• When Cancer Cells Perceive Famine, They Seek Greener Pastures

    An age-old response, one deep inside the molecular networks of individual cancer cells, is so well worn that it may account for why cancer spreads and resists certain kinds of treatment. The response is the urge to migrate when resources are scarce. It is shared by cancer cells and the cells of many organisms, including fungi and bacteria. Yet in cancer cells, it has an extra twist or two. It can be activated not only by famine-like conditions, but also by other stresses, such as inflammatory si
  • Electrogenetic Device Designed for Activating Gene Expression

    Scientists from the University of Maryland (UMD) say they are working to develop an electrogenetic device to direct gene expression, an achievement that holds promise for controlling biological systems and could help shape the future of biosensors, as well as wearable and possibly implantable bio-hybrid devices.The team, led by William Bentley, Ph.D., UMD Distinguished University Professor and director of the university’s Robert E. Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices, is using redox
  • Microbial Nanowires Make for “Green” Electronics

    The inner workings of that new cell phone or tablet could be made from bacteria in the not so distant future, as investigators from the University of Massachusetts Amherst just reported about a new type of natural wire produced by bacteria that could greatly accelerate the development of sustainable "green" conducting materials for the electronics industry. In the new study, the researchers studied microbial nanowires—protein filaments that bacteria use naturally to make electrical connect
  • Takeda, Ovid to Co-Develop Rare Pediatric Epilepsy Candidate TAK-935

    Takeda Pharmaceutical said its rare pediatric epilepsy candidate TAK-935 will be co-developed through a collaboration with Ovid Therapeutics.The value of the collaboration was not disclosed, though the companies did say Takeda received equity in Ovid and could receive payments tied to milestones in the advancement of TAK-935.Takeda and Ovid said they will split development and commercialization costs 50/50 and share in the profits 50/50 should TAK-935 come to market. Ovid will lead clinical deve
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  • Molecular Signaling Discovery Offers Hope for Peripheral Neuropathy Patients

    Scientists at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the University of Manitoba and St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre in Canada, say they have identified a molecular signaling pathway that, when blocked, promotes sensory neuron growth and prevents or reverses peripheral neuropathy in cell and rodent models of type 1 and 2 diabetes, chemotherapy-induced neuropathy and HIV.T
  • Lilly to Buy CoLucid for $960M to Acquire Late-Stage Migraine Drug

    Lilly has negotiated a deal to acquire Cambridge, MA-based CoLucid Pharmaceuticals for $46.5 per share in cash, which approximates to $960 million in cash. CoLucid’s flagship product is the late clinical-stage migraine therapy candidate, lasmiditan, an oral 5-HT 1F agonist that has completed two Phase III trials, and was originally licensed to CoLucid by Lilly back in 2005. The transaction is expected to close by the end of Q1 2017, subject to customary conditions.Lilly says lasmiditan wil
  • Sanofi's Suliqua Combination T2D Therapy Cleared in the EU

    Sanofi confirmed yesterday that its type 2 diabetes therapy, Suliqua™, received marketing authorization in the EU. Approval in Europe follows FDA approval of the drug combination, branded Soliqua™ 100/33 in the U.S., in November 2016. Soliqua was launched in the U.S. earlier this month.Suliqua is a titratable, fixed-ratio combination of basal insulin glargine and the GLP-1 receptor agonist lixisenatide. EU clearance covers use of Suliqua, in combination with metformin, in adult type
  • Sanofi's Suliqua Combination T2D Therapy Approved in the EU

    Sanofi confirmed yesterday that its type 2 diabetes therapy, Suliqua™, received marketing authorization in the EU. Approval in Europe follows FDA approval of the drug combination, branded Soliqua™ 100/33 in the U.S., in November 2016. Soliqua was launched in the U.S. earlier this month.Suliqua is a titratable, fixed-ratio combination of basal insulin glargine and the GLP-1 receptor agonist lixisenatide. EU clearance covers use of Suliqua, in combination with metformin, in adult type
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  • Ophthotech Axing 80% of Workforce after Clinical Trial Failures

