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April 26, 2023

Life science trend tracker #8

Our ongoing series highlights industry news and resources for deeper learning.
life science industry news

Stay informed with our regular life science industry news trend tracker series, presenting industry news in a quick, scannable format. Check out recent top stories and explore additional resources to help you respond.

AI continues to gain ground in life science

Tech giants Google and Microsoft are racing to test the potential for large language models (LLMs) and generative AI tools in medicine, clinical settings, and research. Google recently announced the release of its medical LLM, called Med-PaLM 2, to a limited group of users. Med-PaLM 2 could facilitate rich, informative discussions, answer complex medical questions, and find insights into complicated and unstructured medical texts.

However, researchers and clinicians continue to be cautious about using generative AI in healthcare, given the technology’s tendency to invent a response when it doesn’t have sufficient information. “Google has been working with clinicians and non-clinicians to assess Med-PaLM 2 against multiple criteria, including scientific consensus, medical reasoning, knowledge recall, bias, and likelihood of possible harm, executives said.”

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Addressing the lack of health equity

CVS Health launched a National Health Equity Advisory Board to address how ableism, classism, racism, sexism, and discrimination impact historically marginalized communities CVS Health serves. The board will provide input on policies, programs, and practices to help inform the company’s overall health equity strategy. Board members include specialist physicians, experts working in academia, and representatives from the world of tech and patient advocate groups.

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Merger & acquisition activity accelerates

Two big pharma companies bit on acquisitions last week: Merck acquired Prometheus Biosciences and its bowel disease candidate in a $10.8 billion transaction, and GSK offered $2 billion for Bellus Health.

According to Moody’s Investor Services, these moves may start a swarm of M&A activity over the next year to 18 months, driven by approaching patent expiry and long-term pricing pressures. “Other Big Pharmas that are likely to strike include Bristol Myers Squibb, Royalty Pharma and Merck again, according to Moody’s. AbbVie, Biogen, Gilead, Pfizer and Viatris also have moderate potential for deals, the firm says, while Amgen, Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson and Regeneron are less likely.”

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