Over the past few years, Google has expanded into life sciences, with venture capital investments, the creation of Calico and development of "smart" contact lenses giving it multiple beachheads in the industry. But the search giant's co-founders have reservations about getting deep into healthcare, saying regulations make it a "painful" sector in which to work.
Any industry that's undergoing as much change as biopharma is always looking for leadership. Old marketing practices are being blown apart, R&D is being subjected to emergency surgery, drug prices surge ever higher, spurring a growing backlash from payers.
In this constantly shifting panorama you'll find a group of executives who are forging new paths for others to follow. This year, the third for Fierce, we present the men and women whose influence is being felt across the industry.
Influence, of course, isn't always a force for good. But it can be. To be truly influential in an industry, you need to be able to persuasively explain new methods that can exert a powerful hold on colleagues in the same global field. Some of this year's group have excelled in that regard.
We hope you enjoy this year's report. And please offer any suggestions you may have for next year's project on the influentials.
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Pfizer and 23andMe have teamed up to identify genetic factors linked to inflammatory bowel disease. And with 23andMe trumpeting the fact that people can participate without leaving their homes, the study represents a continuation of Pfizer's interest in virtual trials.
Takeda Pharmaceutical's United Kingdom subsidiary has begun working with C4X Discovery to improve its lead discovery and hit identification. The agreement is centered on C4XD's 3D drug technology, a nuclear magnetic resonance-based method of viewing the structure of a molecule.
IBM has opened up its Watson supercomputer to drug researchers through a new cloud-based service. And Big Pharma companies are already on board, with Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi among the early adopters of the technology.
With its big claims about how artificial intelligence can slash drug development timelines and a lead candidate based on a coenzyme best known as a dietary supplement, Berg is always likely to provoke skepticism. But the company is sticking to its guns, with President and CTO Niven Narain pointing to early drug discovery successes as evidence of its legitimacy.
The theft of data on up to 4.5 million patients from Community Health Systems last month has intensified awareness of the porousness of hospital and life science digital security measures. And the postevent analysis has reconfirmed that pharma is a top target for hackers, and some companies are ill equipped to defend themselves.
With reports suggesting Apple is set to get deeper into health data tracking by introducing its own wearable device, the tech giant has tightened up its app privacy rules. The changes ban the sale of health data to advertisers, while maintaining app developers' right to share data from consenting users with third parties for medical research purposes.
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The FDA has cleared HealthPatch MD, a small, wireless biosensor patch worn on the chest that can track a number of vital signs and biometric measurements. The sensor connects to a smartphone to relay data to a healthcare provider.
Back in June, Amgen said it was eyeing a U.S. application for its cancer-fighting viral vaccine in the short term but would be looking outside the U.S. as well. After submitting its candidate to the FDA in July, the company now says it's turned over a marketing authorization application to the European Medicines Agency for the melanoma candidate.