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Research: Global epilepsy therapeutics market to reach $4.5B by 2019

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — The epilepsy therapeutics market value in the eight major countries — the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and Japan — will increase from $3.4 billion in 2012 to $4.5 billion by 2019, at a compound annual growth rate of 3.9%, according to a new report from business intelligence provider GBI Research.

According to the report, the United States will grow at a higher CAGR of 4.8%, climbing from $1.9 billion in 2012 to $2.6 billion by 2019. Meanwhile, the five European countries and Canada will achieve a combined, smaller CAGR of 3.1% during the forecast period.

GBI Research attributes the anticipated market expansion to new anti-epileptic drugs that have been approved during the last five years. However, further growth will be limited by the recent patent expiration of key AEDs, such as Keppra (levetiracetam) and Lamictal (lamotrigine).

“The epilepsy treatment arena has historically been dominated by Gamma Aminobutyric Acid modulators and ion channel blockers, although a sizeable proportion of patients don’t respond to these existing treatment options,” said Vijaya Vulapalli, senior analyst for GBI Research.

“Second-generation AEDs, including levetiracetam, zonisamide and Vimpat (lacosamide), have signalled a shift in this trend in the last decade, with improved tolerability and safety through the use of new mechanisms of action. Recent approvals of Fycompa (perampanel) and Trobalt (retigabine) have continued this innovation by focusing on new molecular targets.”

With most of the molecules being approved in the last few years, the current epilepsy pipeline is weak, GBI Research said. Phase III trials account for 18% of the overall pipeline, but the majority of these late-stage molecules are reformulations or line extensions of existing drugs.

“Furthermore, the recent epilepsy pipeline does not boast drugs with novel mechanisms of action, which are considered by most prescribers as an urgent need in epilepsy therapeutics today,” Vulapalli added.

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Intel announces winner of Science Talent Search 2014

BY Ryan Chavis

WASHINGTON — Intel and the Society for Science and the Public recognized winners of the Intel Science Talent Search, a pre-college science and math competition.  

Eric S. Chen, 17, of San Diego took home the top award of $100,000 for his research of potential new drugs to treat the flu. His approach combined computer modeling with structural study and biological validation, with a focus on drugs that inhibit endonuclease — an enzyme essential for viral reproduction. Chen said he hopes his work will lead to a class of new medications to control flu outbreaks during a pandemic.

“Society for Science and the Public proudly joins Intel in congratulating Eric Chen for his impressive research toward potential new drugs for influenza,” said Rick Bates, interim CEO and chief advancement officer of SSP. “By linking technology and science to the problems of the world they see around them, Eric and all the Intel Science Talent Search finalists are tomorrow’s problem solvers.”

 Eric S. Chen, 17, of San Diego, Calif. (center) wins the first-place prize of $100,000 in the Intel Science Talent Search.

The honor of second place (along with $75,000) went to Kevin Lee, 17, of Irvine, Calif. Using a mathematical model, Lee described the shaped of the heart as it beats using the principles of fluid mechanics. His model could provide insights into arrhythmia, which might mean better treatments for the disease.

“We at Intel celebrate the work of these brilliant young scientists as a way to inspire the next generation to follow them with even greater energy and excitement into a life of invention and discovery,” said Wendy Hawkins, executive director of the Intel Foundation. “Imagine the new technologies, solutions and devices they will bring to bear on the challenges we face. The Intel Science Talent Search finalists should inspire all of us with hope for the future.”

The Intel Foundation awarded $1.25 million for the Intel Science Talent Search 2014. This year’s finalists come from 33 schools in 14 states. Out of the 1,794 high school seniors who entered the talent search, 300 were announced as semifinalists in January. Of those, 40 were selected as finalists and invited to Washington to compete for the top 10 awards. The finalists join the ranks of some impressive company. Science Talent Search Alumni have have gone on to win eight Nobel Prizes, two Fields Medals, five National Medals of Science, 11 MacArthur Foundation Fellowships and an Academy Award for Best Actress.

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AANP urges legislators to follow FTC lead against practice restrictions

BY Antoinette Alexander

AUSTIN, Texas — The American Association of Nurse Practitioners, a national professional membership organization for nurse practitioners of all specialties, is calling on state lawmakers to consider the consequences of undue restrictions on APRNs, or nurse practitioners, as recommended by the Federal Trade Commission.

On March 7, the FTC released a policy paper that states, "limiting the range of services APRNs may provide and the extent to which they can practice independently … may reduce competition that benefits consumers." The Commission goes on to recommend that state legislators exercise caution when evaluating proposals that would limit nurse practitioner practice and direct patient access to nurse practitioner services.

The paper, “Policy Perspectives: Competition and the Regulation of Advanced Practice Nurses,” is part of the FTC’s ongoing work to protect consumer choice and competition in the healthcare marketplace.

AANP points to the paper as a valuable new resource for legislators weighing the impact of state licensure laws on patient populations.
"Like the FTC, we believe that competition among healthcare providers results in greater access, lower costs and quality improvement," said Kenneth Miller, co-president of AANP. "Full patient access to high-quality nurse practitioner services is essential for making such competition a reality."

"State legislation that prevents full and direct access for patients has the potential to further hamper our healthcare delivery system," said Angela K. Golden, co-president of AANP. "It is our hope that legislators pay close attention to the analysis of the FTC and honor the health care needs of their constituents."

The FTC paper included additional statements in support of nurse practitioners, such as:

  • Research demonstrates that nurse practitioners provide safe and effective care;
  • Nurse practitioners might help alleviate health care access problems across the United States if undue regulatory burdens on their practice are reduced;
  • Effective collaboration among healthcare providers, including team-based care, does not always require physician supervision of nurse practitioners; and
  • Fewer restrictions on nurse practitioners would be good for competition and America’s health care consumers.

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