• Countering an Epigenetic Factor May Subdue Pancreatic Cancer

    A pancreatic cancer cell can alter its identity and become more aggressive—more motile, more invasive, more resistant to chemotherapy, and more imbued with “stemness.” Such a profound shift in identity, reasoned Genentech researchers, might occur at the epigenetic level, where regulatory molecules may control the expression of many different genes. These researchers screened hundreds of epigenetic factors and identified one, a histone methyltransferase called SUV420H2, that see
  • Feeding Overcrowded Bacteria Increases Antibiotic Susceptibility

    Antibiotics are commonly ineffective against chronic, hard-to-treat infections caused by bacteria that are present at very high densities. Studies by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have now suggested why these overcrowded pathogenic organisms become tolerant to treatment and  demonstrate how feeding the bacteria with extra nutrients to stimulate respiratory metabolism renders them more vulnerable to quinolone drugs."Given that the number of new antibiotics be
  • Live-Cell Microscopy Reveals How Cell Movement is Driven

    In science, it’s difficult to predict where the next discovery will emerge. While researchers hope that their grant-funded research will be fruitful, sometimes impactful findings can arise from seemingly unlikely source—which is what investigators at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) recently encountered. Two new studies, which began as a student project in the MBL Physiology Course and were developed in the MBL Whitman Center, show how cells respond to internal force
  • Syros Pursues Combination Development for Lead Candidate after Phase II Miss

    Syros Pharmaceuticals said it will pursue development of its lead candidate SY-1425 (tamibarotene) in a combination therapy after acknowledging that only one of 48 evaluable patients achieved complete response to the treatment alone in an ongoing Phase II trial.The results—presented during the 59 th American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting and Exposition in Atlanta—disappointed investors, touching off a selloff that sent the price of Syros shares falling about 50% in prema
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  • Inhibiting Key Nutrient Sensing Pathway May Reverse Age-Related Stem-Cell Loss

    Researchers from Stanford University, the Buck Institute, Columbia University, and the USCF School of Medicine, report that TOR, a nutrient sensing pathway which is critical to the aging process, drives the loss of adult stem cells. Treating mice with the TOR-inhibitor rapamycin prevented this loss and could reverse age-related loss of stem cells in mouse trachea, say the scientists who published their study (“ mTORC1 Activation during Repeated Regeneration Impairs Somatic Stem C
  • CSL Behring Australia and National Blood Authority Sign New National Fractionation Agreement for Australia

    thumbnail CSL Behring today announced that it has signed an
    agreement with the National Blood Authority, representing all Australian governments, to continue to
    provide the community with a world-class and secure supply of plasma-derived therapies manufactured in
    Australia. 
  • New Data Reaffirms Positive Trend in Prescription Drug Spending

    Earlier this year, BIO launched DrugCostFacts.org to help explain how our drug cost ecosystem works and to ensure accurate, well-sourced information on prescription drug costs is available to policymakers, the media and the broader public. It’s important to get the facts straight, or else the consequences could be detrimental to patients and the future of biomedical innovation.
    Fortunately, there are times when the facts speak for themselves. That’s true for new data on health care s
  • BGI Genomics, Sanguine to Partner on Precision Medicine Trial Database

    BGI Genomics and Sanguine BioSciences said they will partner to develop a database combining genomic and clinical data, with the goal of accelerating patient recruitment for precision medicine clinical trials, through a partnership whose value was not disclosed.The companies said their first project will entail a collaboration designed to help clinical trial developers access searchable whole-genome and electronic medical record (EMR) data of more than 1000 patients diagnosed with rheumatoid art
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  • CRISPR/Cas9 Edits Epigenome with Therapeutic Efficiency

