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Google AI detects breast cancer better; Pharma companies raise drug prices in US

Top news

* An artificial intelligence model built by Google and researchers from the U.S. and the U.K. was better at spotting breast cancer in mammograms than radiologists, Stat News reported citing a study published in the journal Nature.

* Pharmaceutical companies raised the list price of more than 250 medicines Jan. 1, Reuters reported, citing a report by healthcare research firm 3 Axis Advisors. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., Gilead Sciences Inc. and Biogen Inc. were among those that raised their prices, and almost all the price rate increases were below 10%.

* A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that hospital mergers did not improve quality of care — contrary to the rationale often cited during mergers — The Wall Street Journal reported. Researchers studied 246 hospitals acquired between 2009 and 2013 and found that the acquisitions were associated with modestly worse patient experiences and no significant changes in readmission or mortality rates.

* Research carried out in monkeys found that a tuberculosis vaccine, which has been used in infants for a century, was more protective when injected into the vein rather than the usual under-the-skin route, The New York Times reported.

Drug and product pipeline

* Chinese regulators approved the country's first domestic human papillomavirus vaccine, according to a notice by the National Medical Products Administration. The vaccine, Cecolin, is developed by private company Xiamen Innovax Biotech Co. Ltd. and Xiamen University, both based in southeast China's Fujian province.

* The European Medicines Agency accepted Innate Pharma SA's application seeking approval of Lumoxiti as a treatment for a rare blood cancer called hairy cell leukemia. Meanwhile, the regulator also accepted Aerie Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s application for eye disease therapy Roclanda for review.

* Neovasc Inc. submitted an application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration seeking approval of its medical device Neovasc Reducer to treat refractory angina — a recurring condition marked by chest pain due to inadequate blood flow in the arteries circulating blood in the heart.

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng gained 1.25% to 28,543.52, while the Nikkei 225 was closed.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.84%% to 7,606.17, and the Euronext 100 increased 1.17% to 1,157.83.

Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.

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