Top 5 News Stories 1/24-1/30

Top 5 logo1) Obama Announces $215 Million Precision-Medicine Genetic Plan Wall Street Journal, January 30, 2015
President Barack Obama detailed Friday an ambitious scientific effort to amass genetic data on one million or more Americans, a plan aimed at finding new genetic causes of disease and streamlining the discovery of new drugs. Link

2) Biogen hires former Children’s executive as first VP of innovation Boston Business Journal, January 27, 2015
Biogen Idec has taken an idea, as well as an executive, from Boston Children’s Hospital, hiring Naomi Fried to become the company’s first vice president of medical information, innovation and external partnerships. The role will leverage Fried’s experience as chief innovation officer at Children’s to sharpen the biotech company’s focus on developing tools and devices that help support clinicians and patients alike. Link

3) Boston’s Flex Pharma becomes first local biotech IPO of 2015 with upsized $84M offering Mass High Tech, January 29, 2015
Boston-based Flex Pharma will hold the state’s first biotech IPO of the year, and one of the first in the nation, in what’s sure to be a bellwether of the market’s appetite for yet more new healthcare firms. Link

4) FDA Green Lights Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) HIV Pills BioSpace, January 30, 2015
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved two similar HIV drugs on Thursday, one made by Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY) and the other by Johnson & Johnson (JNJ). Both drugs are fixed-dose pills that combine protease inhibitors and a boosting agent produced by Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD).

5) Big Pharma Is a Pointless Target for Warren Bloomberg View, January 28, 2015
Senator Elizabeth Warren has a modest proposal for pharmaceutical companies that get fined by the Food and Drug Administration for rule violations: a sort of “swear jar” that will require them to give money to the National Institutes of Health every time they break the FDA’s rules. Link

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KSAThe Kendall Square Association (KSA) is a membership-based organization that consists of companies and institutions committed to promoting the health, vitality and vibrancy of Kendall Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Website

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 3.06.42 PMRobins Kaplan LLP is among the nation’s premier trial law firms, with more than 220 attorneys in six major cities. Our attorneys litigate, mediate, and arbitrate client disputes, always at-the-ready for an ultimate courtroom battle. When huge forces are at play, major money is at stake, or rights are being trampled, we help clients cut through complexity, get to the heart of the problem, and win what matters most. We are clearly focused on business results for our clients. We achieve landmark triumphs and drive thousands of other cases to resolution before they ever hit the courtroom or the front page. From Big Tobacco to Kraft v. Starbucks, Interchange to Bhopal and the World Trade Center—we have changed law, business, and society for the better by redefining what’s possible. Website

southern_research_logoSince 1941, the people of Southern Research Institute have contributed to mankind’s quality of life through advancements leading to life-saving drugs, safer space exploration, cleaner air and energy production, and enhanced national defense. Southern Research is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization conducting basic and applied research in Alabama, Maryland, and North Carolina in the areas of drug discovery, preclinical drug development, advanced engineering, and environmental protection. Southern Research is a self-sustaining contract research organization and an incorporated affiliate of The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). We are brought together because of a shared belief in the power and potential of collaborative research. Southern Research and UAB have long-standing relationships in areas such as materials engineering, high-performance computing, breast cancer research, glial biology, cystic fibrosis research, and gene therapy. Website

Top 5 News Stories: 1/16-1/23

Top 5 logo1) Obama Proposes U.S. Spending to Research Personalized Cures – Bloomberg, January 20, 2015
President Barack Obama will urge Congress to spend U.S. taxpayers’ money for research in “precision medicine,” a burgeoning field of care in which treatments are tailored to an individual patient. Link

2) Novartis scores the first victory in a blockbuster psoriasis race FierceBiotech, January 21, 2015
Novartis ($NVS) has picked up FDA and European approvals to sell its secukinumab as a treatment for psoriasis, the first steps in the company’s plot to build a global anti-inflammatory contender and outpace its rivals. Link