    The kindest cut may be no cut or, in the case of genome editing, no double-strand break (DSB). Although a DSB in DNA is the usual result when the CRISPR/Cas9 genome-editing system is used, modified versions of CRISPR/Cas9 avoid cutting into the genome and instead manipulate the epigenome. Rather than change genes—and risk introducing potentially harmful mutations—epigenome-targeting CRISPR/Cas9 systems change gene expression.Such epigenome-targeting CRISPR/Cas9 systems could have the
  • Gilead, Kite to Acquire Cell Design Labs for Up-to-$567M, Growing CAR-T Footprint

    Gilead Sciences and its Kite cell therapy subsidiary have agreed to acquire Cell Design Labs for up to approximately $567 million, in a deal designed to grow the buyers’ footprint in chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) and other cellular therapies.Gilead and Kite said the deal will enhance their R&D efforts with new technology platforms, allowing both to speed up the development of next-generation cell therapy candidates.Based in Emeryville, CA, Cell Design Labs focuses on develop
  • For Some Chaperones, Stability Comes in Pairs

    Chaperone molecules are an important part of protein dynamics for daily cellular function. Misfolded proteins are nonfunctional and can cause cell damage. To prevent this, cells have evolved an arsenal of chaperones that assist with folding and carry out protein quality control. Just like an acrobatic duo, some proteins lend each other stability, which is exactly what researchers at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel have discovered happens for a specific Escherichia coli chaperone called
  • Scientists Identify Target for Tackling Checkpoint-Inhibitor Resistance

    Scientists have uncovered a mechanism by which tumors can become resistant to treatment with checkpoint inhibitors including anti-programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) and anti-programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) antibodies, and suggest one way of reversing that resistance, by blocking the cytokine transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β).The discovery is based on findings from the 300-patient IMvigor210 biomarker study, the results from which led to FDA approval of the anti-PD-L1 antibody
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  • Diabetics Can Better Monitor Blood Glucose Levels via Novel Smartphone Approach

    University of California-San Diego researchers say they have developed a smartphone case and app that could make it easier for patients to record and track their blood glucose readings, whether they're at home or traveling.Currently, checking blood sugar levels can be a hassle for people with diabetes, especially when they have to pack their glucose monitoring kits around with them every time they leave the house."Integrating blood glucose sensing into a smartphone would eliminate the need for p
  • Charles River Labs Licenses CRISPR/Cas9 IP from ERS Genomics

    Charles River Laboratories has expanded its available CRISPR/Cas9 offerings to include both technologies at the center of the bitter legal battle over who first invented the genome-editing application.Charles River has licensed from ERS Genomics nonexclusive access to ERS’s CRISPR/Cas9 patents, which are based on the technology that, in turn, ERS has licensed from holders of a European patent granted in March —namely the Regents of the University of California (UC), the University of
  • Cancer Drug Provides Neuroprotection for Huntington’s Disease

    A drug already used to treat certain forms of cancer may also be an effective therapy for Huntington's disease (HD), according to a new study led by investigators at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). The same study also increases our understanding of how this drug (bexarotene), and other medications like it, may offer hope for other neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and Parkinson's disease.Findings from the new study were publ
  • DNA Origami Creates the World's Smallest Mona Lisa

    Scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have created what is possibly the world’s smallest Mona Lisa, using a mosaic of individual tiles of folded strands of DNA that, when viewed under atomic force microscopy (AFM), appears unmistakably as the enigmatic face of Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting. The technique, developed by researchers in the laboratory of assistant professor of bioengineering Lulu Qian, Ph.D., builds on the original DNA origami technology de
  • Quanterix Set to Launch IPO, with Expansion and SR-X Rollout in Mind

