Bio Saga Headlines

Bio Saga

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Indian researchers find the pathway to cancer

BANGALORE, Indian Researchers have achieved a breakthrough, identifying a protein pathway that triggers cancer in the human body owing to its erratic behaviour.

Researchers at Bangalore’s National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) led by Satyajit Mayor and Neha Vyas have identified what is known as the Hedgehog pathway and the ways in which it forms and leads to cancer. The researchers, who have published their work in the journal, Cell, say this pathway is formed when the proteins (called hedgehog), which are separate, get drawn to each other by electrostatic interactions between amino acids present around the proteins.

A small cluster of proteins then gets formed and goes on to form a mega-cluster. This travels to other cells and creates effects that are good or bad — the cluster could be normal and help organ regeneration or tissue repair, or the cluster could get hyperactive and affect other cells, which is the sign that cancer is coming.

Simply put, the NCBS research indicates that hyperactivity of the hedgehog proteins within the human body can cause cancer and that its cluster formation has to be prevented to eliminate the possibility of hyperactivity entirely.

“Identifying the initial step that initiates the electrostatic attraction between amino acids that bring together hedgehog proteins in a cluster might help other scientists to design an anti-cancer drug that could stall a mutant hedgehog pathway in effective ways,” Said Neha. Such a drug could target the very source of these attractions — the amino acids that cause them — which are the first cause of cancer.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

NIH's Funding Boost to Support Grants

The National Institutes of Health will allow the average award value of competing grants for fiscal 2008 to increase by three percent for fiscal 2009, in line with the three percent increase the institutes received under this year's budget appropriation from Congress, NIH said this week.

NIH is predicting that this year's appropriation of $30.3 billion from the omnibus spending bill will allow its institutes and centers (ICs) to support approximately 9,800 new and competing research project grants.

The ICs are expected to maintain the average number of new investigators as it did in the five most recent years, and to continue to use the NIH Director's Innovator Awards and the NIH Pathway to Independence awards within the common fund.

The ICs also are expected to continue to use the NIH Director's Bridge Award Program, which gives continued but limited funding to meritorious investigators whose applications were close to the funding range of the relevant IC, but which have little support from elsewhere. That program will provide up to one year's funding across NIH in order to "help balance the grant cycling variation challenges and support other approaches to sustain established grantees and first time competing renewals."

NIH also said that the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Awards will support a one percent increase in fiscal 2009 in all stipend levels.

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Pioneering Biomedical Web Community Poised For Leap To Web 3.0

The Alzheimer Research Forum (http://www.alzforum.org), a dynamic, biomedical Web community that is heavily used by Alzheimer researchers around the world, is preparing to migrate to a new platform that will enable it to more fully exploit social networking ("Web 2.0") and the Semantic Web ("Web 3.0"). Founded 13 years ago when the Web was still in its infancy, the "Alzforum" has more than 5,000 registered members and is familiar to most Alzheimer scientists in the world.

Ever since launching in 1996, the Alzforum Web site has been interactive, posting researchers' comments on published papers and research news. The site has published thousands of peer commentaries and mini-reviews by leading scientists in the field, and has established itself as the "go to" Web site for anyone who wished to be up to date on Alzheimer research. Members can post commentaries on any journal article or news story, and can participate in live discussion forums. Researchers frequently reference Alzforum in scientific papers and conduct weekly "Alzforum" sessions in their labs to discuss current findings. The AlzGene database, designed and curated by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and developed and hosted by Alzforum, is a workhorse of the global genetic community, and has generated a primary research publication in Nature Genetics. Alzforum has built numerous other data resources for the research community.

This spring, Alzforum will re-develop its site using the Scientific Collaboration Framework (SCF), a project based on open-source Drupal technology that is designed for building scientific Web communities. SCF was piloted by the Harvard Stem Cell Institute to build a Web publication called StemBook (www.stembook.org). Alzforum will develop some new software modules in Drupal and contribute them back to the SCF, where they will be freely available for other research organizations that are building their own Web communities. (SCF software is available at http://www.sciencecollaboration.org).

