• Hormone Responses and Mitochondrial Functioning Adversely Impacted by Some Antiseptics

    Scientists from the University of California, Davis, report that quaternary ammonium compounds (quats), which are antimicrobials found in household products, inhibit mitochondria and cellular estrogenic functions. Their study is being published online in Environmental Health Perspectives .According to the researchers, toothpastes, mouthwashes, lozenges, nasal sprays, eye drops, shampoos, lotions, intravaginal spermicidal sponges and household cleaners, all contain quats."Disinfectants that we ar
  • Zebrafish Avatars Predict Tumor Response to Therapy

    Cancer chemotherapeutic agents are developed and approved largely on the back of studies that demonstrate an average efficacy and safety across possibly thousands of patients. Even for emerging biomarker-driven treatments, there’s still no guarantee that every matched tumor will respond in the same way to the same therapy. The situation becomes even more complicated when treating metastatic tumors , for which therapeutic guidelines may indicate that there are a number of possible approache
  • Athletic Microbiome Could Be Fitness Gut Check

    No guts, no glory is often a mantra that top athletes ascribe to when trying to excel in their respective sport. However now, researchers from George Church’s laboratory at Harvard Medical School along with investigators at Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard have begun to chant the same adage, but for a wholly different reason. The scientists developed the idea of surveying the gut microbiota of elite athletes to determine if they have a natural edge from the b
  • Heart Self-Repair May be Prompted with Regulatory RNAs

    Heart tissue is notoriously poor at self-repair, but it isn’t entirely helpless. It’s just super-slow because mature, developed hearts retain very few heart cells that hold regeneration potential. For example, in adult mouse or human heart, new cardiomyocytes (CMs) are generated at rates of about 1%—not enough to repair damage from cardiovascular disease. But what if those rates could be increased? To explore this possibility, scientists based at A*STAR's Genome Institute of Si
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  • FDA Approves First Fixed-Dose Combo Treatment for Hyperuricemia in Gout

    The FDA has approved the first fixed-dose combination treatment designed to address in a single pill both causes of hyperuricemia in gout—overproduction and underexcretion of serum uric acid.Ironwood Pharmaceuticals will market Duzallo ® (lesinurad and allopurinol), which is indicated as a once-daily oral treatment for hyperuricemia associated with gout in patients who have not achieved target serum uric acid (sUA) levels with a medically appropriate daily dose of allopurinol alone.All
  • Non-Clinical CRO Envigo to Merge With Avista Healthcare

    Avista Healthcare Public Acquisition Corp. (AHPAC) said today it will merge with the non-clinical contract research organization Envigo International Holdings, in a deal designed to speed up growth for Envigo by tapping into publicly-traded AHPAC’s access to capital markets.The combined company would command an enterprise value of approximately $924 million, AHPAC and Envigo said—representing 10.6 times privately-held Envigo's estimated pro forma adjusted earnings before interest, ta
  • CRO Envigo to Merge with Avista Healthcare

    Avista Healthcare Public Acquisition Corp. (AHPAC) said today it will merge with the nonclinical contract research organization (CRO) Envigo International Holdings in a deal designed to speed up growth for Envigo by tapping into publicly traded AHPAC’s access to capital markets.The combined company would command an enterprise value of approximately $924 million, AHPAC and Envigo said—representing 10.6 times privately held Envigo's estimated pro forma adjusted earnings before interest
  • Proteins Mapped in Different Mitochondrial Subcompartments for First Time

    A scientific team in Europe says it has mapped the proteins in the different subcompartments of mitochondria for the first time. The researchers, led by Chris Meisinger, Dr. Red. Nat., and Nora Vögtle Dr. Red. Nat., at the University of Freiburg, along with collaborators from the Leibniz Institute for Analytical Sciences (ISAS) in Dortmund, published their study (“Landscape of submitochondrial protein distribution”) in Nature Communications.“The mitochondrial proteome comp
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  • AstraZeneca, Ethris Collaborate to Develop mRNA-Based Respiratory Disease Therapies

