• GSK, Plasticell Partner to Produce Hematopoietic Cells from iPSCs

    GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will provide combinations of molecules for screening through Plasticell’s Combinatorial Cell Culture™ (CombiCult ® ) combinatorial stem cell screening technology, through a collaboration whose value was not disclosed.Plasticell will use the bead-based CombiCult platform to produce hematopoietic cells from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) by optimizing the directed differentiation of the iPSCs to specific blood cell lineages for use by GSK in therapeuti
  • Cancer Immunotherapy May Be Bolstered via New Treg-Suppressing Mechanism

    Messing with a dual-purpose protein that can both stimulate and modulate antitumor immunity would seem a tricky way to try enhancing cancer immunotherapy. Yet that is what a team of scientists based at the University of Bonn decided to do. They focused on a protein called IκB-kinase β (IKKβ). This protein, which occurs naturally in the body, has long been known to activate the immune system. It also promotes the development of immune cells, including regulatory T cells (Tregs), w
  • Vir Grows with $500M in Financing, Humabs Acquisition, Two Up-to-$1B Collaborations

    Less than a year after its launch, Vir Biotechnology today disclosed it has secured more than $500 million in financing toward an acquisition and a series of collaborations launched with two companies—each of which could generate over $1 billion—and four top-tier academic research institutions.The collaborations, acquisition, and financing are aimed at building the company’s pipeline, technology, and global footprint, all with the goal of developing treatments for infectious di
  • Intermittent Fasting Boosts Fat Burning and Improves Metabolic Function

    Studies in mice by a Canadian research team have shown how intermittent fasting (IF) without any calorie restriction results in animals shedding fat and losing bodyweight, leads to improved glucose homeostasis, and also protects against metabolic dysfunction. The Canadian research team, led by Kyoung-Han Kim, at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, put mice on a regime of two days of unrestricted feeding followed by one day of fasting. They found that after 16 weeks the IF animals weighed
  • Advertisement

  • Lilly, CureVac Ink $1.795B+ mRNA Cancer Vaccine Collaboration

    Eli Lilly will partner to develop and commercialize up to five cancer vaccines based on CureVac's RNActive ® technology, the companies said today, through a collaboration that could generate up to $1.795 billion-plus for CureVac.The companies plan to use RNActive to deliver mRNA that directs the human immune system to target neoantigens across multiple tumor types. These neoantigens, which are tumor-specific, in turn direct the patient's existing immune system to mount a selective and potent
  • Wasabi Pain Pathway in Worms May Lead to New Pain Meds for Humans

    Scientists at Northwestern University say they have found out how scalding heat and tissue injury activate an ancient pain receptor in simple organisms. Their study (“Activation of Planarian TRPA1 by Reactive Oxygen Species Reveals a Conserved Mechanism for Nociception"), published in Nature Neuroscience , may lead to novel approaches for analgesic drug design for treating people, note the researchers.Simple animals such as worms and insects do not suffer pain in the human sense, but they
  • “Invest in What’s Cool. Invest in Science that Matters.”

    One reality of the biotech industry that’s often overlooked is that 90% of biotech companies are not profitable. Biotech innovators often spend years in development before they are able to commercialize their products. These are mostly small companies that rely heavily upon private investment to fuel their pursuit of new cures and treatments.
    That’s what BIO’s Business Investor Forum is all about — partnering innovators together with investors to bring new therapies from
  • #BIF17: Turning the Tide on Antimicrobial Resistance

    It’s no secret that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the most serious public health problems we face today: global in scope, more urgent with each passing day, and daunting when one considers the challenges that must be overcome to effectively address the crisis. Already, the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, a report funded by the United Kingdom, estimates that at least 700,000 people die each year from drug-resistant infections, and that number will only grow if drug resistant
  • Advertisement

