The Senate just passed the 21st Century Cures Act and it is on the way to the desk of President Obama to sign. The landmark healthcare bill aims to help the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) speed up drug approvals, accelerate cancer research, tackle the epidemic of opioid abuse, and fund mental health treatment.
The 21st Century Cures Act had rare, strong bipartisan support and was passed in a landslide vote. The Act will provide around $4.8 billion over 10 years to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for Alzheimer’s, cancer, brain, and other research. In addition, the Act will provide $1 billion for opioid abuse prevention over a two-year period. Lastly, the bill has set aside $500 million for FDA regulatory modernization, which will help streamline the drug trial process for advanced medicines and therapies.
"The 21st Century Cures Act is a bold bi-partisan effort to drive progress against many human diseases through bold initiatives in science and medicine. "There have been dramatic improvements recently in the survival of patients with many types of cancer due to federal support of cancer research, and I expect the 21st Century Cures Act to accelerate that narrative," details Walter J. Curran, Jr., MD, executive director at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University. With the bill getting strong praise and promise from President Obama to sign the bill into law, here are five companies that could benefit from the new healthcare law:
BioVie (OTC: BIVI) – The biotechnology company is developing a new standard of care for patients suffering from liver cirrhosis. The company recently received orphan drug designation for its lead drug BIV210 and has just filed its Investigational New Drug (IND) application to begin clinical trials. In early December 2016, BioVie announced that notable healthcare executive, Jim Lang, has joined the company’s board of directors. Lang has strong healthcare experience after successful results at Strategic Decisions Group and Boston Heart Diagnostics. BioVie and other companies going through the regulatory process stand to benefit from the government's $500 million dollar investment to support the FDA’s drug development process, which will include patients’ feedback into the final FDA decisions.
Anavex Life Sciences Corp. (NASDAQ: AVXL) – The life sciences and biotechnology company is developing a new oral compound to treat patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Its lead drug, Anavex 2-73, demonstrated in clinical trials that
the drug was well tolerated, as no patients discontinued treatments due to adverse events. Anavex and other companies targeting Alzheimer’s, benefit from the government's $4.8 billion investment to continue the BRAIN and Precision Medicines Initiative. The two initiatives help bring doctors and data together in order to help develop treatments that can one day be tailored for specific treatments.
BioDelivery Sciences (NASDAQ: BDSI) – The specialty pharmaceutical company is developing treatments for pain management and opioid addiction. Its patented BioErodible MucoAdhesive (BEMA) drug delivery is designed to rapidly deliver a drug dose across the mucous membranes for time sensitive conditions or to facilitate drugs to patients with poor oral absorption. BioDelivery Sciences and other companies in the pain management industry are set to benefit from the government plans to make a billion-dollar investment to combat the opioid epidemic that is plaguing America.
Sophiris Bio (NASDAQ: SPHS) - The biopharmaceutical company is developing a new drug to treat localized prostate cancer that is still confined within the encapsulated prostate gland. Sophiris’s lead drug, PRX302 is therapeutically active only within the prostate tissue. PRX302 has the potential to provide a focal targeted therapy for the ablation of localized prostate cancer, while potentially avoiding many of the complications and side effects associated with whole gland radical treatments. Sophiris and other cancer research companies stand to benefit from The Cures Act, which provides support to advanced cancer treatments, detection, prevention, and more.
IntelGenX Technologies Corp. (OTC: IGXT) - The small pharmaceutical company is developing a drug delivery system for the treatment of anxiety and aggression in patients suffering from schizophrenia or bipolar 1 disorder. IntelGenX’s drugs are based on the company's proprietary VersaFilm technology, which is a fast-acting loxapine oral film dosage that can be used to effectively treat acute agitation associated with schizophrenia or bipolar 1 disorder in non-institutionalized patients. IntelGenX and other companies stand to benefit from The Cures Act, which is set to invest and tackle real issues plaguing mental health.