The Cross-Border Biotech Blog

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

Monthly Archives: December 2010

Friday Science Review: December 31, 2010

Just a couple papers to squeeze in this year before the clock strikes 12. I look forward to 2011 and the research it will bring in the Canadian realm. For those readers heading out tonight for some fun on the city, enjoy! More science reviews to come in the new year..

Porcine Adenovirus PAV3, A Novel and Promising Candidate for H5N1 Protection

National Microbiology Laboratory, Winnipeg ♦ Published in PLoS ONE, Dec. 16, 2010

Researchers have provided evidence that suggests a porcine adenovirus, PAV3, has greater vaccine efficacy than the human adenovirus AdHu5 in protecting against H5N1. An avian influenza H5N1 mouse model was used to compare immune response and protection following vaccination with the two different vectors. Mice that were vaccinated with a replication defective PAV3 vector carrying an H5N1 antigen expressed higher concentrations of neutralizing antibody post-vaccination and had stronger cellular immune responses than mice vaccinated with AdHu5. After challenging vaccinated mice with H5N1 infection, Dr. Gary Kobinger and his team demonstrated that mice inoculated with PAV3 showed higher overall survival. Another notable finding was that the porcine adenovirus did not become significantly neutralized when exposed to a pool of antibodies generated from 10,000 humans.

Study of Human Heart Microsomes Gives Insight into Cardiac CYP450s

University of Montreal ♦ Published in PLoS ONE, Dec. 14, 2010

Enzymes from the cytochrome P450 (CYP450) superfamily play an important role in drug metabolism. Variation in CYP450 isoforms can lead to inter-subject and inter-organ variability in drug metabolism, thus their study is crucial to understanding the metabolism of specific drugs. Dr. Jacques Turgeon and his colleagues at the University of Montreal gathered data on CYP450 mRNA levels in left and right ventricular samples taken from the explanted hearts of patients with end-stage heart failure. Samples were processed in the lab to extract microsomes, small vesicle-like structures composed of endoplasmic reticulum that contain large quantities of CYP450s. Among the interesting findings of this body of work is that CYP2J2 was the most abundant isoform found in cardiac tissue samples. Levels of CYP450 mRNA were similar across ischemic and non-ischemic samples and between left and right ventricles. Another principal and interesting finding was that the stereoselectivity of cardiac CYP450s was reversed compared to those in the liver. After exposing heart microsomes to the calcium channel blocker verapamil, higher levels of CYP450-dependent metabolites were observed in the presence of the R-enantiomer.

Monday Biotech “Happy Holidays” Deal Review: December 27, 2010

Welcome to your Monday Biotech “Happy Holidays” Deal Review!  For those who may have noticed, last week the Monday Biotech Deal Review took its own holiday, so this week’s digest contains biotech news spanning the past two weeks – to ensure you don’t miss a single drummer boy’s beat.  It has been a busy two weeks, with a notable $40M public offering by YM BioSciences of common shares that was announced, priced and closed, as well as an update by Angiotech with respect to its debt restructuring efforts.  There have also been some interesting strategic partnerships and licensing activity over the break.  Read on to learn more.     Read more of this post

Friday Science Review: December 24, 2010

Given that the UN Climate Change Conference has just wrapped up in Mexico, I thought for the Christmas edition of the FSR I would lay out some articles from Nature focused on global warming and its impact on one of Canada’s most iconic animals — the polar bear. University of Alberta’s Andrew Derocher reports on recent findings that suggest we can curb the polar bear’s extinction, but only if policy-makers move quickly. Steven Amstrup of the Alaska Science Center created a number of greenhouse gas emission scenarios and examined them within a projection model of sea-ice loss. The results indicated that mitigation has the potential to greatly improve the polar bear’s situation in the snowy north. Amstrup believes that reducing emissions by sufficient amounts could increase the abundance of polar bears and broaden their distribution.

Melting ice also places the genetic diversity of Arctic animals at risk. A recent Nature commentary piece describes how the loss of habitat forces Arctic animals into environmental niches they would otherwise remain clear of, which can lead to interbreeding with different species. Brendan Kelly of the National Marine Mammal Laboratory in Alaska refers to this effect as a “melting pot”. In 2006, a white bear with brown patches was shot and killed by hunters in the Arctic. Genetic analysis would later show what many feared, that the animal was a hybrid between a polar bear and a grizzly (the polar bear in the photo above hasn’t been rolling in the mud, it’s a suspected hybrid). This year an even more unlikely event occurred when hunters in the Canadian north shot and killed a 2nd generation hybrid bear — its mother was a hybrid and its father a grizzly.

