Introducing Baxalta!

When does a company change its name, especially when it’s got a good thing going on? 

We’ve seen change in our bleeding disorder community when one company buys another—called an acquisition. Some of the factor manufacturers have been acquired through the years, sometimes with a name change: can you think of any? Specialty pharmacies have seen a fast and furious amount of consolidation: your speciality pharmacy may have been one of them. It’s been going on for over 10 years now. So fast and often, you may have missed a few!
But when the biggest factor manufacturer changes its name, that’s worthy of a blog. And it’s not from aquisition—it hasn’t been bought. Baxter Healthcare International, as part of its strategic planning, has now become two separate companies. The company has long been a leader in hospital supplies—like dialysis equipment, IV pumps and solutions, and biologics—like factor. Baxter’s BioSciences division is where its factor products are made.
So Baxter has spun off the BioSciences division, which is now a completely separate company. Headquarters will remain in the Chicago area, but its R&D division will move to Cambridge, Massachusetts, about 30 minutes from my house, in fact! Cambridge is the center of the biotech universe. 
The new company is called Baxalta, a combination of the familiar name Baxter and “alta” which in Latin means “high” or “above.”
As a consumer, you’ll see eventually new packaging and a new name. But I think most of the people you know at Baxalta, like your local rep, will stay the same for now. 
Please check out the new website, and get to know Baxalta!

This post and images are sponsored by Baxalta 

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Great Book I Just Read

Dr. Mutter’s Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine [Kindle]

by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz

An intriguing, ethical, compassionate physician and brilliant surgeon, who introduced plastic surgery to the US from Paris, Dr. Thomas Dent Mutter seemed destined to make history. Orphaned at an early age, impoverished, he nonetheless rose the ranks in the difficult and often snobbish Philadelphia medical community, becoming beloved by students and patients for his expertise as well as compassionate treatment of patients. At a time when the best surgeon was often the fastest (there was no anesthesia for a long time!), Mutter was highly regarded, especially for treating cases of “monsters,” those people scarred by horrific accidents, or having deformities. He dedicated his life especially to those deformed by disease, birth or accident, and his contributions are now in the macabre but utterly fascinating Mutter Museum in Philadelphia. I’ve been there and was amazed! It’s a legacy for a man who is admirable for his contributions, dedication and ethical manners. I couldn’t put this book down! Five/five stars.

Navigate Hemophilia with Nava!!

Here’s a great program offered by Baxter Healthcare Corporation.
Baxter’s “Nava” offers patients with hemophilia personalized support. Nava is a website available 24/7, with a Call Center/Live Chat available for more personal assistance. Nava offers:
·       Personalized support program that gives you personalized tools and resources to help you successfully manage school, career, family and other life situations. 
o    Connects you with insurance experts to help you navigate the maze of coverage issues. 
o    Connects you with mentors who can offer support and real understanding as someone who’s walked in your shoes. 
o    Schedules one-on-one coaching to help you set and achieve your life goals – career, education, relationships, a healthy lifestyle and more!

·       Open and free to anyone within the bleeding conditions community regardless of treatment

o    People with bleeding conditions
o    Parents of children with bleeding conditions
o    Supporters or other family members
o    Healthcare professionals

For more info:   nava.baxter.com

This announcement is a public service, sponsored by Baxter Healthcare Corporation.



Great Book I Just Read

The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl [Kindle]
Timothy Egan

The sobering story of the settling of the American prairies in the late 1890s, with the encouragement of government, and consequent stripping of the land by overfarming. The overfarming destroyed the trees and ground cover that would have protected from dust storms. In time, parts of Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska were called the Dust Bowl as enormous walls of dust, thick enough to braise skin, barrelled down on inhabitants for years. Fine, powdery dust infiltrated every item in its path. Babies slept in filthy cribs, covered with dust. Cattle died as their bellies filled with dirt; children died, some before turning one from “dust pneumonia.” Crops failed, careers destroyed. The book chronicles several personal stories, and also reviews the government attempts to restore the land through Roosevelt’s New Deal. Be prepared to be staggered by the suffering, the history, the beautiful writing style, and learn deeply about a sad time in our country’s history. Four/five stars

Long, Long Time to Come

I just wrote a couple of weeks ago about long acting factor: Biogen Idec’s clinical studies have been in the works for a while, and CSL Behring just announced that they are starting a global phase II/III, multi-center study.

