Tuesday, March 31, 2009

California Stem Cell Program Needs a New Treatment

In the annals of wrongheaded things done with the best intentions, the California stem cell program has always been in a category of its own.

The $6-billion program was enacted by voters in 2004 as Proposition 71 after a campaign of exceptional intellectual dishonesty, featuring vignettes of sufferers from diabetes, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other heartbreaking diseases for which it seemed to promise imminent cures through research into embryonic stem cells.

As conceived by a Northern California real estate man named Robert Klein, who remains the program's chairman and guiding spirit, the idea was that California would fill the vacuum created by the Bush administration's ideology-inspired ban on federal funding for much of this research. (President Obama rescinded the ban this month.) The state, according to the hype, would reap billions in profits from the therapies it funded.

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Farm View: Nothing to Fear from Biotech

Do you have a fear of biotechnology? Well, you shouldn't have. Biotechnology is simply the use of gene science and technology to improve existing plants and animals.

Farmers have always used this type of selection process of choosing the best-suited and highest yielding crops to feed a growing population.

Biotech isn't going to change corn production so that the plant grows "arms" instead of "ears". This technology just helps plants deal with adverse conditions such as cold weather, droughts and naturally occurring pests and diseases.

The benefits are foods that stay fresher longer, taste better, and have more enhanced nutritional value. Since 1990, biotechnology has given us peanuts with a higher protein content, bananas and pineapples with a longer shelf life, sweeter bell peppers, tastier tomatoes and lower-fat vegetable oils.

Farmers have been growing genetically enhanced corn, soybeans and cotton crops that contain built-in pest resistance. This allows farmers to use fewer pesticides. Biotechnology has improved the quality and value of food from the producer's field to the consumer's table.

The percentage of biotech crops planted has been on the rise for many years. In 2006, according to the National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy, U.S. farmers planted biotech crops that produced an additional 7.7 billion pounds of food and fiber, increased farm income $2.6 billion, and reduced the use of pesticides by 110 million pounds. Just in Illinois, biotech corn and soybeans increased food production by more than 1.2 billion pounds, improved farm income by more than $326 million and annually reduces pesticide use by more than 12.5 million pounds.

Farm Bureau supports increased efforts through biotechnology to more rapidly develop products which have recognized consumer benefits. Some of these benefits include increased marketability of farm products, enhancing the environment and better product quality. Biotech also benefits worldwide consumers by ensuring a stable, ample, safe and nutritious supply of U.S. products.

While promoting the benefits of these products, Farm Bureau is also actively involved in educating producers to be good stewards of biotechnology. Farmers are encouraged to maintain the integrity of the U.S. food and grain supply by adhering to the regulations.

We support the coordinated analysis of biotechnology products by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protections Agency (EPA) before they are approved for domestic use and commercialization.

Jimmy Carter, former president of the United States said, "Responsible biotechnology is not the problem, starvation is. Without adequate food supplies at affordable prices, we cannot expect world health or peace."

All methods of agriculture production and marketing should be supported provided all producers meet the required standards. Our organization supports efforts to establish specific standards for biotechnology enhanced and nonbiotechnology enhanced product certifications such as organically grown food.

The growth of the organic food and product markets provides new income potential for Illinois farmers of all sizes. The integrity of this program and process should be maintained.

Coming from the great state of Illinois, President Obama knows the importance of agriculture. He realizes that American agriculture helps feed the world while also playing an important part in international trade.

A few months ago, when he was still known as President-elect Obama, he named former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack as the Secretary of Agriculture. At the news conference announcing the nomination, Obama said he nominated Vilsack to lead the USDA because of his record of promoting biotechnology to strengthen our farmers and foster an agricultural economy of the future that not only grows the food we eat but also the energy we use.

Biotechnology is change we can believe in.

David Treece is the manager of the Ford-Iroquois Farm Bureau. He can be reached at (815) 265-4712.

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Biotech Firm to Liquidate Under Investor’s Pressure

Avigen, a biotechnology company, is preparing to liquidate itself and return its remaining cash to shareholders. The company was pressed to do so by its largest holder, the Biotechnology Value Fund.

The company, whose most promising drug candidate failed in a clinical trial in October, is one of several biotech businesses thathave been under pressure from investors recently to liquidate after a setback.

In the past, when one of its drugs failed, a biotechnology company typically moved to a new drug. But with capital markets tight, investors are becoming less patient with that tradition and are trying to pull the plug on unsuccessful companies.

Avigen, based in Alameda, Calif., had been resisting the efforts of the Biotechnology Value Fund, which started a proxy fight to replace the company’s board. Read More

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Biotech Careers Heating Up

Biotechnology has been around for centuries. From farming to food production and storage, biotechnology has touched our lives in numerous helpful ways.

