• Boehringer Ingelheim Axes 244 More U.S. Jobs

    Boehringer Ingelheim has confirmed that it has eliminated 244 additional positions in the U.S. since July, three-quarters of them based at its U.S. headquarters in Ridgefield, CT.The pharma said the job cuts consisted of 64 sales positions nationwide and 180 headquarters positions—of which 120 were in small-molecule Discovery Research and the other 60 in administrative functions.In a statement, Boehringer Ingelheim said the layoff of the Ridgefield-based small-molecule researchers followed
  • Engineered Flu Virus a Replicative Dud, but Stays Live

    By genetically tweaking the constituent live virus, scientists have created a vaccine against influenza in which the virus is capable of activating the immune system but cannot replicate in healthy cells - an approach that may become more widely used for generating live virus vaccines adapted to other viruses. The vaccine proved effective in mice, guinea pigs and ferrets. A major challenge in developing viral vaccines is incorporating enough of the virus to elicit an immune response, while not a
  • Parkinson’s Disease and Gut Microbiome Linked

    Only a few decades ago, it would have been largely inconceivable that resident microbes of our digestive tract would play a significant role in neurological diseases. Though roughly 75% of patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) have gastrointestinal (GI) abnormalities, primarily constipation, it had been assumed for many years that this was a side effect of neurodegeneration. However, in recent years, researchers have begun to uncover important links between microbial communities of the gu
  • Takeda Spins Out Research Team into Neuroscience Startup

    Takeda Pharmaceutical has spun out its 25-person neuroscience research team in Cambridge, U.K., joining with Lightstone Ventures to help launch Cerevance, a new company focused on developing new treatments for neurological and psychiatric disorders.Cerevance will be led by Mark Carlton, Ph.D., who until now has been president and CSO of Takeda Cambridge. The company’s resources include a portfolio of preclinical and clinical-stage drug programs, lab space, and access to a new technology cr
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  • Survey of Approved Drugs Intended to Shed Light on Potential New Therapies

    Researchers have created a map of all 1578 licensed drugs and their mechanisms of action as a means of identifying "uncharted waters" in the search for future treatments. Their analysis of drugs licensed through the U.S. FDA reveals that 667 separate proteins in the human body have had drugs developed against them—just an estimated 3.5% of the 20,000 human proteins.And as many as 70% of all targeted drugs created so far work by acting on just four families of proteins, thus leaving va
  • White Wine Pairs Better with Melanoma

    “A bottle of white, a bottle of red, perhaps a bottle of rose instead,” Billy Joel croons in his famous song "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant." However, you may want to skip that bottle of white according to a new study from researchers at Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School. The findings from the new study showed that alcohol intake was associated with higher rates of invasive melanoma among white men and women. Moreover, white wine carried the most significant a
  • House Overwhelmingly Approves 21st Century Cures Act

    The U.S. House of Representatives last night passed by a wide bipartisan margin the 21 st Century Cures Act, sending to the Senate a measure intended to speed up approval of new drugs and maintain U.S. leadership in research, while tackling a host of disease and health priorities ranging from cancer to the opioid epidemic.By a 396 to 26 vote, the House approved an amended version of the legislation it passed last year, only to see the measure stall in the Senate after key committees decided to s
  • Why Testicular Tumors Are So Vulnerable to Getting Hit with Chemo

    It’s the oncological version of the groin attack, but unlike the groin attacks seen in America’s Funniest Home Videos, it’s no laughing matter. The “it” in this case is testicular cancer’s extreme sensitivity to chemotherapy. Given the potentially grave consequences of testicular cancer, the effectiveness of a chemotherapeutic groin attack does not inspire guffaws or even sympathetic winces, but rather expressions of grim satisfaction—and a determination
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  • Parker Institute, CRI Partner to Develop Cancer Immunotherapies

