The Dish’s Weekly News Wrap Up – December 6, 2013

This week’s headlines include, vaccination effect, flu vaccine clinical trials, improving R&D returns, biosimilars slow to take off in Europe, and stem cell cancer deal.

Cell Culture Dish Feature – Ask the Expert:

Our Next Session – Fluorescence detection in living cells and ways to improve your image

Fluorescence imaging of living cells can provide important data regarding the function and localization of proteins and other bio-molecules within a cell or tissue. These images give insight into fundamentally important biological processes and improve our knowledge about transient interactions we might not be able to detect otherwise. An added benefit is some simply remarkable pictures of colorized cells which are just fun to look at. Although in theory, fluorescence microscopy is simple, obtaining suitable images is difficult. Problems with cell health can occur due to long incubations in D-PBS in an attempt to reduce auto-fluorescence. Cell death due to light intensity or photo-bleaching can be problematic and need to be overcome. If you are having problems with signal:noise or cell health or obtaining the best image possible now is your chance to ask the expert.

This Ask the Expert Session is hosted by Timothy Fawcett, Ph.D, Director of the BioTechnical Institute of Maryland (BTI) a non-profit institute located in Baltimore, Maryland.

Don’t miss the chance to ask your cell imaging questions, session starts Monday!

Cell Culture Events:

Don’t Miss the 2013 Annual ASCB Meeting, December 14-18th in New Orleans

While at ASCB, please visit our sponsors’ booths:

  • ATCC – booth number 1224
  • GE Healthcare – booth number 517
  • Life Technologies – booth number 807

Introduction to Cell Culture –December 10-13, 2013

This 4-day cell culture workshop is designed for those with no or extensive cell culture experience. Topics include an introduction to cell and tissue culture, serum containing and serum-free media, adaptation to serum-free media, cell counting and viability staining, growth curve development, growth of suspension and adherent cells, transfection technologies, cryopreservation methods, cell cloning and primary culture.

Scheduled workshops take place in Baltimore, Maryland. All of our workshops can be conducted at your location if needed. If you have questions or want more specific course content please contact our website, or call us at 410-752-4224.


“The Vaccination Effect: 100 Million Cases of Contagious Disease Prevented,” The New York Times

“Vaccination programs for children have prevented more than 100 million cases of serious contagious disease in the United States since 1924, according to a new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The research, led by scientists at the University of Pittsburgh’s graduate school of public health, analyzed public health reports going back to the 19th century. The reports covered 56 diseases, but the article in the journal focused on seven: polio, measles, rubella, mumps, hepatitis A, diphtheria and pertussis, or whooping cough.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Stir Up Your Culture – A Review of our Ask the Expert Session on Single-Use Bioreactors for Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing

“Drug Companies Still Struggling to Improve R&D Returns,” Reuters

“The number of new drugs approved for sale by regulators may be rising but manufacturers are still struggling to get a decent bang for their research buck, according to a report on Tuesday. The global pharmaceuticals industry is trying to replenish its medicine chest after a wave of patent expiries that peaked in 2012. Optimism has been growing that the industry might have been getting the formula right as more products, especially for cancer and rare diseases, win approval.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Companion Diagnostics – The Power of Personalized Medicine

“Analysis Copycat Biotech Drugs Slow to Take off in Europe,” Reuters

“Despite austerity-driven cuts across European healthcare systems, most countries have been slow to embrace a new class of medicines that could save them billions of euros – copies of biotech treatments. These cheaper versions of expensive biotech drugs, known as biosimilars, could slash the cost of treating diseases like cancer and rheumatoid arthritis in the same way that generics have curbed spending on traditional medicines. But although Europe has pioneered their path to market – approving the first biosimilar drug in 2006 and the latest, an antibody drug from U.S.-based Hospira and Celltrion of South Korea, in September – uptake has been patchy.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled 3-D Bioprinting – When cells become ink

“Flu Vaccine Developer gets a Series A Boost for Clinical Trials in 2014,” Med City News

“The annual flu vaccine only prevents against three or four strains of flu-causing viruses that are circulating during any given year. A number of drug companies think more sophisticated vaccines could do better at preventing seasonal and pandemic flu. One of those is Visterra Inc., which has rounded up $8.1 million from investors to see if its broader influenza A vaccine is safe and effective in humans. The company says its lead candidate, VIS410, targets multiple strains of influenza A that mutate and replicate quickly by intervening at an early step in the infection cycle, to prevent entry of the virus into a host cell.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Developability: Smart Ways of Avoiding the “Death of the Brave” During Biotherapeutic Development

“3 Life Science Companies that are Built to Last,” Xconomy

“Lots of biotech companies today say they want to be great for a long, long time. But which of today’s companies are actually doing it? Which ones are truly visionary, and built to last? These questions have been on my mind since I re-read “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies” in preparation for an Xconomy event in San Francisco on Dec. 9. The classic book by James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras came out in 1994. The authors spent six years identifying and studying the common characteristics of companies that had long runs at the top of their industries.

If you like this story, please see our blog titled Recombinant Human Transferrin is an Attractive Alternative to Blood-Derived Transferrin in Cell Culture Applications

“Stem-Cell Cancer Deal: Oncomed Gets $177M Upfront from Celgene, Potential $3B,” Bioworld

“Oncomed Pharmaceuticals Inc. is reaping $177.25 million up front, including $22.25 million as an equity investment, in the deal with Celgene Corp. that takes in as many as six anti-cancer stem cell (CSC) product candidates from Oncomed’s biologics pipeline, including the Phase I-stage monoclonal antibody demcizumab. In the equity part of the deal, Celgene has agreed to buy about $22.25 million in a private placement of newly issued shares of Oncomed’s common stock (NASDAQ:OMED) at $15.13 each. Redwood City, Calif.-based Oncomed’s shares (NASDAQ:OMED) were trading late morning at $24.12, up $10.12, or 72 percent.

If you like this story, please see our blog titled Our Favorite Innovative uses of the WAVE Bioreactor Technology

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