As baby boomers age, there has been an increased demand for new medical procedures and equipment. As a result, biomedical engineering, a field that combines medicine with engineering and biology, is expected to grow in the next decade and beyond.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Biotech Stocks: The One Sector Outperforming The S&P 500

With so many biotech stocks making big moves and pharmaceutical merger activity moving faster than anything else right now, we turned to one of the smartest analysts in the lucrative biotech field to give us his take on what we should be doing…

When I was in my early 20s, I had one friend who was always on the prowl for Mrs. Right (or at least Mrs. Right Now) whenever we went out.

The evening would kick off with him boasting about how he would end up with the most beautiful girl in the bar. As the night wore on, though, he gradually lowered his standards. By the end of the evening, fueled by desperation (and perhaps a little alcohol), he was willing to leave with any woman who had a pulse.

The health care M&A picture right now reminds me of that situation - with one exception. Some Big Pharma companies have become even more desperate than my buddy. And that means big profits for biotech stock investors.

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Cash-Strapped Biotechs May Follow Ventracor Failure

March 25 (Bloomberg) -- The failure last week of Ventracor Ltd., once the “darling” of Australia’s life-sciences industry, may herald more collapses as a global capital drought forces cash-starved companies to find partners or wind down.

Almost half the nation’s 130 publicly traded life-sciences companies risk insolvency in the next year, according to AusBiotech Ltd., a Melbourne-based industry group. Capital raised by listed biotechs plummeted to A$183 million ($129 million) in 2008 from A$943 million in 2007, the group has said.

Ventracor, a maker of heart pumps, is the third and biggest Australian life-sciences company to fail in the past six months as the credit crisis deprives research-based biotechnology companies of the cash they need to develop life-saving medicines and devices. Avexa Ltd., working on a drug to treat HIV, said it needs new capital to complete tests and is looking for partners.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Incyte to Present at Citi's 4th Annual Biotech Conference

Incyte Corporation (Nasdaq:INCY) announced today it will present at Citi's 4th Annual Biotech Day Conference on Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at 11:20 a.m. (Eastern Time).

Paul Friedman, M.D., president and chief executive officer of Incyte, will provide an overview of the company and discuss its most advanced drug discovery and development programs.

The presentation will be webcast live and can be accessed at www.incyte.com under Investor Relations, Events and Webcasts. A replay of the presentation will be available for 60 days. Investors interested in listening to the live webcast should log on before the start time in order to download any software required.

Incyte Corporation is a Wilmington, Delaware-based drug discovery and development company focused on developing proprietary small molecule drugs to treat serious unmet medical needs. Incyte's pipeline includes multiple compounds in Phase I and Phase II development for oncology, inflammation and diabetes.

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Biotech Not Filling Property Void

Biotech and medical companies are supposed to be jewels of the Bay Area economy, but the economic malaise has tarnished the luster of those cutting edge industries, according to a new report.

Life science companies have scaled back their appetite to expand, or have even retrenched. A sluggish economy has combined with industry mergers such as Roche's proposed takeover of Genentech to produce a lot of uncertainties that loom over the industry.

The result: Vacancy rates have jumped for bioscience buildings, according to the report from Oakland-based market researcher Foresight Analytics LLC. These buildings are a commercial real estate subset of properties that have research, laboratory, clean rooms, offices or other facilities geared towards the biotech and medical devices industries.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

UPDATE 1-Biogen Acquires Option for Aveo Cancer Drug Rights

Biogen Idec Inc (BIIB.O) has acquired an option to license the rights to certain experimental cancer drugs being developed by privately held Aveo Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Biogen has the option to acquire ex-U.S. rights to Aveo's ErbB3-targeted antibodies. The option is exercisable following the results of mid-stage clinical trials, Aveo said on Tuesday.

ErbB3 is a tyrosine kinase receptor that belongs to the epidermal growth factor family of receptors which exist on the cell surface. Mutations or over-expression of genes in the EGFR family can lead to cancer.

Other EGFR inhibitors include Tarceva, which is marketed in the United States by Genentech Inc (DNA.N) and OSI Pharmaceuticals Inc(OSIP.O), and Iressa, marketed by AstraZeneca Plc (AZN.L).

Elan Ezickson, Aveo's chief business officer, said it will be "several years" before its ErbB3 antibodies reach Phase II trials. Biogen will review the results before deciding whether to exercise its option.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but Aveo said it will receive an up-front payment and additional payments as certain development goals are met.

Biogen, one of the world's biggest biotech companies, makes the multiple sclerosis drugs Avonex and Tysabri and the cancer drug Rituxan.

