• DNA Copy Roulette Accounts for Most Cancer Mutations

    They’re ba-ack. The scientists who caused a stir 2 years ago—by reporting that DNA copying errors could explain most of the differences in cancer risk among different tissues—have expanded their findings. They now address a more general question: What fraction of mutations in cancer are due to DNA copying errors, as opposed to genetic inheritance or lifestyle factors.The researchers, Cristian Tomasetti, Ph.D., and Bert Vogelstein, M.D., both of Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Cente
  • Sleeping Sickness Parasite Under Circadian Control Making It Vulnerable to Drugs

    Trypanosomiasis, or human Africa sleeping sickness as it is most conventionally called, accounts for a significant amount of morbidity and mortality in sub-Saharan Africa. The parasite is transmitted through the bite of the tsetse fly, and treatment for the disease can be extensive, with therapies often producing a range of harmful side effects. Yet, what if much of the toxic side effects of the drugs used to eradicate the parasite could be mitigated simply by administering them at specific time
  • Lilly to Spend $850M on U.S. Capital Projects

    Eli Lilly said today it will spend $850 million this year on capital projects for its facilities across the U.S., including research laboratories, manufacturing sites, and general and administrative areas.Lilly said its capital spending reflected demand for the company’s products, its commitment to the U.S. market—and the potential for future growth due to its pipeline of treatment candidates for cancer, pain, diabetes, and other unmet medical needs.“Our future at Lilly is brig
  • Wednesday Recap: 2017 BIO Asia International Conference

    Click here for coverage from Tuesday’s programming at the 2017 BIO Asia International Conference. Missed the event this year? Sign up to receive updates about BIO Asia 2018.
    Economic and Patient Impact of the Biomedical Research Community in JapanThe second day of the BIO Asia International Conference began with a panel titled, “Economic and Patient Impact of the Biomedical Research Community in Japan”. The panel was moderated by Kyle Hathaway, PhD, Director of Policy an
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  • Tuesday Recap: 2017 BIO Asia International Conference

    Missed the event this year? Sign up to receive updates about BIO Asia 2018.
    The 14th annual BIO Asia International Conference kicked off Tuesday at the Grand Hyatt in Tokyo, Japan. President and CEO of BIO Jim Greenwood welcomed attendees, and mentioned that BIO Asia is BIO’s longest-running international conferences.  He thanked attendees for their continued support of the industry, and of the event.
    Greenwood noted that the US and Japan share a similar set of hea
  • Calico, C4T Partner on Protein-Degrading Drugs for Age-Related Diseases

    Calico and C4 Therapeutics (C4T) agreed a 5-year partnership to identify, develop, and commercialize treatments for age-related diseases, including cancer. The collaboration will hinge on C4T’s Degronimid™ platform for targeted protein degradation to identify small-molecule protein degraders that eliminate disease-causing proteins. Under terms of the deal, Calico and C4T will work together on preclinical research, with Calico taking over clinical development and commercializatio
  • 3D Assembly of Zika Genome Could Have Significant Impact on Human Reference Genome

    Scientists at Baylor College of Medicine, Rice University, Texas Children's Hospital, and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard say they have developed a new way to sequence genomes, which can assemble the genome of an organism entirely from scratch, much cheaper and faster.The multi-institutional team reports a method—called 3D genome assembly—that can create a human reference genome, entirely from scratch, for less than $10,000. The ability to quickly and easily generate a referen
  • PureTech's resTORbio Licenses Phase II-Stage Novartis Immunosenescence Drugs

    PureTech Health is setting up a new subsidiary, resTORbio, to develop two of Novartis’s Phase II-stage mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 ( mTORC1)-targeting drugs as potential therapies for holding back age-related deterioration in immune functioning. Novartis has successfully completed two Phase IIa studies investigating the immune-enhancing potential of mTORC1 inhibitors in elderly patients. resTORbio aims to build on the findings and start Phase IIb studies with the two licensed
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  • Merck KGaA, Pfizer PD-L1 mAb Wins Accelerated Approval for Rare Skin Cancer

