The Dish’s Weekly News Wrap Up – August 17, 2012

This week’s headlines include, influenza and ebola vaccine developments, investment updates, the latest business deals, researchers get one step closer to regenerating the human heart and a new study shows promising results for use of an existing cancer drug to treat new target.

“UW Researchers See Work as Step Toward Regenerating Human Heart,” The Seattle Times

Two University of Washington scientists, using expertise in stem cells, cardiology, pathology, cell biology and the electrophysiology of the heart, are a step closer to their holy grail: regenerating a damaged heart.  Human heart-muscle cells injected into the damaged heart of a guinea pig not only strengthened the heart’s ability to contract, the cells synchronized with the animal’s heart and protected it from arrhythmias, rhythm disturbances that can be fatal.

If you like this story, please see our blog titled New Strategies Key to the Clinical Manufacturing of Stem Cells for Therapeutic Use”


“FDA Approves Flu Vaccine for Coming Season,” Associated Press

The Food and Drug Administration says it has approved the new flu vaccine for the season beginning this year.  Each year the FDA works with other federal agencies and global health experts to design a vaccine to protect against the three viral strains most likely to cause the flu. This year’s vaccine has one strain in common with last year’s vaccine, plus two new viral strains.

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Manufacturing Strategies for Improving Viral Yield and Lowering Production Cost”


“Roche Says Avastin Slows Brain Cancer Tumor Growth,” Reuters

Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG said a new study of cancer drug Avastin showed it significantly extended progression-free survival of people with an aggressive form of brain cancer.  The Phase III AVAglio study met one of its main targets of improving progression-free survival in people with glioblastoma, Roche, the world’s largest maker of cancer drugs, said in a statement on Friday.

If you like this story, please see our blog titled Serum Free Hybridoma Culture – Key Recommendations”


“Biotech IPOs are Beating Tech’s Big Names,” Xconomy

The average American on the street has a Facebook account, an opinion about Facebook, heard about the Facebook initial public offering, and knows it collapsed. That same person doesn’t see how their life connects with biotech, probably can’t name a single biotech company, and certainly hasn’t heard of any members of the biotech IPO class of 2012.  But here’s something that might surprise both biotech insiders and the average guy or gal on the street. The biotech IPO class of 2012 has made money for investors, while tech’s most glamorous up-and-comers have been stumbling.

If you like this story, please see our blog titled How Single Use Systems are Improving Bioprocess Development”


“Commercial Ebola Vaccine Unlikely Say Researchers,” BBC

Scientists researching the lethal ebola virus have told the BBC that a commercial vaccine to prevent the onset of infection may never be developed.  Two companies with leading vaccine candidates have had their funding from the Pentagon suspended in recent weeks.  An expert said it was now “unlikely” a prophylactic vaccine would ever be used to prevent outbreaks of the disease.

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “New Vaccines – Coming Soon to a Doctor’s Office Near You”


“Quintiles Bolsters Genomics Capabilities with Expression Analysis Deal,” PharmaTimes

Quintiles has added another layer to its capabilities in optimising drug development and driving the trend towards personalised medicine by acquiring Expression Analysis (EA), a US-based provider of genomics testing and analysis services to pharmaceutical, biotechnology, academic, government and non-profit customers.

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Is Personalized Medicine the Future?  How Genetic Sequencing is Enabling New Treatments”


“Capital Woes Continue in Second Quarter for Life Sciences Sector,” Med City News

Venture capital deals and the total number of venture dollars invested in the life sciences sector were both down in the second quarter of the year compared to a year before.  The PricewaterhouseCoopers MoneyTree report found that the decline was 39 percent in amount invested and 22 percent in number of deals in the second quarter from the same quarter in 2011. Total money invested in the sector that includes biotechnology and medical devices was $1.4 billion in the second quarter and the number of deals fell to 174. What’s more, the results show a four quarter slide.

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Strategies for Enhancing Media to Improve Antibody Production in CHO Cells”




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