The outcome of the recent UN climate talks was positive, with unanimous adoption of the Cancún agreement. Developing countries will also be required to take heed to global warming policy and act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Steps are being made in the right direction but execution and adherence will be essential to seeing results that benefit the earth and its animal populations in the coming decades.

As we approach year end I thought I would also reference you Nature’s “2010 Gallery: Images of the year“, which provides a fascinating look at some of the natural wonders that amazed (and scared) us over last 12 months. I should also point you towards an excellent article on nanomedicine recently published in NEJM; written by Dr. Betty Kim of the Institute for Biomaterials and Biomedical Research and the Terrence Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research in Toronto, the review covers the properties of nanomaterials and the myriad in vivo and  in vitro applications of these tiny tools.

Weekend Reading: This Week in the Twitterverse

Social media, publication quality, Canadian VC policy and exhaustion (mine and patents’) make for a light dose of interesting reading this weekend:

  • Friday Science Review: stagnant technologies in Africa, congenital blindness in children and chronic pain in the crosshairs… http://ow.ly/1auHag
  • Social Media Reshaping Healthcare: Some cool data on the use of Twitter as a Public Health Surveillance Tool http://ow.ly/1atGkw
    • Also… Deloitte’s report on social networks for lifesciences: Valuable communication tool or just tweets and word games http://ow.ly/3orb9
    • And/but…  Pharma skeptical of social media http://bit.ly/ha2Nn0
  • Huge. Watch what comes from this… RT @FierceBiotech: NIH steps in to propel research projects into the clinic. http://bit.ly/hWWc0m
  • Lilly Suspends Phase III Trial in Metastatic Melanoma http://bit.ly/gVcuxY (RT @PharmProEditor)
  • This may be a long road for DoD – I worked on a related project in ’91! RT @FierceBiotech: DoD awards $1.3M grant to develop artificial blood. http://bit.ly/dGfZp1
  • MaRS CEO Ilse Treurnicht notes that China is now 2nd in publication of biomedical research articles globally, recently surpassed Japan, UK, Germany…Canada…  Canadian expat Taylor Raborn asks: is their average publication of the same quality as those from Japan or Germany? Well, “quality” is hard to measure, of course. By citation rate, the answer is no. Nature has very cool data showing publication volume and citation rate http://bit.ly/gydYLk
  • Venture Capital (VC) for Canada Campaign: B.C shows exemplary leadership, will others follow?http://eqent.me/fgl7Je RT @CVCACanada
  • 4-4 split leaves 9th Cir decision intact RT @patentlyo: Supreme Court Does not Decide Costco v. Omega Int’l Exhaustion Case http://bit.ly/f1z3xM

Friday Science Review: December 17, 2010

I’ll begin the FSR this week with a few comments regarding some investigational work coming from the McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health.   Professors Dr. Peter Singer and Dr. Abdallah Daar, and PhD student Ken Simiyu, traveled to Africa to better understand why commercialization in the biotechnology and healthcare industry has been so poor of late.

Stagnant Technologies Need Stimulus

University of Toronto ♦ Published in Science, Dec. 10, 2010

After visiting some 23 academic institutions in six countries and interviewing 39 scientists, researchers have dug up some of the underlying issues preventing Africa’s biotechnological innovations from migrating to commercial success. Although previous studies in Africa have analyzed health innovation at the country level there has never been a systematic evaluation highlighting the troubles of specific technologies. Some of the technologies identified in the study include traditional plant products, new chemical entities, diagnostics, vaccines, and medical devices. In their travels the group came across some very interesting technologies indeed; researchers at the University of Ghana are developing a visually readable point of care diagnostic that uses monoclonal antibodies to detect the malaria parasite in urine; other work from Tanzania’s National Institute for Medical Research is being invested in the development of novel extraction techniques, specifically those to extract and purify artemisinin from the plant Artemisia annua for the preparation of derivatives to fight artemisinin resistance in malarial therapy. So why aren’t these technologies making a move towards market? A number of reasons. The mindsets of many researchers interviewed were simply not commercially oriented, with most scientists focusing on teaching and publishing to disseminate knowledge. Finding funding for validation studies of early stage technologies is another issue. African scientists need support from institutional investors but there are very few African funds in existence that support the biotechnology and healthcare space. Other issues identified by interviewees included a lack of commercially oriented government policy, poorly understood intellectual property regimes, and regulatory red tape. Peter Singer previously identified three areas that would help spur technology development in Africa: proof-of-concept funds, networks to link scientists and entrepreneurs together, and innovation centres that provide shared research infrastructure. Some have proposed establishing ‘Life Sciences Innovation Centres’ throughout Africa. These would serve a similar purpose as MaRS, here in Toronto, and the newly proposed Clerk-Maxwell Centres in the UK, with the goal of uniting researchers, industry, and entrepreneurs to accelerate commercial development of life science assets. This integrative approach is catching on, and could be the ingredient that will remedy the static nature of Africa’s commercial environment in the life sciences sector.

