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Brainstorm Health Daily: July 7, 2017

Hello and Happy Friday, readers! Sy at your service.

On a bit of a grim note heading into the weekend, the World Health Organization (WHO) warns that a drug-resistant form of the sexually transmitted infection gonorrhoea is on the rise.

“The bacteria that cause gonorrhoea are particularly smart. Every time we use a new class of antibiotics to treat the infection, the bacteria evolve to resist them,” said the WHO’s Dr. Teodora Wi in a statement.

The WHO’s guidance is based on new data from nearly 80 countries. Prevalence of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhoea is especially problematic given how common the condition is: Some 78 million people are infected every year, according to the agency. And now that the bacteria which cause the disease is morphing into a superbug, developing new treatments is key.

Unfortunately, the “R&D pipeline for gonorrhoea is relatively empty, with only 3 new candidate drugs in various stages of clinical development.”

This threat is by no means exclusive to gonorrhoea. The WHO recently put out guidelines on the biggest superbug threats in dire need of new antibiotics and treatments.

Read on for the day’s news, and enjoy your weekend.

Sy Mukherjee


Jawbone is dead. Long live Jawbone? After years of troubles, it appears that Jawbone couldn’t save itself from its numerous systemic troubles. As my colleague Adam Lashinsky writes, the unicorn has a strange and compelling story, including multiple reinventions and product line shifts which eventually led to its current iteration in the “wearables” fitness arena. But reality seems to have caught up. The Information reports that the company is facing liquidation. The question now is: Could it come back in another form? Early rumors suggest it might, armed with a (slightly) new name and more focused approach. Stay tuned. (Fortune)


Alexion reportedly under investigation by HHS. Bloomberg reports that Alexion, the rare disease drug specialist, is being investigated by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General over its relationship with charities which assist Medicare beneficiaries. Questions about the company’s sales practices have led to the departures of multiple top executives, including its former CEO. (Bloomberg)

Lilly scores a win in key Alimta patent battle. The U.K. Supreme Court has delivered U.S. drug maker Eli Lilly a major win in its patent battle with rival Actavis, which is attempting to sell a copycat version of Lilly’s blockbuster cancer drug Alimta in the E.U. All told, the decision could affect hundreds of millions of dollars in sales for Lilly. (Reuters)


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Produced by Sy Mukherjee

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