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The number of Americans with irregular heartbeats, known as atrial fibrillation, is expected to top 12 million people by the end of the decade. This heart condition can frequently lead to blood clots and put patients at risk for strokes, which is why they’re often prescribed blood thinning medications. But the downside of anticoagulants is that they can, in some patients, exacerbate bleeding to a dangerous degree.
A number of companies are working on new types of anticoagulants to help avoid this issue so that more people can take them. One of them is Blackstone-backed Anthos Therapeutics, which has developed a monoclonal antibody called abelacimab that binds to Factor XI, an important clotting agent. The company just published results of its phase 2 clinical trials, which found that abelacimab had a 67% lower risk of bleeding compared to standard anticoagulants, while still being effective at preventing clotting and without any significant adverse events. That’s impressive considering that the best case scenario before the trial started was a 40% reduction, said Christian Ruff, the principal investigator of the trial. “That’s great news for us, and more importantly great news for patients.”
Anthos’ Chief Medical Officer Dan Bloomfield told Forbes that the company’s next steps are to move into phase three clinical trials, with results from those expected in mid-2025. If the phase 2 results hold up, he says, the company’s medication could be potentially approved and on the market by 2026, barring any unforeseen events. “These could become the dominant anticoagulants,” he said.
An AI Doctor In A Box Coming To A Mall Near You
Armed with $100 million in new funding, digital health startup Forward is betting that people will buy telehealth from its “CarePod” kiosks for $99 a month. “Slowly but surely we're just migrating every single thing from doctor and nurse to hardware and software,” said Forward cofounder and CEO Adrian Aoun. “In fact, we don't even believe a doctor's office should exist.”
Pipeline & Deal Updates
AI: MIT computer science professor David Sontag launched Layer Health with $4 million in funding from investors, including GV (Google Ventures), General Catalyst, and Inception Health. The startup’s first product called Distill is using large language models and machine learning to ingest unstructured patient data (clinical notes, labs, patient messaging portals) and generate outputs to help nurses and doctors speed up tedious administrative tasks like clinical registry submissions.
Drug Discovery: AI drug discovery company Absci has entered into an agreement with biotech Almirall potentially worth up to $650 million to develop AI-designed therapeutics for skin diseases.
Antimicrobial Resistance: Resistomap, which monitors the spread of antibiotic-resistant microbes in wastewater and other sources, announced it has raised a $2.1 million seed round led by Anada Impact Venture.
RNA Therapy: Selecta Biosciences announced it is merging with Cartesian Therapeutics to form a combined company under the name Cartesian Therapeutics focused on the existing pipeline of RNA cell therapies.
Diagnosis: Elucid, which is developing AI-powered imaging technology to identify cardiovascular disease, announced it has raised an $80 million series C round led by Elevage Medical Technologies.
The FDA Approved A New Medication To Prevent A Common Hospital Infection
New Jersey-based CorMedix received the go-ahead for DefenCath, its treatment that helps prevent a common and sometimes deadly type of infection seen in dialysis patients. The company says it should hit the market in the first quarter of 2024.
Other Healthcare News
Novo Nordisk, which manufactures weight loss drug Wegovy, plans to spend $6 billion to boost manufacturing capacity as competitor Eli Lilly’s Zepbound gets FDA approval.
Plus, here’s how to spot counterfeit Ozempic, Wegovy and Mounjaro pens. And analysts think the GLP-1 craze will be a boon to fitness stocks as people who take the weight loss drugs will likely further invest in their wellness.
Pfizer stock hit a three-year low this week, essentially wiping out the entirety of the firm’s peak pandemic gains.
The FDA approved the world’s first vaccine for the mosquito-borne virus chikungunya made by French vaccine company Valneva.