• Bonanza of Spliced Epitopes to Enrich Immune Science

    Peptides displayed by the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) system have been subjected to unusually thorough prospecting. As a result, a mother lode of potential new targets has been uncovered for developers of immunotherapies and vaccines. These targets are spliced epitopes, merged peptides processed by antigen-presenting cells. Once thought rare, spliced epitopes now appear to account for a large proportion of all epitopes.In a new study, researchers based at Imperial College London and Charit&eac
  • NeuroVive Regains Rights to HBV Candidate from Arbutus

    NeuroVive Pharmaceutical said today it has regained rights to the oral Hepatitis B virus (HBV) candidate NVP018 from Arbutus Biopharma (formerly OnCore Biopharma), some three months after Arbutus told NeuroVive it was ending development of the compound.NeuroVive said the companies have signed a termination agreement ending a collaboration that started in September 2014, when OnCore agreed to develop NVP018 (also known as OCB-030) and other second-generation cyclophilin inhibitors designed to tre
  • NeuroVive Regains Rights to HBV Candidate from Arbatus

    NeuroVive Pharmaceutical said today it has regained rights to the oral Hepatitis B virus (HBV) candidate NVP018 from Arbatus Biopharma (formerly OnCore Biopharma), some three months after Arbatus told NeuroVive it was ending development of the compound.NeuroVive said the companies have signed a termination agreement ending a collaboration that started in September 2014, when OnCore agreed to develop NVP018 (also known as OCB-030) and other second-generation cyclophilin inhibitors designed to tre
  • Altering Macrophage Metabolism Can Help Prevent Cancer Metastasis

    Researchers at VIB (Flanders Institute for Biotechnology) and KU Leuven say they have discovered a crucial factor in the spread of cancer. A team led by Massimiliano Mazzone, Ph.D., has demonstrated that the metabolism of macrophages can be attuned to prevent the spread of cancer. The key is in making these macrophages more prone to "steal" sugar from the cells forming the tumor's blood vessels. As a result, these blood vessels will be structured more tightly, which can prevent cancer cells from
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  • Point-of-Care Gene Therapy Is Out of the Box

    Gene therapies and cell therapies—so full of promise, yet so difficult to implement—may soon be within the reach of clinics around the world, even those within resource-constrained countries. That’s the assertion made by scientists based at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. They modified a table-top-sized commercial cell-processing device to do what would ordinarily require the specialized facilities and highly trained staff of a top-tier research center.The scientist
  • TSRI, Calibr Partner on Translational R&D

    The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and the California Institute for Biomedical Research (Calibr) will partner to translate discoveries into new treatments through a new combined research entity.The two San Diego research institutions said their strategic affiliation will integrate TSRI’s basic scientific research with Calibr’s focus on translating R&D from discovery through early clinical trials, with the goal of accelerating development of new drugs at lower cost.TSRI an
  • Some Autism Cases Linked to a Single Gene

    A team of researchers, led by investigators at Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM), has linked mutations within a single gene—typically causing a rare tumor syndrome usually diagnosed in childhood—to autism. The scientists are optimistic that their recent findings in patients with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) may lead to a better understanding of the genetic roots of autism in the wider population.The researchers analyzed 531 patients from six clinical centers in the Un
  • Emulate Launches Organs-On-Chips Collaborations

    Emulate today disclosed a pair of research collaborations aimed at advancing its Organs-On-Chips platform technology, designed to model human response to diseases, medicines, chemicals, and foods by integrating microengineering with living human cells.The value of the collaborations was not disclosed.The company said it will partner with Laboratory Corporation of America ® Holdings (LabCorp ® ) to integrate Organs-on-Chips—which attempts to recreate the natural physiology of human
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  • AbbVie Opts Against Licensing Ablynx's Vobarilizumab

