The Dish’s Weekly Biotechnology News Wrap Up – September 11, 2015

This week’s biotechnology news headlines include, Roche hemophilia drug gets breakthrough designation, plague on the rise, Biogen licenses autoimmune drug, MD Anderson and Cellectis collaborate on immunotherapy, patent reform, Pfizer acquires Hospira, and scientific leaders expand use of CRISPR/Cas9tech.

Cell Culture Events



High Performance Tour 2015

Discover how to improve efficiency and productivity for your bioprocessing workflows during our exclusive High Performance Tour.

Learn how the choice of chromatography media (resins), hardware, and services can dramatically affect your process performance.

Register now to reserve your seat at this special event where you can gain insights in improved process efficiency and productivity.

Coming to these Cities:

  • San Diego, CA – September 15, 2015
  • San Francisco, CA – September 17, 2015

To Register –


Less False Negatives: Quantifying Cell Viability by Simultaneous Triple Staining

Sep 15 2015 | 7:00 AM  PT

Cellular viability is usually determined by measuring the capacity of cells to exclude vital dyes such as 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI), or by assessing nuclear morphology with chromatinophilic plasma membrane-permeant dyes, such as Hoechst 33342. However, a fraction of cells that exclude DAPI or exhibit normal nuclear morphology have already lost mitochondrial functions and/or manifest massive activation of apoptotic caspases, and hence are irremediably committed to death. Here, we developed a protocol for the simultaneous detection of plasma membrane integrity (based on DAPI) or nuclear morphology (based on Hoechst 33342), mitochondrial functions (based on the mitochondrial transmembrane potential probe DiOC6(3)) and caspase activation (based on YO-PRO®-3, which can enter cells exclusively upon the caspase-mediated activation of pannexin 1 channels). This method, which allows for the precise quantification of dead, dying and healthy cells, can be implemented on epifluorescence microscopy or flow cytometry platforms and is compatible with a robotized, high-throughput workflow.

Register here

From Pluripotent Stem Cells to Neurons and Astrocytes – Modeling Human Neurological Disease

September 23rd 9:00 PDT/12:00 EDT

Dr. Xianmin Zeng at the Buck Institute in California

Mature neuronal and glial cells derived from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) have emerged as a physiologically relevant model for the study of neurological development and disease. The derivation of these cells has already surpassed the ‘proof of concept’ stage and is now changing the way researchers approach disease modeling and drug development. In this webinar, learn how to efficiently generate forebrain-type neurons, dopaminergic neurons and astrocytes from normal and diseased iPS cells. Dr. Xianmin Zeng will describe how the neurons and astrocytes generated have been successfully used in toxicological studies and mechanism-of-action studies in Parkinson’s disease.

More information can be found on this registration page here:



Roche Custom Biotech will be exhibiting at the Cell Therapy Bioprocessing Annual meeting in Alexandria, VA, September 30-October 2. Visit us in booth #8 to learn more about our range of solutions for Cell Therapy applications, including Liberase enzyme blends for dissociating cells from primary tissues, bio-analytical instrumentation, downstream proteases, and quality control testing kits. To learn more see Roche Custom Biotech Conference Activities


  • Bioproduction – October 14-15, 2015 – Dublin, Ireland – technological developments and explore best practices in biomanufacturingThe biopharmaceutical industry is making a capital investment of approximately $8 billion in new facilities in Ireland, most of which has come in the last 10 years, representing close to the biggest wave of investment in new biotech facilities anywhere in the world.Join us at BioProduction 2015 in Dublin this October to see why so much is being invested in this area and to network with leading players within this growing industry!BioProduction 2015: Europe’s leading and largest event for a comprehensive update on all aspects of large scale biological manufacturing. Providing insights on the latest technologies, upstream/downstream processing, process analytics, the implementation of continuous manufacturing, facility design, flexibility facilities and single use systems to reduce inefficiencies during the biomanufacturing process.4 Conferences – 1 Exhibition – 1 Congress
    • Conference 1: Continuous Manufacturing
    • Conference 2: Upstream Processing – Production, Development & Analytics
    • Conference 3: Manufacturing Strategy & Technology
    • Conference 4: Downstream Processing

