This Week’s Pharma Articles to Cure Your Post-Patty’s Day Headache


Wake up and smell the coffee, people. After three shots on St. Patrick’s Day and dressing up in green for the celebration’s festivities, it’s time to pay attention to the drastic numbers that are presented in the industry. This week’s compile is not about grown men dressing up as Lucky Charm’s leprechaun, but rather about innovative companies, like 23andMe and its new drug discovery unit plus Apple and its ResearchKit making waves in the healthcare industry. In addition, we have in store for you the scariest healthcare statistic out there, which leaves us with a hanging question that still has the industry scratching its head. To wrap up, we’ve left you with some worthy tips to help you recover from your big data hangover.

With that, happy reading!

1. Patient Empowerment: The Secret Sauce Behind 23andMe’s Pipeline – In-a-Database Strategy

By David Shaywitz, published on Forbes

Consumer genetics company, 23andMe, has seen lots of attention in the past with the hype driven from their ancestry-related genetic reports. But this year is different – 23andMe hit deals with top pharma companies (Roche, Pfizer) with the intention of moving from data broker to data user, harnessing genetic research in new drug discovery unit. Their goal is to provide drug developers with an integrated database that assists Pharma companies identify and validate new targets. What does this deal imply? David Shaywitz concludes three points. In his opinion, modern human genetics can drive drug development; turning data into targets requires skill; identifying and validating novel targets is economically better than selling data. Read on to discover Shaywitz’s view  including the challenge facing everyone in the industry to build a large enough patient-community, which will be the source  for rich genetic and phenotypic information used in drug development efforts.

Read More

2. Apple’s Open-Source ‘ResearchKit’ and the Future of Medical Research

By Ashoka, published on Forbes

With Apple’s recent announcement of ResearchKit, an open-source platform that empowers researchers to design and administer app-based health research that can be quickly assembled via a plug-and-play approach, the way disease research is done is completely shifted. For example, participants may remotely report symptoms using a variety of tests that can be administered through a smart phone; i.e. asthmatics may breathe into their phones, chemo patients can test cognition through journaling. According to Ashoka, there is no limit to the kinds of research that can be done because researchers can come up with hypothesis, create studies and build the apps themselves. Read on to view the interview with Dr. Stephen Friend, president of Sage Bionetworks, and Dr. Andrew Trister, senior physician at Sage Bionetworks to learn about the future of health research and ResearchKit.

Read More

3. Survey: Patients’ Concern Over Data Breaches Growing

By Dan Verel, published on MedCity News

Numbers have shown that patients are declining to share information when it comes to their personal health due to security breaches that involve their personal health. While rather small at 21%, a survey from Software Advice shows that this number is significant. The biggest fear comes from fraud or identity theft, with 47% claiming this is the biggest reason. This has huge repercussions as patients state they would switch providers in the event of a data breach. Yet according to another report, only 25% of hospitals are planning on purchasing more systems for data security.

Read More

4. Is This Number the Scariest Healthcare Statistic Out There?

By Todd Campbell, published on The Motley Fool

“Last year, Americans shelled out 13.1% more for medicine than they did in 2013,” according to a recent review of U.S. spending on medicine last year by Express Scripts. “That surge in spending could put our healthcare system on a perilous path, especially given that healthcare utilization is climbing on the tailwind from aging baby boomers and healthcare reform,” states Chris Potter. Although innovation and new therapies are providing life longevity for patients, it comes at a steep cost. Potter states that such heavy spending on drugs could certainly put patients at risk. How? Patients could face potential bankruptcy. However, companies are negotiating discounts for these drugs, saving clients billions annually. On the one-hand, too-low prices could “force drug developers to focus only on diseases that offer the biggest payoff.” On the other-hand, continually high prices could force many patients into bankruptcy. So, what is the middle ground?

Read More

5. 7 Tips to Recover from your Big Data Hangover

Published on Verix

St. Patrick’s Day, a celebration favored by many, has been known to be a celebration of good food and beer, of getting together with friends and spending maybe a bit too much time at the local pub…in other words – enjoying the Craic! Alas, there always comes the next morning with that all-too-familiar feeling – the hangover – that’s the one. Luckily, far, far away from these festive occasions, in the parallel universe of Big Data, we’ve noticed a surprising resemblance between a data hangover and a St. Patrick’s one. So, we’ve assembled a few tips to help you survive the morning after, and recover from your hangover (whichever it is…).

Read More