Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Swine Flu Testing in Arizona

Biotech News

TGen helps test for swine flu in Arizona

The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is assisting state and federal authorities in a coordinated effort to prevent a swine flu pandemic. Using state-of-the-art genetic testing systems for identifying the potentially deadly swine influenza virus, scientists at TGen’s Pathogen Genomics Division (TGen North) in Flagstaff today began running tests on three of the first four suspected cases in Arizona. A fourth sample from Arizona was tested and found to be positive for swine flu - the state’s only confirmed case - earlier today at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
TGen’s work in producing disease-detecting genotyping tools has potential national and global significance in tracking potential drug-resistant mutations of swine flu, said David Engelthaler, Director of Programs and Operations for TGen North in Flagstaff Arizona.

Techniques honed from post-9/11 FBI anthrax letters investigation; ‘TGen North’ also investigating Valley Fever; viruses and bacteria

“We’ve been working on influenza the last couple of years; developing tools and assays to be able to identify different strains of influenza, to quantify the amounts of virus in different samples, and also to look for anti-viral resistance markers,” said Engelthaler, a former Arizona State Epidemiologist and former Arizona Biodefense Coordinator.

In addition to assisting the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), TGen is working with a pharmaceutical company to help discover ways to track and prevent anti-viral drug resistance. Currently, strains of influenza eventually become resistant to anti-viral drugs, Engelthaler said. “We’ve maintained and developed a really strong relationship with the state Health Department, and we’ve helped them with other disease outbreaks in the past. We have all this cutting-edge technology, so we want to bring that to bear on these public health emergencies,” he said. “All of that is fortuitous because now we can immediately step up and help them, not only with the very specific tools that are needed to identify swine flu, but also by providing them with information about anti-viral resistance and the ability to see how that (swine flu virus) might change,” Engelthaler said.

TGen has worked with ADHS to develop genomic tests for such diseases as Valley Fever - molecular epidemiology - allowing officials to track disease outbreaks and potentially identify their sources.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Explore Career Paths In Biotechnology - Ongkili

KUALA LUMPUR, April 25 (Bernama) -- Students and job-seekers should explore the various career paths offered by biotechnology and life sciences, said Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili.

He said career opportunities in the industry were not limited to only research-based roles but also marketing, legal, finance and human resources, among others.

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Swine Flu fear Boosts Biotech Stocks

The U.S. Government declared an emergency Sunday and released 25% of Relenza and Tamiflu antiviral treatment courses for use by healthcare providers should cases escalate. Tamiflu was developed by Gilead and manufactured and sold by Roche; Relenza is made by GlaxoSmithKline. A travel advisory to Mexico may be issued today where there are 2000 cases and about 150 deaths.In the U.S. there are several cases in CA,NY and TX for a total of 40.

GSK was up 7.8% and GILD up 4% at midday trading. More speculative biotechs are quite volatile with BCRX up 68%,CRXL up 6.5%, and NVAX up over 90%.Be careful here.

Leerink Swann has a Market Perform on BioCryst (BCRX), which has Peramavir an IV/IM neurominidase inhibitor currently in Phase III studies in the U.S. and Phase IV in Japan and LS says the drug is likely to be effective against H1N1 swine flu.

Rodman and Renshaw has a Market Outperform on Novavax (NVAX) which has a Phase II seasonal flu vaccine in trials and could move due to the potential of a swine flu development.

Diagnostic stocks perked up as well with Becton-Dickinson (BDX) up 4.4%,Inverness (IMA) up 11.5%,Quidel(QDEL) up 7%,and Meridian(VIVO) up 11.5%.

Although it is way too early to forecast the impact of swine flu on the biotechnology stocks the sector will attract more investors as diagnostics and drugs have been languishing in the current rally.

We recommended IMA at 20 (now 30) and continue to like the stock on pullbacks and would add to healthcare positions with BDX GILD and GSK for the longer term.


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Going Green Goes Hi-Tech

How Biotechnology Is Helping to Create a Greener World

April 2009 (Medialink) - Everyone interested in the environment knows about recycling, hybrid cars and carbon footprints. But what about bioplastics, biofuels and pest-resistant crops? Biotechnology breakthroughs help bring us clean air, clean water and green products. Biotechnology is technology based on biology, creating cutting edge products and technologies used to create renewable fuels, increase environmental sustainability and develop new drugs and cures for devastating diseases such as cancer and Parkinson’s.

New industrial and environmental biotechnology advances are helping to make manufacturing processes cleaner and more efficient by reducing toxic chemical pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Renewable biofuels from algae and other cellulosic materials decrease greenhouse gases while reducing our dependence on oil. Bioplastics that are available today can substitute for petroleum-based plastics, replacing waste destined for a landfill with biodegradable, compostable consumer products.

Agricultural biotechnology allows farmers to grow more food on existing farmland while reducing water and fuel consumption. New technologies also are allowing farmers to address the challenges of producing food in less than adequate growing conditions with drought and flood resistant crops. In fact, growing biotech crops actually can help enhance air, water and soil quality. Agricultural biotechnology is integral in reducing pesticide use, toxic chemical pollution and greenhouse gases. Although we can do a lot to clean up pollution after it’s in the environment, preventing pollution in the first place is even better.

Talent/Guest: Oliver P. Peoples, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer, VP Research
Oliver P. Peoples is a co-founder of Metabolix and has served as the chief scientific officer and vice president of research since January 2000. Prior to founding Metabolix, Dr. Peoples was a research scientist with the Department of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he emerged as a pioneer of the new field of metabolic pathway engineering and its applications in industrial biotechnology. Dr. Peoples received a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.