Aveo, which is also based in Cambridge, expects shortly to also sign a partnership agreement for rights to its lead product, an oral drug known as AV-951 that is being developed initially for kidney cancer. The company expects to sign a deal before it goes into late-stage clinical trials later this year.

"We think of AV-951 as a "foundational" drug that can be used across many tumor types and in combination with other therapies," said Ezickson. "It is not a niche product."

As a result, Aveo is looking for a partner which already has a strong presence selling drugs in the solid tumor market, or a company that wants to get into the space and is willing to make a "significant commitment to development and commercialization to do so."

The transaction will likely be similar in structure to the Biogen deal, Ezickson said, with Aveo retaining U.S. rights.

There are no shortage of interested partners, he said.

"We view this as one of the most valuable late-stage assets in biotech today because it is a validated target, we have well over 300 patients treated, and it is a well-understood competitive environment," Ezickson said. "It is an unusual asset.

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International Tissue-Repository Association President Selected

International tissue-repository association president selected to lead emergent Integrated Biobank of Luxembourg


LUXEMBOURG – March 25, 2009 - Officials of the Integrated Biobank of Luxembourg (IBBL) today announced the selection of Dr. Robert Hewitt, president of an international association governing biological samples, as Chief Executive Officer.
As head of the IBBL, Hewitt will be in charge of a state-of-the-art tissue storage and distribution initiative that will help a worldwide network of cancer scientists and other disease researchers find answers to humanity’s most pressing health problems.

Dr. Jean-Claude Schmit, chairman of the seven-member governing board of the IBBL, said Hewitt was selected as CEO because of his impeccable credentials, his worldwide connections and his experience in setting up biobanks in other nations.

"Dr. Hewitt is internationally recognized as a leading scientist in biobanking," Schmit said, following the IBBL’s recent board meeting at the Phoenix, Arizona, USA headquarters of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen). TGen is partnering with Luxembourg to help develop the IBBL, and TGen is part of the first demonstration project, Luxembourg Project Lung Cancer, in collaboration with the Partnership for Personalized Medicine.

Dr. Jeffrey Trent, TGen’s President and Scientific Director, said Hewitt was the obvious choice for the new position. "Dr. Hewitt brings energy and creativity to the IBBL. His reputation within the biobanking community is a strength that will help ensure the IBBL’s success through his leadership and his ability to foster collaborations on an international scale."

The IBBL is key to a multi-part strategy to make Luxembourg the center of excellence in health sciences and technologies of Europe.

"This is a project that puts us on the global map," said Schmit, who also is General Manager of Luxembourg’s Public Research Centre for Health (Centre de Recherche Public Sante). "The IBBL will allow us to have state-of-the-art samples for research. It is opening our country to international research. For TGen, it’s an opportunity to enter the European research market."

Patrizia Luchetta, the IBBL Project Manager and IBBL Board Vice-Chairman, also praised Hewitt’s dedication and experience.

"Dr. Hewitt stands out for his appreciation of the role of biobanks in biomedical research, and his deep understanding of what it takes to set up a state-of-the-art biobanking facility," said Luchetta, who also serves as Deputy Director of Luxembourg’s Board of Economic Development in the Ministry of the Economy and Foreign Trade.

Dr. Hewitt is president of the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories. The ISBER aims to promote best practices in the management of biobanks, which store such items as therapeutic tissues, microbial culture collections, biodiversity samples and even museum collections.

"The IBBL is really vital to the development of personalized medicine," said Hewitt, referring to the process of quickly bringing new laboratory discoveries to the diagnosis and treatment of patients.

As part of an international partnership to spur discovery and innovation, Luxembourg last year enlisted the Phoenix-based Partnership for Personalized Medicine, which includes: TGen; Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute; and Seattle, Washington’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. A strategic partnership between Seattle’s Institute of Systems Biology and the University of Luxembourg constitutes the third pillar of Luxembourg's overall initiative in life sciences.

Hewitt has developed biobanks in England, Saudi Arabia and Singapore, where he is director of the Tissue Repository & Hospital-based Cancer Registry at the National University Hospital and National University of Singapore. The Tissue Repository provides researchers with samples of blood and tumor tissues collected only with patient consent.

"What I set up in Singapore is like a small scale model of what will be set up for Luxembourg," said Hewitt, who was educated in England and served a fellowship in the Laboratory of Pathology at the U.S. National Institutes of Health. "The wonderful thing with the Luxembourg plan is that everything is funded."

Hewitt starts his new position on July 1. He eventually will supervise a staff of nearly 70 at the IBBL, which will include a biorepository, biorefinery, offices of administration and compliance, a technology center and an information-management center for maintaining and developing databases.

