• Could Alzheimer’s be Triggered by Herpes Virus?

    Results from a major analysis of genetic and molecular networks in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients have suggested a role for two human herpesvirus species. The study, headed by a team at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, found increased levels of the two Roseoloviruses , human herpesvirus 6A (HHV-6A) and human herpesvirus 7 (HHV7), interacting with gene networks in areas of the brain that are known to be affected in AD. While the researchers are not claiming that
  • Fat Cell Suppressor Emerges from the Stromal Shadows

    Where fat cells originate, exactly, has been less than clear. Yes, fat cells have their precursors, such as adipogenic stem cells, but these tend to hide in the stromal vascular fraction, a shadowy region where cells of different types are hard to distinguish. To shine a bright light on stromal cells, scientists based at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETHZ) resorted to a technique called single-cell transcr
  • Six IPOs Raising More than a Half-Billion This Week

    Six biopharmas are raising more than a half-billion dollars gross this week through initial public offerings, five of which are planned for today—a sign that the IPO market remains robust, at least for now.The six are among 28 U.S. biopharmas that have launched IPOs this year, according to Brad Loncar, CEO of Loncar Investments, who tracks developments in cancer immunotherapy and the broader biopharma industry.Thirteen of those 28 IPO companies have seen their stock prices rise above their
  • Old TB Vaccine Improves Diabetes Blood Sugar Levels

    Investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have just released long-term data from a controversial study that used a generic vaccine for tuberculosis to reverse advanced type 1 diabetes. The MGH researchers showed that three years after receiving two administrations of the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine four weeks apart, all members of a group of adults with longstanding type 1 diabetes showed an improvement in HbA1c to near normal levels—an improvement that persis
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  • Breast Cancer Epigenetics Study Reveals Potential Drug Targets

    Cell lineages that culminate in mammary gland development may also lead to breast cancer. Although these lineages, as well as the stem cells and progenitor cells they comprise, have been subjected to extensive study, the perturbations of these lineages that increase the risk of breast cancer have remained obscure, frustrating the search for chemoprevention drugs. Consequently, scientists based at the Princess Margaret Cancer Center in Toronto took a closer look at mammary cell lineages. These sc
  • Inherited Pancreatic Cancer Gene Mutations Discovered in Patients with No Family History

    Only about 10 percent of all pancreatic cancer cases are associated with individuals that have a prior family history. Investigators at the Mayo Clinic have now uncovered clinical evidence suggesting that current testing guidelines miss genetic predisposition to cancer in the remaining 90 percent of pancreatic cancer patients. The researchers identified six genes containing mutations that may be passed down in families, substantially increasing a person's risk for pancreatic cancer. Findings fro
  • UCal and Partners Win U.S. Patent Related to CRISPR-Cas9

    The Regents of the University of California (UC), the University of Vienna, and Emmanuelle Charpentier, Ph.D., of the Max-Planck Institute in Berlin, have been granted a U.S. patent for intellectual property related to CRISPR-Cas9 genome-editing technology.According to the companies, U.S. Patent No. 10,000,772 covers methods of using optimized guide RNA formats (including single-guide and dual-guide formats) in certain environments, including eukaryotic cells (such as human, animal, and plant ce
  • RNA-Seq Identifies Asymptomatic Individuals Who Will Develop Active TB

    A research team headed by scientists at the Francis Crick Institute in London, U.K., has developed and validated a 20-gene signature that can discriminate active tuberculosis (TB) from latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) and can also predict if an asymptomatic, infected individual will go on to develop active TB. The research, including a small, prospective study involving 53 TB patients in the U.K. and their close contacts, could help develop strategies for diagnosing and treating TB-infected
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  • Two Vaccines Are Better Than One for Malaria

    The tenacity of the malaria parasite has all too often made it intractable to long-term therapeutic intervention. The development of parasite drug resistance is almost an inevitability, causing public health organizations to rethink treatment and prevention strategies. While vaccines would seem the most viable option toward long-term prevention and eradication, individual vaccines developed thus far have underperformed in larger populations tested. Yet now, investigators at Imperial College Lond
  • Synthetic DNA as Easy as 1-2-3 with One-and-Done Enzymes

    The best enzyme for de novo DNA synthesis may be one that is denied all its enzymatic attributes. Yes, it acts on a specific substrate. Yes, it catalyzes a chemical reaction. No, it does not exit the reaction unchanged—at least not right away, and not without assistance. Then it’s discarded, which may sound wasteful, except that it may prove less toxic and more efficient than conventional reagents used to produce synthetic DNA.This enzyme is called TdT, or terminal deoxynucleotidyl t
  • Novo Nordisk Inks Collab with Kallyope for Gut–Brain Axis Drug Discovery

