Hartford Business Journal Special Editions

Doing Business in Connecticut 2018

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44 | DOING BUSINESS IN CONNECTICUT | 2018 2018 | DOING BUSINESS IN CONNECTICUT | 44 reduced their losses from the prior year. Meanwhile, Connecticut's House of Representatives at the end of April was working to protect health care insurance coverage in the state from changes made at the national level. In late April, legislators passed and sent to the Senate a bill requiring insurance companies to cover ambulatory patient services; emergency services; hospitalization; maternity and newborn health care; mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment; prescription drugs; rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices; laboratory services; preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management; and pediatric services, including oral and vision care. Insurers also must provide a year's worth of birth control. "We're not creating any new costs – we're just saying that as a state, we won't go backwards when it comes to health care coverage," State Rep. Liz Linehan (D-Cheshire/Southington/Wallingford) said in a statement. Medical researchers in Connecticut continue to break new ground in the search for promising new therapies, too. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration approved the first clinical trial of gene therapy focusing on glycogen storage disease (GSD), a rare genetic disorder that interferes with the liver's use of sugar. The trial will take place at the GSD Program at Connecticut Children's Medical Center and UConn Health, under the direction of pediatric endocrinologist and scientist Dr. David Weinstein. "This gene therapy is designed to replace the deficient enzyme in a patient's liver to improve glucose control and prevent the devastating short- and long-term consequences of this disease," Weinstein says on the UConn website. "It is the next step toward finding a cure, and I am personally excited that the journey toward new treatments for this condition will begin here in Connecticut." The GSD Program is the largest in the world for the condition. Patients travel to Connecticut Children's from 49 states and 48 countries for care. Continuing medical research in Connecticut also achieves national recognition. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) awarded its 2018 Banting Medal for Scientific Achievement to Dr. Gerald I. Shulman, who is the George R. Cowgill Professor of Medicine and Cellular and Molecular Physiology at Yale University School of Medicine and Co-Director of the Yale Diabetes Research Center in New Haven. Shulman will deliver the Banting Medal Lecture on insulin resistance and its implications for obesity and diabetes at the ADA's 78th Scientific Sessions in Florida in late June. The five-day meeting is the world's largest scientific meeting focused on diabetes research, prevention and care, and will draw more than 16,000 health care professionals from around the world. Meanwhile, Western Connecticut Health Network (WCHN) will rename its Biomedical Research Institute for Rudy L. Ruggles Jr. of Ridgefield. A retired IBM physicist and past president of the Hudson Institute, one of the oldest and most-respected national security think tanks in the world, Ruggles has made what WCHN describes as "a transformational gift" to advance patient-centered translational research at the institute. Founded in 2009, the institute features a state-of-the-art, 17,000-square-foot open-bench laboratory dedicated to improving the health of the community through innovative translational research. WCHN's physicians, scientists, and researchers are focusing on personalized medicine that tailors therapies to reflect an individual's unique genetic profile. The institute is equipped with leading- edge equipment including a high-precision functional proteomic platform, DNA gene sequencer, and genomics lab to create effective personalized drugs based on a person's unique makeup. The research institute is also home to a biorepository that stores patient specimens such as tissue samples, fluids, and patient-derived cell lines. This is critical to WCHN's research program, since clinical trials require access to patient specimens. Among the potentially lifesaving research being conducted at the research institute are new screening techniques for people at high risk for pancreatic cancer; improved detection for Lyme disease; and enhanced gynecologic cancer prevention and treatment protocols. HEALTH & BIOPHARMA Dr. Gerald I. Shulman, Yale University School of Medicine

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