    FDA approved Merck KGaA and Pfizer’s checkpoint inhibitor BAVENCIO® (avelumab) for treating metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (mMCC) in adults and children aged 12 years and over. The fully human mAb is the first treatment approved for the rare, aggressive form of skin cancer, and was cleared through the agency’s accelerated approval process. BAVENCIO also has Breakthrough Therapy Designation.Pfizer and Merck KGaA inked their potentially $2.85 billion collaboration for global deve
  • #BIO2017: A Peek at Partnering | Protalix Biotherapeutics’ Bill Taylor

    Breaking Buzz is BIO’s newest blog series that reaches across the globe to bring you an insider’s preview into the hottest international and partnering trends coming to San Diego for the BIO International Convention. 
    Breaking Buzz Sits Down with Partnering King
    BIO’s One-on-One Partnering™ opens April 10 and it’s not too early to register, set up a profile and start requesting and accepting meetings before schedules get filled. BIO will host a Webinar on April
  • Amgen Chooses Tampa for $25M 'Capability Center'

    Amgen plans to establish a $25 million “capability center” in Tampa, FL, that is expected to employ 450 people by next year, and support business-enabling services of the Biotech giant.The capability center, set to start operation in October, will serve as a base for operational, analytical, staff support, and business support activities of Amgen. The 136,000-square-foot facility will occupy four floors of Corporate Center One, located at 2202 N. Westshore Blvd.“We are a compan
  • Evidence of Epigenetic Role in Breast Cancer

    While the impact of epigenetics on various cancers has been postulated to be significant, direct evidence of its influence on tumor formation and progression for breast cancer was elusive. However, a team of researchers led by scientists at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) have identified, for the first time, an epigenetic mechanism promoting breast cancer. The findings from this study were just released in the latest issue of Science, through an article entitled “PI3K pathway
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  • Teva to Shrink Workforce; Denies Up to 6,000 Jobs Will Go

    Teva Pharmaceutical Industries said it will shrink its workforce through a restructuring of operations—but did not say how many jobs would go, and denied a news report that it will lay off up to 6,000 employees, 11% of the company’s total workforce.The report surfaced in the Israeli newspaper Calcalist , which said Teva had quietly axed 100 employees, and would carry out the remainder of the job cuts beginning after Passover, at a savings of $2 billion.“The estimates are about
  • Genomic Archeology Digs Up First Mutations in Human Development

    Like archeologists digging into the earth, layer by layer, until they reach the earliest artifacts, genomic scientists at Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute traced the mutational histories of human adults—all the way back to the two-cell stage of embryonic development. The scientists found that mutational rates very early in development are higher than previously estimated. The scientists also discovered that the earliest mutations can skew subsequent development, such that the doublings of a
  • Spinach Wears a Heart on Its Leaves

    WPI research team shows spinach leaves stripped of plant cells can become a vascular network to deliver blood, oxygen, and nutrients to grow human tissues like cardiac muscle to treat heart attack patients. This green solution may solve the major problem now limiting the regeneration of large section of human tissues, bone, even whole organs to treat disease or traumatic injuries.  
  • Regeneron, GSK, UK Biobank Launch Gene-Sequencing Collaboration

    Regeneron Pharmaceuticals said yesterday that its Regeneron Genetics Center (RGC) subsidiary will partner with UK Biobank and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to generate genetic sequence data from the health database’s 500,000 volunteer participants.The partnership, whose value was not disclosed, is intended to help researchers collect genetic evidence for use in developing new treatments against a wide range of diseases, Regeneron said.RGC and GSK have committed an undisclosed initial sum toward en
  • Enter the 2017 Buzz of BIO Contest

    Are you an innovative biotech company that is R&D-intensive and is developing strategic partnerships within the industry? Enter the Buzz of BIO Contest for your chance to win a complimentary registration to the 2017 BIO International Convention, a company presentation in the Business Forum and promotion by the Convention.
    Two companies will earn the coveted title of “Buzz of BIO” through a contest that opens today! The Buzz of BIO contest recognizes companies with groundbrea
  • ImmunoCellular, Memgen Consider Deal for DC and Viral Anticancer Combos