    Quanterix today plans to launch an initial public offering (IPO) of at least $64 million, with the proceeds set to be used in part toward expanding commercial operations and supporting the planned rollout next year of its new Quanterix SR-X Ultra-Sensitive Biomarker Detection System™.Gross proceeds of the IPO could rise to $73.75 million if underwriters of the offering exercise in full their 30-day option to purchase up to 641,280 additional shares of common stock at the IPO price, less th
  • Expansion of CSL Biotech Facility Drives Advanced Manufacturing Growth and Creates Victorian Jobs

    thumbnail Leading global biotherapeutics company CSL Limited (ASX:CSL), today officially opened a new AUD$230 million advanced manufacturing facility at its CSL
    Behring site in Broadmeadows with the assistance of Victorian Minister for Industry and
    Employment, Ben Carroll, MP. 
  • Mitochondrial DNA Varies between Mitochondria within Individual Cells

    To find better ways of diagnosing and treating mitochondrial diseases, scientists sift through mitochondrial DNA—and they have just started to use a very fine screen. At the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, researchers led by James Eberwine, Ph.D., have developed a means of sequencing the DNA of individual mitochondria. The researchers have used this method, single-mitochondrion sequencing, to detect previously indiscernible—and likely meaningful—variability in mi
  • Fate Therapeutics, UC San Diego Launch CAR NK Cancer Immunotherapy Collaboration

    Fate Therapeutics said today it will develop off-the-shelf, chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-targeted natural killer (NK) cell cancer immunotherapies through a research collaboration with the University of California, San Diego.The collaboration—whose value was not disclosed—will be led by Dan S. Kaufman, M.D., Ph.D., director of cell therapy at UC San Diego School of Medicine and a professor of medicine in the school’s Division of Regenerative Medicine.On November 30, Dr. Kaufm
  • UMD's Dr. Rita Colwell Awarded 2017 International Prize for Biology

    The 33 rd International Prize for Biology has been awarded to Rita Colwell, Ph.D., Distinguished University Professor, University of Maryland. She was cited for her outstanding contributions to marine microbiology, bioinformatics, and the understanding and prevention of cholera.Dr.  Colwell, whose career bridges the disciplines of microbiology, ecology, infectious disease, public health, and computer and satellite technology, continues to be a leader in bioinformatics, notably in understand
  • Trace Element in Drinking Water Slows Alzheimer’s Death Rate

    Researchers at Brock University in Ontario have recently found an interesting correlation between Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and drinking water—and no, it doesn’t have to do with the government lacing the water with mind-altering compounds. The researchers collected statistics on the levels of lithium in drinking water in 234 counties across the state of Texas. The investigators compared lithium levels naturally found in tap water with AD mortality rates, along with the incidence
  • After FDA Approval, Novo Nordisk Eyes 2018 Launch for Once-Weekly Diabetes Treatment Ozempic

    Novo Nordisk says it is planning to launch its once-weekly type 2 diabetes treatment Ozempic ® (semaglutide injection) early in 2018 following approval yesterday by the FDA.Ozempic is a glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist indicated as an adjunct to diet and exercise. The agency authorized the marketing of Ozempic six weeks after the FDA’s Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee recommended approval of the therapy by a 16 to 0 vote with one abstention.The advi
  • Multiple Myeloma Patient Survival Associated with ADAR1 Enzyme Levels

    Scientists at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine report that high ADAR1 enzyme levels correlate with reduced survival rates among patients with multiple myeloma. They also determined that blocking the enzyme reduces multiple myeloma regeneration in experimental models derived from patient cancer cells. The study (“ Alu-dependent RNA editing of GLI1 promotes malignant regeneration in multiple myeloma ”), published  in  Nature Communicati
  • Biomarker Screen Improves Accuracy of Chemical Genotoxicity Testing

    An international research team has developed an in vitro  transcriptomic biomarker that can predict, with up to 90% accuracy, whether a drug candidate or other chemical compound is likely to cause the type of cellular injury that can lead to cancer. The TGx-DDI biomarker comprises a panel of 64 transcribed genes that reflect cellular stress response due to DNA damage. And unlike current genotoxicity assays, which demonstrate high rates of false-positive results for cancer risk, the TGx-DDI
  • “Resolvin” Cancer Cell Debris: Clearing Every Litter Bit Improves Therapy