Talent/Guest: Fred Yoder, Fourth Generation Farmer
Fred Yoder is a 4th generation farmer who has lived and farmed near Plain City, Ohio for over 35 years. He also has operated a retail farm seed business for over 30 years, and sells seed to all kinds of farmers including those who use biotech varieties, conventional varieties, and also to those who grow organic crops. Fred has served as President of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) before. He is still involved as an advisor to NCGA with their efforts to develop solutions to current issues that agriculture faces, including global warming, sustainability definitions, biofuel production, and other important issues.

Source: Mediaseed

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Biotech Events

May 15th - AZBio/BIO-SA Breakfast - An Ounce of (Chemo) Prevention (Tucson)
Eugene W. Gerner, Ph.D. will discuss his research and findings regarding Colorectal Cancer (CRC) and how he and his team have recently demonstrated remarkable efficacy for the prevention of recurrence of colon polyps, which are the forerunners of colon cancer. Click here for more information and to register online.

May 18th - 21st - 2009 BIO International Convention
The 2009 BIO International Convention will deliver the partnering tools, licensing tips and other industry resources you need to meet current economic challenges and to strengthen your biotech business for the future. Join 20,000 senior level life science professionals in Atlanta to explore valuable partnerships and discuss financial and strategic practices. For more information and to register, click here.

October 11th - 13th - Annual BioPartnering Europe - EARLY REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN!
BPE brings together decision-makers from leading biotechnology, pharmaceutical and investment companies from around the world for 3 days of focused networking, presentations, expert panels and one-to-one partnering. For more information and to register, click here.


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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bioscience Companies Needed for Experience Your Future Day

Experience Your Future Day - Bioscience Companies Needed

Presented by Jobing.com, Experience Your Future Day is a one-day, experiential learning event designed for 8th grade students to be able to experience hands-on what it's truly like to work in a chosen trade, profession or industry. Bioscience companies in the Greater Phoenix Region are being asked to give back to the community while helping to invest in the future workforce by registering for an exhibit booth free of charge. Exhibitors will answer questions or possibly demonstrate what their company does, discuss how education is a factor, etc.

Please click here for more details.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Food & Beverage Focus 2009 to discuss Biotechnology applications in the sector

The use of biotechnology (BT), which initially was employed in the traditional food processing sector in the form of home-made fermented cheese and yoghurt, is now one of the frontline technologies in food and beverage and dietary supplements sectors. Resultantly, several food and supplement segments have transformed into high value markets. Diverse technologies such as gene modification, transfer, in-vitro vegetative propagation of plants, to name a few, have been used in agriculture in order to improve crop yield and create disease resistant variants.

Food & Beverage Focus 2009, to be held on May 27 at Hyatt Regency in Mumbai, will he plunging into such topics surrounding the biotechnology trends, associated safety hazards and leveraging BT in the industry. The event is being organised by Frost & Sullivan and the theme would be "Biotechnology applications in F&B sector and dietary supplements sector."

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Cloud Computing Brings Cost Of Protein Research Down To Earth

ScienceDaily (Apr. 13, 2009) — Researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin Biotechnology and Bioengineering Center in Milwaukee have just made the very expensive and promising area of protein research more accessible to scientists worldwide.

hey have developed a set of free tools called ViPDAC (virtual proteomics data analysis cluster), to be used in combination with Amazon's inexpensive "cloud computing" service, which provides the option to rent processing time on its powerful servers; and free open-source software from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the University of Manitoba.

Their research appears online in Journal of Proteomic Research and is funded by the NIH Heart Lung and Blood Institute's Proteomics Innovation Center at the Medical College. Proteomics is a biomedical research term used to describe the large-scale study of all the proteins expressed by an organism. It usually involves the identification of proteins and determination of their modifications in both normal and disease states.

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You Are Here Will Be There at World's Largest Bio-Technology Tradeshow

Alexandria, VA (PRWEB) April 10, 2009 -- MarketArt announced today that it has signed a multi-year event marketing agreement with Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) to provide its You Are Here interactive directory system at the organization's international conferences. The 2009 BIO International Convention, the largest biotechnology event in the world, will be held at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. The conference attracts over 20,000 attendees and 2,200 exhibitors. Tradeshow Week cited the convention as the 2008 Top Association Show and included the event on its Fastest 50 list for the second consecutive year.

The You Are Here system will be deployed on 15 touch-screen stations distributed throughout the show floor. The system helps attendees find their way to the companies, products and services of highest interest to them, and enables exhibitors to extend their reach, promote their offerings and attract qualified traffic to their booths.

"After experimenting with other electronic directories in the past, we chose the You Are Here solution based on its extraordinary usage numbers and overall attendee and exhibitor satisfaction demonstrated at other shows employing the system," explained Chris Galione, Senior Sales Executive at BIO. "Last year's results proved we made the right decision. Our goal is to make our convention's networking and partnering opportunities as cutting-edge, exciting and productive as possible for our attendees, exhibitors and members."

About MarketArt - www.MarketArt.com
MarketArt is a digital media technology company that develops and sells interactive media and advertising systems to both online and to out-of-home markets. The company is the leading provider of electronic directories to the trade show market with its You Are Here products.

You Are Here from MarketArt is an electronic, map-based, interactive directory and wayfinding system for attendees, exhibitors and managers of trade shows and exhibitions. The system is deployed both on a show's web site and on the show floor itself and is employed by many of the largest tradeshows in the U.S. You Are Here replaces traditional printed materials and is especially important to environmentally 'green' shows.

About BIO - www.BIO.org
BIO represents more than 1,400 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world's largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world.


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Facet Biotech Gets New Majority Shareholder

Facet Biotech, the Redwood City drug development company that is facing a proxy fight, now has has a new majority shareholder, according to a regulatory filing Wednesday.

