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Investing in Pharmaceutical Companies

Pharmaceutical companies work towards bringing new cures to the market and improving treatments available for patients.
The post Investing in Pharmaceutical Companies appeared first on Investing News Network.

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In the life sciences sector, pharmaceutical companies work towards bringing new cures to the market and improving treatments available for patients.

However, diseases aren’t easily targeted; there’s no specific cure for all types of cancer, or a direct method for stopping all the infectious disease variants that affect humanity.

As such, companies in the pharmaceutical sector try to expand potential treatments and seek new ways to work with medicine that already exists. For example, a pharmaceutical company might develop drugs for multiple indications or could look at addressing broader categories, such as pain.

 

Life Science and Healthcare Investing in 2021

 
The life science and healthcare market is a booming, multi-billion dollar industry. Read our 2021 life science outlook report!
 

The US is the world’s leader in research and development (R&D). According to Catalyst Pharma, since 1980, R&D efforts in the country have grown significantly, rising from US$2 billion to a record high of US$91.1 billion in 2020. Additionally, the US is the largest pharmaceutical market.

Prescription drug sales in the nation are also robust, and are expected to reach US$400 billion by 2025, up from an estimated US$359 billion in 2020.

Investors interested in this growing industry may want to put their money into companies that could be on the verge of finding new cures or advancing treatments for rare diseases. However, there are many challenges when investing in these companies, and it’s crucial to be aware that time and patience play a large role when it comes to the pharma space.

For one thing, it’s important to know that while the biggest pharma companies are pursuing their own pipelines, they are also using partnerships, licensing deals and collaborations to expand drug candidates. AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV), Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY,OTC Pink:BMYMP) and Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) are a few of those players and can always be counted on as big market stocks available for investors.

It’s also key to note that the overarching pharmaceutical industry goes beyond the biggest pharmaceutical companies. Small- to medium-cap drug companies continue to make an impact in developing innovative pharmaceutical products and attract a variety of investors.

Investing in pharmaceutical companies: Drug approvals

One of the challenges drug manufacturers face is the cycle of trials to develop innovative therapies.

As mentioned, the US is the biggest healthcare market globally, and its regulatory agency, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), ensures that every medication that is marketed goes through the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). Essentially, CDER reviews each new therapy before it can be commercialized and sold on the market.

The new drug approval process requires patience from pharmaceutical manufacturers and investors alike. In order to receive any kind of approval from the agency, companies submit an application to the FDA for approval, which can take up to two and a half years.

  Life Science and Healthcare Investing in 2020 report cover

Coronavirus:An Overview for Investors

 
COVID-19 continues to impact world markets. Get INN’s overview of coronavirus investing.
 

Before this even happens, it can take companies over 10 years to develop a drug and bring it to the market. After a therapy is developed, it goes through more than three years of laboratory testing before an application is made to the FDA. If the FDA approves, the drug will then go through three phases of clinical trials.

Although some are clamoring for a faster process, an easier barrier to entry for pharmaceuticals could lead to unforeseen reactions or faulty products slipping by the tests from the FDA.

Once a new drug reaches the clinical trial stage, pharmaceutical companies play a vital role in ensuring the trials are managed efficiently. It’s up to drug companies to make sure processes such as enrolling patients and gathering and submitting trial results are done correctly.

Each clinical trial has a different length, study participation and purpose, but this begins even before a drug is in a clinical trial. After drug discovery and initial development, a medicine is moved into preclinical research before it can be tested on humans.

All of this is to say that investors should be ready to play the long game when it comes to investing in pharmaceutical companies. Additionally, dips in share prices are common if a company misses a target deadline or a drug doesn’t perform exactly as it was promised during a trial.

Investing in pharmaceutical companies: Lower drug prices?

During his time in office, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb put the agency on a crusade to lower prices for prescription drugs by inciting competition between pharmaceutical companies.

In a statement issued in February 2019, Gottlieb said the agency had been taking steps to “support downward pressure on drug prices by helping to clear a path for more efficient generic development.” Generic drugs were the main method employed by Gottlieb to fulfill former US president Donald Trump’s campaign promises. Around the same time, a US Senate Committee on Finance hearing in early 2019 blasted several pharmaceutical executives on the high cost of drugs.

In late 2020, the Trump administration enacted a set of rules aimed at linking drug reimbursement to less expensive foreign drug prices and allowing medication imports from Canada; the rules also require insurers to pass along discounts from manufacturers to patients at the point of sale. Unsurprisingly, big pharma has brought the fight against those regulations to the courts.

 

Life Science and Healthcare Investing in 2021

 
The life science and healthcare market is a booming, multi-billion dollar industry. Read our 2021 life science outlook report!
 

Lowering the price of prescription drugs for Americans is still a high priority for US President Joe Biden. His administration has made reigning in prescription drug prices an important part of the Build Back Better plan.

The stakes have been raised by emerging markets such as China, which has increased drug patent life from 20 to 25 years, the longest timeframe in a major market. In addition to increasing competition, this move will let companies benefit from five additional years of sales before generic products can be made.