  • Misleading reporting from 60 Minutes and the Washington Post

    The scourge of opioid abuse is a growing public health crisis that has left no community in our nation untouched. It cuts across geographic, generational, political and economic divides, leaving in its wake countless victims, devastated families and economic ruin. America’s biopharmaceutical companies are committed to finding solutions to the crisis by leveraging advances in science and human biology to transform the standard of care for pain management through non-addictive, next generati
  • BIO Investor Forum Opens Amid Positive Signs for Emerging Biotechs

    Today the BIO Investor Forum opens in San Francisco amid optimism in the biotech sector. Venture investment is outpacing last year; the NASDAQ Biotech Index is up 38 percent since the election; and stocks of small, clinical-stage biotechs – those with no approved products – are up 78 percent.
    In 2017, innovation is advancing at a breathtaking pace – with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approving its first-ever CAR-T cell therapy for an untreatable form of c
  • Epigenetics Linked to Resistance for Anti-Cancer Drug

    Scientists at Vanderbilt University say they have discovered a nongenetic cause of resistance to cetuximab, a therapeutic that is used to treat advanced colorectal cancer. The team’s study (“lncRNA MIR100HG-Derived miR-100 and miR-125b Mediate Cetuximab Resistance via Wnt/β-Catenin Signaling”), which is published in Nature Medicine , suggests a novel strategy for overcoming this resistance.“Using whole-exome sequencing and transcriptional profiling, we found that the
  • Leukemia May Shrivel If Fat Cells in Marrow Are Plumped

    Bolstered by an adipogenesis-promoting drug, fat cells in the bone marrow effectively “crowded out” leukemia, yet they made room for healthy blood cells. Such effects are not simply due to physical crowding in the bone marrow niche. They are more about cells cramping each other’s styles while they try to attain their fully differentiated forms.Altering the bone marrow environment so that it favors the formation of healthy blood cells and disfavors the formation of leukemic cell
  • Advertisement

  • Autism Bias toward Males Explained through Signaling Pathway

    The disproportionate ratio of males affected by autism spectral disorder (ASD) has perplexed researchers for several years. Moreover, this male bias is also seen in other neurodevelopmental disorders, like attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and specific language impairments. Now, new research by investigators at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine and University of Pennsylvania—aiming to understand why ASD is more common in boys—has uncovered differences in
  • J&J Halts Sirukumab Development, Talacotuzumab Trial

    Johnson & Johnson said today it has ended development of the rheumatoid arthritis candidate sirukumab, and halted a Phase II/III trial of the acute myeloid leukemia (AML) candidate talacotuzumab—both of which the pharma giant had touted as potential blockbusters just five months ago.Sirukumab had been under development by J&J’s Janssen Biotech for moderate-to-severely active rheumatoid arthritis, but was rejected on September 22 by the FDA, which instead issued a complete res
  • Membrane Vacuum Cleaner Suggested as Potential Gram-Negative Bacteria Target

    Scientists at the U.K.’s University of Newcastle suggest that a bacterial membrane protein that acts as a type of membrane vacuum cleaner could represent a promising new target for rendering harmful Gram negative strains susceptible to existing, a well as new antibiotics. Blocking the protein, which is called Mla (maintenance of outer membrane lipid asymmetry), would effectively disrupt the composition of one of the two layers of the bacterium’s outer membrane, which normally acts as
  • For Today’s Hearing on the Drug Delivery System, ‘Follow The Pill’

    The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions will hold a hearing this morning on the cost of prescription drugs. The second in a series of hearings on drug costs, today’s hearing is expected to take a close look at the drug delivery system. It’s an important topic, but also a very complicated one. The drug cost ecosystem includes multiple players and each one has a unique role in bringing medicines from research labs to pharmacies and deciding how much patients pay
  • Epigenetic Mechanism Found Responsible for Cetuximab Resistance

