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The new chairman of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) is promising to crack down on “bad actors” that increase drug prices “dramatically”—in part by expelling member companies that carry out the sky-high hikes. Jeremy M. Levin, D.Phil., MB BChir., who is also chairman and CEO of Ovid Therapeutics, told GEN such expulsions would be considered individually, and didn’t define how high a dramatic price increase would be to incur the wrath of BIO. “We need to look case-by-case. There are some that are blatantly obvious,” Levin said in an interview during BIO’s 2019 International Convention, held in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. “We’ve seen gentlemen dressed in hoodies who’ve taken action to do this in a way which is nothing short of daylight robbery.”
High School Student from Pennsylvania Receives Top Honor at International BioGENEius Challenge: Students from California and Georgia named runners-up
June 4, 2019 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Neil Deshmukh (11thGrade, Monrovian Academy, Bethlehem, PA) was named the grand prize winner of the International BioGENEius Challenge, the premier competition for high school students that recognizes outstanding research and innovation in biotechnology. Judged by industry and academic experts, Neil’s research on a low cost, scalable device and associated algorithms with diagnostic potential for multiple states stood out among the impressive research from his 15 fellow finalists. Along with the top honor, Neil will return home with a cash prize of $7,500.
The University of Georgia’s startup program generates economic value of more than half a billion dollars annually, according to a new analysis. Startup companies created through Innovation Gateway, the university’s arm for research commercialization, have an economic impact of $531 million across the United States, including $322 million in the state of Georgia. “We’re thrilled to be able to attach an economic impact number to the university’s work in startups,” said Derek Eberhart, associate vice president for research and executive director of Innovation Gateway. “We know there’s a lot of value created by startup companies emerging from UGA research, and we now have data that quantify that impact.” The study, conducted by UGA economist Jeffrey Dorfman, is the most comprehensive survey to date on the impact of UGA-assisted startups. Dorfman used data from Innovation Gateway’s 2018 survey of startup companies—including jobs created, payroll and operating expenses—to calculate an estimate of overall economic impact.
Officials with the FDA today approved lenalidomide (Revlimid, Celgene) in combination with a rituximab product (R2) for the treatment of adult patients with previously-treated follicular lymphoma (FL) or marginal zone lymphoma (MZL), according to a press release. R2 previously received Priority Review designation from the FDA. With this approval, this is the first combination regimen for patients with these indolent forms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) that does not include chemotherapy. Indolent lymphomas, which account for approximately 40% of all NHL cases, are slow-growing forms of the disease, which can often be asymptomatic or have fewer symptoms upon diagnosis. Most patients with indolent forms of NHL will relapse or become refractory to their current treatment, according to Celgene.
ArunA Bio to Provide Corporate Update and Participate on a Panel at the 2019 BIO International Convention
-- Panel Discussion Will Highlight Impact of Exosomes as Therapeutics and Drug Delivery Vehicles -- Athens, GA—May 22, 2019—ArunA Bio, Inc., a leader in the development of neural exosomes for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, today announced that Dr. Mark A. Sirgo, Chief Executive Officer, will lead a corporate presentation at the 2019 BIO International Convention occurring June 3-6, 2019 in Philadelphia, PA. Dr. Sirgo will provide an update on the company’s emerging pipeline and proprietary neural exosome drug delivery capabilities. In addition, Dr. Steven Stice, Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, will participate on a panel entitled “Harnessing the Potential of Exosomes”. The panel will explore the full potential of exosomes, and Dr. Stice will discuss the use of exosomes as both a therapeutic and a drug delivery vehicle.
Officials with the FDA have approved extending the indication of Takeda Pharmaceuticals’ teduglutide (Gattex) for injection to pediatric patients age 1 year and older with Short Bowel Syndrome (SBS) who need additional nutrition or fluids from intravenous (IV) feeding, according to the drug manufacturer. Children with SBS are unable to absorb enough nutrients and fluids from what they eat and drink alone. A goal of SBS treatment is to restore the patient’s ability to absorb nutrients and reduce long-term dependence on parenteral support (PS). “As a pediatric gastroenterologist, one of my main treatment goals for children with SBS is to reduce their dependency on parenteral support,” said Beth Carter, MD, Medical Director of Intestinal Rehabilitation and Nutrition Support, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, in a prepared statement. “I’m pleased that patients have access to a medication that may help them reach that goal.”
An immunomodulator drug to fight multiple myeloma should be available for more patients on the NHS in England and Wales, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) announced today. Lenalidomide (Revlimid, Celgene) could soon be offered to patients with this form of plasma cell cancer as a first- and second-line drug, it said.
The Georgia Research Alliance (GRA) has used $649 million in state tax dollars to generate $6 billion in federal money and private investment, the Atlanta-based nonprofit reported Thursday. The numbers come from an 11-page report put together after freshman Gov. Brian Kemp asked GRA officials to document its impact on the state economy. Launched in 1990 during the administration of the late Gov. Zell Miller to grow Georgia's technology industry, the GRA budget has shrunk under recent governors. However, the fiscal 2020 spending plan the General Assembly adopted this year holds its funding steady at about $5.1 million.
GeoVax Labs, Inc. (OTCQB: GOVXD), a biotechnology company developing human vaccines, today announced its financial results for the three months ended March 31, 2019 and provided an update on its corporate development progress.
Takeda Pharmaceutical CEO Christophe Weber promised greater cost savings from the company's purchase of Irish drugmaker Shire, lifting the savings target by 43% versus its earlier forecast. "It will be a critical year for Takeda, in which our integration with Shire will begin," Weber said in an earnings briefing on Tuesday in Tokyo. Takeda raised the cost-savings target for its combination with Shire, stating that by the end of 2021 the annual pretax target will be as high as $2 billion. Previously, the Japanese drugmaker had predicted savings of about $1.4 billion. Optimizing its supply chain, enhancing sales and marketing efficiency and eliminating administrative overlap will bring about the greater savings, Takeda said.
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