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Definiens and Advanced Cell Diagnostics Launch Software for Quantitative RNA In Situ Hybridization

Definiens AG, a healthcare company that advances personalized medicine through image analysis and digital pathology solutions, and Advanced Cell Diagnostics (ACD) of Hayward California, a leader in molecular pathology, announced recently the commercial launch of RNAscope® SpotStudio™, a custom-designed image analysis software application for ACD’s RNAscope®Assays to detect and quantify RNA biomarkers. By combining state-of-the-art image analysis and advanced in situ hybridization technologies, gene expression can be measured quantitatively at single cell resolution and interpreted by pathologists within context.

Ventana Receives Approval from China’s FDA for First Fully Automated IHC Companion Diagnostic Identifying ALK Protein Expression in Lung Cancer Patients

Ventana Medical Systems, Inc. (Ventana), a member of the Roche Group, recently announced the approval of the VENTANA ALK immunohistochemistry (IHC) assay by the Chinese Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) as a companion diagnostic to aid in the identification of patients for Pfizer’s CFDA-approved oncology product XALKORI® (crizotinib). The VENTANA ALK (D5F3) Rabbit Monoclonal Primary Antibody assay is designed to identify ALK-positive patients in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients1. The approval is based on a retrospective study that included 1100 Chinese subjects across three national hospitals where the VENTANA assay demonstrated 99.23 percent concordance with Abbott’s Vysis ALK Break Apart FISH Probe Kit.

Berg Receives Frost & Sullivan 2013 Drug Discovery Technology Innovation Award

Berg, a biopharmaceutical company committed to uncovering health solutions through a data-driven, biological research approach, was recently recognized with the 2013 North American Drug Discovery Technology Innovation Award at the Frost & Sullivan Growth, Innovation and Leadership Awards Gala, the annual event by the global research organization that highlights the most promising new innovative technology across sectors.

Asthmapolis Relaunches as Propeller Health to Advance Broader Respiratory Mission

Asthmapolis, the FDA-cleared mobile health solution for chronic respiratory disease, recently announced the company is changing its name to Propeller Health. The Propeller platform is designed to help patients and their physicians better understand and control respiratory disease to reduce preventable emergency room visits, hospitalizations and unnecessary suffering.

Propeller Health will now offer providers and payers expanded mobile apps for asthma, COPD and other respiratory disease, as well as new sensors for additional inhaled medications pending regulatory clearance.

“COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States and an extremely costly disease, both in its actual medical costs and the impairments that limit patients with this illness. I believe using technology to help improve adherence and give clinicians early indications of increasing symptoms or exacerbations is valuable and will make an important contribution to helping people successfully manage the disease,” said David Mannino, MD, professor and chair, University of Kentucky Department of Preventive Medicine and Environment, and international expert on the epidemiology and impact of COPD.

Early outcomes have been promising. In the last month, more than two-thirds of Propeller users with asthma were well-controlled or transitioned to well-controlled; by comparison, only 30-40 percent of the general population with asthma has their disease under control. In recent programs, up to 80 percent of patients with asthma remain engaged with Propeller three to six months after enrollment. As a result, the Propeller platform has yielded an 80 percent improvement in medication adherence.

“We need to be doing everything we can to help people manage their health conditions and prevent unnecessary trips to the hospital,” said Rich Roth, vice president of strategic innovation at Dignity Health. “Propeller Health is in a position to make big difference for our patients, which is why we’re excited to see the company moving in this direction.”

Propeller is a novel combination of snap-on sensors, mobile apps, analytics and personal services to empower people to achieve better self-management of their respiratory disease, while reducing the burden of chronic disease management. The HIPAA-compliant solution uses remote monitoring to track when and how often patients use their inhaled medications. This real-time information advances understanding of symptoms and triggers and reveals insights about both medication adherence and rescue medication frequency. Analytics coupled with personalized feedback and individual support, including access to health educators and community managers, inform more productive conversations between Propeller users and their care teams, contributing to positive behavior change, improved quality of life and reduced costs to manage chronic disease like asthma and COPD.

“Over the last year, we’ve grown to be the leading mobile health platform for managing asthma. Today we are charting a new course in chronic respiratory disease management, applying our proven technology and accumulated wisdom to reduce healthcare utilization for COPD,” said David Van Sickle, CEO of Propeller Health. “The Propeller brand broadens our mobile health footprint to include all disease treated with inhaled medications. It more accurately describes how we use technology to achieve momentum in self-management, but with minimal disruption to our users’ daily lives, which in turn helps improve outcomes that reduce cost.”

“Asthmapolis, now Propeller Health, is one of the leaders in mobile health sensors and apps. It is great to see their expansion from asthma to COPD,” said Eric Topol MD, CAO of Scripps Health and author of The Creative Destruction of Medicine (Topol has no relationship with the company). “Further, someday in the future there is now hope that such a platform will be able to markedly reduce asthma attacks and exacerbations of COPD.”

Propeller for COPD is available now, and the company is filing applications for international regulatory clearance for additional sensors later this year.

Source: Propeller Health

Broad Institute and Bayer Join Forces to Develop Novel Treatment Options in Cancer Therapy

The Broad Institute has entered into a strategic alliance with Bayer Healthcare in the area of oncogenomics and drug discovery. The goal of this collaboration is to jointly discover and develop therapeutic agents that selectively target cancer genome alterations over a period of five years.

“We look forward to working together with our Bayer colleagues to translate scientific discoveries into novel cancer therapeutics,” said Professor Eric Lander, President and Director of Broad Institute. “The Broad’s deep expertise and knowledge in cancer genomics, chemical biology and drug discovery perfectly complement Bayer’s decades of experience in pharmaceutical development. We are thrilled to be working with Bayer in such a visionary collaboration.”

Oncogenomics is a promising field of oncology research that identifies and characterizes genes which are associated with cancer. Cancer is caused by the accumulation of DNA mutations which lead to uncontrolled cell proliferation and tumor formation. The goal of oncogenomics research is to identify new genes which, when mutated, stimulate or lose the ability to suppress tumor cell growth. These genes may provide new insights into cancer diagnosis, prediction of clinical outcomes, and new targets for cancer therapies. Targeting individual patient tumor mutations will allow for the development of more personalized cancer treatments.

“We are excited to collaborate with such a prestigious research institute as the Broad Institute which brings together researchers from Harvard, MIT, and the Harvard hospitals,” said Professor Andreas Busch, Head of Global Drug Discovery and Member of the Executive Committee of Bayer HealthCare. “The Broad Institute’s scientists have created impressive systematic catalogues of mutational changes across different types of tumors, laying a foundation for the development of new cancer therapies and diagnostics. The alliance is another significant step underlining our engagement in the field of oncology and personalized medicine.”

As part of the collaboration, the Broad Institute will share its oncogenomic expertise. Both parties will explore their compound libraries and use their screening platforms as well as medicinal chemistry expertise to benefit joint projects. The collaboration will be based on joint decision-making and the rights to the research findings are shared equally between the partners. Joint research and joint steering committees will be established for the initiation and selection of projects, and as governance structures. Bayer will have an option for an exclusive license for therapeutic agents at preclinical development stage. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Source: Broad Institute