    AstraZeneca and its biologics operation MedImmune negotiated a five-year strategic research collaboration with mRNA therapeutics firm Ethris focused on developing stabilized, nonimmunogenic modified RNA therapies for respiratory diseases. The partnership will exploit Ethris’ proprietary Stabilized Non-Immunogenic mRNA (SNIM ® RNA) technology, which engineers chemical modifications in RNA molecules  to overcome their innate instability and immunogenicity.Through the agreement, Ethr
  • Takeda, Samsung Bioepis Partner to Develop Novel Biologic Therapies

    Korean biosimilars firm Samsung Bioepis announced a risk-sharing strategic collaboration with Takeda Pharmaceutical through which the firms will jointly fund and codevelop multiple novel biologic treatments for unmet disease areas. The partners will start work immediately on an initial candidate, TAK-671, for the potential treatment of severe acute pancreatitis. No financial details were disclosed.Samsung Bioepis president and CEO, Christopher Hansung Ko, said the deal marks the start of a new c
  • Can This One Action Help Save The Honey Bee?

    In light of National Honey Bee Day this Saturday, August 19, GMO Answers wanted to get the buzz on the vital role pollinators play to help our ecosystem and food system thrive. Becky Langer of North American Bee Health for Bayer CropScience LP explains these benefits in a new Medium blog post for us, and tells us how you can help sustain and protect these important insects — it might be easier than you think!
    We’ve all heard about the so-called “beepocalypse”
  • Early Detection of Alzheimer’s through Retinal Scan

    The burden of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) goes far beyond the afflicted patient, affecting family, friends, and a significant portion of the healthcare system. Currently, there are more than 5 million individuals living with AD in the U.S., incurring $259 billion in healthcare costs. With costs estimated to rise to $1.1 trillion by 2050 as the number of AD cases could surpass 16 million, it is imperative that diagnostic tests be developed to detect early warning signs that signal the onset of
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  • Cellectis Starts BPDCN Phase I Trial with Gene-Edited CAR-T Therapy

    Cellectis reported that the first patient has been dosed in a Phase I clinical trial evaluating its TALEN ® gene-edited chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell product UCART123 in patients with blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm (BPDCN). The BPDCN study follows on from the start in June of a Phase I study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of UCART123 in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Cellectis  says UCART123 is the first allogeneic, off-the-shelf, gene-edited CAR
  • Immunotherapy, Nanotech Combine to Kill Cancer Cells More Effectively

    Scientists at Duke University say they have combined a cancer immunotherapeutic with nanotechnology to improve the efficacy of both therapies in a mouse study. They published their work, "Synergistic Immuno Photothermal Nanotherapy (SYMPHONY) for the Treatment of Unresectable and Metastatic Cancers," in Scientific Reports .The new approach also attacked satellite tumors and distant cancerous cells, leading to two mice being cured of the disease and one being vaccinated against it.“Using a
  • Ascletis Licenses Medivir HCV Drug Candidate for Greater China

    Ascletis negotiated rights to develop Medivir’s MIV-802 nucleotide polymerase inhibitor candidate for hepatitis C virus (HCV) therapy, for development in the greater China region, including mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. Financial details were not disclosed, other than to confirm that Medivir will receive an upfront payment, plus development and commercialization milestones, and tiered royalties of marketed products containing MIV-802. Ascletis will fund and carry out all MIV
  • FDA Offers Human Plasma Panel to Developers of Zika Antibody Diagnostics

    FDA is making a panel of human plasma samples available to help developers of serological Zika virus diagnostics verify that their assays can distinguish Zika virus infection from infection with West Nile or dengue viruses. The panel comprises plasma samples from anonymous individuals infected with Zika, West Nile and dengue viruses, and is available to diagnostic developers who have interacted with FDA through the pre-Emergency Use Authorization (pre-EAU) process, and have serological tests tha
  • Walnuts’ Appetite-Control Mechanism Visualized in Brain