The Baupost Group, a Boston investment company run by Seth Klarman, disclosed owning 4,374,407 shares of Facet, or about 17.8 percent of its outstanding stock. The news was filed on an SC 13D form, the kind of form used by active investors. Although Klarman said he had no plans currently to acquire more shares or to enact any “extraordinary corporate transaction, such as a merger, reorganization or liquidation, he did say that intends “from time to time to discuss with management” issues about the company and its “strategic direction”.

Facet, formed less than four months ago as a spin-off of the drug development operations of PDL Biopharma from its licensing business, was notified last month by Roderick Wong of his intention to nominate four directors of his own choosing to the company’s board as part of his intention that the company liquidate itself.

In a response to Wong issued Monday by the chairman of Facet’s board, the company basically thanked him for his “input” but said it preferred its own plans.

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sinovac Biotech Q4 Net Income Increases Slightly

Sinovac Biotech, a China-based biopharmaceutical company, has reported a net income of $2.4 million, or $0.06 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2008, compared to $2 million, or $0.05 per diluted share, in the same period of 2007.

For the fourth quarter of 2008, sales were $12.4 million, compared to $9.2 million for the fourth quarter of 2007. For the 12 months ended December 31, 2008, sales reached $46.5 million, compared to $33.5 million for the full year 2007, representing 39% growth.

The year-over-year increase in sales reflected Sinovac's strategy to continue to devote significant resources to marketing Healive to the private pay market in China, as compared to the market created by government purchasing initiatives under the Expanded Immunization Program that may include the lower priced, live hepatitis A vaccine produced by state owned entities.

Net income for the 12 months ended December 31, 2008 was $8 million, or $0.19 per diluted share, compared to $7.7 million, or $0.19 per diluted share, for the same period of 2007.

Weidong Yin, chairman, president and CEO, of Sinovac, said: "We are pleased with our results for the quarter and the year, with full year 2008 sales up 39%, in line with our expectations. The sales of our vaccines continue to grow as awareness of the benefits of inoculations for hepatitis A and seasonal influenza increases across China.

"Although we are feeling the effect of the financial crisis, the healthcare industry is not very sensitive to the economic cycle. Sinovac has accumulated resources of technological expertise, operation management experiences, and investment capability, which positions the company well to execute our sales growth strategy in 2009 and achieve our full year sales increase of 20% over 2008 levels."

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Farmers Will Talk About Ag Biotech Benefits at Convention Session

BIO At the 2009 BIO International Convention, this session will explore the benefits of agricultural biotechnology from the farmer’s perspective.

With the advent of biotech, millions of farmers around the world have experienced several expected – as well as some not-so-expected – benefits by using biotechnology on their farms.

As the ag biotech industry continues to gain worldwide acceptance, understanding and exploring these benefits provides the complete story of the long term impact biotech has the opportunity to have on farms of all sizes.

This session tilted, “Ag Biotech – Improving Farmers Lives” will include a panel of growers from the Philippines, Portugal and the United States. It is scheduled for Wednesday, May 20, 8:00am-9:30am at the Georgia World Congress Center.

Many of the scheduled events are now posted on the BIO International Convention website. Hosted by BIO, the global event for biotechnology will take place May 18-21, 2009, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Ga., and is expected to draw 20,000 industry leaders from around the world.

The convention program will feature more than 150 sessions in 21 breakout session tracks highlighting the latest information and the newest opportunities for executives, investors, scientists, policy leaders, and media from around the world. More than 1,000 speakers will share breakthroughs in medicine, diagnostics, the environment, energy production, food and agriculture and more.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

UNCC Names Winners of Five Ventures

UNC Charlotte selected the winners of the annual Five Ventures entrepreneurial business competition.

Countervail Corp., of Charlotte, was named the winner in the biotechnology-pharmeceutical category for its plans to repurpose an Alzheimer’s drug to protect against nerve gas and pesticides.

Charlotte-based HepatoSys Inc. was the winner in the biotechnology-devices category. The company proposed developing products related to preserving and restoring human organs for transplant.

Balaya, of Savannah, Ga., was named the winner in the information-technology and software-as-a-service category.

TrakLok Corp., of Knoxville, Tenn., was named the winner in services and retail.

Raleigh-based Entogenetics won in the student and nonprofit category.

The competition, in its ninth year, tests the business acumen of startup companies for a chance to win more than $100,000 in cash and in-kind services. Fifteen start-up companies competed in the finals.

Sponsors of the 2009 Five Ventures competition include UNC Charlotte and the Ben Craig Center.

The conference is presented by the Charlotte Research Institute.

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Brain Tumor Breakthrough at TGEN

TGen researchers discover possible way to block the spread of deadly brain tumors

Brain Tumor Research

Findings will be presented during the 100th annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Denver

Researchers at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) may have found a way to stop the often-rapid spread of deadly brain tumors. A gene with the playful-sounding name NHERF-1 may be a serious target for drugs that could prevent malignant tumors from rapidly multiplying and invading other parts of the brain, according to a cover story in this month's edition of Neoplasia, an international journal of cancer research.


Cancer cell movement and rapid division are key characteristics of malignant brain tumors known as glioblastoma multiforme, or GBM.

Dr. Michael Berens, Director of TGen's Cancer and Cell Biology Division, said the recent findings are a major step toward devising a treatment for GBM, which because of its ability to rapidly grow within the brain often means patients have little time to survive.

"Controlling the actions of tumor cells by regulating NHERF-1 implicates it as a possible therapeutic target for treating brain cancer," said Dr. Kerri Kislin, a scientist in TGen's Cancer and Cell Biology Division.

"Our findings suggest a novel mechanism defining NHERF-1 as a 'molecular switch' that regulates the GBM tumor cell's ability to migrate or divide," said Dr. Kislin, the scientific paper's lead author.

