News Article | March 1, 2017
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Genentech and Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) lead oncology franchises in image and engagement according to oncologists, who give them top scores across multiple metrics. Merck, Novartis, Amgen and Celgene rank in the second tier, with eight additional companies rounding out the field. In specific tumor areas, Genentech is the frontrunner in breast cancer, colorectal cancer and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. BMS is perceived as the leader in melanoma and lung cancer, and Celgene leads in multiple myeloma. Across several tumor areas, checkpoint inhibitors such as PD-1 and PD-L1 emerge as game changers in 2016 and over the next five years in the minds of physicians. These and other findings (including hematologist perceptions) are from Pharma Engage® a Cogent Reports study released by Market Strategies International. “It’s critical for pharmaceutical companies to engage with physicians across a variety of settings to foster strong relationships, yet motivating physicians to engage is not always easy,” said Caroline Brennan, Ph.D., vice president of the Life Sciences division at Market Strategies. “We found that likelihood to engage with a manufacturer is strongly linked to image, so firms can increase physician engagement by improving their image.” According to Brennan, “having a relevant product portfolio is the number one driver of image. However, that does not mean the smaller firms are out of luck. It simply means they need to focus on other attributes that will improve their image, such as innovative R&D and HCP educational resources. Each company has its own set of priority levers, and companies that don’t invest in them will have a tougher time establishing meaningful engagement.” “It’s particularly important to note that the companies being noticed for making great strides in immunotherapy and other novel mechanisms of action are also the ones rising to the top in image within specific tumor types,” she added. “It will be interesting to see how future discoveries impact image moving forward.” Cogent Reports conducted an online study among 157 office-based oncologists and 103 hematologists who were recruited from a national online panel in November 2016. To qualify, physicians needed to be board-certified and were required to have a minimum number of oncology patients, spend at least 50%–60% of their time in patient care and have exposure to sales representatives. This study evaluates and ranks Amgen, Astellas, AstraZeneca, Bayer, BMS, Celgene, Genentech, J&J/Janssen, Lilly, Merck & Co, Novartis, Otsuka, Pfizer and Takeda on: The study also examines leadership across six key tumor areas: breast, lung, colorectal, melanoma, CLL and multiple myeloma. Companies vary by tumor type and include a relevant subset of the companies above as well as AbbVie, Gilead, Incyte, Medivation, Pharmacyclics, Prometheus, Sanofi and Teva, where applicable. Market Strategies International is a market research consultancy with deep expertise in health, consumer & retail, energy, financial services, technology and telecommunications. We blend primary research with data from our syndicated, benchmarking and self-funded studies as well as Big Data to provide clients with the most complete and accurate insights needed to make confident business decisions. Market Strategies’ research specialties include brand, communications, CX, product development and segmentation. Our syndicated products, known as Cogent Reports, help clients understand the market environment, explore industry trends and monitor their brand and products within the competitive landscape. Founded in 1989, Market Strategies is one of the largest market research firms in the world, with offices in the US, Canada and China. Read Market Strategies’ blog at FreshMR, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
News Article | February 28, 2017
NEWARK, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Audible Studios, a production arm of Audible.com, today announced the release of Emmy and Tony Award-winning actor Kelsey Grammer’s moving interpretation of Rise and Shine, a remarkable true story that chronicles author Simon Lewis’s miraculous journey from tragedy to triumph. This production is now available for download at audible.com/riseandshine. "I am proud and humbled to have read Simon’s story. It is one of extraordinary suffering and perseverance, tragedy and ultimate triumph. I cannot recommend it enough,” said Grammer. “While all who suffer in this life search for hope and the strength to go on, few have faced such a mountain of challenges and heartache—Simon’s story is an inspiration to all. It reminds me of a line from Prometheus Unbound by Shelley—“To suffer woes which hope thinks infinite”—surely Simon’s story measures up to that description. That he emerged victorious, in the face of such travail, is a testament to his courage, the courage of his family and their love. It is an inspiration to all." “Listeners will marvel at Kelsey Grammer’s remarkable performance, which adds another