Oncologists on Twitter are talking up ASCO studies, health equity and burnout, according to new deep dive research from Harris Poll (via Shutterstock)

What’s been on in­flu­en­tial on­col­o­gist­s' minds? Most­ly AS­CO, but al­so health eq­ui­ty, ac­cord­ing to new Har­ris Poll re­search

Over the past few months, on­col­o­gists have been talk­ing a lot about the AS­CO con­fer­ence. Not sur­pris­ing con­sid­er­ing its im­port and the study da­ta pre­sent­ed, but what may be less ex­pect­ed is the sec­ond most talked about top­ic of health eq­ui­ty.

That’s ac­cord­ing to da­ta from The Har­ris Poll and the new ex­pert net­work the re­searcher is build­ing out. While the com­pa­ny has been do­ing deep da­ta dives in­to spe­cif­ic health is­sues or con­di­tions for phar­ma clients, it’s now mon­i­tor­ing in­flu­encer net­works of ther­a­py area spe­cial­ists to find out what ex­perts are re­al­ly think­ing about.

“The key el­e­ment of this work is that we are get­ting to the re­al ‘in­sid­er’ ex­pert point of view,” Har­ris Poll man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Rob Jekielek said. “First by build­ing an on­col­o­gy-cen­tric, high in­flu­ence net­work, then by look­ing deeply in­to the con­tent and dis­cus­sions that res­onate most, specif­i­cal­ly with­in that net­work of ex­perts.”

Its first on­col­o­gy ex­pert dive pre­viewed for End­points News looks at what Twit­ter in­flu­en­tial can­cer doc­tors were post­ing, chat­ting up and retweet­ing from March through the end of June. AS­CO, held dur­ing the first week of June, fu­eled the lead­ing theme of clin­i­cal tri­als and stud­ies among 61% of the on­col­o­gists, while health eq­ui­ty came in sec­ond with 15% men­tion­ing re­lat­ed top­ics. On­col­o­gists’ men­tal health and burnout was a less­er trend­ing top­ic, but still no­table with 6% talk­ing about it.

Among the spe­cif­ic clin­i­cal tri­als and stud­ies talked about, the As­traZeneca and Dai­ichi Sankyo’s Des­tiny study pre­sent­ed on En­her­tu (trastuzum­ab derux­te­can) in pre­vi­ous­ly treat­ed HER2-low ad­vanced breast can­cer led the way with 19% talk­ing about it on Twit­ter. Tied for the sec­ond-most dis­cussed study at 11% were GSK’s PD-1 block­er dostar­limab-gx­ly (Jem­per­li) rec­tal can­cer tri­al and the Cos­mic-021 for cabozan­ti­nib–ate­zolizum­ab (Ex­elix­is’ Cabome­tyx and Roche’s Tecen­triq) to treat urothe­lial car­ci­no­ma.

Along­side those study dis­cus­sions were re­lat­ed health eq­ui­ty takes, es­pe­cial­ly around ac­cess and tri­al di­ver­si­ty. The par­al­lel com­men­tary “kind of poked holes” in the tri­als by look­ing at them through an in­equity lens, Jekielek said.

For ex­am­ple, one in­flu­encer wrote: “I don’t want to bring peo­ple down but while the re­sults are great, the Des­tiny of MOST women with #bc­sm world­wide will be NOT to get trastuzum­ab derux­te­can since they can­not even ac­cess surgery, ra­dio­ther­a­py, en­docrine ther­a­py or trastuzum­ab. We need to do bet­ter.”

“Around AS­CO there are very spe­cif­ic tri­als and stud­ies that are cit­ed and re­leased and you can see the ones that stand out the most,” Jekielek said. “The thing that’s equal­ly in­ter­est­ing is the de­gree of fo­cus on health eq­ui­ty with­in the AS­CO con­ver­sa­tion and di­rect­ly tied to both health­care prac­ti­tion­ers as well as how tri­als and stud­ies are built.”

Big Phar­ma's Twit­ter ex­o­dus; Mer­ck wa­gers $1.35B on buy­out; $3.5M gene ther­a­py; and more

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Paul Perreault, CSL Behring CEO

CSL lands FDA ap­proval for he­mo­phil­ia B gene ther­a­py, sets $3.5M list price

The FDA has approved the world’s first gene therapy for hemophilia B, ushering into the market a treatment that’s historic in both what it promises to do and how much it will cost.

CSL will be marketing the drug, Hemgenix, at a list price of $3.5 million — which sets a new record for the most expensive single-use gene therapy in the US.

