• Snacking Patterns in Children Linked to Genetic Variants in Taste Buds

    The choices that children make when it comes to snacking could have a strong genetic foundation. A new study from investigators at the University of Guelph in Ontario looked at connections between the genes of taste receptors and linked them to snacking patterns among preschoolers. Findings from the study were published in the journal Nutrients , in an article entitled “ Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms in Taste Receptor Genes Are Associated with Snacking Patterns of Preschool-Aged Children
  • Evolution of Engineered Organisms Constrains Bioproduction

    Organisms engineered to churn out valuable chemicals tend to slack off when they should be working most productively, after they’ve been introduced to large-scale fermentation vessels. But why? Some feel that large-scale vessels are plagued with physical inefficiencies. Some feel that in large populations of microbes, there are bound to be a few bad apples, phenotypic variants that feel they’ve got the right to coast. Eventually, these variants spoil the whole barrel, err…bior
  • Fate Therapeutics Wins $4M Grant to Advance NK Cancer Immunotherapy

    Fate Therapeutics said today it has won a $4 million California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) grant toward advancing one of its off-the-shelf engineered natural killer (NK) cell cancer immunotherapies into a first-in-human clinical trial.FT516 is derived from a clonal master induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) line engineered to uniformly express a novel CD16 Fc receptor that has been modified to enhance its binding affinity to immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies and prevent the rece
  • Anti-Inflammatory Mechanism Could Enable Induced Stem Cell Therapies for MS

    U.K. scientists have shown how induced neural stem cells (iNSCs) derived from skin cells can reduce chronic neuroinflammation in the brains of a mouse model of multiple sclerosis (MS), and could potentially be used to hold back or repair damage to nerve cells and myelin. The University of Cambridge team, co-led by Stefano Pluchino, Ph.D., in the department of clinical neuroscience, demonstrated that injecting either embryo-derived neural stem cells (NSCs) or iNSCs directly into the animals&rsquo
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  • Novel Approach to Cancer Immunotherapy Shows Promise

    Scientists from Johns Hopkins, using software from Insilico Medicine, say they have invented a new class of immunotherapeutics to fight cancer. The team published its study (“ Bifunctional Immune Checkpoint-Targeted Antibody-Ligand Traps That Simultaneously Disable TGFβ Enhance the Efficacy of Cancer Immunotherapy ”) in  Nature Communications .“A majority of cancers fail to respond to immunotherapy with antibodies targeting immune checkpoints, such as cytotoxic T
  • Highlighting History: South Korea Goes for Biotech Gold

    With the Olympic Games concluding this week in South Korea, the pomp and circumstances in Pyeongchang are certainly emblematic of the country’s place as an influencer on the global stage. However, the country has focused on more than winter sports these last few years. They have also developed a golden biotech industry focused on strong commercialization and global partnerships. With roughly 5% of the country’s GDP spent on R&D, the industry breakdown consists of 34% in the human
  • Protein Binding Takes a Walk on the Unstructured Side

    Proteins that bind with each other typically stick to the straight and narrow: well defined and highly structured binding sites. This convention is usually respected even by unstructured proteins, which commonly interact with well-structured binding sites on other molecules. Now, however, another kind of protein interaction has been observed, one that may transform our view of protein binding.Two intrinsically disordered proteins have been found to form a high-affinity complex that is itself uns
  • Zika as an Oncolytic Therapy for Brain Cancer?