    For more information on the 2015 event please visit the event website at

  • Bioprocessing International – October 26-29, 2015 Hynes Convention Center Boston, MA


  • Bioproduction Summit 2015 – November 2-3, 2015 – Hilton San Francisco Airport Bayfront – Burlingame, CA Bioproduction Summit 2015 will focus on quintessential topics in Biotech field, such as technology advances in protein production, Cell culture, Bioprocess Development and Novel protein therapeutics.
  • World Vaccine Congress – November 3-5, 2015 – Sheraton Brussels Airport Hotel – Brussels, Belgium –  For 15 years the World Vaccine Congress in Europe has been the leading event to talk about scientific advances and find new business opportunities within the vaccine sector and this year is no exception.
  • FAST: Functional Analysis & Screening Technologies Congress – November 9-11, 2015 – Renaissance Waterfront Hotel – Boston, MA -Cambridge Healthtech Institute (CHI) is pleased to announce the Third Annual FAST: Functional Analysis and Screening Technologies Congress. Now in its third year, the FAST Congress brings you the latest technologies and research in cellular screening. –


“Roche hemophilia drug wins fast-track FDA designation,” Reuters

“Roche said on Friday it had won breakthrough therapy designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for an experimental hemophilia medicine, aiming for a piece of the $11 billion hemophilia drug market.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Quality by Design – Maintaining Strict Control of Bioprocess Conditions

“Plague Cases in U.S. on the Rise,” The New York Times

“There have been 13 cases and three deaths from plague in the United States in the past five months, but researchers do not know why the disease appears to be on the rise.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “New Report Forecasts Sustained Growth in the Pharmaceutical Market through 2020

“Biogen licenses Mitsubishi’s autoimmune drug in $500m-plus deal,” PharmaTimes

“Biogen has bought full access to Mitsubishi Tanabe’s MT-1303, an experimental oral compound with potential in autoimmune indications, in a deal that could be worth more than $500 million to the latter group.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Achieving control and reproducibility of cell culture by eliminating serum

“MD Anderson adds Cellectis to a crush of immunotherapy collaborations,” Fierce Biotech

“The MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston is becoming the preferred partner of choice among a growing group of immuno-oncology players looking to develop a new generation of drugs. This afternoon it was Cellectis’ ($CLLS) turn to join the migration south, sayings its researchers in New York will be working with some of the top experts at MD Anderson as the biotech advances a group of off-the-shelf CAR-T cell therapies.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Cancer Drug Market Continues to Grow and is Fueled by Significant R&D Focus and Clinical Pipeline

“Congressional Patent Reform Threatens Medical Innovation,” Medium

“This week, executives from biotech companies around the country will be on Capitol Hill with an urgent message for lawmakers: a relatively new provision in patent law has the potential to cripple their ability to develop new cures and treatments that can alleviate suffering and save lives.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Culturing hPSCs: From MEFs to Naïve State Cells

“Pfizer completes acquisition of injectable drugmaker Hospira,” Chicago Sun-Times

“The drugmaker Pfizer says it has completed its roughly $15 billion purchase of Lake Forest-based Hospira, a maker of injectable drugs and infusion devices, expanding its product offerings in a growing medical market.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Cord Blood-derived HSCs – The Quest to Overcome Limited Cell Numbers

“Star team at Wyss, MIT orchestrate wider use of CRISPR/Cas9 tech,” Fierce Biotech Research

“After toying with the guide RNAs that are used to turn Cas9 into an effective gene editing tool, some of the scientific leaders in the field say they’ve been able to gain greater insights into how they can use the same approach to not only do surgery on DNA, but to also simultaneously control gene regulation, turning genes off and on with an eye to controlling a variety of diseases.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Cool Tool – 3D Cell Culture with RAFT™ System – An Introduction


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