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Morning Read: Brexit win throws drug regulation, VC investment in UK life sciences into question

Also, Annexon Biosciences raised $44 million to support the development of a drug for Huntington’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, Stephen Friend, founder of Sage Bionetworks, is moving to Apple to work on healthcare projects there.

KNUTSFORD, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 24: A European Union flag, with a hole cut in the middle, flies at half-mast outside a home in Knutsford Cheshire after today's historic referendum on June 24, 2016 in Knutsford, United Kingdom. The results from the historic EU referendum has now been declared and the United Kingdom has voted to LEAVE the European Union. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

A European Union flag, with a hole cut in the middle, flies at half-mast

TOP STORIES

The majority of UK voters supported an exit from the EU, raising a litany of questions for the life sciences industry in the UK. The BioIndustry Association CEO said he was concerned that a Brexit would raise questions about the regulation of drugs, which is generally done by EU regulators and how this will impact venture capital investment.

“Key questions about the regulation of medicine, access to the single market and talent, intellectual property and the precise nature of the future relationship of the UK with Europe are now upon us.”

Sarah Hanson, Head of UK Lifesciences at international law firm CMS, said the split and European Economic Area (EEA) markets:

“First and foremost we must consider its effect on the significant body of EU legislation which governs the development and supply of medicines and medical devices…Companies engaging in any way with the EEA markets will face increased regulatory burdens from having to deal with separate UK and EU regulation so the industry faces an arduous job ahead, keeping abreast of all relevant legislation to work out which parts of the UK and EU regulatory regimes will remain the same and which parts will diverge.”

BioIndustry Association, FierceBiotech, PharmaTimes

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LIFE SCIENCES

Annexon Biosciences, a Stanford University spin-off, has raised $44 million to support the development of a drug for Huntington’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. — San Francisco Business Times

Crispr Therapeutics has raised $38 million in a Series B round. —BusinessWire

The Centers for Disease Control said it wouldn’t use AstraZeneca’s flu vaccine, FluMist Quadrivalent, despite recommending its use for years. The move follows analysis of the inhalant’s use in children aged 2 to 17 during the 2015 flu season. It was found to give relief in only 3 percent of patients. The move prompted the drugmaker to write down $80 million in its second quarter earnings report. — BioSpace

Eleven Biotherapeutics is cutting 14 employees — 70% of its staff, in the latest string of bad news for a company, The move follows late stage clinical trial failures. Last last year, an IL-1 receptor inhibitor to treat dry eye disease failed in a Phase III study. A follow-up Phase III trial evaluating its impact on allergic conjunctivitis also came up short. — FierceBiotech

PAYERS-PROVIDERS

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota will stop selling health plans to families and individuals next year, citing financial losses. — MPR News

Nurses at Kaiser Permanente’s flagship Los Angeles Medical Center started a four-day strike against inadequate staffing levels at the hospital. It is the second time this year nurses are hitting the picket line. — LA Biz

An interactive look at the impact of closing psychiatric hospitals without providing alternatives to replace them. — Boston Globe

TECHNOLOGY

Stephen Friend, a veteran of the drug industry who has worked for Merck and most recently nonprofit Sage Bionetworks, which he founded, is joining Apple. Lara Mangravite will take over the president role at Sage that Friend is leaving. At Apple, he will work on “health-related projects.” — Xconomy, Sage Bionetworks

A look at how UK-based Virtual Doctors is  supporting 19 rural health centres, in Zambia which typically deal with conditions like malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/Aids and pregnancy. Healthcare professionals in these clinics access the service through a smartphone app or computer and transmit their notes on patients’ symptoms and photos. A UK-based doctor helps with diagnosis and treatment recommendations. — BBC

POLITICS

Some U.S. lawmakers want to see Medicare reforms so that hearing aids would be covered. — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A LITTLE BIT EXTRA

What do you get when architecture and neurology collide? An installation called Losing Myself. “A visual metaphor for the way people with neurodegenerative diseases experience the built environment.” — Wired

Photo: Getty Images/Christopher Furlong

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