    Ablynx said today it will seek a new partner to develop its Phase III-ready rheumatoid arthritis candidate vobarilizumab after AbbVie opted not to license the compound following mixed Phase IIb results.Ablynx also said it will begin End-of-Phase II and scientific advice meetings with the FDA and European Medicines Agency as it prepares to advance vobarilizumab into Phase III trials.“We are absolutely committed to progressing this programme and will therefore start the preparations for the
  • Immune System-Defending Neutrophils Can Surprisingly Aid in Cancer Metastasis

    Researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) published a study ("Cancer cells induce metastasis-supporting neutrophil extracellular DNA traps”) in Science Translational Medicine  that reveals how neutrophils, the most common type of white blood cell and enemy of bacteria and other invaders, can be “hijacked” by cancer cells and used as an aid in metastasis. The study also shows a possible way of preventing this. Mikala Egeblad, Ph.D., and her team demonstr
  • Breakthrough at BIO 2017 in San Diego – Housing is Now Open

    In June, BIO will host its 24th annual BIO International Convention. Since that very first meeting, we have seen extraordinary scientific breakthroughs happening across our industry. These breakthroughs have transformed how we treat patients, fuel our planet and feed a growing global population. As our industry has grown and evolved, so has the BIO International Convention. For more than two decades, the BIO Convention has been the place to learn about today’s breakthroughs and to ensure
  • Novartis to Develop Cerulean Nanoparticle-Drug Conjugates in Cancer Collaboration

    Novartis will partner with Cerulean Pharma to develop nanoparticle-drug conjugates (NDCs) that combine Cerulean’s proprietary Dynamic Tumor Targeting™ technology with Novartis’ proprietary compounds, to be directed at up to five undisclosed cancer targets.Cerulean said today it will generate $5 million upfront through the companies’ collaboration, plus funding for five full-time equivalent employees. Cerulean may potentially make millions more in payments tied to achievin
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  • Astrocytes Belly Up to the Appetite Control Table

    Neurons do not act alone in regulating appetite. They have help from glial cells, structural support elements that have, in recent years, been implicated in important brain functions. Now that they are known to enhance appetite when activated, and to suppress it when deactivated, glial cells in the brain—more specifically, astrocytes in the hypothalamus—may point to new targets for drugs against obesity and other appetite-related disorders.Astrocytes and other glial cells make up abo
  • CRISPR Screen Finds New Potential Leukemia Drug Target

    The benefits of the CRISPR/Cas9 system for use in directly targeting mutations of genetic disorders has been reported widely over the past several years. However, another advantage of this genome-editing technique is the ability to utilize it as a screening tool for drug development—which is exactly what researchers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and their collaborators have done to find new therapeutic targets for acute myeloid leukemia (AML).The investigators were able to ident
  • Floragenex, Sedia Biosciences Merge

    Floragenex, a genomics testing service provider focused on next-generation DNA sequencing, will become a wholly owned subsidiary of point-of-care diagnostics developer Sedia Biosciences, the companies said today, through a merger whose value was not disclosed.The merger is designed to create a combined provider of genomic services for scientific customers as well as testing solutions for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other infectious agents. Sedia, founded in 2009, develops and commerci
  • Bacterial Ion Channel Genes Might Provide Therapies for Human Heart Disorders

    Biomedical engineers at Duke University say they have harvested genes for ion channels from bacteria that, with a few tweaks, can create and enhance electrical signaling in human cells, making the cells more electrically excitable. The technique could one day be used to treat cardiac arrhythmia or to restore electrical functions to scarred heart or nervous system tissues, note the scientists, adding that It might also prove useful for treating a variety of genetic diseases involving poor co
  • A Neuroscience Fireside Chat with Ryan Watts at 2016 BIO Investor Forum

    The 2106 BIO Investor Forum held a Fireside Chat with Ryan Watts, PhD on Tuesday, October 18 moderated by:
    Andrew Fein, Managing Director and Senior Healthcare Analyst, Research Division at H.C. Wainwright & Co., LLC.
    Rachel Lane, PhD, Equity Research, Biotechnology at H.C. Wainwright & Co., LLC
    Ryan Watts, PhD, is the current Chief Executive Officer at Denali Therapeutics Inc. in addition to being a co-founder and a member of the Board of Directors. Previously, he served as Director of
  • Does Big Company M&A Impact Small Company M&A?

