The 10 most innovative medical and therapeutic companies of 2022

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Explore Fast Company’s full list of Most Innovative Companies of 2022, 528 organizations whose efforts are transforming their businesses, industries and culture at large. We selected the companies that have the greatest impact with their initiatives across 52 categories, including the most innovative biotech, design and consumer goods companies.

After a year of vaccines and treatments for COVID-19, innovation in the pharmaceutical industry has been a little more mundane this year – in a good way. Illnesses that had burdensome treatments, or worse, no treatment, were finally being addressed. At the same time, companies are beginning to redefine medicine. Software is starting to treat physical ailments just like pills do. And yes, companies have continued to find ways to prevent COVID-19.

All recognized pharmaceutical companies Fast Company List of the 10 most innovative medical and therapeutic companies achieved breakthroughs by taking a creative approach to how they think about medicines. GlaxoSmithKline has partnered with the Gavi Vaccine Alliance to advance its malaria vaccine Mosquirix to clinical trials – a vaccine that has taken decades to develop, test and now distribute. Experts estimate that it will significantly reduce malaria infection in regions where the disease is endemic.

AstraZeneca has been working feverishly to develop preventive monoclonal antibodies to help people with compromised immune systems fight off COVID-19. Meanwhile, Mithra Pharmaceuticals has developed a birth control pill that (finally!) prioritizes women’s health by reducing side effects. Another group of companies developed therapeutics that challenged the notion of what medicine can be. Akili Interactive, which went public this year through SPAC, received FDA clearance for its all-digital treatment for ADHD. Another company, Hinge Health, uses physical therapy, coaching, and wearables to reduce musculoskeletal pain — no opioids required. Big Health offers therapist-free therapy to patients with insomnia and anxiety. All of these companies used innovative thinking to bring healthcare to more people than was ever possible before.

1. GlaxoSmithKline

For fighting malaria with its new vaccine, which has been in the works for decades

More than 35 years of research at GlaxoSmithKline bore fruit last fall when the World Health Organization recommended widespread rollout of the pharmaceutical company Mosquirix, the world’s first malaria vaccine and vaccine against a parasitic disease, in sub-Saharan Africa. It has been shown to be 70% effective in reducing severe malaria and hospitalizations in children, responsible for 460,000 malaria deaths in 2020, alongside seasonal anti-malarial efforts, from bed nets, sprays and antimalarials,” says Thomas Breuer , the company’s chief global health officer. GSK has shipped more than 4 million doses of the vaccine for the pilot program – of which about 2.7 million have already been administered – and will supply up to 15 million doses, which it will sell at 5% over cost.

GlaxoSmithKline is #31 on the list of the 50 most innovative companies in the world.

2.Viatris

For the development of the first FDA-approved interchangeable biosimilar to insulin

To lower the notoriously high cost of insulin, Viatris, a pharmaceutical company founded in 2020 (the result of a merger between Pfizer’s established drug arm Upjohn and generic drug company Mylan), worked with Indian biotech Biocon Biologics to create a nearly identical version The result is Semglee, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a biosimilar to insulin in 2021, making it the first interchangeable therapeutic ever to be approved by the FDA. Today, Viatris markets both Semglee, the branded version of this insulin biosimilar, and an unbranded version that is 65% cheaper than the leading insulin brand Lantus. (The two-tier pricing system reflects a common practice by insurers to favor higher-priced drugs because they carry bigger discounts.) With FDA approval for Semglee, Viatris has created an avenue for more affordable insulin.

3. Mithra Pharmaceuticals

To develop a herbal oral contraceptive for women with fewer side effects

Belgian biotech Mithra, which focuses on developing drugs for women’s health, received approval for its herbal birth control pill Nextstellis in 2021, along with Mayne Pharma, which markets the drug. The key innovation is the use of estetrol, a form of estrogen that occurs naturally in the body and is less likely to cause breast cancer – a rare risk of estrogen-boosting pills. In addition to having less impact on breast tissue, the drug is associated with less breakthrough bleeding, less acne, and fewer changes in facial and body hair than other oral contraceptives, as well as less impact on sex drive. Finally, because estetrol is plant-based, it breaks down more easily and is not as likely to be found in the waterways as other estrogens. This makes the contraceptive not only better for women, but also better for the environment.

