Bayer unveils guidelines on therapy of endometriosis, more popularly known for the symptom “dysmenorrhea,” affecting up to 10% of women

April 12, 2022

Bayer Pharmaceuticals has unveiled a new first-of-its-kind guideline for the early diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis, more popularly known for the symptom “dysmenorrhea.” 

The guideline is a consensus among obstetrician-gynecologists and related medical experts in Asia. Endometriosis is known to affect 6-10% of Filipino women. 

   The guideline aligns with the latest 2022 guidelines published by European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), which details the best practices of caring for women with endometriosis. 

    Both works emphasize the importance of non-invasive procedures in early diagnosis and treatment to allow for patient-centred care. 

   For instance, symptom recognition is recommended before utilising laparoscopy for diagnosis. One of endometriosis’s symptoms is dysmenorrhea, the medical term for painful menstrual period caused by uterine contractions.  Other symptoms, according to a Bayer primer, are non-cyclic pelvic pain, dyspareunia (painful intercouse), dysuria (pain when urinating), dyschesia (obstructed defecating syndrome), fatigue, and subfertility.   

Medical treatments are recommended for the management of pain post-surgery. 

    For treatment, the consensus recommends hormonal treatment for patients with no immediate pregnancy desires.  

   These treatments should be individually tailored by considering women’s presentation and therapeutic need. Medical treatment such as the use of GnRHa and progestin are also recommended for early treatment, and management of pain post-surgery. 

   “While the consensus is useful in guiding healthcare providers to recommend patient-centric treatment options, there is also a need for us to leverage the right platforms to educate women on endometriosis, empowering them to voice out their pain and seek treatment early by making informed decisions about their condition. 

   “These efforts are testament to our long-standing commitment to support our healthcare providers and patients, and ultimately improve women’s health,” added Catherine Donovan, Vice President Head of Medical Affairs Asia-Pacific, Bayer Pharmaceuticals Asia-Pacific. 

   Angela Aguilar, Past President of the Philippine Society for Reproductive Medicine and co-author of the “Clinical Diagnosis and Early Medical Management for Endometriosis: Consensus for Asia” said, “This is a huge progress in the management of endometriosis. 

   “Through this consensus, early diagnosis and better treatment options will be made available for women to help them achieve an overall improvement in quality of life.    Healthcare providers will be more equipped to deliver patient-centric care and help alleviate the burden brought about by this condition.” 

   The consensus serves as a summation of deliberations by clinicians with expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis, where they convened in 2019 to critically evaluate evidence, international guidelines and consensus reports around the clinical diagnosis and early medical management of endometriosis in Asia.  

   Besides proposing an algorithm that utilizes both clinical diagnosis and early medical therapy which will require further evaluation to assess its effectiveness in diagnosis and patient outcomes, the work also provides guidance on clinical diagnosis and early empiric treatment. 

   Similar to ESHRE’s 2022 guidelines, the consensus suggests that laparoscopy is no longer considered the diagnostic gold standard. Instead, it proposes focusing on patient history and clinical examination to decrease diagnostic delay, especially in low resource settings. 

Kids Who Farm lure youth into agriculture using hydroponics that is less susceptible to pests and is “soil-less”

March 21, 2022

Non government organization Kids Who Farm KWH) has started luring the youth into agriculture using  hydroponics technology which  produces vegetables prolifically without requiring much pesticide and can grow “soil-less.”

   During a “Pista ng Pagkain at Kabataang Pinoy” festival held by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA),  KWH Founder Muneer Hinay said that households can significantly contribute to solving Philippines’ food security concern.

   “I realized that even a small child can actually propose solutions to the pressing problems of food security,” said Hinay. 

   That has been true for his family as his daughter Raaina jointly put up KWH’s micro urban garden in her school, Catalina Vda de Jalon Memorial School in Brgy Tumbaga, Zamboanga City.  She was only nine years old then – three years ago.

   Now KWH not only has a joint urban farming project with Raaina’s school.  But its partnership is with a host of other institutions who have the like mind to entice the youth that agriculture is a profitable venture. As an incentive to kids, they are able to bring home and eat what they produce and also get a commensurate pay for their efforts.

   Aside from its partnership with the Department of Education’s “Gulayan sa Paaralan,” KWH has micro farming project with Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD Region 9, iVolunteer and Google.

   It had urban farming lectures for Haven for the Children and Haven for Women facilities, Rotary Interact Clubs from different universities in Zamboanga, Isabela City Youth Organization, and the Special Forces Battalion in Basilan. 

   With its advocacy, it has so far trained more than 400 youths in urban farming.