    Scientists at Vanderbilt University say they have discovered a non-genetic cause of resistance to cetuximab, a therapeutic that is used to treat advanced colorectal cancer. The team’s study (“lncRNA MIR100HG-derived miR-100 and miR-125b mediate cetuximab resistance via Wnt/β-catenin signaling”), which is published in Nature Medicine , suggests a novel strategy for overcoming this resistance.“Using whole-exome sequencing and transcriptional profiling, we found that th
  • Australian Scientists awarded $2.5m to support ground-breaking medical research into cancer diagnostics and cardiovascular disease

    thumbnail Two Australian scientists have each been awarded an AUD$1.25 million, five-year, CSL Centenary Fellowship to further research into gentler, more effective cancer diagnostics and, to advance understanding of what really causes our arteries to clog.  
  • On World Food Day, We Must Embrace Solutions to Address Devastating Famine in Africa

    Hunger kills more people every year than malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS combined, and almost half of infant deaths are related to malnutrition. World hunger is again on the rise, affecting 815 million people last year, according to a recent FAO report.
    Today, BIO recognizes World Food Day. The theme this year is “Change the future of migration. Invest in food security and rural development.”
    On the African continent, many areas have been swept by severe droughts in recent years, lead
  • Microbial Drug Resistant Mutations Found via Novel Genome Screen

    A scientific team from the Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, report the discovery of a number of previously unknown antibiotic-resistant genes. The researchers found the genes by searching large volumes of bacterial DNA collected from humans and various environments from all over the world. Their study (“Identification of 76 Novel B1 Metallo-β-Lactamases through Large-Scale Screening of Genomic and Metagenomic Data”) is published in Micr
  • Regeneron, Sanofi Cite Progress in Pursuing Food Allergy Indication for Dupixent

    Regeneron and Sanofi today reported progress toward adding new food allergy indications for their marketed drug Dupixent ® (dupilumab) with announcements of successful Phase II results in adults with active moderate-to-severe eosinophilic esophagitis, and the launch of a Phase II study with Aimmune Therapeutics assessing the treatment in peanut-allergic patients.At the World Congress of Gastroenterology (WCOG), held in partnership with The American College of Gastroenterology Annual Scientif
  • Regeneron, Sanofi Cite Progress in Pursuing Eosinophilic Esophagitis Indication for Dupixent

    Regeneron and Sanofi today reported progress toward adding new food allergy indications for their marketed drug Dupixent ® (dupilumab) with announcements of successful Phase II results in adults with active moderate-to-severe eosinophilic esophagitis, and the launch of a Phase II study with Aimmune Therapeutics assessing the treatment in peanut-allergic patients.At the World Congress of Gastroenterology (WCOG), held in partnership with The American College of Gastroenterology Annual Scientif
  • Deep Survey of Genome Regulation Spans Tissue Types, Highlights Role of Local Genetic Variation

    Despite the complexities inherent in the human genome, multi-tissue, multi-individual data can be used to identify the mechanisms of gene regulation and help to study the genetic basis of complex diseases. That is the takeaway from a collection of new studies completed by participants in the Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) Consortium.These studies present findings from the deepest survey of gene expression across multiple tissues and individuals to date, encompassing 7051 samples from 449 dono
  • Hazy Cancer–Sugar Association Becomes Clearer

    For those with a tendency toward the conspiratorial, this is not a takedown about how “Big Sugar” is poisoning the world and increasing cancer rates. Instead, new evidence from a collaborative team of Belgian researchers at the University of Leuven (KU Leuven), the University of Brussels (VUB), and the Vlaams Institute for Biotechnology (VIB) has clarified how the Warburg effect—a phenomenon in which cancer cells rapidly break down sugars—stimulates tumor growth. This dis
  • Roche, Warp Drive Launch Up-to-$387M Natural Antibiotics Collaboration

    Roche will partner with Warp Drive Bio to develop new classes of antibiotics against multi-drug-resistant bacterial infections, through a collaboration that will generate up-to-$387 million-plus for Warp Drive, the Cambridge, MA-based biotech said today.The partnership is designed to advance “multiple” novel classes of natural antibiotics that show activity against clinically important, drug-resistant, Gram-negative pathogens by applying Warp Drive’s Genome Mining™ platfo
  • New Antibiotic-Resistance Genes Discovered using Novel Computational Technique

