The Dish’s Weekly News Wrap Up – March 7, 2014

This week’s headlines include, Roche’s drug cuts asthma attacks, Venter takes on aging, government savings being prioritized over saving lives, Gardasil reduces number of high-risk pre-cancerous abnormalities, efforts to repeat new stem cell technique, mandatory flu shots prevented small child hospitalizations, and top 25 best selling drugs of 2013.

Cell Culture Dish – Ask the Expert:

Our Next Session – Transfection

Transfection is a common, yet sophisticated method that is frequently used to artificially deliver nucleic acids (DNA or RNA) into cells for a variety of applications. To efficiently introduce nucleic acids to the cell, a chemical method such as lipid based reagents or a physical method such as electroporation is most commonly used. These nucleic acids can alter properties of the cell, allowing for the study of gene function and protein expression within the context of the cell. However, there are a number of important factors, such as reagent dose, nucleic acid dose, cell density, complexation media, incubation time, etc., that can affect the efficiency of transfection. The difference between a good and bad transfection, can ultimately determine how many times an experiment will be repeated. Understanding the interaction between these key factors and the importance of optimization for a particular cell type can help to reduce the cost and consumption of time and reagents.

Post your questions relating to any of the many steps involved with transfection: general culturing of cells, the N:P ratio of the transfection complex, media changes, etc.

Don’t miss the chance to ask your transfection related questions, session starts Monday!

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.

<p”>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.


March 18-20, 2014 – New York City

INTERPHEX (International Pharmaceutical Expo) is THE single source for complete biopharmaceutical and pharmaceutical manufacturing solutions to confidently process all dosage forms for life-enhancing drugs.

Bioprocess International European Summit

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

The 2014 BioProcess International Europe SUMMIT is more than a conference, it’s a time to pause and reflect on the critical challenges facing the production, analysis and formulation of biologics – an 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.


“The Top 25 Best Selling Drugs of 2013,” Genetic Engineering News

“This year’s list ranks drugs based on sales or revenue reported by biopharma companies in press Announcements, annual reports, investor materials, and conference calls during 2013. Each drug is listed by name, sponsor(s), diseases indicated, 2013 sales, 2012 sales, the percentage change between both years, and fourth-quarter figures for 2013 and 2012. The patent cliff knocked out from this year’s list three best sellers of 2012—Plavix (#11, Sanofi and Bristol-Myers Squibb), Lipitor (#15, Pfizer), and Singulair (#17, Merck & Co.).”

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

“Efforts to Repeat Controversial Stem Cell Technique Intensify,” The Boston Globe

“In an effort to bring clarity to one of the most controversial and confusing scientific findings in recent memory, three Japanese scientists have released a detailed protocol explaining step by step how to create stem cells with a simple acid bath. A leading stem cell scientist at Boston Children’s Hospital is working directly with the scientist who led the work to try and repeat the technique. The surprising report in January by Boston and Japanese scientists that stem cells, with the ability to develop into any cell in the body, could be created with the seemingly straightforward technique sparked a raging and very public debate in the scientific community.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “A Discussion on Expansion of Therapeutic Stem Cells using Plant-based biologics

“Roche Drug Cuts Asthma Attacks, Improves Lung Function – Study,” Reuters

“An experimental drug reduced asthma attacks in patients with severe uncontrolled asthma by 60 percent and helped improve lung function in certain patients, indicating that the drug could offer the first personalized approach to treatment, according to data from a clinical trial released on Tuesday. The biotech drug lebrikizumab, which was developed by Roche Holding’s Genentech unit, was tested at three doses in patients whose asthma was not sufficiently controlled even with high-dose, inhaled corticosteroids and a second asthma-controlling therapy.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled Cell Culture, More Science Than Art – A Call For Care in Cell Culture Practices

“Study of Ian Frazer’s Gardasil Vaccine Finds Reduction in Number of High-risk Pre-cancerous Abnormalities of Cervix,” The Telegraph News

“The Affordable Care Act has certainly made headlines over the past year—and the ACA, along with several other developments in the current venture funding environment, is beginning to radically reshape value creation in the life sciences and for biotechnology firms. Below, I provide some updates on trends, challenges, and opportunities for life sciences companies in 2014—and advice for best navigating the current climate.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled New Study Compiles Extensive Database that Supports the Importance of Vaccination

“Mandatory Flu Shots Kept Small Kids Out of Hospitals,” NBC News

“Connecticut’s new requirement that all kids in daycare get a flu shot every year appears to have kept many of those children out of the hospital during later flu seasons, researchers reported Thursday. Vaccination rates among preschoolers shot up from just under 68 percent in 2009 to 84 percent during last year’s flu season, health experts reported. And hospitalization rate for kids 4 and under fell by 12 percent, even as rates rose in many other places.”

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

“For His Next Act, Genome Wiz Craig Venter Takes on Aging,” Reuters

“Craig Venter, the U.S. scientist who raced the U.S. government to map the human genome over a decade ago and created synthetic life in 2010, is now on a quest to treat age-related disease. Venter, 67, has teamed up with stem cell pioneer Dr. Robert Hariri and X Prize Foundation founder Dr. Peter Diamandis to form Human Longevity Inc, a company that will use both genomics and stem cell therapies to find treatments that allow aging adults to stay healthy and functional for as long as possible.”

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

“Tax Code Overhaul Prioritizes Government Savings Over Saving Lives,” The Hill

“This past week, as more than 250 families walked the halls of Congress sharing their personal stories and advocating for policies that protect patients and bolster innovation for therapies that treat rare diseases (conditions affecting 200,000 people or less), they received a surprising message that irreparable harm may be caused to their efforts. Buried within the draft tax reform proposal released last Wednesday by House Ways & Means Committee leadership is a proposal to eliminate incentives for drug manufacturers to develop therapies to treat and cure the more than 7,000 rare diseases afflicting more than 30 million Americans.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “A Review of Best Practices For Cell Culture Media Design And Processes

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