Week of Oct. 16, 2023


This week we delve into the pharmaceutical industry’s reputation among neurology patient groups. Also, the biopharma industry continues to make substantial investments in mergers and acquisitions, and Korean contract development and manufacturing organizations struggle to meet the needs of the cell and gene therapy market. Additionally, we spotlight the collaboration between a medtech app and an athletic training and recovery company previously co-owned by Tom Brady. Lastly, we examine the underrepresentation of individuals with obesity in drug development trials.

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

In a recent report by FiercePharma, it has been revealed that pharmaceutical companies are experiencing a notable resurgence in their reputation among neurology patient groups. This upward trend in the industry’s standing within the neurology community reflects positive efforts in building stronger relationships and trust. Nevertheless, the report also highlights a somewhat contrasting development with several renowned pharmaceutical giants witnessing a decline in their rankings within the neurology sector. These shifts in perception underscore the dynamic nature of pharmaceutical companies’ interactions with patient communities in the field of neurology.

According to FierceBiotech, the biopharmaceutical industry continues to make substantial investments in M&A, with a particular focus on lucrative earnout agreements. This trend underscores the industry’s appetite for innovation and its willingness to place bets on promising assets. The article highlights the excitement and optimism surrounding these earnout deals, which often involve significant financial incentives tied to achieving key milestones. Such strategic moves within the biopharma sector demonstrate the ongoing pursuit of groundbreaking therapies and technologies in a dynamic and competitive landscape.

According to Korea Biomedical Review, the cell and gene therapy (CGT) market is experiencing significant growth, leading to the expansion of the contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) business targeting such treatments. However, there are concerns about a “mismatch” between domestic CDMOs and CGT developers. Ahn Jong-seong, head of production and quality headquarters at Kolon Biotech, highlighted that while the global CGT CDMO market is projected to grow from about $2 billion in 2020 to $10.1 billion by 2026, there are challenges in the industry. Specifically, there is a need for better alignment between CGT developers and CDMOs, especially in terms of scale, strict GMP compliance and effective communication.

Wilmington-based medical tech startup, SportGait, has entered into a partnership with TBRx, the newly rebranded athletic training and recovery company previously co-owned by NFL legend Tom Brady. The rebranding occurred after Brady’s departure from the original company, TB12, which he co-founded with Alex Guerrero. TBRx, set to open in Franklin, Mass., on Oct. 23, will continue to offer the same physical therapy and recovery services to its clients. Additionally, it will integrate the SportGait app, designed to assess neurocognitive and neuromotor functions, aiding in concussion recovery and allowing patients to monitor their injury recovery progress in real-time, according to SportGait CEO Chris Newton. This collaboration underscores SportGait’s recent expansion, having announced 24 partnerships since August, spanning schools, wellness firms, universities and sports entities.

According to STAT, individuals with obesity are frequently underrepresented in drug development trials, leading to uncertainties about drug efficacy and potential risks for this demographic. Christina Chow, head of research at Emerald Lake Safety, emphasized the lack of awareness among patients and providers about how certain drugs might behave differently in people with obesity. Recent data presented at the ObesityWeek conference revealed that out of 201 drug approval studies in 2022, 64% did not specify weight or BMI-based criteria, failing to ensure representation of those with obesity. Furthermore, 75% of the studies that did have such criteria used it to exclude obese patients. This lack of representation can lead to adverse effects, as seen with the drug brexpiprazole, which showed varied efficacy in obese individuals. Researchers are now advocating for the inclusion of obesity effects in drug package inserts and a mandate for drug trials to include and report outcomes for people with obesity separately.


For more insights in life sciences, check out RSM’s industry outlook.

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