What We're Reading: Bristol-Myers Squibb vs Gilead, Fighting Antibiotic Resistance, Healthcare.gov Glitch

December 16, 2019

BMS and Gilead continue their fight over Yescarta patent infringement; Canadian researchers develop multidrug-resistant, bacteria-repelling plastic coating; Healthcare.gov floods with last-minute sign-ups on final day of enrollment for 2020 plans.

Verdict Handed Down Against Gilead in Patent Dispute Case With BMS

Gilead said it will appeal the $752 million award handed down against the company on Friday in its ongoing fight with Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), according to Reuters. A Los Angeles jury ruled against Gilead in a patent dispute over Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel; Gilead/Kite Pharma), a chimeric antigen receptor T-cell treatment used as a cancer immunotherapy. Currently, Juno Therapeutics, a division of BMS, holds the patent under an exclusive licensing deal from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Innovative Plastic Coating Blocks Bacteria

In an effort to combat antibiotic resistance and multidrug-resistant bacteria, scientists from McMaster University have developed a plastic coating that can repel bacteria, according to CNN. The team of researchers were also able to show how their innovation can block methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomans due to microscopic wrinkles on its surface. The technology has a wide variety of applications, including protecting food and shrink-wrapping surfaces in healthcare settings. Upwards of 35,000 people dying each year from drug-resistant infections.

Open Enrollment Ends for 2020 Plans, With a Website Hitch

The final day of open enrollment for Healthcare.gov plans, December 15, saw the site seize, which prevented people from signing up for health coverage under plans that begin January 1, according to The Hill. Almost 100,000 people faced a similar problem on the first enrollment day this year. Now, however, several Democratic lawmakers—including Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, and Senator Bob Casey, D-Pennsylvania—are asking for a sign-up extension, citing the technical problems. Enrollment is already down 6% compared with the same time last year.