    Tropical diseases aren’t typically where the mind goes when considering new therapies for aggressive brain tumors . However, if the results from a new study by researchers at the University of Campinas's School of Pharmaceutical Sciences (FCF-UNICAMP) in São Paulo State, Brazil hold up, then genetically modified Zika could become an alternative for treatment of glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive kind of malignant brain tumor in adults. Finding from the new study were publi
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  • New Type of Extracellular Nanoparticle Discovered

    International researchers headed by a team at Weill Cornell Medicine have identified a new category of nanoparticle messengers—dubbed exomeres—that shuttle molecules such as proteins, fats, and nucleic acids between cells, and could play a role in cancer development or how well patients tolerate chemotherapy. The nanosized exomeres, discovered using a state-of-the-art technique known as asymmetric flow field-flow fractionation (AF4), are produced by both normal and cancer cells, but
  • Kite, Sangamo Launch Up-to-$3B+ Cancer Cell Therapy Partnership

    Kite, a Gilead Company, will use Sangamo Therapeutics’ zinc finger nuclease (ZFN) gene-editing technology platform in a global oncology cell therapy collaboration that could generate up to $3.16 billion-plus for Sangamo, the companies said today.Kite plans to modify genes through Sangamo's ZFN technology in order to develop autologous and allogeneic next-generation cell therapies for different cancers. Those cell therapies would be “ ex vivo ”; cells would be removed from the b
  • Busting the Myth: GMO Corn Does Increase Crop Yields

    A recent study published by Scientific Reports, and expanded upon in an article by Paul McDivitt for the Genetic Literacy Project, affirms what scientists have often believed: use of GMO technology has increased crop yields.
    Instead of relying on single sources of data, the group of Italian researchers leading the study conducted “meta-analyses,” which requires sorting through hundreds of thousands of studies to draw surer conclusions. As McDivitt notes in his article about the study
  • Using Multiple Cell Lines to Manufacture Biotech Products

    Duke University scientists say they have created a framework for helping bioengineers determine when to use multiple lines of cells to manufacture a product. Their study (“ Metabolic division of labor in microbial systems ”), published in PNAS, could help a variety of industries that use bacteria to produce chemicals ranging from pharmaceuticals to fragrances, according to the researchers.“Metabolic pathways are often engineered in single microbial populations. Howeve
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  • Innovation (at Home and in the Lab) Can Reduce Your Heart-Attack Risk

    Over the last decade, I’ve become increasingly conscious of maintaining my cardiovascular health, making dietary changes and keeping my blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check. Heart disease is preventable and taking sensible steps can help a person dodge the number one killer in our country.
    It’s true that heart disease kills more Americans than any other cause, including cancer, and it claims more lives than strokes, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, influenza, pneumonia and acci
  • Epigenetic Icebreaker Opens Developmental Passages in T Cells

    Genetic regions, like the Arctic’s frozen wastes, may be all but inaccessible, posing a challenge to explorers, who live to map the unknown. Such explorers include researchers at the University of Pennsylvania led by Golnaz Vahedi, Ph.D., an assistant professor of genetics. Dr. Vahedi and her team decided to venture into “locked in” chromatin, where DNA is so tightly coiled that it remains outside the flow, beyond the reach of transcription factors.Well, not all transcription f
  • Cancer Initiation Events May Be Similar across Many Tissues

    Discovering commonality among disease states is no easy task, but it is an essential part of developing therapies that could have a much broader impact on the population. This strategy has been most difficult for cancer, which confusingly to some degree, is a collection of diseases grouped under one moniker. However now, investigators at Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM) in St. Louis have demonstrated that mature cells in the stomach sometimes revert to behaving like rapidly dividi
  • Drinking Red Wine May Help Prevent Tooth Decay and Gum Disease

    Prior research has found that drinking a glass of red wine a day may protect against cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and neurodegenerative disorders. The latest laboratory studies by researchers in Spain now suggest that the polyphenols in red wine could also protect against the bacteria that cause tooth cavities and gum disease. The research, headed by M. Victoria Moreno-Arribas at the Instituto de Investigación en Ciencias de la Alimentación (CIAL), in Madrid, is reported toda
  • Merck to Acquire Oncolytic Immunotherapy Developer Viralytics for $394M