RD3 at the Root of Congenital Blindness

University of British Columbia ♦ Published in PNAS, Dec. 7, 2010

The protein RD3, previously of unknown function, has been implicated in the development of Leber Congenital Amaurosis Type 12 (LCA12). The disease is characterized by rapid degeneration of the photoreceptor cells during fetal development leading to blindness at birth or in the first year of life. Dr. Robert Molday and his team at the Centre for Macular Research show that RD3 interacts with two different forms of guanylate cyclase, GC1 and GC2, mediating their export from the endoplasmic reticulum. GC1 and GC2 are essential for the production of cGMP — a secondary messenger of phototransduction — and in their absence cGMP production is impaired. Dr. Molday believes that LCA12 may be caused by cGMP deficiency which leads to constitutive closure of cGMP gated calcium channels. Proper gradients of calcium across the membranes of photoreceptor cells is likely required for their long-term survival.

New Target for Chronic Pain Unveiled

University of Toronto ♦ Published in Science, Dec. 3, 2010

Synaptic plasticity is the ability of neural connections to vary in strength based on the extent of use or disuse of a neural pathway. This characteristic of the nervous system is key to the process of learning and memorizing sensory experiences, and it is also believed to play a role in pathological pain. Most researchers have focused on proteins that lead to synaptic plasticity as opposed to those that maintain synaptic plasticity over the long-term. A new study led by Dr. Min Zhuo implicates protein kinase M zeta (PKMξ) in the maintenance of chronic pain. Peripheral damage in a mouse model upregulated PKMξ in the anterior cingulate cortex, a region of the brain known to be involved in the onset of chronic pain. Zhou went on to show that microinjections of a PKMξ inhibitory peptide ZIP into the anterior cingulate cortex dampened synaptic potentiation and behavioural sensitization. This research uncovers an excellent target for chronic pain.

Trends Update — Social Media Reshaping Healthcare: Twitter as a Public Health Surveillance Tool for the 21st Century

We have been following innovative uses for social media in the biotech and healthcare industry here on the blog. Recently, a comprehensive paper was published in PLoS ONE outlining the use of “infoveillance” tools on the web to track the public response to the H1N1 epidemic. Dr. Gunther Eysenbach and Cynthia Chew, both researchers at Toronto’s Centre for Global eHealth Innovation, mined and archived over 2 million Twitter posts between May 1 and December 31, 2009. After carrying out an in depth analysis of these “tweets”, they validated Twitter as an effective medium to capture real-time content, sentiment, and public attention trends. Infoveillance methods include data mining, aggregation, and categorizations of online text and together form the toolkit for the new study of “infodemiology”. In the paper, Eysenbach points out that Twitter is particularly amenable to textual mining and analysis due to the concise nature of tweets that users share with their respective followers.

The concept of infodemiology began to crop up in the early 2000s when several different researchers began playing with the idea of using Internet health-related searches to provide epidemiological data that could be used to inform public health. In 2004, Eysenbach became interested in tracking flu-related searches using online syndromic surveillance. Historically, syndromic surveillance systems have typically relied on data from patient encounters with health professionals. But what if we could track the health concerns of citizens before they ever see a physician? It turns out we can. The study of infodemiology on the World Wide Web has the potential to provide automatic, continuous, and virtually real-time snapshots of public opinion and behavioural trends. In the context of public health this means capturing public health concerns at their earliest stages and even predicting major influenza pandemics weeks before they happen.