    Over the last few years, we have seen significant consolidation among the large drug manufacturers, with both franchise swapping and mergers of equals – but what is the impact on small biotechs?
    At the BIO Investor Forum, (held at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco today), a panel session moderated by Matthew Hudes, Chief Executive Officer of bdlBiologx, set out to answer that very question. The panelists, all seasoned industry veterans, came from a range of vantage points:
    Matthew R
  • BIO Investor Forum Session on Advancing Immuno–Oncology

    At the 2016 BIO Investor Forum, the first session held was titled “The Intersection of Inflammation and Immuno-Oncology: Risks and Opportunities.”
    Moderated by Michael King, Managing Director and Senior Research Analyst at JMP Securities, panelist included:
    Jay Venkatesan, MD, President & Director, Alpine Immune Sciences
    Pablo Cagnoni, MD, President & Chief Executive Officer, Tizona Therapeutics
    Alex Szidon, PhD, Executive Director, Business Development & Licensing; Head
  • 6 Myths About GMOs

    As a national media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for 9 years, Bethany Thayer says she enjoys communicating with people about healthy living and eating.
    Bethany Thayer MS, RDN, is director of the Henry Ford Center for Health Promotion and is president of the Michigan Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which also named her as the Outstanding Dietitian of the Year in 2012.
    She writes an article in The Detroit News addressing six common myths about GMOs:
    Chances are good
  • Gene-Silencing RNA Passes from Parent to Offspring

    A suspected agent of nongenetic inheritance—double-stranded RNA (dsRNA)—has been caught in the act. It has been observed leaving a parent’s circulation and entering an unfertilized egg cell, where it persisted even after the cell’s fertilization. Most significantly, the dsRNA’s gene-silencing effect also persisted, affecting gene expression in offspring.The finding that dsRNA can be passed from one generation to the next—and acts so simply, so directly—c
  • Spero Therapeutics Wins $1.65M DoD Award toward Potentiator Program

    Spero Therapeutics said today it was won a $1.65 million award from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) toward developing its anti-infective Potentiator program and advancing the best candidates toward clinical phases.The award will fund a study designed to assess how well several candidates in Spero’s Potentiator program enhance the antibacterial activity of current antibiotics against multidrug-resistant (MDR) pathogens—such as Acinetobacter baumannii , Klebsiella pneumoniae , and
  • Catalyst Biosciences Sells Fourth NNR Candidate for Up to $37.75M+

    Catalyst Biosciences said today it has sold a fourth neuronal nicotinic receptor (NNR) candidate it inherited when it merged with Targacept last year to an undisclosed buyer, in a deal that could yield up to $37.75 million for Catalyst.Sold by Catalyst was TC-6499, a novel small molecule designed to modulate the activity of the α3β4 and other NNRs as an agonist, as well as related intellectual property rights and materials. TC-6499 was originally developed by Targacept for neuropathic
  • IBM Watson, Quest Diagnostics Launch Precision Oncology Service

    IBM Watson Health and Quest Diagnostics said today they have launched a new service designed to advance precision cancer treatment by combining cognitive computing with genomic tumor sequencing.The service—called IBM Watson Genomics from Quest Diagnostics ® —will consist of laboratory sequencing and analysis of a tumor’s genomic makeup designed to help reveal mutations associated with targeted therapies and clinical trials. Additional genome sequencing capabilities will be
  • Anti-inflammatory Therapy Shows Promise in Treatment of Depression

