The Dish’s Weekly News Wrap Up – November 1, 2012

This week’s headlines include, recent survey shows doctors likely slow to prescribe biosimilar mAbs, pediatricians support embryonic Stem Cell Research, new cartilage stem cell study, flu vaccine has other health benefits, biotech business developments, and new information on mumps vaccine.

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“Health Companies Sitting on Cash May Mean Bigger Deals,” Bloomberg

Health-care companies sitting on piles of cash may start doing more deals next year as they seek products that can bolster sales, said four top U.S. dealmakers.  Pharmaceutical companies in particular, which have led the industry in deals over the last 12 months, are ready to divert their focus from cutting costs to making agreements that can help build product lines, said Jennifer Jarrett, managing director of investment banking at Citigroup Inc.

If you like this story, please see our blog titled Venture Capital Investment in the Life Science Sector is Down for 2012 – Is There a Light at the End of the Tunnel”


“Survey: Many Docs Will Be Slow to Switch to Biosimilar mAbs,” Fierce Biotech

A large majority of oncologists around the world seem eager to switch their patients to biosimilar versions of ESA and G-CSF therapies once they become readily available, according to a new survey out from BioTrends Research Group. But there was a distinct hesitancy noted in the U.S. when the conversation turned to the first generation of biosimilars for the monoclonal antibodies like rituximab (Roche’s $5.6 billion drug MabThera).

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


“Pediatricians OK Embryonic Stem Cell Research,” Med Page Today

Citing its potential for use in pediatric diseases, the American Academy of Pediatrics has thrown its support behind human embryonic Stem Cell Research. The research has possible implications for certain childhood diseases, including hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, bone marrow failure syndromes, leukemia, congenital heart disease, neonatal lung disease, and type 1 diabetes, according to members of the academy’s committees on pediatric research and bioethics. And significant progress has already been made in basic and translational research using human embryonic stem cells, they wrote in a policy statement published online ahead of the November issue of Pediatrics.

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


“The 2012 Biotech Graveyard,” Fierce Biotech

In Fierce Biotech’s fourth installment of their “Graveyard Report” of company failures, they report that biotech’s boneyard has seen relatively little activity over the past year.  Fewer biotech outfits closed their doors this year than all previous years of the Graveyard report.

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “FDA Strives to Provide Faster Approval Time for Drugs by Employing “Special Medical Use” Category”


“Stem Cells to Cartilage? Promising Results Seen in Mice,” US News and World Report Health Day

Scientists who created cartilage from adult stem cells in mice say their success could lead to new treatments for cartilage injury and osteoarthritis. The cartilage was created using induced pluripotent stem cells, which are adult cells that have been genetically altered to have the characteristics of embryonic stem cells. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) have the potential to become different types of specialized cells. “What this research shows in a mouse model is the ability to create an unlimited supply of stem cells that can turn into any type of tissue — in this case cartilage, which has no ability to regenerate by itself,” study senior author Farshid Guilak, a professor of orthopedic surgery at Duke University in Durham, N.C., said in a university news release.

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Cultureware – A New Generation of Products Step Up to the Plate”

“Mumps Outbreak Traced to Face-to-Face Schooling,” Reuters

A face-to-face educational technique used among Orthodox Jews apparently led to an outbreak of mumps in 2009 and 2010 even though most of those infected were properly vaccinated, according to a new study. The outbreak, detailed in the November 1 New England Journal of Medicine, illustrates how close repeated contact with an infected person can overwhelm the mumps vaccine. “The risk of infection with mumps may be higher when the exposure dose of virus is large or intensely transmitted,” the researchers concluded in their report. This may also explain why the mumps vaccine tends to be less effective among household contacts than among school or community contacts, they added.

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Lean Development Approaches in the Era of Quality by Design – Mission Impossible?


“Flu Vaccine May Protect Your Heart,” US News and World Report Health Day

Getting a flu shot may help people stay healthy in more than the obvious way, new research suggests. “The shot doesn’t just protect you against flu, it protects you from heart attacks,” said Dr. Jacob Udell, a cardiologist at Women’s College Hospital and the University of Toronto. In his research, Udell found that those who got a flu shot reduced their risk of heart attacks and other serious cardiovascular problems by nearly half during a one-year follow-up period.

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Manufacturing Strategies for Improving Viral Yield and Lowering Production Cost in Vaccine Manufacturing”


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