In 2006 Eysenbach published findings from a rather clever experiment he had completed over the 2004/2005 flu season. In order to track the number of people in Canada that were searching for either “flu” or “flu symptoms” he created an ad “campaign” through the keyword-triggered advertising program Google AdSense. For the purposes of optics the flu keywords led searchers to an advertisement that linked them to a generic patient education website after a click. Eysenbach then gathered FluWatch data, including influenza cases, positive lab test results, and influenza-like illness reported by sentinel physicians (“ILI-SPR”) around the country, and correlated these disease surveillance metrics with his Google advertisement data. Incredibly, Eysenbach found that clicks on the flu advertisement he had created correlated more strongly and in a more timely fashion (statistically significant on both accounts) with influenza cases and positive lab test results than did the ILI-SPR data. In a nutshell, his online experiment was more accurate at predicting rises in influenza cases than was the nation-wide sentinel physician program.

Three years later in 2009 a research paper funded by Google was published in Nature describing an influenza surveillance system piggy-backing on the popularity of certain Google search queries. The model underlying the surveillance system was generated by processing hundreds of billions of previous individual Google searches stored in web search logs. (Despite Eysenbach’s earlier work being cited in the Google paper, most journalists failed to recognize that Google’s idea wasn’t entirely new). Today Google Flu Trends can be accessed online to follow worldwide estimates of influenza-like activity. Google may have to go back to the drawing boards and refine its model however, as a new study published this past summer shrouds the accuracy of the system in some doubt. Researchers at the University of Washington evaluated Google Flu Trends against the gold standard positive influenza virus infection and its accuracy came up short – about 25% short.

The new H1N1 Twitter study reaffirms Eysenbach’s status as a visionary in the field of infodemiology. With “Web 2.0” upon us, and tsunamis of user-generated content flooding the web, the Internet “has made measurable what was previously immeasurable” in Eysenbach’s words. What we could not measure 10 years ago due to the (comparatively) static nature of the Internet, is now readily measurable with infoveillance tools. In the context of H1N1 Eysenbach says:

“H1N1 marks the first instance in which a global pandemic has occurred in the age of Web 2.0 and presents a unique opportunity to investigate the potential role of these technologies in public health emergencies.”

To carry out analysis of tweet content in the H1N1 study Chew and Eysenbach used an open-source infoveillance system known as Infovigil (Eysenbach’s own creation) that automatically and continuously dissects textual information from Twitter. They created a “codebook” with three primary variables: 1) tweet content, 2) mode of expression, and 3) type of link posted, if any. Each of these categories had several subcategories allowing for good separation of different tweet “types”. The study had some interesting findings. Over the duration of the study the relative proportion of tweets using “H1N1” increased from 8.8% to 40.5%, indicating that the public gradually began to adopt the WHO-recommended terminology as opposed to “swine flu”. With respect to tweet content, personal accounts of H1N1 increased over time while humorous content declined, indicating that the public’s perception of the subject became more serious. The public attention was aroused in certain instances, especially following the WHO pandemic level 6 announcement on June 11, 2009, which gave rise to a large spike in tweets. Only 4.5% of tweets were identified as misinformation.

Overall the study is a nice proof of concept and displays the fact that Twitter is a rich source of public opinion for the health authorities. Infoveillance can be used in the future not only for capturing sentiment, experiences, and behavioural trends, but importantly for tracking misinformation and identifying the informational needs of the human population. More studies of this kind should elucidate the value that social media will have for knowledge translation research and help refine the precision and accuracy of infoveillance tools for future infodemiology studies.

Monday Biotech Deal Review: December 13, 2010

Welcome to your Monday Biotech Deal Review.  It was a bit of a slow week this week, with a few small private placement announcements, and some activity in the licensing sector.  Read on to learn more.   Read more of this post

This Week in the Twitterverse – Weekend Reading

Here’s your dose of weekly biotech news, all wrapped up in one weekend-friendly package:

