July 2006- Volume 2, Issue 7

July 2006

In this Issue

Editor's Focus

Dispelling discovery myths

Dispelling discovery myths

Most people in the drug discovery community have become familiar with what has been called “the obligatory graph”—a comparison showing a continual increase in R&D investment by the pharmaceutical industry coupled with a disappointingly low production of approved new molecular entities (NMEs). In fact, in 2005, only 18 NMEs were approved by the FDA, the second lowest count in the past decade. Concomitant with this shortfall is a rising tide of patent expirations of existing blockbuster drugs. Likewise, there has been a steadily increasing proportion of prescriptions dispensed for generics relative to drugs with market exclusivity.

Getting personal with biomarkers

Getting personal with biomarkers

Advances in genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics over the last decade have provided an unprecedented, exquisitely detailed view into the molecular nature of disease and treatment. Biomarkers are among the most practical tools arising from the “omics” revolution.

Solutions for the developing world

Solutions for the developing world

The most affordable or effective therapeutics are useless if clinicians can’t get the right drugs to the right people. For this to occur, effective disease diagnosis is critical. But therein lay the problem, because the developing world is faced with a variety of challenges that are rare or unknown elsewhere. Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with a number of NGOs and diagnostics companies to examine the reasons behind these challenges and possible solutions.

Finding time and money for the orphans

Finding time and money for the orphans

Most people have a soft spot for orphans. These unfortunate souls, often depicted with unusually large and needy eyes, tug at the heartstrings. Such has not always been the case in the pharmaceutical industry, where an orphan is a treatment for a rare disease that occurs in fewer than 200,000 people in the United States, as defined by the FDA’s Orphan Drug Act, passed in 1983.

Automation & Instrumentation

VisualSonics taps Bracco for contrast deal

VisualSonics taps Bracco for contrast deal

VisualSonics announced an exclusive agreement with the Bracco Group for the joint development and manufacture of a new line of MicroMarker contrast agents for use in preclinical molecular imaging on the VisualSonics Vevo 770 micro-ultrasound platform.

Perkin Elmer strengthens OneSource with C&A purchase

Perkin Elmer strengthens OneSource with C&A purchase

Perkin Elmer announced it had acquired U.K.-based Clinical & Analytical Service Solutions Ltd. (C&A), a scientific equipment asset and management maintenance company serving the life science industry.

Eksigent and Phenomenex team up for capillary HPLC

Eksigent and Phenomenex team up for capillary HPLC

Eksigent and Phenomenex Inc. have embarked on a strategic marketing and technology collaboration to develop columns optimized for capillary HPLC systems.

DiscoveRx offers custom services

DiscoveRx offers custom services

DiscoveRx Corp., which thus far has been known primarily for being the provider of the off-the-shelf HitHunter assays, has made things personal—or at least personalized—by launching custom labeling and profiling services.

Genomics & Proteomics

Applied Bio to buy Agencourt Personal Genomics

Applied Bio to buy Agencourt Personal Genomics

Applied Biosystems Inc. announced it had entered a definitive agreement to acquire for $120 million Agencourt Personal Genomics (APG), a privately-held research and development company focused on the development of next-generation genetic analysis technologies.

PTC Therapeutics gets SMA Foundation funding

PTC Therapeutics gets SMA Foundation funding

The Spinal Muscular Atrophy Foundation announced last month it agreed to fund research efforts targeting the disease by PTC Therapeutics Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of orally administered, small-molecule drugs that target post-transcriptional control processes.

Solexa’s sequencing leap

Solexa’s sequencing leap

Solexa Inc. announced a collaboration with Invitrogen on its Genome Analysis System that reduces the cost of resequencing human genomes to about $100,000.

Research & Development

Galapagos builds beachhead

Galapagos builds beachhead

Galapagos NV signs of a definitive purchase agreement with San Diego-based Discovery Partners International (DPI) to acquire assets that DPI is offloading.

Lentigen’s R&D deal with U.S. Army promotes lentiviral vectors

Lentigen’s R&D deal with U.S. Army promotes lentiviral vectors

Lentigen Corp. recently entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC).

Scientists probe microbial life in human gut

Scientists probe microbial life in human gut

In a recent issue of Science, researchers from The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) and colleagues examined the biological universe of the human colon and found more than 1,000 microbial species.

Cytopia, Novartis collaborate

Cytopia, Novartis collaborate

Cytopia Ltd. recently announced the signing of a global license and research and development collaboration with Novartis to develop orally active, small-molecule therapeutics targeting the JAK3 kinase for the prevention of transplant rejection and the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Informatics

Cognia expands offerings

Cognia expands offerings

Cognia Corp. announced in June the introduction of its Cognia Catabolism database, containing information about ubiquitin system molecules.

WRI, SCBIT work to create translational medicine standards

WRI, SCBIT work to create translational medicine standards

To build an electronic infrastructure for translational medicine and technology, the Windber Research Institute (WRI) announced recently it entered into a strategic arrangement with the Shanghai Center for Bioinformation Technology (SCBIT).

Waters, Umetrics simplify drug discovery stats

Waters, Umetrics simplify drug discovery stats

Waters Corp. announced recently that it had entered into a co-marketing agreement with Umetrics AB of Umea, Sweden, under which Waters will begin offering scientists a direct link to Umetrics’ SIMCA-P multivariate statistical analysis software as an option compatible with Waters’ MarkerLynx 4.1 Software.

Bioimagene marches down tox-path

Bioimagene marches down tox-path

BioImagene recently closed its acquisition of Pittsburgh-based tissue image analysis company TissueInformatics from Icoria, a business unit of Clinical Data Inc.

Genedata, Kluyver Centre enter fermentation collaboration

Genedata, Kluyver Centre enter fermentation collaboration

To boost opportunities in the industrial fermentation market, including pharmaceuticals, the Netherlands’ Kluyver Centre—a joint industry and academic consortium that applies genomics to improve industrial fermentation—has turned to Swiss bioinformatics company Genedata.

Global News

FDA, EMEA agree on joint genomic data submissions

FDA, EMEA agree on joint genomic data submissions

The European Commission (EC), European Medicines Agency (EMEA) and the US FDA announced they have agreed to a procedure for joint FDA-EMEA meetings with sponsors about voluntary genomic data submissions (VGDS).

Biogen Idec to acquire Fumapharm AG

Biogen Idec to acquire Fumapharm AG

Biogen Idec and Fumapharm AG, a privately held pharmaceutical company, in late spring announced a definitive agreement whereby Fumapharm will be acquired by Biogen Idec.

Q&A Gary Hopgood, Beckman Coulter

Q&A Gary Hopgood, Beckman Coulter

A big challenge is getting the right drug to the right people. In the developing world, however, this can be a particularly daunting task as diagnostic practices and tools can be very poor.

Generex, Fertin announce metformin gum collaboration

Generex, Fertin announce metformin gum collaboration

Generex Biotechnology and Fertin Pharma A/S recently announced a collaboration for the development of a metformin medicinal chewing gum for the treatment of Type-2 diabetes mellitus and obesity.
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