Cigna reports strong fourth quarter, shrugs off potential impact of drug rebate rule proposal

FierceHealthcare | February 01, 2019

Insurance giant Cigna posted strong year-end results following its merger with Express Scripts. Cigna pulled in $49 billion in revenue for the year, a 15% increase over 2017. Its income from operations was $3.6 billion or $14.22 a share, up more than 30% over $2.7 billion, or $8.77 a share, in 2017. While the year-end results did not meet analysts expectations, Cigna reported a strong fourth quarter with $14.3 billion in revenue for the quarter ending Dec. 31, up more than 35% compared to revenue of $10.6 billion in the same quarter of 2017. The insurer reported earnings of $647 million, or $2.46 a share in the fourth quarter, up 33% from $483 million, or $1.83 a share in the fourth quarter of 2017. Revenue, customer, and earnings growth were driven by continued innovation across the business, said David Cordani, president and chief executive officer, in a statement.

Spotlight

Over the past few years we have heard from clients and business associates in the health/fitness club industry that their clubs and businesses are losing members to boutique fitness studios. In member and consumer focus group sessions and surveys we’ve facilitated, one constant that continually lifts its head is the competitive pressure exerted by boutique fitness studios. The data shows that club members are migrating to these boutique studios despite being satisfied, and often delighted with their existing membership. In IHRSA’s 2014 Health Club Consumer Report the data shows that 21% of health club consumers frequent boutique fitness studios despite many having a membership at another facility.


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FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE,MEDICAL DEVICES

Healthcare Under Cyberattack: Unprotected Medical IoT Devices Threaten Patient Care

Capterra | November 30, 2022

The rising adoption of connected medical devices is accelerating cyberattacks, according to Capterra’s new Medical IoT Survey of healthcare IT professionals. The survey also reveals that 67% of healthcare cyberattacks impact patient data and nearly half impact patient care, an indication that rising security risks in the industry are leading to severe consequences in patient outcomes and privacy. The medical internet of things is helping to make healthcare more convenient, efficient, and patient-centric. However, connected devices with IoT sensors often have unprotected security vulnerabilities that endanger healthcare facilities, and even patients. In fact, medical practices with more than 70% of their devices connected are 24% more likely to experience a cyberattack than practices with 50% or fewer connected devices. “As a healthcare organization connects more medical devices to its network, its attack surface expands. Connected medical devices often go unmonitored for security vulnerabilities, and because they run on a wide array of software and hardware platforms, it’s difficult to monitor with a single tool. This means that many connected medical devices are left wide open to cyberattacks.” Zach Capers, senior security analyst at Capterra More than half of healthcare IT staff rate the cybersecurity threat level in the industry as high or extreme, yet many healthcare organizations are not taking the necessary steps to protect medical IoT devices. Alarmingly, 57% do not always change the default username and password for each new connected medical device that is put into use. Additionally, 82% run connected medical devices on old Windows systems. If a security vulnerability is discovered, organizations should patch the device or update its firmware as soon as possible. Unfortunately, 68% of healthcare organizations don’t always update connected devices when a patch is available. However, vulnerabilities and associated patches aren’t always well publicized, which means healthcare IT staff must stay up-to-date on emerging threats to medical IoT devices. Medical IoT security requires proactive and ongoing vigilance. Healthcare practices should conduct routine vulnerability assessments before connecting medical devices to their IT network. They should also keep an up-to-date and accurate inventory of all connected devices plus associated software and firmware, and use software to monitor these devices. Read the full report on Capterra.com to learn more about best practices for healthcare organizations to strengthen security for their medical IoT devices. About Capterra Capterra is the leading software reviews and selection platform that connects businesses to the right technology. Compare software, read and leave reviews, and access objective insights that empower business growth.

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FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE

Radius XR™ Named as the CES 2023 Innovation Award Honoree for Wearable Device That Combines Therapy and Diagnostic Capabilities