    ImmunoCellular Therapeutics and Memgen signed a nonbinding letter of intent to negotiate the terms of a potential collaboration on clinical trials combining ImmunoCellular’s dendritic cell-based immunotherapy candidates ICT-107 and ICT-140 with Memgen’s viral cancer immunotherapy ISF35. The firms suggest that combining the two platforms could offer an approach to stimulating CD40 and triggering potent anticancer responses.ImmunoCellular’s lead dendritic cell-based candidate ICT
  • Collagen Discovery Opens Possibility for Early Interventions to Treat Arthritis

    A team of researchers led by University of Utah bioengineering professors Jeffrey Weiss, Ph.D., and Michael Yu, Ph.D., has discovered that damage to collagen, the main building block of all human tissue, can occur much earlier at a molecular level from too much physical stress, alerting doctors and scientists that a patient is on the path to major tissue damage and pain.This could be especially helpful for some who want to know earlier if they are developing diseases such as arthritis or for ath
  • BioLineRx Buys U.K. Cancer Immunotherapeutics Firm Agalimmune

    BioLineRx has bought U.K. anticancer company Agalimmune for $6 million in a 50/50 cash and shares-based deal to acquire its immunotherapy platform and late preclinical-stage compound AGI-134. BioLineRx may also have to make future development and commercial milestone payments.Established in 2013, Agalimmune is developing anticancer immunotherapeutics that generate systemic, adaptive immune responses to solid tumors. Lead candidate AGI-134 is a synthetic alpha-Gal glycolipid immunotherapy designe
  • #BIOWC17 Preview Into the Plenary Program

    BIO has officially released the list of speakers for plenary programs at the 2017 World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology! Sessions will feature executives from the renewable chemicals, enzymes, biofuels, biobased  products, household and personal care, flavorings and fragrances, and airline industries who will discuss technology breakthroughs, business partnerships and sustainability initiatives.
    This year’s plenary program has been revamped to explore new and trending themes
  • BIO Chimes In: TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Food Brands Group LLC (Supreme Court)

    This is part two of a three part series on BIO’s recently submitted amicus briefs in cases before the Supreme Court as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
    Spring kicked off yesterday, and with it was the beginning of the confirmation process for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil M. Gorsuch. Empty seat or not, SCOTUS has a full plate of decisions to reach this term, patent cases among them.
    We’ve already talked about BIO’s position on&nb
  • Are You at Risk for Alzheimer’s? New Genetic Test Could Provide Answer

    The ability to determine the risk of contracting any disease is powerful information to have for both patients and healthcare providers. For Alzheimer’s disease (AD), in which risk factors have been notoriously elusive, any potential insight into who may be at risk to develop the neurodegenerative disorder could help alleviate a significant amount of burden on the patient and family, as early preparations or even preventive steps could be taken.Now an international collaboration of researc
  • Ex-FDA Commissioner Califf Returns to Duke, Chairs New PCORI-Funded Foundation

    Robert M. Califf, M.D., who resigned as FDA Commissioner at the end of President Barack Obama’s administration in January, will keep busy with a pair of new appointments.Dr. Califf has returned to the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI), which he founded in 2006, with a new appointment as the Donald F. Fortin professor of cardiology. He spent 33 years with Duke University School of Medicine and the Duke University Medical Center—most notably as its vice chancellor of clinical and
  • Strangle Proteins in the Ribosomal Cradle, Selectively

    If a fully formed protein is known to mediate disease, it might seem like a good idea to keep the protein from developing in the first place, to nip it in the bud, so to speak. And, in fact, agents have been found that can prevent protein translation by stalling the ribosome, the general-purpose molecular machines that synthesize proteins from messenger RNA transcripts. Unfortunately, these agents are like the proverbial monkey wrench in the works. They disrupt the ribosome no matter what protei
  • VWR Acquires EPL Archives, Adding to Storage Services