"One thing I’ve learned is the importance of winning the enthusiastic support of the many different groups of people who are vital to the biobanking process. These include patients and their communities as well as doctors, nurses, scientists and administrators. Only when all these groups are working together, can we be fully effective in building high quality biobanks to support advances in medical research," Hewitt said.

*

About the Integrated BioBank of Luxembourg (IBBL)
The Integrated Biobank of Luxembourg - co-founded by the nation’s three Public Research Centers Santé, Tudor and Lippmann, and by the University of Luxembourg – holds the promise of becoming the premier European hub for advanced biobanking, biotechnology and biomedical informatics. While most European and U.S. biobanks focus on collection and distribution of specimens, the IBBL will implement uniform standards for collection, storage and distribution of a full range of tissue samples, including blood, serum and tumor tissues. This next-generation biobank will provide molecular-based characterizations of biospecimens linked to clinical studies. The project will leverage expertise in biology, pathology, informatics and information technology infrastructure, laboratory operations, transportation, legal matters and ethics. The IBBL will serve as a centralized resource for sharing and comparing research results through a robust, scalable and secure bioinformatics system that supports the collection, processing, storage, annotation and distribution of biospecimens and data.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Honeywell Phoenix Tapped for Shire biotech Project

A Honeywell International Inc. unit in Phoenix is helping Shire Human Genetic Therapies expand its research and development capabilities.

Honeywell Process Solutions is working with the Shire PLC division to implement technology for controlling manufacturing processes at the company’s new $250 million production facility in Lexington, Mass.

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TGen’s Dr. Von Hoff Wins Award for Cancer Research

PHOENIX, Ariz. - March 17, 2009 - Dr. Daniel Von Hoff, Physician-In-Chief of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), has won an award recognizing his achievements in cancer research.

Dr. Von Hoff, who also is Chief Scientific Officer of TGen Clinical Research Services at Scottsdale Healthcare, will be recognized in the category of Health Care Research in a special report this month in Arizona Business Magazine. Dr. Von Hoff was honored March 4 at the magazine's 2009 Health Care Leadership Awards at the Ritz Carlton Phoenix.

This is the second major award in recent months for Dr. Von Hoff, a world-renowned cancer scientist and one of the leading experts in pancreatic cancer. In November, Dr. Von Hoff was named Arizona's Community Service Leader of the Year at the 2008 Governor's Celebration of Innovation, presented annually for contributions to Arizona’s technology industry through relentless community involvement, leadership, visibility and excellence in economic development activity.

For more than 30 years, Dr. Von Hoff has dedicated his time and experience to the study of cancer and treatment methods. Arizona Business Magazine cited his:

International leadership in bringing to patients new anti-cancer agents – many of which have been shown to increase patient survival.

Study of pancreatic and other forms of cancer.

Dedication to teaching.

Entrepreneurial research efforts, which have led to 12 patents.
Through the three-year-old partnership between TGen and Scottsdale Healthcare, Dr. Von Hoff leads a nearly 40-member staff in the research and treatment of cancer. TCRS at Scottsdale Healthcare is conducting 35 ongoing studies, involving the treatment of many patients with advanced cancer. The alliance works to identify new anti-cancer agents, and strives to bring diagnostic and treatment options to patients as fast as possible.

Dr. Von Hoff earned his medical degree from Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons. He held an internship and residency at the University of California, San Francisco; conducted four years of cancer research at the National Cancer Institute; and worked as a faculty member at the University of Texas.

In Arizona, he has worked as Director of the Arizona Cancer Center in Tucson and as a Clinical Professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

Dr. Von Hoff holds a presidential appointment to the National Cancer Advisory Board, is widely published and has been a keynote speaker at numerous national and international medical and scientific conferences.

# # #

About TGen
The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a non-profit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life changing results. Research at TGen is focused on helping patients with diseases such as cancer, neurological disorders and diabetes. TGen is on the cutting edge of translational research where investigators are able to unravel the genetic components of common and complex diseases. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities, TGen believes it can make a substantial contribution to the efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. For more information, visit: www.tgen.org.


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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

2009 Pharmaceutical & Biotech Industry Outlook

SUGAR LAND, TX - Industrial Info Resources (Sugar Land, Texas) is pleased to announce the release of the 2009 Pharmaceutical & Biotech Industry Outlook. With the entire industry -- if not the world -- in such a state of transition, the importance of having a tool like the forecast has never been more essential. Tap into the pulse of the North American Pharmaceutical & Biotech Industry, using a clear, concise format that demystifies this lucrative and constantly evolving industry.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Boger to Deliver Five Ventures Keynote

Joshua Boger, chief executive and founder of Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc., will be the keynote speaker at UNC Charlotte’s Five Ventures entrepreneurial business competition.

