Innovator Spotlight on The Nicholas Conor Institute | Study identifies 53 promising FDA-approved drugs to treat Ebola | Protein illuminates neural activity
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December 18, 2014
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Congress urged to require FDA to report how it factors patient perspectives into decisions
The Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy recently asked Congress to include language in the 21st Century Cures Initiative to allow for evaluation of how the FDA uses new patient-engagement tools and provide oversight. "Across the whole continuum of discovery, development, and delivery a new focus on the patient is changing culture, practice, and policy. PPMD has pioneered a new model for advancing the science of patient input, one that will help transform the way in which patient perspectives are collected and understood," said FasterCures Director of Strategic Initiatives Kim McCleary. BioNews Texas/Muscular Dystrophy News (12/11)
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News from FasterCures
Innovator Spotlight on The Nicholas Conor Institute
In this month's spotlight, Beth Anne Baber describes how she faced a virtually non-existent development pipeline of promising breakthroughs in pediatric cancer in 2007, which led her to co-found The Nicholas Conor Institute. The TRAIN (The Research Acceleration and Innovation Network) Innovator Spotlight highlights the entrepreneurial spirit of TRAIN participating organizations by sharing success stories in venture philanthropy. Read the spotlight.
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Science and Technology
Study identifies 53 promising FDA-approved drugs to treat Ebola
A study in the journal Emerging Microbes and Infections found 53 drugs that could potentially treat Ebola. Using high speed technology, researchers at the NIH and the Icahn School of Medicine went through a library of 2,816 compounds approved by the FDA for other conditions. The compounds include antidepressants, antibiotics, antihistamines and oncology treatments. (12/17)
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Protein illuminates neural activity
A team led by Harvard University neuroscientst Adam Cohen has developed a way to convert brain neurons' electrical activity into fluorescent light, which might allow researchers to follow and measure brain activity in epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and other disorders. The researchers reverse-engineered a protein from Halorubrum sodomense, a single-celled organism found in the Dead Sea, to convert energy into light. Bloomberg (12/17)
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Startups leverage genetic analysis to tackle cancer
Unprecedented access to genomic-analysis tools is helping startups such as Blueprint Medicines and Foundation Medicine make strides in turning fatal cancer into a manageable, chronic condition. Re/code (12/11)
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New drug approvals signal a revival in innovation
Though it is hard to measure the results of research and development, evidence of a revival can be found in this year's increase in new drug approvals as well as a higher rate of approvals in the past four years compared with the previous five. So far, 35 new drugs have been approved by the FDA in 2014, compared with 27 in 2013. IMS Health expects about 200 new drugs to reach market in the next five years. Financial Times (tiered subscription model) (12/10)
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Finance and Economics
Universities launch more research-driven spinoffs
Eager to prove the value of research, universities are trying harder to launch tech startups based on academic research. Because academic researchers often are neophytes about business, they're running into formidable obstacles. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (12/17)
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Hedge fund manager donates $15M to Mt. Sinai for Alzheimer's research
Daniel Loeb, CEO of hedge fund Third Point, is donating $15 million to Mount Sinai Hospital and the Icahn School of Medicine to fund an Alzheimer's disease research institute named for his late father, Ronald M. Loeb, who had the disease. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (12/15)
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Independents at risk from Big Pharma's pursuit of biotechs?
Big Pharma is snapping up local homegrown biotechs in Boston. The trend is largely welcome, but some people are asking whether small innovative biotechs can remain independent. The Boston Globe (tiered subscription model) (12/17)
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Policy and Regulation
EU's data transparency to mark shift in pharma industry in 2015
On Jan. 1, the European Medicines Agency will start publishing the clinical study reports included in all new filings of centralized marketing authorizations for new drugs. The move represents a major step in the push toward greater data transparency, Ben Adam writes. (U.K.) (12/18)
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Society and Ethics
Sharing EHR data with drugmakers could benefit providers and patients
If providers can overcome distrust of life science companies and find ways to work together, shared EHR data has the potential to improve patient care, writes Faisal Mushtaq of Allscripts. Optimizing the full potential of EHRs can unite life science companies, payers, health care providers and patients to help determine which drugs work best for which patients, improve medication adherence and lead to better standards of care, Mushtaq writes. (12/16)
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On the FastTrack
Apply by Jan. 30 for the DIA Patient Advocate Fellowship Program
The Drug Information Association (DIA) will choose 20 patient representatives for an opportunity to develop, strengthen and support collaborations with regulators, industry, academia, government and other life sciences professionals by taking part in the DIA 2015 51st Annual Meeting, June 15 to 18, 2015, in Washington, D.C. Learn more.
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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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