    VWR said today it has acquired the global biorepository services organization EPL Archives for an undisclosed sum, in a deal designed to augment the buyer’s professional material management services to laboratory and production customers.Founded in 1978, EPL Archives provides services that include nonclinical archiving, clinical biorepository and biobanking, regulated data management, manufacturing material storage, and specialized logistics and support services. The company says it serves
  • BioClin Raises $30M to Expand Clinical Development of FGFR3 mAb

    BioClin Therapeutics raised $30 million in a Series B round of financing so that it can expand Phase I/II trials with its lead monoclonal antibody (mAb) candidate B-701 as second-line therapy in metastatic bladder cancer patients. The fundraising was led by new investors Sofinnova Ventures and Ysios Capital. Existing investors HealthCap, Life Sciences Partners (LSP), and Tekla Capital Management also participated.B-701 is a human mAb targeting fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3 ). Procee
  • Genetic Link between Prenatal Maternal Infections and Autism Established

    Scientists from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, University of Cyprus and Stanford University published a study ("Maternal immune activation dysregulation of the fetal brain transcriptome and relevance to the pathophysiology of autism spectrum disorder") in  Molecular Psychiatry that maps the complex biological cascade caused by the maternal immune reaction (MIA). The team reports that the expression of multiple genes involved in autism are turn
  • Novartis' AHF Drug Serelaxin Fails Trial Nearly Three Years after FDA Rejection

    Novartis' acute heart failure (AHF) drug serelaxin (RLX030), which both the FDA and the European regulator knocked back in 2014, failed in a global, 6600-patient Phase III study. The 3.5-year RELAX-AHF-2 trial evaluating serelaxin in addition to standard of care fell short of its primary endpoints of a reduction in cardiovascular death through to day 180, or a reduction in worsening heart failure through to day 5. Serelaxin is a recombinant form of the human relaxin-2 hormone, which is prod
  • Novartis' AHF Drug Serelaxin Fails Trial Nearly 3 Years After FDA Rejection

    Novartis' acute heart failure (AHF) drug, serelaxin (RLX030), which both FDA and the European regulator knocked back in 2014, failed in a global, 6,600-patient Phase III study. The 3.5-year RELAX-AHF-2 trial evaluating serelaxin in addition to standard of care, fell short of its primary endpoints of a reduction in cardiovascular death through to day 180, or a reduction in worsening heart failure through to day five. Serelaxin is a recombinant form of the human relaxin-2 hormone, which is pr
  • #BIO2017: A Peek at Pavilions | CANADA

    Breaking Buzz is BIO’s newest blog series that reaches across the globe to bring an insider’s preview into the hottest international and partnering trends coming to San Diego for the BIO International Convention.
    Keeping Up with the Canadians
    Thriving commercialization is Canada’s buzz phrase this year as the country prepares for another massive showing at the BIO International Convention where nearly 800 delegates – second only in size to the United States – will s
  • Every Day is Ag Day

    As a kick-off to National Ag Day (March 21, 2017), I was privileged to sit down with representatives from the American Agri-Women (AAW) who were quick to remind us that “Ag Day is Every Day.”
    For the billions of people around the world who rely on food, feed, fuel and fiber in their daily lives and the millions of farmers around the world who are our providers, Every Day REALLY IS Ag Day.
    American Agri-Women recently launched its year-long education and advocacy campaign, “Ag D
  • CRISPR/Cas9 Reveals Cancer’s Synthetic Lethal Vulnerabilities

    The CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing system has been used to identify more than 120 synthetic-lethal gene interactions in cancer cells. These interactions could guide drug developers to new combination therapies that could selectively kill cancer cells and spare healthy cells.Synthetic-lethal gene interactions may occur when certain pairs of mutated genes are present. When there is a mutation in either of these genes within a cell, the cell remains viable. But when there are mutations in both genes, the
  • Liquid Biopsy Could Get Boost from Phosphoproteins

