Help FasterCures bridge the knowledge gap between patients and the R&D system | 3 Things You Might Not Know about User Fee Agreements | Physiologist pursues paradigm shift in immunology
May 23, 2017
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Trump's budget would reduce medical research funding
Money for medical research could take a hit if Congress approves President Donald Trump's budget plan. The proposal calls for a $5.8 billion cut to the National Institutes of Health and $1 billion less for the National Cancer Institute compared to its 2017 budget.
The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (5/23),  Politico (5/22) 
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News from FasterCures
Help FasterCures bridge the knowledge gap between patients and the R&D system
FasterCures is developing a tool to help people understand what makes up their health data, how they are collected and shared, and who uses them, so they have the basic knowledge needed to use these data when making decisions about their health. With support from the Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award program, we have launched a survey to understand patients' experiences and understanding of health data. The information from the survey will be used to shape an educational tool for patients. We would appreciate you sharing the survey with patients and caregivers to help increase our level of understanding. Take or share the survey.
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3 Things You Might Not Know about User Fee Agreements
With no shortage of policy issues to track on Capitol Hill, it can be tough to know which to prioritize. At FasterCures, we think it's time to ramp up the support of and attention to ensuring timely reauthorization of user fee agreements (UFAs). On our blog, we outline three reasons why we will be watching UFAs closely as the reauthorization moves through the legislative process, beginning with the recent Senate HELP committee markup.
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Science and Technology
Physiologist pursues paradigm shift in immunology
Bacteria evolve so quickly that any new antibiotics will quickly become ineffective, says Janelle Ayres, who is shaking up the world of immunology with her research on tolerance -- the notion that harnessing beneficial bacteria can allow the body to tolerate and overcome infection. She and her colleagues at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have already identified certain bacteria -- which she calls "superhero bugs" -- in mouse studies.
STAT (tiered subscription model) (5/18) 
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Scientists to study Zika virus effects on brain cancer
Scientists at Cambridge University are studying whether the Zika virus can be used to kill glioblastoma cells while leaving healthy cells unscathed. "If we can learn lessons from Zika's ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and target brain stem cells selectively, we could be holding the key to future treatments," said study leader Harry Bulstrode.
Reuters (5/18) 
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Sangamo to begin clinical trials of in vivo human genome editing
Biotech company Sangamo Therapeutics will conduct three clinical trials, which will focus on hemophilia B and Hunter and Hurler syndromes, to test the efficacy of in vivo human genome editing through the use of zinc finger nucleases. "This is the first time someone could have a new gene put into their liver," said Sangamo President and CEO Sandy Macrae.
The Scientist online (5/18) 
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Finance and Economics
Boston life sciences accelerator to help startups bridge valley of death
Former Sarepta Therapeutics CEO Chris Garabedian has received $15 million in a $25 million Series A financing round for Xontogeny, a life sciences accelerator and investment fund. Garabedian will partner with six to 10 promising biotechnology startups from the preclinical stage through Phase II trials, help the companies raise funds, and receive an equity percentage.
The Business Journals (tiered subscription model)/Boston (5/18) 
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"Hamilton" star raises nearly $2M for epilepsy research
Miguel Cervantes, who plays Alexander Hamilton in the Chicago production of "Hamilton," has been working all year to raise awareness of epilepsy and funds for research, and his performance at a Chicago gala helped raise almost $2 million for the nonprofit group Cure. Cervantes sang an original song about his own family's experience with epilepsy, and proceeds from iTunes downloads of the song will also go to Cure.
Crain's Chicago Business (tiered subscription model) (5/17) 
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Antibiotic developer raises $65M in Series B round
Iterum Therapeutics raised $65 million in a Series B financing round to develop an oral and intravenous drug called sulopenem for gram-negative drug-resistant bacteria. The company expects to conduct a Phase III trial of the drug next year in urinary tract infections.
Modern Healthcare (tiered subscription model) (5/22) 
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Life sciences tech company to build new lab with $2.35M in seed funds
Life sciences tech company IQuity, based in Nashville, Tenn., has raised $2.35 million in seed funding. This second round of funding will be used to pay for a new laboratory to further the company's development of technologies based on RNA.
The Business Journals (tiered subscription model)/Nashville, Tenn. (5/22) 
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Policy and Regulation
Hundreds of open positions at CDC, NIH
The Trump administration lifted a hiring freeze last month, but agency heads have also been directed to submit workforce reduction and reorganization plans by June 30, and the CDC and NIH have hundreds of vacancies.
The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (5/19) 
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Trump seeks higher FDA user fees in 2018 budget request
President Donald Trump proposed higher user fees to offset lower FDA funding in his 2018 budget request, but Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., has said that the user fee reauthorization bills have been agreed on and will not be renegotiated.
Regulatory Focus (5/23) 
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  • For more:
    FasterCures was an active participant in the stakeholder meetings conducted as part of the user fee agreement renegotiation process. Learn about the key provisions in PDUFA VI and MDUFA IV that we believe are critical to helping the FDA expand engagement with the patient community.
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FasterCures is an action tank that works across sectors and diseases to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the medical research enterprise. FasterCures, a center of the Milken Institute, is nonpartisan and independent of interest groups.
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