    Merck & Co. has agreed to acquire Sydney-based Viralytics for approximately A$502 ($394 million), the companies said today, in a deal that expands the buyer’s immuno-oncology pipeline with a mid-stage oncolytic immunotherapy that has already shown positive clinical data in combination trials.Cavatak® (coxsackievirus Type A21, or CVA21), Viralytics’ lead product, is designed to preferentially bind to receptor proteins highly expressed on multiple cancer types, in order to kill
  • Registration is Now Open for 2018 BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology

    Registration for the 2018 BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology in Philadelphia, July 16-18, 2018 is now open! BIO’s World Congress is the world’s largest conference on industrial biotechnology. The event regularly attracts more than 1,000 global business leaders, investors and policy makers from over 30 countries and is the place to source potential collaborations, funding opportunities and find investors.
    BIO World Congress offers countless opportunities to showcase compan
  • Structure of Enzyme Discovered that Converts Ribonucleotides into Deoxyribonucleotides

    Researchers have uncovered the structure of an enzyme that is crucial for maintaining an adequate supply of deoxyribonucleotides in human cells. Their new structure also reveals the likely mechanism for how cells regulate the enzyme—ribonucleotide reductase (RNR). Interestingly, the mechanism appears to differ from that of the bacterial version of the enzyme, suggesting that it could be possible to design antibiotics that selectively block the bacterial enzyme."People have been trying
  • Lyme, Seven Other Tick-Borne Diseases Detected with New Serochip

    Ticks are on the march, expanding their geographic range and infecting more and more people. Yet tests that can detect tick-borne diseases (TBDs) have been developing at a crawl. Existing tests have limited diagnostic accuracy. Also, they cannot test for more than one infection simultaneously.A new and hopefully better test, the TBD-Serochip, has been developed by scientists based at Columbia University. The TBD-Serochip, the scientists report, is not only more accurate than existing tests, it i
  • Bacteria Out to Paint the Town

    “Going green” may have just taken on new meaning, with respect to paint colors at least, as a new study from a collaboration between the University of Cambridge and Dutch company Hoekmine BV shows how genetics can change the color, and appearance, of certain types of brightly colored bacteria. The team of investigators was able to unlock the genetic code behind some of the brightest and most vibrant colors in nature. Findings from the new study—published recently i n Proceeding
  • AbbVie, Voyager Launch Up-to-$1.1B+ Gene-Therapy Collaboration to Treat Alzheimer's, Neurodegenerative Diseases

    AbbVie will partner with Voyager Therapeutics to develop and commercialize gene therapies for Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases, through a collaboration that could generate more than $1.1 billion-plus for Voyager, the companies said today.The collaboration is intended to create one-time treatments by combining AbbVie's monoclonal antibody expertise, global clinical development and commercial capabilities with Voyager's gene therapy platform. That platform is designed to ge
  • Team Identifies New Genes Responsible for Facial Features

    Scientists from KU Leuven and the Universities of Pittsburgh, Stanford, and Penn State say they have identified fifteen genes that determine our facial features. Doctors could use DNA for skull and facial reconstructive surgery, forensic examiners could sketch a perpetrator's face on the basis of DNA retrieved from a crime scene, and historians would be able to reconstruct facial features using DNA from the past.The study (“Genome-Wide Mapping of Global-to-Local Genetic Effects on Hum
  • Blood/Urine Biomarker Tests Developed for Autism Spectrum Disorders

    Scientists at the University of Warwick, U.K., have developed biomarker-based blood and urine tests for autism spectrum disorders (ASD), which they suggest could enable much earlier diagnosis in children, and so speed the start of treatment. The approach, developed by a team headed by Naila Rabbani, Reader of Experimental Systems Biology at the University of Warwick, uses a computer algorithm to evaluate combined data on proteins that have been modified by damaging processes including oxidation
  • New Infographic: Balancing Need for Innovation with Competition

    It is an underreported fact that the time it takes for a generic medicine to come to market has remained steady at approximately 13.5 years for over two decades. And, once entering the market, generics are acquiring greater market share, faster than ever before.
    That’s why BIO is releasing its a new infographic, which highlights the highly successful effects of the Hatch-Waxman Act and the role it has played in balancing innovation and competition, as Congress intended.
    BIO supports c
  • Gene-Editing: How Do We Move Towards Acceptance

