• BIO Comments on Objectives for U.S. Japan Trade Agreement

    BIO supports the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) negotiations with the Government of Japan as an opportunity to grow U.S. exports and create U.S. jobs. We would strongly urge the U.S. government to build on the recent U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement and that the agreement comprehensively addresses the biotechnology sector as an engine for growth for both economies, and in particular to ensure that Japanese health system promotes rather than hinders innovation and access to new medicines.
  • Nobel Prize-Winning Chemists: Misguided GMO Fears Could Hinder Technology’s Societal Benefits

    On Friday, December 7, two winners of the 2018 Nobel prize for Chemistry – American chemical engineer Frances Arnold and British biochemist Sir Gregory Winter – expressed concern that misguided fears about genetically modified (GM) foods could hinder the many societal benefits the technology offers and curtail important scientific developments.
    According to The Guardian, the comments were made at a press conference ahead of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Award Ceremony.
  • Interactive Map Displays Strength of Industry’s National Footprint

    BIO’s biennial economic development and jobs report focuses on the economic progress and national footprint of the bioscience industry. As the industry’s go-to resource for performance, positioning and trends, this important reference tool for advocacy and messaging demonstrates the value of the industry’s consistent record of generating high-quality jobs for decades.
    This strong performance is due to the vital and wide-ranging collaborations between industry partners, universi
  • BIO Hosts Embassy Briefing on International Economic Development

    Last week BIO hosted embassy representatives from over 25 countries to debut a new report that highlights strategies, policies and best practices that have been successful in creating an environment in which biotechnology innovation can flourish around the world.
    The 5th edition of the Building the Bioeconomy report shows the correlation between economies with pro-innovation policy frameworks and those achieving strong biotechnology outputs. By examining 28 different indicators ranging from publ
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  • The Administration’s Orwellian Defense of Importing Foreign Price Controls

    The Trump administration is out with a new blog post defending its plan to adopt foreign price controls for medicines covered under Medicare Part B. The blog was written in the wake of growing backlash from free-market thought leaders who are challenging the administration’s draconian proposal.
    The latest blog post from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) includes numerous inaccuracies, with the chief example being the distorted view of how drugmakers set their prices in

    Source: Cornell Alliance for Science
    New research suggests that the type of yield gains made possible by genetic engineering (GE) will be needed to offset climate change impacts on agriculture.
    The researchers said their study, published yesterday in Environmental Research Letters, has “important implications for regions lagging in the adoption of new technologies which could help offset the detrimental effects of climate change.”
    Though agricultural productivity in Africa and Asia i

    Source: ABC Landline
    It’s being described as a possible game changer for farmers and even the pastoral industry in northern Australia — the resurgence of cotton.
    The CSIRO has predicted that if 15,000 hectares of the crop were grown in the Ord region of the Kimberley, it would be worth $80 million.
    If the same was done in Queensland, beef spin-offs would grow that figure to $340 million…
    The turning point was the development of a genetically modified cotton variety called Boll

    Source: phys.orgExtreme drought is one of the effects of climate change that is already occurring. This year, the decrease in rainfall and the abnormally hot temperatures in northern and eastern Europe have caused large losses in cereals and potato crops and in other horticultural species. Experts have long warned that to ensure food security, it is becoming necessary to use plant varieties that are productive in drought conditions. Now, a team led by the researcher at the Center for Research in
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    Source: The Scientist
    The US Department of Agriculture has announced it would deregulate a strain of cotton that university researchers had genetically engineered to carry low levels of poisonous gossypol in its seeds. The idea is that the modified cotton’s seeds could be grown for food.
    Cotton is known for its white fibers that can be woven into soft fabrics. But for every pound of fluffy, white lint, the plant produces 1.6 pounds of peanut-size seeds. Those seeds contain high levels

    Source: The Guardian
    An ambitious international project to sequence the DNA of every known animal, plant and fungus in the world over the next 10 years has been launched.
    Described as “the next moonshot for biology”, the Earth BioGenome Project is expected to cost $4.7bn (£3.6bn) and involve reading the genomes of 1.5m species.
    “Having the roadmap, the blueprints … will be a tremendous resource for new discoveries, understanding the rules of life, how evolution wor
  • Beyond Labels: 10 Things You Should Know About GMOs

    As the new federal guidlines for disclosure of bioengineered foods (in the form of the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Law) are expected to be announced soon, let’s take a look at what you really need to know about genetically modified organisms, genetically modified crops, and genetically modified foods.
    Walk into any grocery store and you’ll see lots of different labels plastered across a variety of food packaging. And without additional information accompanying th
  • Global Carbon Project Reports 2018 Record Year for Carbon Emissions. Airlines Look To Change That