    Ophthotech restated today that it will slash its workforce by approximately 80% during the first half of this year, and for the first time estimated the financial effect of the cuts, a month after disclosing the failure of its Fovista ® (pegpleranib) in two Phase III trials assessing the macular degeneration candidate in a combination therapy.“The Company expects to realize estimated annualized cost savings from the reduction in personnel in the range of $25 million to $30 million star
  • Ancient Genes Return, Put Evolutionary Hypotheses to the Test

    A method that has thrived in molecular evolution may prove to be less fit than a new approach. The old method, which was established 25 years ago, relies on finding “signatures of selection,” patterns suggesting that a gene chanced so quickly during its evolution that selection is likely to have been the cause. The new approach combines two recently developed technologies: statistical reconstruction of ancient gene sequences and engineering of transgenic animals.The trouble with the
  • Biogen to Pay Forward Pharma $1.25B in Patent Dispute

    Biogen said today it has agreed to pay Forward Pharma $1.25 billion in cash to secure an irrevocable license to all intellectual property owned by Forward Pharma, including patents related to Biogen’s Tecfidera ® and other multiple sclerosis treatments.The companies have come to terms on a settlement and license agreement subject to two-thirds approval by Forward Pharma’s shareholders and other customary conditions. Shareholders representing approximately 77% of Forward Pharma&rs
  • Epigenetics Drives Pancreatic Cancer Metastasis, Potentially Reversible

    A multicenter study led by investigators at Johns Hopkins University just reported on a full genomic analysis of tumor samples from a small number of people who died of pancreatic cancer. The new data suggests that epigenetic changes control how DNA operates to confer survival advantages on subsets of pancreatic cancer cells. Those advantages, the researchers say, let such cancer cells thrive in organs like the liver and lungs, which receive a sugar-rich blood supply."What we found astonished us
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  • MilliporeSigma Opens Meglumine Production Facility in Spain

    MilliporeSigma opened a facility in Mollet des Vallès, Spain, dedicated to the manufacture of meglumine, an FDA-approved excipient for pharmaceuticals and a component of medical imaging contrast media.  The facility, validated by the FDA, is the only location in Europe that manufactures meglumine, an amino sugar derived from glucose. The facility in Spain is solely dedicated to the production of meglumine, thereby ensuring continuity of supply to customers as well as meeting increasi
  • Alcobra ADHD Candidate MDX Fails Phase III Trial

    Alcobra acknowledged today that its attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) candidate metadoxine extended release (MDX) has failed a Phase III trial.MDX did not meet the primary endpoint of the MEASURE clinical trial, namely demonstrating a statistically significant difference from placebo in the change from baseline as measured using the Conners’ Adult ADHD Rating Scales (CAARS).“We are exceedingly disappointed with these topline results,” Alcobra president and CEO Yar
  • Allergan, Gedeon Richter Plan 2017 FDA Filing for Uterine Fibroids Drug Ulipristal

    Allergan and partner Gedeon Richter say they anticipate filing an NDA for Allergan’s uterine fibroids therapy ulipristal acetate during the second half of 2017, on the back of positive data from a second pivotal Phase III U.S. trial. The selective progesterone receptor modulator (SPRM) is marketed by Gedeon Richter in Europe under the trade name Esmya ® and in Canada under the trade name Fibristal™, but has yet to be approved in the U.S.The Venus II study involved 432 U.S. patien
  • AMRA Raises $9M to Develop Cloud Technology for Body Composition Profiling

    Swedish digital health firm AMRA raised $9 million in a funding round co-led by Pfizer Venture Investments and Nordic VC Novo Seeds. AMRA’s cloud-based, CE-marked AMRA® Profiler service converts magnetic resonance images derived from a six minute whole body scan, into precise fat and muscle volume measurements. AMRA is now exploiting the technology to move away from more traditional body mass index (BMI) analyses, and develop highly precise, individualised Body Composition Profiles (BC
  • Cognitive Genes Discovery May Lead to Novel Neurological Disease Therapies