    The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy and the Cancer Research Institute (CRI) said today they will partner to develop new personalized, targeted cancer immunotherapies—specifically, a new class of neoantigen vaccines. The Tumor neoantigEn SeLection Alliance (TESLA) includes 30 cancer neoantigen research groups from universities, companies, and nonprofits. The collaboration aims to help participants test and continually improve their mathematical algorithms for analyzing tumor
  • World AIDS Day: Untreatable to Beatable

    I was just starting my first year in the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 1981 when the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a troubling report describing a strange lung infection that had crippled the immune systems of five young men in Los Angeles. The CDC called it “pneumocystis pneumonia.”
    As it turns out, these were the first officially recorded cases of the global AIDS epidemic.
    By the time I left the statehouse for Congress in 1993, nearly half a million Americans had t
  • AstraZeneca, Bicycle Launch $1B+ Bicyclic Peptide Collaboration

    AstraZeneca will partner with Bicycle Therapeutics to develop respiratory, cardiovascular, and metabolic disease treatments based on Bicycle’s proprietary bicyclic peptide (Bicycle ® ) product platform through a collaboration that the Cambridge, U.K., startup said today could generate for it more than $1 billion.Under the collaboration, Bicycle has agreed to identify Bicycle bicyclic peptides for an undisclosed number of targets specified by AstraZeneca. The pharma giant has agreed to
  • Modified PEG Drug Delivery Method Evades Immune System Attack

    Duke University researchers have reconfigured a popular drug-delivery technology to evade immune responses that have halted some clinical trials.Polyethylene glycol (PEG) is a polymer commonly found in commercial products from toothpaste to cosmetics as well as in pharmaceuticals. PEG is used as a thickener, solvent, softener, and moisture-carrier, but it can also be attached to active drugs in the bloodstream to slow the body's clearing of them, greatly lengthening the duration of their effects
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  • CSL Commits to New Phase I Clinical Trials in Australia

    thumbnailCSL has today announced that it has progressed three new therapies into first-in-human studies in Australia. In keeping with the Company’s objective to expand its research and development pipeline and pursue a diverse portfolio, all three products are new generation, high-tech medicines based on targeted monoclonal antibody technologies. 
  • BIO Statement on President-elect Donald Trump’s appointment of Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) as Secretary of Health and Human Services

    BIO issued the following statement on President-elect Donald Trump’s appointment of Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) as Secretary of Health and Human Services:
    BIO applauds the selection of Dr. Tom Price (R-GA) as Secretary of Health and Human Services and looks forward to working with him to ensure innovative biopharmaceutical breakthroughs are accessible to the patients that need them.
    Dr. Price has been a leader in healthcare policy throughout his career in the U.S. Congress. 
  • Alternative Splice Means Anchors Aweigh for Cell Death Protein

    Controlled cell death may occur, or not, depending on which isoform of the Fas protein is expressed—one isoform includes a molecular anchor, so that Fas fastens to the cell membrane; another isoform lacks the anchor, so that Fas floats into the cytoplasm.Together with international colleagues, researchers from the Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Technical University of Munich have elucidated how this decision is guided. These results provide new insights into the molecular mechanism
  • Sanofi Assumes R&D Efforts for Warp Drive Aminoglycoside Antibiotics

    Sanofi will assume all preclinical and clinical R&D efforts for the novel aminoglycoside antibiotic candidates of Warp Drive Bio, after it reached a milestone in the companies’ antibiotic discovery program.The program is among several that Warp Drive Bio is pursuing as part of discovery efforts based on its novel Genome Mining™ technology platform.“With the hand-off of this program to Sanofi, Warp Drive will now focus on our other programs, both anti-infectives and for othe
  • A CRISPR Platform That Is More Efficient and Controllable

    A collaborative team of researchers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the University of Cambridge has just described their recent work on generating a new CRISPR genome editing platform that is freely available and works as a single-step system within every cell of the body and at every stage of development. The investigators are optimistic that this new approach will aid in the fields of developmental biology, tissue regeneration, and cancer.   The UK based teams developed
  • Heptares to Acquire G7 Therapeutics