    Anti-inflammatory drugs similar to those used to treat conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis could in future be used to treat some cases of depression, concludes a review led by the University of Cambridge, which further implicates our immune system in mental health disorders.Researchers from the Department of Psychiatry at Cambridge led a team that analyzed data from 20 clinical trials involving the use of anti-cytokine drugs to treat a range of autoimmune inflammatory diseases.
  • Familiar Substance a Life Extension Twofer

    It’s a coenzyme that occurs in all living cells, it’s necessary for carrying out metabolically significant redox reactions, and it’s known to play a role in aging processes. Its nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide. When the oxidized form of this substance, NAD+, is added to animal models, it appears to extend life and postpone the onset of aging process. Yet the mechanisms behind these effects have remained unclear, limiting the degree to which NAD+ may be exploited for therapeut
  • Melanoma Immunotherapy Significantly Improved with Peptide Bath

    Adoptive cell therapy (ACT) has shown promise for a variety of cancer subtypes, with clinical trial data showing that up to 40% of Stage IV melanoma patients survive 5 years when treated with ACT versus only a 15% survival rate for patients receiving standard treatments. ACT looks to boost a patient's immune responses against cancer by harvesting the patient's T cells, genetically modifying them with a therapeutic T-cell receptor, activating them, and then rapidly expanding them to generate larg
  • Accurexa, StemImmune Partner to Develop Cancer Immunotherapy

    Accurexa will partner with StemImmune to develop its stem cell-mediated cancer immunotherapy, the companies said today, through a collaboration whose value was not disclosed.The collaboration will marry Accurexa’s methods of delivering targeted therapies with StemImmune's immunotherapy. It is designed to use a patient's own stem cells to target cancer by delivering a proprietary anticancer payload directly to the tumor cells, while sparing the patient's healthy cells.“The patient&rsq
  • ATI Proteins Found Associated with Inflammation of Chronic Health Disorders

    Researchers have discovered that a protein in wheat triggers the inflammation of chronic health conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis, and also contributes towards the development of non-coeliac gluten sensitivity. With past studies commonly focusing on gluten and its impact on digestive health, this new research, presented at United European Gastroenterology Week 2016, turns the spotlight onto a different family of proteins found in wheat called amyla
  • Dolphin Proteins May Hold the Secret to Protection against Hypoxia

    Dolphins and other marine mammals can survive deep dives that deprive vital organs of oxygen without causing damage—a scenario for humans that would be lethal. During dives that can last as long as 90 minutes, marine mammals restrict blood flow to their kidneys, liver, heart, and lungs to shunt more oxygen to the brain.Now, researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) are looking into the protective proteins that dolphins seem to have that may contain clues to treatment
  • Translation Throttled by tRNA Demethylation Enzyme

    Deep in the protein translation machinery are cogs known as transfer RNAs, or tRNAs. Actually, they may be more than mere cogs, say scientists at the University of Chicago. Like other components of the cell’s protein translation machinery, tRNAs may play an important regulatory role. At least one tRNA, the scientists have discovered, can globally increase or decrease protein synthesis, depending on whether or not it has been demethylated by an enzyme. Now the scientists are eager to explor
  • Vertex, CF Foundation Therapeutics Expand R&D Collaboration

    Vertex says has updated an R&D collaboration with Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics (CFFT) stretching back more than a decade.Under the updated Research, Development and Commercialization Agreement, disclosed in a regulatory filing yesterday, CFFT—the Foundation’s nonprofit drug discovery and development affiliate—agreed to pay Vertex $75 million upfront, as well as up to $6 million annually toward development funding.Vertex also said it agreed to pay CFFT royalties o
  • BIO Investor Forum is Next Week: Oct. 18-19

    Now in its 15th year, the BIO Investor Forum is set for Oct. 18 – Oct. 19 at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco.  The event will feature 10 educational panel sessions, three ”fireside chat” interviews with senior executives, more than 170 company presentations, and hundreds of One-on-One Partnering™ meetings. BIO is pleased to announce that four of the 2016 Fiercest Women in Biopharma will be speaking this year:
    Charlotte Hubbert, PhD, Partner, Gates Foundation
  • Targeting Glioblastoma by Depriving Brain Cancer Cells of Cholesterol

