OPEN Health to acquire leading US-based life science strategy and advisory firm Acsel Health

London, U.K., Feb. 13, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — OPEN Health, a pre-eminent global provider of scientific communications and HEOR & market access services, announced the acquisition of Acsel Health (“Acsel”), a New York-based life science strategy and advisory firm focused on commercial strategy, pricing and market access, and commercial excellence.

Acsel’s deep industry expertise, scientific rigor, and actionable analysis drives its success in providing valued partnership to life science companies. These capabilities will complement OPEN Health’s existing offering, broadening the range of services it offers to pharma and biotech companies.

Lujing Wang, Managing Partner of Acsel Health, said, “We are thrilled to join OPEN Health and to work with a wider team to solve for today’s demands and meet tomorrow’s expectations for pharma and biotech customers. With new colleagues and capabilities to partner with, we are equipped to answer the most challenging cross-disciplinary questions in life science across all key therapeutic areas.”

“Acsel is an extraordinary addition to OPEN Health. Acsel’s expert team and long-standing client relationships significantly strengthen our ability to support the commercialization of our clients’ assets and unlock access for patients.” said OPEN Health CEO, Rob Barker. “We are excited to welcome Acsel Health into the OPEN Health Group and look forward to working with our new colleagues to offer our clients innovative, scientific solutions around the globe.”

Fairmount Partners acted as exclusive financial advisor to Acsel Health. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

About OPEN Health

OPEN Health unites deep scientific knowledge with wide-ranging specialist expertise to unlock possibilities that improve health outcomes and patient wellbeing. Working in partnership with our clients, we embrace our different perspectives and strengths to deliver fresh thinking and solutions that make a difference. OPEN Health is a flexible global organization that solves complex healthcare challenges across HEOR and market access, medical communications and creative omnichannel campaigns. For more information on OPEN Health, visit

About Acsel Health

Acsel Health is a consulting firm that partners with renowned life science companies to guide life-changing innovations through their critical stages, from early development through market maturity. Acsel applies best-practice principles to develop and deliver highly individualized solutions to challenges across the product lifecycle for our clients. For more information on Acsel Health, visit


Candice Subero
OPEN Health

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8744608

Equatorial Guinea confirms first-ever Marburg virus disease outbreak

Brazzaville/Malabo – Equatorial Guinea today confirmed its first-ever outbreak of Marburg virus disease. Preliminary tests carried out following the deaths of at least nine people in the country’s western Kie Ntem Province turned out positive for the viral haemorrhagic fever.

Equatorial Guinean health authorities sent samples to the Institut Pasteur reference laboratory in Senegal with support from World Health Organization (WHO) to determine the cause of the disease after an alert by a district health official on 7 February. Of the eight samples tested at Institut Pasteur, one turned out positive for the virus. So far nine deaths and 16 suspected cases with symptoms including fever, fatigue and blood-stained vomit and diarrhoea have been reported.

Further investigations are ongoing. Advance teams have been deployed in the affected districts to trace contacts, isolate and provide medical care to people showing symptoms of the disease. Efforts are also underway to rapidly mount emergency response, with WHO deploying health emergency experts in epidemiology, case management, infection prevention, laboratory and risk communication to support the national response efforts and secure community collaboration in the outbreak control.

WHO is also facilitating the shipment of laboratory glove tents for sample testing as well as one viral haemorrhagic fever kit that includes personal protective equipment that can be used by 500 health workers.

“Marburg is highly infectious. Thanks to the rapid and decisive action by the Equatorial Guinean authorities in confirming the disease, emergency response can get to full steam quickly so that we save lives and halt the virus as soon as possible,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

Marburg virus disease is a highly virulent disease that causes haemorrhagic fever, with a fatality ratio of up to 88%. It is in the same family as the virus that causes Ebola virus disease. Illness caused by Marburg virus begins abruptly, with high fever, severe headache and severe malaise. Many patients develop severe haemorrhagic symptoms within seven days. The virus is transmitted to people from fruit bats and spreads among humans through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected people, surfaces and materials.

There are no vaccines or antiviral treatments approved to treat the virus. However, supportive care – rehydration with oral or intravenous fluids – and treatment of specific symptoms, improves survival. A range of potential treatments, including blood products, immune therapies and drug therapies, as well as candidate vaccines with phase 1 data are being evaluated.