On January 5, Baxter announced that they are launching a Phase I clinical study of “BAX 855,” a longer-acting (PEGylated) form of a full-length recombinant factor VIII (rFVIII) protein, based on Advate’s manufacturing process. BAX 855 leverages Nektar Therapeutics’ proprietary PEGylation technology, which is designed to extend the duration of activity of proteins and larger molecules.

This means, if the trials go as hoped, longer acting factor in the bloodstream, requiring fewer infusions to get the job done.

So that’s three companies in clinical trials for longer-acting factor! More great news for our children’s future.

Great Book I Just Read
Born to Run by Christopher McDougall (Kindle version)
Stymied by a nagging injury, McDougall questions his doctors, and sets out to find a way to continue running, which leads him to the Tarahumara Indians in Mexico’s deadly Copper Canyons. These people living in near isolation, are able to run hundreds of miles without rest or injury. McDougall shares his adventure of traveling to meet them, interspersing chapters with the history of ultra running and introduces all its quirky characters, the history of the Tarahumara, and making a good case for running barefoot! The book has stirred some controversy–has he done a disservice to the Tarahumara, ruined Nike’s reputation and exalted barefoot running without citing his studies? Whatever he has done, it is a joy to read due to his crackling style, which is witty, colorful, funny and has great cultural references–this guy knows how to write! I’m not sure I buy everything he’s selling, but I did go running today, and loved it. Three star/four.

Health Care Reform: Pulse On The Road


Making sense of insurance reform was the theme Saturday morning at the launch of our new program, “Pulse On The Road,” at the Indiana Hemophilia Foundation’s annual meeting. (Photo: HFI Executive Director Andrew Van Gordon)

With funding from Baxter BioScience, we brought expert speakers from several states to present stories, scenarios and solutions to an audience of 100 families. The idea is to bring to life our newsletter Pulse, which you can download here.

We started off the morning with Martin Addie, a man with hemophilia from Missouri, who shared his many trials trying to get health insurance. Martin had called me last year, asking for suggestions, and I learned that he is one person who did everything right, tapped every resource, documented everything, and yet he still could not get help with his dwindling insurance. You can read about his entire story in Pulse, but I can tell you the audience was struck by his determination and even more by his faith.

Next was Andy Matthews, a long time friend of mine. In the 16 years I’ve known Andy, I’ve actually never heard him speak and never knew he was such a motivational speaker. He focused on teens transitioning into adults, and what we can do as parents to encourage them to take control of their insurance and health.

Then came former executive director of HFI Michelle Rice, how gave a great overview of health care reform, along with dates when certain parts will be enacted. This was then followed by our “Community Forum,” with four panelists: Michelle Rice, now a regional director with NHF; Kisa Carter, Public Policy Director, HFA; Mike Bradley, Vice President, Healthcare Economics and Reimbursement, Baxter BioScience; and Judy Moore, social worker with Indiana Hemophilia and Thrombosis Center.

There was no shortage of questions posed to the panelists and the Q&A went for 50 minutes, and could have gone longer. Audience members wanted to know why we have to wait till 2014 for implementation of some parts of the healthcare reform bill; where can they go for more answers; will out-of pocket costs rise? All great questions.

After lunch we had a Meet the Expert table where folks could come and speak one-to-one with the panelists and speakers.

Next stop? Washington DC October 23, where we will present Pulse On The Road at the Hemophilia of the Capital Area’s annual meeting. Then look for POTR next year, perhaps coming to your state! In the meantime, keep reading about insurance and healthcare reform. Visit www.hemophilia.org and www.hemophiliafed.org for up-to-date information from your national hemophilia organizations.

Thanks to Baxter BioScience for funding this event, which received excellent reviews from the attendees! (Photo: Laurie and Kisa; Laurie with Carlita and Vanessa)

(Professional photos by Markey’s Rental and Staging)

Interesting Book I Just Read
The Time Traveler’s Wife
Audrey Niffenegger
This book was a gift from a friend, who thinks I time traveling when I jaunt off to developing countries. A sci-fi book that reads like a romance novel, about a man who can time travel (no explanation given) back to his own past, and even meets himself as a boy. More importantly, he meets his future wife when she is just a little girl. The story is compelling, and I confess I read all 500 words on a train ride to London, then on a 7 hour plane ride home. I couldn’t put it down! The writing style is very light, rather dry (but then, I had just finished Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad; gorgeous writing). This is like English fast food: yummy, filling, but not going to nourish your writing abilities or appreciation of the written English language. Still, there is a lot to say for fast food, especially when you tire of full course meals that you must digest slowly (like Conrad). A book about love, loss and patience; worth reading for relaxation. Two stars.

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