    The goal of many precision medicine initiatives is not only to personalize diagnostic testing for each patient but also to simplify testing procedures as much as possible. Well, a simple blood draw to detect and monitor patient’s cancer is about as straightforward as molecular diagnostics gets. This approach—called liquid biopsy—was designed to search for circulating DNA or cells that have been shed by a tumor within the body. Typically, the recovered DNA is sequenced to detect
  • X-Chem, Ono Pursue Cancer Targets in Drug Discovery Collaboration

    X-Chem said today it will partner with Ono Pharmaceutical to identify potential new drugs against cancer targets—the second drug-discovery collaboration announced by X-Chem in as many days.The value of the collaboration was not disclosed.As with the partnership with Astellas Pharma it announced yesterday, X-Chem said it would team up with Ono to discover “multiple promising, high-impact oncology targets” using X-Chem’s collection of DNA-encoded DEX TM libraries containing
  • Lin BioScience Licenses Cancer-Fighting Candidate from University of Sydney

    Lin BioScience said today it has exclusively licensed a microtubule-targeting agent to treat brain cancers from the University of Sydney.The agent, LBS-002, is a blood–brain barrier permeable, small-molecule drug designed to disrupt the division of cancer cells by preventing the formation of microtubules.While several current drugs used to target tubulin polymerization have been already shown to effectively treat breast and ovarian cancers and non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, those treatments
  • #AgDay 2017: Appreciating the Value of Biotech

    Today is National Ag Day, a time when producers, agricultural associations, corporations, universities, government agencies and countless others across America gather to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by American agriculture! National Ag Day falls during National Ag Week, March 19-25, 2017!
    Agriculture plays a large role in our everyday lives. It provides food, clothing, and shelter as well as jobs. In fact, in 2014, 17.3 million full- and part-time jobs were related to
  • SutroVax Raises $64M to Progress Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine

    Vaccines firm SutroVax raised $60 million in a Series B financing round to support progress of its lead pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) into clinical trials and continue antigen discovery activities and early-stage development in other areas. The financing was led by new investors Frazier Healthcare Partners and Pivotal bioVenture Partners. All SutroVax’s existing investors participated in the Series B round, and separately invested an additional $4 million in SutroVax.SutroVax has be
  • Human Stem Cells with Plant-Based Scaffolds Demonstrate Optimized Growth

    Researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are using the decellularized husks of plants such as parsley, vanilla, and orchids to form three-dimensional scaffolds that can then be primed and seeded with human stem cells to optimize their growth in the lab dish and, ultimately, create novel biomedical implants.Publishing their study (“ Biofunctionalized Plants as Diverse Biomaterials for Human Cell Culture ”) in Advanced Healthcare Materials, a team led by William Murphy,
  • Pierre Fabre and H-Immune Partner on Anticancer Antibodies

    Pierre Fabre is partnering with immunotherapeutics start-up, H-Immune, to generate anticancer antibody candidates using the latter’s proprietary In Vitro Immunization (IVI) technology to. The collaboration will give Pierre Fabre access to the IVI platform for three different immune-oncology discovery programs. H-Immune will receive undisclosed R&D funding and potential future milestone payments.H-Immune is a newly established spin-out from the French Atomic Energy Commission. “H-
  • Argenx, Broteio Partner to Develop Anti-Complement Antibody

    argenx and Broteio Pharma have partnered to develop a therapeutic antibody against a complement cascade target, through to preclinical proof-of-concept. The firms say the antibody has the potential to treat autoantibody- and complement-mediated disorders, including autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA) and antibody-mediated rejection in organ transplant recipients.The collaboration will give Broteio access to argenx’s antibody technology platforms, through the latter’s Innovative Access
  • Four Former FDA Commissioners Warn About Drug Importation Dangers

    Last week, four former FDA Commissioners – Robert M. Califf, Margaret B. Hamburg, Mark B. McClellan, and Andrew Von Eschenbach – wrote an open letter to members of Congress warning them about the risk of legalizing importation of drugs. The Washington Post outlines how these former FDA heads – who served in both Democrat and Republican administrations – advise against proposals to expose U.S. consumers to foreign medicines. The Commissioners write that a broad-based impor
  • Heart Attacks Could Be Better Predicted with Coronary Calcium Score

