Ab­b­Vie un­veils di­ver­si­ty, cli­mate and ac­ces­si­bil­i­ty strate­gies in new re­port

All eyes are on Ab­b­Vie. The com­pa­ny’s round­ing out its first decade on Wall Street this year, and over the next five, it’s pre­dict­ed to beat out Pfiz­er to be­come the world’s top-sell­ing phar­ma gi­ant.

But it isn’t just about sales. More and more phar­ma com­pa­nies are pub­lish­ing re­ports to out­line cli­mate, so­ci­etal, and even pric­ing goals.  Last week, Ab­b­Vie laid out its strat­e­gy in its lat­est En­vi­ron­ment, So­cial & Gov­er­nance (ESG) re­port.

Amid a big sus­tain­abil­i­ty push in the phar­ma in­dus­try, Ab­b­Vie has been able to re­duce its car­bon emis­sions by 25% since 2015. By 2035, the com­pa­ny hopes to reach 50%.

“We rec­og­nize that our com­pa­ny and our in­dus­try hold a unique op­por­tu­ni­ty to make a re­al dif­fer­ence in peo­ple’s lives, but it’s not just the break­throughs we achieve that mat­ter, it’s al­so the paths we take to achieve them,” the re­port states.

In ad­di­tion to cut­ting down on car­bon emis­sions, Ab­b­Vie promised to source 100% of its en­er­gy from re­new­able sources by 2035, and send ze­ro waste to land­fills. In 2021, the com­pa­ny was able to di­vert 92% of its waste from land­fills and pur­chased 32% of its elec­tric­i­ty from re­new­able sources.

To achieve those goals, the phar­ma gi­ant has been in­tro­duc­ing more elec­tric and hy­brid ve­hi­cles to its fleet. In the UL, 95% of all new ve­hi­cles were hy­brid or elec­tric. The com­pa­ny al­so re­placed 30-year-old steam boil­ers at its Cam­po Verde, Italy man­u­fac­tur­ing site last year with ones that are much more ef­fi­cient.

Cli­mate goals are just one pil­lar of Ab­b­Vie’s ESG re­port. The com­pa­ny al­so com­mit­ted to di­ver­si­fy­ing its work­force and clin­i­cal tri­als, as in­dus­try-wide calls for tri­als to rep­re­sent the pop­u­la­tions they serve grow loud­er.

Of the 53 drugs ap­proved in 2020, Black pa­tients rep­re­sent­ed about 8% of par­tic­i­pants in the tri­als reg­u­la­tors based their de­ci­sions on. To put that in per­spec­tive, Black Amer­i­cans rep­re­sent about 13% of the US pop­u­la­tion and are more like­ly to die from cer­tain con­di­tions like heart dis­ease and most can­cers than white Amer­i­cans.

“To ef­fec­tive­ly serve the pop­u­la­tions liv­ing with the dis­eases that we study and for whom we cre­ate so­lu­tions, it is im­per­a­tive to de­sign in­clu­sive clin­i­cal re­search pro­grams with eq­ui­table ac­cess for pa­tients and physi­cians,” Ab­b­Vie’s re­port states.

In the last cou­ple of years, the phar­ma com­pa­ny says it has es­tab­lished a team to fos­ter a “da­ta-dri­ven” ap­proach to achiev­ing more in­clu­sive tri­als and hired its first di­rec­tor of clin­i­cal tri­al di­ver­si­ty and in­clu­sion to over­see the op­er­a­tion. The plan al­so in­volves mea­sures like se­lect­ing strate­gic tri­al sites and ex­pand­ing its in­ves­ti­ga­tor pool.

With­in the com­pa­ny, Ab­b­Vie not­ed that it’s com­mit­ted to pay eq­ui­ty, and con­ducts an­nu­al analy­ses to “en­sure pay is eq­ui­table across gen­ders and eth­nic­i­ties.”

“We al­so rec­og­nize that in­no­v­a­tive treat­ments can on­ly make a dif­fer­ence if pa­tients can ac­cess the med­i­cines that they and their providers choose,” the re­port states.

That’s where ac­ces­si­bil­i­ty ef­forts come in. In the US, Ab­b­Vie pro­vides co-pay as­sis­tance, re­gard­less of in­come, to all pa­tients with com­mer­cial in­sur­ance. Most el­i­gi­ble pa­tients pay $5-10 per month for their Ab­b­Vie med­i­cines, ac­cord­ing to the com­pa­ny.

Last week, Eval­u­ate Phar­ma pre­dict­ed that Ab­b­Vie will be­come the world’s top-sell­ing phar­ma com­pa­ny by 2028.

“As we ap­proach our 10-year an­niver­sary of be­ing an in­de­pen­dent com­pa­ny, we will con­tin­ue to in­no­vate with in­tegri­ty and in­ten­tion to ad­vance the long-term health of our pa­tients, our peo­ple and our plan­et,” the com­pa­ny said.

Has the mo­ment fi­nal­ly ar­rived for val­ue-based health­care?

