1) The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation: New Opportunities, New Questions For Nonprofits – The Diane Rehm Show, November 20, 2014
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation raises about $130 million a year in its ongoing effort to help people who suffer with the deadly disease, but that amount seems small change in comparison with the $3.3 billion it just received related to an investment it made years ago in small drug development company. Link
2) Shire moving more than 500 jobs to Mass. – Boston Globe, November 19, 2014
Drug maker Shire plc Wednesday said it will move more than 500 research and commercial jobs to its US headquarters in Lexington from a site in Chesterbrook, Pa., catapulting the Irish-based firm into the ranks of the largest Massachusetts life sciences companies. Link
3) Pfizer powers into immuno-oncology with $2.85B R&D pact with Merck KGaA – FierceBiotech, November 17, 2014
Pfizer ($PFE) is determined to be a major player in the fast-emerging field of immuno-oncology, and the pharma giant is paying handsomely to buy its way into an anti-PD-L1 program now underway at Merck KGaA. Link
4) In reversal, FDA approves Genzyme’s bid to sell MS drug in US – Boston Globe, November 15, 2014
Eleven months after rejecting a powerful multiple sclerosis drug considered key to the future of Cambridge biotech Genzyme, federal regulators Friday reversed themselves and approved sale of the medicine, called Lemtrada. Link
5) Developing a Drug Costs $2.6 Billion, but not Everyone Believes This – Wall Street Journal, November 18, 2014
The cost to develop a new drug and win FDA marketing approval is now pegged at nearly $2.6 billion, according to a new report from the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development. The estimate will likely hearten drug makers that argue rising prices reflect rising costs, but consumer advocates reacted as if someone was trying to sell them a bridge. Link
By Allie Rocovich, Communications Assistant at MassBio/MassBioEd. View her LinkedIn page here.
What’s more intimidating than entering a conversation with people that are talking about something you know nothing about? I can’t think of anything. And our career is the biggest ‘conversation’ we are going to take part in throughout our lives. So why not be ready, know the jargon, and be able to take part like we all want to, for the sake of our self-esteem, knowledge, and overall career satisfaction?
It’s scary, entering a new job, especially if you’re making a career move into an industry you aren’t schooled in. Biotech is hard. Not only is the actual content – the science – difficult, but there are so many stakeholders in the industry that knowing the science isn’t even all there is to it. That’s where we, the finance, business, marketing, operations, economics, communications, policy, government, management, IT, sales, public relations and human resources professionals find ourselves useful, but we’re hesitant. We want in on the conversation, but don’t speak the language.
Biotech 101 is our in. It’s the dictionary, the introductory biology class we never took, the shameless question-and-answer. Not to mention it’s totally up-to-date, and there are ALWAYS new things happening in the life sciences, it’s the nature of the industry. So when I, a Communications Assistant at MassBio, took Biotech 101, I got to learn about the latest topic in and outside of the office: Ebola.
Biotech 101 is designed to accommodate open discussion and questions, and because most of the people gathered for Biotech 101 were heavily social and relationship-driven professionals, there was great discussion. This helped break down the conversation barrier that a lack of science background can create in the lab, office, or wherever you spend your 9-5. It’s comfortable. Donald Kirsch, bio/pharmaceutical industry consultant and Harvard Extension School professor, lectured us while prompting us with questions that related directly to our respective roles. We got our questions answered (finally!).
Wilson Therapeutics AB is a privately-held biopharmaceutical company focused on developing novel treatments for Wilson Disease, a rare genetic disease that affects approximately 1 in 15,000. Wilson Therapeutics was founded in 2012 and funded by HealthCap, one of the leading European life science venture capital funds. Leading investors in the company also include Abingworth and MVM Life Science Partners. Wilson Therapeutics’ lead compound, WTX101, is the proprietary bis-choline salt of tetrathiomolybdate. Tetrathiomolybdate is a novel de-coppering agent – meaning it reduces the body’s level of copper – with high affinity and selectivity for copper. Link
1) Blueprint gets $50M to bring first two drugs to clinical tests – Boston Business Journal, November 12, 2014
Blueprint Medicines has said for some time that it plans to start testing two of its potential drugs in humans next year. Today, the Cambridge biotech got $50 million to pay for those tests. The company, launched by Third Rock Ventures three years ago with a library of potential drugs and a computer-based approach to help figure out which ones might work against certain cancers, said the Series C round comes from a slew of old and new investors. Link
2) State will hand out $2M to fledgling biotech firms – Boston Herald, November 7, 2014
A quasi-public state agency will give out up to $2 million to early stage life sciences companies, a move that industry insiders say will help fill a gap in funding for promising companies. The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center will award up to $200,000 each to early stage companies selected by a panel of experts. Link
3) From the line of fire to life sciences: Helping veterans find a career path – Boston Globe, November 11, 2014
Today, MVP — which stands for MedTech & BioTech Veterans Program — has organized close to a dozen boot camps for more than 500 veterans across the country. MVP also has recruited more than 30 life-sciences companies to serve as sponsors, providing everything from financial support to internships to mentors. The goal: Hire 5,000 veterans into the life sciences by 2018. Link
4) State to promote drug development in space through ‘Galactic Grant Competition’ - Boston Business Journal, November 13, 2014
The state’s agency that promotes life science firms today announced an opportunity for biotechs to develop drugs in space. Gov. Deval Patrick announced the so-called “Galactic Grant Competition” at the Boston Museum of Science. The competition is supported by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, a Florida-based nonprofit that promotes and manages the use of the International Space Station for experiments that could develop innovative new technology. Link
5) AbbVie, Enanta drug shows potential in hep C genotype 4 patients – Reuters, November 11, 2014
AbbVie Inc said its experimental drug that treats genotype 4 hepatitis C showed high response rates in a mid-stage study in patients who have been considered difficult to treat. The company is developing the drug with Enanta Pharmaceuticals Inc. AbbVie said on Tuesday 100 percent of the patients who were given the drug and had failed previous treatment showed high response rates at 12 weeks after the treatment. Link
As the world’s largest academic research organization (ARO), the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) is dedicated to advancing clinical research through innovation, education, sharing knowledge, designing scientifically rigorous studies, and conducting operationally efficient clinical trials across multiple therapeutic areas. We conduct amazing clinical research, from the smallest pilot study to global megatrials. Our experience covers all phases of evaluation, from initial, first in human and proof-of-concept studies to multinational, late-phase trials, postapproval registries, and outcomes studies. Link
Mount Ida College blends career-relevant education with broad-based learning in the arts, sciences and humanities to prepare students to succeed in a changing world. Link
TriMetis Life Sciences provides GLP and non-GLP laboratory services, biospecimens and preclinical consultation for medical device, pharmaceutical, biotech companies, and academic institutions. Whether your organization is seeking to satisfy its mission-critical objectives, meet regulatory requirements, or expand its R&D capabilities through a facility lease, you can rely on TriMetis for leading-edge capabilities. Link