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Top 5 News: 1/16-1/22

Top 5 logo1) Dozens of drug makers agree on effort to combat antibiotic resistance – STAT, 1/20/2016
In an unprecedented bid to address antibiotic resistance, more than 80 drug and device makers have issued a declaration urging governments to “support investment” in developing medicines and diagnostic tools to combat drug-resistant infections.
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2) Exclusive: Fast-growing gene-editing biotech expanding near Kendall Square BBJ, 1/22/2016
A rapidly growing Cambridge-based gene-editing company has snapped up 65,000 square feet of coveted East Cambridge real estate with plans to house a newly created division in the space.
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3) GE Life Sciences to hire 100 more people in 2016 BBJ, 1/21/2016
As General Electric Co. prepares to move to relocate corporate headquarters to Massachusetts, GE Healthcare Life Sciences is finalizing its own move into new space and planning to hire over 100 new employees.
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4) MassBio Testimony: Healthcare Financing Committee Hearing on Drug Cost & Value – MassBio, 1/19/2016
On January 19th, MassBio, at the request of the Joint Committee on Healthcare Financing, testified at the first in a series of informational sessions intended to provide legislators, stakeholders, and the public with a comprehensive understanding of issues of drug cost and value.
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5) Video: Experts predict the future of Big Data at #JPM16 – FierceBiotech, 1/19/2016
Storing, analyzing and managing the big data sets that are being created around genomics for drug development has created challenges for the biopharma industry. Some leaders in the field, including Google and the Broad Institute in Cambridge, MA, have been battering down some of these barriers, making it possible to explore the data for clues about new drug development opportunities.
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Guest Post: Denny Ausiello Discusses Phenotypes, Pathways, and Stratification

By Julie Steele

This piece is excerpted from an original article on the O’Reilly Strata big data blog and is re-posted with permission. MassBio members save 20% on O’Reilly’s Strata Rx 2013 conference next week – use code MASSBIO. For a chance to win a free seat to the conference, tweet @MassBio & #StrataRx by 3pm on Monday, September 23.

Last month, Strata Rx Program Chair Colin Hill, of GNS Healthcare, sat down with Dr. Dennis Ausiello, Jackson Professor of Clinical Medicine at the Harvard Medical School, Co-Director at CATCH, Pfizer Board of Directors Member, and Former Chief of Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), for a fireside chat at a private reception hosted by GNS. Their insightful conversation covered a range of topics that all touched on or intersected with the need to create smaller and more precise cohorts, as well as the need to focus on phenotypic data as much as we do on genotypic data.

The full video appears below.

Highlights from the conversation include:

  • “How do we assess the human condition? What can we do about it?” Denny observes that while many physicians were trained to believe in the potential of science and technology, genomics alone is insufficient to help us understand these two aspects of our health. [Discussed at the 00:26 mark]
  • Doing better with existing knowledge, while creating new knowledge. Denny argues that because medicine has historically focused on an episodic, symptomatic approach, we just don’t collect enough information — even in chronic patients — to understand what’s going on. [Discussed at the 01:51 mark]
  • Stratifying the denominator. Denny points out that we currently define many polygenic complex diseases as homogenous, even though we know that they are multi-factorial. He stresses the need to focus on the phenotypic expression of the pathways that are involved, so that we can be more successful at targeting them. [Discussed at the 04:00 mark]
  • Founding CATCH. All of these realizations, Denny says, are why he decided to step down from his previous position and found the Center for Assessment, Technology and Continuous Health (CATCH), along with colleagues at MGH and MIT. [Discussed at the 05:14 mark]

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