1) 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindormic Repeats) has taken the healthcare, biotech, and academic worlds by storm. The technology has already been used to repair defective DNA in mice and to edit genes in crops. Ultimately, the precise nature of the genome-editing tool has tremendous potential to lead to many treatments and cures for patients.
On June 29th, MassBio hosted two standing room only panels on the opportunities and challenges targeted genome editing presents. The panels couldn’t have been more timely with an article published just the day before by the Wall Street Journal on CRISPR and why it has scientists so excited.
Panelist Tom Barnes, Chief Scientific Officer at Intellia Therapeutics echoed the article when he shared his thoughts on the new tool:
Although gene editing has existed as a new therapeutic modality for a little while, the advent of the CRISPR/Cas 9 system has resulted in an explosion of activity in academia and an explosion of interest in editing in industry. Academics are drawn to its reliability, speed, and low cost, while in industry we are drawn to its simplicity, efficacy and accuracy.” – Tom Barnes
Dr. Barnes was one of several industry and academic panelists. The full list included:
- Tom Barnes, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer, Intellia Therapeutics
- Katrine Bosley, Chief Executive Officer, Editas Medicine
- Bill Lundberg, MD, Chief Scientific Officer, CRISPR Therapeutics
- Scott Gillis, Principal, Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Consultation, CEO, Onsite Therapeutics, Inc. (Moderator)
- George Church, PhD, Professor of Genetics, Harvard Medical School
- Chad Cowan, PhD, Associate Professor, Harvard University Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology
- Erik Sontheimer, PhD, Professor of Molecular Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School
- Bruce R. Zetter, PhD, Charles Nowiszewski Professor of Cancer Biology, Department of Surgery, Harvard Medical School (Moderator)
The first panel covered optimal disease candidates, ethical dilemmas surrounding the technology and more. Read on to hear some of the big questions addressed.
What is the ideal candidate for CRISPR?
The panel suggested monogenic diseases that have both a high unmet need and high severity level are good candidates for CRIPSR/Cas 9.
Intellia Therapeutics’ core mission is to lead the industry in therapeutic gene editing, utilizing the promise of the CRISPR/Cas9 technology. We are solely focused on the research and clinical development of gene editing therapies for patients with genetically-based diseases. The development of CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technology opened a new frontier in biomedical research. Adapted to take advantage of natural cellular repair processes, CRISPR/Cas9 permits the editing of targeted genes with unprecedented simplicity and flexibility. The incredible potential of this technology for treating human genetic disease inspired a group of life science veterans to create Intellia Therapeutics. Link
Scilligence is a leading innovator of cross-platform, web-based mobile cheminformatics and bioinformatics solutions. We supply pharmaceutical, biotech, and chemical industries with state of the art informatics tools to improve their R&D bottom line. By seeding universities, research institutes and government agencies with our innovative tools, we empower leading scientists working on the cutting edge of life science research and help training of next generation scientists. Scilligence’s proprietary technologies address two main areas of unmet needs: knowledge management, IP protection and collaboration; knowledge mining of unstructured data. Link