SCF is well-suited for publishing articles, comments, forums and blogs, and for managing member communities with fine degrees of editorial control. "We want it to be very easy for anyone to participate, but it's also essential for our editors to vet all postings in order to maintain civil and productive discourse," says Alzforum's co-founder and Executive Editor June Kinoshita.

A feature of SCF that Alzforum's editors are excited about is a semantic tagging module that locates scientific terms within an article, such as names of genes, organisms, and biological processes, and proposes them as tags that describe key concepts in the article. The tags enable the user to search other content with matching or related tags, so that an article about a gene can be automatically linked to a description of the gene, to articles about the gene, and even to the profiles of scientists who study that gene.

"The possibilities this opens up for scientists to navigate a knowledge network of articles, databases, and people is amazing," says Kinoshita. "And all of the Web communities that share the SCF platform will be interconnected. Alzforum has always been about building a research community without walls. Using the SCF, we will take this idea to a whole other level."













Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Molecular Connections Launches XTractor Premium for Effective Knowledge Management and real time access to Biomedical data

Bangalore, India — Indian Life Sciences Informatics Company, Molecular Connections announced today, the launch of XTractor Premium (www.xtractor.in/premium), a new Knowledge Management Platform designed to enable Pharmaceutical Companies, Researchers, Scientists identify, verify and develop predictive relationships from PubMed Literature.

The release of XTractor Premium reflects the evolution of our client’s knowledge management needs and our continued commitment to provide knowledge solutions which add value & bring better efficiencies in Drug discovery,” said Jignesh Bhate CEO Molecular Connections.

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About Molecular Connections

Molecular Connections is a pioneering In silico Discovery Services Company. It provides high quality, cost effective curation, literature informatics solutions and annotation services as well as products. Dr. Limsoon Wong is the Chairman of Molecular Connections. Customers of Molecular Connections include leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology, drug discovery, genomics, proteomics, medical technology, equipment companies and academic institutions spanning across the globe. In addition, Molecular Connections has powerful tool development, database integration, effective data visualization capabilities, specific expertise in building knowledge bases for rapidly growing needs in, ADME Tox, clinical, drugs, chemistry and patent industries. For more information write to us at xtractorpremium@molecularconnections.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

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Gel for Controlled Drug Delivery

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have demonstrated that a gel composed of small, woven protein fragments can successfully carry and release proteins of different sizes, potentially enabling the delivery of drugs such as insulin and trastuzumab (Herceptin).

Researchers can control the rate of release by changing the density of the gel, allowing for continuous drug delivery over a specific period of time. The team is led by Shuguang Zhang, associate director of MIT's Center for Biomedical Engineering.

The gel, known as a "nanofiber hydrogel scaffold," enables a gradual release of the proteins from the gel over hours, days or even months. The gel itself is eventually broken down into harmless amino acids - the building blocks of proteins. Peptide hydrogels are ideally suited for drug delivery as they are pure, easy to design and use, non-toxic, non-immunogenic, bio-absorbable, and can be locally applied to a particular tissue.

Composed of self-assembling amino acid chains (peptides), the gel is about 99 percent water by volume. Depending on the size and density of the mesh, it can carry protein molecules between 14,000 and 150,000 daltons (a unit of molecular weight). Trastuzumab, an antibody protein often used to treat breast and ovarian cancer under the brand name Herceptin, is about 50,000 daltons. Researchers also showed that proteins carried by the gel emerge unscathed after delivery, with no adverse affect on their function.

Potential applications include delivery of insulin, monoclonal antibodies such as Herceptin, hormones, growth factors and cancer drugs, as well as eye medications.


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Roche to Buy German Cell Analysis Company

Roche has reached an agreement with Innovatis to buy the cell analysis company for €15 million ($19.5 million), the Swiss life sciences firm said today. Roche said that the acquisition of the Bielefeld, Germany-based company, which focuses on automated cell analysis solutions including cell counting, viability testing, and cell function, fits with its strategy to strengthen its cell research market offerings.

Innovatis will become a fully integrated part of Roche Applied Science, and it will develop and market its products through that part of Roche's diagnostics division. Roceh said that Innovatis' technology will complement its existing cell analysis products and is synergistic with its xCelligence technology, which was launched last year.