4. ViiV Healthcare

For his injection every two months to treat HIV

That year, ViiV launched Cabenuva, a bi-monthly injection to treat HIV. This regimen can replace a daily intake of pills that many people living with HIV find cumbersome, and essentially creates a new paradigm for what it means to live with the disease. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, there are approximately 1.2 million people living with HIV in the United States. The FDA also recently approved ViiV’s Apretude as an injection every two months for pre-exposure prophylaxis.

5. AstraZeneca

To develop preventative COVID-19 treatment for the most vulnerable individuals

Part of what will help shift COVID-19 from a pandemic to an endemic disease — a disease that, like the flu, is ever-present and spreading at a predictable rate — is the development of myriad treatments and preventions. That year, the Food and Drug Administration approved AstraZeneca’s pre-exposure prophylactic treatment called Evusheld. These long-acting monoclonal antibodies offer a vaccine alternative for severely immunocompromised individuals who have had or are likely to have adverse reactions to existing COVID-19 vaccines. In studies, recipients saw a 77% reduction in the risk of contracting COVID-19, making it a viable treatment for protecting high-risk groups.

6. Great health

For the development of a digital version of cognitive behavioral therapy

Digital health interventions are about to become big business, and big health is at the forefront. The company has worked to develop fully digital experiences to solve some of the most damaging mental health problems like sleep loss and anxiety. The company’s sleep support app has a 70% effectiveness rate and is used by companies like Delta and selectively by major healthcare organizations, including the UK’s National Health Service. In 2021, the Scottish National Health Service agreed to roll out Big Health’s digital therapeutics for insomnia and anxiety to the entire population. Patients can download the app themselves or have it referred to them by their general practitioner.

7. Scinexis

For developing the first non-azole treatment for vaginal yeast infections

Overuse of a class of antifungal drugs known as azoles, commonly prescribed to treat vaginal yeast infections, has led to resistance. To combat the problem of antifungal resistance, Scynexis has developed an entirely new class of fungicides: triterpenoid antifungals that doctors can prescribe when initial azole treatments don’t work. Brexafemme was approved by the FDA in June and launched in September. It is the first drug in this class and the first approved antifungal in more than two decades.

8. Health of the hinge

For the development of an online platform for the treatment of musculoskeletal pain

Physicians are looking for an alternative to opioids for pain management, particularly for musculoskeletal pain. Hinge Health combines exercise therapy and digital coaching to treat musculoskeletal pain for its 13 million members through its employer relationships and healthcare plans. This year, the company released data from a large-scale study showing that participants experienced an average 68% reduction in pain over a 12-week period. It also acquired two companies, Enso, a wearable device that uses electrical stimulation to relieve pain, and Wrnch, a company that uses computer vision to measure movement. These two acquisitions will help the company connect its digital health platform to the lived experiences of its patients.

9. Amgen

For the treatment of a previously untreatable subset of non-small cell lung cancer.

Lumacras by Amgen, approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2021, treats lung cancer tumors with a specific genetic mutation that accounts for a quarter of all non-small cell lung cancers. The drug is the culmination of four decades of research into how to target the Kras oncogene, a gene prone to mutation that until recently was considered untargetable with drugs. In studies, 36% of patients with this specific tumor mutation saw their tumor completely destroyed; Another 58% had their tumors shrink in size. Neither of these two groups had recurrent cancer for at least six months. The drug marks a breakthrough for these patients.

10. Akili Interactive

For the development of a digital therapeutic for ADHD

Akili Interactive has been working for years to develop a digital game to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Last year, the company received Food and Drug Administration approval to market its game, EndeavorRx, as a therapeutic. That year, the company raised $160 million for the launch. The program was launched this summer with a new study touting its effectiveness (after two rounds of play for four weeks, five days a week, 68% of children aged 8-12 saw clinical behavioral improvement). As of November, the company worked with 900 physicians prescribing EndeavorRx.

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