RBC Capital Markets’ Healthcare Technology Analyst, Sean Dodge, spotlights a new breed of tech-enabled providers who are rapidly transforming the way clinicians deliver healthcare, and explores the key question: can this accelerating revolution overturn the US healthcare system?

Key points

Tech-enabled healthcare providers are poised to help the US transition to value, not volume, as the basis for reward.
The move to value-based care has policy momentum, but is risky and complex for clinicians.
Outsourced tech specialists are emerging to provide the required expertise, while healthcare and tech are also converging through M&A.
Value-based care remains in its early stages, but the transition is accelerating and represents a huge addressable market.

Clay Siegall, Morphimmune CEO

Up­dat­ed: Ex-Seagen chief Clay Sie­gall emerges as CEO of pri­vate biotech

Clay Siegall will be back in the CEO seat, taking the helm of a private startup working on targeted cancer therapies.

It’s been almost a year since Siegall resigned from Seagen, the biotech he co-founded and led for more than 20 years, in the wake of domestic violence allegations by his then-wife. His eventual successor, David Epstein, sold the company to Pfizer in a $43 billion deal unveiled last week.

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No­vo Nordisk oral semaglu­tide tri­al shows re­duc­tion in blood sug­ar, plus weight loss

Novo Nordisk is testing higher levels of its oral version of its GLP-1, semaglutide, and its type 2 diabetes trial results released today show reductions in blood sugar as well as weight loss.

In the Phase IIIb trial, Novo compared its oral semaglutide in 25 mg and 50 mg doses with the 14 mg version that’s currently the maximum approved dose. The trial looked at how the doses compared when added to a stable dose of one to three oral antidiabetic medicines in people with type 2 diabetes who were in need of an intensified treatment.

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Ly­me vac­cine test com­ple­tion is pushed back by a year as Pfiz­er, Val­ne­va say they'll ad­just tri­al

Valneva and Pfizer have adjusted the end date for the Phase III study of their investigational Lyme disease vaccine, pushing it back by a year after issues at a contract researcher led to thousands of US patients being dropped from the test.

In a March 20 update to clinicaltrials.gov, Valneva and Pfizer moved the primary completion date on the trial, called VALOR, from the end of 2024 to the end of 2025.

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FDA ad­vi­sors unan­i­mous­ly rec­om­mend ac­cel­er­at­ed ap­proval for Bio­gen's ALS drug

A panel of outside advisors to the FDA unanimously recommended that the agency grant accelerated approval to Biogen’s ALS drug tofersen despite the drug failing the primary goal of its Phase III study, an endorsement that could pave a path forward for the treatment.

By a 9-0 vote, members of the Peripheral and Central Nervous System Drugs Advisory Committee said there was sufficient evidence that tofersen’s effect on a certain protein associated with ALS is reasonably likely to predict a benefit for patients. But panelists stopped short of advocating for a full approval, voting 3-5 against (with one abstention) and largely citing the failed pivotal study.

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Eu­ro­pean doc­tors di­al up dig­i­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tion with phar­mas, but still lean to­ward in-per­son med meet­ings, study finds

As in-person sales rep access declines in the big five European countries, a corresponding uptick in virtual rep access is happening. It’s not surprising, but it does run counter to pharma companies’ assessment – along with long-held sales rep sway in Europe – that in-person access hadn’t changed.

CMI Media Group and Medscape’s recent study reports that 75% of physicians in the EU5 countries of Spain, Germany, Italy, France and the UK already limit engagements with pharma sales reps, and 25% of those surveyed plan to decrease time with reps.

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Judge al­lows ex­pert tes­ti­mo­ny in GSK tri­al al­leg­ing Zan­tac link to can­cer

A California judge will allow a plaintiff in a state court case to introduce expert testimony connecting a potential carcinogen in former blockbuster medicine Zantac to cancer.

The order was handed down on Thursday from state judge Evelio Grillo, who is now allowing both parties to introduce expert testimony in an upcoming trial after what’s known as a Sargon hearing, where a judge determines the admissibility of expert witnesses and expert opinions.

The Melon family, as seen in Concussion Awareness Now's latest campaign

Ab­bott in­tro­duces the Mel­on fam­i­ly to raise con­cus­sion aware­ness

Abbott is renewing its concussion awareness campaign, weeks after the company received FDA clearance for its lab-based traumatic brain injury (TBI) blood test.

The unbranded campaign features three generations of the Melon family — animated talking melons who slip on toys or take a spill while playing pickleball.

“Don’t mess with your melon. If you hit it, get it checked,” a narrator says.

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) (Drew Angerer/Pool via AP)

Sen­ate com­mit­tee ad­vances PBM bill as bi­par­ti­san re­forms gain trac­tion

Pharmacy benefit managers are beginning to see enemies on both sides of the aisle: On Wednesday, a US Senate committee advanced to the full chamber a bill to increase PBM transparency and crack down on what lawmakers and critics say are deceptive practices.

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation advanced the bill by a bipartisan 18-9 vote, after hearing testimony last February documenting how PBMs control several key areas of the drug distribution and payment system. The Pharmacy Benefit Manager Transparency Act, introduced by committee chair Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Budget Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-IA), would make it unlawful for PBMs to engage in:

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