    A Ludwig Cancer Research study has identified a metabolic vulnerability in the aggressive and incurable brain cancer glioblastoma (GBM) and shown how it can potentially be exploited for therapy. The study, led by Paul Mischel, M.D., of Ludwig San Diego and Benjamin Cravatt, Ph.D., of The Scripps Research Institute, demonstrates that GBM cells import vast amounts of cholesterol to survive and that the mechanisms they use to do so can be specifically and effectively undermined with drug-like molec

    13 October 2016. Source: Farm Weekly (WA)
    The long-awaited Genetically Modified (GM) Crops Free Areas Repeal Bill 2015 is expected to pass through State Parliament this week, which would end months of uncertainty for WA canolagrowers wanting to grow GM canola next year.
    This is one of the last opportunities for the bill to pass, with only four more sittings before the end of the year.
    Once passed, the decision to grow GM crops in WA will revert to the
  • New Debt Facilities

    thumbnailCSL Limited (ASX:CSL; USOTC:CSLLY) today announced that on 13 October 2016 it closed a new USD550 million private placement in the US. The private placement was foreshadowed in CSL’s full year announcement in August 2016.
  • World Food Day 2016: “Climate is Changing. Food and Agriculture Must Too.”

    On October 16, 1945, 42 countries assembled in Quebec, Canada, to create the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Their goal was to free humanity from hunger and malnutrition, and to effectively manage the global food system.
    FAO celebrates World Food Day each year on 16 October to commemorate the founding of the Organization in 1945. Events are organized in over 150 countries across the world, making it one of the most celebrated days of the UN calendar. These events
  • Regeneron, Ocular Therapeutix to Develop Sustained-Release Aflibercept Formulation

    Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Ocular Therapeutix™ will partner to develop a sustained release formulation of aflibercept for wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD) and other serious retinal diseases, through a collaboration that Ocular said today could generate for it up to $315 million-plus. Ocular Therapeutix said the companies will work to advance its sustained release formulation—now in preclinical development—into the clinic, but gave no timeframe for when that is
  • CRISPR/Cas9 Corrects Sickle Cell Mutation

    Stem cells harvested from the blood of sickle cell patients have been subjected to gene editing, which succeeded in correcting the mutation responsible for sickle cell disease (SCD). In fact, stem cells were corrected in such large numbers that they have the potential to alleviate symptoms of the disease, which primarily afflicts those of African descent and leads to anemia, painful blood blockages, and early death. If corrected stem cells were to be reinfused into patients, they might generate
  • Transgenomic, Precipio Diagnostics to Merge

    Precipio Diagnostics plans to become a subsidiary of Transgenomic under a merger designed to create a combined company specializing in cancer diagnostics. The value of the merger was not disclosed. The merged company will combine Transgenomic’s ICE COLD-PCR™ (ICP) diagnostic technology—designed to produce accurate, noninvasive tumor profiling using circulating DNA in patient plasma—with Precipio’s platform to deliver diagnostic information to physicians and patients
  • Excessive Pot Smoking Linked to Osteoporosis

    It may be a good idea when the “munchies” set in that marijuana users reach for more calcium-rich foods, as a new study from the University of Edinburgh has just released data showing that people who regularly smoke large amounts of cannabis have reduced bone density and are more prone to fractures. Moreover, investigators found that heavy marijuana users have a lower body weight and a reduced body mass index (BMI), which could contribute to thinning of their bones.  "Our resear
  • Novel Diagnostic Method Developed for Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Brain Disease