    An international team of scientists, led by Todd Lencz, Ph.D., professor at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research at Northwell Health and Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine, say they have unlocked some of the genes responsible for cognitive ability.Dr. Lencz and fellow researchers studied the genes of 35,000 people and discovered new genetic variations related to cognitive ability. The findings bring scientists a step closer to developing new, and potential
  • Evotec, MaRS Set Up Fibrocor to Develop Therapeutics Targeting Fibrosis

    Toronto-based Fibrocor Therapeutics has been established by Evotec and MaRS Innovation to develop disease-modifying therapeutics against fibrotic diseases. Fibrocor launches with CND$2.8 million ($2.1 million) financing, including cash from MaRS, which is the commercialization arm for 15 of Ontario's academic institutions, including the University of Toronto and its affiliated research hospitals.Fibrocor’s scientific founders include Drs. Richard Gilbert and Darren Yuen at Toronto’s
  • Stem Cells Broaden Potential If Deprived of miRNA

    By losing a single microRNA (miRNA), pluripotent stem cells may accomplish a rare feat: they may become totipotent. That is, they may give rise not only to all the tissues of a developing embryo, but also to extraembryonic tissues—the placenta and yok sac. In short, embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) may acquire the developmental potential of a zygote, or fertilized egg.miRNAs, small noncoding RNAs that do not translate into proteins, are well known for
  • Live Long and Spicy

    Aficionados of taste bud-thrashing, tongue-flaming, spicy foods may have a new reason, besides the latest chili pepper festival, to smile as researchers from the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont (UVM) just published findings that showed consumption of hot red chili peppers is associated with a 13% reduction in total mortality—primarily in deaths due to heart disease or stroke.     For centuries, peppers and spices have been an integral part o
  • Bio-Rad to Acquire RainDance Technologies

    Bio-Rad Laboratories has agreed to acquire RainDance Technologies for an undisclosed price, the companies said today.“The company's droplet-based solutions will extend our reach into next-generation sequencing applications and strengthen our position in the area of Droplet Digital™ PCR,” Bio-Rad President and CEO Norman Schwartz said in a statement. “We look forward to expanding our offering to provide life science and clinical diagnostics customers with solutions for a w
  • Leon and Bionpharma Partner on Nanotechnology-Based Dermatology

    leon-nanodrugs and Bionpharma are partnering on the global development of a dermatological product using leon-nanodrugs’s MicroJet Reactor (MJR®) nanotechnology platform. Under terms of the collaboration the firms will jointly develop the product at leon’s U.S.-based CDMO partner, CoreRx, which houses the MJR platform. New Jersey-based Bionpharma will carry out future marketing and distribution of the product in the U.S. and other markets.Commenting on the agreement, Dr. Michael
  • Fruit Fly Alcohol Tolerance Investigated and Explained

    The common fruit fly,  Drosophila melanogaster,  has evolved to have an impressive tolerance for alcohol, according to scientists. More than two decades ago, in one of the first papers using gene sequences to find signatures of natural selection, investigators hypothesized that a molecular change in an enzyme gave the fly species its superior ability to metabolize alcohol. Scientists concluded that the change they found in the alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) protein could be the adapt
  • Telix Nabs Wilex's Radiolabeled mAb for Cancer Imaging and Therapeutic Use

    Australian firm Telix Pharmaceuticals negotiated a worldwide license to develop and commercialize Wilex’s late clinical-stage imaging agent Redectane ® , a radiolabeled form of the monoclonal antibody girentuximab, for cancer imaging applications. The agreement also extends to developing  radiolabeled girentuximab as a potential radioimmunoconjugate therapeutic for a range of tumor types. Wilex could receive up to $3.7 million in upfront and milestone payments for the imaging prog
  • Horizon Extends CRISPR License with ERS Genomics and Inks Partnership with Solentim