    In a trio of scientific papers released by the Global Carbon Project at a climate summit in Poland, the Project’s researchers report that in 2018 global emissions of carbon dioxide reached the highest levels on record.
    The report flies in the face of presumed progress that has been made since climate change became a high priority worldwide—a priority that became even more solidified in the historic 2015 Paris Agreement.
    But, as we covered in a blog highlighting various
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  • Greenwood Talks Innovation, Drug Pricing, and the Midterm Elections on ForbesBooks Radio

    During the Forbes Healthcare Summit, BIO CEO Jim Greenwood joined Gregg Stebben, host of ForbesBooks Radio, for a discussion about innovation taking place in the biopharma industry, the cost and value of prescription medicines and how the recent midterm elections may impact the drug pricing debate.
    “The latest indications are that for every $1 we spend on medicines, we save $2.50 in health care costs,” Greenwood explained. “Those who are [determined] to reduce the costs spent o
  • Think the Drug-Pricing debate addresses Patient Costs? Think again.

    Writing for The Hill, BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood tackled the drug pricing debate in Washington and touched on President Trump’s proposals for lowering drug prices.
    On the Administration’s recent International Pricing Index (IPI), which would move from a market-based payment formula for Medicare Part B drugs to one based on foreign prices, Greenwood explains:
    “Importing foreign price controls will take a wrecking ball to our global leadership in drug innovation. It may
  • Greenwood: Think the Drug-Pricing debate addresses Patient Costs? Think again.

    Writing for The Hill, BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood tackled the drug pricing debate in Washington and touched on President Trump’s proposals for lowering drug prices.
    On the Administration’s recent International Pricing Index (IPI), which would move from a market-based payment formula for Medicare Part B drugs to one based on foreign prices, Greenwood explains:
    “Importing foreign price controls will take a wrecking ball to our global leadership in drug innovation. It may
  • What’s the Buzz on Non-GMO Booze?

    GMOs have been proven safe to consume time and again. Yet fearmongering persists, and is now threatening the happiness of your happy hour.
    Recently there have been several corporate producers of vodka that have decided to make their products from non-GMO crops. Smirnoff, in particular, has made videos and a rather large ad campaign highlighting that their product is now made with non-GMO corn and has always been gluten free. To be clear, corn doesn’t have gluten in it, so this claim is sim
  • Claims of Gene-Edited Twins Met with Criticism and Concern

    As the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing wraps in Hong Kong this week, breaking news dominated much of the conversation.
    Specifically, a Chinese scientist claims to have used CRISPR-Cas9 — the groundbreaking genome editing technology — to tweak the DNA of human embryos, which resulted in the birth of twin girls.
    The news was met with criticism from stakeholders across the health care spectrum, which included deep concerns from the
  • Boston Globe: Need for High-Tech Food and Policies to Match Undeniable

    Last June, BIO hosted its 2018 International Convention in Boston. The week-long conference featured countless discussions related to biotechnology in health, industrial processes and, of course, food and agriculture.
    During the day-long food and agriculture programming, titled Food, Health and Environmental Future Day, several industry experts, including government officials, company spokespeople, researchers, farmers and even movie producers, harped on the urgency to advance foo
  • Alzheimer’s Awareness Month: Hope on the Horizon

    Did you know that more than 5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease? If that number doesn’t shock you enough, this one might: by 2050, the Alzheimer’s Association projects that number to skyrocket to nearly 14 million.
    As November comes to an end and we reflect upon Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, it’s important that we recognize the progress that’s been made over the years. While it’s true there is no “silver-bullet” c
  • Innovations in Biotechnology to Save the Climate

    Editor’s Note: As part of BIO’s 25th Anniversary celebration we will be spotlighting biotechnology innovations that have made a major impact over the past 25 years. This “Innovation Series” will publish on the 25th of every month throughout 2018. In the ninth installment we spotlight food and agriculture biotechnology. 
    Earlier this Fall, the United Nations raised the alarm on the world’s collective progress in meeting the climate
  • This Thanksgiving, We’re Thankful for Modern Agriculture

    Thanksgiving dinner as we know it wouldn’t be possible without modern agriculture and GMOs. These technological advancements also give us an abundance of food choices that can be sold at more affordable prices, not just during the holiday season, but all year long.
    In a new blog post on the GMO Answers Medium page, volunteer expert and registered dietitian Leia Flure explains, in plain language, just how modern agriculture, from GMOs to selective breeding, has had an impact on your Thanksg
  • 2019 Will Bring New, Healthier Foods. All Thanks to Gene Editing

