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The New Jersey Life Sciences Vendors Alliance (NJLSVA) is a coalition of businesses, individuals and academia who provide goods and services to New Jersey’s life sciences companies.

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Monthly Archives: March 2016

NJ Spotlight: Will NJ’s First Private Medical School Help Burnish State’s Academic Reputation?

Medical Students 3Trenton, NJ, March 24, 2016 ― Tara Nurin reports in NJ Spotlight that, when U.S. News & World Report released its influential graduate-school rankings last week, the news was disappointing, if not unexpected, for New Jersey’s medical schools.

Of the state’s three qualifying programs, only Rutgers University’s New Jersey School of Medicine (formerly the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey – UMDNJ) ranked in the top 75 percent by taking 73rd place for research.

But the state’s medical community is hoping its schools’ standings will improve over the next decade — and help to close a physician gap — as Seton Hall University establishes New Jersey’s only private medical college, on the border between Nutley and Clifton. Continue reading

Johnson & Johnson Expands Project That Aims to Predict, Prevent Diseases

Johnson & Johson repeatNew Brunswick, NJ, March 23, 2016 ― The Associated Press’ Linda Johnson reports that Johnson & Johnson has ramped up its ambitious project to learn how to predict who will develop particular diseases and find therapies to prevent or stop the disease early, when it’s most treatable.

Since the health care giant announced its groundbreaking project in February 2015, it has expanded to include two dozen research programs with partners — in government, universities, patient advocacy groups and other drug and diagnostic test companies.

Johnson & Johnson’s expertise and resources should speed discoveries and allow the pharmaceteutical and medical device company to spread its funding across more ventures. Continue reading

HHS Reports Medicare Spent $473 Billion Less from 2009 Through 2014 Compared to Previous Spending Trends

Medicare 1Washington, DC, March 23, 2016 ― The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced yesterday that Medicare spent $473.1 billion less on personal health care expenditures between 2009 and 2014 than would have been spent if the 2000-2008 average growth rate had continued through 2014.

In addition, if trends continue through 2015, that amount could grow to a projected $648.6 billion.  To put this in perspective, those savings are greater than all of Medicare’s spending for personal health care expenditures in 2015.

As the Affordable Care Act approaches its sixth anniversary, it has already brought the share of Americans without insurance to below ten percent for the first time ever, while also constraining spending growth and supporting quality of care. Continue reading

FDA Announces Enhanced Warnings for Immediate-Release Opioid Pain Medications

FDA blueWashington, DC, March 23, 2016 ― The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in a continuing effort to educate prescribers and patients about the potential risks related to opioid use, yesterday announced required class-wide safety labeling changes for immediate-release (IR) opioid pain medications.

Among the changes, the FDA is requiring a new boxed warning about the serious risks of misuse, abuse, addiction, overdose and death.

Yesterday’s actions are among a number of steps the agency recently outlined in a plan to reassess its approach to opioid medications.  The plan is focused on policies aimed at reversing the epidemic, while still providing patients in pain access to effective relief. Continue reading

New CDC Laboratory Test for Zika Virus Authorized for Emergency Use by FDA

Zika VirusAtlanta, GA, March 22, 2016 ― In response to a request from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Trioplex Real-time RT-PCR Assay, a diagnostic tool for Zika virus that will be distributed to qualified laboratories.

The assay allows doctors to tell if an individual is currently infected with chikungunya, dengue, or Zika using one test, instead of having to perform three separate tests to determine which infection one might have.  Continue reading

A New Sign Obamacare Is Helping the People Who Really Need It

Prescription RxWashington, DC, March 21, 2016 ― Carolyn Y. Johnson reports in The Washington Post that people enrolled in health plans through the Affordable Care Act exchanges are ramping up their use of prescription medications more rapidly than those in employer or government-sponsored plans, according to a new report from Express Scripts, the largest prescription drug benefits company.

In 2015, people in the exchanges increased their number of prescriptions filled by 8.6 percent, four times the rate of people who receive insurance through commercial plans outside of the exchanges.

That, along with price increases, led to a 14.6 percent jump in drug spending for people in the exchanges, nearly three times faster than all drug spending. Continue reading

Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine Named to ‘America’s Best’ for Geriatrics

Rowan U School of Ost MedTrenton, NJ, March 21, 2016 ― The annual U.S. News & World Report rankings of America’s top medical schools again includes the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine as one of the nation’s premier institutions in the important field of geriatric medical education.

The Stratford-based medical school tied with the University of Pennsylvania for 12th place on the list that was released on March 16.  This marks the 15th time that Rowan’s School of Osteopathic Medicine has been included in this nationally prominent list.

“There are few areas of medicine that are more crucial today than geriatrics,” said Rowan University President Dr. Ali Houshmand.  “As America’s population grows older, the need for physicians and other health professionals who are well-trained in the complexity of care for older individuals becomes urgent.” Continue reading

Governor Christie’s Office and R&D Council Partner to Celebrate STEM Week March 13 –20

STEM 1Trenton, NJ, March 20, 2016 New Jersey Business reports that, in recognition and celebration of New Jersey’s world-class STEM economy, Governor Chris Christie has proclaimed March 13 through March 20, 2016 as STEM Week in New Jersey.

The week-long observance highlighted the Garden State’s strong presence and accomplishments in STEM — science, technology engineering and math — including its industry, academic and government sectors.

For the second consecutive year, the Research & Development Council of New Jersey partnered with the Governor’s Office to spotlight the importance of STEM Week by informing New Jersey residents of the state’s exceptional standing in the world’s scientific and technical community. Continue reading

Bacterial Cell Research to Advance with $1.2 million National Science Foundation Award to Rutgers–Camden Biology Professor

Rutgers CamdenCamden, NJ, March 19, 2016 ― Eric Klein, an assistant professor of biology at Rutgers University–Camden, is the recipient of a prestigious CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation.

The five-year grant totaling $1.2 million will fund Klein’s research on the mysterious properties of a bacterial species known as Caulobacter crescentus.

The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program supports junior faculty members who “exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education, and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations,” according to the National Science Foundation.

This is the second federal research grant awarded to a Rutgers–Camden faculty member to exceed $1 million.   Continue reading

Vice President Biden Names Greg Simon to Head ‘Moonshot’ Cancer Campaign

Greg Simon 2Washington, DC, March 18, 2016 ― Gardiner Harris reports in The New York Times that Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. today will announce a corporate executive to lead his “moonshot” cancer initiative, selecting an expert who began work in 2003 to lower barriers between science and cures.

Greg Simon, 64, who will be named executive director, took a job he may get to keep for only the last 10 months of the Obama administration.  Mr. Simon, who is battling cancer himself, said he understood the urgency of the task.

In June 2014, Mr. Simon received a diagnosis of chronic lymphocytic leukemia, a blood and bone marrow disease, and six months ago completed his first round of chemotherapy.  He is now healthy, but while fighting the illness one of his close friends died, leaving two young children. Continue reading