April 15, 2009
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Two Camels! Dolly the cloned sheep, meet Injaz the cloned camel.
Two R&D Heads! The combined Pfizer-Wyeth will have Mikael Dolsten heading up the newly created BioTherapeutics Research Group and Martin Mackay heading up the small molecule PharmaTherapeutics Research Group. (Two CapitalLetters!) The In Vivo Blog has a podcast interviewing both.
Two VA Initiatives! In addition to the electronic medical records initiative we mentioned earlier this week, the Department of Veterans Affairs is also setting up a large cohort genetic study that will establish a database of genetic information from patients that will be linked to the participants’ electronic health records. This is great news for personalized medicine because it will ensure that the EHR standard that comes out of the VA project will accomodate and utilize individualized genotypic data.
Two R’s, Two L’s, Two B’s! G. Steven Burrill (two r’s, two l’s, one b) says he’s confident he can raise $1 billion (there it is!) to develop the Pine Island biotechnology project and a private equity/venture capital fund, which will support development of new technologies out of the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota, among others.
Two Guidance…s! Health Canada issued a finalized version of a Guidance Document on data protection (only applicable to qualifying innovative drugs that received an NOC on or after June 17, 2006) AND a revised version of the draft Guidance Document on Subsequent Entry Biologics, (which includes a 6-year data protection period). More to come on this.
Two Border Crossings! Simponi, a biologic developed by Johnson & Johnson and Schering-Plough, crossed the border Northbound — gaining approval from Health Canada before the FDA; and Molecular Templates Inc. crossed the border Southbound — leaving Ontario for the Texas Life-Sciences Collaboration Center.
March 4, 2009
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Monkey Business: glycerol monolaurate (GML), a well-known microbicide, may protect macaques against SIV; but future experiments may need to use a modified HIV strain instead; meanwhile, who will protect them from the University of Louisiana?
Smoky Business: the tobacco industry is facing new litigation in Ontario, and FDA regulation in the U.S.
Actual, Honest-to-Goodness* Profitable Business: The Burrill report marks this year as the first one to show an overall profit from the biotech industry.
*well, sort of.
February 25, 2009
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The question this week: a shot in the arm or a kick in the teeth?
A shot in the arm for:
- Fewer shots in the arm! (har)
- British Columbia is the first jurisdiction in North America to offer a children’s vaccine called Infanrix-hexa™, which contains six immunizations in one, resulting in three fewer needles in the overall B.C. infant vaccine schedule, and
- With the discovery of a constant region of flu virus protein hemagglutinin, a universal flu vaccine may be possible (no more yearly shots);
- The Naval Surface Warfare Center in White Oak, a suburb of Washington, where the FDA is spending $1.15 billion to consolidate its offices and labs and to anchor a new biotech hub;
- Pine Island, near Rochester, Minnesota, which could soon be the home to a new biotech research, development and manufacturing park with the help of up to $900 million in funding reportedly pledged by Steve Burrill. Funding announcements also from Maryland and Pittsburgh;
- Sustainable agriculture, when the White House announced its nominee for second-in-command at USDA: Kathleen Merrigan of Tufts University, who had been a top choice of the Cornucopia Institute to run USDA’s National Organic Program;
- The National Science Foundation, from the stimulus (a $3 billion boost) and the budget (a 6.7% increase, to $6.49 billion);
- Multiple Sclerosis, with Merck, Novartis, Teva, Biogen Idec and Sanofi Aventis all planning to release new oral therapeutics between now and 2012;
- Conflict of interest disclosure, with a new editorial in PLoS Medicine;
- Deterrence, with the arrest of four animal-rights extremists;
- Organ failure biomarkers,
- with the discovery of liver toxicity-associated MicroRNAs, and
- with the injection by Pfizer Canada of $1 million to the PROOF Centre to fund research into vital organ failure biomarkers; and
A kick in the teeth for: