Over the last few decades, much of the innovation surrounding the healthcare sector has been focused on the development of new diagnostics and drug candidates. Moving forward, the emphasis of innovation may also include areas such as prevention, personalized care and more efficient technology-enabled care models.
According to Forbes, the application of digital health will continue to go far beyond the traditional system this year and inspire individuals to not only be more involved but manage their own health. Based on their estimates, “digital health technology, providing out of hospital settings, will grow by 30% to cross $25 billion market globally by end of 2019”. As innovation surrounds the sector, whether it be technology, devices or drugs, advancements in the sector may catalyze opportunities to those looking to healthcare stocks.
Premier Health Group (PHGRF) (PHGI.CN), a company focused on innovative healthcare approaches that combine human skill-based expertise with emerging technologies, announced that further to its previous news release, it has entered into a share purchase agreement to acquire two cash flow positive Metro Vancouver pharmacies with certain arm’s-length vendors. The pharmacies had combined annual revenue of approximately $6 million for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2018, and Premier Health expects to complete the acquisition during Q2 2019.
“We are very excited about this opportunity to acquire two well-run and profitable pharmacies. As part of our patient centric model, fill and fulfillment is a major component of our telemedicine app. We are also pleased to have the pharmacies’ key management team, with over 20 years’ of combined experience managing pharmacies, come on board to continue running operations. We look forward to working together to improve fulfilment for our rapidly growing patient base. In light of our recent announcement of our medical cannabis decision tool for our JUNO EMR clients, our pharmacists will be able to help with patient education and support regarding medical cannabis” said Dr. Essam Hamza, CEO. “In addition, with one of the pharmacies occupying a space of over 6,000 square feet, we have the potential to open a new medical and/or cannabis clinic within the existing space.”
This news followed the announcement that the company has initiated integration of CB2 Insights’ (CBII.CN) medical cannabis Clinical Decision Support (CDS) tool. This agreement provides Premier Health’s over 4600 physicians using its Juno EMR platform access to the industry’s sole medical cannabis-specific CDS tool, which is designed to include medical cannabis into patient treatment plans and overcome barriers while remaining on a patient-centered basis using clinically-validated data. Premier Health has also recently partnered with Bio Conscious Technologies (BCT) to bring their artificial intelligence (AI) technology to Premier Health’s user base for improved monitoring and management of chronic conditions, such as diabetes. The integration of BCT’s algorithm DiaBits into Premier Health’s patient-centric app can learn an individual’s physiology and with machine learning technology predict where their blood sugar will trend over time based on their past.
ADMA Biologics, Inc. (ADMA), a vertically integrated commercial biopharmaceutical and specialty immunoglobulin company, announced that the U.S. FDA has approved ASCENIV™, Immune Globulin Intravenous, formerly referred to as RI-002, for the treatment of primary humoral immunodeficiency disease is adults and adolescents. The company anticipates having the product available for commercial launch during the second half of 2019.
“We are excited about this significant achievement in receiving FDA approval for ASCENIV™ a novel, patented IVIG product that we feel is a necessary addition to existing available therapies for patients who suffer from PI. We hope availability of ASCENIV™ will help ameliorate a portion of the current shortages facing U.S. IVIG supply,” stated Adam Grossman, President and CEO. “Going forward, we believe this FDA approval better positions ADMA to further its mission to evaluate ASCENIV™ in immune-compromised patients infected with or at-risk for Respiratory Syncytial Virus (“RSV”) infection. We look forward to working with the FDA and the immunology and infectious disease community on developing a clinical investigation to evaluate use of ASCENIV™ in this patient population in the near future.”
With the FDA approval, ADMA Biologics can elect to access up to an additional $27.5 million of available funding under an existing credit facility. This option would remain available to the company through June 2020 and could be used to support the launch of ASCENIV™ among other things. Following this news, analyst firm Oppenheimer maintained the stock at outperform but raised its price target from $14 to $16.
AVEO Oncology Inc (AVEO), biopharmaceutical company seeking to advance targeted medicines for oncology, and Biodesix announced that a Phase Ib expansion cohort of AVEO’s ficlatuzumab in combination with cytarabine in patients with relapsed and refractory acute myeloid leukemia (AML) has shown positive results. These results were also presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Meeting 2019 Annual Meeting.
“Patients with AML who are refractory to induction therapy or relapse within one year have poor outcomes,” said director of the study Charalambos Andreadis of UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Elevated serum HGF level is an adverse prognostic factor, and these results demonstrate that the anti-HGF antibody ficlatuzumab combined with cytarabine holds potential to affect outcomes in patients with relapsed or refractory AML. We look forward to potentially evaluating ficlatuzumab in larger outcome studies in AML.”
AVEO also announced that Michael Bailey, President CEO, will present at the H.C. Wainwright Global Life Sciences Conference in London on Tuesday, April 9, 2019 at 2:10 p.m. BST. Furthermore, last month the company presented top-line results from the TIVO-3 trial, AVEO’s Phase 3 randomized, controlled, multi-center, open-label study to compare tivozanib to sorafenib in 350 subjects with refractory advanced or metastatic renal cell carcinoma at the 2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology Genitourinary Cancers Symposium.
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