Boger, a native of Concord, is a biotechnology entrepreneur who has written more than 50 scientific publications. He holds 31 U.S. patents in pharmaceutical discovery and development, and has lectured in the United States, Europe and Asia on drug discovery and development.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Oncolytics Biotech(R) Inc. Announces Start of Enrollment

Oncolytics Biotech(R) Inc. Announces Start of Enrollment in U.S. Phase 2 Combination Clinical Trial for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Patients with K-RAS or EGFR-Activated Tumours

CALGARY, March 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - Oncolytics Biotech Inc. ("Oncolytics") announced today that it has started patient enrolment in a Phase 2 clinical trial using intravenous administration of REOLYSIN(R) in combination with paclitaxel and carboplatin in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with K-RAS or EGFR-activated tumours. The Principal Investigator is Dr. Miguel Villalona-Calero, Professor, Division of Hematology/Oncology and Department of Internal Medicine and Pharmacology at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center.

"We are quite excited about this trial, since there are no known therapies that to date have effectively targeted K-RAS in cancer patients," said Dr. Villalona-Calero. "If this therapy works, this could substantially impact the outlook for our patients."

This trial (REO 016) is a single arm, single-stage, open-label, Phase 2 study of REOLYSIN(R) given intravenously with paclitaxel and carboplatin every 3 weeks. Patients will receive four to six cycles of paclitaxel and carboplatin in conjunction with REOLYSIN(R), at which time REOLYSIN(R) may be continued as a monotherapy. It is anticipated that up to 36 patients will be treated in this trial.

Eligible patients include those with metastatic or recurrent NSCLC with K-RAS or EGFR-activated tumours, who have not received chemotherapy treatment for their metastatic or recurrent disease. Patients must have demonstrated mutations in K-RAS or EGFR, or EGFR gene amplification in their tumours (metastatic or primary) in order to qualify for the trial.

About Oncolytics Biotech Inc.

Oncolytics is a Calgary-based biotechnology company focused on the development of oncolytic viruses as potential cancer therapeutics. Oncolytics' clinical program includes a variety of Phase I/II and Phase II human trials using REOLYSIN(R), its proprietary formulation of the human reovirus, alone and in combination with radiation or chemotherapy. For further information about Oncolytics, please visit www.oncolyticsbiotech.com

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Roche Increases Offer for Genentech

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT
An article about Roche's offer to buy Genentech incorrectly attributed this quote: "Roche is going to get this deal done. That's what this move tells everyone. It should convince people that Roche is not going to walk away from this." The comment was made by Oppenheimer & Co. analyst Bret Holley.


Roche also extended its offer to shareholders by a week, until March 20. Genentech has already urged its shareholders to reject the $86.50-a-share bid, saying Genentech is worth $112 a share. Franz B. Humer, the chairman of Roche, said in an interview on Friday that the new offer was made to speed the process after conversations the company had with Genentech shareholders.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Roche Adds to Its Offer to Purchase Genentech

The Swiss drug giant Roche raised the price of its hostile offer to buy out the biotechnology company Genentech on Friday to $93 a share, from $86.50. Analysts said the new price was likely to entice many more Genentech shareholders to tender their shares.

Roche also extended its offer to shareholders by a week, until March 20. Genentech has already urged its shareholders to reject the $86.50-a-share bid, saying Genentech is worth $112 a share. Franz B. Humer, the chairman of Roche, said in an interview on Friday that the new offer was made to speed the process after conversations the company had with Genentech shareholders.

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Elton John to Speak at Biotech Conference

Elton John will deliver a keynote address at the BIO International Convention in Atlanta in May, industry officials announced Tuesday.

The singer and part-time Atlanta resident will speak about how biotechnology has affected prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, and about future challenges related to the disease.

The annual biotech convention is expected to draw 20,000 people to the Georgia World Congress Center.

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US Lawmakers Propose Generic Biotech Drug Plan

WASHINGTON, March 11 (Reuters) - U.S. lawmakers unveiled a bipartisan proposal on Wednesday to allow government approval for cheaper copies of biotechnology medicines that cost as much as tens of thousands of dollars per year.

Representative Henry Waxman, joined by a Democratic colleague and two Republicans, said biotech drugs were the fastest-growing and most expensive part of the nation's prescription drug bill. Generic versions could provide safe alternatives while saving money for patients, employers, insurers and the federal government, the lawmakers said.

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Burke Leaving Biotech Center for Biofuels Center

W. Steven Burke, a longtime executive at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, is switching gears after nearly a quarter-century and moving full time into biofuels.

