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AbbVie sues Botox rival • Walgreens among those facing opioid trial • New rapid COVID test can detect variants – Crain’s Chicago Business

Crain’s Health Pulse is your source for actionable, exclusive and inside news on the health care industry.

ABBVIE’S ALLERGAN SUES BOTOX RIVAL REVANCE FOR PATENT INFRINGEMENT: AbbVie subsidiary Allergan last week sued rival biotech company, Nashville-based Revance alleging patent infringement on several Botox patent, FiercePharma reports.

A U.S. Food & Drug Administration decision on Revance’s rival drug daxibotulinumtoxin is “imminent,” AbbVie says in the suit, so the pharma giant is seeking a judgment from the court that its patents will be infringed, plus damages that could include a “reasonable royalty and lost profits.”

For its part, Revance believes the patents at issue “are not infringed upon by Revance or our supply source partner Ajinomoto or are invalid,” a representative said.

AbbVie acquired Botox maker Allergan for $63 billion in 2020. Earlier in 2021, AbbVie won a settlement with another Botox rival over allegedly stolen trade secrets when Evolus agreed to pay AbbVie for the right to sell its wrinkle treatment in the U.S.

WALGREENS, OTHER MAJOR PHARMACIES FACE BILLIONS IN CLAIMS OVER OPIODS: Walgreens Boots Alliance, Walmart, and CVS Health face billions of dollars in damages as they go to trial this week over the role their pharmacies played in the U.S. opioid epidemic. Two counties in Ohio will be among the first to try the companies in federal court over lawsuits filed by communities across the country. They say pharmacies created a public nuisance by failing to properly monitor doctor prescriptions and patient drug-use habits, forcing communities to spend taxpayer money to cope with addiction and fatal overdoses. Similar suits are pending against drugmakers and distributors. READ MORE.

NORTHWESTERN-DEVELOPED COVID ANTIGEN TEST ACCURATE IN UNDER 3 MINUTES: A new antigen-based COVID-19 detection method developed in a Northwestern University laboratory has demonstrated 100% accuracy in a blind test in five or fewer minutes from swab to signal, the university said in a statement.

In addition, it shows promise in identifying new waves of the virus by differentiating among variants, the statement said. A rapid swab test uses a nanomechanical platform to detect multiple surface proteins on the COVID-19 virus and is being developed as a rapid exhaled breath test, like a breathalyzer.

Results of the study of the ultrarapid antigen test were published in the journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics.

“We were excited to apply the technology because these are micro and nanosystems that don’t need a lot of viral material to make a difference,” Northwestern materials science and engineering professor Vinayak P. Dravid said in a statement. Dravid’s lab worked with scientists at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine to acquire patient swab samples and use data to understand how diseases move through communities, the statement said. 

OSCAR PARTNERS WITH MAJOR CHICAGO AREA HEALTH SYSTEMS: Oscar Health is partnering with Edward-Elmhurst Health, Loyola Medicine, NorthShore University HealthSystem and University of Chicago Medicine to bring its health insurance plans to Chicago-area consumers in 2022, the New York-based health plan said in a statement. Oscar’s individual and family plans will be offered through the Affordable Care Act marketplace and include providers from the four systems,

VENTAS MOVES 90 SENIOR COMMUNITIES TO NEW MANAGERS: Chicago health care real estate investment trust Ventas said in a statement it will transition operations of 90 of its owned senior living communities, which have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, to eight new management operators “provide strong local market focus and oversight” as the businesses recover from the COVID slowdown. The communities are currently under management contracts with Eclipse Senior Living, which “is expected to cease operation of its management business in 2022 following transition of the communities,” Ventas said in the statement. The communities are located in 20 states, and the new operators are experienced in middle market assisted living, with have strong geographical overlap, the statement said. 

CHAMBERLAIN U. DEVELOPS ‘SOCIAL DETERMINANTS OF LIVING’ FRAMEWORK: Chicago-based Chamberlain University has a new diversity framework meant to help nursing schools create a more diverse pipeline of students entering the profession, the nursing school said in a statement.

The Social Determinants of Learning framework identifies six factors for schools of nursing to build a more diverse pipeline for school of nursing graduates: physical health, psychosocial health, economic stability, physical environment/community, social environment/community and self-motivation, the statement said.

“We are committed to engaging health care and education partners to join us in this nationwide effort to ensure that the nursing workforce of the future more clearly represents the communities and the patients we serve,” Chamberlain President Karen Cox said in the statement.

OPTION CARE BUYS INFUSION SERVICE PROVIDER: Bannockburn-based Option Care Health said in a statement it has acquired Infinity Infusion Nursing for $50 million in an all-cash transaction. Infinity provides home infusion services with therapy management for patients with acute, chronic and rare disorders through a national network of highly skilled specialty nurses.

The purchase will put Option Care Health’s national infrastructure together with Infinity’s nursing network of more than 1,300 nurses across 49 states, the statement said. Infinity will maintain its current operations and continue to serve infusion providers as a separate enterprise within Option Care Health, led by Infinity founders Amy Wright and Rebekah Kroner.

OAK STREET OPENS SHOP IN KANSAS, ANNOUNCES OTHER OPENINGS: Oak Street Health has entered into the Kansas market, the Chicago-based primary care network’s 21 state, with the opening of centers in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri. Oak Street previously had operations in Missouri. 

The company, which serves adults on Medicare, will also add new centers in Chicago and enter into the Aurora, Peoria and Schaumburg markets through 2021 and into 2022, the company said, along with opening new centers in New York City.

“Our national expansion is one of the most important ways we advance Oak Street Health’s mission of rebuilding health care as it should be,” Mike Pykosz, Oak Street CEO said in the statement.

ADDUS HOMECARE COMPLETES SUMMIT HOME HEALTH BUY: Addus HomeCare of Frisco, Texas has purchased Bolingbrook-based Summit Home Health with cash on hand, Addus said in a statement. Summit currently serves an average daily census of approximately 240 patients for skilled home health services, with primary coverage in the 14 counties in and around Chicago and has annualized revenues of approximately $7.0 million. Terms were not announced.

ASTRAZENECA LOOKS FOR EUA ON COVID-19 PREVENTING ANTIBODY: AstraZeneca is asking the U.S. Food & Drug Administration for an emergency use authorization of its COVID-19 antibody cocktail, FierceBiotech reports. Last month, AstraZeneca delivered evidence that the drugs prevent COVID-19 in people who are unlikely to respond well to vaccines.

“Vulnerable populations such as the immunocompromised often aren’t able to mount a protective response following vaccination and continue to be at risk of developing COVID-19. With this first global regulatory filing, we are one step closer to providing an additional option to help protect against COVID-19 alongside vaccines,” Mene Pangalos, executive vice president for biopharmaceuticals R&D at AstraZeneca, said in a statement. 

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

• Loriann Duffy has joined CA Health & Science Trust as senior vice president of property management. Duffy previously served as director of property operations for Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

• Joenell Henry-Tanner has been named the first chief racial equity officer at Heartland Alliance. She recently served as chief of staff for Heartland Human Care Services. 

• Dr. Peter Brady has been named strategic innovation advisor at Milwaukee-based MediCardia Health. He currently serves as the medical director of heart rhythm services at Advocate Healthcare in Chicago.

  

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