Source: World Health Organization

African Businesswomen Press for AU Border Harassment Dialogue

African women and girls are discussing the harassment and discrimination challenges they face trying to conduct cross-border business under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

The meeting in Addis Ababa, called “Gender is My Agenda,” is taking place ahead of the African Union heads of state summit, which is set to begin Saturday and is expected to address progress of the African trade agreement.

Elizabeth Ajok, a South Sudanese national, said women often face problems at border crossings that men don’t have to experience.

“They are facing a lot of challenges like violence at the border, they are being intimidated, and sometimes some of their items are being confiscated or their goods are taken because of clearance,” Ajok said. “And they will also overcharge you because you are a woman. You will be taxed. Sometimes they just look at us. They see that you are just a woman, so you don’t deserve to do business.”

Zaithwa Milzanzi said she encounters similar treatment when she crosses the border from her native Malawi.

“You find yourself with required fees, the papers are in order, everything is in order and yet you find some officers at the border asking you for sexual things and you are thinking, ‘Why?'” Milzanzi said. “It really hinders your progress and your ability to trade as a young woman. So, this needs to be addressed if young women are to be considered and fully protected under this regime.”

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement went into effect in May 2019 with the goal of lowering tariffs between African countries and boosting economies.

African countries trading among themselves, the World Bank says, could boost Africa’s income by $450 billion by 2035.

Memory Kachambwa, head of the African Women’s Development and Communication Network, an organization that promotes women’s development in the continent, talked of the questions that need to be addressed.

“When we talk of AfCFTA, we are looking at [a] Pan-African instrument and within the vision of it is to ensure that even the trade that we do is dignified,” Kachambwa said. “We talk a lot about women cross-border traders, but are they doing it in a dignified way? Are we really ensuring that they have the service, the harassment with the customs union? Are we having those conversations?”

Even within their own countries, female entrepreneurs in Africa often face funding barriers, gender bias, and a lack of training.

Mercy Chukwuma, who advocates and supports women farmers in Nigeria, said some cultural norms have prevented women from owning land, making them unable to produce food.

“Lack of training and retraining of rural women farmers to enable them to stand up in the competitive market. We talk about land as a factor. You will agree with me that women have limited access to land. We do not have access and control over the land, which is a major factor of production,” she said. “If we, who occupy over 70% of the agricultural workforce, do not have access and control over the land, how then do we produce and produce well?”

Women own 20% of Africa’s land but produce more than two-thirds of the continent’s food.

The pre-summit meeting concludes on Tuesday. Participants hope their leaders will address the challenges of doing business in Africa and ending unfriendly business practices along African borders.

Source: Voice of America

Equatorial Guinea Confirms Marburg Virus Outbreak

Equatorial Guinea announced its first outbreak of the Marburg virus, a highly infectious disease similar to Ebola, the World Health Organization said in a statement Monday.

The small central African nation of about 1.6 million people reported nine deaths and 16 more suspected cases after a sample sent to a laboratory in Senegal on February 7 came back positive.

Health Minister Mitoha Ondo’o Ayekaba told reporters that a health alert had been declared in Kie-Ntem province and the neighboring district of Mongomo, after consulting with the World Health Organization and the United Nations, Agence France-Presse reported.

The nine deaths occurred between January 7 and February 7, Ayekaba said.

The Marburg virus has a fatality rate of up to 88% and spreads from person to person through direct contact with bodily fluids, WHO said. The disease comes from the same family of viruses as Ebola. Symptoms consist of high fever and severe headache, with many patients developing hemorrhagic symptoms within seven days.

WHO said officials have been deployed in Equatorial Guinea to “trace contacts, isolate and provide medical care to people showing symptoms of the disease.”

“Marburg is highly infectious. Thanks to the rapid and decisive action by the Equatorial Guinean authorities in confirming the disease, emergency response can get to full steam quickly so that we save lives and halt the virus as soon as possible,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO regional director for Africa.

WHO said there are currently no vaccines or antiviral treatments for the virus. However, oral rehydration therapy and treatment of certain symptoms can improve chances of survival, it added.

Source: Voice of America