Burke, who has been with the Biotech Center since 1985 and has served since 1996 as its senior vice president for corporate affairs, will leave April 3 to become president of the Biofuels Center of North Carolina. He is currently that organization’s acting president.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Biotech Competition Legislation Introduced

NORTH WALES, Pa., March 11, 2009 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Teva Pharma (TEVA), the leading generic pharmaceutical company, today applauded the introduction of a landmark, bi-partisan bill that would bring safe and affordable generic biologics to all Americans.

Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman and Ranking Health Subcommittee Republican Nathan Deal, together with Representatives Frank Pallone and Jo Ann Emerson, introduced the Promoting Innovation and Access to Life Saving Medicines Act in the House of Representatives today following years of debate over the establishment of an FDA approval pathway for biogenerics.

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Trinity Biotech Announces Quarter 4 Results

Profit Before Tax Increases by 16% Excluding the Impact of Restructuring Expenses and Impairment

DUBLIN, IRELAND - Trinity Biotech plc (NASDAQ: TRIB), a leading developer and manufacturer of diagnostic products for the point-of-care and clinical laboratory markets, today announced results for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2008.

Quarter 4 2008 Results

Revenues for quarter 4, 2008 amounted to US$34.0m compared to US$35.7m for quarter 4, 2007, a decrease of 4.8%. This included a decrease 5.1% in our Point of Care revenues and 4.7% in our Clinical Laboratory revenues. Compared to revenues of US$35.6m in quarter 3, 2008, revenues in quarter 4 have also fallen by approximately 4.4%. However, this fall is entirely attributable to currency movements.

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Biotech Company Metabolix Loss Widens

Metabolix Inc., which is developing biodegradable plastics from corn sugar, said Wednesday fourth quarter loss widened as revenue from licensing fees, royalties and grants fell.

The company reported a loss for the quarter ended Dec. 31 of $8.9 million, or 40 cents a share, compared with a loss of $7.2 million, or 33 cents a share, a year earlier.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a loss of 40 cents a share.

Shares fell 2 cents to close at $6.31. They've traded in a 52-week range of $5.28 to $15.59.

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Maine's Jackson Laboratory Cuts 55 Jobs, Hours

The Jackson Laboratory, a biomedical research lab in Bar Harbor that breeds mice used in research, is eliminating about 55 jobs and cutting its workweek from 40 to 37 1/2 hours for 315 hourly employees because of the economic downturn.

Jackson Lab President Rick Woychik says the moves will keep the nonprofit on "solid financial footing."

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Monday, March 09, 2009

Applied Biosystems and Translational Genomics Research Institute Accelerate use of Genomics Research for Medical Applications

Enhanced understanding of genetic basis of disease to hasten advent of personalized medicine

Phoenix, AZ – March 9, 2009 – Applied Biosystems, a division of Life Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: LIFE), and the Translational Genomics Research Institute, today announced a strategic alliance designed to accelerate research into complex diseases and medical conditions. As part of this alliance, a team of scientists from TGen and Applied Biosystems will employ the SOLiD™ 3 System, Applied Biosystems’ next-generation genomic analysis platform, to sequence DNA from thousands of patients with a variety of diseases. The goal of this research is to translate scientific discoveries at the genetic level into knowledge about the underlying causes of disease that may ultimately be used to create cutting-edge tools for use in clinical diagnosis.

The alliance enables TGen researchers to apply best-of-breed sequencing technology across a broad spectrum of research efforts that focus on developing a more personalized approach to medicine. This approach, which is known as personalized medicine, represents a potential clinical shift from treatment of disease based on symptoms, to therapy that is specific to an individual’s unique genetic make up. Among the goals of this project is to advance the promise of personalized medicine by reducing the cost of genome sequencing to make it a routine diagnostic tool in medical care.

“This strategic alliance will accelerate genomic discoveries by integrating relevant scientific findings into the clinical setting,” said Mark Stevenson, President and Chief Operating Officer of Life Technologies. “The SOLiD System will help this team of scientists and other researchers and clinicians interpret how genetic variation can improve the ability to create more effective therapeutic solutions, bringing personalized medicine one step closer to mainstream application.”

The scientists involved in this alliance will utilize a total of five SOLiD 3 Systems to build a sequencing pipeline in connection with patient-centric, medically-directed resequencing on a cross section of patient samples. The results are expected to positively impact individuals with cancer, autoimmune and neurological disorders. The alliance will also involve the co-development of a bioinformatics analysis and visualization pipeline for the SOLiD platform. This will result in software tools designed to ease the analytical challenges associated with analyzing the vast amounts of data generated by human disease and cancer genomics applications of next generation sequencing.

