The Cross-Border Biotech Blog

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

Monthly Archives: November 2012

Friday Science Review: November 30, 2012

John HolyoakeAutism spectrum disorder (ASD) encompasses a range of developmental disorders that effect multiple basic functions including language and socialization. Specific causes of ASD have not been determined, though multiple risk factors have been identified, including genetic components and prenatal complications. Increased neuronal connectivity as a result of dysregulated and overactive synaptic protein expression is, however, proposed to be part of the molecular mechanism.

mTOR has previously been implicated in the observed overactive protein expression, but events downstream of mTOR have not been investigated. It is known that mTOR phosphorylates eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E-binding proteins (4E-BPs), which are important for suppressing initiation of the translation of mRNA’s and therefore researchers at McGill University and the Université de Montréal investigated the effects of knocking out 4E-BP2 and of overexpressing eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E (eIF4E). Their paper in Nature shows that both of these perturbations lead to overexpression of neuroligins, a postsynaptic protein class implicated in ASDs. Furthermore, the 4E-BP2 KO mice exhibited autism-like behaviours and had an altered excitatory-inhibitory synaptic balance. Returning neuroligin 1 levels to their normal range restored the synaptic balance, as did pharmacologic inhibition of eIF4E, opening up new avenues to explore for therapeutic interventions in ASDs.

Some Questions When Considering Investing in Canadian Healthcare Stocks: Part 22 of Valuation and Other Biotech Mysteries

[Ed. This is the twenty-second part in Wayne's series. You can access the whole thing by clicking here. Please leave comments or questions on the blog and Wayne will address them in future posts in this series.]

Note: as with all commentary on this blog, these comments do not consider the investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any particular person, and investors should obtain professional advice based on their own individual circumstances before making any investment decision.
If you and your financial advisor(s) are discussing investing in Canadian healthcare stocks, here are some points for you to consider. Read more of this post

Capital Markets – The Biotech Analyst: Part 21 of Valuation and Other Biotech Mysteries

[Ed. This is the twenty-first part in Wayne's series. You can access the whole thing by clicking here. Please leave comments or questions on the blog and Wayne will address them in future posts in this series.]

In the 20 years since I started my first stint as a biotech stock analyst, both the biotech and financial industries have seen major changes. I was the third new biotech analyst hired in 1992 by a Canadian investment dealer, bringing the total to 5 or 6 at that time. During the biotech boom there were over 30 analysts in Canada but that number has declined back to the 1992 levels. There were only about a dozen public Canadian biotech companies in 1992 whereas there are now about 100 developing therapeutics, diagnostics and medical devices. Here are answers to three common questions about biotech stock analysts: Read more of this post

Monday Deal Review: November 26, 2012

Welcome to your Monday Biotech Deal Review for November 26, 2012. This past week saw Valeant continue their aggressive stock repurchase program. Valeant plans to repurchase up to $1.5 billion worth of its own stock, senior notes or debt. Further, we saw Paladin expand its potential sales reach with the purchase of a controlling stake in Mexico-based Ativa Pharma.  Get the full breakdown of these and many more of the past week’s major biotech stories.   
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Monday Deal Review: November 19, 2012

Welcome to your Monday Biotech Deal Review for November 19, 2012. This past week saw the FTC give Valeant formal approval to acquire Medicis. A busy week on the investment front saw Kane Biotech, Lignol and MethylGene announce their intentions to raise capital. We also saw Abattis executing their previously announced licensing agreement with Vertical Design Systems for the use of Vertical’s plants, plant materials and extracts production technology. For more details on these sotries as well as many more, click through below!  
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Monday Deal Review: November 12, 2012

Welcome to your Monday Biotech Deal Review for November 12, 2012.  This week was a rather slow week as most biotech companies reported their third quarter financial results.  However, Atrium bucked the trend and has continued with its share repurchase program.  Click through to learn more.
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Friday Science Review: November 9, 2012

Histones are essential components of chromosomes, whose function is to both package DNA and to regulate the expression of genes. For the latter function, histones are subject to a range of post-translational modifications that can activate or silence transcription of the local DNA. The modification status of histones is determined by the activities of a range of enzymes that act to add or remove the modifications and the coordination of the different activities is essential to regulate the transcription or silencing of genes.

The recent PNAS paper from the Brand lab at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute’s regenerative medicine program adds to our knowledge of this epigenetic process by determining the mechanism by which two proteins, H3K9 methyltransferase G9a/KMT1C and the H3K4 demethylase Jarid1a/KDM5A, work together to achieve developmentally regulated gene expression at the β-globin locus. Opening the window on these complex mechanisms will be key to developing new therapies for a wide range of conditions ah, cancer, autoimmune diseases and psychiatry.

Monday Deal Review: November,5 2012

Welcome to your Monday Biotech Deal Review for November 5, 2012.  The past week saw a flurry of activity by Patheon, as it seeks to fund the acquisition of Banner Pharmacaps from Netherlands based VION.  Functional Therapeutics, on the other hand, has indicated that their previously announced spin-out agreement has been terminated.  Check out the link below for more detail on these stories, as well as the other major biotech stories of the past week.
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