The Dish’s Weekly News Wrap Up – January 18, 2013

This week’s headlines include, possible 2013 blockbuster drugs, spinal fusion stem Cell Therapy entering Phase III trials, vaccine news, and big pharma pipelines.


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“Analysis: Drug Industry Bets on New Blockbusters in 2013,” Reuters

“Drugmakers are betting that a new wave of medicines for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, multiple sclerosis and hepatitis will shape up as tomorrow’s blockbusters in the coming 12 months. With the industry regaining some of its swagger after winning 39 new drug approvals last year – a record only beaten in 1996 – there are signs the improving trend could continue through 2013.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “The Top 12 Cell Culture Dish Blogs of 2012


“Mesoblast to Head to Phase III for Stem Cell Treatment for Spinal Fusion,” Australian Life Scientist

“Mesoblast received a welcome bump to its flagging stock price this morning on the back of news that it will take its spinal fusion treatment, NeoFuse, to phase III this year. This came after the company announced at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco positive results from a phase II trial of the stem cell treatment. The trial was conducted in the United States and compared Mesoblast’s mesenchymal precursor cell treatment, NeoFuse, with the gold standard in spinal fusion: bone autograft.”

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


“Dengue is Fastest-Spreading Tropical Disease, WHO Says,” Reuters

“Dengue is the world’s fastest-spreading tropical disease and represents a “pandemic threat”, infecting an estimated 50 million people across all continents, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday. Transmitted by the bite of female mosquitoes, the disease is occurring more widely due to increased movement of people and goods – including carrier objects such as bamboo plants and used tyres – as well as floods linked to climate change, the United Nations agency said. The viral disease, which affected only a handful of areas in the 1950s, is now present in more than 125 countries – significantly more than malaria, historically the most notorious mosquito-borne disease.The most advanced vaccine against dengue is only 30 percent effective, trials last year showed.”

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


“Rapidly Produced Flu Vaccine Wins FDA Approval,” New York Times

“A new type of flu vaccine won regulatory approval on Wednesday, and its manufacturer said that limited supplies are expected to be available this winter. The vaccine, developed by a small company called Protein Sciences, is made with a process that does not require the virus to be grown in chicken eggs, as is now generally done. That means a vaccine could be ready weeks earlier in the event of a pandemic.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Part II – Innovative Products Featured at the ASCB Conference”


“There’s Value in Studying Big Pharma Pipelines,” Forbes

“When analysts review a big pharma’s future prospects, they rightly focus on those drugs that are in the last stage of clinical trials (phase 3). These are the compounds for which the most is known and whose clinical programs are spelled out in detail on While not every compound in Phase 3 will successfully navigate the development process to FDA approval, a majority of them will, thus allowing analysts a sense of what is on the horizon. However, there is value in reviewing a company’s entire pipeline, particularly the earlier assets, i.e. the compounds in early human studies (phase 1) and those in the proof of concept stage where they are tested for efficacy in patients (phase 2). While the majority of these compounds will fail for any variety of reasons, one can learn a lot about a company’s priorities, strategies and even the cultural issues that it might be struggling with by analyzing early stage pipelines.”

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


“Discovery of Goat Facility Adds to Antibody Provider’s Woes,” Nature

“A herd of 841 goats has kicked up a stir for one of the world’s largest antibody suppliers after US agricultural officials found the animals — including 12 in poor health — in an unreported antibody production facility owned by California-based Santa Cruz Biotechnology. “The existence of the site was denied even when directly asked” of employees during previous inspections, according to a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) report finalised on 7 December, 2012. But evidence gathered on a 31 October inspection suggested that an additional barn roughly 14 kilometres south of the company’s main animal facility had been in use for at least two and a half years, officials said.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled In Celebration of Hybridoma Cell Culture”

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