Friday Science Review: December 10, 2010

CD8+ Cytotoxic T-cells, Weapons of Selective Destruction

McMaster University ♦ Published in Molecular Therapy (npg), Nov. 30, 2010

Oncolytic viruses (OVs) are being investigated as a means to destroy tumour cells. They exert their cytotoxic effects either directly through infection, or indirectly, if they have been engineered to flag down cancer cells by delivering tumour-associated antigens for later destruction by cytotoxic T-cell lymphocytes. After an OV infects and bursts a cancer cell, a cascade of anti-tumour immune events is initiated. Antigens that are liberated by the destruction of cancer cells are internalized by a cell-type known as an antigen presenting cell (APC), broken down once inside, and then re-expressed on the surface of the APC. After migrating to the lymph nodes the APC ‘presents’ this protein signature to T-cells which deliver the final blow. Recognition of tumour antigens by T-cells drives the expansion of T-cell populations into cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTLs) and memory populations that seek out cancer cells. Upon finding cancer cells, CTLs latch on to their surface and release granules containing perforin and granzyme inducing cell breakdown. In recent work coming from the lab of Dr. Karen Mossman at McMaster University, researchers showed that a replication-defective Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) possesses oncolytic properties in a breast cancer model. New work by this lab group stresses the importance of choosing appropriate in vitro models to study oncolytic viruses. Mossman found that the sensitivities of different cancer cell lines to in vitro oncolysis did not correlate well with in vivo oncolysis in more than one virus under study. These findings illustrate the importance of adaptive antiviral CD8+ cytotoxic T-cells in producing effective oncolytic viruses for virotherapy. Examples of such a therapies in late-stage clinical development include the OncoVEX technology being developed by BioVex for advanced melanoma and JX-594, an oncolytic virus being developed by Jennerex for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma.

Insulin Expression Driven by Synthetic Promoter

University of Calgary ♦ Published in Molecular Therapy (npg), Nov. 30, 2010

A step forward for gene therapy in the diabetes arena as researchers have engineered an adenovirus containing the insulin gene under the expression of a highly active and liver-specific promoter. Following IV delivery of the virus into a diabetic mouse model normal glycemia was maintained for greater than 30 days. Glucose tolerance tests also showed that diabetic mice were able to produce insulin and clear exogenous glucose from the bloodstream in a fashion similar to healthy mice. Scientists chose the liver as a target for gene therapy because hepatocytes are particularly sensitive to glucose. The strength of these preclinical findings is in part due to the promoter used to stimulate expression of the insulin DNA component. Dr. Hee-Sook Jun and his team generated a synthetic promoter library and scanned it for promoter components and arrangements that had the strongest transcriptional activity.

Biotech Trends Update — IP Constituencies: Indian Industry Lobbies to Keep IP Out of Free Trade Agreement with EU

An article in yesterday’s Hindu Business Line says the Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association is lobbying heavily to keep data protection and other innovator-friendly IP provisions out of the free trade agreement being negotiated between India and the EU. But, with Glenmark and Jubilant on the rise, and with even Biocon carrying the R&D water in its deal with Pfizer, demands for IP protection from domestic constituents are bound to be increasingly loud.

Keep an eye on the progress of the free trade talks, continuing with the India-EU summit this week. Apparently, the main gaps are: the percentage of tradable goods that are tariff-free; a sustainable development clause; and the IP issues noted above. We’ll see how hard India pushes to keep IP out of the picture.

Monday Biotech Deal Review: December 6, 2010

Welcome to your Monday Biotech Deal Review.  There was some activity with Angiotech last week, with extension agreements being executed extending certain deadlines dealing with Angiotech’s proposed recapitalization as well as a preliminary loss in court against Rex Medical L.P.  Read on to learn more, as well as your usual assortment of biotech news.  Read more of this post

This Week in the Twitterverse: Weekend Reading

Here’s your dose of weekly biotech news, all wrapped up in one weekend-friendly package thanks to our Twitter stream:

  • RT @ArsenicMicrobes: We come in peace – Funny! But agree with @matthewherper on this one: not an alien http://bit.ly/ebEPxe
  • Never too early for biotechs and VCs to understand and plan for payer-focused endpoints http://bit.ly/fDEsbL via @InVivoBlogChris
  • My short presentation from the CHLA holiday event on Canadian Biotech and Pharma Licensing Trends http://ow.ly/1ahqq1
  • Canadian Biotech and Healthcare Licensing Trends in 2010 http://ow.ly/1ahqq1
  • Ogilvy Renault ‘s Rick Sutin and BIOTECanada’s Peter Brenders on bringing flow-thru shares to the biotech sector in Canada http://bit.ly/fOBMSj
  • What’s your best price? Amgen’s Nplate latest example of drug winning NICE backing after offering rebate to UK’s NHS, from @reutersBenHir:
  • BC biotech company bets the farm on GM non-browning apples http://bit.ly/g5EPQ0
  • Made here, bought elsewhere… RT @robannan: Innovation moves south – government watches it go. New blog post.http://bit.ly/gycbZT
  • Merck Prez Ken Frazier to become CEO in Jan. http://yhoo.it/hUppEh. Background from Fierce Biotech at http://bit.ly/eYFTZB
  • One of the outcomes from H1N1/swine flu pandemic… RT @CBCHealth: Ont. to give new powers to chief medical officerhttp://bit.ly/i7DVAg
  • RT @jonmrich: Forget Harry Potter. Call of Duty: Black Ops: Sold $650 million in 5 days. Breaks EVERY entertainment opening. Amazing.
  • Allon (TSX:NPC) lands $625k grant from MJFF for pre-clinical work on davunetide as a treatment for Parkinson’shttp://bit.ly/eLVeey
  • NB Premier says he’s open to idea of regional fund, proposes $50m for Atlantic biotech/cleantech/IT http://bit.ly/ggTkwN
  • Medical genetics and personalized medicine issue of Stanford Medhttp://bit.ly/eRNDKZ

