The Dish’s Weekly Biotechnology News Wrap Up – September 18, 2015

This week’s biotechnology news headlines include, the vaccine debate, tax extenders bill, AstraZeneca signs deal with US HHS to develop antibiotics, Evotec and Pfizer partner on fibrosis, Dr. Robert Califf nominated to be head of FDA and wave of takeovers in healthcare.

Cell Culture Events

Ask the Expert:

How to Optimize Media and Improve Protein Production with Defined Supplements

Enhancing protein production is a common goal in the biomanufacturing industry. During this Ask the Experts session, we will be discussing the challenges associated with animal origin free media optimization and how defined supplements can provide an increase in productivity and yield.

This Ask the Expert session is sponsored by Essential Pharmaceuticals and is hosted by Dr. Adam Elhofy, Ph.D., CSO. Dr. Elhofy developed the core technology for the Ess line of products and aided in creating patents around novel uses of materials.  Dr. Elhofy has over 14 years of scientific research experience in the areas of immunology, neuroscience, and oncology.  He was funded by both the National Institutes of Health and the Multiple Sclerosis society as an investigator at Northwestern University Medical School. His doctoral research won him the award of the Top 5 trainee scientists by the American Association of Immunologists. Dr. Elhofy has 14 scientific publications in peer reviewed journals. He has played a variety of roles with start-up biotech companies ranging from Principal Investigator to Director of Corporate Development.

Session starts Monday!


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. –


“732,000: American Lives Saved by Vaccination,” The New York Times

“The vaccination of children from 1994 to 2013 will prevent 732,000 early deaths in the United States, according to a recent estimate by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “You can teach an old dog new tricks: Vero cells for virus-based cancer vaccine therapies

“Not Up for Debate: The Science Behind Vaccination,” The New York Times The Upshot

“Whenever I sit down to watch a presidential debate, I have one sincere hope: that vaccines won’t come up at all. Besides the fact that there really is no “debate” when it comes to the science of how they work or how they may harm, merely talking in public about denying vaccines often leads to the solidifying of people’s views.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Vaccines – An interesting discussion of past, present and future with Dr. Paul Offit

“Over 2,000 Businesses Send Letter To Congress Demanding Attention To Tax Extenders Bill,” Forbes

“Last year, the Senate waited until just over two weeks left in the calendar year to pass a bill that extended certain tax provisions through December 31, 2014 (retroactive to January 1, 2014).”

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

“Department of Health and Human Services, AstraZeneca to develop antibiotics,” Reuters

“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said on Wednesday it signed a deal with British drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc to develop antibiotics.”

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

“Evotec, Pfizer hook up for fibrosis research,” Pharma Times

“Evotec and Pfizer have entered a four-year research pact to explore innovative approaches to the treatment of multi-organ fibrosis.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Hollow Fiber Provides a Sweet Spot for Several Biomanufacturing Applications

“Cardiologist Nominated to Be Head of F.D.A.,” The New York Times

“The Obama administration on Tuesday nominated Dr. Robert Califf, a cardiologist and clinical researcher long affiliated with Duke University, to be the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “2014 FDA New Drug Approvals – 11 Biologics Receive Approval

“Actelion in talks with ZS Pharma amid surge in biotech deal-making,” Reuters

“Swiss drugmaker Actelion Ltd has initiated talks that could lead to a bid for U.S. biotech company ZS Pharma Inc, marking the latest bout of deal-making in a healthcare sector that has seen a wave of recent takeovers.”

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

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