The Dish’s Weekly News Wrap Up – April 19, 2013

This week’s headlines include, Thermo Fisher buys Life Technologies, stem cell news, Celltrion drops Rituxin biosimilar, top companies in R&D productivity, HHS budget, Supreme Court considers gene patents, and H7N9 flu news.

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“Thermo Fisher to buy Life Tech for 13.6 Billion,” Reuters

“Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. on Monday agreed to buy Life Technologies Corp for $13.6 billion in a deal that would make it one of the top two companies in the hot field of genetic testing. The pact values Life Tech at $76 per share, a 12 percent premium, and is one of the year’s biggest corporate takeovers. It would catapult Thermo, the world’s largest maker of scientific and laboratory equipment, to the forefront of the fledgling field of personalized medicine, where research is uncovering the hereditary underpinnings of diseases to better tailor treatments to patients.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled Biologics Have a Robust Pipeline According to Latest PhRMA Report”

“Mayo Study: Smart Stem Cells Help Heart Failure Patients,” Minnesota Public Radio

“Treating heart failure patients with a special type of stem cell can improve their condition, according to a new Mayo Clinic study published this week. The researchers used proteins to instruct the stem cells to behave like heart cells. All of the 45 patients in the clinical trial who received the “smart” stem cells saw more improvements in heart health than another group of patients who were given the standard treatments for heart failure. The stem cell group’s hearts were able to pump more robustly and the patients showed improvements in physical fitness, such as being able to walk longer distances than the patients who didn’t receive the cells.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “From Product Candidate to Product: The Road to Commercialization in Regenerative Medicine”

“40% of Chinese Sick with H7N9 Bird Flu had no Contact with Poultry-Report,” Forbes

“Forty percent of China’s H7N9 bird flu cases involve individuals that have had no clear-cut contact with poultry, the Beijing News newspaper reported today. Sizing up the risks from the disease, experts working with the government’s National Health and Family Planning Commission said yesterday the origin of the disease is infected poultry or an environment that has been infected by poultry, the newspaper said. As a result, the important dangers for individuals are contact with infected poultry or exposure to live poultry markets, the report said.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Severe Flu Season Puts Spotlight on New Vaccine Technologies and Existing Challenges”

“Celltrion Drops Late Stage Trial of Roche Rituxin Drug Copy” Bloomberg

“Celltrion Inc. dropped a late-stage trial of a biosimilar version of Roche Holding AG (ROG)’s best-selling Rituxan drug, potentially benefiting competitors such as Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH and Novartis (NOVN) AG. Celltrion had planned to take its drug, CT-P10, into phase- III trials later this year, Asthika Goonewardene, a London-based analyst for Bloomberg Industries, wrote in a note today. The trial in patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma is listed as terminated, according to the European Medicine Agency’s clinical trials register. It’s not clear what prompted the change, Goonewardene said, and if the South Korea-based company will resume the trial later. Companies such as Boehringer and Novartis’ Sandoz unit are racing to bring a biosimilar version of the drug, also known as rituximab, to the market.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled Comments on Biosimilar Guidance Indicate Discontent on Both Sides of the Issues”

“Johnson & Johnson Tops Pharma Rivals in 10-Year Test of R&D Productivity,” Fierce Biotech

“A new analysis provides some explanation for why Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) and other companies live at the top of the industry food chain while others struggle to stay healthy. According to figures cited by Forbes, J&J beat the field of global pharma companies in a ranking based on FDA approvals of new drugs over the past 10 years. While FDA approvals tell only part of the story of an R&D effort’s overall success, the math shows that those companies with the most green lights for new drugs in the U.S. over the past 10 years are among the top performers on the business side today. J&J, for instance, has the largest pharma business in the world right now.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Biologics Take Top Spots in Best Selling Drugs of 2012

“Surpreme Court Considers Gene Patents,” The Washington Post

“The Supreme Court on Monday seemed skeptical that a human gene can be patented but also worried about what a decision to bar such patents would mean for private scientific inquiry and research. Even the normally confident justices expressed some trepidationas they considered the complexities of patent law and the mysteries of biochemistry. They talked about the introns and exons that are parts of genes, but spent more time on simpler illustrations: baseball bats, a hypothetical plant in the Amazon with miraculous powers, the recipe for chocolate-chip cookies.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “The Value of Cord Blood Stem Cells in Healthcare and Research

“Rat Kidneys Made in Lab Point to Aid for Humans,” The New York Times

“Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston have made functioning rat kidneys in the laboratory, a bioengineering achievement that may one day lead to the ability to create replacement organs for people with kidney disease. The scientists said the rat kidneys produced urine in the laboratory as well as when transplanted into rats. The kidneys were made by stripping donor kidneys of their cells and putting new cells that regenerate tissue into them. Stripping an organ leaves a natural scaffold of collagen and other compounds, called the extracellular matrix, which provides a framework for new cells and preserves the intricate internal architecture of the kidney as well as its basic shape.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Part III – Fifteen Cell and Stem Cell Therapies in Phase III Clinical Trials”

“New HHS Budget Proposal Would Add $821M to FDA’s Coffers,”

“The newly unveiled Health & Human Services budget proposal allocates $4.7 billion to the FDA, with more than half of that to be dedicated to medical product safety. The 2014 budget proposal for the Dept. of Health & Human Services contains some important boosts in the FDA’s coffers, including a $59 million increase the agency’s medical device review arm compared with 2012. The new budget would provide the Dept. of Health & Human Services a total of $967.3 billion in outlays and $80.1 billion in discretionary spending, and it includes initiatives that aim to save $361.1 billion over a decade.

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Continuous Processing: From Cookie Preparation to Cell-Based Production

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