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The Burrill Features
Why Drug Development Is No Longer Just for Pharma PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 12 October 2013 23:18

Drug development can be expensive, but patients, their families, and researchers looking for treatments where options may be lacking are developing networks, raising money, and conducting research. Nick Sireau, chairman of the Alkaptonuria Society, discussed his own efforts to find a treatment for alkaptonuria, a rare degenerative disease that afflicts his two sons. The AKU Society is in the final days of a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to help pay for a late-stage clinical trial of an existing drug that’s a possible treatment for the disease. We spoke to Sireau about the disease, how the internet is changing drug development, and what drugmakers can learn from organizations like his.



German Watchdog Wants Trials Data Made Public PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 12 October 2013 22:35

Reliable assessment of drugs is only possible with full access to clinical study reports, institute says.

A German institute that evaluates the harms and benefits of drugs and other medical interventions says reliable assessments will never be possible without complete clinical trials data being made public.

UK Pursues Large-Scale Genomic Sequencing Project PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 12 October 2013 22:28

Public-private effort will dive deep into data on rare diseases, cancers, and infectious diseases.

The UK Department of Health has launched Genomics England, a new entity to deliver on the government’s promise to sequence 100,000 whole genomes by 2017.

Separating a Boom from a Bubble PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 29 September 2013 19:21

Stocks hit record highs this year and the IPO market is the best for the biopharmacetucial sector in 13 years, but a new report from Evaluate Pharma’s EP Vantage raises questions about a biotech bubble and notes that the richer valuations are dampening licensing activity. We spoke to Lisa Urquhart, editor of EP Vantage, about the report, the activity during the first half of 2013, and if we are in a bubble, what’s going to pop it.

AbbVie Invests $45M in Expanded Galapagos Partnership PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 29 September 2013 19:10

Global alliance diffuses development risks, shifts late-stage development costs to AbbVie. 

AbbVie is expanding its partnership with Galapagos, adding a new program to identify experimental therapeutics for cystic fibrosis in a deal that provides the small Belgian company $45 million in an upfront payment.

Sangamo Makes Strategic Gene Therapy Buy PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 31 August 2013 07:16

Sangamo BioSciences announced in August an agreement to acquire the privately-held gene therapy company Ceregene. The transaction, for about $1 million worth of Sangamo stock upfront, gives Sangamo access to Ceregene’s extensive experience with the delivery of gene therapies, as well as its pipeline, and patent portfolio. We spoke to Edward Lanphier, CEO of Sangamo, about the transaction, its strategic value to the company, and the outlook for gene therapy.



Lilly and Humana Collaborate to Improve Outcomes PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 31 August 2013 06:44

Evidence-based research will initially focus on type 2 diabetes.

Drugmaker Eli Lilly and healthcare insurance giant Humana say they will collaborate on evidence-based research aimed at improving the healthcare of their members and patients.

CIRM Tries to Be Friendlier to Business PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 31 August 2013 06:40

Stem cell agency board approves changes to IP rules and plan for industry collaborations.

The board of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine is trying to make the institute more attractive to industry by approving changes to the revenue sharing provision of its intellectual property regulations and a new program to pursue collaborations with industry it says will provide tens of millions of dollars in research awards to help move the most promising therapies into clinical trials.

J&J Targets Dengue Fever PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 31 August 2013 06:33




Janssen, University of Leuven, and the Wellcome Trust aim to stop sometimes deadly virus in its tracks.

Johnson & Johnson’s biopharmaceutical companies have been at the forefront of innovative collaborations to advance research coming out of academia and startups. In the latest tie-up, J&J is aiming to conquer the sometimes deadly dengue virus, for which there is currently no approved vaccine to prevent infection or drug to keep the virus from replicating.

Building a Profitable Biotech PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 24 August 2013 16:54

Adimab strikes deals with Celgene and Innovent.

Antibody discovery company Adimab has added Celgene and Innovent to the growing list of partners for which it will generate therapeutic proteins.