    Horizon Discovery extended its existing CRISPR licence with ERS Genomics, to give Horizon rights to use CRISPR-edited cell lines for the GMP manufacture of biotherapeutics. The Cambridge, U.K.-based company in parallel reported a two-year collaboration with cell line development specialist, Solentim, to generate an automated manufacturing platform for mammalian cell genome editing.Horizon already offers comprehensive CRISPR screening services and functional genomic screens using a CRISPR-Cas9 pl
  • USDA Takes a Fresh Look at Ethanol’s Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    Today, the USDA released a newly completed report reexamining the lifecycle greenhouse gas impact of corn ethanol. Where prior studies have relied on modeling and projections (often driven by assumptions) about these impacts, USDA’s new report reviewed hard data on farming and biorefinery performance over the past decade. The bottom line from USDA is that as of 2014, corn ethanol reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 43 percent in comparison to the 2005 lifecycle baseline for gasoline. USDA
  • Enhancer RNA Reaches Out to Help DNA Loosen Up

    There are times when chromatin, the more or less tightly packed complex of DNA and histone protein, can be induced to let its freak flags fly. These freak flags are acetyl groups, and when they fly, they signal that gene-coding regions are primed to hang loose—and indulge in profuse expression.This form of gene activation may depend on a mechanism involving not just flamboyant acetyl groups, but also unassuming enhancer RNAs (eRNAs), molecules that are transcribed from DNA but do not code
  • Dengue-Resistant Mosquitoes Have Arrived

    One can only imagine the pain and morbidity associated with a disease that is colloquially referred to in many parts of the world as “breakbone fever.” Yet, for the nearly 400 million people infected annually with the dengue virus (DENV), imagination need not be applied as they have experienced the reality of this painful and potentially lethal virus. With no viable vaccine currently in use and a death toll of more than 20,000 per year, mostly children, researchers have continually s
  • Aerie Pharmaceuticals Eyes First Manufacturing Plant in Ireland

    Aerie Pharmaceuticals plans to build a new €25 million ($26.5 million) manufacturing plant that will initially employ 50 people at the recently built IDA Advanced Technology Building in Athlone, Ireland, the country’s economic development agency IDA Ireland said today.Aerie has entered into lease talks with IDA Ireland to establish the company’s first manufacturing plant, which is expected to produce commercial supplies for its two lead product candidates—Rhopressa™
  • #BIOWC17 Call for Sessions & Speakers Extended!

    It’s not too late to submit a session proposal for the 2017 BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology! We’ve just extended the submission deadline until Friday, January 20, 2017 at 5:00 pm EDT.
    Reasons to take action now and submit a session!
    Approved speakers get 30-40% discount on registration. That includes access to 5 plenaries, 100+ sessions, access to our Partnering System to schedule face to face meetings and multiple networking events – al
  • Key Protein Involved in Cellular Aging Identified

    Investigators at the Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) say they have discovered a protein that fine tunes the cellular clock involved in aging. Named TZAP, it binds the ends of chromosomes and determines how long telomeres can be. Understanding telomere length is crucial because telomeres set the lifespan of cells in the body, dictating critical processes such as aging and the incidence of cancer."Telomeres represent the clock of a cell," said TSRI Associate Professor Eros Lazzerini Denchi, Ph.D
  • Nivalis CEO and CMO Step Down as Firm Slashes Workforce to Save Cash

    Cystic fibrosis therapeutics firm, Nivalis Therapeutics, is axing 25 of its 30-strong workforce in a bid to save funds after it was announced late last year that lead candidate, cavosonstat (N91115), failed to meet its primary endpoint in a Phase II study.  Jon Congleton, president and CEO, and David Rodman, M.D., chief medical officer and evp for discovery, will be among those stepping down.  The job cuts, announced yesterday, will cost Nivalis about $3 million in severance pay, and l
  • Kitov Takes Majority Stake in TyrNovo to Expand Pipeline with Immunotherapeutic Candidate

    Israel’s Kitov Pharmaceuticals Holdings is taking a majority equity stake in cancer immunotherapeutics firm, TyrNovo, to expand its own non-cancer pipeline with TyrNovo’s preclinical-stage small molecule candidate, NT219. The IRS1/2 and STAT3 inhibitor is designed to prevent acquired drug resistance, and is in preclinical development against multiple tumour types. Kitov will initially acquire a 56% stake in TyrNovo from the latter’s major shareholder, for $2 million in cash and
  • Merck KGaA Partners with Palantir on Data Analytics Across Healthcare Sector

