This week’s Innovation Partners BioBlog spotlights cancer risks, treatment, and drugs in the news. A new study out of China that assessed nearly 4 million women working long-term night shifts found an increased risk of cancer. New medications are on the horizon, while the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference begins in San Francisco. This week’s headlines in pharma, biotech, and medtech from Innovation Partners.


J.P. Morgan Preview: What Will Keep Industry Awake At Night In San Francisco?

The annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference kicks off in San Francisco. Pharma, biotech, and medtech executives will meet with investors and professional service providers to outline plans for the new year. What’s on everyone’s minds: drug pricing, generic and biosimilar medications, and much more.

Dr. Mark Fendrick on Indication-Based Drug Pricing in Cancer Care

A discussion with Dr. Mark Fendrick (video and transcript) on indication-based drug pricing in cancer care. A thought-provoking discussion on paying for drugs that work in the battle against cancer, and the ramifications of the cost on cancer treatment and care.

Big pharma experience shouldn’t disqualify Alex Azar as HHS secretary, Sen. Orrin Hatch says

Confirmation hearings for Alex Azar as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services continued with Senator Orrin Hatch refuting critics who say the nominee’s experience in big pharma disqualifies him from serving in the position. Azar is the former head of Eli Lily’s U.S. operations which has come under fire from some Democrats for rapid increases in drug prices under his watch.

Study: Nurses on night shifts may face greater cancer risk

Long-term night work may increase women’s cancer risk, a new study from China indicates. The study followed 3.9 million participants from Europe, North America, Asia and Australia, and found that women who regularly worked nights had a 19% increased risk of cancer. Previous research linked long-term night shift work to other diseases, such as heart disease.

Study Finds Growing Socioeconomic and Racial Disparities in Management of Brain Metastases

The use of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) following radiotherapy (RT) to treat brain metastases in patients with melanoma, lung, breast, or colorectal cancers is on the rise but applied unevenly to patient populations. The JNCCN – Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network recently published a study that implicates disparate access to advanced treatment, as well as socio-economic factors, that keep patients from taking advantage of the latest cancer-treating therapies.

Gene Test to Predict Breast Cancer Recurrence Less Cost Effective in Real World Practice

A team of researchers from the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center has found that a common gene test to predict breast cancer recurrence may not be as cost-effective in real-world practices as anticipated. The test, Oncotype DX, samples 21 different gene arrays to gauge the risk of both spread and tumor recurrence.

Eisai and Merck Receive Breakthrough Therapy Designation from FDA for LENVIMA® (lenvatinib mesylate) and KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) as Combination Therapy for Advanced and/or Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma

Eisai Co., Ltd. and Merck (NYSE:MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, announced today that they received Breakthrough Therapy Designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Eisai’s multiple receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor LENVIMA® (lenvatinib) in combination with Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab). This is for the possible treatment of patients with advanced and/or metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC). This Breakthrough Therapy Designation was based on the results of the RCC cohort in Study 111, a multicenter, open-label phase 1b/2 clinical study being carried out in the U.S. and the European Union (EU) to evaluate the efficacy and safety of LENVIMA in combination with KEYTRUDA in subjects with selected solid tumors.