The Dish’s Weekly Biotechnology News Wrap Up – July 29, 2016

By on July 29, 2016
Weekly Biotechnology News Wrap Up – July 29

This week’s biotechnology news headlines include, US Government looking to start 10 year research project on genetics and lifestyle, ASLAN Pharmaceutical has partnered with Selexis to develop a CHO-K1 cell line, GSK bought rights to experimental asthma drug from J&J, Kite licenses UCLA platform for developing allogeneic T-cell therapies, breakthrough status for Pfizer/Spark haemophilia gene therapy, Quebec researchers get approval to begin testing Zika vaccine on humans, and Merck’s Ebola vaccine receives FDA breakthrough designation.

Cell Culture Events


Bioprocess Insights 2016, Crowne Plaza Event, Philadelphia, PA – August 8, 2016

Don’t miss the Bioprocess insights seminar that is coming to the Mid-Atlantic region on August 8th.  The seminar will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Philadelphia, King of Prussia, PA. It will start at 9:00 AM, finish at 4:00 PM and lunch will be provided.

Two of our renowned industry experts, Günter Jagschies and Parrish Galliher, will share their experience from current upstream and downstream approaches. You will also hear their views on the future of the industry.

Topics include:

  • Points to consider for continuous bioprocessing
  • Biosimilar development: manufacturing technology, master development plan
  • Managing for best economy: closing technology gaps and integrating upstream and downstream process development
  • Technology developments and improvements in mAb downstream processing— recent achievements and outlook

Register today for this free seminar. Hope to see you there!


VISION leadership course is uniquely tailored for the bioindustry to capture the synergies between bioscience, technology and business practice – Keck Graduate Institute, Claremont, CA – September 14-16, 2016

UCL Biochemical Engineering in collaboration with Keck Graduate Institute is announcing its 2016 VISION Leadership Programme. Designed for talented high impact individuals, VISION provides executive leadership insights tailored for present & future leaders in the bioindustries through rigorous intellectual analysis & intensive, practical, peer-to-peer action-based learning giving you the tools required to drive innovation, entrepreneurship & global leadership in your organisation.


  • Know how to make the transition from science & engineering based decision making towards company- wide strategic resolutions
  • Build an invaluable network with elite peers & experts from academia & industry who challenge, stimulate & inspire you
  • Gain perspectives on leadership challenges & critical business issues facing the bioindustry globally & formulate actions to address these
  • Learn from real life cases studies to succeed in making difficult decisions & implementing strategies to secure a more robust future for your business
  • Access & share best practices on how to be a good leader & avoid pitfalls in constantly evolving market
  • Achieve your personal development & career objectives
  • Evaluate the impact of key innovative research & technologies on the future of business & manufacturing


Barry Buckland, CEO, BiologicB
Charles Cooney, Professor, MIT
Nigel Darby, former VP, GE Healthcare
Parrish Galliher, CTO, GE Healthcare
Phil Gomez, Principal, PricewaterhouseCoopers
Ljiljana Minwalla, Senior Legal & Patent Counsel, Mesoblast, Inc.
Andrew Ramelmeier, Senior VP, Portola Pharmaceuticals
Rahul Singhvi, COO, Takeda Vaccines


  • Managers & practitioners fast tracked for executive roles or intending to move into leadership positions
  • Current executives intending to interact with fellow leaders & expert speakers to debate & exchange novel thoughts & opinions
  • Funding agencies wanting to interact with present & future thought leaders to gain insights into the sector trends & skills required to navigate the changing bioindustry landscape

 VISION combines innovative management thinking with cutting edge research to ensure high flyers perform optimally

For more information contact and visit


Bioprocess Insights Webinars

The biopharmaceutical industry has developed into a multi-billion dollar market in just 30 years. Making decisions and setting up strategies in a rapidly changing environment can be challenging. The difference between a good and a great decision can have extensive implications for the future of a company. In this environment, knowledge and experience are what make the difference. Good insights about, for example, technical advancements, process economy implications, and sustainability aspects can help improve the individual decisions and strengthen the overall business strategy.

In this webinar series, four renowned subject matter experts will share their insights into four areas of bioprocessing: upstream, vaccines, downstream, and single-use technology. We will present tangible, recently developed data that can help you in developing modern, cost-efficient, and sustainable bioprocesses.

Don’t miss these on demand webinars –



If you are attending, please don’t miss:

Dr. Adam Elhofy, CSO, Essential Pharmaceuticals (Booth #303) is giving a seminar on Thursday, August 18th at 9:00 am entitled:  “Bioproduction: Scale, Bioreactors & Disposables” and is presenting a poster titled “Novel Lipid supplement increases mAb production in single use bioreactors”.