    Heptares Therapeutics said today it has agreed to acquire G7 Therapeutics for CHF 12 million ($11.8 million) in a deal designed to strengthen the buyer’s intellectual property and platform for structure-based drug design and development focused on G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs).Heptares reasons that the combined company will boost its R&D productivity by generating more stabilized GPCRs and high-quality GPCR structures that can underpin drug-discovery efforts for its own pipeline
  • Arrowhead to Axe 30% of Workforce, Refocus Its Pipeline

    Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals said it will eliminate approximately 30% of its workforce and refocus its drug development efforts on RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutics that use the company's new proprietary subcutaneous (subQ) and extrahepatic delivery systems.In addition to the layoffs and restructuring, disclosed yesterday, Arrowhead said it will end development of three clinical-phase hepatitis B candidates based on its DPC iv ™, or EX1, drug delivery vehicle.The three candidates include A
  • Can GMOs Save the Wild American Chestnut Tree?

    As we conclude the Thanksgiving holiday and head into the season of Christmas, it’s important to remind folks of the American chestnut tree blight.
    In the early 1900s, the eastern United States chestnut tree population was hit with a pathogenic fungus called Cryphonectria parasitica. This fungus is the main cause of chestnut blight, a disease that wiped out 3 to 4 billion trees in just a couple of decades and nearly devastated the entire chestnut tree population. The chestnut blight was f
  • Novel Technique May Lead to Design of New and Improved Antibiotics

    North Carolina State University scientists say they have discovered a way to make pinpoint changes to an enzyme-driven "assembly line" that will enable researchers to improve or change the properties of existing antibiotics as well as create designer compounds. Their work is the first to efficiently manipulate which building blocks the enzyme selects in the act of synthesizing erythromycin, according to the investigators who published their study (""Inversion of extender unit selectivity in the
  • Infectious Diseases: Mortality Down, but Still Poses Threat

    Last week, NPR highlighted The Journal of the American Medical Association’s (JAMA) latest research letter titled, “Infectious Disease Mortality Trends in the United States, 1980-2014.”
    This research letter describes a steady decline of mortality from infectious diseases in the U.S. As NPR reports, the research states that only 5.4 percent of deaths from 1980 to 2014 were due to infectious disease. It’s clear we’ve come a long way compared to 1900 when that number
  • Trump Names Rep. Tom Price for HHS Secretary

    President-Elect Donald Trump said today he will nominate Rep. Tom Price, M.D. (R-GA) as secretary of Health and Human Services, placing the Congressman at the helm of the federal department that oversees the FDA and NIH, as well as a leading role in shepherding Trump’s effort to replace the Affordable Care Act.“There is much work to be done to ensure we have a healthcare system that works for patients, families, and doctors; that leads the world in the cure and prevention of illness;
  • A Gene That Knows When to Say When to Alcohol

    Studies of alcohol consumption usually look at alcoholics and ask, “What goes wrong?” A new genome-wide study, however, looks at social drinkers and asks, “What goes right?” The answer, it turns out, is a gene variant that suppresses the desire to drink alcohol.The study, conducted by the University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Medical Center and their European colleagues, found that the β-Klotho gene is linked to the regulation of social alcohol consumption. A variant
  • MicroRNA May Be the Cause of “Voices” in the Schizophrenic Head

    Quieting the “voices” and other hallucinations of schizophrenia should be focused on targeting specific microRNAs (miRNAs) that disrupt the normal flow of information along neural pathways, this according to new research from investigators at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The scientists identified a particular miRNA molecule that may be essential to restoring normal function in the brain circuit associated schizophrenia, and they are hopeful that their results will open poss
  • MedImmune, Abpro to Develop Bispecific Antibody