Dr. Berens, the paper's senior author, said the advances made by TGen not only confirm NHERF-1 as a gene associated with brain tumors, but also pinpoint it as a possible cause for their rapid growth and spread of GBM.

"Dr. Kislin's work has meant a fast maturation of NHERF-1 from a candidate gene associated with glioma invasion to positioning it as having a verified role in contributing to the malignant behavior of the disease," Dr. Berens said.

TGen scientists are scheduled to present their findings at the 100th annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, April 18-22 in Denver.

Glioblastomas are essentially incurable tumors, in part, because there is no way to remove them surgically and ensure that all of the invading tumor cells are gone, even when surgery is followed by radiation treatments and conventional anti-cancer drugs.

"A chemotherapeutic treatment which targets these migrating cells would therefore have significant ramifications on patient survival," said Dr. Jennifer M. Eschbacher, a Neuropathology Fellow at Barrow Neurological Institute, who examined tumors for the study.

"As a pathologist, I examined expression of NHERF-1 under the microscope in tumor sections, including both invading edges of tumor and cellular tumor cores. We found NHERF-1 to be robustly expressed by invading tumors cells, when compared to tumor cores, suggesting that this factor plays a significant role in tumor invasion," Dr. Eschbacher said.

In the study, depletion of NHERF-1 stopped the migration of glioma - brain cancer - cells, she said. "These results suggest that NHERF-1 plays an important role in tumor biology, and that targeted inhibition of this factor may have significant effects on patient treatment and survival."

*

About Barrow Neurological Institute
Barrow Neurological Institute of St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona, is internationally recognized as a leader in neurological research and patient care. Barrow treats patients with a wide range of neurological conditions, including brain and spinal tumors, cerebrovascular conditions, and neuromuscular disorders. Barrow's clinicians and researchers are devoted to providing excellent patient care and finding better ways to treat neurological disorders. For more information, visit: www.thebarrow.org.

About TGen
The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a Phoenix-based, 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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Photobiological Hydrogen Production from Water. Hydrogen Biofuel.

* “A select set of microalgae are reported to be able to catalyse photobiological H(2) production from water.”1

Researchers from School of Biological Sciences, Institute for Molecular Bioscience, and SRC for Functional and Applied Genomics, the University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland, Australia; have presented an article titled: “Phylogenetic and molecular analysis of hydrogen-producing green algae.”

The researchers from St Lucia, Queensland, Australia; have also noted:

* “Based on the model organism Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, a method was developed for the screening of naturally occurring H(2)-producing microalgae.”

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

C5 Biotech Patenting Conference

C5 (UK) will be holding its annual Biotech Patenting conference on June 16-17, 2009 in Munich, Germany. The conference will allow attendees to:

• Identify the principles followed by the courts and patent offices when determining inventorship and entitlement disputes;
• Capitalize on gene patenting and stem cell related inventions;
• Understand the practical impact of recent case law and other legal developments;
• Broaden your knowledge of effective claim construction to avoid patent challenges and defend the validity of their claims;
• Formulate strategies and tactics to conduct successful cross-jurisdictional litigation;
• Tackle the latest scientific and legal developments within antibodies in Europe and the U.S.; and
• Master the practicalities of biotech patenting in China and India.

In particular, C5 faculty will offer presentations on the following topics:

863L09-MUN • Review of key European case law developments affecting biotech patent practice;
• EPO examiner's perspective: An overview on biotechnology related patentability issues, with particular emphasis on antibodies and vaccines;

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Harvest Scientists Say Biotech Seed Companies Are Foiling Research

`` Biotech companies are holding university scientists from fully researching the effectivity and environmental impact of the industry 's genetically modified harvests, according to an unusual ailment released by a grouping of those scientists. `` No really independent research can be lawfully dealt on many critical inquiries, '' the scientists composed in a statement submitted to the Epa. The EPA is seeking public inputs for scientific meetings it will keep following hebdomad on biotechnology harvests. ''

`` The investigators, 26 corn-insect specialiser, withheld their names because they feared being severed from research by the companies. But several of them concord in interviews to hold their names utilized. The job, the scientists state, is that grangers and other purchasers of genetically engineered seeds should subscribe an understanding intended to assure that agriculturists honor company patent rights and environmental ordinances. But the understandings besides nix turning the harvests for research aims. So while university scientists can loosely purchase pesticides or conventional seeds for their research, they can not make that with genetically engineered seeds. Alternatively, they must seek permission from the seed companies. And sometimes that permission is denied or the company insists on reexamining any determinations before they can be printed, they tell. Such understandings hold long been a job, the scientists stated, but they are moving populace now because defeat holds been making. `` If a company can command the research that looks in the public orbit, they can cut the possible negatives that can come out of any research, '' stated Cognizance Ostlie, an bugologist at the University of Minnesota, who was one of the scientists who holded subscribed the statement. ''

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Genentech Executives Leave as Roche, Soriot Arrive

April 15 (Bloomberg) -- Genentech Inc., the biotechnology company bought by Roche Holding AG for $46.8 billion, lost its chief financial officer, head of product development and compliance manager after the Swiss drugmaker named a new chief executive officer for the unit.

Pascal Soriot, 49, who now heads Roche’s commercial pharmaceutical operations, will become Genentech’s CEO, responsible for all U.S. pharmaceutical operations, beginning May 1. Susan Desmond-Hellmann, 51, the product development leader who has been a Genentech executive since 1995, will leave at mid-year and join the Genentech Scientific Resource Board, Roche said in a statement yesterday.

The changes begin the company’s transformation to a team- oriented culture from one that supports individual scientific enterprise, said Stephen Burrill, a venture capitalist who invests in biotechnology companies. Soriot will succeed current Genentech’s Arthur Levinson, 59, who will stay on as chairman. Roche officials also will take over from the other departing executives, the company said.

