Much of the innovation surrounding healthcare stocks is focused on development of novel drug candidates, therapies, diagnostics and devices. While the healthcare industry continues to advance, innovation in areas such as prevention, personalized care and technology-enabled care models are anticipated share center stage in the coming years. The aging and growing population combined with the increase in the prevalence of chronic diseases and advances in digital technologies will drive the demand for healthcare.
With the demand for healthcare increasing, the opportunities for healthcare companies to invest and develop fresh technologies and treatments to improve the quality of care also increases. From data-based approaches to potential blockbuster drug candidates, advancements in sector may catalyze opportunities investors looking healthcare stocks.
Premier Health Group, Inc. (PHGRF) (PHGI) announced as a part of its expansion plans, it is formally entering the cannabis clinic space and has been in discussions with Canadian ACMPR-Licensed Producers in order to partner with a, or multiple, Licensed Producers. Premier Health’s recent acquisition of Cloud Practice, a medical software company, has provided the company with an underlying platform to help empower and streamline patient-doctor interaction.
“We are currently working on a partnership model to hard code the decision-making process into the Electronic Medical Records (EMR),” said Dr. Essam Hamza, CEO. “There has been a critical gap between the patient’s need for medical cannabis and the doctor’s knowledge and comfort level in prescribing it. At Premier we understand the frustration felt from both the patient and the doctor and are integrating what we think is a revolutionary process. This new tool will allow us to provide a much-needed service to the 287 clinics and almost 3 million patients in our ecosystem.”
Premier Health is also in the process of closing on two operating pharmacies in Metro Vancouver, with a combined revenue of approximately $6 million (FY 2018) and anticipates the acquisition to close in or about Q2 2019. The company also recently announced a partnership with a major online healthcare company in China, 360 Health enabling the Premier’s healthcare team to connect with patients virtually in China to provide second opinion services.
Bioblast Pharma Ltd. (ORPN) announced the sale of its Trehalose clinical development programs to Seelos Therapeutics, Inc. (SEEL). The agreement entails Bioblast will receive $3.5 million in two instalments as well as potential milestone payments of up to $17 million upon potential completion of the clinical study, approval of a New Drug Application by the FDA and royalties.
“We have great faith in the efficacy of Trehalose for the treatment of several rare diseases” Dalia Megiddo MD, Interim CEO of Bioblast. “We are confident that Seelos will continue to develop the clinical programs skilfully for the benefit of the patients as well as for Bioblast’s and Seelos’ shareholders.”
Bioblast also recently announced signing a collaboration agreement with Team Sanfilippo, a nonprofit medical research foundation, for the development of Trehalose for Sanfilippo Syndrome. Team Sanfilippo intends to conduct an open label study, which will be followed for safety and efficacy. If successful, Seelos, as successor to Bioblast, may determine to continue the development of Trehalose towards a pivotal study for this extra rare disease while maintaining full commercial rights. Team Sanfilippo recently received FDA approval for this study.
Intercept Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ICPT) announced positive results from its pivotal Phase 3 REGENERATE study of obeticholic acid (OCA) in patients with liver fibrosis due to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). The company stated that the once-daily OCA 25 mg met the primary endpoint of fibrosis improvement with no worsening of NASH at the planned 18-month interim analysis. A numerically greater proportion of patients in both treatment arms achieved the primary endpoint of NASH resolution, with no worsening of liver fibrosis, but this did not reach statistical significance. However, as agreed with the FDA only one endpoint needed to be achieved.
“We are thrilled to report the first positive registrational Phase 3 study results in patients with NASH, a devastating disease that is on track to become a leading cause of liver transplant in coming years,” said Mark Pruzanski, M.D., President and CEO. “The topline REGENERATE data we are reporting today support our belief that OCA will become the first approved medicine for those living with liver fibrosis due to NASH. We are deeply grateful to the patients, investigators and study staff whose ongoing participation in REGENERATE has brought us one step closer to delivering a much-needed therapeutic option to address the enormous unmet medical need in this population.”
Intercept intends to file for approval in the U.S. and Europe in the second half of 2019, while OCA remains the only investigational drug to have received Breakthrough Therapy designation from the FDA for NASH with fibrosis.
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