Abstract: Optimizing protein production by CHO cells grown in serum free conditions is an ongoing process, requiring a balance between cell proliferation and protein production. Many tools are utilized to increase protein titers, like metabolomics, media optimization and continuous perfusion. We investigated the use of a novel lipid supplement to improve media conditions using various strategies to increase protein yield. One strategy of adding the lipid supplement at the initiation of culture resulted in an increase in monoclonal (mAb) titer of 30% from CHO cells without increasing viable cell density (VCD). Furthermore when the metabolic profile was examined there were no differences in any of the metabolites tested, including ammonia, glutamate, lactate, glucose and others. A second strategy of using the supplement in a fed batch process as a feed resulted in two notable effects. The first effect was increasing the titer yield by close to 25%. The second effect was extending the window for peak protein production from 1 day to 2 days. The supplement was also used in a single use bioreactor. The lipid supplement used as a feed in a Wave bioreactor resulting in an increase of 27% of mAb titer. This research using this lipid supplement is the first to show an increased titer in a single use bioreactor. These results show there are opportunities for further optimization of protein production using lipids. Furthermore some of the standard metrics like metabolic profiles may not be able to predict improved titer or productivity. It is possible the use of lipids alters energy utilization for de novo membrane formation and improves the energy efficiency for protein production as evidenced by the scalable small bioreactor results.

Dr. Elhofy was recently interviewed for the Cell Culture Dish Podcast, “Cell Culture Media Optimization – It’s about more than just high protein titer.”



  • Adoptive T-Cell Therapy Summit Europe 2016 – October 10-11, 2016 – London, UK


  • World Precision Medicine – November 14-15, 2016 – Washington DC

The World Precision Medicine Congress USA is bringing together big pharma, big data, and healthcare providers to discuss the scientific, economic, and policy goals towards producing precise and genomic-based medicines. Partnered with forward-looking industry leaders such as precisionFDA and NantWorks, this event will fast-track our momentum into the future paradigm of healthcare by spurring the important discussions to get us there.

Can you afford to miss this gathering of precision medicine leaders? Pharma, big data, and healthcare providers will be there attending sessions on gene therapy, cell therapy, personalized medicine, and genomics.

Download the brochure:

Register to attend:



“Uncle Sam Wants You — Or at Least Your Genetic and Lifestyle Information,” The New York Times

“Government scientists are seeking a million volunteers willing to share the innermost secrets of their genes and daily lives as part of an ambitious 10-year research project to understand the causes and cures of disease.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Automated Stem Cell Based High Throughput Drug Screening for ALS and Parkinson’s Disease

“ASLAN widens effort on first mAb candidate with Selexis pact,” Fierce Pharma

“Fresh off a fundraising round that sets up a likely initial public offering in Taiwan, Singapore’s ASLAN Pharmaceutical has moved to bring along its first mAb candidate, ASLAN004, by working with Selexis of Switzerland to develop a CHO-K1 cell line.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “BIO 2016 Annual Convention – Summary of Highlights

“GSK chases next biotech asthma drug with $230 million J&J deal,” Reuters

“GlaxoSmithKline has bought global rights to an experimental drug from Johnson & Johnson for up to 175 million pounds ($230 million), raising its bet on a new generation of biotech medicines for severe asthma.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Cool Tool – Clarification using Acoustic Wave Separation offers Advantages including -Continuous Process Solution

“Kite Licenses UCLA Platform for Developing Allogeneic T-Cell Therapies,” Genetic Engineering News

“Kite Pharma said today it has licensed technology from the University of California (UC) designed to advance the development of off-the-shelf allogeneic T-cell therapies from renewable pluripotent stem cells.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Real Time IgG Titer Measurement Enables PAT (Process Analytical Technology) Implementation

“Breakthrough status for Pfizer/Spark haemophilia gene therapy,” PharmaTimes

“Pfizer and Spark Therapeutics say their investigational haemophilia B drug SPK-9001 has been awarded breakthrough therapy status by the US Food and Drug Administration. SPK-9001 is a novel bio-engineered adeno-associated virus (AAV) capsid expressing a codon-optimised, high-activity human factor IX variant, currently being assessed in an ongoing Phase I/II trial as a potential one-time therapy.

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Gene Therapy Strengthened by Recent Successes”

“Quebec researchers get approval to begin testing Zika vaccine on humans,” The Toronto Sun

“A Quebec City-based research team has received the green light to begin testing a Zika vaccine on humans in collaboration with U.S.-based partners.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Cell Culture and Single Cell Passaging of Human Pluripotent Stem Cells Without the Need for ROCK Inhibitor

“Merck’s Ebola vaccine grabs FDA, EMA milestones in push toward licensure,” FiercePharma

“While much of the world has moved on to the latest headline-grabbing outbreak in Zika, Merck continues to press on with its Ebola vaccine candidate. On Monday, the New Jersey pharma announced its rVSV-ZEBOV has won the FDA’s Breakthrough Therapy Designation and the EMA’s Priority Medicines status.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Cell Flask Adapters Can Streamline the Cell Culturing Process

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