   Hinay, project manager  for sustainable food system at the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), believes his own home province should be food self-sufficient.

    “There’s a big opportunity to really make Zamboanga city food secure.  At present it is 40% self-sufficient in vegetables.  As a city which is the third largest in the Philippines in land area, it’s very ironic that we import 60% of our food as far as from Baguio,” Hinay told the SEARCA seminar. 

Muneer and Raaina Hinay during the SEARCA hydroponics demonstration

   SEARCA aims to popularize farming technologies as part of its contribution to transforming food systems to better achieve food security.

    Obviously, it is important for households to have easy a nearby access to their source of food—making it fresh and nutritious, Hinay stressed.  And what a better way to have a nearby urban farm, no matter how small, than through the hydroponics technology.

   “When we talk about urban agriculture, a big challenge is on space.  But the truth is when you have a small space, then what you need is a big mindset,” he said.

   Hydroponics, which has been proven productive long ago from the Hanging Garden of Babylon to the Aztecs’ floating garden, comes from the Greek words “hydro” or water and “ponos” or work.  That is working or cultivating plants with water.

 “In hydroponics, the plant roots absorb balanced nutrients dissolved in water that meet all the plant development requirements. The basic setup is you have a container or grow box, water inside with nutrient solution, and an air space so the container is not filled with water,” said Hinay.

   The plants are in a growing media such as coconut coir  or coconut peat– instead of soil.   The plants get their nutrients from air and water—macronutrients, micronutrients—vitamins and minerals.

   Among the plants that can be grown via hydroponics are lettuce, pechay, kangkong, bell pepper, tomato, and herbs like basil.

    While the sizable portion of food production is still soil-based, 95%, producing food from hydroponics offers advantages.  Among these are its modular setup (vertical or horizontal), ability for monocropping season after season, and nearly pest-free nature.

   “There isn’t so much waste. There is no leaching (contamination of the water table since plants are in a contained area).  Generally, it is hygienic, and there’s no emergence of pest and diseases.  It is very rare that  hydroponics setup gets pests.”

   There are different types of hydroponics—wick system, ebb and flow which uses submersible pumps for irrigation, and nutrient film technique which also uses submersible pump.  The drip system has continued slowly-releasing irrigation.

  The deep water culture is a passive system without pump as the plant is submerged in the water. Aeroponics uses misting, or roots of plants are sprayed with water or mists using high-pressure pumps.

   The easiest type to use and requires less startup money may be the deep water culture, particularly the Kratky method. 

   Developed by University of Hawaii’s Dr. Bernard Kratky, the method requires less effort to set up and is nutrient and water-efficient, Hinay said.

   What is needed are a growbox, hydroponic nutrient solution (nutrients and fertilizer), a seedling plug (where you put or transplant the seedling ), and a growing media.  Instead of soil, the media uses coconut coir, coconut peat, or foam.

   For the seedling plug, styro cups, plastic cups, and many other waste materials can be used.

   The steps in Kratky are 1.  Make the growbox (using styrobox used as fruit containers),  2.  Transplant the seedlings (seeds should first be sown in a separate sowing medium like a seedling tray).  The upper box, which has holes, is where the seedling is placed. 3.  Make the lower box where you put the water and nutrient solution.  It should be well-sealed. 4. Grow and maintain (make sure the nutrient solution does not run out of water), and 5. Build a greenhouse.

   Soon, the roots can be observed, and the plants are soon harvestable—lettuces  can be harvestable 22 to 25 days from transplanting.  

   In cases when pesticide should be used,  KWH recommends a simple biopesticide.  It is just a mixture of chopped garlic (1 bulb), onion (1 medium), 5 to 6 chilli peppers, dishwashing liquid (1 tablespoon), and water (1 liter).  This is used as spray on plants early in the morning or late afternoon.

    With Kratky hydroponics, learning how to grow plants will not be discouraging for beginners since it is easy to experience success with it.

   “Within a short period of time, you can have immediate success or yield, so you will be encouraged to grow more,” said Hinay. (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)

Bayer increases women’s access to modern contraception, promotes benefits of less cases of maternal deaths, unwanted pregnancies, child mortality

March 15, 2022

While pursuing research to find new treatment options for gynecological diseases with a high unmet medical need, Bayer is also working on addressing women’s health needs during menopause.

   For more than 50 years, Bayer has supported educational programs and rights-based family planning in more than 130 countries, particularly by increasing access to modern forms of contraception.

   In 2019, Bayer pledged to provide 100 million women in low-and-middle-income countries with access to family planning by 2030.

    This initiative is part of Bayer’s comprehensive set of sustainability measures and commitments and in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) .

