Feb. 6 briefing -- The Blueprint of Medical Research: How New Medicines Get from the Lab to the Patient | Salk Institute to establish center for genomic medicine | Scientists gain deeper understanding of proteomics
January 24, 2013
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Small business program makes room for VC-owned startups
New rules going into effect set aside 25% of Small Business Innovation Research funds from NIH, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy, as well as 15% of funds from other agencies, for businesses that are majority-owned by multiple venture capital firms, hedge funds or private equity funds. The rules also spell out requirements for ownership by investor firms and non-U.S. citizens. "The rules are now much more clear," said MaxCyte CEO Douglas Doerfler. "We know exactly where we fall within the rules." Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (1/24)
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News from FasterCures
Feb. 6 briefing -- The Blueprint of Medical Research: How New Medicines Get from the Lab to the Patient
12:00 p.m. -- 1:30 p.m. ET
Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 106
Improving and accelerating the R&D path requires all stakeholders in the medical research ecosystem to work together. Co-hosted by FasterCures and Friends of Cancer Research, this briefing is designed to educate members of Congress, legislative staff and advocates about the vital role federal agencies and the medical research sector play in advancing medical progress, and to emphasize the importance of prioritizing this work. Speakers include:
  • N. Anthony Coles, M.D., M.P.H., president, CEO and chairman, Onyx Pharmaceuticals
  • Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., director, National Institutes of Health
  • Margaret Hamburg, M.D., commissioner, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
  • Michael Milken, chairman, The Milken Institute, and founder, FasterCures
  • Ellen V. Sigal, Ph.D., chairperson and founder, Friends of Cancer Research
  • Moderator: Margaret Anderson, executive director, FasterCures
Register today.
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Science and Technology
Salk Institute to establish center for genomic medicine
A $42 million grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust will allow the Salk Institute for Biological Studies to open a center devoted to the study of genomic medicine, which will concentrate on new treatments for illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease and cancer. American City Business Journals/New York (1/24)
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Scientists gain deeper understanding of proteomics
Scientists working on the Chromosome-centric Human Proteome Project report steady progress in the effort to map all the proteins produced by genes on human chromosomes. Reports in the Journal of Proteome Research include the identification of 54 proteins on Chromosome 4 associated with cancer; a proteome map of Chromosome 8, which has a high mutation rate and could be related to tumor genesis; and new data integration and analysis software for researchers working on the project. The Scientist online/The Nutshell blog (1/24)
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Scientists use Shakespeare to explore DNA's storage capacity
Scientists at the European Bioinformatics Institute used DNA to write out all 154 of William Shakespeare's sonnets and encode audio portions of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech to show the vast storage capabilities of DNA strands. Scientists say one gram of DNA is capable of holding more than a million CDs and could be a new way to digitally store massive amounts of information for thousands of years. The Guardian (London) (1/23)
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Finance and Economics
Biotech startup expert: Do as I say, not as I did
Strategies that worked when neuroscientist Corey Goodman cofounded Exelixis and Renovis will not work for today's life sciences entrepreneurs, says Goodman, who recently cofounded venture capital firm venBio. Startups should aim not for an IPO but for acquisition by a larger pharmaceutical or biotechnology company, Goodman says. VenBio's corporate partners contribute both funds and insight into what kinds of companies they might eventually acquire. Xconomy/San Francisco (1/23)
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Lustgarten Foundation awards $25M for pancreatic cancer research
The Lustgarten Foundation awarded $25 million to 18 scientific and medical institutions advancing treatments and diagnostic tests for pancreatic cancer. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (1/23)
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Bill Gates: Polio eradication is top mission
Bill and Melinda Gates have given away more than $8? billion through their eponymous foundation to improve global health. Polio eradication is now the Gates Foundation's top priority, Bill Gates says. "Polio's pretty special because once you get an eradication you no longer have to spend money on it; it's just there as a gift for the rest of time," he said. The Telegraph (London) (tiered subscription model) (1/18)
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Policy and Regulation
FDA: Low prices contribute to generic drug shortages
Competition within the generic drug market that keeps prices low also contributes to injectable drug shortages, an FDA report says. Generics manufacturers may try to keep their costs low by cutting corners on quality control, and few generics makers have backup manufacturing facilities available in the event that quality issues halt production, FDA officials said. The Medicare Modernization Act of 2005 lowered reimbursement rates for generic sterile injectable drugs and might have had a role in shortages, they said. MedPage Today (free registration) (1/23)
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Society and Ethics
Global Fund chief: Now is the time to defeat global infectious diseases
The world has a rare window to apply scientific and public health breakthroughs and "completely control highly dangerous infectious diseases," argues Dr. Mark Dybul, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. "Those of us who work in global health know that there is no greater investment in the world than in prevention and treatment for these terrible diseases," he writes. The Huffington Post (1/21)
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Coalition lifts H5N1 research moratorium
According to a statement released Wednesday, a group of scientists is lifting a voluntary ban on avian influenza research that began in 2012 after two labs independently developed strains that passed easily between ferrets. The scientists said research should proceed only in nations that have developed policies for work with avian flu. A framework is being developed in the U.S. The Toronto Star (1/23)
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On the FastTrack
Special opportunities for patient representatives: DIA fellowship
Do you represent a 501(c)(3) organization in the United States or registered charities in Canada that serve constituents with major chronic diseases and/or rare/orphan diseases? If so, you may be interested in this opportunity to apply for a scholarship to attend the DIA 2013 49th Annual Meeting as part of the Patient Advocate Fellowship Program. Twenty patient representatives, chosen through a competitive process, will have opportunities to develop, strengthen and support collaborations with policymakers, industry, academia and health professionals by taking part in all facets of the DIA 2013 49th Annual Meeting. Deadline for applications: Friday, Feb. 1.
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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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