    As biotechnology continues to drive advancement in the way we grow and consume food, consumer skepticism around biotechnology remains steady. As I alluded to in Science Over Fiction: GMOS for Public Good, consumer skepticism is largely derived from misconceptions around the science behind biotechnology.
    For example, take the following survey results as noted in a piece from Agri-Pulse titled Are consumer ready to accept gene editing?
    A Michigan State University Food Literacy and Engagement Poll
  • BIO Unveils Refreshed Advocate Toolkit

    This past March, BIO launched DrugCostFacts.org, an interactive web tool designed to help policymakers, members of the media and the broader public access the best facts surrounding drug costs, spending and value. By featuring a series of commonly asked questions, as well as research and reading materials, BIO created a one-stop shop for answers to some of the most hotly debated questions regarding the important roles of biopharmaceutical innovation and prescription medicines in our nation&
  • BRCA1/2 Testing Protocols Vary Extensively Worldwide

    Researchers have understood for decades the importance that DNA repair mechanisms play in maintaining genomic integrity and keeping carcinogenesis in-check. For instance, the BRACA1/2 genes and protein products have been found to play a critical role in the development and outcome of breast and ovarian cancers. So important are these two genes that they become an integral part of breast and ovarian cancer diagnostics. Yet, a recent international survey of genetic testing labs shows that global p
  • Roche Expands in Personalized Medicine, Oncology with $1.9B Purchase of Flatiron Health

    Roche says expanding its presence in personalized medicine and oncology explains its planned $1.9 billion acquisition of Flatiron Health, a healthcare technology and services company whose offerings are designed to support cancer care providers and life science companies.Flatiron Health has developed the OncologyCloud ™ software suite, whose components include OncoAnalytics ® for deep clinical and business insights, OncoEMR ® for electronic medical record and workflow software, Onc
  • Common Blood Pressure Drug Found to Prevent Type 1 Diabetes

    A drug that is commonly used to treat high blood pressure in children and adults could potentially help to prevent the onset of type 1 diabetes (T1D) in up to 60% of at-risk patients, according to U.S. researchers.A team led by Aaron Michels, M.D., at the University of Colorado Anschutz (CU Anschutz) Medical Campus, and colleagues at the University of Florida in Gainesville, tested methyldopa in a small number of patients with recent-onset T1D who also carried the DQ8 version of a major histocom
  • Biodegradable Bandages Designed to Accelerate Regeneration of Damaged Tissues

    Researchers from the NUST MISIS University in Russia have developed a novel therapeutic material based on polycaprolactone nanofibers modified with a thin-film antibacterial composition and plasma components of human blood. Biodegradable bandages made from these fibers could accelerate the growth of cells, contributing to the regeneration of damaged tissues, as well as preventing the formation of scars in cases of severe burns. The results of this study were published in Applied Surface Science
  • ICYMI: Insights from my time with Vicki Sato at BIO CEO & Investor Conference

    At this week’s BIO CEO & Investor Conference the idea of saving the “best for last” certainly did apply. I had the great pleasure of moderating the final fireside chat with Vicki Sato, Chairman of Denali Therapeutics and Vir Biotechnologies, and co-Chair of Mayor de Blasio’s Life Sciences Advisory Council. Vicki’s career journey in the life sciences industry is as diverse as it is impressive, and she opened up to the audience about just a few of the successes an
  • Hepatitis B Infects Organ-on-a-Chip Platform

    For the first time, a real pathogen has instigated a real disease process in an artificial organ, and scientists are really, really pleased. As far as scientists are concerned, the whole point of an artificial organ—in this case, a liver-on-a-chip platform—is to simulate a real organ’s physiology, and that includes pathophysiology. By using an artificial liver to model the interactions between human tissue and an infectious agent—in this case, hepatitis B—scientists
  • Increased Dementia Risk Linked to Poor Cardiorespiratory Fitness