   “We believe every girl and woman deserves the chance to determine her own future. That’s why Bayer is partnering with local and international organizations, such as the United Nations Population Fund and the United States Agency for International Development, to empower women to make informed decisions about family planning,” said Mildred Nadah Pita, Head of Global Healthcare Programs/Sustainability Middle Africa at Bayer.

   “With Bayer’s commitment to provide 100 million women in low- and middle-income countries with access to modern contraception by 2030, we are making an important contribution to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals by improving the health, rights and economic status of women around the world, which is a fundamental prerequisite for greater equality, education and prosperity for all.”

   As part of this commitment, Bayer recently announced an investment of over €400 million in new production facilities for long-acting reversible contraceptives, including the construction of a new production site in Alajuela, Costa Rica and the expansion of production capabilities in Turku, Finland.

Shaping women’s health from menarche to menopause

  Elinzanetant, a non[1]hormonal development compound, is currently being investigated in the Phase III clinical development program OASIS for the treatment of vasomotor symptoms during menopause.

   “Every year 47 million women enter menopause, a period where women are at the peak of their life’s activity, personally and professionally. With increased longevity, maintaining functional ability and good quality of life is extremely relevant from both a healthcare and a socio-economic perspective. Unfortunately, menopause remains a taboo topic, leaving many women untreated,” said Cecilia Caetano, MD, Head of Medical Affairs Menopause at Bayer.    

   “With our strong heritage and deeply rooted expertise in women’s health, we continue to focus on providing innovative science, solutions and education to support the individual health need of women.”

Bayer delivers  medical innovation fueling transformation of pharma business

March 3, 2022

Berlin, Germany. At its annual Pharma Media Day 2022, Bayer presented the latest developments in the ongoing transformation of its pharmaceuticals business, which is aimed at delivering long-term, sustainable business growth by bringing forward new options for patients.

   “We are taking bold steps into the future of drug development, investing strongly in areas at the forefront of the biomedical and technological revolution.

   “Our leadership in cardiology, radiology and women’s health is recognized worldwide, and we are expanding our presence in oncology, working tirelessly to bring forward new approaches that can change the treatment paradigm for patients,” said Stefan Oelrich, Member of the Board of Management, Bayer AG and President of Bayer’s Pharmaceuticals Division.

   Bayer’s research and development pipeline continues to grow as the company is building on its existing competencies, such as the expertise around small molecules, while expanding into new modalities, including cell and gene therapies.

   The company is advancing around 50 projects in ongoing clinical trials across a range of potential therapeutic modalities and indications, with a focus on oncology, cardiovascular and women’s health.

Strong pipeline with robust late-stage development program and broad potential across indications

   In the area of cardiovascular disease, Bayer is delivering on its late-stage pipeline including recent launches of Finerenone (as KerendiaTM or FirialtaTM depending on country and region) and Vericiguat (Verquvo™).

   The heart and the kidneys are closely linked in health and disease. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) in type 2 diabetes (T2D) is the leading cause of end-stage kidney disease with many patients at advanced stages needing dialysis or a kidney transplant to stay alive.

  Patients are also three times more likely to die from a cardiovascular event than those with T2D alone, so early diagnosis and treatment is important to slow CKD progression and prevent poor patient outcomes.

   It is estimated that CKD affects more than 160 million people with T2D worldwide. At the Pharma Media Day, Bayer presented recent advancements for Finerenone, developed for patients living with CKD associated with T2D.

   In this field, Bayer has a strong scientific and clinical base for Finerenone, including the largest Phase III cardiorenal outcomes clinical trial program to evaluate the occurrence of progression of kidney disease as well as fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular events in more than 13,000 patients with CKD and T2D.

   Additionally, Finerenone is being investigated beyond the current indication in heart failure as well as non-diabetic kidney disease as further potential indications.

   Finerenone was approved under the brand name Kerendia® by the United States (U.S.) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and as FirialtaTM in other countries and regions.    

   Finerenone was just recently granted marketing authorization in the European Union and has also been submitted for marketing authorization in China, as well as multiple other countries worldwide and these applications are currently under review.

    Heart failure is a devastating disease affecting more than 60 million people worldwide, who are in need of treatment options.

   Bayer’s symptomatic chronic heart failure treatment Vericiguat (Verquvo™) provides a specific approach to managing chronic heart failure patients following a recent decompensation event, also known as a worsening heart failure event.

   A worsening heart failure event can mark the start of a downward spiral of disease progression and repeated hospitalizations.

   In fact, 56% of patients are back in hospital within 30 days.

