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Drugmaker to Test Machine Learning to Prevent Drug Shortages

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To sharpen its predictions, the company's health-care division plans to start testing a cloud-based software platform later this year. The platform, made by North Reading, Mass.-based TraceLink Inc., can analyze in real time data points from various organizations within Merck's supply chain, including pharmacies, hospitals and wholesale distributors. TraceLink is now developing machine-learning algorithms that will be used in the pilot, which will begin with immuno-oncology drugs, designed to boost the body's immune system to fight cancer. "We want to start it in an area where the product is a lifesaving product," said Alessandro DeLuca, chief information officer for Merck's health-care division. "The value is going to be that every single patient will receive the drug that he or she needs at the right moment," Mr. DeLuca said, adding that the move could significantly cut drug shortages.


Find out about Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Patient Engagement at FutureLink Munich

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TraceLink Inc., the Track and Trace Network for connecting the life sciences supply chain and providing real-time information sharing for better patient outcomes, has announced the latest keynote speakers for its upcoming FutureLink Munich conference to be held June 5-7, 2018. Confirmed speakers include industry and academic thought-leaders: Professor Elgar Fleisch, Ph.D., of ETH Zurich; Justus Wolff of the Syte Institute; and, Andrew Rut, M.D., CEO, MyMeds&Me. FutureLink Munich Addresses Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Patient Engagement The unique FutureLink value track will address the operational and commercial challenges in the pharmaceutical and healthcare arenas, delivering industry insights on how to capitalize on serialization and big data with artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and predictive analytics, to improve patient outcomes. The conference will include discussions and workshops for commercial executives interested developing transformative strategies for brand protection, patient safety, instant and accurate product recalls and directly engaging healthcare providers at the point-of-dispense, and with patients at the point of consumption. In his session, Dr. Rut will discuss how serialization will drive increased patient safety through advancements in adverse event reporting and product authenticity.


New incentives are needed to develop antibiotics against superbugs, drugmakers say

The Japan Times

NEW YORK – Drugmakers are renewing efforts to develop medicines to fight emerging antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but creating new classes of drugs on the scale needed is unlikely to happen without new financial incentives to make the effort worth the investment, companies and industry experts said. American military researchers on Thursday announced the first U.S. case of a patient with an infection found to be resistant to the antibiotic colistin, a drug often held in reserve for when all else fails. That put a spotlight on the urgent need for new medicines that can combat what health officials have called "nightmare bacteria." Drugmakers on Friday acknowledged that in the absence of a new way of compensating them, it simply does not make economic sense to pour serious resources into work on new antibiotics. "The return on investment based on the current commercial model is not really commensurate with the amount of effort you have to put into it," said David Payne, who heads GlaxoSmithKline's antibiotics drug group.


Collaborative institute aims to speed cancer drug creation

U.S. News

A project to speed development of cancer-fighting drugs that harness the immune system has academic and drug industry researchers collaborating and sharing their findings like never before. The newly created Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy is being funded by a 250 million grant from Sean Parker, the co-founder of the file-sharing site Napster and Facebook's first president. It brings together partners at six top academic cancer centers, dozens of drugmakers and other groups. "Everybody knows that we need to move forward and change the model" for cancer research, Jeffrey Bluestone, an immunology researcher and the institute's CEO, told The Associated Press Tuesday. "The goal here is to rapidly move our discoveries to patients."


Merck beats 1Q profit views with tight cost controls

U.S. News

Merck posted an 18 percent jump in first-quarter income, beating Wall Street expectations, as reduced spending on marketing, administration and research easily offset lower medicine sales outside the U.S. The second-biggest U.S. drugmaker on Thursday raised its 2016 financial forecasts. "We are off to a promising start this year," CEO Kenneth Frazier told analysts on a conference call. Merck & Co. reported first-quarter earnings of 1.13 billion, or 40 cents per share, up from 953 million, or 33 cents per share, in 2015's first quarter. The Kenilworth, New Jersey-based company said adjusted earnings amounted to 89 cents per share, four cents more than analysts expected. The maker of Type 2 diabetes pill Januvia and cholesterol drugs Zetia and Vytorin is launching a new cycle of medicines for cancer and hepatitis C as brand-name or generic competition is hurting revenue from some older drugs.