The Dish’s Weekly News Wrap Up – September 28, 2012

This week’s headlines include, a study that shows recombinant transferrin’s equivalence to native, the top 20 selling vaccines, some drug makers returning to US manufactured APIs, regulatory news, venture funding increasing, R&D spending is up and drug makers are coming together to promote more research.


“Study Shows Optiferrin, Recombinant Human Transferrin is Comparable to Serum-Derived or Mammalian Expressed Transferrin,” Herald Online

Optiferrin, a recombinant human transferrin (rhTF) protein produced by Ventria Bioscience using ExpressTec, has been shown to be biochemically and structurally similar to human transferrin (hTF) molecules derived either from human serum or a recombinant mammalian expression system, according to a paper published today in the Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry.1 Optiferrin™ is sold commercially by InVitria, the bioreagents division of Ventria Bioscience, for use in cell culture applications.

If you like this story, please see our blog titled Transferrin – Nature’s Solution for Iron Replacement in Serum Free Culture”


“20 Top Selling Vaccines – H1 2012,” Fierce Vaccines

Data on the biggest-selling vaccines helps us understand what’s driving growth in the vaccines industry, and which companies are behind the wheel. Thanks in part to the adult influenza market and vaccines such as Gardasil and Prevnar, the global vaccines market has enjoyed a decidedly solid boost in revenue. Ten years ago, the vaccine market sat at $5.7 billion dollars, according to Kalorama Information. Now, that market has soared to $27 billion. Much of the growth comes as a result of a focus on flu prevention and an acceptance of adult vaccines. A few new vaccines joining the roster help, too. Sales of adult vaccines are expected to increase at a compound annual rate of 10.3% from 2010 to 2015, Kalorama reports.

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Improving Media to Increase Virus Yield in Vaccine Production”


“Venture Firms See Signs of Rebirth in Life Sciences,” Reuters

Life-sciences and health investing, long shunned by venture-capital investors, is making a comeback.  Several venture firms globally have each raised or are raising funds this year in the $200 million to $400 million range dedicated to life sciences, biotech and medicine, while others have raised large, diversified funds with big chunks dedicated to those fields. Venture capitalists are taking that money and pushing it into several life-sciences and health-related fields. Last year, venture backers invested $4.82 billion in biotechnology, up 24 percent from 2010. Medical-devices venture investment rose 17 percent last year, and healthcare services rose 41 percent.

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


“Drug Makers Join Efforts in Research,” The New York Times

Ten of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies said on Wednesday that they would cooperate on research aimed at accelerating drug development, starting with streamlining clinical trials.  Pharmaceutical companies have collaborated before on areas considered not directly competitive, like finding variants in the human genome and biomarkers to predict disease and the effectiveness of drugs. But the people behind the new effort said it would be the largest of its kind.

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


“Biotech R&D Spend Bounds Back, US Study Shows,” PharmaTimes

Research and development (R&D) spending in the biotechnology industry grew 5% last year, bouncing back after 2010’s decline, says a new US survey. On average, biotech companies spent $50 million on R&D in 2011, up from just over $47 million the year before, says the latest annual Biotech Briefing from accounting and consulting group BDO USA.

If you like this story, please see our blog titled Defined Supplements – The Role of Recombinant Proteins in Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing”


“Top 20 Research Institute Salaries,” Fierce Biotech Research

A new report by Genetic Engineering News (using data from compiles a top 20 list of the salaries these groups paid their leaders. The numbers are based on the most recent year reported (which can vary among nonprofits) so some are from the 2010 calendar year, others from 2011, or fiscal year 2010-2011. Some interesting trends emerge all the same. Certainly, none of the 20 men on this list make multimillion salaries as their drug industry corporate counterparts do. But the top four institute heads, for example–led by the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute CEO John C. Reed–pulled in well over $1 million for their most recent reported annual salary.

If you like this story, please see our blog titled UC Davis Set to Launch California’s First Public Umbilical Cord Bank”


“White House Panel Backs Accelerated Drug Reviews,” Science

The United States can double the number of innovative new medical treatments available in the next 10 or 15 years, but only if important changes are made to how drugs are developed and approved, says a White House report. That was the message in a study released today by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). Speaking at a meeting this morning where the recommendations were released, Margaret Hamburg, commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said: “Our job really is not complete until we have significant impact on the health of patients and the greater public here in this country and around the world. And I think this report helps move us toward that goal.”

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


“API Maker Says More Clients Looking for US Manufacturers,” Fierce Pharma Manufacturing

Having had their dalliances with foreign API manufacturers, U.S. drugmakers may be ready to spend more of their money at home.  That is what officials with Wisconsin-based Cedarburg Hauser are anticipating as they prepare for further expansion of their API plant, and they have the FDA to thank for that. “New provisions in Prescription Drug User Fee Act 5 allowing the FDA to collect user fees for generic drugs will also require the FDA to inspect foreign manufacturing facilities every two years rather than every 5 years,” Bob Forner told Outsourcing-Pharma, as reported by in-PharmaTechnologist. “We expect this to have a positive impact on our generic API business.”

If you like this story, please see our blog titled “Key Considerations for Improved Quality in Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing”

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