NPS targets consumers

The Dec 20 media release from NPS confirms Medical Forum’s earlier comment. NPS has launched a long term campaign directed at consumers to enable Australians to become ‘medicinewise’ – to ask ‘why?’ as the first step towards making better decisions about medicines. This signifies a new way in which NPS will engage and interact with consumers, the release says, adding the NPS website will be re-launched with a stronger consumer focus including useful information, tools, tips and applications. This first stage of the Be medicinewise campaign will establish that consumers can ask NPS or your health professional about medication. Pain management, lipids and generic medicines will be the targets from March 2011. Visit www.nps.org.au

WA’s Phylogica & Pfizer

Perth biotech company Phylogica Limited (ASX: PYC) has entered into a licensing agreement with Pfizer, which hopes to develop novel peptide-based vaccines using Phylogica’s discovered Phylomer peptides. Pfizer gets the rights to commercialise any vaccines derived in return for US$0.5m up front and milestone payments of up to US$134m if all goes well. Phylogica was incorporated in 2001 by the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research and the Fox Chase Cancer Center (Philadelphia, USA) to commercialise its discovery of Phylomer peptides. The company has entered similar arrangements with Roche and MedImmune (AstraZeneca). Prof Paul Watt, the founder and CEO of Phylogica, is also on the board of Avita Medical. Chief Financial Officer & VP Corporate Development is Nick Woolf who doesn’t appear on the company website.0505hippy_gardening

Is it possible?

A/Prof Livia Hool has two claims to fame. She is the only patch clamper in WA and she has just been awarded a five-year Australian Research Council Future Fellowship worth almost $0.7m to how heart muscle gives up the ghost following heart attack. Heart damage liberates the body’s free-radicals which adversely affect heart muscle calcium channels. Single ion channels in cells can be measured using the patch clamp technique, which measures electrical impulses generated by cells to the accuracy of one millionth of one millionth of an amp.

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Cashing up

When Perth-headquartered Eastland Medical Systems non-executive director Michael Stewart offloaded 6.67 million shares on Christmas eve, rumours started that prompted a press release saying Michael was still committed to the company. EMS was trading at just over 5 cents per share. Its hopes are pinned on a sublingual malaria project.

Who’s who for techos

In 1992 he set up a mining-focused broking firm, then started in the oil and gas industry but when the oil sector went belly up in 1997 turned to technology investments, got onto the Curtin Uni commercialisation board then the state government’s Technology and Industry Advisory Council (TIAC), a Troy Buswell appointment. Venture capitalist Charles Morgan is now worth a lot and with his appointment as chairman of TIAC he has donated $1m towards providing genetic sequencing equipment at the Lotterywest State Biomedical Facility: Genomics at RPH. UWA will provide $225,000 more for staff under the guidance of A/Prof Richard Allcock. The equipment’s users will include agriculture and veterinary science, as well as health. Other TIAC members include Azure Capital executive chairman John Poynton (ex Prime Health), iVEC chairman and former deputy Premier Mal Bryce, Nobel Laureate Prof Barry Marshall and WA Chief Scientist Prof Lyn Beazley.

Indemnity Frequent Flyers

Avant has launched a Loyalty Reward Plan for members in 2011, which it says is unique in the medical indemnity industry. Akin to Frequent Flyers, the dividend occurs only when Avant’s financial performance is strong and the member loyalty reward comes as a deduction from premiums at the time of insurance renewal. Avant’s financial performance for 2009–10 included a net profit of $83.9m and net assets growth from $544.5m to $628.4m. This translates to premium deductions ranging from 5.5% to 11.0% for the initial year of the LRP. It’s about high member retention, which Avant says is 60% of the country’s medical practitioners and students. MDA National have also had a bumper financial year and because both insurers are “mutuals” they are obliged to return excess funds to the insured, which MDA does via reduced premiums.

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