Moderna and NIH Partnering on Wuhan Virus

At least four groups have started to develop vaccines to protect against the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that was first detected in Wuhan, China. Among the companies working on a vaccine, Moderna and NIH have announced a partnership that will explore both a vaccine and therapeutic approach. However, work will begin with an investigation of the efficacy of existing antivirals and mAbs. The NIH plans to initiate this process by testing to determine if mAbs against the SARS virus are effective against the Wuhan Virus. At the same, Moderna will be working closely with the NIH on an mRNA vaccine. Estimates place the availability of a vaccine on an emergency basis at 1-2 years. Learn More

Biotech CEO Being Investigated for Insider Trading

Belgium's financial services and markets authority (FSMA) said this week that it had opened an investigation into suspected insider trading against the chief executive of Mithra Pharmaceuticals. Francois Fornieri is suspected of buying Mithra shares via a third party in order to avoid mandatory notifications to the regulator, FSMA said, adding it had been looking into the case since September. For his part, Fornieri was quoted in Belgian business daily L'Echo as saying the allegation was nonsense, asking why he would do such an elaborate move to buy 40,000 shares when he already owned almost 13 million. Learn More

China Launches Price War to Reshuffle Biopharma Industry

China's centralized procurement program, which seeks the lowest prices for therapeutics, is being seen by many as seeking to force foreign firms to revalue their access to the Chinese market. While at the same time prompting local firms to create strategies for survival under a policy that aims to consolidate the industry. Roughly 77 biopharma companies won contracts with the Chinese government by slashing prices of drugs by 53% on average, according to Chinese state media. Twenty-four foreign biopharma companies also joined the bidding process. Those who won the bids cut the prices of their originator drugs by 82% on average, the state media reported. Learn More


EU Court of Justice Rules in Favor of EMA in Transparency Case

The Court of Justice of the EU this week ruled that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) acted lawfully when it released certain toxicology reports and a clinical study report from two sponsors that wanted to keep that information confidential. The cases centered around PTC Therapeutics and MSD Animal Health, which claimed that EMA's disclosure of a clinical study report, in the case of PTC, and five toxicology reports from MSD Animal Health would undermine their commercial interests. But the Court of Justice concluded, siding with the General Court ruling from February 2018. Learn More


Small-Scale Bioreactor Supports High Density HEK293 Cell Perfusion Culture for the Production of Recombinant Erythropoietin

Process intensification in mammalian cell culture-based recombinant protein production has been achieved by high cell density perfusion exceeding 108 cells/mL in the recent years. As the majority of therapeutic proteins are produced in Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells, intensified perfusion processes have been mainly developed for this type of host cell line. However, the use of CHO cells can result in non-human posttranslational modifications of the protein of interest, which may be disadvantageous compared with human cell lines. In this study, we developed a high cell density perfusion process of Human Embryonic Kidney (HEK293) cells producing recombinant human Erythropoietin (rhEPO). The results from our study show that human cell lines, such as HEK293 can be used for intensified perfusion processes. Learn More


I’m looking for a small footprint gas analyzer to use in my mammalian cell culture to measure carbon dioxide. Any suggestions?

I would take a look at the products offered by the folks at BlueSens, specifically their BlueInOne Cell. It is a compact gas analyzer capable of measuring in parallel both carbon dioxide and oxygen online as well as in real-time. They are a German firm with a rather long history of addressing bioprocessing applications specifically.

BlueInOne Cell

Microcell POD for Aseptic Filling of Advanced Therapies

G-CON Manufacturing and Vanrx Pharmasystems have collaborated on the development of the Microcell POD. A fully integrated, pre-qualified, pre-installed aseptic filling facility comprised of Vanrx's Microcell Vial Filler installed inside G-CON's prefabricated cleanroom POD. The first of its kind offering requires a lead time of just 3 months and is able to be shipped globally. The Microcell POD is seen as ideal for drug development, and the manufacturing of personalized medicines and clinical trial supplies. Learn More


Online Product Launch

Wednesday, February 12th, 2020

Join us when we unveil the latest family member of the Eppendorf Bioprocess product family: Our next-generation bioprocess controller. Curious? Join one of the two sessions

5 PM CET / 8 AM PST / 11 AM EST

The online event will take approximately 60 minutes. During the event, we will introduce our brand-new bioprocess controller and you will have the opportunity to see and learn more about it in the virtual showroom. You will be able to log in 15 minutes before the official start and are welcome to explore the virtual conference area, before joining us in the auditorium. 

We're looking forward to meeting you at our online conference!

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Drug Combo Reverses Arthritis in Rats

Salk researchers have discovered that a powerful combination of two experimental drugs reverses the cellular and molecular signs of osteoarthritis in rats as well as in isolated human cartilage cells. Previous research had pinpointed two molecules, alpha-KLOTHO and TGF beta receptor 2 (TGFβR2), as potential drugs to treat osteoarthritis. While each drug alone had only moderately curbed osteoarthritis, Izpisua Belmonte and his colleagues discovered through their research that the two drugs are more effective in concert. Their results were published in the journal Protein & Cell on January 16th, 2020. Learn More


Lyophilized Formulation of HGF

A U.S. Patent for a "Lyophilized Formulation of HGF" was awarded to Eisai on January 21st, 2020. The present invention provides a lyophilized formulation having improved storage stability of hepatic growth factor compared to conventional lyophilized formulations. The present invention provides a lyophilized formulation comprising (1) a hepatic growth factor, (2) trehalose and (3) one or more compounds selected from the group consisting of arginine, histidine, lysine, meglumine, glutamic acid, aspartic acid, proline, creatine, creatinine, tris(hydroxymethyl)aminomethane, and pharmaceutically acceptable salts thereof. Learn More

1957 Toy Company Wham-O Produces First Frisbees

On this day in 1957, machines at the Wham-O toy company rolled out the first batch of their aerodynamic plastic discs-now known to millions of fans all over the world as Frisbees. Wham-O had acquired the rights to manufacture what was then known as the "Pluto Platter in 1955. Learn More


How Doctors Can Help Low-Income Patients and Still Make a Profit

Modern American health care is defined by its high costs, high overhead and inaccessibility -- especially for low-income patients. What if we could redesign the system to serve the poor and still have doctors make money? In an eye-opening (and surprisingly funny) talk, physician P.J. Parmar shares the story of the clinic he founded in Colorado, where he serves only resettled refugees who mostly use Medicaid, and makes the business case for a fresh take on medical service. Learn More


Lilly to Build $470 Million Manufacturing Facility in North Carolina

Eli Lilly and Company has made public plans to build a $470 million dollar biopharma manufacturing plant, creating more than 460 high-paying jobs, in Durham, North Carolina. The decision to build in North Carolina comes after the company conducted a nationwide search for a location for the new plant. Indiana, Pennsylvania and North Carolina were the finalists. According to published reports the new facility will produce injectable products and delivery devices. Alert readers will recall that late last year Lilly announced plans to invest $400 million into its manufacturing facilities at the Lilly Technology Center in Indianapolis. Learn More


There’s an Old Finnish Measurement Unit Called a Poronkusema, which Translates to “Reindeer’s Piss”

It describes the distance a reindeer can travel without having to stop to pee, which is roughly 4.5 to 5 miles (7 - 7.5 km). Learn More