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Patrick Sides with Unions in Biotech Spat

Deval Patrick surprised both his aides and Massachusetts Biotechnology Council staff Tuesday when he strode in to the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council’s annual meeting to give his keynote address flanked by a dozen union brass who have had nothing but vitriol for the industry in recent months.

After a gracious introduction, lauding the Governor as the best friend any state’s biotech industry could have, Patrick said:

“One in five unemployed people in this state work in construction. These people do not feel they’ve been given a fair shake by this industry, and that has to change...I could not tell you who to hire for which jobs at which building projects, but I would ask you, as your friend, your partner and your governor, to give them a fair shake.”

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No More Free Lunches For Doctors?

Connecticut doctors would be prohibited from accepting certain gifts from drug and medical device companies under a plan being considered by lawmakers.

The measure is drawing criticism from the pharmaceutical industry, which contends it would stifle the use of new medications while doing little to ensure the industry is exerting undue influence on doctors’ decisions regarding which drugs they prescribe.

Patterned after an even stricter law passed a month ago in Massachusetts, the plan would ban industry representatives from buying meals for doctors and require them to report to the Department of Public Health any gifts worth more than $1,000.

The Massachusetts law now requires public disclosure of payments greater than $50 to doctors. Meanwhile, Vermont is also weighing tougher rules on gifts and compensation to health care providers.

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Babcock Incubator Gets Wet Lab Grant

A matching grant from the N.C. Biotechnology Center will allow the Babcock Demon Incubator to expand its new wet lab facility at the Piedmont Triad Research Park in Winston-Salem.

That facility, which opened last September, provides low-cost lab space equipped with specialized plumbing and venting to startup nanotech and biotech firms.


The grant funding includes $70,578 from the Biotech Center, matched with $35,739 from the incubator itself. That money will be used to upfit the existing incubator withi core lab equipment including microscopes, cell and tissue culture equipment and electrophoresis equipment.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

'Biotechnology' is Lecture Topic

The Meet the Scientist Lecture Series will continue April 15 with a panel discussion on "Biotechnology — Advances in Medicine and Manufacturing."

The panelists will include Mark Emalfarb, founder and CEO of Dyadic International, a Jupiter biotechnology firm; and Timothy Spicer, a member of the Translational Institute at Scripps Florida.

The event will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. at Jupiter High School auditorium and is open and free to the public.

Dr. Stefan Harzen of the Taras Oceanographic Foundation will be the moderator for the event. Taras Oceanographic Foundation and the Environmental Research and Field Studies Academy at Jupiter High School are the producers.

Residents to join others at 'Tea Party'

Residents of North County will be among those participating in the local "Tea Party" on April 15 at 5 p.m. at the Palm Beach County Government Center, 301 N. Olive Ave. in West Palm Beach, across from the courthouse.

This "Tea Party" is one of many in the country, including another in Fort Lauderdale.

Public invited to 'Tax Relief Night'

The public is invited to a "Tax Relief Night" event on April 16 from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Square Grouper Tiki Bar, 1111 Love St.

Cost is $10 per person, with the proceeds going to the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & Museum.

Howard Livingstone will provide live music.

Chamber seeks award nominations

To honor local small businesses, the Northern Palm Beach County Chamber is accepting Small Business of the Year Award Applications with the Leadership Awards Dinner set for June 4.

To be eligible, businesses must:

•Be in good standing with the Northern Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce at time of application (April 17) and the award presentation (June 18).

•Be in business for a minimum of three full years.

•Have fewer than 50 employees.

•Be a for-profit business based in Palm Beach County.

Deadline for application is April 17.

Request an application from the Chamber at (561) 746-7111 or e-mail suzanne@npbchamber.com.

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Pfizer Reorganizes for Wyeth Deal With Biotech Focus

(Bloomberg) -- Pfizer Inc. is breaking its research operations into two units, a biotechnology division to be led by a senior executive from Wyeth and a pharmaceutical group that will be run by a Pfizer scientist.

The reorganization, designed to smooth the integration of Wyeth, will take effect when Pfizer’s planned $63 billion acquisition closes later this year, Pfizer said today in a statement. Pfizer will retain eight Wyeth executives, including Mikael Dolsten, now president of Wyeth research. Dolsten will lead the combined company’s biotechnology arm.

Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Kindler has been restructuring research operations at New York-based Pfizer for two years. He agreed to buy rival Wyeth, based in Madison, New Jersey, to add vaccines, biotechnology medicines and over-the- counter products. Pfizer, the world’s biggest drugmaker, needs to increase new-drug development as it braces to lose $10 billion in annual sales in 2011, when patent protection ends for its cholesterol pill Lipitor, analysts said.

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Biogen's Stock Rises on Takeover Chatter

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Shares of Biogen Idec Inc (BIIB.O) were nearly 5 percent higher on Tuesday amid stock market speculation the biotechnology company could be a takeover target, traders said.

Shares of Biogen were up 4.9 percent to $52.05 in afternoon trading on Nasdaq. Biogen's gains countered weakness in the biotech index .BTK, which was down 1.9 percent.

"Biogen Idec is recently up ... on renewed takeover chatter," said Paul Foster, options strategist at theflyonthewall.com.

Biogen decline to comment.

Traders in Europe said there were market rumors that Sanofi-Aventis SA (SASY.PA) could bid at least $75 a share for Biogen. Sanofi could not be immediately reached for comment.

Biogen has been under renewed pressure from billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who plans to nominate his own slate to serve on the biotechnology company's board of directors.

"Biogen is getting a lot of attention again on hopes that Icahn can gain some traction and push it toward a sale," said one trader who declined to be named.

Biogen, which won a previous proxy battle against Icahn, has recommended that its stockholders vote against Icahn's latest proposal.