"Roche has been one of our key customers for many years, in particular since the successful development of our cell analysis technology over 10 years ago," Innovatis CEO Michael Grohmann said in a statement. Roche said it expects the deal to close in a few weeks, after it receives approval from shareholders and is cleared by regulators.



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Monday, March 16, 2009

23andMe-Led Team Offers Program to Enroll Parkinson's Patients

The personal genetics service firm 23andMe, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, and the Parkinson's Institute and Clinical Center announced yesterday that they are enrolling 10,000 people to be part of a new Parkinson's disease community. The effort is aimed at establishing the resources necessary for future genome-wide association studies and other research initiatives.

In an effort to entice individuals with Parkinson's disease to participate, 23andMe is slashing the price of its service from $399 to $25 for a limited time for up to 10,000 individuals with Parkinson's disease who sign up through the Parkinson's Institute or the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Google co-founder Sergey Brin, who is married to 23andMe co-founder Ann Wojcicki, will ante up an undisclosed amount of cash to subsidize the genotyping costs.

To be eligible, individuals must have physician-diagnosed Parkinson's disease and agree to provide saliva samples and fill out online surveys about their condition. Members of the Parkinson's community will also have access to the complete 23andMe Personal Genome Service. Current 23andMe customers who do not have the disease can participate as healthy controls in the project by voluntarily filling out the company's Parkinson's disease survey.

The latest research project is distinct from a collaboration between the same organizations announced last spring, Rachel Cohen, manager of communications at 23andMe. Cohen said that effort was specifically aimed at developing web-based diagnostic tools for Parkinson's disease, whereas the latest project is aimed at making sure they have individuals with Parkinson's disease on board for research efforts.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Roche raises Genentech bid to $45.7bn

Roche has upped its offer for Genentech to $93 a share, believing that this will be sufficient to bring the drawn out takeover to a close.

The bid is still a long way short of the $112 that Genentech is alleged to have valued itself at, according to a Roche filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Despite this, and the possibility that positive data from Avastin trials could send Genentech’s share price over $100, Franz Humer, chairman of the Roche Group, is confident the deal will go through.

Genentech has urged shareholders not to act until the Special Committee has taken a formal position, which will happen “promptly”.




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Merck moves for Schering in $41bn mega-merger

The year of the mega-merger continues with Merck & Co’s move to buy Schering-Plough for $41.1bn, with the intention of boosting its pipeline, entering new markets and creating a “powerful biologics presence”.

Merck follows Pfizer and Roche to become the third company this year to launch a takeover bid worth over $40bn, drawing on their sizeable cash reserves in an attempt to equip themselves for challenging years ahead. Although critics argue that mergers of scale do not maximise stockholder value and diminish R&D returns, many feel they are necessary to ensure earnings per share continue to grow in the current environment.

Among the proponents of mega-mergers is Merck’s CEO Richard Clark, who believes the acquisition of Schering will create “a strong, global healthcare leader built for sustainable growth and success”. Clark added: "The combined company will benefit from a formidable research and development pipeline, a significantly broader portfolio of medicines and an expanded presence in key international markets, particularly in high-growth emerging markets.”

Merck is expecting the merger to generate annual savings of $3.5bn from 2011 onwards, with some of this probably being a result of integrating operations from their Vytorin (ezetimibe/simvastatin) joint venture. Merck has outlined the factors it believes makes Schering a wise acquisition target, with the companies’ complementary product portfolios and pipelines topping the list.

Through the acquisition Merck will double the number of products it has in Phase III to 18, with this being supported by “high potential” early and mid stage pipelines. In addition the life cycles of existing products could be extended, by creating new combinations or formulations using Merck’s and Schering’s respective therapeutics and technologies.Merck also listed the boost in production capacity as a justification for the takeover, stating that it will realise synergies by looking at all operations in light of its “lean manufacturing and sourcing strategies”, which IBM said cut plant operating expenses by 20 per cent.

Although Merck has indicated that the merger will result in a 15 per cent reduction in staff there is currently no indication whether any manufacturing facilities will be sold, with the company instead focusing on the benefits of having additional biologics and sterile medicines capacity.