    Starting in 2019, shoppers will be able to buy products such as salad dressings and granola bars that are healthier thanks to gene-editing.
    In an article for the Associated Press, reporter Lauren Neergaard dives into the promising potential of gene-editing as it is used in both plants and animals to make better products for human consumption.
    “By early next year, the first foods from plants or animals that had their DNA ‘edited’ are expected to begin selling. It’s a diffe
  • Another Year, Another Misleading Insurance Company Report

    Once again, Blue Cross Blue Shield is out with a report attempting to stoke fear and confusion about prescription drug costs. And once again (because we’ve chronicled it before) what the major insurance company has to say is contradicted by its own pharmacy benefits manager.
    These drug cost middlemen, also known as PBMs, manage prescription drug benefits on behalf of health plans. It just so happens that Blue Cross Blue Shield plans own one of the largest PBMs in the country – Prime
  • #BIOWC19 | BIO Now Accepting Proposals for New Programming at 2019 World Congress in Des Moines

    When writing about the mid-western region of the United States – states whose borders help shape the trajectory of the Mississippi River – Mark Twain coined it as the “Body of the Nation.” He continued, “All the other parts are but members, important in themselves, yet more important in their relations to this.”
    Twain’s words on the region often referred to as “America’s Heartland” have never been truer. States like Iowa are driving inn
  • Survey Says: Solutions to Combat Against Antimicrobial Resistance Needed

    Writing for The Hill, Dr. Cynthia Sears, president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), discussed the looming threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and highlighted new survey data revealing that Americans are counting on Congress to step in and support efforts to combat against it.
    The survey, commissioned by Research!America in collaboration with the IDSA and supported in part by Pfizer, shows that nearly two-thirds of Americans (65%) say antibiotic resistance is a threat to
  • Lame Duck Is Now in Session; Time to Fund Farm Bill’s Energy Title Programs

    The Farm Bill’s energy title programs provide significant support to the companies and manufacturers that contribute to American’s bio-based economy – an economy that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has found contributes $393 billion to the overall U.S. economy, generating 4.223 million jobs. One such program is the USDA’s BioPreferred® Program, legislatively known as the Biobased Markets Program.
    The BioPreferred® Program helps establish a market for companies
  • BIO Celebrates 300 Biotech IPOs since Enactment of the JOBS Act

    The biotech industry recently realized its 300th IPO since the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act was enacted in 2012. This marks an important milestone for our young and quickly growing industry, culminating in $25 billion raised by promising companies developing potentially life-saving medical advances. Over 18 percent of these companies have a lead drug candidate that targets a rare disease, and companies developing novel therapeutics to address cancer, neurology disorders, and infect
  • Through International Support, U.S. Has Opportunity to Align Own Agencies on Precision Biotech

    On Friday, November 2, the U.S. government joined 12 other nations in supporting policies that enable agricultural innovation, including gene editing.
    This support was reflected in a statement titled “The International Statement on Agricultural Applications of Precision Biotechnology,” which was led by Argentina and released at a meeting in Geneva at the World Trade Organization Committee on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures. Both the U.S. Department of State and
  • You May Not Like Gmos, but Our Planet Sure Does

    In a new blog post at the GMO Answers Medium page, GMO Answers volunteer expert Dr. Elizabeth Hood details the benefits of GMOs for growers, consumers and the environment. She explains how genetically engineered crops help not just farmers and consumers, but the planet, too.
    She writesThe first GE plants had new characteristics that made them resistant to environmental conditions. One of the very first improved crops through genetic engineering saved the papaya industry in Hawaii.
  • Patient and Health Advocacy Summit: Ensuring Patient Access and Affordability

    In a world of continual innovation in biopharmaceuticals, how do we ensure patients have access to the medicines that work to meet their individual needs?
    On Day 1 of BIO’s Patient and Health Advocacy Summit, a group of health care stakeholders joined Merck’s Dr. Julie Gerberding for a discussion about the importance of understanding policies that may stand between patients, and the treatments they need. Panelists included:Carl Schmid, The AIDS Institute
    Donna Cryer, Global Liver Ins
  • Illumina Adds Long-Read Capabilities with Planned $1.2B Acquisition of PacBio

    Illumina has agreed to acquire Pacific Biosciences for approximately $1.2 billion, in a deal designed to expand the sequencing giant’s offerings with PacBio’s long-read sequencing technologies.The companies said their deal will create a sequencing powerhouse that will combine Illumina’s short-read technologies with PacBio’s long-read sequencing capabilities more suitable for de novo sequencing and sequencing of highly homologous regions of genomes.The complementary offeri
  • Zika Biomarkers Could Lead to Prenatal Diagnostic