    Scientists are rethinking their views on the relative dangers soft and hard atherosclerotic plaque deposits pose to heart health. Findings of a new study by researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute may be a "game-changer" for determining who's at risk of a heart attack, they say.The notion that soft plaque is more likely to rupture and cause heart attacks than hard calcium deposits in coronary arteries may be wrong, according to new research that was be presented at the Am
  • Aevi Lead Candidate Misses Primary Endpoint in Mid-Stage Study

    Aevi Genomic Medicine said today that its lead candidate AEVI-001 has failed the Phase II SAGA trial assessing the treatment in adolescents with metabotropic glutamate receptor mutation-positive (mGluR + ) attention/deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).AEVI-001 missed its primary endpoint of reduction on the ADHD Rating Scale (ADHD-RS) compared to placebo. However, the company said the candidate showed improvement at the highest dose of 400 mg b.i.d., and added that 70% of patients randomized t
  • Protein Phosphatase Interactome Given Its Due

    Called the yin and yang of protein phosphorylation and cell signaling, protein kinases and protein phosphatases haven’t exactly received equal treatment. Protein kinases have been stars of pathway analysis, whereas protein phosphatases have been patient understudies. Yet protein phosphatases may finally be stepping into the spotlight. New studies suggest that protein phosphatases are not just supporting players in signal transduction. Most recently, protein phosphatases grabbed the lead ro
  • X-Chem, Astellas Launch Drug Discovery Collaboration

    X-Chem said today it will partner with Astellas Pharma to discover novel lead compounds for complex drug targets of interest to Astellas using X-Chem’s collection of DNA-encoded DEX TM libraries containing more than 120 billion compounds.According to X-Chem, the partnership represents its most expansive first-time alliance with a pharmaceutical company and is focused on hard-to-drug targets across multiple therapeutic areas.The companies did not detail the therapeutic areas. Astellas&rsquo
  • Nanoparticles Use Force to Destroy Tumors

    The creative minds at MIT have just devised a new strategy to target and abolish cancerous tumors. In the new study—published recently in Nature Communications in an article entitled “ Polymeric Mechanical Amplifiers of Immune Cytokine-Mediated Apoptosis ”—the investigators coated cells with nanoparticles making them more susceptible to chemotherapeutic drugs.The tethered nanoparticles increase the stress exerted on the cells from forces such as flowing blood, making the
  • Cerenis Lead Candidate Fails Phase II Study in ACS

    Cerenis Therapeutics acknowledged today that its lead candidate CER-001 has failed a Phase II clinical trial assessing the drug in post-acute coronary syndrome (ACS). CER-001 failed the Phase II CARAT study by missing its primary endpoint of showing statistically significant regression of coronary plaque in ACS, the company said.CER-001 is a negatively charged lipoprotein particle that contains human recombinant apolipoprotein A-1 (apoA-1), the natural high-density lipoprotein (HDL) protein, and
  • Pulmocide Raises $30.4M for Clinical Development of Inhaled Respiratory Drugs

    Pulmocide raised $30.4 million in a Series B round of financing to support the early clinical development of its lead inhaled drugs against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and pulmonary aspergillosis. The fundraising round was led by new investor SR One and included the Longwood Fund and existing investors SV Life Sciences, F-Prime Capital, Johnson & Johnson Innovation–JJDC, and Touchstone Innovations.U.K.-based Pulmocide’s lead candidate PC786 is an inhaled small-molecule anti
  • BMS Pays CytomX $200M Upfront to Expand Probody Therapeutics Partnership

    Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) is paying CytomX Therapeutics $200 million upfront to add up to eight new candidates to their existing Probody™ therapeutics collaboration.  CytomX could potentially receive another $448 in development, regulatory, and sales milestones for each collaboration target, plus tiered royalites on future product sales by BMS.BMS and CytomX established their potentially $1.2 billion Probody cancer therapeutics collaboration in 2014. The original agreement was center

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