    Novo Nordisk has announced a drug discovery collaboration with New York–based Kallyope to develop peptide therapeutics to treat obesity and diabetes.Under the terms of the agreement, the value of which was not disclosed, Kallyope will receive an up-front payment and research support in exchange for granting a option for Novo Nordisk to license exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize up to six products discovered in the collaboration. Kallyope will receive a license fee if N
  • Aggressive Brain Cancer Can Be Driven by Tumor Suppressor

    AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is involved in regulating cell metabolism and is largely thought to play a suppressive role in cancer. Research by scientists at the Cincinnati Children’s Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute has now indicated that the protein may represent a key driver of aggressive brain cancers, including glioblastoma (GBM). Their studies showed that blocking AMPK reduced the growth of GBM stem cells (GSCs) transplanted into the cerebral cortex of experimental mice, le
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  • GMOs Help Us Combat Global Food Security and Sustainability Challenges

    Every day, farmers around the world use GMOs to help combat threats to food and the environment. Whether helping to protect crop yields against plant diseases, weeds, pests, or to reduce water use, GMOs are one of modern agriculture’s many innovations that allow farmers to grow more food with fewer resources. A new blog post at the GMO Answers Medium page show exactly how:
    Research into GMO bananas could help save the crop in Africa, where is it a staple in the diet and under attack from d
  • FDA Lifts Clinical Hold on Solid Biosciences Trial for DMD Gene Therapy

    The FDA has lifted its clinical hold on Solid Biosciences’ Phase I/II trial for its lead candidate, the Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) gene therapy SGT-001, the company said today.Solid said it has begun activities to resume the clinical trial and plans to reinitiate enrollment “as quickly as possible,” after the FDA acknowledged in a letter that the company answered to its satisfaction all questions related to the clinical hold.“We are pleased to have been able to pro
  • Optogenetic Hack Advances Synthetic Morphogenesis

    A living organism, says the synthetic biologist, is the output generated by a tangle of interconnected subprograms. Naturally, the synthetic biologist wants to disentangle these programs and—to the extent possible—modularize them, so that they may be plucked from their ordinary, living contexts and put to work, harnessed for applications such as regenerative medicine. Adding to the synthetic biologist’s collection of parts, scientists based at the European Molecular Biology Lab
  • When Bacteria Create the “Warhead” for Their Own Destruction

    Researchers searching for new antibiotics may only need to look as far as other bacteria for inspiration, as investigators at the Scripps Research Florida Campus have found soil bacteria harboring a potential game-changer for drug design. While studying natural products made by various organisms, the researchers uncovered bacteria-derived molecules called thiocarboxylic acids, which they suggest could help build better drugs. The findings from the new study were published today in Nature Communi
  • Sanofi Agrees to Transfer Infectious Disease Unit, 100 Employees to Evotec

    Sanofi has agreed to transfer its infectious disease unit, and most of its research portfolio and initiatives, to Evotec for more than €60 million (nearly $70 million), in a deal that Evotec said today will more than double its workforce in the indication, and will transform it into a leading developer of anti-infective treatments.Evotec said it will license from Sanofi “more than 10” infectious disease R&D assets, comprising the majority of the pharma giant’s infectio
  • Microbiome Contributes to Obesity-Related Depression and Anxiety in Mice

    People with type 2 diabetes and obesity are known to more likely develop neuropsychiatric and mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression. Work in mice by researchers in the U.S. and Japan now suggests that bacteria in the gut—the microbiome—may contribute to depressive-type behaviors in animals with diet-induced obesity (DIO).The studies, headed by researchers at Harvard Medical School, found that animals fed a high-fat diet (HFD) exhibited increased signs of anxiety, depression,
  • Future Leaders in Biotechnology

    BIO’s International Convention was packed with compelling keynote speeches, and dozens of fireside chats and breakout sessions featuring global biotech and pharma leaders who discussed everything from trends in biotech dealmaking to the latest on Capitol Hill.
    But it’s not just the pursuit of the next breakthrough medicine or technology that our industry is focused on – we’re looking for the next brilliant scientist or savvy entrepreneur to help bring these cures across t
  • Microbiome-Lax May Relieve Constipation

    So great a need for constipation relief, so few constipation remedies. If only the estimated 4 million Americans who suffer from constipation had more options, particularly since dietary interventions so often fail. Additional options, new research suggests, may finally be on their way, in the form of genetically engineered probiotics.According to researchers at the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine, synthetic bacteria may spur the transit of food through the digestive system. The r
  • Aggressive Lymphoma Linked with JAK Inhibitor Use

