The Cross-Border Biotech Blog

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

Monthly Archives: January 2013

Monday Deal Review: January 28, 2013

Welcome to your Monday Biotech Deal Review for January 28, 2013!  The past week was relatively quiet, but highlights include Sernova’s $2 million private placement and Helix’s closing of their $8.5 million sale of the Rivex division.  Click below to get the whole week’s stories!

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Monday Deal Review: January 21, 2013

Welcome to your Monday Biotech Deal Review for January 21, 2013!  Medicago made news last week with a $15 million loan agreement with an unnamed pharmaceutical company. The funds are being used for Medicago’s plant-based VLP vaccine pipeline. As the agreement provides for potential licensing options with that partner, we will be watching closely to see any further announcements.

YM Biosciences, as it continues with its plan of arrangement transaction with Gilead, has received the endorsement of two proxy firms who have recommended to shareholders that they vote in favour of the transaction. This will likely allow YM Biosciences to obtain the shareholder approval required by statute to be able to continue with the arrangement.

Paladin labs, meanwhile, has closed their acquisition of a controlling stake in Ativa Pharma of Mexicom, and has also in-licensed a new biologic from Apeiron Biologics. Also, last week we saw Theratechnologies conclude their recent issues with the NASDAQ exchange by voluntarily delisting. They remain on the TSX, however.

As always, click through to see more on these deals as well as the rest of last week’s major biotech activity.

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Monday Deal Review: January 14, 2013

Welcome to your Monday Biotech Deal Review for January 14, 2013! This week’s big news is that Cytochroma, a privately held company, will be acquired by OPKO Health.  Also on the M&A side, Asia-Biochem completed their acquisition of China’s Tieling Wanshunda Starch Company Ltd for over CDN$44 million. There was not much activity in the investment space, however ProMetric has been able to close $10 million in financing from Shenzhen Hepalink Pharmaceutical Co.,  as we’ve covered previously.  Find out more about these transactions, as well as the rest of this week’s major Canadian Biotech news, by clicking through! Read more of this post

Friday Science Review: January 8, 2013

John HolyoakeUbiquitin-specific proteases (USPs) are implicated in many diseases and yet only a few weak inhibitors of their function have been available. A report in Science from a collaboration led by the Siddhu lab at the Terrence Donnelly Center for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, University of Toronto describes the development of a molecular strategy to inhibit these important enzymes.

The conjugation of ubiquitin to proteins is one of the most common post-translational modifications of proteins. Labeling of these proteins by ubiquitin often functions to target the protein for destruction by the proteasome or to alter the proteins’ sub-cellular localization and activities. The labeling process is itself complex involving the sequential action of enzymes (E1, E2 and E3) and can result in the addition of a single ubiquitin or multiple ubiquitins either as a chain (polyubiquitination) or at multiple sites on the target protein (multiubiquitination). Removal of ubiquitin can rescue a protein from destruction or restore its activity and is carried out by deubiquitination enzymes, of which the ubiquitin-specific proteases (USPs) are the largest class. Members of this class are implicated in multiple disease processes, including cancer and neurodegeneration, making them an attractive area of study, but one that has been hampered by the lack of high affinity inhibitors.

USPs share a conserved ubiquitin binding site structure, albeit with low affinity for ubiquitin, therefore the research led by the Siddhu lab used the strategy of phage-display-based screening of ubiquitin mutants that had increased binding affinity for specific USPs. Using this approach several specific USP inhibiting mutants were created and the researchers were able to build upon this success by expanding the concept to inhibit other deubiquitinating enzyme classes and components of the ubiquitin labelling system – the E2 and E3 enzymes. In vivo activity of this system means the door is open to carry out detailed dissections of the ubiquitin system, along with using the system to validate drug targets, to create screening assays and ultimately to guide the generation of ubiquitin-system target specific inhibitors.

Monday Deal Review: January 7, 2013

Happy New Year and welcome to your Monday Biotech Deal Review for January 7, 2013! While biotech gets back to business for 2013 after the holidays, the last 2 weeks have not seen a flurry of activity.  Nonetheless, on the M&A side, IBEX Technologies acquired Bio-Research Products, while Biosign and Patheon completed private financings of their own.  Further, Warnex has begun trading under the NEX and Stellar Pharmaceuiticals has completed their planned name change to Tribute Pharmaceuitcals.  Get more details on these stories as well as last week’s other major biotech news by clicking through.   Read more of this post

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