dimension to this inspiring narrative of Lewis’s near fatal car accident, coma, and years of treatment to recovery,” said Audible EVP and Publisher Beth Anderson. “Rise and Shine is emblematic of the power of the listening experience, where a moving text paired with an outstanding actor can produce something truly extraordinary.” With a 30-day membership trial at Audible, new listeners can enjoy any one audiobook, including this performance of Rise and Shine, free. In addition to Grammer, among the acclaimed performers who have narrated works of literature for Audible are Sean Penn, Nick Offerman, Zachary Quinto, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Lily Collins, Emma Thompson, James Franco, and Jesse Eisenberg. In 2013, Audible Studios won its first Grammy Award, for its production of Janis Ian’s memoir Society’s Child, and also won the Audie Award for Audiobook of the Year, for Colin Firth’s performance of Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair. Audible, the world’s largest seller and producer of downloadable audiobooks and other spoken-word content, invented and commercialized the first digital audio player in 1997, and has since been at the forefront of the explosively growing audiobook download segment. Audible members downloaded an average of more than 17 books over the course of the year. More than half of new Audible members are first-time audiobook buyers. Audible, Inc., an Amazon.com, Inc. subsidiary (NASDAQ:AMZN), is the leading provider of premium digital spoken audio information and entertainment, offering customers a new way to enhance and enrich their lives every day. Audible was created to unleash the emotive music in language and the habituating power and utility of verbal expression. Audible content includes more than 350,000 audio programs from leading audiobook publishers, broadcasters, entertainers, magazine and newspaper publishers, and business information providers. Audible is also the provider of spoken-word audio products for Apple’s iTunes Store.
News Article | December 9, 2016
Today, two scientists will discuss the real-world science to be found in the new science fiction flick "Passengers," and you can watch the discussion on Facebook. The movie, which will open in theaters Dec. 21, takes place on a spaceship making a 120-year journey to a distant planet being settled by humans. The ship's 5,000 passengers are placed in hypersleep for the duration of the journey. Two of the passengers, however, find themselves in a nightmarish situation when they wake up 90 years too early. Starting today (Dec. 9), at 3:15 EST (2015 GMT), a panel hosted by Sony Pictures Entertainment will feature the film's screenwriter, John Spaights; aerospace engineer John E. Bradford, who will talk about the possibility of placing humans in stasis during spaceflight; and planetary scientist Tiffany Kataria, who will discuss the possibility of finding Earth-like planets around other stars. The panel will be hosted by yours truly, and will stream live on the Space.com Facebook page, via Geek.com. Spaights also worked on screenplays for "Prometheus" and "Doctor Strange." Bradford is chief operating officer of SpaceWorks Enterprises, a company that, among other things, is investigating technology for placing humans in stasis during spaceflight. Kataria is a planetary scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and focuses on the structure and dynamics of planet atmospheres in our solar system and beyond. Three of the movie's stars — Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence and Michael Sheen — will participate in a panel today at 2:15 EST (1915 GMT), which will stream live on the Rotten Tomatoes Facebook page.
News Article | February 21, 2017
To us it may be a random week in February, but apparently in the world of sci-fi movies, it's class photo time. On Monday, director Shane Black revealed a photo of "The Predator" cast. On Tuesday, not only did the official Star Wars Twitter account share a photo of the Han Solo film cast crammed into the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon, but the "Alien: Covenant" cast got in on the sharing too. Actor James Franco wouldn't admit to a role in the movie in earlier interviews, though he admitted to loving the classic sci-fi horror original. But there he is in the cast photo, along with Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston and a huge lineup of others, some of whom will surely become unwilling hosts to one of the nastiest species of alien in space. "Alien" fans will want to tune in to FX's "Legion" on Wednesday, as the tweet promises that some kind of sneak peek will be shown during that episode. "Alien: Covenant" is the second in the "Alien" prequel series directed by Ridley Scott, following 2012's "Prometheus." It's the sixth film in the franchise that began with Scott's "Alien" in 1979. The film opens May 19 in the US and UK and May 18 in Australia. It's Complicated: This is dating in the age of apps. Having fun yet? These stories get to the heart of the matter. Technically Incorrect: Bringing you a fresh and irreverent take on tech.
