The Dish’s Weekly News Wrap Up – March 21, 2014

By on March 21, 2014

This week’s headlines include, new biotech asthma drugs, the Brain Initiative, new genetic cholesterol drug, stem cells remember substrates, top R&D spenders, challenges remain before whole-genome sequencing used by doctors.

Cell Culture Events

IBC’s Biopharmaceutical Development & Production Week

March 24-27, 2014 – San Diego, CA
Event Website:

BDP Week provides you the most in-depth coverage of bioprocessing methods in the field, to give you the tools you need to develop and manufacture the increasingly diverse and complex molecules emerging in the biopharmaceutical pipeline.

New registrations, Save 20% off the standard rate with priority code BDP14CCD.

Download the event brochure (PDF):

World Vaccine Congress

March 24-26, 2014 –Washington DC

Now in its 14th year, the World Vaccine Congress US 2014 promises to address the latest challenges being faced by the vaccine sector and give you access to the latest science in this fast-evolving industry.

Join us on March 24-26 in Washington D.C. to participate in 3 jam-packed days covering new insights into the regulatory landscape, the latest approaches to vaccines, the challenges and opportunities in emerging markets, innovative technologies and more.

Bioprocess International European Summit

April 2-3, 2014 – Clarion Congress Hotel, Prague, Czech Republic

The countdown to BioProcess International Europe SUMMIT 2014 begins!

Join us to reflect on the critical challenges facing the production, analysis and formulation of biologics.

This meeting congregates top industry speakers in 5 conference streams, in 1 unique venue. Don’t miss this opportunity to challenge conventional thinking and prepare for the next wave of products, processes and technologies shaping the future of your industry, your company and ultimately, your career.

Mark your diary to join us in April 2014 in Prague !

For more information, please visit:

Please quote CQ3509CD when booking your place.


“Billionaires with Big Ideas are Privatizing American Science,” The New York Times

“Last April, President Obama assembled some of the nation’s most august scientific dignitaries in the East Room of the White House. Joking that his grades in physics made him a dubious candidate for “scientist in chief,” he spoke of using technological innovation “to grow our economy” and unveiled “the next great American project”: a $100 million initiative to probe the mysteries of the human brain. Along the way, he invoked the government’s leading role in a history of scientific glories, from putting a man on the moon to creating the Internet. The Brain Initiative, as he described it, would be a continuation of that grand tradition, an ambitious rebuttal to deep cuts in federal financing for scientific research.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled Troubleshooting Media Development for Bioprocessing”

“Top R&D Spenders of 2013,” Genetic Engineering News

“For all the talk about biopharmas cutting back on research and development, more companies (12) actually increased their R&D spending in 2013 than decreased it (eight), if the latest GEN List is any indication. Reasons for the fluctuations vary. Inevitably, companies that ramped up their R&D spending the most cited the need to support later-stage clinical programs, while biopharmas that reduced R&D spending often—but not always—did so as part of companywide restructurings designed to cut costs and enhance efficiency. Most but not all heritage “big pharma” companies reduced R&D, while biotechs continued to increase their R&D spending—yet remain below the levels of the pharma giants.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Biologics Still on Top in Best Selling Drugs of 2013

“With Protections Set to Lapse on Advanced Drugs, U.S. Presses Strict Rules Overseas,” The Washington Post

“Stung by overseas patent rulings that could undercut U.S. companies, the Obama administration is trying to expand protection for the makers of the world’s most advanced medicines through trade rules that critics argue could lead to higher global drug prices. The effort has sparked an intense debate between pharmaceutical firms, which are looking to protect costly research investments and fund the next generation of drug development, and patient advocates and others who worry that a strict application of U.S. rules around the world could keep prices out of reach, particularly for patients in developing countries.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled Paper or Plastic: A Study on Single-Use and Sustainability

“Rivals Race to Develop New Biotech Asthma Drugs,” Reuters

“Rival firms are racing to develop injectable biotech asthma drugs for patients with severe disease who don’t respond well to traditional inhalers, in pursuit of a new market worth a possible $7.5 billion. Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline, the leader in asthma treatments since launching its Ventolin inhaler in 1969, is in the vanguard but faces competition from the likes of Roche , AstraZeneca, Sanofi and Teva . Despite treatment advances in recent decades, asthma is still not well controlled in up to 20 percent of patients on standard therapy, which consists of inhaled steroids and long-acting beta agonists that are designed to open the airways.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled Flexible Facilities for Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing

“Amgen Drug Meets Goal for those with higher Genetic Cholesterol,” Reuters

“Amgen Inc said its experimental new type of cholesterol-fighting drug met the primary goal of a late-stage trial by slashing “bad” LDL cholesterol levels in patients with a genetic tendency towards high levels of the artery-clogging fat. Amgen said on Monday patients given its injectable drug evolocumab once a month, on top of standard daily statin treatments, showed “clinically meaningful” improvement compared with taking statins alone after 12 weeks of treatment. The drug is also known as AMG-145. The Phase 3 study, called TESLA, involved 49 adult and adolescent patients with a rare condition called homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia. The condition, seen in about one in a million individuals, can cause a four-fold increase in levels of LDL cholesterol, greatly raising the risk of heart disease.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled Choosing a Cell Culture Media Development Strategy for Biopharmaceutical Production

“Challenges Remain Before Docs Use Whole-Genome Sequencing,” Reuters

“Before doctors use technology to evaluate every “letter” in a person’s DNA to detect or diagnose medical conditions, several hurdles must be overcome, according to a new study. Researchers found that sequencing a person’s whole genome – all three billion or so DNA nucleotides in the chromosomes – required a significant amount of manpower for a small payoff. They also found that identifications of potentially significant variations were not always reliable and doctors disagreed on how to proceed.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled 2013 FDA New Drug Approvals

“Stem Cells Remember Substrates,” The Scientist

“Stem cells grown on hard or soft substrates seem to note the difference, and memory of their past environments can influence their later fates. Researchers demonstrate today (March 16) in Nature Materials that human mesenchymal stem cells grown on a rigid substrate for some time become biased toward differentiating into a bone-cell lineage, whereas cells grown on softer surfaces are just as likely to eventually follow a bone- or fat-cell fate. Key to these experiments was a phototunable hydrogel that allowed the researchers to alter the stiffness of the substrate simply by shining a light. “The report is a really great illustration of the potential to use materials as tools to understand how stem cells work,” said Matthew Dalby, a bone cell engineering researcher at the University of Glasgow who was not involved in the study.

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Learning More About Your Cells by Employing Flow Cytometry and Cell Imaging Platforms – Troubleshooting Challenges

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