Investing in pharmaceutical companies: What’s ahead?

Moving forward, the pharmaceutical sector is bound to evolve. Despite reliance on trusted methods and practices, progression is natural, especially in a market as forward-looking as much as this one. Companies big and small in this area of the health sector are finding new and innovative ways to stay relevant, often by changing focus.

As part of its Top Health Industry Issues 2021 report, PWC points to several trends that are reshaping the medical space:

  • Virtual health is reshaping healthcare delivery, with 95 percent of large US employers now covering telehealth, up from 56 percent in 2016.
  • Clinical trials are changing for the better with the help of virtual technology as 98 percent of pharma and life sciences executives surveyed said they expect to increase digital investments in clinical trials.
  • Digital tools are seen as improving efficiencies and patient relationships for physicians.
  • Health executives expect their organizations to invest more in predictive modeling as a part of strategic planning.
  • The pharma sector is expected to see more investment in vaccines with interest in pre-pandemic growth areas.
  • Improving data analytics technology may help pharma companies to refine trial protocols that serve more diverse populations.

Although they are high-risk stocks from the get-go, investors can look to pharmaceutical companies for long-term returns. Pharmaceutical exchange-traded funds also exist as a way for investors to introduce themselves to the market or watch trends.

This is an updated version of an article originally published by the Investing News Network in 2016.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_LifeScience for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Pistilli, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

 

Life Science and Healthcare Investing in 2021

 
The life science and healthcare market is a booming, multi-billion dollar industry. Read our 2021 life science outlook report!
 

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U.S. COVID-19 cases increased threefold over past month – Walensky

The United States has seen a threefold increase in daily COVID-19 cases over the past month and a steady increase over the past five weeks, U.S. Centers…

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U.S. COVID-19 cases increased threefold over past month – Walensky

WASHINGTON, May 18 (Reuters) – The United States has seen a threefold increase in daily COVID-19 cases over the past month and a steady increase over the past five weeks, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walenksy said on Wednesday.

The seven-day average of daily cases was up 26% from the previous week to 94,000 cases per day, Walensky said at a White House briefing. The seven-day average for hospitalizations was up 19% to about 3,000 per day and the average for deaths was 275 per day, she said.

People queue to be tested for COVID-19 in Times Square, as the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., December 20, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

“We of course must remember that each person lost to COVID-19 is a tragedy and that nearly 300 deaths a day is still far too many,” said Walensky.

 
Reporting by Susan Heavey and Ahmed Aboulenein

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

 

Reuters source:

https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-covid-19-cases-increased-threefold-over-past-month-walensky-2022-05-18

 

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How three mutations work together to spur new SARS-CoV-2 variants

Like storm waves battering a ship, new versions of the SARS-CoV-2 virus have buffeted the world one after another. Recently, scientists keeping tabs on…

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Like storm waves battering a ship, new versions of the SARS-CoV-2 virus have buffeted the world one after another. Recently, scientists keeping tabs on these variants noticed a trend: Many carry the same set of three mutations. In a new study in ACS’ Biochemistry, researchers examined how these mutations change the way a key piece of the virus functions. Their experiments show how this triad alters traits it needs to cause and sustain COVID-19 infection.

Credit: Adapted from Biochemistry 2022, DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.2c00132

Like storm waves battering a ship, new versions of the SARS-CoV-2 virus have buffeted the world one after another. Recently, scientists keeping tabs on these variants noticed a trend: Many carry the same set of three mutations. In a new study in ACS’ Biochemistry, researchers examined how these mutations change the way a key piece of the virus functions. Their experiments show how this triad alters traits it needs to cause and sustain COVID-19 infection.

The virus SARS-CoV-2 has forced human cells to copy its genetic code innumerable times over the past couple of years, and, in the process, errors have emerged. These errors, or mutations, are the raw material for new variants. Scientists have found that nearly half of the genetic sequences within variants contain three mutations at positions called K417, E484 and N501. All of these changes tweak the same part of the virus, known as the receptor binding domain, which enables SARS-CoV-2 to infect human cells by latching onto their ACE2 protein. The widespread presence of this combination suggests that together, these mutations provide the virus with benefits not possible with a single change. Vaibhav Upadhyay, Krishna Mallela and colleagues wanted to tease out the advantages — and drawbacks — of each of these three mutations individually and in combination.  

As a first step, the researchers produced domains containing the mutations and studied their effects in cells grown in Petri dishes. The team looked at how well cells could produce the domain, as well as the domain’s stability, ability to bind to ACE2 and ability to evade antibodies. The results showed that each mutation enhances at least one of these characteristics, but at a cost. The K417 change, for example, increased the production and stability of the domain, while also improving its ability to escape one type of antibody. However, it also decreased the domain’s ability to attach to ACE2. The other two mutations had differing strengths and weaknesses. But, when put all together, the changes mitigated one another’s negative effects. Domains with all three mutations could bind ACE2 tightly and escape two types of antibodies, yet also were produced at similar levels as the original virus and were just as stable. By revealing the details of how natural selection can favor a combination of a mutations, these results offer new insight into virus evolution, according to the researchers. 