News Article | December 15, 2016
Published recently in Oncology & Hematology Review, the peer-reviewed journal from touchONCOLOGY, Howard L Kaufman discusses the continuing role of high dose interleukin (HD IL-2), an approved therapy for the treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) and metastatic melanoma (mM) that is capable of inducing durable complete responses. The role and clinical value of HD IL-2 needs to be re-examined and better delineated in this era of emerging targeted therapy and immune checkpoint blockade therapies. This editorial presents a perspective based on recent experience using PROCLAIM[SM], a large multicenter retrospective and prospective registry of patients receiving HD IL-2. The data confirms the potential for durable survival as first reported for HD IL-2 over two decades ago, and supports further investigation of IL-2 therapy in combination or sequence with immune checkpoint inhibitors. The full peer-reviewed, open-access article is available here: Disclosure: Howard L Kaufman has served on advisory boards for Prometheus. This article is a short opinion piece and has not been submitted to external peer reviewers, but was reviewed by the Editorial Board before publication. Oncology & Hematology Review, a peer-reviewed, open access, bi-annual journal specialising in the publication of balanced and comprehensive review articles written by leading authorities to address the most important and salient developments in the field of oncology and hematology. The aim of these reviews is to break down the high science from 'data-rich' primary papers and provide practical advice and opinion on how this information can help physicians in the day to day clinical setting. Practice guidelines, symposium write-ups, case reports, and original research articles are also featured to promote discussion and learning amongst physicians, clinicians, researchers and related healthcare professionals. For inquires please contact: Nicola Cartridge - Managing Editor firstname.lastname@example.org T: +44-(0)207-193-3186 Providing practical opinion to support best practice for busy healthcare professionals.
News Article | March 1, 2017
Before we all get too excited about those new Earth-like planets discovered in the Trappist-1 star system last week, we should all watch "Alien: Covenant," the next installment in Ridley Scott's "Alien" franchise. The new trailer, posted by 20th Century Fox today, almost feels like a romantic love story with a ship full of couples, and then the eeriness of the mission sets in. In director Ridley Scott's "Alien: Covenant," the sequel to 2012's "Prometheus," the crew of colony ship Covenant discover what they think is an uncharted paradise. But the crew is in for a surprise when they learn that this new utopia is actually a dangerous world that is home to the kind of creatures that gave us all nightmares from the original "Alien" movie. The new trailer shows scenes of the crew exploring a breathtakingly beautiful world, unknowingly stumbling upon aliens eggs spewing facehuggers, screaming shipmates running through their ship, and best of all, more footage of Xenomorphs attacking. The film stars Michael Fassbender (reprising his role as the robot David), Noomi Rapace (reprising her role as Dr. Elizabeth Shaw), Katherine Waterston, Danny McBride, Billy Crudup, Guy Pearce and James Franco. "Alien: Covenant" opens on May 19 in the US, May 12 in the UK and May 18 in Australia.
News Article | March 1, 2017
"Dig Mine Excavate" presented by Prometheus Dance at the Walnut Hill School for the Arts, in Natick, MA.
News Article | February 15, 2017
A memorial service for Dr. Henry Heimlich will take place at Cincinnati's historic Memorial Hall in Cincinnati, Ohio, at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, February 3rd. He passed away on December 17th at the age of 96. Dr. Heimlich was best-known for having invented the Heimlich Maneuver, which has been used by people of all ages to save choking victims around the globe. He also devised many other lifesaving innovations. In 1957, he was the first American surgeon to perform the reversed gastric tube operation, which allowed people who had lost their ability to swallow to again eat normally. A decade later, he invented the Heimlich Chest Drain Valve, which saved the lives of thousands of soldiers in the Vietnam War and is commonly used today for patients undergoing chest surgery. Dr. Heimlich received the Albert Lasker Award in 1984 and the American Academy of Achievement Award the following year. In 1992, he was the guest of honor at the National Awards Dinner of the Maimonides Research Institute in Haifa, Israel. He was inducted into the Engineering and Science Hall of Fame in 1984 and into the Safety and Health Hall of Fame International in 1993. Dr. Heimlich’s autobiography, Heimlich’s Maneuvers: My Seventy Years of Lifesaving Innovation, was published by Prometheus Books in 2014.
