The Cross-Border Biotech Blog

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

Monthly Archives: July 2013

Pulse of the Canadian healthcare sector (Part 3): improving the funding for early stage companies

Wayne Schnarr - seriousBased on personal discussions and CVCA financing data (see Part 2 of this blog series), I conclude there has been insufficient funding available for the quality early stage Canadian healthcare companies and technologies for several years. I am going to outline my perspectives on three groups of options for improving the funding.

  • Can some of the funding sources which have left the sector be enticed to come back?
  • Can the funding level from some of the current sources be increased?
  • Are there new sources or formats for funding?

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Monday Deal Review: July 22, 2013

Welcome to your Monday Biotech Deal Review for July 22, 2013! A busy week saw acquisitions of Medicago by Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation and Allon’s acquisition by Paladin Labs.

Hit the break to see the whole story on these major deals and for the rest of the past weeks’ stories!

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Share Price Performance in Q2 2013 for the Canadian Healthcare Sector: Negative results for the smaller cap public companies (Part 2)

Wayne Schnarr - seriousFollowing on from Part 1 of my analysis of the share price performance in Q2 2013, this blog will focus on the Canadian public healthcare companies which started 2013 with share prices between $0.10 and $0.99 (53 companies).

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Monday Deal Review: July 8, 2013

Welcome to your Monday Biotech Deal Review for July 8, 2013! A busy two weeks has seen  lot of activity on the debt financing side of things. This includes Paladin and Bioniche’s complex debt financing and license arrangement.
Valeant’s ambitious financing push is also nering completion, with the public offering worth $2.3 billion closing and the nearly $3.3 billion in senior notes being priced.

Click through the break to see the full rundown of the past weeks’ stories!

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Friday Science Review: July 5, 2013

A few weeks ago I reviewed a paper that demonstrated that pluripotent stem cells could be induced by repressing muscleblind-like RNA binding (MBNL) proteins in differentiated cells. Continuing in this vein, new research published in Nature Cell Biology from the lab of Dr. Connie Eaves at the BC Cancer Agency identifies a pathway crucial for the maintenance of the self-renewal properties of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). Using array analysis and quantitative polymerase chain reaction, the authors found that the Lin28b gene is expressed much more highly in mouse fetal liver HSCs than in adult bone marrow HSCs, which have greatly reduced self-renewal capabilities compared to fetal liver HSCs. Adult bone marrow HSCs transfected with the Lin28 gene and subsequently transplanted in to mice of at least 10 weeks of age have increased self-renewal capabilities and also show decreased levels of let-7 microRNA, the production of which is inhibited by Lin28b. Additionally, flow cytometry experiments demonstrated that Hmga2, a protein that is known to be inhibited by let-7, was increased in adult bone marrow HSCs following Lin28 transfection. Directly increasing Hmga2 levels in adult bone marrow HSCs increased the self-renewing capabilities of these cells, whereas fetal liver cells lacking Hmga2 have greatly reduced self-renewing capability. Overall, this study demonstrates that the self-renewing capability of mouse hematopoietic stem cells is regulated by the Lin28 – let-7 – Hmga2 axis, which is down-regulated within a few weeks following birth. Thus, this pathway offers a potential target for the development of tissue-specific self-replicating cells, which promise to be very important for the treatment of a variety of diseases.

Share Price Performance in Q2 2013 for the Canadian Healthcare Sector: Relatively flat for the larger cap public companies (Part 1)

Wayne Schnarr - seriousIn order to assess share price performance among the Canadian public healthcare companies, I started with a portfolio of 118 companies for the 2013 assessment. The portfolio has been split into three parts according to the closing share price on December 31, 2012: $1.00 or more (38 companies); $0.10 to $0.99 (53 companies); and less than $0.10 (now only 25 companies; Victhom acquired and PharmaGap cease traded in Q2).

In this blog, I am going to comment on the Q2 and H1 performance of the first group of companies with share prices of $1.00 or more to start 2013 (a subsequent blog will comment on the other two groups of companies in the sector).

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