CART treatments for blood cancers: less cat, more cost

  • Google Ventures plunked down a cool $130m on oncology data aggregator Flatiron Health.
  • More Big Pharma horse-trading as Merck sells its OTC division to Bayer for $14.2 billion.
  • Forbes has a long and completely worth it piece on Novartis Joe Jiminez and the company's quest for a revolutionary CART cancer treatment. Interesting bits include Jiminez's thinking about A.) How the tidal wave of aging Boomers is going to blow up government healthcare spending and force brutal, industry-disrupting cost controls, and B). How, then, to price cancer treatments (bundling's one idea, ACO-like shared savings is another).
  • Incidentally, IMS says the average monthly cost of cancer treatments in the US has doubled over the past decade to $10,000 a month.
  • WebMD reported a solid Q1 with a healthy boost to mobile ad revenues. They've released a new Medscape news app for physicians, and a major update of the consumer app (with features targeting obesity/diabetes patients) is in the works for Q2. Per Mobihealthnews analysis: As he has in the past, CEO David Schlanger suggested that those two businesses, consumer and provider, are converging toward a form that might be reminiscent of a personal health record.
  • Massachusetts death rate fell by 3% in the four years after the state enacted the law that became the blueprint for the ACA, a big study in Annals of Internal Medicine shows, and the decline tracked higher in areas with lots of formerly uninsured people. It's the first major piece of evidence that mandatory-insurance-plus-subsidy schemes like the ACA save lives.
  • Used to be that drug makers would extend the patented lives of their products by introducing extended-release versions or reducing the pill burden with one-a-day/week/month formulations, etc. Now, with pipelines still only emitting a trickle, they're trying to figure out how to keep treatments, particularly biologics, from breaking down in the body.
  • Most fitness apps don't use proven behavior change techniques. No wonder most of them collect dust after a few uses.

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