    A scientific team from the Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, report the discovery of a number of previously unknown antibiotic-resistant genes. The researchers found the genes by searching large volumes of bacterial DNA collected from humans and various environments from all over the world. Their study (“Identification of 76 novel B1 metallo-β-lactamases through large-scale screening of genomic and metagenomic data”) is published in Micr
  • Modified CRISPR Screen Identifies Genes that Protect against Disease

    Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a modified form of CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing that can effectively screen cells for genes that protect against different diseases. Led by Timothy Lu, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and of biological engineering, the MIT team used the technique in a yeast model of Parkinson’s disease (PD) to identify genes that protected against α-synuclein (αSyn) toxicity
  • ONE HEALTH event discusses solutions and innovations in biotechnology in Brazil

    Joseph Damond, Executive Vice President of International Affairs at BIO led a keynote discussion on the challenges and opportunities of biotechnology innovation within Brazil. The keynote was part ONE HEALTH Innovative Biotech Solutions: Building Brazil’s Biotech Future,  that took place on September 19 in São Paulo. The event brought together more than 130 representatives from the life sciences sector of more than 100 institutions and 8 different countries.For a
  • New Infographic: The Bayh-Dole Act

    $1.3 trillion in economic output. Support for roughly 4.2 million jobs. The creation of more than 11,000 start-up companies. More than 200 new drugs and vaccines. This is the legacy of the Bayh-Dole Act, which for more than 35 years has empowered universities, small businesses and non-profit institutions to take ownership of innovations discovered through basic federally-funded research. Why? So these basic innovations may be developed into approved therapies that reduce suffering, treat the sic
  • Psychedelic Mushrooms Used As Treatment for Depression

    “Expand your mind, man!” was a popular phrase that arose from the 1960’s counterculture movement. However, it was most likely not referring to the specific neurochemical pathways within the brain that are associated with clinical depression. Yet now, investigators from Imperial College London have just published evidence showing that patients taking psilocybin—the psychoactive compound that occurs naturally in magic mushrooms—to treat depression show reduced symptom
  • Genetic Research Finds Studying and Embracing New Experiences Prolong Lifespan

    Keep studying and stay open to new experiences if you want to live longer, is one of the inferences of a major study that looked at the connection between genes, lifestyle choices, and longevity. The genome-wide association meta-analysis, carried out by scientists at the University of Edinburgh, included data from 600,000 people and their parents. The results indicated that every extra kilogram carried by an overweight individual cuts their life expectancy by about 2 months, whereas every extra
  • Genomic Wallflowers Join in Cell Identity Dance

    Keeping to the margins of the nucleus, many genes seem to be left out of the cell development dance. These genes, like wallflowers at the prom, might even appear to be physically tethered. In fact, according to a new study, they are physically tethered—but not always. There are times when the tethers are released and seemingly shy genes are drawn into the whirl of activity that drives cell differentiation. These genes may even alter the choreography within stem cells that determines whethe
  • Biogen Pays Ionis $10M as Phase I/IIa Trial Launched for Alzheimer's Candidate IONIS-MAPTRx

    Ionis Pharmaceuticals said today it has received a $10 million milestone payment from Biogen for launching a Phase I/IIa trial of the antisense drug the companies are codeveloping for mild Alzheimer's disease (AD)—a disorder riddled in recent years with clinical failures.IONIS-MAPT Rx is designed to selectively reduce the production of microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT) in the brain. The three-month randomized, placebo-controlled, dose escalation clinical study ( NCT03186989 ) is de
  • FDA Advisory Panel Unanimously Recommends Approval of Spark Therapeutics' Gene Therapy Luxturna