    We all know that slogging to the gym on a regular basis has positive effects on our future well-being. While this sentiment should seemingly be a motivating factor to keep oneself in shape, it tends to do little in the way of inspiring us to get out of bed early on those chilly winter mornings. Well, perhaps some new data from investigators at UT Southwestern's O'Donnell Brain Institute could cause a greater sense of urgency to improve our overall health. The researchers have just released new d
  • Blocking Single Enzyme in Mice Kills Tumors without Toxicity

    Scientists headed by team at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have identified a new approach to cancer therapy that involves blocking a single enzyme that plays a key role in how tumors respond to oxidative stress. Elias Arnér, Ph.D., and colleagues identified highly specific inhibitors of the selenium-containing TXN reductase 1 (TXNRD1) that were effective against multiple tumor types in mice, without showing any obvious toxicity to mitochondria or other cellular systems. Based on the
  • Oxford BioMedica, Bioverativ to Develop Lentiviral Vectors for Hemophilia Gene Therapy

    Oxford BioMedica said today it will partner with Bioverativ to develop and manufacture lentiviral vectors designed to treat hemophilia, through a collaboration that could generate up to $105 million-plus for Oxford BioMedica.Bioverativ—which is being acquired by Sanofi for approximately $11.6 billion —has agreed to license Oxford BioMedica’s LentiVector ® Enabled technology, as well as its industrial-scale manufacturing technology.LentiVector is a lentiviral-based gene deli
  • Save the Date: Human Genome Editing Webinar with NAS/NAM, FDA on February 22

    DNA defines who we are. And like anything else, sometimes there are mistakes – mutations in genes that can cause life-lasting conditions. But what if broken genes could be repaired? How many patients could we help in the years ahead? This is the promise and possibility of genome editing.
    In 2017, as part of their Human Gene-Editing Initiative, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and National Academy of Medicine (NAM) released a consensus study exploring the scientific underpinnings of h
  • Study Suggests Novel Approach to Osteoarthritis Therapy

    Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) report why the risk of osteoarthritis increases as we age. They also describe a new approach for developing new therapies to maintain healthy joints.The study (“ FoxO transcription factors modulate autophagy and proteoglycan 4 in cartilage homeostasis and osteoarthritis ”), which appears in Science Translational Medicine, suggests that FOXO proteins are responsible for the maintenance of healthy cells in the cartilage of our joints.
  • Happy Valentine‚Äôs Day: Biotechnology is Good for the Heart

    With today being Valentine’s Day and February being American Heart Month, and today being Valentine’s Day, there’s no better time to explore how biotechnology has benefited one of mankind’s most vital organs, the heart.
    Question: When was the first American Heart Month? (read to see answer below)
    We often view the heart as a representation of love and joyfulness, but heart complications have plagued man for some time. According to the American Heart Association, in t
  • The Remedy to Beating America‚Äôs Opioid Crisis

    Opioid abuse and addiction is one of the worst public health crises America has ever faced. The solution, however, has never been clearer: innovation can help get our nation back on track. In an op-ed published today by Morning Consult, Dr. Jeremy Levin, Chairman and CEO of Ovid Therapeutics outlines three steps toward a solution to combating this devastating public health crisis – and it depends on America’s biopharmaceutical community.
    We need better science. As a nation, we first
  • FDA‚Äôs No. 2 Official Sounds Off on Right to Try, Opioid Crisis

    During his first State of the Union address two weeks ago, President Donald Trump expressed his belief that patients with terminal conditions should have access to experimental drugs that could potentially save their lives, saying, “It is time to give these wonderful Americans the right to try.”
    During a fireside chat yesterday at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference in New York, FDA Principal Deputy Commissioner Rachel Sherman shared her thoughts on the Right to Try debate and
  • Time of Death of Crime Victims Clocked by Gene Expression