    Merck KGaA announced a collaboration agreement with data integration specialist, Palantir Technologies, to develop and apply data analytics capabilities across Merck KGaA’s Healthcare business sector. The firms say the partnership will help to develop better medicines, speed commercialization, and improve patient outcomes. Initially, Palantir platforms will be applied to Merck KGaA’s cancer treatment and patient services.Three Healthcare initiatives will be launched. Through a medica
  • BIO One-on-One Partnering™ Schedules Over 1,000 Meetings at J.P. Morgan

    Biotechs gushed over BIO’s partnering system and private meeting booths at J.P. Morgan 2017. Over 1,500 biotechs, investors, tech transfer offices, institutes, device/diagnostic companies and patient groups used BIO’s partnering system to schedule over 1,000 partnering meetings during the event. Scheduling over 50,000 biotech partnering meetings every year, BIO One-on-One Partnering™ was freely available for outreach, meeting scheduling and meeting space procurement in downtow
  • Welcome to the new and improved BIOtechNOW

    Today we are launching a new and improved BioTech-Now, chock-full of great new features that we’re sure you’ll love.
    As BIO’s voice in the ever expanding sea of news and blogs ever since its first post February 7, 2008, BioTech-Now has posted 2,937 blogs on all things biotech – innovative and lifesaving medicines, ever-changing health policies, intellectual property, ethanol, GMOs, and our signature BIO events.
    The rich content will remain but with a brand new look!
  • A Handheld Photocopier for DNA

    A new method for controlling the DNA duplication process makes it possible to shrink the current desktop machines to handheld devices that could be used in the field to provide early diagnosis of a wide range of infectious diseases.  
  • Exercise Intraneuronal Signaling to Strengthen Memory

    A molecular pathway that runs from the synapse to the nucleus has been found to influence memory strength. At the start of the pathway, there is a synaptically localized protein, the transcription factor CRTC1. At the end of the pathway, there is the FGF1 gene, which controls essential brain cell functions and is important for tissue maintenance, repair, and regeneration. Now that this pathway has been detailed, it may help provide answers to long-term memory problems in the elderly and aid rese
  • CureVac Prostate Cancer Vaccine Candidate Fails Phase IIb Trial

    CureVac has acknowledged that its prostate cancer immunotherapy vaccine candidate CV9104 failed a Phase IIb clinical trial in patients with asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic metastatic castrate-resistant forms of the disease.Topline results showed that CV9104 failed to meet the trial’s primary endpoint of improving overall survival, CureVac said, adding that progression-free survival was similar in both the treatment and placebo arms of the placebo-controlled clinical trial.Progression
  • Sartorius Stedim Biotech Opens New Validation Lab in China

    Sartorius Stedim Biotech (SSB) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for their new facility in Shanghai on Wednesday. The laboratory at Shanghai Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park will offer on-site validation services for membrane filters, as well as technical expertise. Together with SSB’s Application Center in Shanghai, the company provides a full range of extended services to the biopharmaceutical industry.“Our Shanghai validation lab provides high-quality services that are fully compliant with ap
  • Biogen Hemophilia Spinoff Bioverativ Begins Trading Shares

    Biogen’s global hemophilia business will be spun out into a new company, Bioverativ, that will begin trading common shares today on the NASDAQ Global Select Market.Bioverativ will be an independent, publicly held biotech focused on R&D and commercialization of new therapies designed to address areas of serious unmet need in hemophilia and other rare blood disorders, Biogen said.The spinoff is expected to be completed on February 1.Biogen disclosed plans last year to spin out the hemoph
  • Genospace Merges with Sarah Cannon to Provide Precision Medicine Cloud Platform

    Precision medicine cloud software specialist, Genospace, is to be merged into Sarah Cannon, the global cancer institute of Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), and will operate as a Sarah Cannon subsidiary. The firms say the merger will enable the more effective use of molecular profiling data to match cancer patients to clinical trials. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the transaction is expected to close during Q1 2017.Genospace has developed a suite of software tools to enable the
  • Orthocell and J&J Partner on Ortho-ATI Autologous Cell Therapy

