Week of June 19, 2023

This week we spotlight the significant uptick in biotech layoffs in the first quarter as well as the European Commission’s strategic postponement of the new Medical Device Regulation. Additionally, we delve into recent groundbreaking approvals encompassing two innovative oral medications for pediatric Type 2 diabetes and the pioneering sanction of cultivated meat. Lastly, we explore the intriguing development of an octopus-inspired patch designed for precise drug delivery.

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

The biotech industry experienced a significant increase in layoffs during the first quarter with 56 companies reducing their workforce compared to 30 in the previous year. The sector has faced challenges because of a tough financial climate, declining investments and the end of pandemic-driven demand. While large pharmaceutical companies also had layoffs, they have not been as significant most likely because of their profitability which was supported by core products and COVID-19-related developments.

The European Commission plans to delay the implementation of the new Medical Device Regulation (MDR), addressing concerns raised by medtech companies about potential product shortages because of strict regulations. The MDR requires that companies regularly obtain recertification of devices being sold commercially. The proposal, awaiting final approval, delays the implementation of the MDR until the end of 2027.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved two new oral medicines, Jardiance (empagliflozin) and Synjardy (empagliflozin and metformin hydrochloride), to help control blood sugar in children 10 and older with type 2 diabetes. These approvals introduce a new class of medicines for pediatric Type 2 diabetes, supplementing metformin, the only other oral therapy available for children with this condition since 2000. The new drugs work by increasing the excretion of glucose in the urine, and in studies, empagliflozin was found to be superior in reducing average blood sugar compared to a placebo.

The U.S. Agriculture Department approved the sale of cell-cultivated meat by two California-based companies. The process cultivates meat from animal cells. While a huge step forward, cultivated meats will likely be cost prohibitive for the average consumer for the near future.

Scientists have developed a microneedle patch for drug delivery, inspired by the “death kiss” of the blue-ringed octopus. The patch, which can adhere to tissue surfaces even when wet, can deliver drugs in a controlled manner with an initial burst of medication followed by a slower, sustained release. The patch has shown promising results in lab tests, accelerating the healing of ulcers and slowing the progression of early-stage tumors.


Source link