Industry Updates

Why Big Pharma Wants To Be Like Big Biotech | Xconomy25 Aug

A good introduction to biologics vs small molecules, generics and biosimilars, and other pricing forces shaping the pharma/biotech marketplace.

Industry Updates,Venture Capital

Can The Genome Be Cracked for $5,000? OVP, Enterprise Partners Say Yes in $45M Round | Xconomy25 Aug

An update from Complete Gemonics on their commitment to bring a $5000 genome product to market this year; they’ve had delays, but now they have $45M in cash to build their production process. Expect sequencing tool manufacturers like San Diego area Life Technologies and Illumina to be watching this carefully.

Industry Updates

San Diego Biotech Startups Raise New Cash to Treat Anemia, Heart Disease and More | Xconomy21 Aug

Cash continues to flow to good biotech firms, three listed here. Of these, Auspex’s deuterium modification project – replacing strategic hydrogen molecules in a drug with deuterium to slow liver metabolism and excretion – looks particularly interesting, with the potential for far-reaching changes to the way small molecules are used and marketed as pharmaceuticals.

Industry Updates,Venture Capital

AltheaDx Raising $6M | Xconomy21 Aug

Another sign of recovery – local biotech Althea raises venture capital to keep investing in biomarkers and other diagnostics. Althea looks particularly interesting for their work on KRAS oncogenes.

Industry Updates

Amgen Trial Shows Mixed Result | Xconomy18 Aug

Disappointing results for Amgen’s Vectibix, which succeeded at reducing tumors for colon cancer patients with normal KRAS genes but failed to help them live longer. This trial was a landmark for the “personalized medicine” approach of using genetic biomarkers to identify which patients can effectively use a drug, and the trial’s failure may cast the whole approach into question.

Industry Updates

Amgen’s Personalized Strategy for Cancer Pays Off in Big Colon Cancer Trial | Xconomy11 Aug

An exciting success story for personalized medicine – Amgen demonstrates that its colon cancer treatment Vectibix works markedly better for patients without a mutated KRAS gene. Whether this drug is worth $8000 a month for you or not can be predicted by a single SNP biomarker.

Industry Updates

Vertex Drug Could Be “Man on the Moon” for Cystic Fibrosis Therapy, Says Researcher Bonnie Ramsey | Xconomy11 Aug

A great extended interview about how rare disease foundations are partnering with biotechs, providing seed funding and helping organize eager trial participants to bring new therapies to market. Also note the personalized medicine aspect of this story; VX-770 and VX-809 are targetted specifically at patients who express the G551D mutation as root cause for their cystic fibrosis.

Vertex has been a brilliant financial innovator in the biotech sector; I would love to meet their financial team!

Industry Updates

Ichor Gets $3.3M Alzheimer’s Grant | Xconomy11 Aug

Ichor follows a recent trend of biotechs to partner with non-profits as sources of funding for new therapies. Preventing and treating Alzheimer’s is a laudable goal in and of itself, but with uncertainty in the IPO market and with pressure on pharma patent holders to change their business model, having a foundation supporting your work is a great back-pocket strategy.

Industry Updates

Clinical Trial? There’s an app for that!10 Aug

Healogica now has an iPhone app for finding clinical trials with experimental drugs or therapies you might be interested in joining. Proceeds go to support Steve Jobs’ foundation looking for cures to pancreatic cancer.

Industry Updates

Big drug firms embrace generics: Friends for life | The Economist09 Aug

This week’s article from The Economist on the pressure big pharma is facing on drug prices and business practices for working with generic drug producers. Giants like GSK and Pfizer are needing to innovate new business models as patent protections on existing therapies come down, while meantime their product pipelines are looking bit dry for new blockbusters.

Thus much of the financial innovation we’re seeing in biotech, with rare disease networks and governments pitching in to help fund late-phase trials for interesting new therapies. And also the push to personalized medicine, with small molecules targeted to work with specific genetic anomalies for a much smaller subset of the population than would traditionally be viable.

Big drug firms embrace generics: Friends for life | The Economist

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