CVS Health to mark National Influenza Vaccination Week
With flu season set to kick into gear soon, CVS Health is marking National Influenza Vaccination Week by reminding patients to get their flu shots. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention established the week of awareness to remind patients to get vaccinated. The Woonsocket, R.I.-based company recently ran a survey that found that 61% of patients get a flu vaccine every year, or plan to get one this year.
"The influenza virus is highly contagious and can be easily spread through a workplace environment through direct contact with co-workers or infected surfaces," chief nurse practitioner for CVS Health’s MinuteClinic Angela PAtterson said. “Influenza infection can have potentially serious effects and getting vaccinated is vital to staying healthy, especially when working alongside co-workers who may have already contracted the virus.”
The company’s survey also found that among patients planning to get vaccinated, 37% think about convenience, 36% consider doctor recommendations and 35% think about where their insurance is accepted. It also found that 65% of Americans still go to work when feeling ill from flu-like symptoms.
CVS Health noted that most insurance plans cover the flu shot at no cost to patients, and that it offers the vaccine through its more than 9,700 CVS Pharmacy locations and 1,100 MinuteClinic locations. They’re given seven days a week on a walk-in basis. The company said that patients in certain states who get a flu shot at CVS Pharmacy or MinuteClinic will receive a coupon for $5 off a $25 CVS Pharmacy purchase, with patients who get a shot at a Target location in certain states getting a $5 Target coupon.
Kroger, APhA Foundation to help CDC scale National Diabetes Prevention Program
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be working with the American Pharmacists Association to build infrastructure to expand a program from the National Diabetes Prevention Program within community pharmacies.
Over the next five years, APhA, in partnership with Kroger and Solera Health, will implement Project IMPACT: Diabetes Prevention, which is aimed at bringing curriculum for the National DPP’s lifestyle changes program to roughly 7,5000 at-risk patients in underserved communities. Pharmacists, dietitians and technicians in Kroger pharmacy locations will be trained to deliver the curriculum to at-risk patients, while Solera Health will support community outreach efforts and furnish digital technology solutions to help facilitate delivery of the information. The APhA Foundation said the program’s hybrid model will allow it to be tailored to patient needs through delivery in-person, as well as through telehealth and digital technology solutions.
“We are excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to create infrastructure within highly accessible community pharmacies to deliver evidence-based diabetes prevention lifestyle change programs to the people who need it the most,” APhA Foundation senior vice president of research and innovation Benjamin Bluml said. “Working with our partners, The Kroger Co. and Solera Health, we will deliver an innovative model of diabetes prevention care, tailored to meet the needs of the participants, that we believe will help people lead healthier lives.”
Currently, one-in-three American adults has prediabetes, and many are largely unaware of their risk. Kroger pharmacy and the Little Clinic president Colleen Lindholz said.
“We believe that Kroger is uniquely positioned to connect with people in our communities and offer a personalized solution proven to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes,” she said. “Through the support of our partners, we will use a novel approach to reach more people, create better engagement, and improve outcomes.”
Solera Health CEO Brenda Schmidt said, “Our technology platform was purposefully built to connect people with diverse backgrounds and resources, including underserved populations with the National DPP's lifestyle change program that best meets their unique needs and preferences to prevent type 2 diabetes. With Project IMPACT: Diabetes Prevention, multi-modal delivery of the program will increase access which should have a substantial and positive impact on patient engagement and outcomes.”
Semma Therapeutics developing stem cell therapy for Type 1 diabetes
Semma Therapeutics has announced the completion of a highly oversubscribed $114 million Series B financing. Proceeds will be used to bring the company’s lead development program of encapsulated stem cell-derived islets, through proof-of-concept in patients while continuing exploration of other regenerative medicine therapeutics.
“We are now well positioned, between Semma’s scientific progress and this recent financing, to bring Semma’s lead therapeutic through clinical proof of concept in patients with Type 1 diabetes, while we expand into related areas and build a leading regenerative medicine company,” Mark C. Fishman, M.D., chairman of the board at Semma Therapeutics, said. “We’re delighted that this accomplished group of investors share our mission to cure insulin-dependent diabetes.”
The Cambridge, Mass.,-based company is working on developing transformative stem cell-driven therapies, focusing on a new treatment for Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus, T1DM, patients who currently depend on insulin treatments. The technology developed protects its stem cell-derived beta, SC-beta, cells from the patient’s immune system. In preclinical studies, SC-beta cells demonstrated comparability to beta cells within human islets both in vitro and in vino, effectively controlling diabetes.
“I’m very pleased and impressed to see how far the science has progressed at Semma; what the team has accomplished from a development perspective on both the biology side and engineering side is remarkable,” Douglas Melton, Semma Therapeutics founder, and board observer said. “Semma’s scientists have very effectively dedicated themselves to systems that reliably generate cells indistinguishable from human pancreatic beta cells and to the invention of novel devices that are immunologically protective and surgically practical. We’re very encouraged and excited about the potential this program has for diabetic patients and their families.”
Eight Roads Ventures and Cowen Healthcare Investments are co-leading the financing, with investments coming from existing investors including MPM Capital, F-Prime Capital Partners and ARCH Venture Partners. In wake of this announcement, Semma also named Daniel Auerbach from Eight Roads and Kevin Raidy from Cowen to its board of directors.