    Scientists at Spain’s Center for Genomic Regulation weren’t so interested in forensics—not at first. Instead, they were focused on subtracting postmortem artefacts from tissue-specific analyses of gene expression, so that results from postmortem tissues could be correlated with results from live tissues. These results tend to differ because even after death our genes continue to be expressed, with some genes producing transcripts more falteringly than others, until at last ever
  • Alzheimer‚Äôs Disease Reversed in Mouse Model

    With a large swath of the population entering its senior years, the number of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) cases are expected to skyrocket, placing a tremendous burden on the healthcare system. Yet, a glimmer of hope may have just emerged as investigators from the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute (CCLRI) report that gradually depleting an enzyme called BACE1 completely reverses the formation of amyloid plaques in the brains of mice with AD, subsequently improving the animals' cogniti
  • BMS, Nektar Ink Up-to-$3.6B Immuno-Oncology Combination Therapy Collaboration

    Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) will partner with Nektar Therapeutics on a combination cancer immunotherapy collaboration that could generate up to $3.6 billion-plus for Nektar—potentially the second-most-valuable immuno-onoclogy partnership ever launched.The companies agreed to co-develop Nektar’s lead immuno-oncology program NKTR-214 in combination with BMS’ marketed cancer immunotherapy Opdivo ® (nivolumab), as well as a combination of NKTR-214 with both Opdivo and BMS’
  • Aging Clues Found in Stem Cell Ribosomal DNA

    Studies in fruit flies have shown how cells in the offspring of older fathers can replace copies of genes that have been lost due to aging. The findings by Yukiko Yamashita, Ph.D., a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, and colleagues at the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute provide clues as to how some cells could overcome genomic shrinkage that appears to occur as an organism ages. If the same results can be confirmed in humans, they could offer a new level of understandi
  • Reprogramming Fibroblasts into New Heart Cells

    Researchers reported important molecular details that could lead to the development of new heart cells. In a study (“Initiating Events in Direct Cardiomyocyte Reprogramming”) published in  Cell Reports , two labs at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill UNC and a team at Princeton University reprogrammed fibroblasts into new and healthy heart muscle cells and recorded changes that appear to be necessary for this reprogramming.“Direct reprogramming of fibroblast
  • The Art of the Biotech Deal at BIO CEO & Investor Conference

    Professionals from all areas of biotechnology convened for the 20th annual BIO CEO & Investor Conference held at New York’s Marriott Marquis February 12th and 13th. Looking for deals, partnerships and collaborations, attendees participated in BIO One-on-One Partnering™, networked, listened and learned during a busy two days.
    As one of the largest investor conferences focused on established and emerging publicly-traded and select private biotech companies, the event drew an enthus
  • #BIOCEO18: Tackling the Opioid Crisis

    Opioid addiction is plaguing communities across the country, leaving in its wake countless victims, devastated families and economic ruin. Long-term solutions to combating this crisis will depend upon biomedical innovation and the development of novel and safer, next generation therapies to treat both pain and addiction.
    Exploring the challenges involved in this space was a lively panel session on day two of the 2018 BIO CEO and Investor Forum. Moderated by Michael Detke, MD, PhD, Chief Medical
  • #BIOCEO18: A Bright Future

    “A transformative year in medicine.” That’s how BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood recently described 2017, a year that marked government approval of new gene therapies targeting leukemia in children and young adults, lymphoma in adults and a rare form of hereditary blindness. These treatments are transforming the landscape of modern medicine, and they are also raising questions about how to ensure these more costly, one-time therapies remain accessible and affordable for pati
  • Stripped Nerves Reinsulated via Epigenetic Modulation

    When nerves are damaged by the immune system, they lose some of their myelin, a protective coating that is, for unknown reasons, hard to restore. Myelin repair, a new study indicates, is controlled by an epigenetic mechanism that may be subject to therapeutic control. Potential drugs have even been identified. With further development, these drugs could help people who suffer nerve damage caused by autoimmune disease.The new findings were uncovered by scientists based at Cincinnati Children's Ho

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