FOUR ILLINOIS FACILITIES MAKE LIST OF TOP CHILDREN’S HOSPITALS: Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital, Advocate Children’s Hospital and OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital made U.S. News & World Report’s Best Children’s Hospital list for 2020-21. READ MORE.
CHICAGO SUES TRUMP ADMIN FOR NOT OPENING UP ACA ENROLLMENT: The city of Chicago is suing the Trump administration for failing to ize a special sign-up period for those in need of health insurance coverage amid COVID-19. The lawsuit alleges that preventing those without health insurance from enrolling in Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, plans “further strains Chicago’s public health and emergency response infrastructure." READ MORE.
CHEAP DRUG SHOWS PROMISE IN TREATING COVID: A low-cost, widely used anti-inflammatory drug improved survival in patients with Covid-19, the first treatment to show life-saving promise months into the pandemic. Deaths among patients who needed breathing assistance were lower over a period of four weeks when they received the 60-year-old medicine dexamethasone, University of Oxford researchers said Tuesday. READ MORE.
MEANWHILE, FEDS ARE TAKING ACTION AGAINST OTHER COVID DRUGS : Amid the saga of local company revoked emergency ization for malaria drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, saying they are unlikely to be effective in treating the coronavirus and the drugs' unproven benefits "do not outweigh the known and potential risks."
PANDEMIC SHOWS WE NEED TO RETHINK EMERGENCY HEALTH CARE: The coronavirus pandemic has harshly worsened a pre-existing problem in American medicine: the many structural barriers to getting acute, unscheduled care outside of emergency departments. More from an op-ed from an emergency physician at Northwestern University and the co-founders of IMPACT.
UIC TO TEST MODERNA'S VACCINE: UIC expects to enroll about 1,000 of the roughly 30,000 individuals participating in the Phase 3 clinical trial of a coronavirus vaccine developed by Cambridge, Mass.-based Modern. It is expected that UIC may be the only Chicago-based site participating in the national study. READ MORE.
WALGREENS OPERATES PHARMACIES OUT OF TENTS AT TWO DAMAGED STORES: Following damage from looting in the wake of protests over George Floyd's death, Walgreens stores on the South Side are operating out of temporary pharmacy trailers in their parking lots. Deerfield-based Walgreens said June 12 it had reopened many damaged stores in Chicago, with 100 of Walgreens’ 118 Chicago stores now open and operating with regular business hours. The company produced a video of company leadership and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot visiting the temporary pharmacies on 75th and 79th streets.
RED CROSS OPENS NEW BLOOD DONATION SITE AMID SHORTAGE: The American Red Cross says it is in urgent need of blood donations as demand for blood products rise with the resumption of non-urgent and elective procedures. It has opened a state-of-the-art blood donation site on the West Side for blood donations, which is the first stand-alone Red Cross location for the collection of platelets in the area, according to a statement. Extra precautions including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff have been implemented.
COMPANY GETS EMERGENCY IZATION FOR SEDATIVE FOR VENTILATED PATIENTS: Fresenius Kabi said in a statement Monday it has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration Emergency Use ization for Propoven 2% Emulsion, which provides sedation via continuous infusion in patients who require mechanical ventilation in an intensive care unit. The drug has the same active ingredient, propofol, as the Lake Zurich company's FDA-approved Diprivan Injectable Emulsion, but contains double the concentration, which may help COVID patients "who require mechanical ventilation," said Senior Vice President Dr. Seema Kumbhat in the statement.
COMPANIES PARTNER TO DEVELOP RADIOISOTOPE THERAPY FOR SEVERE COVID-19: Chicago-based biopharmaceutical company Monopar Therapeutics Inc. will enter into a 50/50 collaboration with Beloit, Wis.-based NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes to develop a type of therapy researchers hope will quickly reduce the runaway inflammation suffered by some COVID-19 patients, commonly referred to as a cytokine storm.
KWAME RAOUL TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID-19: Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul has tested positive for the coronavirus, his office confirmed on Tuesday. “I have been self-isolating since the onset of my symptoms, and I will continue to do so in accordance with guidance from my doctor and public health ities." Gov. J.B. Pritzker had attended a recent event with Raoul on June 6. READ MORE.
AUGMEDICS' EMPLOYEES BAND TOGETHER TO RAISE $4 MILLION: Augmedics, a Chicago-based company that provides augmented reality surgical image guidance, has raised $15 million in Series B financing, led by its U.S. staff. The company said in a statement that, “in a nearly unprecedented move, the company’s employees formed limited liability company AUG Management LLC to raise $4 million in an effort to secure and successfully launch the company as venture capital (VC) all but evaporated during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Augmedics received U.S. Food and Drug Administration clearance and launched its xvision Spine system in December, which allows surgeons to visualize the 3D spinal anatomy of a patient during surgery as if they had “x-ray vision,” and accurately navigate instruments and implants while looking directly at the patient, rather than a remote screen.
The company received several VC offers and was poised to make final investor decisions in March, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and brought investment activity to a halt. Augmedics president and chief commercial officer Tim Murawski led the unusual effort to raise funds internally.
DRUG DISCOUNT MANAGEMENT TECH COMPANY SECURES $28M: Chicago-based drug discount management technology company Kalderos said it has secured $28 million in Series B funding to expand its capabilities to solidify its point-of-sale solution, expand to directly support patient and other discount types, and explore other financial exchanges in health care. The $28 million in funding came from Bain Capital Ventures and Mercato Partners, the statement said.
ABBOTT’S LATEST DIABETES MONITOR GETS FDA OK: Abbott Laboratories said in a statement that its FreeStyle Libre 2 glucose monitoring system has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for adults and children ages 4 and older with diabetes.
The device can provide real-time alarms about blood sugar levels monitored every minute and is the longest-lasting self-applied continuous glucose monitoring system, with a 14-day wear time, the North Chicago-based company said. The CGM is also priced at a third of the cost of other systems.
ALLERGAN GETS FDA OK ON CHIN FILLER: AbbVie-owned Allergan Aesthetics has been granted FDA approval of Juvederm Voluma XC, as a skin filler product to augment and improve the chin profile in adults. It is is the first and only filler to receive FDA approval for the augmentation of the chin region, the statement said.
PEOPLE ON THE MOVE:
• Integrated marketing agency Merge said in a statement that Saurab Bhargava has been named the company’s first-ever chief digital officer. Bhargava, who will be based in Chicago, has led digital transformations for organizations including Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Tivity Health, BCBS Michigan, Aon, the United States Air Force and the City of Chicago.
• James Nestel has been named CEO for the Americas and Asia Pacific division of Simon Hegele Healthcare Solutions, a Chicago-based logistics and tech service provider. Current CEO Christoph Sitzer will oversee the transition. Nestel comes from the North American division of Hitachi Limited's Healthcare Business Unit where he was director of operations.