Friday Science Review: December 3, 2010

It’s all about microscopic machinery this week with two articles in Molecular Cell (Cell Press) and a third in Nature Cell Biology.

The MMS22L-TONSL Complex to the Rescue: A Sine Qua Non for Genome Integrity

Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute ♦ University of Toronto

Published in Molecular Cell, November 24, 2010

In order for DNA replication to occur smoothly, a large complex of DNA polymerases and other proteins must work in harmony and navigate their way down the length of double-stranded DNA to synthesize daughter strands. This machinery, known as the ‘replisome’, frequently stumbles upon genomic glitches and other impediments that have the potential to hinder its progress. As a result, the cell has evolved a basket of mechanisms to ensure that the replisome avoids stalling and the replication fork continues to move. In a study led by Dr. Anne-Claude Gingras of the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Insitute, scientists use an RNAi screen to identify MMS22L-TONSL — a complex that appears to rescue the replisome during times of replicative stress. The newly identified complex exerts its rescue effects by interacting with single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) during end processing or in regions where the replication fork has stalled. After seeking out ssDNA MMS22L-TONSL goes to work catalyzing the repair of faulty DNA lesions, opening a path forward for the replisome.

MicroRNA Families Modulate Embryonic Messenger Transcripts

McGill University

Published in Molecular Cell, November 24, 2010

It appears microRNA (miRNA) controls expression of messenger RNA targets at the embryonic stage. These special RNA molecules originate in the nucleus, much like mRNA, but are subsequently modified by the enzyme RNaseIII and then exported to the cytoplasm. It is here that they are cleaved and manipulated into their mature form by the enzyme Dicer. After being processed miRNAs are incorporated into silencing complexes that then sort through the mRNA content of the cytoplasm, silencing specific transcripts as they go.  Dr. Thomas Duchaine and his colleagues utilized a C. elegans model to show that two embryonic miRNA families contribute to a natural RNAi process by suppressing expression of target mRNAs. The group also shows that silencing, achieved through epigenetic modification of targets, occurs in a target-specific manner with a unique modification pattern provided to each mRNA target.

Molecular Maintenance of Centromeres, GTPase Pulls the Switch

University of Montreal

Published in Nature Cell Biology, November 21, 2010

The central region of the chromosome has the responsibility of controlling chromosomal separation during cellular division. Like almost all parts of the genome, this region, known as the centromere, is subject to epigenetic regulation. The specialized H3 histone CENP-A is found exclusively at centromeres and is believed to be the epigenetic label of the region. Dr. Paul Maddox and his team at the University of Montreal have recently discovered new agents that maintain the assembly of CENP-A following its addition to the centromere region. A GTPase activating protein interacts with a CENP-A factor to recruit a number of auxiliary proteins that play an essential role in stabilizing newly added CENP-A. This stabilization process early on in the cell cycle is critical in ensuring that each new chromosome receives a sufficient quantity of CENP-A following cell division.

Canadian Biotech and Healthcare Licensing Trends in 2010

I was fortunate this week to host the Canadian Healthcare Licensing Association‘s (CHLA’s) annual holiday get-together on behalf of Ogilvy Renault at our Toronto office (we hosted a parallel CHLA event in Montreal earlier this week). I presented a short slide deck on licensing trends in 2010, with data drawn from our Monday Biotech Deal Reviews and from Wayne Schnarr’s quarterly reports. For your viewing enjoyment,the slideshare version is below. You can also download a pdf of the presentation here.

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