The Dish’s Weekly News Wrap Up – May 3, 2013

This week’s headlines include, push back on cancer drug prices, stem cell news, vaccine news, Novartis expands cell culture site, FDA assesses possible radiation treatments, Genentech gets another indication, and Pfizer and Merck join together to develop diabetes drugs.

Cell Culture Events:

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“Prices of Cancer Drugs Too Expensive for Patients, Doctors Say,” Bloomberg Businessweek

“Cancer medicines that cost more than $100,000 a year aren’t morally justifiable and may keep patients from getting life-saving treatments, a group of more than 100 leukemia doctors said. Of the 12 cancer medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration last year, 11 cost more than $100,000 annually, the physicians said in an article in Blood, the journal of the American Society of Hematology, published online.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Biologics Have a Robust Pipeline According to Latest PhRMA Report”

“Two-Year-Old Gets Windpipe Made From Her Own Stem Cells,” CBS News

“Two-year-old Hannah Warren lived her whole life in an intensive care unit with a breathing tube. She was born without a windpipe and has been unable to talk, swallow, or eat on her own. Her parents, Darryl and Young-mi Warren were told Hannah would not live past age six. “Hannah didn’t have a chance. There was no hope. We were waiting for her to die essentially,” said Darryl Warren. Her only hope was an artificial windpipe; an experimental device which had been tried in only five other patients, none in the United States, and none of them children.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “From Product Candidate to Product: The Road to Commercialization in Regenerative Medicine”

“Swansea Measles: Epidemic Tops 1,000 Cases,” BBC News

“The number of cases in the Swansea measles epidemic has topped the 1,000 mark. Public Health Wales says the figure now stands at 1,011 but added that about 5,000 youngsters in the area aged between 10 and 18 still need vaccinating. A vaccination programme has been running in schools and hospitals with 4,000 receiving the MMR jab in the last month alone. The outbreak started last November.

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

“Novartis Expands Cell Culture Site to Bolster Biodefense,” Fierce Vaccines

“Updates on the spread of H7N9 in China are a daily reminder of why the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) gave Novartis ($NVS) $487 million to build its cell culture vaccine production plant. If H7N9 reaches the U.S., the country will be better prepared because of the investment. Novartis, for its part, has continued to invest in the Holly Springs, N.C., facility. Almost exactly one year after opening the site, Novartis began adding a $36 million viral development lab and pilot production plant. Now, Novartis has outlined plans for a 38,000-square-foot technical services building on the campus. Novartis wants to complete the $60 million building within two years to help service an HHS chemical and biological threat response contract, Raleigh News & Observer reports.”

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

“Drugs From Amgen, Others Assessed by FDA as Radiation Treatments,” Reuters

“Drugs from Amgen Inc, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Sanofi that boost white blood cells are being evaluated by U.S. regulators as treatments for radiation exposure caused by a nuclear attack or accident. The drugs, known as leukocyte growth factors, will be the subject of a Friday meeting of an advisory committee to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Treatment with Amgen’s Neupogen and Neulasta, Teva’s Tbo-filgrastim and Sanofi’s Leukine, may decrease death rates from radiation exposure, according to FDA staff documents released ahead of the meeting.”

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

“Actemra Receives FDA Approval for Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis,” BioPharm International

“Genentech announced that FDA has approved Actemra (tocilizumab) for the treatment of polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (PJIA) in children aged two years and older. Actemra can be given as monotherapy or in combination with methotrexate. This approval marks the second Actemra indication in children and is the first FDA approval for the treatment of PJIA in approximately five years. The expanded indication for Actemra was based on positive Phase III results of the CHERISH study in children with PJIA, which demonstrated that Actemra-treated patients experienced clinically meaningful improvement in signs and symptoms of PJIA.”

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

“Merck, Pfizer to Jointly Develop Diabetes Drug,” Reuters

“Pfizer Inc and Merck & Co Inc said they will co-develop Pfizer’s experimental type 2 diabetes drug ertugliflozin, both as a standalone product and in combination with other drugs, including Merck’s blockbuster Januvia. The Pfizer medicine belongs to a new class of diabetes treatments called SGLT2 inhibitors. Now nearing Phase III late-stage trials, it is behind similar drugs in development — including Johnson & Johnson’s Invokana (canagliflozin) which was approved by U.S. regulators in late March.

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Can Stable Expression Levels be Achieved in a Transient Expression System – Expi293

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