    Dieting is the bane of many individuals trying to control their weight for either health or aesthetics reasons. A common theme among dieters—especially those that fail—is that calorie restriction leads to bouts of hunger, which often causes binge-eating episodes or complete abandonment of a diet regimen. Subsequently, there is no shortage of appetite suppressant strategies, ranging from drugs to protein bars, to increased fiber intake. While the results for many of these approaches a
  • At CRISPRcon, Debating the Promise and Perils of Gene Editing

    CRISPRcon: Science, Society, and the Future of Gene Editing, a timely two-day conference attracting hundreds of attendees to the University of California, Berkeley campus, kicked off yesterday, August 16, 2017, with a keynote from CRISPR pioneer and hometown hero, Jennifer Doudna, Ph.D.Aside from being one of the key developers of CRISPR gene-editing technology, Doudna, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at UC Berkeley, has played a leading role in demanding a broader public discussi
  • Checkpoint Protein Propped Up by Cell-Surface Sidekick

    Many cancer cells duck the immune system’s T cells by displaying programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1), a cell-surface protein that engages programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1), another cell-surface protein, this one displayed by T cells, and thereby signals T cells to stand down. Although the PD-L1/PD-1 connection is well studied and is the inspiration behind a new class of anticancer drugs called checkpoint inhibitors, it isn’t as well understood as scientists would like. Outstanding
  • Genomic Therapy Offers Hope in Treatment of Lung Cancer

    Norton Thoracic Institute researchers believe they have discovered a new approach to treating an aggressive and difficult-to-treat type of lung cancer. They published their study ("WEE1 Kinase Inhibitor AZD1775 Has Pre-clinical Efficacy in LKB1-Deficient Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer") in  Cancer Research . The team found that lung cancer patients whose tumors harbor specific genomic mutations are more likely to benefit from a novel drug, AZD1775, an inhibitor against the G2/M
  • Helix, Illumina Partner to Support Startups for DNA-Driven Consumer Products

    Personal genomics company Helix and Illumina are partnering to support consumer genomics startups. Helix is teaming up with Illumina Accelerator to provide resources and support for innovative entrepreneurs developing DNA-driven products for the consumer market. The partners are calling for startups to submit an application to Illumina Accelerator’s seventh round of funding by September 1 2017.Illumina Accelerator claims to be the world’s first business accelerator focused on support
  • U.S. DOD to Start New Trial with Pluristem's PLX-R18 Cell Therapy Against ARS

    The U.S. Department of Defense’s (DOD) Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute (AFRRI) is to undertake a pilot study in non-human primates (NHP) evaluating Pluristem Therapeutics’ PLX-R18 as a treatment for acute radiation syndrome (ARS) prior to and within the first 24 hours of radiation exposure. The AFRRI is part of the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences (USU).Pluristem’s PLX-R18 is an off-the-shelf placental expanded (PLX) cell therapy product generated f
  • J&J Partners with India's IMTECH to Develop New Treatments for TB

    Johnson & Johnson (J&J) scientists are partnering with researchers at India’s Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH), part of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), to discover and develop new treatments for tuberculosis (TB).The two organizations have inked a Memorandum of Understanding, under which J&J’s global public heath team scientists will work with the CSIR-IMTECH in Chandigarh, India, to develop new drug compounds against TB, and to devise
  • Group of Inventors Burn Their Patents in Protest

    As reported last week by IP Watchdog, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) refused to approve a permit requested by US Inventor for booth or table space within the Agency’s office building  in Alexandra, VA. The group’s objective was to  protest and raise awareness of the ongoing high rates of patent invalidation resulting from decisions made by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).
    Despite two denied appeals, US Inventor, a nonprofit organizati
  • Golden Rice moving forward in Philippines

