The Dish’s Weekly News Wrap Up – December 28, 2012

This week’s headlines include, possible Thimerosal ban threatens vaccinations for the world’s poor, market strategy options for start up biotech companies, stem cells studied as a possible treatment option for ALS, Amgen licenses ImmunoGen’s TAP Technology, and FDA approves use of Tamiflu for infants.

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“Don’t Let Vaccine Critics Disrupt Supply to World’s Poor,” Bloomberg

Thanks to a herculean effort by health advocates, 78 percent of children in low-income countries receive the basic set of childhood vaccines, covering diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B and haemophilus influenzae. This campaign will be disrupted, and lives lost, if immunization critics win their latest battle for an international ban on a vaccine component that has proved to be safe time and time again.

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

“Can (Should?) A Young Biotech Company Still Go Long?” Xconomy

There are a few emerging companies actively building fully integrated enterprises that seek to develop and market their own products. Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Aveo Pharmaceuticals, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, and Onyx Pharmaceuticals are a few newer-generation companies going down that path, and recent large financings by Intarcia, Infinity, Synta, and Sarepta appear to set them up to go long (or at least longer). But many other exciting young companies are acquired long before nearing that point, such as Plexxikon, Adnexus Therapeutics, Avila Therapeutics, Intellikine, Calistoga Pharmaceuticals, BioVex and more.

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “The Number of FDA Drug Approvals for the 2012 Fiscal Year Remains High”

“Stem Cells Treat Lou Gehrig’s Disease, In Mice,” NPR

Reporting in Science Translational Medicine, researchers write that neural stem cell implants were able to slow the onset of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease, in mice. Study author Evan Snyder discusses the stem cells’ protective effect, and why human trials may not be far behind.

If you like this story, please see our blog titled How Stem Cells Can Play a Major Role in Developing New Therapeutics”

“Amgen Licenses ImmunoGen TAP Technology for Anti-Cancer Therapeutics Development,” Pharmaceutical Business Review

Amgen has licensed ImmunoGen’s Targeted Antibody Payload (TAP) technology to develop anticancer therapeutics for an undisclosed amount. ImmunoGen president and CEO Daniel Junius said major healthcare companies are interested in developing multiple product candidates with TAP technology.

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Best Selling Biologics for 2011 – CHO Still the Top Manufacturing Choice”

“FDA Approves Roche’s Tamiflu for Infants with New Flu Symptoms,” Reuters

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday expanded the use of Tamiflu, the flu drug from Roche, to children as young as two weeks old who have shown flu symptoms for no more than two days. The FDA said the drug cannot be used to prevent flu infection in this age group. The drug is currently approved as both a flu treatment and preventative flu drug for children ages 1 and older, and adults. It aims to help lessen the length and severity of the flu.

If you like this story, please see our blog titled A First – Cell Culture-based Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Approved by the FDA”

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