Merck, like the majority of the industry, is increasingly focusing on biologics, with the company hoping the combination of its novel proprietary biologics platform with Schering’s expertise will equip it for growth. This expansion into new product markets will be accompanied by a furthering of Merck’s geographic reach, helping it to generate a larger proportion of its revenues from outside the US.

Schering generates 70 per cent of its revenue from countries other than the US and Merck hopes the resulting company will have a 50-50 split with the rest of the world.



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Obama Signs Memo to 'Protect' Science & Funding for Stem Cell Research

At the White House signing this afternoon of an executive order to overturn the previous administration's ban on using human embryonic stem cells in research, US President Barack Obama also signed a memorandum that he said is aimed at insulating science from politics.

Obama said today that the Scientific Integrity Presidential Memorandum charges the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy with development of "a strategy for restoring scientific integrity to government decision making." He said that his administration will "base our public policies on the soundest science …[and] appoint scientific advisors based on their credentials and experience, not their politics or ideology." In addition, Obama said that his administration will be "open and honest with the American people about the science behind our decisions."

He also said that promoting science is about more than providing resources, but also involves "ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda – and that we make scientific decisions base on facts, not ideology." The memorandum gives the director 120 days to develop a set of recommendations based on several principles, including those pertaining to: how candidates are hired; how integrity is protected within agencies; how information used in making policy decisions is reviewed; how agencies shall make scientific and technical knowledge public, when possible; and how whistleblower and other protections should be adopted for protecting the integrity of research.

It also states that the heads of the different research agencies will work with the OSTP director to develop recommendations for the White House.

President Barack Obama’s Executive Order to allow the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to fund research using embryonic stem cells.


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Pfizer and Aurobindo to Commercialize Generic Medicines in the US and Europe

Pfizer has entered into a series of agreements with Aurobindo Pharma, a pharmaceutical company based in India, to commercialize medicines that are no longer patent protected, and have lost market exclusivity in the US and Europe.

Under the terms, Pfizer has acquired rights to 39 generic solid oral dose products in the US and 20 in Europe, plus an additional 11 in France. These medicines cover a range of therapeutic areas including cardiovascular disease and Central Nervous System disorders, and will be commercialized in the US through Pfizer's Greenstone subsidiary.

The company has also acquired rights to 12 sterile injectable products in the US and Europe. These medicines are antibiotics including penicillins and cephalosporins.

The global non-exclusive market represents about $270 billion with solid oral dose products representing the largest drug category. This category is anticipated to continue its rapid increase in market share and has an estimated growth potential of over $500 billion within the next five years.


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Friday, March 6, 2009

HIV Experts Propose New Approach to Eradicate HIV in Latest Issue of Science

A group of leading HIV experts call for the exploration of a new approach to treating HIV – one that could ultimately help eradicate the virus– through a collaboration involving academia, industry, government and patient advocates. This new approach to HIV treatment is discussed in a perspective article published in the March 6, 2009 issue of Science.

The article, provocatively titled, “The Challenge of a Cure for HIV Infection,” is authored by three academics, Doug Richman, UCSD; David Margolis, UNC; Warner Greene, UCSF; one community advocate, the late Martin Delaney, Project Inform; and two industry scientist leaders Daria Hazuda, Merck; Roger Pomerantz, Tibotec.

This diverse group came together to set a goal for the next era in HIV therapeutics – drug free remission – and assemble a coordinated initiative to identify potential interventions and a clinical assessment to reach this goal. The initiative, which the authors coined a “collaboratory,” aims to accelerate the progress of individual research groups, harness the drug discovery capabilities of industry and utilize the government to coordinate regulatory approaches and mobilize funding.

“A successful vaccine or microbicide still remains a significant challenge in spite of billions of dollars and years of research, and having millions of people on lifelong highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) may not be sustainable,” said Roger Pomerantz, M.D., FACP, President of Tibotec R&D. “At Tibotec, we have a heritage of partnership and collaboration, and we are committed to forging new approaches with others to develop HIV therapeutics that could finally eradicate the disease.”

