You’ve heard the expression “all things old are new again” and it applies to cancer therapies, too. Drug developers are testing antibody-drug conjugates again. German manufacturer Boehringer has been clear to manufacture drugs in China, passing Chinese regulatory hurdles. The ACA is in the spotlight again with 20 states asking the Supreme Court to make a final ruling on the constitutionality of the individual mandate. More top stories from the world of healthcare may be found in this week’s Innovation Partners BioBlog.

Innovation Partners Weekly BioBlog January 12, 2020 edition

Former Anthem executive and palliative care entrepreneur Brad Smith to lead CMMI

Brad Smith has been chosen to serve as the director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). Smith will oversee the creation and stewardship of value-based payment models. He leaves his position as Chief Operating Officer at Anthem’s Diversified Business Group to assume the new role. CMMI, which was created by the Affordable Care Act, is responsible for testing and implementing various payment and service models, particularly centered on the shift toward value-based care.

Drug developers take fresh aim at ‘guided-missile’ cancer drugs

A dozen drugmakers are conducting trials of therapies that combine toxic agents with antibodies to combat cancer. Although this combination had fallen out of favor, it is back in the spotlight again. AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline are among the companies studying 89 antibody-drug conjugates. The drugs lock onto tumors and delivery toxins that are 10,000 times the potency of standard chemotherapy. The benefit? They leave healthy surrounding tissue alone.

Blue states ask Supreme Court to take up ACA case in current term

The District of Columbia and a group of 20 blue states have asked the Supreme Court to take up the case that upholds the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Xavier Becerra, Attorney General of California, led the group to request that the Supreme Court focus on the case in its current term. A Texas court ruled in 2018 that the individual mandate was unconstitutional. The debate continues as to whether the act can stand without the mandate, and if nullifying the mandate renders the whole of the ACA untenable.

Surprise billing, drug prices left to 2020

Two bipartisan issues from 2019 were left out of the $1.37 trillion year-end spending package. The issues include surprise billing and the continued quest to lower drug pricing. Both are likely to continue as issues in 2020. The healthcare package permanently repealed the 40% tax on Cadillac plans, the health insurance tax and the 2.3% medical device tax.It kept auto-enrollment for exchange plans and allows insurers to continue the practice of silver loading through 2021.

It also delayed the reduction in payment to disproportionate share hospitals until May 22, 2020, a new deadline for that issue and several healthcare programs that were set to expire. Congress passed the Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples Act of 2019, or CREATES, to pay for the extension of healthcare programs through May 22, 2020.

How can U.S. healthcare save more than $600B? Switch to a single-payer system, study suggests

A new study suggests that U.S. healthcare system could save more than $600 billion in administrative costs by switching to a single payer system. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine states that the U.S.’s current multi-payer system cost the country $812 billion in administrative costs in 2017. That’s four times more than Canada, which has a single-payer system. Overhead costs of insurers adds to American’s healthcare bills.

Boehringer cleared to manufacture BeiGene’s cancer drug for Chinese market

German company Boehringer Ingelheim plans to manufacture the first biologic drug approved in China using a new regulatory system. The system is designed to strengthen China’s domestic pharma infrastructure. Boehringer Ingelheim successfully applied the Marketing Authorization Holder (MAH) system under China’s revised drug laws, allowing the German company to manufacture a biologic drug for partner BeiGene under multinational arrangement.