Five things for pharma marketers to know: Friday, February 19, 2016

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, founder and CEO of NantWorks, discusses the creation of the National Immunotherapy Coalition during a January news conference. Developing better immunotherapies is a focus of Cancer MoonShot 2020. The NIC will design and implement trials for the MoonShot program.

1. Cancer MoonShot 2020 said it has partnered with 11 pediatric hospitals to look at using immunotherapy to treat childhood cancers. The MoonShot program aims to standardize the use of immunotherapy and develop a vaccine-based immunotherapy to treat cancer by 2020. (Modern Healthcare)

2. IBM's $2.6 billion purchase of Truven Health Analytics will provide data about the costs and treatment of more than 200 million patients. It's the fourth company IBM has acquired since it created the Watson Health business last year. (NYT)

3. The number of overdose deaths related to benzodiazepines like Xanax and Valium is rising, representing 31% of prescription-drug overdoses in 2013. The increase is likely due to people using those prescriptions in a riskier way. (Stat)

4. Novartis said the FDA granted Breakthrough Therapy designation to its experimental leukemia treatment PKC412 (midostaurin). The company is testing the drug in adult patients who are FLT3 mutation-positive.

5. Pope Francis said it's acceptable for women to use contraception in regions hit by the Zika virus. Contraceptives are available and affordable in most Latin American countries but are harder to obtain in rural areas. (WSJ)