1) 2015 New Drug Approvals Hit 66-Year High! – Forbes, 1/4/2015
2015 has been a remarkable year for pharmaceutical innovation. What would have been a dream (or perhaps a delusion) a few years ago has happened.
2) Key takeaways from the state’s new digital-health initiative – BBJ, 1/7/2016
Elected officials and key stakeholders in the Bay State’s health care and technology sectors gathered at Boston Childrens Hospital to unveil a new public-private partnership aimed at expanding the state’s role in the fast-emerging electronic-health care sector.
3) This Startup’s Painkiller Is Stronger Than Morphine and Non-Addictive – BostInno, 1/4/2016
From a very early age, we’re taught the evils of drug addiction. No one ever starts off their lives aspiring to be an addict, and there’s a perception that anyone who is addicted to drugs belongs in the dregs of society.
4) Eight Milestones Of 2015 In The War On Cancer – Forbes, 1/1/2016
Fourteen the 45 novel drugs that hit the market in 2015 were approved by the U.S. Food & Drug administration to treat cancer—offering new hope for patients battling multiple myeloma, colon cancer, thyroid cancer and many other forms of the disease. It was a good year for pharma companies working in oncology, to be sure.
5) 30 Under 30: Meet The Entrepreneurs Who Are Fixing The Healthcare System – Forbes, 1/4/2016
These researchers and entrepreneurs aren’t just improving how we do healthcare. They’re reinventing it.
1) Globe’s owner unveils site focused on health, life-sciences – Boston Globe, 11/4/2015
Boston Globe owner John W. Henry on Wednesday will formally launch STAT, an online health and life-sciences publication that will cover stories across the country.
2) With Spark moving in, the Bay State is becoming the world’s gene therapy hub – BBJ, 11/4/2015
Spark Therapeutics may not be a well-known company the same way that Baxter International, Shire and AbbVie are, but the announcement this morning that the Philadelphia-based firm is opening a local office is at least as important for the local biotech cluster as those big pharma giants’ expansion here.
3) Shire ramps up buying spree with $5.9 billion deal for Dyax – Boston Globe, 11/2/2015
On Monday, Shire unveiled a $5.9 billion agreement to buy Burlington’s Dyax Corp., which is developing a promising drug to treat a rare disease called hereditary angioendema.
4) Medical first: Gene-editing tool used to treat girl’s cancer – STAT News,11/5/2015
In what’s being billed as a medical first, scientists in London have used a new kind of biological scissors in a last-ditch effort to cure a child with otherwise untreatable leukemia. They edited genes in immune cells to make them hunt down and destroy the malignant blood cells that threatened the year-old girl’s life.
5) Myths And Facts About Specialty Drugs – Forbes, 11/3/2015
The ongoing debate over specialty drugs — reflecting conflicting motives of buyers and sellers — neglects important insights about the impact of these new technologies, their value to society, and the economics of medical R&D. We here disentangle the facts from the myths surrounding these products.
1) FDA approves cancer treatment that uses virus to attack tumors – Boston Globe, 10/27/2015
Approved by the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday for treating advanced-stage melanoma, the virus — called Imlygic, which was developed in part in a Massachusetts lab — is a modified version of the herpes virus that both attacks the cancer and sparks the immune system into action against tumors.
2) King Street to build new lab building in the ‘next Kendall Square’ – BBJ, 10/27/2015
In a show of confidence in the continued growth of the biotech industry outside Cambridge, a Cambridge real estate firm is building what it says will be the biggest “on-spec” lab space ever seen in Boston’s suburbs.
3) Vertex puts $105 million into gene editing startup – Boston Globe, 10/26/2015
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. is betting on a hot new technique in drug development to expand its cystic fibrosis pipeline and move into new treatment areas.The Boston company said Monday that it struck a $105 million cash and equity deal with CRISPR Therapeutics, a Swiss startup in the emerging field of gene editing.
4) Top women in biopharma 2015 – FierceBiotech, 10/28/2015
This year’s fiercest women in biopharma are seemingly doing it all. Pioneering a fully integrated biotech in China? Check. Leading aging research at Google’s mysterious new life sciences upstart? Check. Changing the game for biotech innovators? Running the world’s largest consumer health player? Blazing the off-P&L financing trail? Check, check, check.