    Australian regenerative medicine company, Orthocell, is teaming up with Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Sythes Products, to carry out trials evaluating Ortho-ATI® (autologous tenocyte implantation) therapy for regenerating degenerate tendons and ligaments. A multicenter study in Australia is expected to start during Q1 2017, led by Professor Allan Wang, at the University of Western Australia. Professor Wang is current president of the Shoulder and Elbow Society of Australia. “This
  • Team Discovers Novel Target for Attacking Ebola

    Researchers led by Ronald Harty, Ph.D., a professor of pathobiology and microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine, say they have identified a mechanism that appears to represent one way that host cells have evolved to outsmart infection by Ebola and other viruses. In a paper ("Chaperone-Mediated Autophagy Protein BAG3 Negatively Regulates Ebola and Marburg VP40-Mediated Egress") in PLOS Pathogens, he and colleagues reveal that host cells sequester viral
  • Bio-Techne Partners with CBQC to Identify Emphysema Biomarker

    The COPD Biomarker Qualification Consortium (CBQC; sponsored by The COPD Foundation) has partnered with Bio-Techne to evaluate a possible indicator for emphysema—sRAGE (soluble form of receptor for advanced glycation end products). Currently, a validated commercial assay or test for sRAGE does not exist."We are honored that the CBQC has chosen Bio-Techne as their development partner for this important test," said Charles R. Kummeth, president and CEO of Bio-Techne. "We have a long history
  • Epigenetic Signatures Partly Biological, Partly Cultural

    Medical forms sometimes ask patients to mark off a box for race or ethnicity, the implication being that health outcomes depend, to some degree, on genetic and environmental factors that vary from group to group. Yet any one box, any broad category, would seem a crude proxy for the complex combination of factors may influence an individual patient’s health prospects.As it happens, not all marks are as limiting as those we may enter on a medical intake form. There are also epigenetic marks,
  • Making Stem Cells on a Chip a Reality

    Within our bodies, cells, tissues, and organs surround each other, creating a well-regulated environment. Yet, conventional laboratory cell culturing apparatuses—such as flat plates or flasks—are two-dimensional (2D), hindering proper regulation of cell functions.Now a team of researchers from Kyoto University has developed a chip-like plate on which human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) can be raised in optimal, three-dimensional (3D) conditions. hPSCs have enormous potential for cel
  • Merck KGaA Pays Vertex $230M for Clinical and Preclinical Anticancer Programs

    Vertex has licensed global development and commercialization rights to two clinical and two preclinical anticancer programs to Merck KGaA for an up-front fee of $230 million. Merck KGaA states the programs will strengthen its own existing oncology pipeline in the fields of DNA damage and repair and immuno-oncology. Vertex will, in addition, be due royalites on future product sales.The acquired ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3-related (ATR) protein kinase inhibitor program includes two clinical-sta
  • India Can’t Become a True Global Biotech Leader Until It Protects Its Innovators’ Work Product

    Remarks for BIO CEO Jim Greenwood
    Vibrant Gujarat 2017
    Biotechnology: Redefining Life Science
    Wednesday, January 11, 2017
    Thank you, Secretary, for that kind introduction. Namaste. Good morning. It’s an honor to be with you. I’m grateful for this opportunity to return to India. Before I joined BIO, I served for 12 years in the United States Congress. For much of that time, I was the chairman of the Congressional India Caucus. I felt then that too often the United States looked right
  • New Firm Vescor Established to Develop Autophagy-Targeting Anticancer Drugs

    A new cancer therapeutics company, Vescor LLC, has been established by MD Anderson Cancer Center, Deerfield Management and two leading researchers in the field of autophagy, to discover and develop autophagy-targeting drugs against a range of tumor types. Vescor’s scientific founders are Eileen White, Ph.D., deputy director and associate director for Basic Science, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, and Alec Kimmelman, M.D., Ph.D., chairman, Department of Radiation Oncology at NYU Lan

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