    Golden Rice is making progress toward hitting the marketplace in the Philippines after more than a decade of scientific testing, according to an Alliance for Science article. If a biosafety permit application can gain approval, Golden Rice – the vitamin A-enriched rice variety that can help combat vitamin A deficiency – will be one step closer to consumers.
    On Feb. 28, 2017, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) submit
  • Stroke, Heart Attack Damage Could Be Mitigated via Mimicry of Good Cholesterol

    It may be a caricature, but it is recognized by ailing blood vessels, which respond by moving closer to a picture of cardiovascular health. The “it” is an artificial protein called ApoM-Fc that mimics apolipoprotein M (ApoM), a natural protein that is a component of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good cholesterol.” ApoM-Fc performs better than synthetically derived ApoM, which is expensive to produce and has just a 15-minute half-life in the body’s bloodstream.
  • Genetic Variance is Key to Individual Immune Response

    Ever wonder why your friend, co-worker, or partner doesn’t get as sick as you, even though they caught the same “bug” you did? Maybe they made some Faustian bargain that affords them greater protection to infections, or perhaps they are part of some top-secret government experiment that injects them with an array of antigens isolated from an alien race living in Area 51. While both theories are “potential” explanations, it seems likely that differences in response t
  • Alzheimer’s Spotted Early Through Machine Learning Technique

    Case Western Reserve University scientists have developed a new machine learning program that looks like it may be able to diagnose Alzheimer's disease before symptoms begin to interfere with day-to-day activities.While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, a number of drugs can delay or prevent symptoms from worsening for up to five years or more, Early diagnosis and treatment—the goal of the new computer-based program—is key to allowing those with the disease to remain independen
  • Acid-Powered Micromotors Treat Bacterial Stomach Infection in Mice

    Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego have demonstrated for the first time the use of micromotors to treat a bacterial infection in the stomach. These tiny vehicles, each about half the width of a human hair, swim rapidly throughout the stomach while neutralizing gastric acid and then release their cargo of antibiotics at the desired pH. [Laboratory for Nanobioelectronics/UCSD]
  • Full Year Result 2017

    [thumbnail]CSL Limited (ASX:CSL; USOTC:CSLLY) today announced a net profit after tax (NPAT) of $1,337 million for the 12 months ended 30 June 2017.
  • Programming Announced for 2017 BIO Investor Forum

    The annual BIO Investor Forum is coming again to San Francisco October 17-18. Programming for the event was just announced and includes seasoned speakers from the venture capital world and leaders from biopharma. The annual conference explores global investment trends and opportunities in life sciences. Early and mid-stage private as well as emerging public companies poised for growth in 2018 are the focus of the event.
    Two speakers are lined up for “Fireside Chats” which will occur
  • Liquid Biopsy Reads RNA Collected by Platelets to Diagnose Cancer

    Signs of cancer in the blood are known to include nucleic acids, whether freely floating or tucked inside circulating tumor cells or exosomes. And now it appears that telltale nucleic acids can also be tucked inside platelets. Although platelets lack nuclei and, consequently, RNA of their own, they may gather RNA in their travels, and this RNA could come from tumors .To detect RNA that originates in tumor cells and ends up being absorbed by platelets, researchers in The Netherlands designed a li
  • Trusted Law Enforcement Leaders Oppose Drug Importation

    One of the leading voices emerging in the debate over drug importation is law enforcement professionals. They realize—perhaps better than most—that allowing drugs from foreign countries to flood our communities threatens the health and safety of the American people. Adopting extreme policies that would expose American citizens to counterfeit or adulterated drugs is the wrong way to address drug costs, especially as we face a national emergency in the opioid epidemic. But don’t
  • Grasping Immune Signaling Mechanisms of Yellow Fever Infection

