Increases in drug-resistant infections have not, in recent decades, been matched by the development of novel antibiotics and antifungals. As a result, infections that were once terrifying, and then routine, are coming full circle to be once more untreatable. New "engineered antibiotics," like those being developed by EnBiotix Inc., could provide a new stable of effective treatments.
Everyone in the U.S. who hasn't been living under a rock is aware that we have been hit by a particularly pernicious flu season. And the key to controlling the influenza or any contagion is not only early detection, but also in predicting the trajectory of the disease. Here, social media, especially Twitter, is playing a big role.
With the books closed on 2012, the writers at Fierce Vaccines can confirm—as expected—that a majority of the major FDA vaccine approvals went to trivalent influenza vaccines. Manufacturers, after all, need to reformulate them each season. But two new quadrivalent flu vaccines from GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca also joined the ranks, scheduled to hit the market later this year.
Despite spending more on healthcare per person than other high-income countries, Americans die sooner, are least likely to reach the age of 50 years, and have higher rates of disease or injury. When judged by health alone, Americans are less healthy from birth to 75 years of age than people in 16 other economically wealthy countries, and this health disadvantage has been getting worse for 30 years, especially among women.
While there are a number of new treatments being developed to improve chemotherapy through its actual delivery or through its ability to specifically target cancer cells, cancer immunotherapy could be an entirely different level of safety and efficacy for cancer patients.
Big pharma companies such as Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Merck & Co. may be back in the hunt for big-dollar acquisitions. The J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, held in San Francisco last week, saw a number of companies looking "to get a sense of available and competing assets," according to a Bloomberg News report. The report goes on to note that big pharma is also "on the hunt for assets to fill revenue holes left by expired patents."
OPKO Health Inc. has expanded its collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb for the company's diagnostic test technology. OPKO's simple blood tests are being developed to identify biomarkers for a wide variety of diseases, including neurodegenerative disorders and various malignancies.
Broadly speaking, as far down as the industry tumbled with the economic crash a few years back, folks are starting to see brief bits of sunshine and are hoping for more.
Embryonic stem cell researchers were reported to be "jubilant" after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider a case that would have blocked National Institutes of Health research using the cells. The case was brought by two adult stem cell researchers seeking to "to emancipate human embryos from research slavery sponsored by the NIH."
Pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer Inc. and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. have spent the last several years digesting earlier acquisitions, refocusing product development and setting aside cash in anticipation of expiring patents. Now, the expectation is they're are ready to start buying again.
What does 2013 hold for the biotech industry? America didn't fall off the fiscal cliff when the clock struck midnight on New Year's Eve, yet 2013 still presents numerous challenges for the biopharma industry to overcome. Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News has compiled a list of some key biopharma developments likely to shape the coming 12 months.