Health

Australia’s medical innovation approach: Is it suitable for regenerative medicine?

Existing medical innovation pipelines have emerged to support the development of more conventional therapies and are often poorly suited to regenerative medicine. In recognition of this, a number of jurisdictions, including Japan, the UK, Canada and various U.S. states have launched state-level, system-wide strategies aimed at improving their ‘readiness’ for developing and implementing regenerative medicine. This includes the establishment of new funding mechanisms, facilitative regulatory frameworks, and initiatives to support academic networks and academic-industry-healthcare collaborations. All of these are aimed at accelerating innovation. Australia’s approach to its medical future is notably different. Despite asserting a commitment to invest heavily in medical innovation for the purpose of future health and prosperity, RM has not been identified as a specific national-level strategic priority. Australia thus provides an interesting and contrasting case study for how system-wide readiness for RM may be achieved ‘by other means’.

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What it would mean for big Pharma if Vaccine IP Rights are waived

With COVID-19 vaccination rollouts in low-income countries still lagging far behind those in rich ones, a group of nations continues to push its proposal at the World Trade Organization to lift intellectual property protections for makers of the vaccines. Supporters of the waiver say the spread of the latest coronavirus variant, omicron, brings greater urgency to the need to speed production of vaccines in the developing world. Vaccine makers and other critics of the waiver say it undermines the incentives that led to the rapid development of the vaccines and wouldn’t have any practical effect.

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How healthcare innovation presents a ‘compelling universe of choices’ for investors

Healthcare innovation has been rapid and is predicted to accelerate dramatically in the coming years. As the industry moves from analogue to digital, “big data” in healthcare is set to explode. Advanced diagnostics will power the shift from treatment to prevention. Personalised medicine will lead to targeted therapies that are right for the individual. Demand for value-based healthcare in the UAE is increasing as it looks to extensively expand and upgrade its healthcare system and develop a robust world-class healthcare infrastructure. The UAE is also looking to create a patient-centric healthcare model which enables hi-tech diagnostics tools, telehealth, and robotic surgery.

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Here’s why developing countries can make COVID-19 mRNA vaccines

Across the developing world, hundreds of millions of people are unable to get a vaccine to protect themselves from the ravages of COVID-19, and millions of them have already become infected and died. According to public health experts, relying on wealthy nations to donate billions of doses is not working. The solution many now believe is for the countries to do something that the big U.S. mRNA vaccine makers say is not feasible: manufacture the gold-standard mRNA shots themselves.

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Internal culture: The hidden barrier to innovation in healthcare

As the landscape of healthcare changes at a faster pace than ever, leaders are prioritizing ways to make healthcare more equitable and accessible. With the realities of mergers, pandemics, e-commerce, payment reform, and new tech, healthcare organizations must become increasingly innovative and focused on the patient experience to stay in the game. Those committed to providing healthcare for all must empower their teams to not only create new solutions for equity and accessibility but also further deliver on that promise through every interaction and communication — internally and externally. But many healthcare organizations face a significant barrier to growth, innovation, and equitable experiences. This threat is an invisible yet powerful force that you might not expect: internal culture.

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South African Company nears License to sell J. & J. Covid Shot across Africa

The South African drug maker Aspen Pharmacare announced on Tuesday that it was finalizing the first agreement to control production of a Covid-19 vaccine in Africa. The deal, with Johnson & Johnson, would allow Aspen to bottle and market the Johnson & Johnson vaccine across Africa under the brand name Aspenovax.

Aspen would then have the right to determine to whom the vaccine will be sold, in what quantities and at what price. This agreement stops short of giving Aspen rights to produce the drug substance — that is, the actual contents of the vaccine. Instead, Johnson & Johnson will direct other facilities to make the ingredients to send to Aspen for the company to blend into vaccine doses.

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Artificial intelligence-created medicine to be used on humans for first time

A drug molecule “invented” by artificial intelligence (AI) will be used in human trials in a world first for machine learning in medicine. It was created by British start-up Exscientia and Japanese pharmaceutical firm Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma. The drug will be used to treat patients who have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Typically, drug development takes about five years to get to trial, but the AI drug took just 12 months. Exscienta chief executive Prof Andrew Hopkins described it as a “key milestone in drug discovery”.

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Novo Nordisk Foundation awards DKK 128 million for an innovation platform at Denmark’s university hospitals

Innovation should be a fully integrated part of Denmark’s healthcare system, both in cultural and operational terms, and researchers should find it worthwhile to pursue the development of new methods and solutions for improving patient care. This is the vision for a 5-year pilot project to be run by innovation centers at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen and Aarhus University Hospital and with local innovation employees at Aalborg and Odense University Hospitals. The Novo Nordisk Foundation has awarded a grant of slightly more than DKK 128 million for the project.

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Unprecedented: The Rapid Innovation Response to COVID-19 and the Role of Intellectual Property

On 26 November the new research report about the role that intellectual property played in the development, manufacturing, and global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics was launched in Geneva. The report was co-authored by Innovation Council’s very own Jennifer Brant, and Prof. Mark Schultz.

The report, along with other materials including an executive summary is available here.

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