Envisioning the Post-HAART Era

Since the arrival of HAART more than a decade ago, people diagnosed with HIV have gained a lengthened life expectancy and improved quality of life. Today, patients newly infected with HIV can expect to live 40-50 years as a result of HAART. However, HAART is not the optimal solution for HIV – it requires lifelong therapy, the medication can cause various side effects and the effects of long-term HAART are not yet known. And, if HAART is interrupted, the virus rapidly replicates and the patients’ immune system is attacked once more. HAART suppresses the virus, but it is unable to eradicate it completely. As a result, the virus persists in latently infected cells (HIV latency) and other reservoirs. The authors conclude that eradicating the virus from these cells and reservoirs is a crucial approach in the pursuit for therapies that could provide drug free remission and potentially, a cure.

The three academics and two industry scientists who authored the Science article have individually been involved in independent studies of HIV latency and reservoirs, and there has been significant progress in understanding these conditions. However, the authors point out, such discrete studies may be duplicative and slow to build up a complete picture.

“A flexible, collaborative private-public joint venture has the possibility to catalyze progress in the search for therapeutic interventions that can eradicate HIV and result in drug-free remission for HIV patients,” said Paul Stoffels, M.D., Company Group Chairman, Johnson & Johnson. “This new approach of ‘open innovation’ is critical if we are to meet the really big challenges that remain today in the HIV field, such as eradication.”

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Anna University develops bio-defence shield

Microbes as bio-defence against chemical weapons, a skin-thin membrane to protect soldiers against toxic environments and cost-effective bio-diesel to fuel military vehicles are among the contributions researchers in the city are set to make for the Indian solider. Developing these futuristic systems is Anna University, with funding from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

Of the 12 projects the university submitted, DRDO has approved four and allocated Rs 88 lakh as the first instalment. "The projects are research for bio-defence against pathogens and toxins, development of membranes for gas and organic vapour separation, development of novel anti-fouling nano and ultra filtration membranes (these membranes will prevent the solider from imbibing nano-sized toxins) and development of alternative source for bio-diesel from non-edible oils," D Mohan, a senior scientist with Anna University told the press.

The most important among these is the research on development of bio-defence. "The threat of biological warfare is real, as enemies can unleash bacterial and viral pathogens resistant to known drugs. Even while trying to develop drugs against these pathogens, we have to develop new categories of probiotic microbes, considered good microbes, to resist and overpower toxic microbes,' said K Sankaran, a biotechnologist involved in the project, said.

He added that research is on to develop prevention systems. "We are developing sophisticated remote sensing systems to identify the probable nature and signature of the toxins that the enemies could use. We are also looking at microbes which could be used to negate the effects of a biological attack."

An effective mask against such toxic materials would be a membrane under development that can keep out noxious gases from inhalable air. "This membrane will be used in gas masks. Our challenge is to allow oxygen in and keep harmful and organic vapours out. We have the expertise in membrane technology and we hope to successfully complete the project soon," D Mohan said.

The team developing the membrane is also involved in the research on anti-fouling nano and ultra filtration membranes. "Bio-fouling, the formation of a mucous-like membrane over objects kept in water for long duration, is the main reason for damage of membranes in treatment plants. We need to develop a membrane which can prevent bio-fouling and can perform consistently. Our soldiers, who are camping in extreme conditions, do not get good quality drinking water. With the development of these membranes, the efficiency of water treatment plants in extreme condition will improve," Mohan said.

Anna University is also developing cost-effective bio-diesel from non-edible oil. The aim of this research is to bring down the cost of fueling military vehicles.

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  • The categorized sentences could then be tagged and shared across multiple users
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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Piramal won’t “dilute ownership,” or comment on Sanofi rumours

Indian generics firm Piramal Healthcare says it "has no intention to dilute current ownership levels," but has not commented on rumours that it is in talks with French firm Sanofi Aventis.

Speculation emerged last week in an article where it was claimed that Sanofi was willing to pay a premium for a “significant stake” in Piramal and had already completed a due diligence review of the deal. In response, the Indian firm’s share price jumped some 17 per cent when the story broke.When contacted Piramal would not elaborate on the statement but, while most observers view the comments as scotching last week’s rumours, the lack of an outright denial of the Sanofi deal and careful choice of words still leave the possibility of an outright sale.