    Conventional cancer therapy can generate a dangerous mess—dying, dead, and disintegrating cancer cells. As the cancer cell debris piles up, it worsens the tumor microenvironment, which becomes proinflammatory and even starts promoting tumor growth. The debris, however, needn’t be left to accumulate like so much roadside trash. It can be cleared away by resolvins, molecules that occur naturally in the body and are currently entering clinical development.Tidying up the debris-strewn tu
  • Old Antibiotic Repurposed to Treat TB

    Tuberculosis (TB) remains a global public health threat and a leading cause of death worldwide, therefore finding new drugs to effectively control and treat the disease is paramount. Now, new research from scientists at the University of Warwick and The Francis Crick Institute could help tackle TB and other life-threatening microbial diseases more effectively, thanks to an old antibiotic. Findings from the new study—published today in Nature Communications in an article entitled “ In
  • Opioid Decline Sparks Depomed Job and HQ Cuts, Up to $540M Commercialization Deal with Collegium

    Depomed said it will cut about three-quarters of its sales force and 40% of its headquarters staff following a planned relocation next year, as it adopts a new business model away from reliance on opioid pain drugs—reflected by an up-to-$540 million-plus commercialization deal disclosed yesterday.Depomed has granted commercialization rights to its top selling products—the Nucynta ® (tapentadol) opioid franchise, including its extended-release and immediate-release forms—to
  • Voting Opens for BIO CEO and Investor Conference “Buzz of BIO” Contest

    Finalists in each of three categories have been named in this year’s Buzz of BIO contest at the 2018 BIO CEO & Investor Conference.
    Meet this year’s nominees and vote for your favorite innovative biotech companies in the “Public Therapeutic Biotech”, “Private Therapeutic Biotech”, and “Diagnostics and Beyond” categories. A Buzz of BIO winner in each category will receive a complimentary BIO CEO & Investor Conference conference registra
  • Novel Drug Shows Promising Results in Alzheimer’s Model

    Scientists report that a novel small-molecule drug, which works by stopping toxic ion flow in the brain that is known to trigger neuronal apoptosis, can restore brain function and memory in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The team believes the drug could be used to treat AD and other neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and amyotropic lateral sclerosis (ALS)."This is the first drug molecule that can regulate memory loss by directly blocking ions from leaking throug
  • CSL and Vitaeris Announce Strategic Partnership with Option to Acquire

    thumbnail CSL Limited (ASX:CSL; USOTC:CSLLY) and Vitaeris Inc. (Vitaeris) today announced that they have entered into a strategic collaboration and purchase option agreement to expedite the development of clazakizumab (an anti-IL6 MAB, formerly ALD518) as a therapeutic option for solid organ transplant rejection. 
  • CSL Confirms Phase 3 Clinical Trial of New Therapy for Heart Attack Survivors

    thumbnail Global biotherapeutics leaderCSL (ASX:CSL) today announced that it will proceed with a Phase 3 clinical trial for CSL112, the company’s novel therapy for reduction of early recurrent cardiovascular events in heart attack survivors. The decision has been made subject to final agreement with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on important elements of the study design. 
  • High School Senior Wins GMO Innovation Contest

    This September, GMO Answers launched the GMO Innovation Contest, an online video contest that challenged consumers to submit a 15- to 30-second video answering the question, “If you could use biotechnology to solve any food problem around the world, what would it be and why?” The contest kicked off GMO Answers’ annual Get to Know GMOs Month and encouraged anyone to “Get to Know GMOs” by showcasing real-world problems facing our food supply and food production system
  • Epigenetic Surgery Can Reactivate Genes without Butchering DNA