    A new model of fatal brain diseases is being developed in the fruit fly by a team led by Raymond Bujdoso, Ph.D., at the University of Cambridge. The research could lead to a low cost, fast and efficient blood test to diagnose and prevent possible transmission of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), according to the scientists. Currently, methods to detect vCJD-infected human blood samples that involve bioassays on experimental animals, such as mice, are time consuming and expensive. This ne
  • White House Advances BRAIN, Personalized Medicine Initiatives

    President Barack Obama’s administration said today it plans to spend a total $86 million on a pair of initiatives designed to advance two research programs he has championed during his term in office. The administration said it will spend $70 million to fund more than 100 new grant awards through the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. The new awards nearly double total White House spending on the BRAIN Initiative to more than $150 million for
  • Lawsuit Against UnitedHealth Put Insurers’ Practices Under Scrutiny

    Reuters reports that UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s largest insurer, has been sued by three patients who’ve accused the massive insurance conglomerate of significantly over-charging them for co-pays for prescription drugs.
    The report alleges the co-pays were far in excess of the actual cost of the drug and the insurer kept the difference.
    According to Reuters:
    “For example, the lawsuit claims, one class member paid a $50 co-payment for Sprintec, a contraceptive, while United
  • PierianDx Purchases Tute Genomics

    PierianDx said it has acquired Tute Genomics for an undisclosed price, in a deal the buyer said advances its goal of enabling personalized medicine for clinical labs through a comprehensive, integrated platform. PierianDx said it will enhance its Clinical Genomicist Workspace (CGW), a cloud-based software platform for somatic cancer, by adding Tute Genomics’ constitutional and exome-testing capabilities. "The enhanced platform will provide labs with a single clinical solution to support a
  • Molecular Autopsies ID Genetic Suspects in Cases of Sudden Death

    When death occurs suddenly and unexpectedly, the underlying causes may remain in doubt, even after a traditional clinical autopsy. To bring hidden causes to light, medical examiners may want to consider molecular autopsies, which can probe more deeply than any scalpel, dissecting the deceased’s genome for potentially deleterious mutations. Should such mutations be found, the deceased’s family members could be duly informed of their own risks and how to minimize them. The potential va
  • Danaher to Buy Phenomenex

    Phenomenex said today it has agreed to be acquired by Danaher for an undisclosed sum, in a deal that expands the buyer’s offerings in the life sciences, and specifically chromatography consumables. Phenomenex manufactures high-performance liquid chromatography, ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography, preparatory liquid chromatography columns, gas chromatography columns, sample preparation, and accessory products. Separation and purification consumables for liquid and gas chromatograp
  • RXi Signs Exclusive Option to Acquire MirImmune

    RXi Pharmaceuticals has signed an exclusive option agreement giving it until April 5, 2017, to acquire MirImmune—a deal that would expand the buyer’s pipeline into immuno-oncology. The option agreement allows RXi to acquire all outstanding capital stock of MirImmune for 19.99% of the then outstanding shares of common stock of Rxi, plus additional payments tied to MirImmune achieving undisclosed milestones. The stock portion of the agreement would equal about 13 million shares, based
  • Danaher to Acquire Phenomenex

    Phenomenex said today it has agreed to be acquired by Danaher for an undisclosed sum, in a deal that expands the buyer’s offerings in the life sciences, and specifically chromatography consumables. Phenomenex manufactures high-performance liquid chromatography, ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography, preparatory liquid chromatography columns, gas chromatography columns, sample preparation, and accessory products. Separation and purification consumables for liquid and gas chromatograp
  • Astellas Expands Advocacy Engagement with Focused Outreach

    Astellas recognizes the crucial role that patient groups play in enhancing and extending the lives of patients. Sponsoring events such as the BIO Patient and Health Advocacy Summit to be held on November 3-4 is a way the Astellas Stakeholder Engagement team is supporting that goal. Astellas’ Stakeholder Engagement team is focused on collaborating with patient advocacy groups with the aim to:
    build and strengthen relationships with stakeholders and influential thought leaders

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