Bayer Healthcare and Cell Biology Center

   Vericiguat works in conjunction with existing approaches through a different mode of action. It restores the deficient NO-sGC-cGMP pathway, which plays a critical role in the progression of heart failure, aggravating its symptoms.

   Vericiguat is jointly developed by Bayer and MSD (a tradename of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA), known as Merck in the U.S., and has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Commission and the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare (MHLW) in Japan among other countries.

   Vericiguat has also been submitted for marketing authorization in China as well as multiple other countries worldwide.

   “We are currently in the remarkable position to launch several important new medicines in parallel, and we are unlocking the full potential of our assets through systematic data generation, multi-indication approaches as well as building on new digital business models,” said Christian Rommel, Member of the Executive Committee of Bayer’s Pharmaceutical Division and Head of Research and Development.

   “Our scientific leadership in the area of cardiovascular diseases advances our mission to provide better treatment options for patients in need.”

Re-imagining Radiology

   Bayer is strongly positioned in the fast-growing medical imaging artificial intelligence (AI) market, combining a long-term expertise in radiology with a deep understanding of patients’ and physicians’ needs across a broad range of diseases, from oncology to cardiovascular, resulting in the ability to provide know-how and solutions from diagnosis to care.

   In times of limited resources in healthcare systems, growing as well as aging populations and changing lifestyles contribute to an increase in chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.

   As a result, the need for tools delivering improved diagnostic information while helping save costs and time is increasing. Tackling this challenge with advanced technologies and products, radiology is a key enabler to transform healthcare, expanding personalized medicine and improving outcomes for patients.

   In particular, AI bears vast potential for advancing radiology.

   Bayer is developing a platform through which healthcare professionals can centrally manage AI-enabled medical imaging and imaging workflow applications.

   These solutions are being developed by Bayer as well as third parties, and aim to support the complex decision-making processes of healthcare professionals in their task to provide a clear direction from diagnosis to care for their patients.

   “One of the most pressing concerns in medical imaging today is the exponential growth of imaging data and its complexity due to an increase in radiology examinations, and the shortage of experienced medical staff to handle it,” said Zuzana Jirakova Trnkova, MD, PhD, Head of Medical Affairs and Clinical Development Radiology at Bayer.

   “Artificial intelligence can be a valuable tool that, when complementing the human expertise of radiologists and clinicians, offers vast potential to the healthcare industry and radiology in particular. This is why Bayer strives to be a key digital innovator in this area, with the ultimate goal of improving outcomes for patients and supporting their physicians.”

Shaping women’s health from menarche to menopause

Bayer has a long-standing commitment to delivering solutions to meet women’s needs across the different stages of their lives. While pursuing research to find new treatment options for gynecological diseases with a high unmet medical need, the company is also working on addressing women’s health needs during menopause.

  Elinzanetant, a non[1]hormonal development compound, is currently being investigated in the Phase III clinical development program OASIS for the treatment of vasomotor symptoms during menopause.

   “Every year 47 million women enter menopause, a period where women are at the peak of their life’s activity, personally and professionally. With increased longevity, maintaining functional ability and good quality of life is extremely relevant from both a healthcare and a socio-economic perspective. Unfortunately, menopause remains a taboo topic, leaving many women untreated,” said Cecilia Caetano, MD, Head of Medical Affairs Menopause at Bayer.    

   “With our strong heritage and deeply rooted expertise in women’s health, we continue to focus on providing innovative science, solutions and education to support the individual health need of women.”

Increasing access to modern contraception

   For more than 50 years, Bayer has supported educational programs and rights-based family planning in more than 130 countries, particularly by increasing access to modern forms of contraception.

   In 2019, Bayer pledged to provide 100 million women in low-and-middle-income countries with access to family planning by 2030.

    This initiative is part of Bayer’s comprehensive set of sustainability measures and commitments and in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) .

   “We believe every girl and woman deserves the chance to determine her own future. That’s why Bayer is partnering with local and international organizations, such as the United Nations Population Fund and the United States Agency for International Development, to empower women to make informed decisions about family planning,” said Mildred Nadah Pita, Head of Global Healthcare Programs/Sustainability Middle Africa at Bayer.

   “With Bayer’s commitment to provide 100 million women in low- and middle-income countries with access to modern contraception by 2030, we are making an important contribution to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals by improving the health, rights and economic status of women around the world, which is a fundamental prerequisite for greater equality, education and prosperity for all.”

   As part of this commitment, Bayer recently announced an investment of over €400 million in new production facilities for long-acting reversible contraceptives, including the construction of a new production site in Alajuela, Costa Rica and the expansion of production capabilities in Turku, Finland.