    If DNA is to go under the knife, the cuts should be made with a scalpel, not a cleaver. For example, DNA bases may need to be relieved of the methyl groups they’ve accumulated during gene-silencing reactions. Excising the entire methylated base and replacing it with a demethylated base risks damaging the DNA. It appears, however, that a relatively delicate procedure may suffice to reactivate DNA that has been silenced via methylation.At Ludwig-Maximilians-Universit ä t (LMU) in Munich
  • Mustang Bio Launches CRISPR/Cas9 CAR-T Collaborations with Harvard, BIDMC

    Mustang Bio said today it plans to develop CRISPR/Cas9 -enhanced chimeric antigen receptor engineered T-cell (CAR-T) therapies for cancer through a license from Harvard University and a research collaboration agreement with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC).The value of both agreements was not disclosed. CRISPR stands for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats.Mustang Bio, a subsidiary of Fortress Biotech, said that technologies related to the development of off-the
  • Graphene Nano Tweezers Developed to Ensnare Individual Biomolecules

    Having the ability to trap single biomolecules accurately could lead to revolutionary handheld disease diagnostic systems that could be run on smartphones—enabling clinicians to diagnose and treat disease almost anywhere rapidly. Now, a new study from investigators the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering could make that diagnostic vision a reality very soon. Researchers from the new study found yet another remarkable use for the wonder material graphene, creating tin
  • Five Life Sciences Researchers Win Breakthrough Prizes Totaling $15M

    Five life sciences researchers were honored last night as winners of the 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences.The Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences honors “transformative” advances toward understanding living systems and extending human life. One prize is dedicated to work that contributes to the understanding of neurological diseases.Prizes of $3 million each were presented to:• Joanne Chory, Ph.D., of Salk Institute for Biological Studies, and Howard Hughes Medical Insti
  • Former Senator Kyl: Abuse of the Patent Review Hurts American Innovation

    Earlier this week The Hill ran an op-ed by Former Arizona Senator Jon Kyl in which he condemned them continued erosion of America’s patent system. This is particularly noteworthy, given that Kyl was an architect of the America Invents Act (AIA), one of the most significant changes to America’s patent system ever.
    Kyl noted that while the AIA brought about many important and long overdue changes, he regrets that its creation unwittingly spawned a new form of gamesmanship and abus
  • Your Genes Might Blow Your Diet

    We are all aware that what we eat can have a major impact on our health, but new research by scientists in the U.S. suggests that our genes may influence which type of "healthy" diet will be best for each one of us. “Dietary advice, whether it comes from the U.S. government or some other organization, tends to be based on the theory that there is going to be one diet that will help everyone," says David Threadgill, Ph.D., at the Texas A&M College of Medicine and College of Veterinary M
  • CRISPR Rules When It Obeys the CRISPR Rules

    When the gene-editing system known as CRISPR is used, DNA breaks occur fairly reliably, but not DNA repairs—specifically, the repairs that are supposed to insert synthetic donor DNA. But repairs may be more likely to “stick,” say Johns Hopkins scientists, if donor DNA is designed properly.The scientists suggest that homology-directed repair, the usual mechanism for knockin of new genetic material, is more efficient if a few design rules are followed. In a nutshell, the rules ar
  • FDA, CMS Approve Foundation Medicine's Solid Tumor Test with Proposed Coverage

    Foundation Medicine has gained FDA approval and a concurrent coverage proposal from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for its FoundationOne CDx™ cancer test, a companion diagnostic designed to detect genetic mutations in 324 genes and two genomic signatures in any solid tumor type.FoundationOne CDx is a next-generation sequencing (NGS)-based in vitro diagnostic (IVD) device created to detect substitutions, insertion and deletion alterations (indels), and copy number al
  • Esophageal Cancer Linked to Specific Types of Oral Bacteria

    Scientists at NYU Langone Health's Perlmutter Cancer Center say that at least three kinds of bacteria in the mouths of Americans may heighten or lower their risk of developing esophageal cancer. Their study (“Oral Microbiome Composition Reflects Prospective Risk for Esophageal Cancers”), which appears in  Cancer Research , analyzes data from two national studies involving more than 120,000 patients.“Bacteria may play a role in esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) and esoph
  • Protective Alzheimer’s Gene Variant Discovered