News Article | November 10, 2016
The final tranche of R&D funding needed to introduce a new rocket for Europe was committed on Wednesday. The European Space Agency has amended an August 2015 contract with Airbus Safran Launchers (ASL), to unlock a further €1.7bn (£1.5bn; $1.9bn). It tops up initial monies of €680m and means ASL can now complete development of the Ariane 6. This new rocket will replace the Ariane 5 but, crucially, aims to cut current launch prices in half. The move to a new vehicle is seen as vital if Europe is to maintain its competitive position. The Ariane 5 is still the dominant player in the market for big commercial satellite launches, but this position is being challenged by a new wave of American offerings, in particular from the California SpaceX company. This US firm’s Falcon 9 rocket already undercuts the Ariane 5 on price and will get even cheaper if efforts to fly each vehicle multiple times prove successful. The contract amendment signed in Paris follows approval by key committees at Esa in the past few days. They signalled their contentment with the preliminary design progress on the Ariane 6 and the reorganisation in Europe’s rocket industry required to implement vehicle production. The last detail to be agreed was the establishment of a second line of fabrication for the carbon-fibre casings of the 6’s strap-on, solid-fuel boosters. This will be in Germany and will supplement the line already planned in Italy. Many boosters are required, not only for the 6 but to use as the first stage on an upgrade to a smaller rocket known as Vega. "Thanks to the trust and support of Esa and its member states' representatives, the industry has met its commitments and proved its ability to fulfil its role as a design and industrial authority," said Alain Charmeau, CEO of Airbus Safran Launchers. “We have met the deadlines and quality objectives set, and now, thanks to the industrial organisation rolled out in record time, we can continue to develop a flexible, modular and competitive launcher that will fly in 2020". The Ariane 6 will come in two versions. One, known as Ariane 62, will loft medium-sized spacecraft into orbit - the kind of platforms that image and study the Earth. A second version, known as Ariane 64, will put up the heavy telecommunications spacecraft, which sit 36,000km above the equator. The new rocket leans heavily on its heritage. Indeed, its upper-stage engine, called Vinci, was originally intended for an upgrade of the Ariane 5. Prototype Vinci test firings were conducted through the summer. The Ariane 6 will fly from a dedicated launch pad at the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana. Jungle land has already been cleared for the facility, which is subject to separate contractual arrangements between Esa and the French space agency (CNES). Wednesday’s signing means there should be no arguments over the Ariane 6 when Europe’s research ministers meet for their big council gathering on 1/2 December in Lucerne, Switzerland. In recent years, these fora have been dominated by negotiations over funding, national participation and workshare. This time, the Council will confine itself to discussions about technology evolution programmes, such as the proposal to develop a liquid methane/oxygen engine dubbed Prometheus, which could one day power the Ariane 6’s core stage. Engineers believe this propulsion unit would be substantially cheaper to produce than the Vulcain engine that will drive the 6 skyward when it starts operating in four years’ time. Wednesday's contract amendments were signed at Esa HQ in Paris by the agency's director general, Jan Woerner, Mr Charmeau, and Jean-Yves Le Gall, the president of CNES. The signatures were inked in the presence of Thierry Mandon, French secretary of state for research and higher education. Jonathan.Amos-INTERNET@bbc.co.uk and follow me on Twitter: @BBCAmos
News Article | February 17, 2017
The National Academies of Sciences and National Academy of Medicine today published a report “Human Genome Editing: Science, Ethics, and Governance” that contends with uses of gene editing for human reproductive purposes, prospects which have been brought into vivid reality since the emergence of new biotechnology tools such as the gene modification system, Crispr-Cas9. The report suggests limitations on genetic engineering to the heritable “germline” code of embryos, or even earlier upstream in the process, sperm and ovum, which convey information passed on to subsequent generations. However, the report appears to exclude the public from participation and concludes that “clinical trials using heritable germline genome editing should be permitted.” They should not—not without public discussion and a more conscious evaluation of how this impacts social standing, stigma