The authors acknowledge funding from the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

The American Chemical Society (ACS) is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS’ mission is to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and all its people. The Society is a global leader in promoting excellence in science education and providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple research solutions, peer-reviewed journals, scientific conferences, eBooks and weekly news periodical Chemical & Engineering News. ACS journals are among the most cited, most trusted and most read within the scientific literature; however, ACS itself does not conduct chemical research. As a leader in scientific information solutions, its CAS division partners with global innovators to accelerate breakthroughs by curating, connecting and analyzing the world’s scientific knowledge. ACS’ main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

To automatically receive news releases from the American Chemical Society, contact newsroom@acs.org.

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In stop-COVID19 trial, Brensocatib did not improve condition of patients with severe COVID-19

Session:  D17, Top Knowledge in COVID Date and Time:  9:25 a.m. PT, Wednesday, May 18,2022 Location:  Room 2018/2020 (West Building, Level 2), Moscone…

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Session:  D17, Top Knowledge in COVID
Date and Time:  9:25 a.m. PT, Wednesday, May 18,2022
Location:  Room 2018/2020 (West Building, Level 2), Moscone Center

Credit: ATS

Session:  D17, Top Knowledge in COVID
Date and Time:  9:25 a.m. PT, Wednesday, May 18,2022
Location:  Room 2018/2020 (West Building, Level 2), Moscone Center

 

ATS 2022, San Francisco, CA – Brensocatib did not improve the clinical status of patients hospitalized with severe SARS-CoV-2 infection in the double-blind randomized, placebo-controlled STOP-COVID19 multicenter clinical trial, according to research published at the ATS 2022 international conference.

The study, which began in June of 2020, took place at 14 UK hospitals, where participants were randomized to receive 25 mg daily of brensocatib or placebo for 28 days.  One-hundred ninety patients received brensocatib, while 214 received placebo.

All patients in the study had confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and at least one risk factor for severe COVID-19, such as requiring supplemental oxygen, Individuals on mechanical ventilation were excluded from the study.  All participants received standard of care treatment.

“Treatments currently available to treat COVID-19, such as dexamethasone and anti-IL-6 antibodies, reduce inflammation, but their effect is not primarily on neutrophils or neutrophilic inflammation,” said presenting author Holly Keir, PhD, postdoctoral researcher, University of Dundee School of Medicine, Dundee, United Kingdom. “We performed the STOP-COVID trial to test the hypothesis that directly targeting neutrophilic inflammation by inhibiting dipeptidyl peptidase-1 (DPP1) would provide additional benefits to patients with severe COVID-19 on top of standard of care.”

Severe COVID-19 infection is primarily caused by an excessive and damaging immune response to the virus.  A number of different immune cells are involved in this response, including neutrophils. Neutrophils release enzymes and other substances that cause severe lung damage. Studies have consistently shown that high levels of neutrophilic inflammation are associated with worse outcomes in COVID-19. 

Brensocatib is an investigational oral inhibitor of DPP1, an enzyme responsible for the activation of neutrophil serine proteases.

In STOP-COVID19, time to clinical improvement and time to discharge were not different between groups. Mortality was 10.7 percent and 15.3 percent in the placebo and brensocatib treated groups, respectively. Oxygen and new ventilation use were also numerically greater in the brensocatib treated patients. Prespecified subgroup analyses based on age, sex, baseline severity, co-medications and duration of symptoms supported the primary results. Adverse events were reported in 46.3 percent of placebo treated patients and 44.8 percent of brensocatib treated patients.

The researchers also conducted a sub-study at two study sites to directly measure inflammation in patients receiving DPP1 inhibition or placebo.  They observed a strong anti-inflammatory effect of DPP1 inhibition on neutrophil protease enzymes.  Active blood neutrophil elastase levels were reduced by day eight in the treatment group and remained significantly lower up to day 29.

“Although we did not find a beneficial effect of treatment in this population, these results are important for future efforts to target neutrophilic inflammation in the lungs. STOP-COVID19 is the largest completed trial of DPP1 inhibition in humans and we have performed extensive characterization of how DPP1 inhibition affects the immune system’s response,” noted Dr. Keir. “Using state-of-the-art proteomics (the study of the structures, functions, and interactions of proteins) we have already seen important changes in neutrophils with DPP1 inhibition that will help us to better understand the potential role of this treatment in other diseases.”

One of these diseases is bronchiectasis, where a phase 2 trial published in 2020 showed that brensocatib reduced the risk of exacerbations.

The STOP-COVID19 study was an investigator-initiated study sponsored by the University of Dundee and funded by Insmed Incorporated.

 

VIEW ABSTRACT

You may be interested in other newsworthy research on pulmonary infections, such as “A Nine-Gene Blood-Based Signature Meets the World Health Organization Target Product Profiles for Diagnosis of Active Tuberculosis and Predicting Progression from Latent to Active Disease.”

CONTACT FOR MEDIA:

Grant Hill

G.Hill@Dundee.ac.uk


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