    MedImmune and Abpro said today they will partner to develop a preclinical, novel, bispecific antibody targeting angiopoietin-2 and vascular endothelial growth factor (Ang2-VEGF).Through the collaboration—whose value was not disclosed—several potential therapeutic areas will be explored where inhibition of the Ang2 and VEGF pathways with the bispecific antibody may provide clinical benefit, MedImmune and Abpro said.The collaboration has been structured as a spinout designed to benefit
  • Voyager Exercises Options for Regenx Gene Therapy Vectors

    Voyager Therapeutics has exercised commercial options for the use of Regenxbio’s NAV® vectors to develop and commercialize gene therapies for specific neurological diseases, the companies said today.Upon exercise, Regenxbio has granted Voyager a non-exclusive worldwide commercial license to three NAV vector sequences developed through Regenxbio’s NAV Technology Platform, each for the treatment of a neurological disease. Voyager also gained rights to sublicense the vector sequence
  • Thrombin-Responsive Patch Dispenses Blood-Thinning Drugs as Needed

    An interdisciplinary team of researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has developed a smart patch designed to monitor a patient's blood and release blood-thinning drugs as needed to prevent the occurrence of dangerous blood clots. In an animal model, the patch was shown to be more effective at preventing thrombosis than traditional methods of drug delivery. Thrombosis occurs when blood clots disrupt the normal flow o
  • A Poignant Election Day Comeback

    On Election Day, a day of underdogs and upsets in American politics, Representative Mark DeSaulnier may have scored the greatest comeback of them all. Six months after completing chemotherapy to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia, he has now beaten cancer and his opponent for California’s 11th district congressional seat.
    The type of leukemia that was diagnosed in Rep. DeSaulnier is the most common form of blood cancer in adults. Once it goes into remission, the five-year survival rate is
  • Another Wrinkle Found for Cell Reprogramming in Vivo

    If you look into the face of cellular reprogramming, what you see depends on whether it occurs in a culture dish or a living organism. As you might expect, living tissue has more context. Here, tissue damage and senescence provide crucial signals that can help push somatic cells toward an embryonic state. Properly scrutinized, these signals could help scientists improve regenerative medicine and reverse some of the maladies related to disease and aging.Cellular reprogramming earned its discovere
  • Patheon Acquires Florence, SC, Manufacturing Site from Roche

    Patheon said today it has agreed to acquire an active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) manufacturing facility in Florence, SC, from Roche for an undisclosed price.The 1100-acre, 300,000-square-foot facility includes manufacturing capacity for API ranging from development to manufacturing services, Patheon said.With the addition of the Florence site, Patheon added, it will expand its capacity for manufacturing highly potent compounds and add capabilities to support solid-state chemistry, microniz
  • Menarini Subsidiary Licenses Chugai Anticancer Candidate

    Chugai Pharmaceutical has licensed out worldwide manufacturing, development, and marketing rights to its anticancer candidate PA799 to Menarini Group’s oncology-focused subsidiary Berlin-Chemie Menarini, the companies said today.The value of the licensing agreement was not disclosed, though the companies said Chugai will receive upfront, milestone, and royalty payments from Menarini Group.PA799 is a Chugai-developed class I phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor that showed promisi
  • Vivelix Gains Global Rights to Idera GI Disorder Candidate

    Idera Pharmaceuticals has granted Vivelix Pharmaceuticals exclusive worldwide rights to the nonmalignant gastrointestinal disorder candidate IMO-9200, under a licensing agreement that could generate up to $207.5 million-plus for Idera.IMO-9200 is an orally delivered, synthetic oligonucleotide-based antagonist of Toll-like receptors (TLR) 7, 8, and 9. Last year, Idera said IMO-9200 showed positive safety and tolerability results in a Phase I clinical trial in healthy subjects.Idera also presented
  • Alzheimer’s Research: Where We’ve Failed and What’s To Come