    Investigators at USC believe that after immunoprofiling a number of symptomatic Zika virus positive (ZIKV + ) pregnant patients and extensive multiplexing analysis of their cytokine levels that they have identified a panel of biomarkers that are “specifically associated with symptomatic ZIKV + infection during pregnancy.” This is an important discovery that could lead to screening tests and a better understanding about how the infection leads to fetal abnormalities. Findings from the
  • Appetite Suppressants Identified Using Zebrafish Larva and Fluorescent Prey

    Scientists in Switzerland and the U.S. have developed a drug discovery platform for psychoactive drugs that exploits the behavior of zebrafish larvae. The high-throughput approach, initially focused on identifying new appetite-suppressants, is designed to help discover compounds that have the most potent effects on desired zebrafish larva behavior—in this case feeding—while simultaneously weeding out compounds that affect other behaviors that are suggestive of side effects.In studies
  • Novel Two-pronged Method Targets Cancer Cells’ Telomerase and Chromosomes

    An international team of researchers has developed a new technique for identifying potential cancer drugs that could streamline the development of therapies. The team devised a way to screen potential drug compounds to select those that interfere with tumor cells in two ways.Their study (“ Systematic Analysis of Compounds Specifically Targeting Telomeres and Telomerase for Clinical Implications in Cancer Therapy ”), published in Cancer Research , seeks to build on an existing method
  • It Starts with One—Presentation at BIO 2018 Leads to International Agreement

    A recently announced agreement between the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and the Israel Innovation Authority is a fitting testament to the theme for the upcoming BIO 2019 International Convention: It Starts with One.  In the intensely innovative biotechnology space, one meeting; one interaction; one study, one partnership, one discovery, or one presentation can change the trajectory of progress.
    On October 11, 2018, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and the Israel In
  • Sanofi, Denali Launch $1B+ Alliance to Develop RIPK1 Inhibitors for Neurological, Inflammatory Diseases

    Sanofi will partner with Denali Therapeutics to develop its receptor-interacting serine/threonine-protein kinase 1 (RIPK1) inhibitor candidates as treatments for neurological and systemic inflammatory diseases, Denali said, through a collaboration that could generate more than $1.125 billion for the South San Francisco, CA, biotech.Denali’s RIPK1 inhibitor pipeline consists of candidates designed to target RIPK1, a signaling protein in the TNF receptor pathway that regulates inflammation a
  • Conjoined Cells Form a Potent Immunotherapy Combo

    Shackled together, stem cells and platelets may help us escape cancer, report UCLA scientists. In the scientists’ new study, the cancer is leukemia, and the defiant ones include a guide, a hematopoietic stem cell (HSC), and a drug carrier, an engineered platelet. The guide brings the duo into bone marrow, and the drug carrier delivers checkpoint inhibition therapy.In experiments with mice that had acute myeloid leukemia, the UCLA team found that their unusual combination therapy halted the
  • European Consortium Wins €3.7M to Develop, Study Models of Neurological Disorders

    A research consortium has won €3.7 million ($4.2 million) from the European Union to create and apply advanced cellular models of neurological disorders caused by acute or progressive loss of brain cells—including Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and demyelination disease.The Advanced Stem Cell Training Network (ASCTN) consists of Plasticell, which announced the funding yesterday, as well as the Karolinska Institute, San Raffaele Hospital, Cardiff University, Uni
  • No Appendix Equals Decreased Parkinson’s Risk

    In science, the mantra “correlation does not equate causation” is a cornerstone of proper data analysis and hypothesis formation. Yet, for researchers, this code is not a stopping point, but often a springboard to dive more deeply into the data and discover the mechanisms that led to the curious findings. When the data is supported by a patient population of almost 2 million, it probably means your on to something that’s more than just a statistical artifact. This is most certa
  • Parkinson's Disease Drug That Cools "Brains on Fire” Could Enter Human Trials in 2020

    Researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia have identified a small molecule that can stop the progression of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and improve motor function in multiple mouse models. The team says human trials with an optimized compound could start within the next couple of years.The prototype molecule, MCC950, blocks an immune system target, the NLRP3 inflammasome, which the researchers' investigations showed is activated in the brains of PD patients and animal models. T
  • Amyloids Shown to Also Play Beneficial Role in Developing Healthy Muscle Tissue

    Scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder report that amyloid proteins, long considered to be key drivers in many neuromuscular diseases, also play a beneficial role in the development of healthy muscle tissue.Ours is the first study to show that amyloid-like structures not only exist in healthy skeletal muscle during regeneration, but are likely important for its formation, says co-first author Thomas Vogler, an M.D./Ph.D. candidate in the department of molecular, cellular, and developme
  • CDC Issues Risk Advisory on Dressing Chickens For Halloween, Biotech Chickens May Help

    What do chickens have to do with Halloween? Well, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the likelihood of contracting a harmful bacterium, such as salmonella, increases when dressing a chicken in a Halloween costume. This makes sense because any contact with a live animal, especially a bird, presents the chance for transmission of viruses from animal to human.
    However, this claim caused quite the stir yesterday when news outlets incorrectly reported on the CDC&rsquo
  • Ophthotech Expands Eye Disease Pipelines of Small Molecule, Gene Therapy Candidates

    Ophthotech has expanded its eye disease treatment pipeline today by acquiring a small-molecule, age-related retinal disease therapy developer, as well as launching its third gene therapy collaboration, which will focus on treating the rare retinal disorder Best vitelliform macular dystrophy (Best disease).Ophthotech said it has acquired Inception 4, a privately-held “build-to-buy” company backed by Versant Ventures, and launched in 2013 by Versant with Bayer. Build-to-buy companies a
  • Nip, Tuck, CRISPR: Gene Editing Could Give Plastic Surgery a Lift

    Cleft palates. Grievous wounds. Lost hands or faces. All could be repaired more completely than is currently possible if genetic editing were to become an integral part of plastic and reconstructive surgery. This possibility is receiving serious consideration now that CRISPR gene editing, a powerful research tool, is being developed for clinical applications. CRISPR could also enhance cosmetic interventions, by modifying genetic targets implicated in hair loss and the aging of skin. Also, the hu
  • Early Liver Cancer Detection through Glycolytic Genes

    The advantages of early detection in cancer screening cannot be overstated. Mountains of evidence exist showing the importance of intervening quickly not only to halt the spread of disease but also that survival rates improve dramatically for nearly all forms of cancer. Yet, identifying early markers of cancer remains a challenge for scientists. Although now, investigators at Brunel University London and the University of Leeds have just published new evidence that could offer hope for identifyi
  • Fear in Mind: Coping Mechanism Identified in New Brain Region

    Scientists at Texas A&M University have identified a region in the brain that is involved in inhibiting fear, and which could feasibly lead to new therapeutic strategies for psychiatric disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  Studies in rats by Stephen Maren, Ph.D., and colleagues have found that a small region of the thalamus known as the nucleus reuniens (RE) plays a key role in suppressing fear responses. Previous work had indicated that this part of the brain
  • New Work Opens Door to Manipulating Aberrant Calcium Signaling in Immune System

    Scientists at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI) have reported additional work on  how calcium-sensing protein STIM1 signals that it's time to initiate calcium retrieval and then relays that message to the calcium channel ORAI. This research, says the team, lays the groundwork for novel ways to manipulate aberrant calcium signaling in the immune system, particularly in the context of autoimmune or inflammatory disease. We've known for a decade that STIM1 protein move
  • Opportunities for Patient and Health Advocates

    Last week, the seventh annual Patient and Health Advocacy Summit brought  hundreds of patient advocates, industry experts and policymakers together to engage on important issues facing the patient community.
    The summit concluded with a session on patient-focused drug development (PFDD) with distinguished panelists representing diverse perspectives: Paul Hastings, President and CEO of Nkarta Therapeutics; Laurie Burke, MPH, Founder of LORA Group; Cartier Esham, PhD, EVP of Emerging Companies
  • GrĂĽnenthal Acquires Partial Rights to Nexium, Vimovo from AstraZeneca for Up-to-$922M

    Grünenthal has agreed to acquire AstraZeneca's European rights to Nexium (esomeprazole) and the pharma giant’s rights to Vimovo® (naproxen/esomeprazole) worldwide except the U.S. and Japan for up to $922 million, the companies said today.The deal reflects both Grünenthal’s intent to expand its pain therapeutics business across multiple categories and territories worldwide—and AstraZeneca’s ongoing streamlining of its drug pipeline.This acquisition is the big
  • Microbes Engineered to Model Endosymbiosis

    Even if the well-known endosymbiotic theory is right, and once free-living single-celled organisms evolved to become organelles within larger cells, much remains unexplained about how, exactly, microbes came to cooperate so intimately with each other. For example, if endosymbiotic bacteria evolved to become mitochondria, they presumably lost much of their genomic content along the way. To recapitulate the genomic streamlining of endosymbiotic bacteria, and possibly other evolutionary processes,

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