Monday, March 26, 2007

2007 FOY Winners!!!...

Check out the winners...

Interphex 2007

I haven't even finished up posting up stuff from the ISPE Annual Meeting...

and it's time for Interphex...

make your reservations!!!...

and plan your visit...

Friday, March 23, 2007

Astra Zeneca's new PR&D centre leverages Indian chemistry expertise

more off-shoring...this time research...

22/03/2007 - AstraZeneca is leveraging the process chemistry expertise accumulated in India's generics industry and universities by opening a $15m (€11.3m) process research and development (PR&D) laboratory next to its existing research centre for tuberculosis in Bangalore.

The newly inaugurated 8,000sq m facility on AstraZeneca's Hebbal campus can accommodate up to 75 process scientists as well as supporting office and engineering staff. The Bangalore laboratory will both consolidate the existing drug discovery programme for tuberculosis at the site and bolster the UK company's global PR&D network. This consists of one facility apiece in the UK and Sweden, plus a pending UK PR&D laboratory at AstraZeneca's Macclesfield site that is expected to start operating by mid-2009.

The company, whose research pipeline has come under critical scrutiny following a succession of damp squibs in late-stage development, has been investing heavily of late in new R&D resources, partnerships and acquisitions. At the same time, it has been making deep cuts to boost productivity and cost efficiency in its supply chain. The recent announcement that 700 manufacturing and supply jobs would go at Macclesfield contrasted pointedly with the £63.5m (€93.6 million) AstraZeneca is investing in its new PR&D laboratory at the same site.

link to full article

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Two biotech firms to operate in Penang

more on the "Big World/ Small World" theme...

TWO major biotechnology companies in Penang – Progenix Research Sdn Bhd (PRSB) and Alpha Biologics Sdn Bhd (ABSB) – will be ready for business soon.

Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon said PRSB would begin operations this month and ABSB in September at Biotechnology Park in Bukit Minyak.

He said these companies, founded by Springhill Management Ltd (SML) - a biotech venture capital company - were the first to set up biotech facilities in Bukit Minyak.

“They have strategically positioned themselves in Penang, helping the state government to stimulate foreign investments in biotechnology industry.

“The state government has been striving to make Penang the hub for biotechnology and life sciences,” he said recently.

link to full article

India's biotech queen goes for global crown

BANGALORE, India (AFP) - When Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw founded Biocon India in 1978 with 10,000 rupees (225 dollars) and an office in a rented car garage, no banker was willing to give her a loan.

Back then, no one had heard of biotechnology, which uses micro-organisms such as bacteria or biological substances like enzymes to make drugs and synthetic hormones.

Women entrepreneurs were also rare and finding recruits willing to work under a female boss was difficult.

Mazumdar-Shaw, hailed in 2004 as India's richest woman with a personal fortune of 21 billion rupees, and Biocon, India's biggest biotech firm with 3,000 employees, have come a long way from the garage.

The businesswoman, who will turn 54 on Friday, is now setting her sights beyond the domestic market, despite the company's 29 percent annual growth rate, estimated to touch five billion dollars by 2010.

"I see myself and Biocon as being a biotech company in a leadership position on the global stage," Mazumdar-Shaw told AFP in an interview in Bangalore.

"We are on the right track to getting there," added the entrepreneur, who plans to double research spending every year to discover new drugs and enter the league of giants such as Amgen and Genentech.

link to full article

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Small molecule derived from Rb2/p130 could act as cancer therapeutic

Go Temple...

Just ask Bill Cosby...

A small molecule derived from the spacer domain of the tumor-suppressor gene Rb2/p130 has demonstrated the ability to inhibit tumor growth in vivo and could be developed into an anti-cancer therapeutic, according to researchers at Temple University's Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine.

The researchers reported their findings, "A small molecule based on the pRb2/p130 spacer domain leads to inhibition of cdk2 activity, cell cycle arrest and tumor growth reduction in vivo," in the March 22 issue of the journal Oncogene ( Rb2/p130 was discovered in the early 1990s by Antonio Giordano, director of the Sbarro Institute ( and the Center for Biotechnology in Temple's College of Science and Technology, who headed the study.

see link to full article

although I found most of the article difficult to follow...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

GM mosquito 'could fight malaria'

Who knew mosquito's get malaria?...

A genetically modified (GM) strain of malaria-resistant mosquito has been created that is better able to survive than disease-carrying insects.

It gives new impetus to one strategy for controlling the disease: introduce the GM insects into wild populations in the hope that they will take over.

The insect carries a gene that prevents infection by the malaria parasite.

Details of the work by a US team appear in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.

The researchers caution that their studies are still at an early stage, and that it could be 10 years or more before engineered insects are released into the environment.

link to BBC article

Saturday, March 10, 2007

More new links

I am impressed with the number of new blogs popping up...

check out these...