    Small molecular inhibitors of the Janus kinase (JAK) signaling pathway have been developed of the past several years to effectively treat a host of disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and even cancer. Yet now, new evidence from investigators at the Medical University of Vienna has emerged describing how some patients taking JAK inhibitors to treat myelofibrosis—a rare bone marrow cancer in which too many blood cells are produced—may develop aggressive lymp
  • Teva Halts Phase III Trial of Fremanezumab in Chronic Cluster Headaches

    Teva Pharmaceutical Industries said today it will halt a Phase III trial of fremanezumab (TEV-48125) for chronic cluster headaches, after concluding that the study is unlikely to meet its primary endpoint of a reduced number of headaches.Teva said it is ending the chronic cluster headache trial ( NCT02964338 ) after a prespecified futility analysis showed that fremanezumab was unlikely to meet the study’s primary endpoint of mean change from baseline in the monthly average number of cluste
  • Always Follow the Science, Neurologica Blog Advises

    We know that the world is round because of science. We have an exceptional understanding of how gravity works, thanks to science. We also know that GMOs are safe for human consumption because of science. According to a Pew Center poll, 88 percent of scientists believe genetically engineered foods are safe. That’s more than the percentage of scientists who believe global warming is the result of human activity (87 percent).
    However, just like there are some outliers in the “world is r
  • Gene Expression Map Created of Cells in Aging Brain

    Researchers say they have mapped the gene expression of each individual brain cell during aging in the fruit fly. Their study (“A Single-Cell Transcriptome Atlas of the Aging Drosophila Brain”), published in Cell could lead to new insights on the workings of the brain as it ages, according to the scientists. “The diversity of cell types and regulatory states in the brain, and how these change during aging, remains largely unknown. We present a single-cell transcriptome atl
  • Sex Determination for Males Hinges on Gene Enhancer

    An international team of researchers says they have identified a key enhancer of Sox9 , a gene critical for male sex development, and demonstrated that deleting that noncoding DNA results in male-to-female sex reversal in mice. The study ( “Sex Reversal following Deletion of a Single Distal Enhancer of Sox9 ”)  published in  Science , deepens understanding of the normal process of sex determination in mammals and could also have important implications for patients
  • Key Enhancer of Gene Critical for Male Sex Development Identified

    An international team of researchers says they have identified a key enhancer of Sox9, a gene critical for male sex development,  and demonstrated that deleting that non-coding DNA results in male-to-female sex reversal in mice. The study ( “Sex reversal following deletion of a single distal enhancer of Sox9 ”)  published in  Science , deepens understanding of the normal process of sex determination in mammals and could also have important implications f
  • Senator Hatch Calls Out IPR Flaws

    During today’s Senate Judiciary hearing, Senator Orrin Hatch addressed the dysfunctional interplay of the inter partes review system with the well-established Hatch-Waxman patent review process.
    BIO shares Senator Hatch’s view that the unintended consequences created by the America Invents Act add unproductive litigation pressure on innovators and disrupt the balanced procedures that have historically made the Hatch-Waxman Act a success.
    Read the full remarks, as prepared for de
  • New Prostate Cancer Subtype Identified, Responsive to Immunotherapy

    Researchers in the U.S. and U.K. have identified a new subtype of prostate cancer that is characterized by loss of both copies of the CDK12 gene, and which an early clinical study showed can respond to immune checkpoint inhibitor drugs that commonly aren’t effective against prostate cancer. The new tumor subtype is characterized by mutations in both copies of the CDK12 gene and occurs in about 7% of patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC), although only about
  • Probiotic, Live Vaccine Both Curb Cholera

    New probiotic and vaccine-based interventions have been shown to suppress cholera in animal models, indicated two research articles, both of which appeared June 13 in the journal Science Translational Medicine . The probiotic intervention, developed by a team of scientists based at MIT, consists of a mix of natural and engineered Lactococcus bacteria. The vaccine-based intervention, developed by a team of scientists based at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BMH) and the Howard Hughes Medical
  • Shionogi, Sage to Partner on Developing Depression Drug in Three Asian Markets

    Shionogi & Co. will partner with Sage Therapeutics to develop and commercialize Sage’s SAGE-217 to treat major depressive disorder (MDD) and other indications in Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea, through a collaboration that could generate up to $575 million-plus for Sage.The companies said their collaboration is aimed at speeding up development in key Asian markets for SAGE-217.Shionogi and Sage disclosed their Asian collaboration last night, a day after Sage announced plans to launch a
  • Exosomes Shown to be Involved in Spread of Amyloid Beta in Alzheimer’s