New Drug and Device Reviews Still on Hold at FDA PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 12 October 2013 23:15

While the agency funds ongoing reviews with user fees, negotiations continue on Capitol Hill.

Despite progress on Capitol Hill to resolve the current fiscal crisis, drug and medical device companies poised to seek regulatory approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are still waiting for action as the agency puts new reviews on hold until it can accept new user fees from industry.

Diversify and De-risk PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 12 October 2013 22:32

Sialix eyes a faster path to revenue.

Sialix ultimately hopes to make it big by developing antibodies to treat cancer, a long and expensive development process, but in the short term thinks it has a faster path to revenue by leveraging its technology to develop nutritional products.

Clinical Trials Results Move the Market PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 12 October 2013 22:21

Shares in Ariad, GTX, and Acadia Pharmaceuticals swing on clinical trial results.

In the third quarter of 2013, biotechnology indices outperformed the general market, with the Nasdaq Biotechnology index up 20.7 percent, almost double the 10.8 percent rise in the Nasdaq Composite Index. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up just 1.5 percent and the S&P 500 was up 4.7 percent. Pushed by positive clinical trial, regulatory, and patent news, the Burrill Small-, Mid-, and Large-Cap Indices were each up more than 20 percent for the quarter. The Burrill Select Index was up 15.4 percent.

Roche Teams with PacBio In Deal Worth Up To $75M PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 29 September 2013 19:12

Next-gen DNA sequencing firm will develop systems for use in clinical diagnostics.

Pacific Biosciences has entered into an agreement worth up to $75 million with Roche Diagnostics to develop products including sequencing systems and consumables based on its next generation DNA sequencing technology.

JPMorgan, Gates to Create Investment Fund for Late-Stage Global Health Technologies PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 29 September 2013 19:07

Total of $94 million committed by group of investors to new fund.

The financial service behemoth JPMorgan Chase and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have established a new investment fund for late-stage vaccines and technologies to address global healthcare needs. The fund is structured to allow individual and institutional investors to provide funding to help save millions of lives in low-income countries.

Increased Longevity Comes at a Price PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 31 August 2013 06:47

Study in mice suggests that the whole body ages differently than each individual organ.

Finding a way to promote longevity without promoting harmful side effects is a key goal of longevity proponents and researchers. New work on aging in mice points to the challenge ahead.

AstraZeneca’s MedImmune to Buy Amplimmune for up to $500M PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 31 August 2013 06:42

Deal will strengthen pharma’s cancer immunotherapy portfolio.

AstraZeneca’s biologics arm, MedImmune, will acquire Maryland-based Amplimmune, a biotech focused on developing cancer immunotherapies. The deal boosts MedImmune’s focus on immune-mediated cancer therapies with a pipeline of early-stage candidates that target different pathways.

California Law Could Constrain Biosimilar Substitutions PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 31 August 2013 06:37

National battle is unfolding state-by-state, pitting payers against biotech innovators.

Biotech companies that want to minimize pending competition from lower-cost versions of brand-name therapies achieved a victory in California where pharmacists could be required to notify doctors and sometimes patients when using biosimilars.

Curing Cancer with the Wisdom and Money of Crowds PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 24 August 2013 17:15

Some folks look at insects and see danger. Others look at flowers and see beauty. Jim Olson looks at such things as spiders and petunias and sees a potential new arsenal of weapons against cancer and other diseases. This month, the researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center launched Project Violet, an effort to develop a new class of therapies derived from nature. To drive and fund the effort, Olson has turned to citizen scientists and crowdfunding. We spoke to Olson about Project Violet, the promise of the new class of drugs he dubs “optides,” and why he’s turned to an unconventional source of funding to shake up drug development.


Seeing Dead People PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 24 August 2013 16:50



Ambitious 3D digital autopsy provider plans to offer services in Britain.

Call me squeamish. The very possibility that my seven-year-old son’s loose front tooth might fall free of his gums as he gleefully wiggles it forces me to avert my eyes. I cringe while attending minor knife-cuts and my wife is still not sure how I managed to attend the births of our children.

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