    Alzheimer’s disease is a rapidly growing public health crisis. Today an estimated 5.4 million Americans live with the disease and, barring the development of medical breakthroughs to prevent, stop or slow Alzheimer’s disease by 2050, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease may reach as high as 16 million people. What’s more, at a cost of $236 billion a year, Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in the nation with an estimated $160 billio
  • Epigenetic Discovery Predicts Likelihood of Surviving Glioblastoma

    Scientists at Dartmouth's Norris Cotton Cancer Center (NCCC) say they have identified the functional role of two distinct DNA modifications in glioblastoma (GBM) tissues. The signature of one of these pattern disruptions in particular, 5hmC, had a particularly strong association with patient survival.Glioblastoma (GBM) is a rare but deadly type of cancer that originates in the brain. Roughly 12,000 new cases are confirmed in the U.S. each year and its highly infiltrative nature renders it partic
  • Let’s Be Thankful for Honeybees!

    With Thanksgiving right around the corner, you’re probably starting to think about some of your favorite dishes. In the spirit of giving thanks, we’d like to shine a light on what makes many of our favorite holiday meals possible: honey bees.
    You probably know that honey bees play an important role in agriculture, but did you know just how many of our Thanksgiving favorites depend on honey bee pollination? Without honey bee pollination, we wouldn’t have apples for apple pie, c
  • Two More Deaths Reported in Juno Car-T Trial

    For the second time in 5 months, Juno Therapeutics has put a clinical hold on a Phase II trial of JCAR015 in adult patients with relapsed or refractory B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia due to patient deaths. Two patients suffered cerebral edema earlier this week; one patient has died and the other is not expected to recover. Five deaths are now associated with this trial.It seems unlikely that this hold will be lifted as quickly as the July hold was following a protocol change , if at all.The
  • Stem Cell Gold at End of Fluorescent Barcode Rainbow

    Scientists have been accused of cultivating a cold philosophy, one that would unweave a rainbow, but a group of scientists based at Boston Children’s Hospital would likely refute the charge. They are warming to a new kind of cellular barcoding, one that weaves a rainbow of its own. Its multicolored glow can illuminate stem cell development, with dimming and brightening hues corresponding to the decline and rise of distinct clonal subpopulations.The barcoding system is being developed for h
  • Allergan Acquires Chase to Expand its CNS Disease Pipeline and Renew Commitment to Alzheimer’s

    Allergan has acquired Chase Pharmaceuticals for $125 million in upfront payment, in addition to regulatory and sales milestone payments. Included in the milestones are performance goals for CPC-201, a compound used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease."This acquisition adds a new Phase III-ready program for Alzheimer's disease to our CNS portfolio and builds on our commitment to develop innovative approaches to improve the lives of millions of patients suffering from this devastating il
  • Lilly Reports Phase III Thumbs Down on Alzheimer’s Drug

    Eli Lilly officials report that solanezumab did not meet the primary endpoint in the EXPEDITION3 clinical trial, a Phase III study of the drug in people with mild dementia due to Alzheimer's disease (AD). Patients treated with solanezumab did not experience a statistically significant slowing in cognitive decline compared to patients treated with placebo ( p =0.095), as measured by the ADAS-Cog 14 (Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive subscale).While the study results, including many s
  • “Food Comas” Turn Out to be Real, Physical Conditions

    Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), Florida Atlantic University, and Bowling Green State University think they have found a reason for the phenomenon known as "food coma," the sleepy-like stupor that often comes after eating a large holiday dinner. Until recently, there has been little more than anecdotal evidence to suggest that food coma is an actual physical condition, and the scientific evidence that does exist is unable to explain why some people fal
  • Shire Expands Kendall Square Footprint with Rare Disease Innovation Hub

