Hope to see you at Partnering for Cures next week! | Parkinson's researchers find link between neurons and Lewy bodies | BioTime enters nonbinding deal to acquire Geron's stem cell program
November 20, 2012
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Big Pharma firms work together on clinical data bank
Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Eli Lilly & Co. are pooling information about clinical investigators in an effort to speed the clinical trial process and avoid duplicating one another's efforts. The databank will make information on investigators' clinical practice training available across the three firms, allowing investigators looking into a new indication or disease to forgo training at one firm if they have already had the appropriate training at another. Reducing the administrative burden will effectively expand the pool of investigators, says Andreas Koester, chief of clinical trial innovation at J&J unit Janssen Research & Development. Pharmalot/Pharma Blog (11/16)
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News from FasterCures
Hope to see you at Partnering for Cures next week!
The 4th annual Partnering for Cures meeting is taking place in New York City next Thursday and Friday (Nov. 28 to 30). Are you ready? With nearly 90 fantastic speakers, 30 presentations from pioneering cross-sector research collaborations, 25 expert consultants, 16 hot-button panels and an interactive partnering system, this year's program has something for everyone. You won't want to miss it! Register today and start planning your time in New York!
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Science and Technology
Parkinson's researchers find link between neurons and Lewy bodies
Mice injected with a misfolded alpha-synuclein protein developed Lewy bodies, their dopamine-producing neurons started to die, and they lost muscle strength and coordination, as human Parkinson's disease patients do. The misfolded proteins spread through the mice's brains like an infection, researchers report in the journal Science. The method and findings might be a new basis for Parkinson's disease research. The Scientist (free registration) (11/2012), The Philadelphia Inquirer (11/17)
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BioTime enters nonbinding deal to acquire Geron's stem cell program
BioTime signed a nonbinding letter of intent to purchase Geron's embryonic stem cell program. The agreement was announced nearly a year after Geron closed its stem cell business, having launched the world's first embryonic stem cell trial in humans. Some of that trial's findings will be published in a journal next month, according to California Institute for Regenerative Medicine president Alan Trounson. American City Business Journals/San Francisco/BiotechSF blog (11/15)
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Finance and Economics
Billionaire donates $7M to Prostate Cancer Foundation
The Prostate Cancer Foundation will use $5 million of a $7 million donation from New York billionaire Stewart Rahr to fund a project in partnership with Stand Up to Cancer, called the Dream Team -- a multi-institute partnership to develop genomics-based protocols, informatics, pathology and clinical genetics data to allow faster treatment of prostate cancer. Participants include researchers at the University of Michigan Center for Translational Pathology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the Broad Institute, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the Institute of Cancer Research/The Royal Marsden Hospital in London and Weill Cornell Medical College. GenomeWeb Daily News (free registration) (11/19)
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NIH extends contracts for proteomics studies
The NIH extended contracts worth $9.1 million in the first year -- with an increasing value of up to $52.4 million over five years if specific scientific goals are reached -- to Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, Emerald Biostructures, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and others for their work on determining how protein structure affects disease. Researchers hope the work will become a resource for developing drugs, diagnostics and vaccines against a variety of diseases. Xconomy/Seattle (11/19)
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Cystic Fibrosis Foundation expands partnership with Pfizer
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation committed up to $58 million over six years in a project with Pfizer to develop drugs targeting the Delta F508 genetic mutation associated with the disease. The CFF retains rights to any drug candidate Pfizer discovers but chooses not to develop. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (11/19)
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Policy and Regulation
Health panel updates recommendations on HIV screening
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force on Monday called for routine HIV testing for all Americans aged 15 to 65, expanding its 2005 recommendation that included only high-risk individuals. The draft recommendation was prompted by studies showing major health benefits of early HIV treatment, task force chairwoman Virginia Moyer said. USA Today (11/19)
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Society and Ethics
Lack of funding darkens horizon for biomaterials research
As the field of biomaterials research has matured, public and private funding expanded, but it may be starting to contract, making it more difficult for biomaterials scientists to establish careers. ScienceMag.org/Science Careers (11/16)
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Editor's Note
SmartBrief will not publish Thursday
In observance of Thanksgiving in the U.S., FasterCures SmartBrief will not be published Thursday, Nov. 22.
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