Week of April 10, 2023

This week we look at a range of topics in the life sciences industry, from the development of pediatric pacemakers to advancements in health care legislation. We also look at the over $1 billion in venture funds launched last week related to life sciences.

Each week we highlight five things affecting the life sciences industry. Here’s the latest.

A recent study indicated that miniature pacemakers showed promising results treating abnormally slow heartbeats in pediatric patients. These devices are self-contained and embedded in the cardiac wall. A traditional adult pacemaker contains wires that are threaded into the heart, but these wires can cause complications in children as their bodies grow. While the devices appear to have efficacy, the safety of the implementation process is still being investigated.

The Senate health committee is working on bipartisan health care legislation that includes policies related to generic drugs, pharmacy benefit managers and insulin costs. The Increasing Transparency in Generic Drug Applications Act, supported by generic drugmakers, requires the Food and Drug Administration to share brand drug ingredient information more freely with generic applicants. The BLOCKING Act, opposed by generic drugmakers, would allow the FDA to approve subsequent generics in certain situations when the 180-day exclusivity period hasn’t begun. Lawmakers are also revisiting proposals to tackle insulin costs and may incorporate policy from a 2019 bill as a starting point for regulating pharmacy benefit managers. Major reforms to clinical lab tests or dietary supplements regulation are not expected in the markup.

The U.S. government plans to release final guidance for its Medicare drug price negotiation program in early July. The reform will allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices for the first time, with price cuts for the 10 most expensive drugs taking effect in 2026. Discussions are ongoing to address industry concerns and ensure the program’s effectiveness.

Last week, Canaan announced $850 million in new venture capital to fund investment in transformational technology and health care companies. Canaan XIII is an oversubscribed $650 million fund for seed, Series A, mergers and acquisitions, and initial public offering funding. An additional $200 million is set aside to support the growth of Canaan’s existing portfolio companies.

The venture capital firm Cure Ventures launched its inaugural $350 million fund focused on curative technologies in life sciences. Cure is focused on early-stage investments in life sciences and biotechnology, primarily offering new therapeutics.

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