    Researchers report that exosomes appear to play a key role in the spread of Alzheimer's disease in the brain. Long understood that the main task of exosomes was to help the cell get rid of waste products, it’s now known that exosomes can contain both proteins and genetic material, which other cells can absorb, explain the scientists.In a new study (“ Alzheimer’s disease pathology propagation by exosomes containing toxic amyloid-beta oligomers ”), published in Acta Ne
  • Melanoma Immunotherapy Most Effective in Older Patients

    A well-aged tumor microenvironment, of the sort found in older cancer patients, may be more susceptible to checkpoint blockade, a form of cancer immunotherapy. This finding, reported by scientists based at the Wistar Institute, suggests that “aging” the tumor microenvironment—by depleting it of immune suppressive T cells—could improve immunotherapy response rates for younger cancer patients.With each decade of life, the Wistar team discovered, the likelihood of progressio
  • Early Dementia Detected in Hypertensive Patients Using MRI

    Data over the past several years have pointed toward the hypothesis that hypertension is a prevailing risk factor for the development of dementia. While conventional neuroimaging techniques have provided some insight into the development of neurodegeneration, it is becoming clear that by the time brain damage is visible, it may be too late for therapeutic intervention."The problem is that neurological alterations related to hypertension are usually diagnosed only when the cognitive deficit becom
  • Flex Pharma Axes 60% of Workforce, Explores Sale after Halting Phase II Trials in ALS, CMT

    Flex Pharma lost two-thirds of its market capitalization after saying today it will eliminate approximately 60% of its workforce—about a dozen staffers—explore a possible sale of the company among strategic alternatives, and terminate Phase II clinical trials of its lead candidate FLX-787 in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT).Investors responded to the company’s news this morning with a selloff that sent Flex Pharma’s share price plunging 66
  • Greenwood comment on PABNAB

    BIO and BIO’s Board-level Workforce Development, Diversity and Inclusion (WDDI) Committee were disappointed that the planners of this year’s “Party at BIO – Not Associated with BIO” (PABNAB) included inappropriate entertainment. That decision does not reflect the values of this industry, BIO or the event’s sponsors.  At a time when our industry and BIO are determined to come together to embrace equality, confront unconscious bias, and condemn sexist attit
  • Testicular Cancer Mapped Genomically and Epigenomically

    Testicular germ cell tumors (TGCTs) are one of the most common type of cancer in young men of European descent and are considered to be among the most curable. Researchers for The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Research Network now report on the results of a comprehensive genetic and epigenetic analysis of 137 TGCTs, which has identified molecular features of the different types of TGCT. They suggest the findings could help to stratify patients and so improve treatment decision making, aid patient m
  • Parkinson’s Protein Transition Provides Insight into Disease Progression

    Researchers say they have completed a detailed brain cell analysis that has helped them to uncover new mechanisms thought to underlie Parkinson's disease. They believe their study ( “α-Synuclein Oligomers Interact with ATP Synthase and Open the Permeability Transition Pore in Parkinson’s Disease ”), published in  Nature Communications , adds to the growing understanding of the causes of Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases and could influence drug de
  • Could Psychedelic Drugs Treat Depression and Anxiety?

    Scientists in the U.S have demonstrated how psychedelic drugs such as 2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine ( DOI), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine ( MDMA),N , N -dimethyltryptamine (DMT), and lysergic acid diethylamide ( LSD), cause structural and functional changes in brain cells that could feasibly be harnessed to help treat depression and related disorders. Depression is known to cause the atrophy of neurons in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) in the brain, and  in vitro and in vivo studies by r
  • Addicted to Aggression? Brain Protein May Hold the Answer

    With apologies to Homer Simpson, we might prepare ourselves to hear, “It’s true! I’m an aggression-holic! I just can get enough aggression-hol!” Such a confession would be in keeping with a new neuroscientific finding—a protein known to accumulate in the brain’s reward center in response to pleasurable experiences, such as sex and other “highs,” also appears to be associated with aggression.Of course, the protein isn’t called aggression-hol.
  • Sartorius Inks Automation Cooperation Agreement with Siemens

    Sartorius Stedim Biotech and the Siemens technology group have agreed on a long-term cooperation arrangement in the area of automation.Under the terms of the agreement, Sartorius will preferably use Siemens automation technologies—including industrial PCs, the S7-1500 software controller, the TIA Portal, and the SCADA system Simatic WinCC. These hardware and software components will be employed in many Sartorius products and solutions for the development and manufacture of biopharmaceutica
  • Immunotherapy Biomarker Predicts Lung Cancer Response and Survival

