May 17, 2020

Fortune 500 announces 2018’s top influential pharma companies

Catherine Sturman
2 min
top companies (Getty Images)
Amassing up to $12.8 trillion in revenues and over a trillion in profits, Fortune 500 has unveiled its top companies which represent up to two-thirds of...

Amassing up to $12.8 trillion in revenues and over a trillion in profits, Fortune 500 has unveiled its top companies which represent up to two-thirds of America’s GDP. We take a look at the top three pharmaceutical companies which made the cut.

CVS Health

Remaining steadfast at #7 position, CVS Health has been a consistent player for over 20 years, amassing revenues of up to $184,765. With over 200,000 employees, the company has undergone significant expansion.

Working to integrate its division Omnicare into community clinics, the company has sought to work to mitigate any risks with regards to escalating healthcare costs, alongside President Trump’s ongoing plans to eradicate Obamacare.

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The company announced its decision to acquire health insurer Aetna for a staggering $69bn will see it remain a key leader and remain behind consumer trends.


Ranking down one spot to 6th place, pharmaceutical giant McKesson gained revenues of up to $198,533. A number of mergers and acquisitions at the company has supported its bid to remain a key player in the market, despite ongoing price rises within drug distribution and manufacturing.

UnitedHealth Group

Gaining 5th position, United Health have remained steadfast, with profits of $10,558. Its recent deal with Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp will also take the business to new heights and bring a number of value-based programmes to the table.

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Jun 15, 2021

 NHS trials test that predicts sepsis 3 days in advance 

2 min
Queen Alexandra Hospital is trialling a new sepsis test by Presymptom Health that uses machine learning to detect the onset of the disease

A new test that can predict sepsis before the patient develops symptoms is being trialled at a National Health Service (NHS) hospital in the south of England. 

Clinicians at Portsmouth’s Queen Alexandra Hospital are leading medical trials of the blood test, which they hope will help them save thousands of lives a year. 

The test is being developed by government spin-out company Presymptom Health, but the research began over 10 years ago at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl). This included a study of 4,385 patients and more than 70,000 samples, the largest study of its kind at the time. 

From the samples taken, a clinical biobank and database were generated and then mined using machine learning to identify biomarker signatures that could predict the onset of sepsis. The researchers found they were able to provide an early warning of sepsis up to three days ahead of illness with an accuracy of up to 90%.

Unlike most other tests, Presymptom Health identifies the patient’s response to the disease as opposed to detecting the pathogen. This is an important differentiator, as sepsis occurs as a result of the patient's immune system’s overreaction to an infection or injury, which can then cause life-threatening organ dysfunction. 

Worldwide, an estimated 49 million people a year contract sepsis, while in the UK almost two million patients admitted to hospital each year are thought to be at risk of developing the condition. If Presymptom's test is effective, it could save billions of pounds globally and improve clinical outcomes for millions of sepsis patients.

The initial trials at Queen Alexandra Hospital will last 12 months, with two other sites planned to go live this summer. Up to 600 patients admitted to hospital with respiratory tract infections will be given the option to participate in the trial. The data collected will be independently assessed and used to refine and validate the test, which could be available for broader NHS use within two years. 

If successful, this test could also identify sepsis arising from other infections before symptoms appear, which could potentially include future waves of COVID-19 and other pandemics.

Dr Roman Lukaszewski, the lead Dstl scientist behind the innovation, said: “It is incredible to see this test, which we had originally begun to develop to help service personnel survive injury and infection on the front line, is now being used for the wider UK population, including those fighting COVID-19.”

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