The Cross-Border Biotech Blog

Biotechnology, Health and Business in Canada, the United States and Worldwide

Wednesday Brain Dump: Around the World Edition

Click on the map points for each story, or just read on

Ottawa: The Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation has announced Claude Haw will be its new president and CEO. OCRI assists Ottawa’s business and technology sectors by helping local companies find their way in the global market.  Also, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) was excited about an announcement by Minister of State Diane Ablonczy’s that the federal government met its target to reduce paper burden by 20 per cent.

Washington: Eric Holder, Obama’s Attorney General, announced that the DOJ will not pursue stores that are following state laws permitting medical marijuana, but will go after stores being used as fronts for drug dealers.  Also, HHS named 15 experts to the panel advising the agency on comparative-effectiveness research.

Montréal: 200 Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada (BMS) employees moved in to Technoparc Montréal, the site of their new national head office.

London: With charitable endowments taking a hit and donations in a downturn, ScienceInsider noted a story in The Independent discussing the effects on the Wellcome Trust, CRUK, the Leukaemia Foundation, and the British Heart Foundation.  Also, in a move that will reduce costs and hopefully improve quality, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) will exclude repeatedly unsuccessful applicants from submitting proposals to EPSRC for 12 months and ask them to take part in a mentoring programme. This should exclude around 200-250 people, accounting for 5% of applicants and 10% of applications, and has already generated a petition drive in protest.

Switzerland: Nycomed, the privately held Swiss drug maker, wants an exit.  The price could top €10 billion.

Denmark: GTC Biotherapeutics, the maker of ATryn, said it terminated its partnership with LEO Pharma, a Danish firm that had commercialization rights in Europe, Canada and the Middle East.

Moscow: A new kind of Tuberculosis drug has performed well in mice infected with TB.   The drug was discovered at the A.N. Bakh Institute of Biochemistry in Moscow, in a lab run by Vadim Makarov. Dr. Makarov  hopes at least some of the clinical testing will take place in Russia, where drug-resistant TB is a major problem.

Nigeria: The In Vivo Blog reports on a Second Circuit Court of Appeals decision that allows dozens of Nigerians to pursue lawsuits in a U.S. court over Pfizer’s 1996 clinical trial for the Trovan antibiotic, which was blamed for the deaths of 11 children and left many others blind, deaf, paralyzed or brain-damaged. A key issue is whether Pfizer followed international law and properly offered informed consent.

Qatar: GE Healthcare and the Qatar Foundation will establish an R&D joint venture that will ultimately build local research and development capabilities at the GE Advanced Technology and Research Center in Doha, Qatar.

India: The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has given its approval for conducting the first Indian human clinical trial of stem cell-based drug, which will be tested for treatment of acute myocardial infraction and critical limb ischemia.

Korea: New legislation aims to promote innovation by creating holding companies at three of the top Korean universities, with the mandate of commercializing new technologies produced within the academic research environment.  The new holding companies will initially target oriental medicine pharmaceutical companies, but also will investigate OLED applications and various nanotechnologies.

Montana:  The Senate Agriculture Committee in Montana is considering a bill that would prohibit biotech firms from sampling farmers’ crops (to check for illegal use of patented seeds) without the farmers’ permission.

Calgary: Canadian researchers discovered North America’s smallest known dinosaur, a Velociraptor relative half the size of a house cat, named Hesperonychus.  It ate insects, small mammals, or “whatever else it could find.”

Illinois:The University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana is getting $1.3 million from the US Department of Agriculture to study soybean genomics and livestock genomics.

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