Gene therapy: Will it deliver its commercial promise?

Gene therapy: Will it deliver its commercial promise?

On April 10th 2018, Goldman Sachs published “The Genome Revolution” report on gene therapy, in which its analyst posed the thought-provoking question: “is curing patients a sustainable business model?” The question comes at a relevant time. Just last week, two of the world’s top pharma giants appear to have taken contrasting stances on the capacity of gene therapies to deliver on their expectations of commercial profit. Novartis has entered into an agreement to acquire AveXis, for a whopping $8.7 billion (€7 billion), in the hopes of expanding its capabilities in gene therapy and commercializing a potentially transformative treatment for Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Conversely, GlaxoSmithKline has decided to sell its rare disease gene therapy portfolio to British startup Orchard Therapeutics, for a mere 19.9% equity stake and a seat on the board. The dilemma arises due to the industry’s current business model, which heavily relies on the cash and profits that the products curate over time. In fact, despite their remarkable value for patients and society, and despite their hefty price tag, the attainment of sustained cash flow from “one-shot” cures remains challenging. We need to think beyond health economics, and explore industrial economics, if we wish for gene therapy to succeed. It will be critical not only to restructure the way in which the research and development business is modelled, but also adapt the way in which health care is delivered and financed in the absence of insurable risk. Collaboration between providers, payers and insurers will be key to prevent patients to be deprived of a...
Health Literacy, the resist subject

Health Literacy, the resist subject

According to WHO’s definition, Health literacy refers to the ability of individuals to “gain access to, understand and use information in ways which promote and maintain good health” for themselves, their families and their communities. Between 2009-2012 several countries in Europe participated in the European Health Literacy Survey (HLS-EU) project1. A review of the project by the European Commission in 2015 showed that in Europe we need to pay more attention to Health Literacy. In addition, we are not training our healthcare professionals in the management of low health literacy. In the United States, for instance, there are residency programs, for doctors, as well as for nurses and pharmacists, that already include health literacy within their curriculum. Should we not work with our decisionmakers to foster appropriate access to appropriate care? There is a lot of work to do to understand the increasing complexity of healthcare, and how to streamline it to achieve equitable health....
Apps in Africa? Yes, but…

Apps in Africa? Yes, but…

Sometimes, when we think about a new app or technology that will be useful for improving health in African people, we don’t consider the applicability that this app will have. We imagine a super-app that will resolve the problem for which it has been designed, which will be cost-effective, easy to use and that everybody will use. But the reality is very different. Yes, the app is perfect, but it’s primarily perfect for its use in developed countries. It’s important to have in mind that in Africa they don’t have the same Internet access as us. The population only represents 10% of Internet users in the world. Besides, its global Internet penetration rate is about 31,2%, according to 2017 data, although in countries like Kenya or South-Africa the rates are higher, at 89,4% and 54% respectively. So, maybe we should consider the whole scene before planning a new app. We are so used to having Internet access always that we don’t think that this doesn’t happen everywhere. Biblio: Internet World Stats. Internet Users Statics for Africa [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2018 Jan 15]. Available from:...
Innovative public purchase

Innovative public purchase

During The last two months HiTT has been working in 2 different projects of innovative public purchase, and last week we finally have presented them to the regional health service call. The Innovative public purchase is a tool used by the EU to foster the innovation purchase from the public institutions. It is a contract that public institution offers, to satisfy a present need through an innovative solution. The basis is the purchase through the service demand rather than from the solution supply. Both projects try to redefine the relationship between professionals and patients; the two projects are focused on the information system for the patient profile determination. That is to say, the personalization of the health through the phenotypes analysis and the revealed behaviour, not through the genomic studies. We hope we can continue along these...
Biotech and pharmaceutical Postgraduate study

Biotech and pharmaceutical Postgraduate study

Dr. Solà-Morales has been selected to become one of the professors that will teach in this postgraduate study provided by the IQS (Instituto Químico de Sarrià). The Biotech and pharmaceutical Postgraduate study combines the acquisition of essential knowledge (lectures, mentoring, round-tables discussions…) with the development of negotiation and problem solving capabilities ( case studies, workshops, group works…). The program has been designed to students that are willing to develop their professional potential in companies of the biotech or pharma sectors, according to the demand of such companies for high skilled workers. The objectives of this postgraduate are: The Biotech and pharmaceutical Postgraduate study prepare the students to face successfully an international, professional and competitive environment and to be able to adapt to a changing environment. More specifically: Acquire business vision Add real value to the companies based on the knowledge acquire during the training Analytical capability Learn how to work in multicultural environments where English is the principal communication...