    Spark Therapeutics is on track to win FDA approval later this year to market the first gene therapy ever authorized to treat an inherited disease in the U.S., following an advisory committee’s unanimous recommendation yesterday in favor of the company’s Luxturna™ (voretigene neparvovec).The FDA’s Cellular, Tissue, and Gene Therapies Advisory Committee voted 16-0 to recommend approval of Spark’s lead candidate Luxturna, after concluding that the gene therapy’s
  • Make History at BIO 2018

    As we near the end of 2017, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on what an exciting time it’s been for the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry. It’s an important time to celebrate and highlight exciting innovations…and how we are making history every day.
    Twenty-five years ago, a small group of visionary scientists met in a hotel room to talk about the vast potential of biotechnology to change the world as they knew it. From those talks, BIO was born. Today, our f
  • ICYMI: Jim Greenwood Weighs In on the Future of Drug Pricing

    Rewarding for quality – not quantity – is becoming more and more common in health care. Providers are being compensated for services that reflect the benefits they provide and this “patients-first” model is seeing tremendous success across the industry.
    In an opinion piece featured in The Hill, Jim Greenwood, BIO’s President and CEO discussed the need for expanding the use and feasibility of a value-based arrangement for medicines:
    “Doctors and hospitals are i
  • GMO Safety Factor Prevents Fruitful Interbreeding in the Wild

    Biotechnologists have engineered a genetic barrier to sexual reproduction between otherwise compatible populations. The barrier is called synthetic incompatibility. It depends on programmable transcription factors and works something like a kill switch, one slipped into the genetic code of a sexually reproducing organism. When the organism produces hybrid offspring, this kill switch may activate genes that cause the offspring to die.This synthetic incompatibility has been developed by scientists
  • Scientists Generate 3D Map of Gut Microbiome

    Scientists have generated a rudimentary map of the human gut microbiome, which shows the spatial organization of different microbial species. The studies are the first to examine the three-dimensional landscape of gut microorganisms, according to researchers at the Forsyth Institute in Cambridge, MA, who led the research. “No one has looked at a complex microbial community in the gut this way before,” says Gary Borisy, Ph.D., a senior research investigator at the Foryth Institute. Th
  • Nestlé Health Science, Codexis to Develop PKU Enzyme in Protein Platform Partnership

    Nestlé Health Science will use Codexis’ CodeEvolver ® protein engineering platform through a multiproject partnership that includes Nestlé gaining an option for global development of Codexis’ lead biotherapeutic candidate, phenylketonuria (PKU) candidate CDX-6114, the companies said today.Using CodeEvolver—designed to enable rapid development of highly optimized proteins, custom-designed for specific applications—Nestlé Health Science aims to disc
  • Sound Off! Genes Critical for Hearing Identified

    We often take for granted the complex nature of hearing, as we just put on our headphones or turn up the radio in the car and lose ourselves in the rhythm of a good tune. Yet, within our ears and brains, a carefully orchestrated set of events interprets sound waves into something that can evoke emotion, movement, or deep contemplation. For many years, scientists have had a decent understanding of the mechanics behind hearing—at the cell biology level. However, much of molecular symphony-co
  • Sanofi to Expand Seasonal Flu Vaccine Manufacturing Site

    Sanofi said today it will carry out a €170 million ($201 million) expansion of its vaccine manufacturing site in Val-de-Reuil, France, that is intended to keep the company among leading makers of seasonal flu vaccines.The project, which includes construction of a new vaccine production facility, is designed to enable Sanofi Pasteur, the pharma giant’s global vaccines business unit, to expand its supply of VaxigripTetra ® to up to 70 countries in six continents.The new quadrivalent
  • Celebrating our Farmers on #NationalFarmersDay!

