Category Archives: Pharmaceuticals

Piezoelectric sensor determines antibiotic efficacy in 1 hour


Ward Johnson and NIST colleagues have developed a piezoelectric sensor to rapidly determine whether an antibiotic combats an infection. Quartz-crystal resonators, with varying vibrations, measure surface particle changes, to quickly sense mechanical fluctuations of bacterial cells and changes induced by an antibiotic.

 Results are provided in less than an hour.  Current antimicrobial tests require days to grow colonies of bacterial cells, which could result in the progression of infections before an effective treatment is identified, and lead to antibiotic resistant bacterial infections.

Click to view NIST video.

Join ApplySci at Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley on February 26-27, 2018 at Stanford University, featuring:  Vinod KhoslaJustin SanchezBrian OtisBryan JohnsonZhenan BaoNathan IntratorCarla PughJamshid Ghajar – Mark Kendall


Sanofi/Verily joint venture to fight diabetes


Big pharma + big tech/data partnerships continue to proliferate.

Onduo is a Sanofi/Verily joint venture that will use each company’s expertise to help manage diabetes  — Sanofi’s drugs  plus Verily’s software, data analysis, and devices. CEO Josh Riff and has not announced a project pipeline, as they are taking “a thoughtful approach to finding lasting solutions.”

Sutter Health and Allegheny Health Network will  be the first systems to test Onduo solutions.

ApplySci’s 6th   Wearable Tech + Digital Health + NeuroTech Silicon Valley  –  February 7-8 2017 @ Stanford   |   Featuring:   Vinod Khosla – Tom Insel – Zhenan Bao – Phillip Alvelda – Nathan Intrator – John Rogers – Mary Lou Jepsen – Vivek Wadhwa – Miguel Nicolelis – Roozbeh Ghaffari – Unity Stoakes

Takeda’s digital transformation


Pharmaceutical giant Takeda is amid a digital transformation — with a patient-centric approach to drug development, wearable device adoption, and sophisticated data analysis.  Leading this effort is Bruno  Villetelle, Takeda’s Chief Digital Officer.  Bruno was a keynote speaker at ApplySci’s recent Wearable Tech + Digital Health + NeuroTech San Francisco conference, where he discussed digital pharma companions, drawing insights from other industries, creating a culture of innovation, and partnering with entrepreneurs to develop cutting edge technology — culminating in the concept of the patient driving his/her own healthcare  — a message that was echoed throughout the event.

Click to view Bruno Villetelle, and colleague Nicole Mowad-Nassar, interviewed by StartUp Health’s Unity Stoakes at the conference.

ApplySci’s 6th   Wearable Tech + Digital Health + NeuroTech Silicon Valley  –  February 7-8 2017 @ Stanford   |   Featuring:   Vinod Khosla – Tom Insel – Zhenan Bao – Phillip Alvelda – Nathan Intrator – John Rogers – Mary Lou Jepsen – Vivek Wadhwa – Miguel NicolelisRoozbeh GhaffariUnity Stoakes


Portable, on-demand biopharmaceutical manufacturing


Tim Lu and MIT colleagues are developing a microfluidic/programmable yeast system to produce small batches of pharmaceuticals on demand.  The project, which could deliver biologic medications, including vaccines, to remote locations, for both military and civilian use,  was funded by DARPA.

The team  cultivated  Pichia pastoris, a programmable yeast that grows densely and is able to express large amounts of protein. It was genetically modified to allow for the production of multiple medications.

The hand held bioreactor contains a microfluidic chip. Liquid laced with chemical triggers is fed into the device, and mixed with the yeast. Temperature, oxygen, and pH levels are monitored to ensure an ideal environment for protein production.

In one day,  a near single dose of biopharmaceuticals was produced. The process could then start over, with a different liquid trigger, using the same yeast, once the previous fluid has been flushed out.

The team believes that this work could one day  lead to a “small-scale, portable, and fully integrated personal biomanufacturing platform that could advance disease treatment at point-of-care.”

An earlier portable pharmaceutical system was introduced by Allan Myerson last year.

Click to view Nature paper.

Digital Health + NeuroTech Silicon Valley – February 7-8, 2017 @ Stanford University

Big data / pharma partnership to model diseases, treatments


IBM and Israeli generic drug giant Teva will partner to develop treatments for chronic conditions using the  Watson Health Cloud.

Their stated goal is “to put the best information and insights in the hands of physicians, care teams and patients, to empower treatment optimization for individuals and populations across the spectrum of acute and chronic conditions.”   Asthma, pain, migraine and neurodegenerative diseases are early targets.

The big data / pharma partnership could reduce drug misuse or increase adherence.  A joint research team will develop platforms to model diseases and potential therapeutic treatments.

Ingestible sensors alert doctors and caregivers when a pill is taken


Proteus Digital Health is creating a new category of products, services and data systems that have the potential to significantly improve the effectiveness of existing pharmaceutical treatments.  Called Digital Medicines, these new pharmaceuticals will contain a tiny sensor that can communicate, via a digital health feedback system, vital information about an individual’s medication-taking behavior and how their body is responding.