Dynavax’s Potential 1st Product, Roche Sells Cancer Insurance: Healthcare Business Recap

The FDA reports that the Heplisav vaccine produced by Dynavax Technologies Corp. (NASDAQ:DVAX) is effective against hepatitis B, which is a contagious disease of the liver, as the firm’s stock soared. More specifically, the drug did as well after two doses as did three doses of the Engerix-B vaccine made by GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK), in combating the virus, according to an FDA staff report that was released Wednesday prior to a meeting of an advisory panel set for Thursday. If cleared on February 24th, Heplisav would mark the company’s first product.

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More than one in four deaths in China occur because of cancer, but millions of people there can’t afford the drugs indicated for the disease. Roche (RHHBY.PK) has created a novel solution that would not sound new to Westerners: sell them insurance. The Swiss firm is partnering with the world’s second largest reinsurer, Swiss Re, to form a new market in China for cancer-oriented private insurance. Roche Chief Executive Severin Schwan said in October, “We’re creating a market”, and “The biggest hurdle in emerging countries is access.”

On Tuesday the FDA accepted Navidea Biopharmaceuticals’ (NAVB) filing of the resubmission of its New Drug Application for Lymphoseek (Technetium Tc 99m Tilmanocept) Injection. The drug is a novel, receptor-targeted, small-molecule, investigational radiopharmaceutical for use in lymphatic mapping procedures that are performed to help identify cancer stages. Lymphoseek was created to identify the lymph nodes that drain from a primary tumor, which hold the highest probability of harboring cancer.

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