The Dishs Weekly News Wrap Up – February 22, 2013

This week’s headlines include, $3 Million dollar awards for scientists, good news for stem cell therapies, Pharma’s most influential people, Merck and Samsung partnering on biosimilars, and vaccine news.

Cell Culture Events:

Webinar on Gene Synthesis, Wednesday February 27th:

In a previous blog titled “Utilizing Gene Synthesis to Improve Antibody Production in CHO Cells,” we discussed the use of gene synthesis technology to improve antibody production in CHO cells.

Now Life Technologies, one of the companies mentioned in our blog, is hosting a webinar on using gene synthesis as a fast, simple alternative to traditional cloning.

Please click “Building your next breakthrough using next-generation cloning; Gene Synthesis” for more information.


“At $3 Million, New Award Gives Medical Researchers a Dose of Celebrity,” The New York Times

“Eleven scientists, most of them American, were scheduled to be named on Wednesday as the first winners of the world’s richest academic prize for medicine and biology — $3 million each, more than twice the amount of the Nobel Prize.  The award, the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, was established by four Internet titans led by Yuri Milner, a Russian entrepreneur and philanthropist who caused a stir last summer when he began giving physicists $3 million awards.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Companion Diagnostics – The Power of Personalized Medicine”


“Osiris Rises on European Stem-Cell Drug Title Decision,” Bloomberg Businessweek

“Osiris Therapeutics Inc. (OSIR) rose the most in eight months after European regulators transferred the orphan drug title for a stem Cell Therapy to the company, making it easier to seek a buyer or partner for the treatment. Osiris gained 9 percent to $7.65 at the close in New York, its biggest intraday jump since June. The European Medicines Agency made the title transfer for the intravenous treatment Prochymal, which treats a disease that attacks bone marrow- transplant recipients, Columbia, Maryland-based Osiris said in a statement today. The orphan designation provides 10 years of market exclusivity if the medicine is approved, and the simplifying of who holds the title “clears the way for a transaction” should Osiris opt to sell Prochymal to another company, said Edward Tenthoff, a senior analyst with Piper Jaffray & Co. in New York.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Identifying Options for Stem Cell Based Therapy Scale Up”


“ViaCyte Receives More Funding for Diabetes Stem Cell Therapy,” Genetic Engineering News

“JDRF, a global organization focused on type 1 diabetes (T1D) research, and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) agreed to provide additional funding for the development of a novel stem Cell Therapy by ViaCyte. JDRF and CIRM will each contribute $3 million to further advance the project. ViaCyte’s product is designed to deliver to patients immature pancreatic progenitor cells developed from a human embryonic stem cell (hESC) line; over time, these cells develop into mature pancreatic cells that are capable of producing pancreatic hormones, including insulin. These cells are encapsulated in a device that isolates the cells from the host but allows free flow of oxygen, nutrients, and other factors, so that the cells can respond to blood glucose and release hormones like insulin while being protected from the patient’s immune system. The combination product is designated VC-01. The benefit of such a breakthrough would be the ability to provide a patient with a new source of insulin-producing cells to replace those destroyed by the autoimmune response that is a hallmark of T1D, according to Julia Greenstein, Ph.D., JDRF’s VP of cure therapies.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Best Practices in Cell Therapy Manufacturing”


“Rising Vaccine Prices Mean Fewer Children Immunized,” Fierce Vaccines

“Adding more children’s vaccines to the recommended package should–in theory–save more lives. But rising prices may actually mean fewer children are vaccinated. Over the past 10 years, the cost countries pay to buy the main recommended vaccines for a child grew a whopping 2,666%, from less than $1.50 to nearly $40, according to a Médecins Sans Frontières report. That’s 26 times the cost. Rotavirus and pneumococcal vaccines make up 74% of the total cost to vaccinate a child. Most families in developing countries cannot afford those prices without financial support.”

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


“Fierce Pharma’s Most Influential People: A Short History of Leadership,” Forbes

“So where do the most influential leaders come from? Thirty one (62%) come from industry. Three big pharma (Roche, Sanofi and GSK) have produced a lot of them: 10 (20%). Pascal Soriot is therefore “credited” to Roche.) Nine big pharmas have each produced one honoree (Abbott, Amgen, Bayer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, J&J, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, Takeda)”

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


“Electronics Giant Samsung Makes First Big Biotech Play,” Genetic Engineering News

“Merck entered into an agreement with Samsung Bioepis to develop and commercialize multiple prespecified and undisclosed biosimilar candidates. Samsung Bioepis, which is a joint venture formed last year by Samsung Biologics and Biogen Idec to focus on biosimilars, has a R&D center based in Song-do Incheon, Korea. Under the agreement, Samsung Bioepis will be responsible for preclinical and clinical development, process development and manufacturing, clinical trials, and registration. Merck will be responsible for commercialization. Samsung Bioepis will receive an up-front payment from Merck, product supply income, and will be eligible for additional payments associated with prespecified clinical and regulatory milestones.”

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

“Flu Shot Tied to Healthy Pregnancy,” The New York Times

“Pregnant women who received the flu vaccine during the 2009 flu pandemic lowered their risk of delivering premature babies, a new study found. Typically flu vaccination rates among pregnant women have hovered between 13 to 18 percent nationally. But a push by health officials during the 2009 season drove vaccination rates for the H1N1 vaccine up to about 45 percent in the United States, where they have remained since.”

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


 “StemCells Soars After Spinal Trial Gains Persist in 2 Patients,” Fierce Biotech

“Shares of StemCells ($STEM) soared 23% this morning after the biotech announced some positive preliminary results from a tiny trial for chronic spinal cord injury. The company said that “considerable gains in sensory function observed in two of the three patients at the six-month assessment have persisted” through the 12-month mark. “In addition, between the six- and 12-month evaluations, one patient converted from a complete to an incomplete injury,” said Armin Curt, the principal investigator of the clinical trial.”

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

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