Radius XR | November 17, 2022

Today at the CES Unveiled New York event, Radius XR™, a new fashion-forward wearable healthcare technology brand, was named a CES® 2023 Innovation Awards Honoree in both the Digital Health and Virtual & Augmented Reality categories. Radius was selected from among a record number of submissions to this year’s CES Innovation Awards program. The announcement was made ahead of CES 2023, the influential technology event, happening Jan. 5-8 in Las Vegas, NV. Radius XR builds on the therapeutic legacy of IrisVision, a leader in digital vision technologies and itself a 2019 CES Innovation Winner. The Radius proprietary XR assistive device brings together—for the first time—multimodal diagnostics, practice management, and patient engagement. “This is a tremendous honor for our new company. It follows on the success of our IrisVision visual assistive device, which has provided a life-changing solution for thousands of individuals living with legal blindness and low-vision conditions. Radius expands on our commitment to vision health by providing the eyecare industry with an easy-to-use wearable device capable of performing standard perimetry tests. Other exams include color vision, visual acuity, contrast sensitivity—a comprehensive suite of standard vision tests. Development of additional exams is ongoing.” Radius founder and CEO Ammad Khan Radius enables patients to quickly and easily conduct vision tests with minimal guidance or intervention by the staff. The device’s RadiusExam® software and proprietary algorithms provide diagnostic testing results equivalent to current exam gold standards. “By designing our own hardware and software, we’re able to overcome many of the challenges inherent in the off-the-shelf headsets already on the market. Matching visual field strategies, background luminance, stimulus size and dynamic range allows us to mirror the current standards, making it easy and intuitive for clinicians to transition to Radius,” said John Trefethen, Radius Chief Marketing Officer. In addition, the included Business Suite helps clinicians manage everyday aspects critical to their practice's ongoing success. Features like patient education, staff training and clinician onboarding are now possible inline with the Radius platform. Radius is the industry’s lightest wearable device and has the look and feel of a pair of stylish sunglasses. The compact, lightweight design overcomes the challenges of expensive and bulky legacy devices that force patients to sit in uncomfortable positions for testing. With Radius, exams can be conducted anywhere, even in the waiting room, eliminating the need to shuttle patients between machines, which can be challenging for individuals with mobility or vision issues. The CES Innovation Awards program, owned and produced by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)®, is an annual competition honoring outstanding design and engineering in 27 consumer technology product categories. Those with the highest rating receive the “Best of Innovation” distinction. An elite panel of industry expert judges, including members of the media, designers, engineers and more, reviewed submissions based on innovation, engineering and functionality, aesthetics, and design. The CES 2023 Innovation Awards honorees, including product descriptions and photos, can be found at CES.tech/innovation. Radius will be on display at the Innovation Awards Showcase at CES 2023 in Las Vegas in January. About Radius XR The Radius XR platform is a portable vision diagnostic and patient engagement system that combines medical-grade diagnostics, business management, and patient education tools in a single wearable XR device. The RadiusExam® and proprietary algorithms provide diagnostic testing results equivalent to current exam gold standards, with the clinical science validated by Deming regression. As the algorithm presents stimuli to patients, it adapts to responses to maximize the algorithm's speed. The total hardware and software system helps medical professionals diagnose patients with accuracy, grow their eyecare practices, enhance patient engagement, and reduce staff workload by enabling patients to perform self-guided vision exams with minimal supervision.

