disease where patients are unable to handle fat particles in their blood plasma.

There were also some notable innovations in 2012 in the way approved drugs were made. Pfizer, along with its partner Protalix Biotherapeutics, won approval for the Gaucher disease drug Elelyso, the first drug to be manufactured using genetically engineered plant cells. Novartis, notably, won approval for Flucelvax, the first seasonal influenza vaccine licensed in the US and produced using cultured animal cells instead of fertilized chicken eggs.

Despite ongoing financial concerns in Europe and the US, as well as tensions in the Middle East, the life-science industry is poised for positive results in 2013. The arrival of the $1000 genome is rapidly advancing the clinical applications of whole genome sequencing and the promise of personalized medicine to improve care and cut costs is starting to be realized.

Emerging digital health technologies are pushing this trend further. As the demand to transition healthcare to a value-based system continues, the importance of digital health technologies will reverberate through virtually every aspect of healthcare. In 2013, these technologies will grow in importance as they empower patients to take greater control over their own health and wellness, provide real-time monitoring to improve efforts to prevent disease and improve outcomes, and help payers and providers harness vast amounts of new data, transforming them into actionable information that improves care and reduces costs.

G. Steven Burrill is chief executive officer at Burrill & Company, San Francisco, CA, 415.591.5400,
.

REFERENCES

1. P.B. Bach, L.B. Saltz, and R.E. Wittes, The New York Times online, Oct. 14, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/15/opinion/a-hospital-says-no-to-an-11000-a-month-cancer-drug.html?_r=0, accessed Dec. 12, 2012.

2. P. Goldberg, The Cancer Letter, 38 (42), 1–4 (2012).


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