Icahn previously accused Biogen of deliberately sabotaging an earlier auction of the company because it would not allow potential bidders to talk to its partners, Elan Corp Plc (ELN.I) of Ireland and biotechnology company Genentech Inc.

Biogen, which sells the multiple sclerosis drugs Avonex and Tysabri, and the cancer drug Rituxan, said it conducted a responsible auction, but no buyer was interested in acquiring the company for an acceptable price.

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Cougar Biotech Initiated at Hold

Cougar Biotechnology, Inc. - Initiating with Hold Recommendation

Cougar Biotechnology, Inc. (CGRB) will generate no revenue in 2009, and operating expenses will significantly increase during the year as the second phase III trial for CB7630 commences. We model operating expenses to increase to $83.0 million in 2009, up from $63.1 million in 2008. We forecast EPS of ($3.94) in 2009.

Cougar had $91 million in cash and securities investments at the end of 2008. Cash used in operations was $44.7 million in 2008 and $15.4 million in the fourth quarter 2008.

At the most recent quarter cash-burn rate, the company can operate for no longer than 18 months without an additional capital injection. However, we expect the cash-burn rate to materially increase throughout 2009 as the company funds its two large phase III trials for CB7630.

We estimate the company will need additional capital by the first quarter of 2010 and expect the company to look for additional financing or a development/commercialization partner on CB7630 or CB3304 to address their funding needs.

Timeline for CB7630

Interim data from the CB7630 '302 trial may be available later this year. We expect to see the full data from the this trial in the first half of 2010 and, depending on the results, we believe Cougar could file for approval shortly afterwards. Assuming the application is granted Priority Review with a six-month review time, we believe CB7630 could launch in late 2010 and generate $50 million in revenue for that year.

Based on the encouraging trial data to-date and the significant unmet need that CB7630 is being developed to address, we would expect sales to ramp rapidly upon FDA approval and model sales of $125 million and $200 million in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Operating expenses will remain elevated over the next three years but should significantly decrease as a percent of revenue beginning in 2011.

We do not expect the company to generate positive net income until 2012, when we model EPS of $0.67. Risk to our forecast is a longer than anticipated enrollment period for the '302 trial, resulting in regulatory filing timelines being delayed relative to our current expectations.

Upside could materialize with a partnering arrangement on CB7630 or CB3340. We also believe Cougar is potentially an attractive acquisition target for larger companies with significant interest in oncology including Pfizer Inc. (PFE), Bristol-Myers Squibb Inc. (BMY), AstraZeneca plc (AZN) and Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY).

Cougar Biotech shares currently trade at $33.16. We recommend that investors hold at the current price and forecast an EPS loss of $3.94 in 2009. Our price target is $37.

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Biotech Chief Bemoans Lack of Start-up Cash

Keith Powell believes UK start-ups suffer unduly from the limited venture capital funding available for early-stage businesses.

"It is survival of the fittest in Europe," he said. "In the US, there is more venture capital available. Companies can focus on developing products rather than staying in business."

As chief executive of PolyTherics, a London-based biotech business that won £2.3m of venture capital funding in 2007 to develop technologies to make drugs last longer in the body, he says the small number of start-ups available to investors is a factor.

"In California, you throw a stone and you can hit 10 biotech companies. It is good being a successful small company in London, but it would be good to have a community of small companies."

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TGen Recognizes National and International Collaborators

TGen Recognizes Major Investments in Arizona’s Bioscience Industry

Awards presented to the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg for their contributions to TGen and Arizona’s biomedical sciences

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Advances in brain-tumor research and the creation of an international biosciences consortium were celebrated Tuesday (April 14, 2009) with awards from the Translational Genomics Research Foundation (TGen).

The Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation, which in July awarded $3 million to TGen to lead the Ivy Genomics Based Medicine (GBM) Project in a search for new treatments for brain cancer, was presented with TGen's Collaborative Spirit Award.

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, which in June announced collaborations with TGen and three other U.S. biomedical groups to help make Luxembourg the biotechnology center of Europe, was presented with TGen's John S. McCain Leadership Award.

Both awards were announced Tuesday at the fifth annual TGen Founder's Dinner at Scottsdale Airport's Hanger One.

"These awards highlight the importance of government, academic and private-sector investments that are helping TGen make Arizona one of the emerging national and international players in biomedical research," said Dr. Jeffrey Trent, TGen's President and Research Director. "The foresighted investments by the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation and by the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg will pay significant dividends in the future for medical advances and patient benefit."

Dr. Trent referred to a report issued at last week's annual meeting of the Arizona BioIndustry Association, which showed that in 2007 Arizona’s non-hospital bioscience sector accounted for $3.6 billion in annual revenues and more than 13,500 jobs. Including hospitals and university research, Arizona's bioscience sector numbers jumped to $12.5 billion in revenues and more than 87,400 jobs.

Dr. Trent presented the Collaborative Spirit Award to Catherine Ivy, Founder and President of the Palo Alto, Calif.-based Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation, a newly formed foundation dedicated to improving survival and quality of life for people diagnosed with brain tumors.

"The Ivy GBM Project represents our priority of keeping the patient and relevant clinical issues at the center of every research project we support" Catherine Ivy said. "The Ivy Foundation is proud to be part of this collaborative effort led by TGen. Not only are we creating synergy with TGen and other participating medical and research institutions, we are also minimizing duplication and maximizing transparency of data to achieve outcomes that would not otherwise be possible."

The Ivy GBM Project is a multi-institutional collaboration whose goal is to better understand how the genetic differences in individual brain tumors can lead to the most effective treatment options for each patient. It is led by Dr. Michael Berens, Director of TGen’s Cancer and Cell Biology Division. The other project members are: Ohio State University; M.D. Anderson Cancer Center; University of Alabama at Birmingham; University of California, San Francisco; Henry Ford Hospital; Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota; Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine; and Van Andel Research Institute, which in February announced a major alliance and affiliation agreement with TGen.

