FasterCures is hiring: Research policy analyst | Startup aims to monetize the human genome | Novartis chief: Genomics will drive growth in oncology
April 2, 2013
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Report: Biotech licensing, M&A deals dropped in 2012
Biotech and biopharmaceutical firms struck fewer licensing and acquisition deals in 2012 compared with 2011, perhaps fueled by greater confidence in drug pipelines and fewer worries about patent expirations, according to a new report from EP Vantage. Total licensing-deal value declined 19%, to $20.9 billion, and the number of products licensed dropped from 1,037, to 759. Merger and acquisition deals reached $42.6 billion, down 24%. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (3/29)
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News from FasterCures
FasterCures is hiring: Research policy analyst
We are looking for a dynamic individual to join our team as a research policy analyst. This person will be on-point to ensure FasterCures has a clear understanding of federal agencies' role in turning medical research into therapies and how the legislative environment can facilitate or impede agencies' efforts. Learn more about the responsibilities and qualifications for this position.
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Science and Technology
Startup aims to monetize the human genome
Genomics startup Miinome is building an algorithm that will combine an individual's genetic data with environmental data mined from social networks and create a profile that consumers can then sell to marketers. The platform might be useful for helping patients control environmental factors affecting their risk for disease or receive information on drugs and other products specific to their conditions. Consumers will be able to control dissemination of their data, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed, experts say. (3/27)
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Novartis chief: Genomics will drive growth in oncology
Oncology and regenerative medicine will be among the top growth areas in drug development over the next five to 10 years, Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez said in this interview. The explosion of technologies such as human genome sequencing has generated a wealth of data that will allow drugmakers to discover and develop innovative medicines, he said. CNNMoney/Fortune (3/21)
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AstraZeneca continues hunt for RNA-based therapies
AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot is forging ahead with efforts to discover drugs based on RNA technology with its partnership with biotech company Moderna Therapeutics. Moderna's platform allows fast, simultaneous testing on multiple targets for messenger RNA. The company is also working on antisense therapies in partnership with Isis Pharmaceuticals. Bloomberg (3/28)
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Big challenges in brain-mapping project, but payoff potential is huge
A project to map the workings of the human brain will cost more than $3 billion, according to some estimates, but the return on investment is potentially significant, project founders say. New tools and collaborative efforts will be needed to measure brain activity in new ways and to visualize the full spatial extent of neurons in the human brain, experts say. "This effort will be both the stimulus and the challenge to work and collaborate in ways we haven't done before, but always have wanted to," said John Mazziotta, director of the Brain Mapping Center at the University of California, Los Angeles. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News/Insight & Intelligence blog (3/29), The New York Times (single-article access for SmartBrief readers) (4/2)
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Finance and Economics
Harvard to spin off regenerative medicine unit after IPO
Harvard Apparatus Regenerative Technology, a wholly owned unit of Harvard Bioscience that focuses on regenerative medicine, looks to obtain $19 million in an initial public offering scheduled on Wednesday. Harvard Bioscience aims to spin off HART, in which it will own an 83% stake, after the IPO. Mass High Tech (Boston)/Boston/BioFlash blog (3/29)
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Policy and Regulation
Medical education at risk from sequester
In addition to cutting funds for medical research, sequestration will reduce Medicare's Graduate Medical Education (GME) and Indirect Medical Education (IME) funds used to educate doctors and offset costs incurred by teaching hospitals, writes Dr. S. Wright Caughman, Emory University's executive vice president of health affairs. "Medical schools and the academic health centers like Emory in which those schools operate are doing our part to generate innovations in health care, train the next generation of health care professionals, conduct cutting-edge research for cures, and serve as economic engines for our communities," he writes. Congress should find a way to invest more in medical research and expand the health care workforce, Wright adds. American City Business Journals/Atlanta (3/28)
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Society and Ethics
More collaboration is needed to understand chemo brain fog
Researchers are studying the effects of cancer drugs on the brain in an effort to understand and prevent cognitive decline, or "chemo brain." Mouse studies have shown exercise and the antidepressant fluoxetine might slow or reverse cognitive decline, but the studies do not reflect real-world chemotherapy regimens, writes Ellen Walker, a professor of pharmaceutical sciences at Temple University who is researching chemo brain. The scientific community needs to develop more informative models and set standards for cognitive testing to identify at-risk patients and develop preventive therapies, Walker writes. The Scientist (free registration) (4/2013)
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Grass-roots online breast cancer community expands
Most online communities start with a website and expand to include a Twitter conversation, but the Twitter breast cancer community #BCSM has turned that model on its head and expanded to include a new website and YouTube channel. The group exemplifies "how to be open, direct and cut through the layers of healthcare bureaucracies we?ve spent decades building (and protecting)," writes Dan Munro, founder and CEO of iPatient. Forbes (3/31)
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Learn more about FasterCures ->FasterCures Home | Milken Institute
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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