    After just a short time in Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA, Shire likes the area so much that they are expanding to a second site at 500 Kendall Street to create a 550,000-square-foot campus focused on rare diseases. Earlier this month Shire confirmed its focus on rare diseases during an investor presentation.“Over the last 3 years, Shire’s sharp focus has helped us build an industry leading rare disease pipeline,” said Flemming Ornskov, M.D., CEO. “Our pipeline … in
  • Genetic “EXITS” Explain Cancer’s Bias toward Males

    A subset of X-chromosome genes seems to give females an extra degree of protection against cancer. This finding, which emerged from a study led by researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, is surprising because males also have an X chromosome, which might be expected to afford as much protection as the one unsilenced X chromosome in females. Yet some genes on the silenced X chromosome escape dormancy and function normally. These genes, it turns o
  • Scientists Open New Window into Pancreatic Cancer Research

    For years, pancreatic cancer has been referred to as the “silent killer.” It is notoriously aggressive, resistant to treatment, and difficult to diagnose in the early stages when tumors are most treatable. Also, it’s location in the body, deep in the abdominal cavity right behind the stomach, makes it hard to detect. These are the primary reasons why it is the fourth deadliest cancer, and the five-year survival rate for those with stage IV pancreatic cancer is just 1 percent,
  • Targeting Golgi Apparatus May Help Prevent Lung Cancer Metastasis

    Researchers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center report that the Golgi apparatus may play a role in how lung cancer metastasizes. Their study (“Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition drives a pro-metastatic Golgi compaction process through scaffolding protein PAQR11”) appears in the online issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.The Golgi apparatus, often referred to as a cellular “post office” for its ability to package proteins into vesicles for tra
  • With an Eye on Hunger, Scientists See Promise in Genetic Tinkering of Plants

    With Thanksgiving just a few days away, it’s important to remember that not everyone will be able to enjoy a big turkey meal. In fact, about 1 in 6 people in America face hunger.
    In 2015 alone, Feeding America reported that 42.2 million Americans lived in food insecure households, including 29.1 million adults and 13.1 million children.
    Through genetic engineering, scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are finding ways to tackle the hunger epidemic. Specificall
  • Antibiotic Resistance Grows as Last-Line Drugs Fail

    While political scenarios facing the world have many people nervous about what kind of future we face, there is a microscopic war that is constantly being waged, and the pathogens that are gaining the upper hand don’t care about affiliations or votes. These microbial marauders are indiscriminate about whom they infect, and their resistance movement is beginning to spread at an alarming rate. This is a global public health crisis that needs to be addressed on multiple fronts, such as drug d
  • Synthetic Proteins Click on DNA Repair, Give Snaps of Early Cancer

    Fleeting expressions and gestures can be more revealing than static poses, which is why candid snapshots are often valued more than formal portraits. Yet snapshots of cancer are few and far between. Cancer, in its earliest stages, is unusually camera-shy, biochemically speaking. When cancer originates in DNA repair mechanisms that turn awry, tell-tale DNA repair intermediates disappear quickly, eluding capture by ordinary means, frustrating would-be scientific paparazzi.
  • Novartis Acquires Selexys Pharmaceuticals

    Novartis has acquired Selexys Pharmaceuticals, an Oklahoma City based company specializing in hematologic and inflammatory disorders, for up to $665 million.
    Novartis acquired the company following receipt of results from the SUSTAIN study—a Phase II trial evaluating the use of SelG1, an anti-P-selectin antibody, in the reduction of vaso-occlusive crises in patients with sickle cell disease (SCD). Results from the study will be presented at the American Society of Hematology (ASH
  • Antibiotic Resistance Grows While Last-Line Drugs Fail

    While political scenarios facing the world have many people nervous about what kind of future we face, there is a microscopic war that is constantly being waged, and the pathogens that are gaining the upper hand don’t care about affiliations or votes. These microbial marauders are indiscriminate about whom they infect, and their resistance movement is beginning to spread at an alarming rate. This is a global public health crisis that needs to be addressed on multiple fronts such as, drug d

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