3) Supreme Court’s Teva ruling carries implications for future drug patent cases Modern Healthcare, January 20, 2015
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday vacated a lower court’s ruling that had ended patent protection for Teva Pharmaceuticals’ multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone. The decision could have broader implications for how courts decide future pharmaceutical patent disputes. Link

4) Johnson & Johnson Announces Formation of Ebola Vaccine Development Consortia, Gains Funding from Innovative Medicines Initiative  Fierce Biotech , January 16, 2015
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) is pleased to announce the formation of consortia with leading global research institutions and non-government organizations to work in conjunction with Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies to accelerate the development of  its Ebola vaccine regimen. Link

5) Taking Stock: Coughlin Says Vertex Adding Women to Board Bloomberg, January 16, 2015
Taking Stock with Carol Massar and Michael McKee. GUEST: Robert Coughlin President/CEO Massachusetts Biotechnology Council Discussing the need for more women in STEM fields with Gloria Larson President Bentley University Betsy Myers Founding Director Center for Women & Business. Link

MassBioEd Supports Special In-School Field Trip For Young Scientists

Earlier this month, MassBioEd supported Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School’s “in-school field trip” where 33 ninth-grade students spent the day doing an advanced biotechnology lab. Each student used modern techniques to examine his or her own DNA to determine if he or she had the gene needed to taste a certain bitter chemical, PTC.

Diman teachers Barbara Souza, Liss O’Connell and Maureen Cooney, led the experiment  with support from MassBioEd BioTeach mentor Whitney Hagins and MIT postdoctoral fellow Eric Williams. The students’ first step was to test their ability to taste PTC and make predictions about what they expected to see on their gel based upon their results. The experiment began with the isolation and extraction of DNA from each student. Then a polymerase chain reaction amplified the gene necessary for tasting PTC and the gene was analyzed by restriction digests and gel electrophoresis. The excitement was palpable as students waited to see their own DNA on the electrophoresis gels. Through this experiment, both teachers and students gained a deeper understanding of applications for biotechnology.

The whole group after an exciting day's work!

The whole group after an exciting day’s work!

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crelux blackCRELUX is a provider of high-quality research services in early-stage drug development. Its core expertise lies in the production of prime proteins and their use in biophysical compound screenings and protein crystallography. The privately-owned company has established itself as a reliable premium partner for the global pharma and biotech industry. As a research partner, CRELUX has a portfolio of premium technologies and top-level expertise in protein biochemistry. These include innovations in protein expression for the production of ultra-pure protein for use in research and diagnostics (PRIME PROTEIN services), a wide selection of target proteins for X-ray crystallography that are relevant for human therapy (XPRESS portfolio), customised programmes for the solution of new protein structures (XPERT service) and innovative technology for fragment and compound screening (INTRACT). Integrated structure based drug discovery solutions including hit-to-lead and lead compound optimization steps are marketed by CRELUX under the label i2c (idea to candidate). Website.

seattle childrens research instituteLocated in downtown Seattle’s biotech corridor, Seattle Children’s Research Institute is pushing the boundaries of medical research to find cures for pediatric diseases and improve outcomes for children all over the world. Internationally recognized investigators and staff at the research institute are advancing new discoveries in cancer, genetics, immunology, pathology, infectious disease, injury prevention and bioethics, among others. As part of Seattle Children’s Hospital, the research institute brings together leading minds in pediatric research to provide patients with the best care possible. Seattle Children’s serves as the primary teaching, clinical and research site for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine, which consistently ranks as one of the best pediatric departments in the country. Website.

zafgen Zafgen Inc. is an early-stage biotechnology company focused on novel treatments for obesity. Utilizing a capital-efficient, virtual approach through a world-leading advisory team, Zafgen focuses on the highest-quality preclinical programs to achieve superior efficacy, safety and intellectual property positions. Website.