As represented in this Forecast, the life science industry includes biopharmaceuticals, medical instruments and devices, animal/agricultural bioscience and commercial research and testing. However, the industry’s R&D spending is driven primarily by the mass and research intensity of the biopharmaceutical sector, which accounts for nearly 85% of all expenditures.
In one of the biggest advances against leukemia and other blood cancers in many years, doctors are reporting unprecedented success by using gene therapy to transform patients' blood cells into soldiers that seek and destroy cancer. A few patients with one type of leukemia were given this one-time, experimental therapy several years ago and some remain cancer-free today.
Scientists are reporting development of a squishy gel that, when compressed at a key location such as a painful knee joint, releases anti-inflammatory medicine. The new material could someday deliver medications when and where osteoarthritis patients need it most.
Sometimes the cure can be worse than the disease. Pharmaceutical drugs are known for their potential side effects, and an important aspect of personalized medicine is to tailor therapies to individuals to reduce the chances of adverse events. Now researchers from North Carolina State Univ. have updated an extensive toxicology database so that it can be used to track information about therapeutic drugs and their unintentional toxic effects.
Researchers have identified a protein that causes loss of function in immune cells combating HIV. The scientists report in a paper appearing online in the Journal of Clinical Investigation that the protein, Sprouty-2, is a promising target for future HIV drug development, since disabling it could help restore the cells’ ability to combat the virus that causes AIDS.
Drugs delivered by nanoparticles hold promise for targeted treatment of many diseases, including cancer. However, the particles have to be injected into patients, which has limited their usefulness so far. Now, researchers have developed a new type of nanoparticle that can be delivered orally and absorbed through the digestive tract, allowing patients to simply take a pill instead of receiving injections.
Biogen Idec said Monday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) extended its review of Alprolix, a drug designed to treat hemophilia B. Biogen Idec said the FDA extended its review by three months. The move came after the agency asked Biogen for more information about validation of part of the Alprolix manufacturing process.
A new study has found that many people who stopped taking cholesterol-lowering statin drugs were also taking an average of three other drugs that interfered with the normal metabolism of the statins. The other drugs can contribute to a common side effect of taking statins—muscle pain—and often led people to discontinue use of a medication that could otherwise help save their life, researchers learned.
A potential rheumatoid arthritis treatment from French drugmaker Sanofi and its U.S. development partner Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. fared better than a fake drug at improving disease signs and symptoms in a late-stage study. The companies said they saw a statistically significant improvement in patient groups that received their drug, sarilumab, combined with methotrexate compared to those who just received methotrexate and a placebo.
Within the pharmaceutical industry, the rapid identification, elucidation and characterization of synthetic, process impurities and degradation products is an intense and comprehensive undertaking. In the development of a formulated drug substance, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that all impurities introduced in the proposed process above 0.1% must be isolated and fully characterized.
Drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co. plans to spend $715 million to bulk up its manufacturing in a key product line, insulin production. The Indianapolis company said it will spend $350 million to expand its insulin cartridge manufacturing in China, another $120 million for a similar improvement in France and $245 million to boost manufacturing capacity in Puerto Rico and Indianapolis.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug from Pharmacyclics and Janssen Biotech Inc. to treat a rare and aggressive form of blood cancer. The agency says it approved Imbruvica for patients with mantle cell lymphoma who have already received at least one previous drug therapy.
A team of scientists reports that a small-molecule compound showed significant success in controlling the infectivity and spread of three polyomaviruses in human cell cultures. To date there has been no medicine approved to treat such viruses, which prey on transplant recipients, people with HIV and others whose immune systems have been weakened.
A class of drugs used to treat parasitic infections such as malaria may also be useful in treating cancers and immune-related diseases, a new Washington State Univ.-led study has found. Researchers discovered that simple modifications to the drug furamidine have a major impact on its ability to affect specific human proteins involved in the on-off switches of certain genes.
GlaxoSmithKline says a potential heart disease treatment it acquired as part of a key 2012 company takeover fell short in the main measurement of a late-stage study. The British drugmaker says darapladib failed to produce a statistically significant reduction in major cardiovascular events like heart attacks, strokes or death when added to a patient's standard of care.
Arizona State University is teaming up with seven other research universities to establish a new Science and Technology Center (STC), sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The center will be based at the University at Buffalo. It is expected to transform the field of structural and dynamic molecular biology, including drug development, by using x-ray lasers to peer into biological molecules.
Merck said Monday that its new human papillomavirus vaccine was about 97% effective in blocking precancerous lesions caused by strains of the virus that are not stopped by Merck's vaccine Gardasil. Merck & Co. said it expects to file for marketing approval of the new vaccine, which is designated V503, before the end of 2013.
Researchers at Oregon State Univ. have discovered that one gene in a common fungus acts as a master regulator, and deleting it has opened access to a wealth of new compounds that have never before been studied—with the potential to identify new antibiotics.
Cisplatin is a chemotherapy drug given to more than half of all cancer patients. The drug kills cells very effectively by damaging nuclear DNA, but if tumors become resistant to cisplatin they often grow back. A new study offers a possible way to overcome that resistance. The researchers found that when cisplatin was delivered to cellular structures called mitochondria, DNA in this organelle was damaged, leading to cancer cell death.
Doctors may one day be able to control a patient's HIV infection in a new way: injecting swarms of germ-fighting antibodies, two new studies suggest. In monkeys, that strategy sharply reduced blood levels of a cousin of HIV. The results also gave tantalizing hints that someday the tactic might help destroy the AIDS virus in its hiding places in the body, something current drugs cannot do.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a stronger, single-ingredient version hydrocodone, the widely abused prescription painkiller. The agency said it approved the extended-release pill Zohydro ER for patients with pain that requires "daily, around-the-clock, long-term treatment" that cannot be treated with other drugs.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a positive review for a highly anticipated hepatitis C drug from Gilead Sciences, saying the pill cures more patients in less time than currently available treatments. The agency posted its review of Gilead's sofosbuvir online ahead of a meeting Friday where government experts will vote on whether to recommend the drug's approval.
Federal health advisers dealt a major blow to specialty drugmaker Amarin Corp., saying that the government should delay expanding approval of the company's prescription fish-oil drug until more patient data is available. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's panel of outside advisers voted 9-2 against recommending broader use of Vascepa, a form of fish oil designed to lower triglycerides, a type of fat in the bloodstream.
Researchers at Oregon State Univ. and other institutions announced the successful use of a new type of antibacterial agent called a PPMO, which appears to function as well or better than an antibiotic, but may be more precise and also solve problems with antibiotic resistance. In animal studies, one form of PPMO showed significant control of two strains of Acinetobacter, a group of bacteria of global concern.
About a dozen years ago, scientists discovered that a hormone called ghrelin enhances appetite. Dubbed the “hunger hormone,” ghrelin was quickly targeted by drug companies seeking treatments for obesity—none of which have yet panned out. Neuroscientists have now discovered that ghrelin’s role goes far beyond controlling hunger.