Dr. Jeffrey Trent, President and Scientific Director of TGen, and other renowned principal investigators will partner with Applied Biosystems scientists to perform six different projects focused on comprehensive characterization of genetic and molecular changes occurring within clinical cohorts for each disease. The scientists at TGen chose the SOLiD technology for this project, due to its inherent scalability, unparalleled throughput and unmatched data accuracy. These attributes make the SOLiD System uniquely suited for translational research of complex diseases by enabling the detection of single nucleotide polymorphisms and other structural variation across the genome in large numbers of samples.

“Consistent with TGen’s mission of developing the next generation of diagnostics and therapeutics, the alliance with Applied Biosystems forges ties with a key industry partner whose technologies align seamlessly with our research objectives and should produce accelerated progress in our efforts to better understand the genetic underpinnings of many diseases, with a particular emphasis on cancer,” said Dr. Trent.

Applied Biosystems is a global leader in providing innovative instrument systems to accelerate academic and clinical research, drug discovery and development, pathogen detection and forensic DNA analysis. The technologies it markets include a robust line of DNA sequencing systems and chemistries to meet the increasing demands of the scientific community for higher throughput, more sophisticated DNA sequencing solutions. Applied Biosystems, together, with Invitrogen – a leading provider of platform independent, essential life science technologies for disease and drug research, bioproduction and diagnostics – is part of Life Technologies Corporation, which markets the life science industry’s most comprehensive portfolio of solutions for molecular and cell biology. Applied Biosystems and Invitrogen products are used in nearly every major laboratory in the world.

TGen is a growing leader in integrating medically directed technologies and applications into clinical practice, the results of which provide real solutions for patients. Through its recent alliance with the Van Andel Research Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan, TGen and VARI now have a national outreach to patient populations across multiple diseases. That alliance combines the groundbreaking basic research expertise of VARI with the cutting-edge translational genomics and analysis capabilities of TGen.

For more information, please visit: www.appliedbiosystems.com, www.invitrogen.com and www.tgen.org

About Life Technologies
Life Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ:LIFE) is a global biotechnology tools company dedicated to improving the human condition. Our systems, consumables and services enable researchers to accelerate scientific exploration, driving to discoveries and developments that make life even better. Life Technologies customers do their work across the biological spectrum, working to advance personalized medicine, regenerative science, molecular diagnostics, agricultural and environmental research, and 21st century forensics. Life Technologies had sales of more than $3 billion in 2008, employs approximately 9,500 people, has a presence in more than 100 countries, and possesses a rapidly growing intellectual property estate of approximately 3,600 patents and exclusive licenses. Life Technologies was created by the combination of Invitrogen Corporation and Applied Biosystems Inc. For more information on how we are making a difference please visit our website: www.lifetechnologies.com

About TGen
The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a non-profit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life changing results. Research at TGen is focused on helping patients with diseases such as cancer, neurological disorders and diabetes. TGen is on the cutting edge of translational research where investigators are able to unravel the genetic components of common and complex diseases. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities, TGen believes it can make a substantial contribution to the efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. For more information, visit: www.tgen.org

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Friday, March 06, 2009

Safeway gives $685,000 to TGen for Breast Cancer Research

Arizona grocery chain increases contribution to TGen by 37 percent over 2008

PHOENIX, Ariz. - March 4, 2009 - Despite a down economy, Safeway Inc. presented a $685,236 check this week for breast cancer research at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen). Dan Valenzuela, President of Safeway's Phoenix Division, which includes 116 stores throughout Arizona, thanked the grocery chain's customers and employees for stepping up for scientific research.

Safeway presents a check for $685,236 to TGen for breast cancer research
From left are: Dr. Heather Cunliffe, a TGen breast cancer researcher; Dan Valenzuela, President of Safeway Inc.'s 116 Arizona stores; Cathy Kloos, Safeway's Phoenix Division Public Affairs Director; Erin Massey, TGen Foundation Director of Development; and Michael Bassoff, President of the TGen Foundation.

"We're very proud to donate to such an organization as TGen. I think everybody recognizes that, with the economy the way it is, it gets tougher to ask people for donations," Valenzuela told about 50 TGen employees gathered Tuesday for the announcement. "Because of your research, and the things that you do, we're honored to present you with a check."

Safeway's donation represents a 37 percent increase from the $500,000 the company gave TGen last year. The contributions both years were based on month-long campaigns at Arizona's Safeway stores in October 2007 and October 2008.

"You can't give enough credit to our customers and employees," Valenzuela said, adding that a major reason Safeway chose to support Phoenix-based TGen was that the research dollars would stay in Arizona.

"The benefit (of TGen's research) is far-reaching. The big thing is, where do the funds go? It (TGen) is local," Valenzuela said.

Dr. Jeffrey Trent, TGen's President and Scientific Director, said the significant and timely contribution by Safeway is an example of the generosity repeatedly shown by local businesses and the people of Arizona.