Arizona Sen. John McCain presented the John S. McCain Leadership Award to Jeannot Krecké, Luxembourg’s Minister of the Economy and Foreign Trade.

"When searching for a partner to help us establish what we hope will be Europe’s premier biotech infrastructure in Luxembourg, we sought out TGen because it is a world-class model of how high-quality science programs can be created in a relatively short period of time," Minister Krecké said.

Besides TGen, other U.S. groups working with Luxembourg are: Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute; and two Seattle-based institutes: the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute, and the Institute of Systems Biology. TGen, the Biodesign Institute and Fred Hutchinson Institute constitute the Partnership for Personalized Medicine, led by Nobel Prize winner Dr. Leland Hartwell, president of the Fred Hutchinson Institute.

One of the first projects, starting July 1, 2009, will be the Integrated Biobank of Luxembourg, 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.

Also, the Partnership for Personalized Medicine is working with Luxembourg Project Lung Cancer to develop at protein-based test for lung cancer, which should help establish early detection, better patient treatments and reduced health costs.

And, the Institute for Systems Biology is working with the University of Luxembourg to establish the Center for Systems Biology Luxembourg, to investigate how various genes lead to diseases and develop health tests based on protein "fingerprints."

The TGen Founder's Dinner was hosted by Jacquie and Bennett Dorrance. Bennett Dorrance is Chairman of Scottsdale-based DMB Associates Inc., and he also is Chairman of the TGen Foundation Board of Directors.

About The Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation
The Ivy Foundation is the nation's largest privately funded foundation dedicated to improving survival and quality of life for people diagnosed with a brain tumor. The foundation’s approach is to fund research in gliomas to improve diagnostics and treatments for patients. For more information, visit: www.ivyfoundation.org.

About TGen
The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a Phoenix-based 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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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Biotech crops' global value reaches $7.5 billion

MANILA, Philippines - The global market value of biotechnology crops reached $7.5 billion in 2008, up from $6.9 billion in 2007.

Last year’s $7.5 billion represented 14 percent Dr. Clive James, founder and current board chairman of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA).

New York (USA)-based ISAAA is a not-for-profit organization with an international network of centers designed to contribute to the alleviation of hunger and poverty by sharing knowledge and crop biotechnology applications.

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

TGen intern wins prestigious national Goldwater Scholarship

PHOENIX, Ariz. – April 02, 2009 – Joshua Niska, an intern at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), has won a $7,500 national Goldwater Scholarship from the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence In Education Foundation.

Niska is among five TGen interns who have won this prestigious national award including his brother, Jared Niska. Goldwater Scholarships are considered the nation's highest undergraduate award in science, math and engineering.

Josh Niska, who plans to attend medical school, teach and pursue a career in medicine and cancer research, is majoring in Biochemistry with an emphasis on Medicinal Chemistry at Arizona State University.

"As a cancer researcher and oncologist, I hope to benefit cancer patients in three ways," Niska said. "By conducting research in the laboratory, I will have the opportunity to discover new treatments and improve the standards of care. In the clinic, I will be able to provide novel treatments as part of clinical trials. Through teaching at the university/medical school level, I will be able to train the next generation of researchers who will make further advances."

Niska, who has interned at TGen since 2005, most recently worked in the lab of Dr. Heather Cunliffe, Head of TGen's Breast & Ovarian Cancer Research Unit. He has focused on development of a new diagnostic and prognostic biomarker for invasive breast cancer.

"This is fabulous news for Josh," Dr. Cunliffe said. "He has won several prestigious national awards while at TGen that will weigh heavily in his acceptance into a leading medical school. It has been my privilege to train some of the bright young minds of tomorrow. There is a tremendous need for additional biomedical research emphasis in clinical training to impact a revolution in health care."

Niska also has won the American Association for Cancer Research Thomas J. Bardos Science Education Award for Undergraduate Students (2008 and 2009), American Association for the Advancement of Science Travel Grant, and the Chemistry/Biochemistry Department Alpha Chi Sigma Merit Award.

Niska started at TGen with a voluntary summer internship in 2005, continued his project during his senior year of high school, and was again a summer intern in 2006. In 2007 he was a summer intern under the Helios Scholars Program at TGen, and in 2008 was a summer intern as a TGen Undergraduate Research Fellow (TURF). He was awarded research fellowships in 2007, 2008 and 2009 by the ASU School of Life Sciences Undergraduate Research (SOLUR) program to continue his research training throughout the academic year.

"Josh's achievements are proof positive that internships are a vital component in fostering the next generation of scientists," said Dr. Jeffrey Trent, TGen's President and Research Director. "Appropriate mentorship, coupled with a great community partner such as the Helios Education Foundation, can produce a winning environment that allows students to gain valuable hands-on experience in the biomedical sciences."

In TGen's Breast & Ovarian Cancer Research Unit, Niska has gained experience in cell-based mechanistic perturbation technologies, molecular pathology and array-based gene expression profiling. His lab mentor has been Research Associate Amanda Willis. He also worked in a TGen lab where he received basic laboratory training and participated in a research project investigating mechanisms impacting brain tumor cell invasion.

Niska is one of 278 students nationwide awarded the Goldwater Scholarship for the 2009-10 academic year; one of six from Arizona, and one of three from Arizona State University.

Other recipients of Goldwater Scholarship who interned at TGen include:

-- Lara Cardy (2007-08) who worked in the Neurogenomics Division.

-- Eric Anderson (2006-07) who also works with Dr. Cunliffe.