    On National Farmers Day, we celebrate the farmers and ag leaders who make our everyday life possible. While we don’t always think about how ag impacts our day to day lives, agriculture helps provide us with food, clothing, and shelter, as well as jobs. In fact, in 2015, 21 million full- and part-time jobs were related to agriculture – that’s around 11% of total U.S. employment!
    Farmers work hard to provide a safe and affordable food supply – the average farmer g
  • Biotech VC Eyes Record Year after Strong Q3

    The dollar value and number of biopharma venture capital deals continue at a potentially record clip heading into the final quarter of 2017.Investors raised $2.221 billion in 102 biotech VC deals during the third quarter, according to the most recent quarterly PwC/CB Insights MoneyTree™ Report, released Wednesday.That’s 12% less in dollars, and almost flat in number of deals, compared with the $2.516 billion in 104 deals recorded in Q3 2016. But the third quarter finished 36% higher
  • ICYMI: Drug Development is Complicated. Let’s Start with the Facts.

    Here’s a fact you might not have known: 90% of drug development programs fail. Yet a recent paper published by JAMA Internal Medicine attempts to tell a different story – one that neglects to consider the years of hard work and billions spent on R&D driving biopharmaceutical innovation.
    In a thoughtful Wall Street Journal opinion this week, Peter Pitts of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest shed light on the flawed study.
    “The authors admit that the selection cri
  • Lupin Acquires Symbiomix Therapeutics for $150M

    Lupin said today it has acquired Symbiomix Therapeutics for $150 million cash, in a deal designed to expand the buyer’s branded women’s health specialty drug business.In acquiring Symbiomix through its U.S. subsidiary, Lupin has exercised an option it retained earlier this year to buy the privately held developer of treatments for gynecologic infections.Lupin exercised its option just three weeks after the FDA on September 15 approved Symbiomix’s lead product Solosec™ (se
  • Hydrogel Helps Fight Rheumatoid Arthritis

    Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a long-term, autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and deformity of the joints—affecting close to 1% of the world’s population. While many researchers are focused on trying to understand better the biology of how RA begins, other scientists are developing improved technologies to alleviate the debilitating symptoms associated with the disease. To that end, scientists at the Center for Self-Assembly and Complexity, within the Institute for Basic Scie
  • MilliporeSigma Opens Burlington, MA, Campus

    MilliporeSigma has opened its new Life Sciences Center in Burlington, MA, a campus designed to function as a regional collaboration hub for the North American life science business of Merck KGaA.Nearly 1000 employees are based at the 280,000-square-foot campus, which contains a customer collaboration laboratory and training center as well as office space. The building is intended to serve as a global customer destination, housing a customer service and call center as well as a collaboration spac
  • Genetic Turnover High at DNA “Hotspots”

    The ability of bacteria to take a record of previous threats to its fitness via the uptake of some of the genetic material of the offender—known as its immunological memory—allows it to survive future attacks. Bacteria can gain this historical information via genetic exchange with other bacteria, as well—but the process of gene transfer itself can disrupt the rest of the genome. Thus, the very mechanism that protects bacteria—conferring resistance to antibiotics, novel vi
  • Broad Institute Wins $50M Commitment toward Early-Stage Drug Research

    The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard will receive more than $50 million from the healthcare-focused investment management firm Deerfield Management, through a partnership designed to translate early-stage research into new therapeutics for serious unmet medical needs.Deerfield, which manages approximately $8 billion in funds, has agreed to fund early-stage academic research at the Broad over an initial five-year period. Deerfield also agreed to provide “significant additional resources&r
  • Double Jeopardy at the PTO Threatens Healthcare Innovation

    There has been no shortage of commentary related to the efforts of Allergan to shield itself from the un-American threat of double jeopardy they have repeatedly faced through gamesmanship of the PTO’s Inter Partes Review (IPR) process.
    An op-ed by Allergan CEO Brent Saunders today in The Wall Street Journal demonstrates the unconventional steps the company has taken to protect itself from the flaws of IPR that are being “exploited by generic manufacturers and a new breed of reverse t

Follow @Biotech_News_AU on Twitter!