In a statement provided to Endpoints News, the Australian company noted that the current costs of treating people with moderate to severe hemophilia B can be significant over a lifetime. By some estimates, healthcare systems could spend more than $20 million per person.

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Elon Musk (GDA via AP Images)

Biggest drug com­pa­nies halt­ed Twit­ter ad buys af­ter Lil­ly in­sulin spoof

Almost all of the drug industry’s biggest advertisers cut their spending on Twitter to zero or near-zero over the last two weeks amid worries about impersonation of their brands by pranksters and the future of the social media company.

Among 18 of the biggest pharmaceutical advertisers in the US market, 12 cut their Twitter ad spending to nothing for the week beginning Nov. 14, according to Pathmatics, which tracks data on prescription drug ad spending as well as general corporate advertising. The list of drugmakers cutting spending to zero includes Merck, AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Novartis, Pfizer and others.

Rob Davis, Merck CEO

Up­dat­ed: No Seagen here: 'Do more' means a small $1.35B pur­chase of Ima­go for Mer­ck

Merck is making an acquisition, the Big Pharma announced before Monday’s opening bell. No, Seagen is not entering the fold, as had been speculated for quarters.

Folding under Merck’s wings will be Pfizer-backed Imago BioSciences. For nearly a year, Merck CEO Rob Davis has been saying the pharma giant needs to “do more” on the business development front after its 2021 $11.5 billion acquisition of Acceleron.

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Dermavant Sciences' first consumer TV ad for its Vtama psoriasis med shows people ready for a new topical treatment.

Roivant’s Der­ma­vant de­buts first-ever TV com­mer­cial for pso­ri­a­sis cream Vta­ma

Dermavant Sciences has been marketing its first product, psoriasis med Vtama, to dermatologists for months, but on Tuesday it rolled out its first consumer campaign. The debut DTC effort including a streaming TV commercial encourages patients to a “Topical Uprising” in a nod to Vtama being a topical cream.

In the new commercial, a swell of people discards scarves and jacket coverings, gathering in the street to converge on a pharmacy to demand a steroid-free prescription. A moment of levity follows when a pharmacist says, “You know you can just talk to your doctor, right?” The gathered crowds collectively says, “Oh.”

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Image: Shutterstock

MIT re­searchers re­veal DNA "Paste" tech be­hind lat­est gene edit­ing start­up

MIT scientists have developed a tool that they say can insert large gene sequences where they want in the genome.

In a paper published Thursday in Nature Biotechnology, MIT fellows Omar Abudayyeh, Jonathan Gootenberg and colleagues detail a technology they call PASTE, which they say can potentially be used to insert long strands of DNA and treat genetic diseases caused by many different mutations, such as cystic fibrosis and Leber congenital amaurosis, a rare eye disorder that causes blindness.

Harris Poll tracks another pharma reputation drop with consumers, notes industry 'inflection point.'

Phar­ma rep­u­ta­tion falls again, notch­ing dou­ble-dig­it down­turn over past year in US — sur­vey

The pharma industry’s reputation continues to slip in the US as consumers pack away its pandemic hero status. The newest survey from The Harris Poll shows the industry at a 45% positive rating last month, down 10 percentage points from the same time last year.

While 45% is still above the just 32% pre-pandemic low that the industry held at beginning of 2020, it’s also notably lower than the 62% high point in February 2021. The 10-percentage point pharma drop since last fall is also the biggest decrease across all the industries that Harris Poll tracks, said managing director Rob Jekielek.

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Mar­ket­ingRx roundup: Am­gen and Sto­ryCorps launch health eq­ui­ty se­ries; Ab­b­Vie's $40M math and sci­ence school opens

Amgen’s latest StoryCorps collaboration goes behind the scenes in patients’ lives for conversations about health inequity. The first 10 audio stories in the health equity series in Amgen’s “Every Patient Counts, Every Story Matters” campaign center on discussions between two people who know each other.

With StoryCorps’ priority to “listen, honor, share” as a guide, the personal chats between doctors and patients, best friends, husband and wife, and father and daughter offer an inside look at the trust issues and equity problems in healthcare.

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FDA preps for DMD drug gener­ics as Sarep­ta has yet to fin­ish its con­fir­ma­to­ry tri­al

The FDA typically releases guidance to help generic drug manufacturers develop new copycats of small molecule drugs, oftentimes in preparation for a brand name product’s patents or exclusivity to expire.

This week, FDA released such bioequivalence guidance for any generic drugmakers looking to take on Sarepta’s Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) drug Exondys 51 (eteplirsen), even though the drug’s sponsor has yet to convert the accelerated approval to a full approval, showing clinical benefit.