Pharm Aid

On Pharma


Friday, March 09, 2007

Chemical 'may stop cancer growth'

We have got to get one of these that actually works...

Scientists in Glasgow have devised a new method of attacking cancer cells.
A team of experts from the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research gave mice a chemical which caused cancer cells to "commit suicide".

The chemical significantly slowed the growth of the tumours in the mice and could pave the way for a new agent to stop cancer developing.

The Cancer Research UK experts reported the findings in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

In further laboratory studies the research team found that the chemical could kill several types of cancer cells - including bowel, cervical and bone cells.

Lead researcher Dr Kevin Ryan said: "Our study has shown for the first time that the selective activation of a gene called p73 can cause cell death in tumours.

"We think this approach has the potential to be developed into an effective treatment for cancer."

link to full article

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Del., neighbors rally around biotech industry

I guess I need to cover this story...

State, federal money will help cultivate life sciences

PHILADELPHIA -- Political leaders from Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey gathered in Philadelphia on Tuesday to discuss ways to improve the area's biotechnology and life sciences.

The emerging biotech industry, which supporters say needs more funding, is crucial for work force expansion, according to Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner.

"One of the most important things we can do is prepare our work force for the future," she said at a news conference with Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania and David Socolow, New Jersey commissioner of labor and work force development.

"When companies are looking to relocate, the first thing they ask about is the work force," Minner said.

A pair of U.S. Department of Labor grants totaling $6.6 million will be used to train workers in biotechnology and the life sciences in a 13-county region that includes New Castle County, southeastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey.

link to full article

US aims to break drug industry's hold on pricing

This appeared under an "opinion" column...

In the land of the free market, the idea of the government influencing the choice and cost of medicines is heresy. But that's exactly what's in store for the US, as it tries to rein in its healthcare costs, which threaten to cripple the economy if left unchecked.

Other countries have already taken steps to deal with such problems. The UK set up the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in 1999 to decide which drugs the country's National Health Service could use (see "UK's gatekeeper has the final say"). Similar organisations operate in Australia and Canada, and all claim to be working successfully, allowing governments to just say no to ineffective drugs and haggle with pharmaceutical companies when prices are too high.

Now, at long last, the US is considering a similar proposal in the shape of a proposed Comparative Effectiveness Board (CEB), which would review the evidence on how well drugs work and whether they are cost-effective. If necessary, the CEB would carry out its own clinical trials. The idea is to break the pharmaceutical industry's stranglehold on drug prices and stop it peddling marginally effective medicines. The drug industry is already expressing its displeasure at the idea of a government body judging a drug's value for money.

link to full article

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

New vaccine technology holds double promise

Have you ever seen the term "ever-lasting gobb-stopper" in a serious medical story???...

05/03/2007 - A new nanotechnology-based vaccine delivery method could allow the development of single-dose vaccines as well as new vaccines in disease areas of unmet need.

Research presented at last week's ASM Biodefense and Emerging Disease Research Meeting revealed that a biodegradable polymer in a microsphere formulation could be used to develop time-released vaccines, thus reducing the need for vaccine booster shots, as well as stimulate an immune response that traditional vaccines do not.

"Current vaccines are good at producing antibodies that block entry into the cell. In the case of some diseases, such as malaria or tuberculosis, antibody vaccines just aren't effective," said Jenny Wilson-Welder, a lead researcher on the study conducted at Iowa State University.

The polymer, called polyandydride, is already being used as a delivery system for a brain cancer drug designed to inhibit tumor growth but this is the first time its application in vaccines has been shown.

"It's like an everlasting gobstopper or a bar of soap. It wears away slowly over time, delivering its payload," says Wilson-Welder.

link to full story

Prime Minister Tony Blair Opens Major Amgen (AMGN) (Jobs) Development Center in London; 300 New Jobs

Amgen in the UK...

Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) announced today that the Prime Minister Rt Hon Tony Blair MP opened Amgen's new European Development Centre in Uxbridge, London. The centre can accommodate more than 300 new staff and forms a key part of a significant Research & Development (R&D) investment in the UK by Amgen.

Amgen's biotechnology medicines have already improved the lives of millions of patients worldwide suffering from cancer, kidney disease and other serious illnesses. As of the end of 2006, nearly 41,000 patients in 39 countries were enrolled in Amgen clinical trials. Uxbridge, together with Amgen's expanded Cambridge, UK facilities, will support the company's largest ever international clinical trial programme. In 2007, Amgen expects that approximately 55,000 patients will be enrolled in more than 250 clinical studies worldwide. More than half of those studies will be coordinated by UK-based R&D staff across 31 European countries.

Commenting on his opening of the European Development Centre in Uxbridge, the Prime Minister said, "I am delighted that Amgen has chosen to locate its European Development Centre in the UK. The UK biotech industry is second only to the United States, and we lead Europe in this sector. Amgen's decision to locate here is another strong endorsement of our economy and our first-class research base.

link to full article