and identity, ethics that scientists often tend to cite pro forma and then swiftly scuttle. The statement is a striking reversal in outlook of leadership since just a year ago in December 2015, when the International Summit on Human Gene Editing was held at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington D.C., a conference which I attended, also drawing Nobel laureates, lawmakers, and bioethicists from across the globe, and declaring that a “broad societal consensus” be attained before moving ahead with altering heritable code. Indeed, weeks after the Summit, U.S. lawmakers added a “rider” to an omnibus spending bill to prevent the Food and Drug Administration from spending time or money reviewing applications of gene modification to heritable code. Unlike more than 40 other countries, and an international treaty Council of Europe Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine, the U.S. does not have a legal ban on modification to heritable code, but it does have a strong regulatory framework on drugs, and federal agencies treat Crispr-Cas9 as a drug. But the limitations on heritable code are only in effect temporarily in so far that spending is restricted on applications FDA can review. Marcy Darnovsky, director for the Center for Genetics and Society noted the report appears to send from scientists to lawmakers a “green light for proceeding with efforts… to engineer the genes and traits that are passed on to future children and generations” while noting that it “excludes the public from participation in deciding whether human germline modification is acceptable in the first place.” In fact, there are a number of critical arguments on how we determine what is acceptable. The first is technical. The field of genetics is by no means accomplished. A group called the Human Aggregation Consortium just last year revealed that of 192 high frequency genetic variants that had previously been considered pathogenic, only nine are likely harmful—an important clarification for anyone wanting to recode their genome. Most mutations have very small effects on biological traits, and we know very little about how genetic variants enhance or diminish other genetic variants and differ based on genetic background. Secondly, as Darnovsky, and Hille Haker, a bioethicist from Loyola University in Chicago, have pointed out that gene modification in combination with reproductive technologies to engender a “genetically connected child” is not a medical necessity. There is a difference between a negative right, which is a “freedom from,” a harm, and a full positive right, which is a “freedom to” access or gain some benefits. If a gene-edited child were a full positive right, society would be required to pay for all of its citizens to have children, apply genetic tests, gene modification and in vitro fertilization techniques to anyone who wants one. Importantly, scientists who patent gene modification systems such as Crispr-Cas9 have an interest in selling it as much as possible, which means the scientists themselves cannot be left solely responsible for shaping the moral framework—the public has an important role to play in shaping the morays around science today more than ever. And the debates are becoming more nuanced and sophisticated as gene editing systems such as Crispr-Cas9 allow us to do things like circumvent the old cause celebre of altering human embryos, by editing heritable code in the sperm or eggs. Our genomes are a constantly undergoing alteration and it would be incorrect to conceive of them as sacrosanct. Genes are shuffled with each new generation so it’s unlikely that gene editing will give some families permanent advantages. The theory of evolution suggests that we adapt to local conditions rather than progress to a more perfect form. But gene modification risks “market based eugenics,” meaning putting values on certain traits, and seeking to eliminate other traits, when genetic variants that contribute to many features such as autism, neuropsychiatric disorders, may be less a disease as ways of being in the world. Evolution does not create values, we do. And we risk molding our children into commodities we would like to have, rather than emphasizing the people they can become. Darnovsky wrote the problem is “stigmatizing people with disabilities, exacerbating existing inequalities, and introducing new eugenic abuses. Strangely, there’s no apparent connection between those dire risks and the recommendation to move ahead.” The philosopher-scientist Jean Rostand wrote a generation ago, “science has made us gods even before we are worthy of being men.” But those are professional experts. It’s time to hear more from the public on what we think. Jim Kozubek is the author of Modern Prometheus: Editing the Human Genome with Crispr-Cas9