Spotlight On... FT: Devices and diagnostics now considered cool thanks to convergence with tech titans; NFL, GE disclose 3rd Head Health semifinalists; Novocure details pivotal Optune first-line data; and more...

An article in the Financial Times should delight members of the device world, as it demonstrates changing perceptions of the industry's offerings. "Until fairly recently, devices and diagnostics made up the unfashionable wing of the healthcare industry--the poor relation of big pharma and its blockbuster drugs. It was associated with low-margin knee implants, surgical scalpels and laboratory tests that took days or weeks to deliver a result that, even then, might be wrong," the article begins. "Today, diagnostics companies are indispensable allies of the pharmaceuticals industry in the push for more personalized medicines, helping to match the right drug to the right patient. Medical device companies are pioneering ways to monitor and manage patients' wellbeing," it continues. The industry is receiving a publicity boost thanks to alliances with better known pharmaceutical companies around companion diagnostics, and tech titans like Verily (formerly Google Life Sciences). One of Verily's many med tech alliances is with Boston-based startup Entrega, which is developing an ingestible patch. Quoted in the article is MIT's Robert Langer, who helps run Entegra. Langer's celebrity status makes him one of the device world's de facto spokesmen, further raising its profile. More

@FierceMedDev: Jury deals J&J $80M payout as a result of an injury from its defective hemorrhoid stapler. Article | Follow @FierceMedDev

@EmilyWFierce: U.K. cost watchdog gives one-two punch to Roche's Kadcyla and BMS' Opdivo. More | Follow @EmilyWFierce

> The National Football League (NFL), Under Armour ($UA), GE ($GE), and the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) disclosed the semifinalists for the third Head Health Challenge. Each receives $250,000, with the opportunity for one to get an additional $500,000 grand prize. They include honeycomb material company Alba Technic; origami-like cellular structures from Charles Owen, impact-repellent fabric player Corsair Innovations; 6-D impact suspension tech from Dynamic Research and 6D Helmets; as well as force-limiting viscoelastic material from the University of Michigan. More

> Novocure ($NVCR) has disclosed the pivotal Phase III data for its Optune to treat newly diagnosed glioblastoma in combination with temozolomide. The device is already FDA-approved in that indication. More

> Maquet Medical Systems has partnered with ReFlow Medical to distribute the latter's complete line of cardiovascular catheters exclusively in the U.S.  More

Biotech News

@FierceBiotech: Array's melanoma drug clears Phase III with an FDA filing in sight. More | Follow @FierceBiotech

@JohnCFierce: AstraZeneca spending hundreds of millions in China, blueprints new R&D hub. News | Follow @JohnCFierce

@DamianFierce: The 2015 Biotech IPO Boom, in Requiem. Watch | Follow @DamianFierce

> GlaxoSmithKline and J&J march toward the FDA with a new arthritis treatment. More

> Biogen inks a $100M hemophilia deal with a Polaris-backed startup. News

Pharma News

@FiercePharma: FDA expands male age indication for Merck's Gardasil 9. More | Follow @FiercePharma

@EricPFierce: #EMA slams AstraZeneca for releasing APIs from India that repeatedly failed validation. Article | Follow @EricPFierce

@CarlyHFierce: J. Michael Pearson says it's a good thing everyone has TWO eyes - more available for cataract surgery. $VRX investor day so far. #pharma | Follow @CarlyHFierce

> U.K. cost watchdog gives one-two punch to Roche's Kadcyla and BMS' Opdivo. Story

> Mylan demands payback from Strides on plants targeted by FDA. More

Biotech Research News

> Penn researchers highlight role of CAP2 gene in cardiac arrest. Item

> MS program identifies a new pathway for drug developers. Story

> Roche bags a preclinical next-gen prostate cancer program in $142M deal. News

> Penn State team IDs a candidate for liver disease, obesity. Story

> An experimental class of drugs alters cell metabolism and may prevent tumor growth. Article

Vaccines News

> TSRI-led team tracks antibody origin, development in HIV vaccine work. Report

> GSK partners with Australian scientists to make cheaper pediatric vaccines. Item

> FDA accepts PaxVax's BLA for cholera vaccine, grants it priority review. More

> FDA expands male age indication for Merck's Gardasil 9. Story

> NIAID combines MedImmune, Sanofi H7N9 jabs into promising prime-boost vaccine. Article

Pharma Marketing News

> NICE rebuffs Roche's Kadcyla, BMS' Opdivo in latest round of cancer rejections. Article

> Remicade biosim may face an uphill battle with U.S. docs, analyst says. News

> Mr. Mucus-repped cough meds get the most positive buzz online. Story

> GSW's year-ahead forecast includes pricing debates, changing script models and informed patients. Report

> Pharma brands need the human touch, and MS marketing offers some ideas. Article

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