While Sanofi would not comment, the $2bn (€1.6bn) price tag that emerged on earlier speculation that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) was interested in Piramal, would fit with recent statements by CEO Christopher Viebacher that the firm is interested in sub $5bn acquisitions and wants to expand its presence in India. The fact Piramal has a significant generics business would also be in keeping with recent Sanofi moves, in particular the acquisition of Czech generics group Zentiva and recent speculation that it is interested in Brazil’s Medley and Iceland’s Actavis.

If you can’t beat ‘em, buy ‘em; Big Pharma’s lust for generics

Irrespective of whether the Sanofi Piramal rumours prove to be accurate, it is an undeniable fact that Big Pharma’s interest in generic acquisitions has accelerated in recent years. As the 2012 deadline for blockbuster patent expiry draws near and the global economy stutters most majors are rethinking strategy and placing less emphasis on expensive R&D and innovation.

Merck & Co’s entry into biogenerics with its BioVentures unit in December and Daiichi’s purchase of India Ranbaxy the month before are the latest in a long line of moves that has seen majors like Pfizer and Novartis gradually increase their non-branded businesses.

In addition the persistent rumours that Actavis and Ratiopharm are attracting Big Pharma interest, as well as Sun Pharmaceutical’s ongoing battle for Taro Pharmaceuticals, indicate that more deals are on the way.

Furthermore, US President Barrack Obama’s plans to revamp the country’s healthcare system through a greater reliance on generic drugs raises the likelihood that non-branded drugmakers with a presence in the country, including Piramal which recently acquired Minrad, will continue to draw Big Pharma’s attention.



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Genentech to Roche: We’re equipped for hard times

Genentech believes a far-sighted approach to patent expiration, unique and life saving drugs and an unrivalled scientific culture will protect it from recession and ensure greater growth than Roche envisions.

The comments were made by several Genentech executives at its annual investors meeting, at which the biotech sought to justify its financial model and its belief that Roche’s offer is inadequate.

Genentech’s analysis of threats it faces in coming years, and their impact upon the business, included two issues that appeared in President Obama’s budget, namely follow-on biologics and Medicaid reform. Obama backing generic biologics.

Ian Clark, executive vice president, commercial, explained that the damage caused by follow-on biologics had been mitigated through planning since 2004. The financial hit that Genentech will take is incorporated into its November financial model but Clark feels that the company is well prepared to face its patent expiration period, which spans 2016 to 2019.

By then Genentech believes its portfolio, comprised of new products, line extensions and increases in the market share of existing therapeutics, will be sufficient to maintain growth through the patent expiration period. Genentech also claimed that Medicaid reform will have a limited effect on business, as the health programme accounts for three per cent of sales. In addition, Genentech said that demand will continue to grow for its products because “unique, life saving drugs” will be needed even in a recession.

Corporate culture good for long term growth

Several Genentech executives emphasised the cultural differences between the biotech and big pharma, with Art Levinson, CEO of Genentech, explaining how he sought to recruit curious, irreverent people who want to help patients. Levinson believes big pharma has different criteria for recruiting and, although he stressed there was nothing wrong with their model, feels Genentech’s policy ensures long term growth.

There have been concerns that a Roche takeover would destroy Genentech’s corporate culture and speakers at the investors meeting seemed keen to emphasise the benefits of the biotech’s model. Richard Scheller, chief scientific officer, quoted Max Ferdinand Perutz, in what could be perceived as a thinly veiled contrast between Genentech’s culture and that of some of big pharma.

Perutz, who shared the 1962 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, said: “Creativity in science as in the arts, cannot be organised. It arises spontaneously from individual talent. “Well-run laboratories can foster it, but hierarchical organisation, inflexible, bureaucratic rules, and mountains of futile paperwork can kill it. Discoveries cannot be planned; they pop up, like Puck, in unexpected corners.”


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Life Science and Informatics

What is this?
is this a new industry?
or a old wine in a new bottle?

Well Life Sciences and Informatics can be anything form computational biology, all omes and omics, core bioinformatics to curation and literature mining, database creation, in the area of biology, chemistry , bio-chem space.

There are number of companies in India and bangalore is the forefront as a major bio-cluster with 20 to 30 companies in this sphere.

now how good are these companies doing?
how good are they in terms of the international markets and how profitable is their business?
what do they do?
their clients?

These are some interesting things that could be discussed in this blog page...

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