5) Viewpoint: Why cost controls will undermine innovation, healthy outcomes – BBJ, 10/23/2015
Massachusetts’ companies are tackling some of the most difficult scientific challenges of our time, and we should continue to encourage the risk-taking and discovery we’re known for. Legislating drug pricing or instituting caps will undermine the recent economic and scientific growth the Commonwealth has seen, and will negatively impact patients.
After almost two decades of research at academic medical centers, Dr. John Frangioni realized that while academia was a rich environment for innovation, it was not an ideal setting for invention to be converted into commercial products that could tangibly help patients and doctors. He then founded Curadel in an effort to move his potentially life-changing technologies into the clinical setting.
The road has not been easy, as it rarely is for new startups. But Curadel is well on its way to success with its revolutionary FLARE® technology lighting the way.
Using FLARE® to Light the Way
FLARE®, which stands for Fluorescence Assisted Resection and Exploration, has the potential to empower surgeons with real-time critical information that could result in greatly improved outcomes for patients undergoing cancer surgery with curative intent.
“The system uses near-infrared light, which is invisible to the human eye but penetrates millimeters through blood and tissue,” explains Chief Chemist Mark Bordo. Bordo notes that Curadel is developing “special contrast agents that could be injected into the bloodstream to highlight various structures, such as tumors, blood vessels, nerves, lymph nodes, glands, etc. When realized, FLARE® imaging will allow one to simultaneously identify different structures, enabling surgeons to resect tumors while avoiding normal tissues, all in real time.”
Why is this so important? Cancer cells don’t stick out like a sore thumb. Instead, tumors often blend into their environment often making it difficult to discern malignant tissues from normal, healthy ones. FLARE® will help to eliminate the guesswork. In sharing Curadel’s near-term goals, Chief Operating Officer Saira Y. Valley points out that when developed for human use, “FLARE® technology will be able to affect every stakeholder in the healthcare spectrum. For insurance companies and hospitals, it could reduce the cost of care. For the patient and their family, it would provide emotional relief because they would know in real time the outcome of their surgery. For the surgeon, it could provide the expediency of seeing the tumor and removing it quickly, without having to dissect for long periods. Everyone would benefit from this kind of technology.”
Although FLARE® technology products have not yet been approved by the FDA, both the medical device and the imaging agent constituents have been successfully tested in both small and large animals.
Finding Cancer, Empowering Research
MassBio Update: Congrats to Peter Abair, Director of Economic Development & Global Affairs at MassBio on being named MassBioEd’s new Executive Director! Read the Press Announcement
1) Takeda Pharmaceuticals to move U.S. vaccine headquarters to Cambridge area – BBJ, 6/2/15
Takeda Pharmaceuticals announced it will move the U.S. headquarters for its unit devoted to developing vaccines for diseases like norovirus, dengue and seasonal influenza to the Cambridge area.
2) EMD Millipore set for expansion with $17b takeover – Boston Globe, 5/29/15
EMD Millipore, begun in 1954 as a local filtration company, is poised to become a much larger player in the fast-growing business of supplying life sciences equipment to drug makers and research labs worldwide. The company is set to complete its $17 billion takeover of Sigma-Aldrich Corp. this summer. The deal will boost the company’s global sales more than 70 percent to about $6 billion annually and double its global workforce to 20,000, including more than 1,000 in Massachusetts.
3) National cancer trial to use technology from Waltham company – BBJ, 6/1/15
Does the secret to curing a person’s cancer lie in their DNA?
That’s what scientists hope, and they will use genetic sequencing technology from Waltham-based Thermo Fisher Scientific (NYSE: TMO) to look for mutations within a person’s DNA to match them with the best cancer medicine.
4) BU scientist uses existing drugs in fight against Ebola – Boston Globe, 6/4/15
Hoping to develop a drug against Ebola, but lacking the $1 billion to bring a new medicine to market, Boston University infectious disease researcher Gene Olinger turned to a more affordable source of drugs — those already available at his local pharmacy.
5) A year after emerging from coma, Boylston teen to showcase invention on world’s biotech stage – BBJ, 6/4/15
A Central Massachusetts teen is headed to Philadelphia next week to show off his discovery of a biodegradable replacement for plastic before hundreds of the world’s biggest biotech firms. His travel to the conference is being funded by the state’s industry group, MassBio.