    Targeted immune system–modifying therapies have seen a massive spike in attention recently—as these immunotherapies have been successful in helping patients that were intractable to other, more common treatments. Although successful, immunotherapies do not work for everyone and investigators continually seek to identify which patient populations to target. Now, researchers supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) have discovered how to better predict who will respond
  • Outlook for Biopharma M&A Remains Bullish into 2019

    At the start of the year, EY projected that President Donald Trump’s tax overhaul, growing competition among drug developers, and new sources of capital would drive this year's merger-and-acquisition (M&A) activity well past last year’s $200 billion annual volume of deals .All three are occurring, leading EY’s global biotechnology leader to stay bullish about the prospects for M&A deals during the second half of 2018 and into 2019.“We remain of the view that
  • Nasal Brush Identifies Genetic Biomarker of Asthma

    Scientists at Mount Sinai say they have identified a genetic biomarker of asthma that can be tested for using a simple nasal brush and basic follow-up data analysis. This inexpensive diagnostic test can accurately identify mild to moderate asthma and differentiate it from other respiratory conditions, such as allergic rhinitis, smoking, upper respiratory infection, and cystic fibrosis, according to the team led by a collaboration of clinical and computational scientists in the Department of Gene
  • "Surgery in a Pill" Developed to Mimic Benefits of Bariatric Surgery on Type 2 Diabetes

    Gastric bypass surgery is one of the most commonly performed weight-loss procedures in the U.S. and globally. As well as enabling patients to lose significant amounts of weight, the procedure is also better than drug treatment at managing type 2 diabetes (T2D), independently of weight loss. However,  while the surgery results in multiple benefits to patients, and improved quality of life, relatively few patients will go under the knife. A team headed by researchers at Brigham and Women
  • Prostate Cancer Risk Prediction Improved by DNA Test Sensitive to New Gene Variants

    New testing strategies for prostate cancer, including noninvasive saliva tests, may be close to hand, now that an in-depth study of DNA samples from more than 140,000 men has implicated 63 additional genetic variants in prostate cancer risk. By adding the newfound variants to previously known prostate cancer risk variants, scientists based at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), London, have devised a new test that can identify men who are most likely to develop prostate cancer.The new test c
  • Vical Halts Development of HSV-2 Vaccine after Phase II Failure

    Vical acknowledged today that it has halted development of its bivalent vaccine candidate for herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) after it failed a Phase II trial—the company’s second clinical setback this year involving a lead product.The HSV-2 vaccine missed its primary endpoint in the Phase II study ( NCT02837575 ) of annualized lesion recurrence rate calculated based on those genital recurrences that were both clinically and virologically confirmed during a minimum of nine months
  • Sanofi Pasteur, Translate Bio Launch mRNA Vaccine Partnership

    Sanofi’s global vaccines unit Sanofi Pasteur will partner with Translate Bio to develop mRNA vaccines for up to five undisclosed infectious disease pathogens, through a collaboration that the mRNA therapeutics developer said today could generate for it up to $805 million-plus.During the collaboration’s initial three-year research term, Translate Bio said, it will join Sanofi Pasteur in jointly conducting R&D activities to advance mRNA vaccines. Sanofi Pasteur agreed to pay for al
  • False-Negative Test Results Put Severe Influenza Patients at Serious Risk

    Scientists report that half of influenza cases in patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) received a false-negative rapid influenza antigen test (RIAT). Such results could delay antiviral therapy for patients who were in the ICU with severe influenza. The team’s study is being presented at ASM Microbe, the American Society for Microbiology's annual meeting, in Atlanta.The researchers, led by Po-Yen Huang, M.D., Chang-Gung Memorial Hospital, Taoyuan, Taiwan, performed a retrospec
  • Instantaneous Single-Cell Transcriptome Visualization

    Being able to see precisely when various genes are turned on and off, as well as spatially visualizing the whole transcriptome at once has been challenging for single-cell analysis. However now, Caltech investigators have just released findings on a major advance that allows scientists to image 10,421 genes at once within individual cells using a new technique, dubbed intron seqFISH (sequential fluorescence in situ hybridization). Results from the new study were published recently in Cell throug
  • Synthego Launches Engineered Cells Product Portfolio

    Synthego officials say they have launched the company’s Engineered Cells Portfolio with immediate access to Knockout Clone & Pool, and Advanced Cells. The Knockout Clone and Pool products enable single-click online ordering of any human cell line with a guaranteed CRISPR knockout, according to Paul Dabrowski, CEO.“This guarantee combined with simplified access to CRISPR modified cells eliminates the hurdle of learning new methods and optimizing protocols, allowing scientists to f

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