    Vaccines play an essential role in controlling the spread of infectious diseases. Yet, the underlying immune activation mechanisms for many of these prophylactic therapies remains elusive. Yellow Fever—a deadly viral infection spread by mosquitoes—devastated much of the world until a vaccine was developed in the late 1930s and now researchers at Princeton University have just uncovered a critical role for a new immune signaling pathway in controlling infection by the Yellow Fever Vir
  • Cancer Genetics to Buy <i>vivo</i>Pharm for $12M

    Cancer Genetics (CGI) is buying cancer drug discovery and preclinical services company  vivo Pharm, for $12 million in cash and shares. CGI said it expects the acquisition to strengthen its position as a provider of services for oncology discovery,  in vivo  and  in vitro  drug development, and early-phase clinical trials testing, and expand its presence in Europe and Australia. The acquisition, which has been approved by both companies’ boards, is projected to clo
  • Biotest, Curetis Agree to Use Unyvero IAI Test for Pentaglobin Trial

    Curetis will use its recently approved Unyvero intra-abdominal infection (IAI) cartridge diagnostic to test patients enrolled in the Biotest’s PEPPER Pentaglobin ® Peritonitis Trial for IAIs and for antibiotic resistance markers.The Phase IIb PEPPER trial is evaluating the immune-modulating effects of Biotest’s marketed Pentaglobin ® immunoglobulin M (IgM) enriched immunoglobulin in patients with secondary peritonitis. The study, conducted at 12 centers across Germany and Aus
  • Biotest, Curetis Agree to Use Unyvero IAI Test for Pentaglobiin Trial

    Curetis will use its recently approved Unyvero intra-abdominal infection (IAI) cartridge diagnostic to test patients enrolled in the Biotest’s PEPPER Pentaglobin ® Peritonitis Trial for IAIs and for antibiotic resistance markers.The Phase IIb PEPPER trial is evaluating the immune-modulating effects of Biotest’s marketed Pentaglobin ® immunoglobulin M (IgM) enriched immunoglobulin in patients with secondary peritonitis. The study, conducted at 12 centers across Germany and Aus
  • Precision Medicine for Preventing Suicide

    A research team led by scientists at the Indiana University (IU) School of Medicine say they have created a novel method for diagnosing suicide risk by developing blood tests that work in everyone as well as more personalized blood tests for different subtypes of suicidality and high-risk groups.The researchers also demonstrated how two apps—one based on a suicide-risk checklist and the other on a scale for measuring feelings of anxiety and depression—work along with the blood tests
  • Loss of Circular RNA Throws Brain for a Loop

    Circular RNAs (circRNAs), closed loops of noncoding RNA, drift through the cytoplasm like so many ring buoys floating on the sea. Precisely what the circRNAs are doing there hasn’t been clear. Because they are especially abundant in brain cells, circRNAs have been thought to have a role in brain function, possibly via the regulation of gene expression. This possibility looks more likely than ever, now that a new study indicates that circRNAs, which are stable and long-lived, help preserve
  • PCR-Based Liquid Biopsy Is a Simple and Sensitive Cancer Diagnostic

    Noninvasive cancer diagnostics are rapidly becoming an essential part of precision medicine therapies. These cutting-edge assays are not only useful in the preliminary diagnosis of various cancerous conditions but also help physicians track the progression of cancers during and after treatment. Typically, these tests have employed the use of next-generation sequencing (NGS) techniques, while being sensitive are complicated and costly. Now, a team of investigators from Stanford University has jus
  • Stem Cell Injections Rejuvenate Aging Rat Hearts

    Researchers at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute have shown that injecting cardiac stem cells from young rats into the hearts of old rats can help to reverse the natural cardiac aging process. Results from the studies, led by Eduardo Marbán, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, suggest that similar treatments might one day be used to prevent age-related heart function decline and cardiovascular disease in humans. The Cedars-Sinai studies are reported in the European H
  • Hair Growth Stimulated in 3D Organoids

