The Dish’s Weekly News Wrap Up – March 15, 2013

This week’s headlines include, news about the smallpox vaccine and the top companies for revenue in vaccines, top biopharma R&D spenders, new biotech drugs and vaccines in development, stem cell news and how FDA will handle new Alzheimer drug applications.


“Wary of Attack with Smallpox, U.S. Buys up a Costly Drug,” New York Times

“The United States government is buying enough of a new smallpox medicine to treat two million people in the event of a bioterrorism attack, and took delivery of the first shipment of it last week. But the purchase has set off a debate about the lucrative contract, with some experts saying the government is buying too much of the drug at too high a price.”

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


“Top 20 Biopharma R&D Spenders,” Genetic Engineering News

“When it comes to research and development, you’ve got to give to get. Whether or not you actually get what you pay for is a matter of debate, but generally the biopharma companies that spend the most on R&D will be the ones to watch the most closely in the future for new developments. You’ve seen the top 10 pharma firms and the top 25 biotech companies: are any of the companies on those lists among the biggest R&D spenders?”

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


“PhRMA: 907 Biotech Drugs, Vaccines Under Development,” Drug Store News

“Nearly 1,000 biotech drugs and vaccines for more than 100 diseases are currently under development, according to a new report. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America released the report Monday, highlighting a genetically modified virus-based vaccine for skin cancer; a recombinant fusion protein for treating Type 2 diabetes; a monoclonal antibody for asthma; and an antisense therapy for leukemia. These were among 907 new biologics under development that included 338 treatments for cancer; 134 vaccines for infectious diseases; 71 medicines for autoimmune disorders; and 58 treatments for cardiovascular disease.”

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


“FDA Plans Looser Rules on Approving Alzheimer’s Drugs,” New York Times

“The Food and Drug Administration plans to loosen the rules for approving new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. Drugs in clinical trial would qualify for approval if people at very early stages of the disease subtly improved their performance on memory or reasoning tests, even before they developed any obvious impairments. Companies would not have to show that the drugs improved daily, real-world functioning.”

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


“Top 5 Vaccine Companies by Revenue,” Fierce Vaccines

“The renaissance in the vaccine market continues with strong growth and new prospects to continue to grow this part of the market, which now stands at about $25 billion. Once a commodity market with low margins, the vaccines on the market now include blockbusters and megablockbusters. New candidates for vaccinating against cancers and HIV are also projected to hit the magic milestone. The market is expected to return a compound annual growth rate of more than 8% through 2018, EvaluatePharma projects, with some segments like adult vaccines showing even better.”

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


“Cellectis, Stemgent to Provide Genome-Engineered iPS Cells,” Pharmaceutical Business Review

“Cellectis bioresearch, a subsidiary of Cellectis Group, has signed a collaboration agreement with Stemgent to provide research services, which combine mRNA reprogramming technology and genome engineering. Under the partnership, both the companies will combine their expertise in cellular reprogramming to address the challenges around deriving non-viral, non-integrating, clinically-relevant induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells for use in regenerative medicine, drug discovery, and basic research.”

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


“Opinion: An Uncertain Future,” The Scientist

“We at the Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC) have been inspired this year by a number of scientific breakthroughs designed to combat some of the greatest public health scourges across the globe. For the first time in 40 years, a new treatment was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (TB), second only to HIV/AIDS as the greatest infectious killer worldwide. In another landmark decision, the FDA also approved for the first time a drug (Truvada) that can be used to prevent HIV through a method known as pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, which targets high-risk individuals. The recent development of semisynthetic artemisinin to treat malaria means that scientists now have a new, stable source for the drug, whose supply has historically depended upon a volatile crop that only grows in a few places in the world. And just this week, groundbreaking research supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has found that a toddler in Mississippi was functionally cured of HIV.”

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


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