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HEALTH TECHNOLOGY

Antengene Announces ATG-101 Granted Orphan Drug Designation by the U.S. FDA

Antengene Corporation Limited | September 19, 2022

Antengene Corporation Limited a leading innovative, commercial-stage global biopharmaceutical company dedicated to discovering, developing and commercializing first-in-class and/or best-in-class medicines for hematology and oncology, announced that ATG-101, the company's in-house developed novel PD-L1/4-1BB bispecific antibody, has been granted an Orphan Drug Designation (ODD) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. This ODD will help Antengene facilitate regulatory communication with the FDA, accelerate the clinical development and the future registration of ATG-101. At present, no PD-L1/4-1BB bispecific antibody has been approved for the treatment of pancreatic cancer worldwide. Orphan Drugs, also known as Rare Disease Drugs, refers to pharmaceutical products developed for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of rare diseases or conditions. Orphan Drug Designations by the U.S. FDA are meant to support the development of drug candidates that could potentially bring substantial therapeutic benefits to patients with rare diseases and to provide incentives to the subsequent development, registration and commercialization to designated drugs. Those incentives include tax credit on expenditures incurred in clinical studies, a waiver of the New Drug Application (NDA) fee, and 7-year market exclusivity in the U.S. regardless of the patent status of the designated drug. Pancreatic cancer is a highly malignant type of gastrointestinal cancer. According to the statistics by the World Health Organization (WHO), pancreatic cancer was ranked 13th and 7th globally by its incidence and mortality rates in 2012. In 2018, the U.S. reported over 55,000 newly- diagnosed pancreatic cancer cases and 44,330 related deaths. Whereas still defined as an orphan disease currently, it is projected that by 2030, pancreatic cancer will become the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths. ATG-101 is a novel PD-L1/4-1BB bispecific antibody that was designed to block the binding of immunosuppressive PD-1/PD-L1 and conditionally induce 4-1BB stimulation, thus activating anti-tumor immune effectors, while delivering enhanced anti-tumor activity, with an improved safety profile. In preclinical studies, ATG-101 demonstrated significant anti-tumor activity in animal models of resistant tumors as well as those that had progressed on anti-PD-1/L1 treatment. Furthermore, ATG-101 has also shown an excellent safety profile in Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) toxicology studies. ATG-101 is the first PD-L1/4-1BB bispecific antibody entering clinical development in Australia and is currently being evaluated in clinical studies in Australia, China, and the U.S. "We are very encouraged by this Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. FDA and are hopeful that ATG-101 will offer a novel therapeutic to patients with pancreatic cancer. As Antengene's first in-house developed asset with global rights, ATG-101 has already entered clinical development in Australia, China, and the U.S. We will strive to accelerate the global clinical development of ATG-101 in efforts to provide a new treatment option to patients around the world." Dr. Bo Shan, Antengene's Chief Scientific Officer About Antengene Antengene Corporation Limited ("Antengene", SEHK: 6996.HK) is a leading commercial-stage R&D-driven global biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development, manufacturing and commercialization of innovative first-in-class/best-in-class therapeutics for the treatment of hematologic malignancies and solid tumors, in realizing its vision of "Treating Patients Beyond Borders". Since 2017, Antengene has built a broad and expanding pipeline of 15 clinical and preclinical assets, of which 10 are global rights assets, and 5 came with rights for Asia Pacific markets including the Greater China region. To date, Antengene has obtained 24 investigational new drug (IND) approvals in the U.S. and Asia, and submitted 6 new drug applications (NDAs) in multiple Asia Pacific markets, with the NDA for XPOVIO® already approved in mainland China, South Korea, Singapore and Australia.

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MEDICAL DEVICES

Asep Medical Holdings Inc. Announces Grant of Stock Options

ASEP Medical Holdings Inc | November 25, 2022

Asep Medical Holdings Inc. is pleased to announce that, for recruitment, incentivization, and retention purposes, it has granted to certain officers and advisors an aggregate of 1,080,000 stock options to purchase up to 1,080,000 common shares of the Company of which 200,000 are exercisable at a price of $0.30 per Share until September 29, 2032, 200,000 are exercisable at a price of $0.30 per share until October 1, 2032, and 680,000 are exercisable at a price of $0.30 per share until November 24, 2032. ABOUT ASEP MEDICAL HOLDINGS INC Asep Inc. is dedicated to addressing antibiotic failure by developing novel solutions for significant unmet medical needs. The Company is a consolidation of two existing private companies that are both in the advanced development of both proprietary diagnostic tools, enabling the early and timely identification of severe sepsis as well as broad-spectrum therapeutic agents to address multidrug-resistant biofilm infections. Sepset Biosciences Inc. is developing a diagnostic technology that involves a patient gene expression signature that predicts severe sepsis, one of the significant diseases leading to antibiotic failure since antibiotics are the primary treatment for sepsis. Despite this, sepsis is responsible for nearly 20% of all deaths on the planet. The semester test is a blood-based gene expression assay that is straightforward to implement, and results are obtained in about an hour in the emergency room or intensive care unit. This proprietary diagnostic technology differs from current diagnostic tests in enabling diagnosis of severe sepsis within 1-2 hours of first clinical presentation while other diagnostics only provide diagnosis after 24-36 hours. Asep Inc. believes this will enable critical early decisions to be made by physicians regarding appropriate therapies and reduce overall morbidity and mortality due to sepsis. ABT Innovations Inc.'s peptide technology covers a broad range of therapeutic applications, including bacterial biofilm infections anti-inflammatories, anti-infective immune modulators, and vaccine adjuvants.

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Spotlight

Over the past few years we have heard from clients and business associates in the health/fitness club industry that their clubs and businesses are losing members to boutique fitness studios. In member and consumer focus group sessions and surveys we’ve facilitated, one constant that continually lifts its head is the competitive pressure exerted by boutique fitness studios. The data shows that club members are migrating to these boutique studios despite being satisfied, and often delighted with their existing membership. In IHRSA’s 2014 Health Club Consumer Report the data shows that 21% of health club consumers frequent boutique fitness studios despite many having a membership at another facility.

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