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ESMO 2019; Trump proposes plan to up Medicare Advantage use; Of Mice Not Men

SNL ImageNovartis AG and Eli Lilly and Co. showed in separate studies
that women with a certain form of advanced stage
breast cancer lived longer using a new drug combination.
Source: Novartis

New data from Novartis AG and Eli Lilly and Co. in separate studies have shown that women with a specific type of advanced breast cancer live longer when treated earlier with a class of drugs known as CDK4/6 inhibitors, or cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, and AstraZeneca PLC's Faslodex.

Overall survival in women with hormone receptor-positive, or HR+, and human epidermal growth factor 2-negative, or HER2-, advanced breast cancer increased in the Monarch 2 and the Monaleesa-3 studies, despite the fact that the trials included different patient populations, and differing CDK4/6 medications at varying stages of treatment.

The treatment's benefits were observed in women not previously treated with hormonal therapy, as well as in those who had become resistant to endocrine therapy.

"With overall survival in two studies now — in Monaleesa 3 and Monaleesa 7 — including postmenopausal and peri-menopausal women, the evidence is clear in terms of understanding the full effects of overall survival balanced with the safety," Novartis head of research and development John Tsai said. "That's the key element we're trying to communicate here."

Novartis, Lilly drugs prolong life in advanced breast cancer

ESMO 2019

The European Society for Medical Oncology held its 2019 scientific meeting in Barcelona, where more than 3,900 study abstracts have been submitted for review by oncology professionals from around the world.

AstraZeneca, GSK's ovarian cancer drugs show jump in survival

The U.K.'s two biggest drugmakers both reported highly anticipated data showing that targeted treatment with PARP inhibitor drugs significantly extends survival without the disease progressing in women with ovarian cancer.

AstraZeneca's Lynparza slows disease in prostate cancer

AstraZeneca's Lynparza was once again the focus of attention after data from the Profound trial showed that the targeted cancer therapy slowed disease progression in castration-resistant prostate cancer that has spread and could improve survival.

Chart of the week

SNL Image

Healthcare worst performer among S&P 500 sectors in September

Must read

SNL ImageAn executive order signed by President Donald Trump Oct. 3
aims to increase use of Medicare Advantage and private plans
offered through the government health insurance program.
Source: AP Photo

Trump order promotes Medicare plans, faster drug payments, but not lower prices

A new order from President Trump seeks to drive Medicare beneficiaries toward purchasing private plans — Medicare Advantage — over getting their coverage under the government's traditional program for seniors and Americans with disabilities.

US hospital market concentration is rising as debate over consolidation persists

A recent report from the Health Care Cost Institute showed that 72% of hospital markets in 2016 are considered highly concentrated. It did not directly connect concentration to price increases but found a "positive relationship" between them.

Gilead's Descovy picks up US FDA approval for PrEP HIV prevention

Gilead Sciences Inc.'s HIV drug Descovy has won U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval as a treatment to prevent sexually acquired HIV infections, making it the second approved pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP.

Ex-congressman confesses to insider trading, lying to FBI in biotech scandal

Former Rep. Chris Collins is facing 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to insider trading and lying to the FBI in a scandal involving a small Australian biotech company. His resignation from Congress was made official just hours earlier.

Report: Trump to pick cancer doctor Hahn to lead US FDA over acting chief

President Donald Trump has settled on MD Anderson cancer doctor Stephen Hahn to lead the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, despite his lack of regulatory experience, Biocentury and Stat News reported, both citing sources close to the matter.

Digital diabetes management drives partnerships between drug, device makers

Makers of drugs and medical devices are clamoring for partnerships to expand their reach in the growing market for digital tools to manage diabetes, especially in the U.S. where about 30 million people live with the condition.

In other news

SNL ImageScientists have developed a new gene therapy technique that may help to stop vision loss in humans.
Source: Pixabay

Of Mice Not Men: Vision-saving gene therapy; longer living fruit flies; cell transplants in mice

In this week's Of Mice Not Men, scientists are exploring ways to save sight in humans by using a new gene therapy technique in rats, monkeys and pigs; a triple combination drug treatment extended the lifespan of fruit flies; and a research team is transplanting brain cells in mice.

Medicare adviser eyeing overhaul of prescription drug coverage

A congressional Medicare adviser is exploring a complete restructuring of the program's Part D prescription drug coverage, with plans to make official recommendations in its June report to Congress.

Biotech investor eyes more generalist deals, drug pricing impact on growth

Biotech investor and analyst Brad Loncar, CEO of Loncar Investments, said the sector has fundamentally changed in light of a focus on drug pricing that was catalyzed during the 2016 U.S. presidential election cycle.

US FDA panel will examine effects of metal-containing implants on patients

A medical-device advisory panel for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will take a closer look at the effects that metal-containing implants and dental amalgams have on patients.

Trump suggests drugmakers driving impeachment, Florida to import medicines soon

In a speech, President Donald Trump suggested that the drug industry may be behind the Democrats' impeachment inquiry of him and also hinted that the federal government may be on the verge of permitting Florida to import medicines from foreign nations.

Essential Healthcare is a weekly collection of critical developments across the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, healthcare provider, healthcare technology and medical equipment industries that draws on exclusive analysis and value-added content from the Healthcare News team at S&P Global Market Intelligence. Subscribe now to get Essential Healthcare delivered to your inbox every week.