Skip to Content

Brainstorm Health: Ultrasound Drug Delivery, Netflix and Goop, Alkermes Rejection

Happy Monday, readers.

Advances in medical technology oft rely, not only on new medicines themselves, but new ways to deliver ones that actually exist. Think of it as an extended form of product lifecycle management—making existing mousetraps even better.

My colleague Renae Reints has an interesting dispatch along those lines about a company called Suono Bio, which is attempting to use low frequency sound waves to aid more effective drug delivery.

The firm is focused on conditions such as irritable bowel disease and Crohn’s, which are inflammatory conditions that often require a rectal enema for medication use. The hope is that this ultrasound-guided tech can actually push the treatments more efficiently into cells.

“Suono Bio’s approach is to pair the liquid drug with low-frequency ultrasound that creates tiny bubbles to push the medication directly into the gastrointestinal tract’s tissue. Pre-clinical trials show this method can deliver up to 20-times more drug in only a minute, allowing for shorter, less frequent use of the enema,” writes Renae.

In a world where revolutionary pharmaceutical innovation has, in some cases, become expensive (and rare), shaking up the delivery method may well become an important business avenue.

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee
@the_sy_guy
sayak.mukherjee@fortune.com

DIGITAL HEALTH

The kids (and their screens) these days. A new study finds that most American children aren’t meeting recommended goals for sleep and exercise—not a great sign, but perhaps also not surprising. But the JAMA Pediatrics-published research lumps in another category that’s become increasingly important in our ever-digital lives: Screen time. And American children are getting way too much of it. In fact, just 5% of children hit the mark on the sleep-exercise-ideal screen time triumverate. This isn’t just a “kids these days” kind of finger-wagging – such behaviors have been linked to both mental health issues and obesity. (Reuters)

INDICATIONS

Alkermes depression drug rejected by FDA. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has rejected Alkermes’ experimental depression treatment ALKS-5461, sending the company’s shares tumbling. Alkermes said that the agency had sent a complete response letter requesting “additional clinical data to provide substantial evidence” of the treatment’s effectiveness. That’s regulatory speak for: There’s a lot more work to be done here. (FierceBiotech)

THE BIG PICTURE

Netflix is getting Goop’d. If you’ve never heard of “Goop,” you probably will soon. The “health and wellness” brand founded by actress Gwyneth Paltrow is getting the Netflix treatment with a new planned docu-series. Some of Goop’s more prominent forays into the public health spotlight include promoting a $125,000 vaginal jade egg and other highly disputed claims about self-care. (Fortune)

REQUIRED READING

9 Things Investors Will Be Watching Closely in Trump’s State of the Unionby Felice Maranz & Bloomberg

Death Endangers Cryptocurrency Treasures: Plan Your Estateby Robert Hackett

This Once-Free Drug for a Rare Condition Now Costs $375,000by Erik Sherman

Uber, But for Boatsby Laura Stampler

Produced by Sy Mukherjee
@the_sy_guy
sayak.mukherjee@fortune.com

Find past coverage. Sign up for other Fortune newsletters.