The Dish’s Weekly News Wrap Up – May 17, 2013

This week’s headlines include, human stem cells created by cloning, cancer drug news, Cambridge hot area for iPS patents, US invokes Emergency Act on H7N9, crowdfunding in biotech, and synthetic biology offers promise for vaccine production.

New Cell Culture Dish Feature – Ask the Expert:

This week we launched a new feature at the Cell Culture Dish – Ask the Expert. In each Ask the Expert session industry or academic experts answer the questions you submit on the topic of the week. A range of topics will be covered and suggestions for future Ask the Expert sessions are welcome. Please visit our first topic – Serum-Free Conditions to ask any questions you may have on serum-free cell culture and to see which questions have already been asked and answered. Ask the Expert

Cell Culture Events:

Attend World Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine Congress 2013, May 21-23 in London UK

World Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine Congress 2013 is now in its 8th year and is Europe’s largest and most senior conference for the industry. Covering everything from streamlining clinical development, commercializing a stem cell-based therapy and exploiting alternative sources of funding you’ll be sure to find the solutions to your challenges and the right business development contacts to implement them. For more information download the brochure atWorld Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine Congress Brochure Just enter promo code CCD! Book now


“Human Stem Cells Created by Cloning,” Nature

“It was hailed some 15 years ago as the great hope for a biomedical revolution: the use of cloning techniques to create perfectly matched tissues that would someday cure ailments ranging from diabetes to Parkinson’s disease. Since then, the approach has been enveloped in ethical debate, tainted by fraud and, in recent years, overshadowed by a competing technology. Most groups gave up long ago on the finicky core method — production of patient-specific embryonic stem cells (ESCs) from cloning. A quieter debate followed: do we still need ‘therapeutic’ cloning?”

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

“Human Immune-Boosting Cancer Drugs Seen Extending Lives,” Bloomberg

“Merck & Co. (MRK), Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (BMY) and Roche Holding AG (ROG) have opened a new front against cancer with the next generation of experimental drugs that use the human immune system to seek and destroy tumor cells. The new therapies have the potential to reap billions of dollars in sales while lengthening patient remissions, said doctors and analysts awaiting study results to be released this week as part of the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting that starts May 31.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Cool Tool – ATMI’s Helium Integrity Testing HIT System

“US Invokes Emergency Act to Keep H7N9 Flu at Bay,” New Scientist

“THE US government has declared that H7N9 bird flu “poses a significant potential for a public health emergency”, and has given “emergency use authorization” for diagnostic kits for the virus. This means tests can be used that haven’t gone through the usual lengthy approval process by the US Food and Drug Administration. They are right to be concerned. H7N9 could be a tough adversary: New Scientist has learned that it provokes a weaker immune response than most flu, making vaccines hard to produce.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Interesting Late Stage Viral Vaccine Candidates

“Synthetic Biology Could Speed Flu Vaccine Production,” MIT Technology Review

“Synthetic biology is breathing new life into the old-fashioned world of vaccine production, raising hopes that manufacturers could release vaccines much more quickly when outbreaks occur. At a meeting on synthetic biology held at MIT, the drug company Novartis said it has synthesized hybrid flu genomes in a process that could shave weeks off the time required to produce vaccines. When new flu strain emerges, government agencies normally send samples to vaccine manufacturers, who grow large numbers of the pathogen in chicken eggs as starting material for vaccines, says Phillip Dormitzer, leader of viral vaccine research for Novartis. This process can take months and can miss the peak of an outbreak. But Novartis, working with synthetic biologists, has developed a way of chemically synthesizing virus genomes and growing them in tissue culture cells. That saves time and may produce more effective vaccines.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Innovators who Paved the Way for Modern Vaccines

“FDA Oks Diagnostic Test for Roche Cancer Drug,” Fox Business

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a companion diagnostic test for Roche Holding AG’s (RHHBY) cancer drug Tarceva, which detects certain gene mutations present in some non-small cell lung cancers. Non-small cell lung cancer is a disease in which malignant, or cancerous, cells form in the tissues of the lung, according to the National Cancer Institute. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death among men and women, and about 85% of lung cancers are non-small cell, the FDA said.”

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

“Crowdfunding Touches Down in Biotech,” Genetic Engineering News

“A year has passed since President Barack Obama enacted a law intended to spark business growth by encouraging “crowdfunding” of startups. Much of the law remains to be implemented, but that hasn’t stopped crowdfunding sites Poliwogg and Microryza from employing different models toward raising money for biopharmas and researchers, respectively. This month, Poliwogg is launching its platform, focusing on helping fund small- and mid-sized companies in biopharma and other healthcare specialties, as well as in community-based businesses and projects, and portfolios of high-yielding investment-grade assets.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Interesting Products Featured at Interphex 2013

“Roche Banks on New Drug Data to Defend Cancer Business,” Reuters

“Swiss drugmaker Roche hopes data published this week will show it has a viable follow-on product to help fend off cheaper competition for its best-selling cancer drug, which loses patent protection in Europe later this year. Roche is set to present full results early on Thursday of a late-stage study for its GA101 drug in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), ahead of the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago from May 31 to June 4.”

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

“Cambridge Area Tops List of iPS Cell Patent Holders,” Boston Business Journal

“The Cambridge area has emerged as a world leader in research into induced pluripotent stem cells, a new technology for regrowing human cells that doesn’t rely on using human embryos. Discovered in 2006 by Shinya Yamanka of Kyoto University in Japan, and the following year by James Thomson of the University of Wisconsin, iPS cells have the ability to become several different types of mature adult cells, such as the stomach, liver and skin, making them ideal for regenerative medicine. While human embryonic cells have long been known to have similar properties, controversy surrounding the use of human embryos to make them have severely limited their use.”

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

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