-- Shannon Fortin (2005-06) who worked with Dr. Nhan Tran, Head of TGen’s Central Nervous System Tumor Research Lab. Fortin went on to win a Fulbright Scholarship.

-- Jared Niska (2003-04) who worked with Dr. Michael Berens, Director of TGen’s Cancer and Cell Biology Division.

All attended ASU.

About the Goldwater Foundation
The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence In Education Foundation is a federally endowed agency based in Springfield, Virginia, honoring the late Arizona Sen. Barry M. Goldwater. It is designed to encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering, and it is considered the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields. Since Congress established the program in 1986, the foundation has awarded 5,801 scholarships worth nearly $56 million. Trustees plan to award about 300 scholarships for the 2010–11 academic year.

About TGen
The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a non-profit organization based in Phoenix, Ariz., 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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France a Hub for Emerging Biotech Outsourcing Field

Information technology in India has become the quintessential example of outsourcing, but companies are emerging all over the world to handle specific tasks at lower costs and with higher expertise.

This phenomenon has manifested in the health care sector, and France is benefitting from its success as a destination for outsourcing in a specialized biotechnology field, said Michel Abiteboul.

Dr. Abiteboul, a medical doctor and an experienced businessman, manages the France activities of Quintiles Transnational Corp. He is considering attending the BIO 2009 International Convention, which will be held in Atlanta beginning May 18.

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Thursday, April 02, 2009

Generic Versions Of Biotechnology Drugs Allowed

Senate Measure Would Allow Generic Versions Of Biotechnology Drugs After Five Years

Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) on Thursday (March 26, 2009) introduced legislation (S 726) that would allow FDA to approve generic versions of biotechnology drugs after a five-year period of brand-name patent exclusivity, the New York Times reports.

President Obama has emphasized the need for generic competition in the biotech industry and has estimated that it could save $9.2 billion over 10 years, which could be used to finance his health care reform plan. A similar bill passed by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee last year would have given biotech products 12 years of exclusivity, but it died without being voted on by the full Senate.

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BIO’s Brent Erickson Appointed

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Monday, March 30, 2009) - Brent Erickson, executive vice president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s (BIO) Industrial and Environmental Section, has been appointed to serve on the Advisory Committee to the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI).

The Energy Biosciences Institute (www.energybiosciencesinstitute.org), a collaboration between the University of California Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the University of Illinois, and BP, was established in 2007 with a 10-year, $500-million grant from BP. The mission of the institute is to harness advanced knowledge in biology, the physical sciences, engineering, and environmental and social sciences to devise viable solutions to global energy challenges and reduce the impact of fossil fuels to global warming. The EBI currently supports approximately 50 research projects, involving 120 faculty as well as 200 students and post-doctoral candidates.

The Science Advisory Committee is intended to provide strategic advice to the EBI Director and the Governing Board about goals and program implementation, the definition of mission, scope of the research, operational processes and scientific culture.

Brent Erickson joined BIO in 2000 as director of the Industrial and Environmental Section, where he spearheaded an effort to work with President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney to include advanced biomass energy programs in the administration’s National Energy Plan. He was promoted to vice president in 2001 and executive vice president in 2005.

Erickson serves on the advisory board of the Northeast SunGrant Initiative and, since 2004, has been active in the Bioenergy/Agriculture Working Group of the Energy Future Coalition, an advocacy coalition funded by the United Nations Foundation. In 2005 he was named consulting editor of the journal Industrial Biotechnology.

The Advanced Biofuels & Climate Change Information Center presents the latest commentary and data on the environmental, greenhouse gas and other impacts of biofuel production. Drop in and add your comments, at http://biofuelsandclimate.wordpress.com/.

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Pathway to Biosimilars Act

Bipartisan Pathway to Biosimilars Act will lead to real solutions for our nation's health care challenges and provide real hope for patients.

H.R. 1548, the Pathway to Biosimilars Act, introduced by Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Jay Inslee (D-WA) and Joe Barton (R-TX) lays out an effective, reasonable and safe pathway to biosimilars. It is the right medicine for lowering costs, ensuring patient safety and providing fair, responsible incentives for continued biotech research into cures for deadly and debilitating diseases.

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

"Amgen - The Biotech Leader"

Visiongain: World Largest Biotechnology Company "Amgen - The Biotech Leader - Market Analyses and Outlook, 2008-2023" Report

Mar 30, 2009 -- AMGN | Quote | Chart | News | PowerRating -- In 2007, Amgen Inc - the world's largest biotechnology company - achieved total sales of $14.7m, despite a turbulent year marked by regulatory, pricing and reimbursement issues. Amgen has now firmly established itself as a Top-20 international pharmaceutical company. According to sales data for 2007, Amgen is also ranked as the 11th largest pharmaceutical company worldwide based on total sales value. This is a remarkable achievment for a biotechnology company founded in 1980.

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BIO International Convention

The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) will be holding its annual BIO International Convention on May 18-21, 2009 in Atlanta, GA.

Founded in 1993, BIO is a nonprofit association seeking supportive biotechnology policies on behalf of more than 1,200 biotechnology companies, state and international affiliates, and related organizations, as well as providing business development services for many emerging biotech companies.

According to BIO, the BIO International Convention serves to educate the public and policymakers about biotechnology, while fostering partnering meetings and other business development activities to keep the biotech industry growing.

An event schedule for the Convention can be obtained here and descriptions of the breakout sessions can be obtained here. As part of the Convention, more than 2,200 biotech companies, organizations, and institutions will participate in the BIO Exhibition.

A list of exhibitors and an interactive floor plan can be found here. Information regarding registration and pricing can be obtained here. Patent Docs Kevin Noonan, Donald Zuhn, and Sherri Oslick will also be attending BIO as part of the MBHB contingent, and will be participating in BIO's blogger network throughout the week.

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