"This donation will be put to immediate use to help develop treatments and, eventually, find a cure for breast cancer, a major priority for us at TGen and a goal that would benefit everyone," Dr. Trent said.

Michael Bassoff, President of the TGen Foundation, the fundraising arm of the non-profit biomedical research institute, described Safeway's contribution as a special tribute to TGen researchers as they work to conquer cancer and other debilitating diseases.

"Contributors are looking hard at their charitable opportunities and are looking for the organizations that are run efficiently and produce results," Bassoff said. "But today's donation by Safeway is a tribute to you, the work you do in the laboratories, and the many Arizonans who came forward to support TGen," Bassoff told the assembled TGen employees.

Dr. Heather Cunliffe, a TGen breast cancer researcher, said Safeway's donation would help accelerate work towards new treatments for breast cancer patients.

Bassoff also credited the "extra gumption" and hard work of Safeway employees who were willing to ask customers if they would contribute to breast cancer research.

About TGen
The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a non-profit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life changing results. Research at TGen is focused on helping patients with diseases such as cancer, neurological disorders and diabetes. TGen is on the cutting edge of translational research where investigators are able to unravel the genetic components of common and complex diseases. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities, TGen believes it can make a substantial contribution to the efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. For more information, visit: www.tgen.org.


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Alan C. Nelson, PhD Appointed Director of Biodesign Institute

Pioneering Scientist Joins Biodesign Team

Arizona State University has appointed pioneering scientist and entrepreneur Alan C. Nelson, PhD, as director of the Biodesign Institute. Dr. Nelson’s medical innovations include a landmark technology introduced in 1995 that made a dramatic improvement in the detection of cervical cancer. He is currently President and CEO of VisionGate, Inc. in Washington State, which has developed a screening test for lung cancer.

Last year, the Biodesign Institute generated more than $60 million in external funding and disclosed 50 new inventions, and Dr. Nelson’s appointment will enable the Biodesign Institute to continue this positive trajectory. “These tight economic times make it more important than ever for us to preserve and diversify programs that have a proven ability to generate revenue and that ultimately will have a profound benefit to society,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow.

Dr. Nelson succeeds Dr. George Poste, who, last summer, was tapped to head ASU’s new Complex Adaptive Systems Initiative. In addition to leading the Biodesign Institute, he will have an academic appointment as professor of bioengineering in the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering


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Recent FDA Approved Drug Offers Hope for New Lease on Life for Many Cancer Patients

Cancer-free Stem Cell Transplant Patient - Among First in World Treated with New Therapy - and Medical Expert on New Innovative Biotechnology Treatment


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted marketing approval for Mozobil, a drug intended to help mobilize stem cells to the bloodstream for collection and subsequent transplantation in patients with non-Hodgkins lymphoma (NHL) and multiple myeloma (MM).

This is an important advancement in the treatment of patients with certain types of cancer who require a stem cell transplant using their own stem cells. In order for a transplant to take place, a minimum number of stem cells must be collected from the patient's bone marrow, a process that can take three or four hours over multiple days to complete. Even then, many patients are not able to mobilize enough stem cells, and a transplant is not possible. For many cancer patients, a stem cell transplant is their only hope for remission or a cure.

Patients who received Mozobil in conjunction with a growth factor were more likely to mobilize a sufficient number of stem cells compared to patients treated with growth factor alone.

NHL is the sixth most common cancer in the U.S. among males and the fifth most common cancer among females. More than 66,000 new cases were reported in 2008, with 19,000 deaths. The cancer starts in the white blood cells that are part of the lymphatic system. MM is a cancer that begins in plasma cells, it is also the most common type of plasma cell tumor, with almost 20,000 new cases reported and nearly 11,000 deaths projected for 2008.

Talent/Guest: Dr. John F. DiPersio, M.D., Ph.D. Washington University School of Medicine
Dr. DiPersio is the Chief of the Division of Oncology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He is one of the world's leading specialists on stem cell transplantation, and his research has been featured in a number of leading medical journals.

Talent/Guest: Paul Barrath, Diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
Paul is 59 and is the vice president of a design and building firm for finance institutions. He is married with two children. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in November 2005. Following treatment with two rounds of intensive chemotherapy, his cancer went into remission. By May of 2006 the cancer had returned, and his oncologist told him that he needed a stem cell transplant. Two attempts to collect enough stem cells failed. Following treatment with Mozobil, the collection process was successful and Paul was able to advance to a transplant. He has been cancer-free for more than two years. Without the transplant, Paul's only option was to have a blood transfusion every two weeks for life.

Source: Genzyme Corporation

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