    Sometimes going against the grain produces positive results, and scientific research is no exception. This is the approach that a collaborative team of investigators, led by scientists at Brigham Young University (BYU), took while searching for novel treatments for Alzheimer’s disease (AD)."Instead of identifying genetic variants that are causing disease, we wanted to identify genetic variants that are protecting people from developing disease," explained lead study investigator Perry Ridg
  • Synthetic Biology Forges Boron–Carbon Bonds in Living Cells

    As awesome as Nature’s molecular machinery may be, it can’t accomplish many of the tasks routinely carried out by chemists. For example, chemists play with chemical bonds unknown to biology. Yet chemists shouldn’t be complacent. They may find themselves outpaced by living systems engineered to synthesize compounds that were never produced outside laboratories.By pitting an engineered bacterial process against a conventional chemical synthesis, a team of scientists based at the
  • microRNA Gel Helps Damaged Hearts Get to a Better Beat

    University of Pennsylvania researchers have developed an injectable hydrogel that can deliver microRNAs (miRNAs) directly into heart muscle, triggering proliferation of cardiomyocytes after a heart attack and helping recovery in mouse models. The scientists hope that the technology might represent a new therapeutic approach that exploits miRNAs to promote self-repair of the heart, and potentially other tissues, after injury. “We're seeing a change in approaches for regenerative medicine, u
  • Sanofi Taking $118.5M Charge, Seeks Restrictive Label for Dengue Vaccine

    Sanofi said it expects to take a fourth-quarter charge “in the range of €100 million” ($118.5 million) to reflect lowered projected sales for its pioneering dengue vaccine Dengvaxia ® after long-term clinical trial data showed the vaccine could increase the severity of the disease in people who were not previously infected.Sanofi cited an analysis of six years of clinical data for its revised finding that Dengvaxia—the world’s first approved vaccine for dengue&md
  • Optogenetic Studies Get Major Boost from Advanced Novel Microscope

    Scientists from Harvard report the development of a new microscope that greatly improves researchers’ ability to study how neurological disorders such as epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease affect neuronal communication. The microscope is optimized to perform studies using optogenetic techniques that use light to control and image neurons genetically modified with light-sensitive proteins."Our new microscope can be used to explore the effects of different genetic mutations on neuronal functio
  • New Report Shows Outsized Impact of Tech-Based Startups on U.S. Economic Growth

    A newly released report from the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) demonstrates the outsized impact that technology-based businesses and startups have on U.S. economic growth, driving increased employment, innovation, exports, and productivity growth.
    The report, How Technology-Based Start-Ups Support U.S. Economic Growth (the Executive Summary maybe found here), underscores the importance of ensuring that entrepreneurship policy focuses on spurring the creation of tech-b
  • Biotech Investment and Deal-making are Front and Center at #BIOCEO18

    The business of making life-saving treatments is fraught with setbacks, challenges and failures. Along the way, new discoveries may pivot searches in new directions. Failures are not necessarily the end of the journey, and with each setback, new data is added to future research. Consider the recent CAR-T cell immunotherapy approvals by the FDA, ushering in a new era of exciting new medicines. These therapies have been in development for a least two decades requiring sustained infusions of cash a
  • Like It or Not, Africa’s Future Lies in GM Crops

    Short-sighted opposition to biotechnology leaves farmers across the continent at the mercy of pests, disease and worse, writes Matt Ridley in The Times:
    An even more dangerous foe than Robert Mugabe is stalking Africa. Early last year, a moth caterpillar called the fall armyworm, a native of the Americas, turned up in Nigeria. It has quickly spread across most of Africa. This is fairly terrifying news, threatening to undo some of the unprecedented improvements in African living standards of the

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