    A team led by scientists at the University of Southern California (USC) published a study ("Self-Organization Process in Newborn Skin Organoid Formation Inspires Strategy to Restore Hair Regeneration of Adult Cells") in  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that describes how the skin develops hair follicles that subsequently grow hair. The researchers carried out their work with 3D organoids.Mingxing Lei, Ph.D., a post scholar in the stem cell lab of Cheng-Ming Chuong, M.D., Ph.
  • 3D Organoids Stimulated to Grow Hair

    A team led by scientists at the University of Southern California published a study ("Self-organization process in newborn skin organoid formation inspires strategy to restore hair regeneration of adult cells") in PNAS that describes how the skin develops hair follicles that subsequently grow hair. The researchers carried out their work with 3D organoids.Mingxing Lei, Ph.D., a post scholar in the stem cell lab of Cheng-Ming Chuong, M.D., Ph.D., and an international group of colleagues
  • Can Genetic Engineering Save One Of Florida’s Most Beloved Fruits?

    Citrus-greening disease is a major threat to Florida oranges. On the GMO Answers Medium  page, two University of Florida researchers describe how advances in genetic engineering can help save everyone’s favorite citrus fruit.
    Hundreds of thousands of affected grapefruit and sweet orange trees have been removed from Florida groves, as they are highly susceptible to HLB infection. As a result, many growers, packing houses and even a few juice processing plants have gone out of business.
  • New Neuron Types Identified Epigenetically

    Salk scientists identify new brain cells. [Salk Institute]
  • Peregrine Pharmaceuticals Axing 20% of Workforce, 60 Jobs, in Restructuring

    Peregrine Pharmaceuticals said today it will eliminate 20% of its workforce—60 jobs—in a restructuring designed to cut costs and position the company for profitability while it continues to assess strategic options for its R&D operations.Peregrine halved its R&D staff, leaving it with 11 employees who will support potential strategic alternatives for its R&D operations while continuing to assist with the company’s collaborative trials, antibody discovery platform, a
  • Small-Molecule Compound Prevents Tooth Decay

    In the late 1980’s, an advertising campaign for Crest toothpaste pitted a team of toothbrush-toting superheroes against the dreaded “Cavity Creeps,” who sought to destroy the peaceful, dentally entwined city of Toothopolis. In actuality, the evil cavity creeps are bacterial species that are capable of creating sticky biofilms that allow them to be glued to the surface of teeth, eating away the enamel. Now, University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) investigators have created a s
  • NantHealth Shrinks Workforce by One-Third, Sells Some Assets

    NantHealth, the personalized healthcare company founded by Patrick Soon-Shiong, M.D., said it will cut about one-third of its workforce—300 jobs—through layoffs and transfers of employees to one of its investors, Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, which will buy some of the company’s assets.NantHealth did not say how many of the employees would be laid off, though a published report claimed that number would be about 130, with the rest transferring to Allscripts.As of December 31
  • FDA Lays Out Which Postapproval Manufacturing Changes for Biologics Are ‘Minimal’

    Which manufacturing changes have the least potential to adversely affect product quality? That’s the question the FDA has attempted to answer in a new draft guidance released this week.FDA released the draft guidance in response to an increase in the number of postapproval manufacturing supplements it has received in recent years. Specifically, industry has sought FDA recommendations on the types of changes that can be documented in an annual report, rather than in a supplement.The changes
  • Gene Study Based on RNA Interference May Lead to New Liver Cancer Therapies

    University of Maryland researchers think they've discovered how a specific gene plays a key role in helping liver cancer cells obtain the nutrition necessary to proliferate. Their study (“Silencing of Solute Carrier Family 13 Member 5 Disrupts Energy Homeostasis and Inhibits Proliferation of Human Hepatocarcinoma Cells”) appears in the  Journal of Biological Chemistry .Cancer is often treated by starving it by targeting the pathways cancer cells use to meet their energy needs. T

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