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5110 Kali Era, Sarvadhari
Vikramarka Era, Sarvadhari
The global economic crisis has cut funding for biotechnology companies
to the lowest level in a decade, triggering bankruptcies and threatening
development of drugs based on biomedical breakthroughs. In the past month,
at least five biotechnology businesses have sought bankruptcy protection,
according to company news releases, and others may be heading toward a similar
fate. Those at highest risk have experimental compounds moving into costly
human research. The amount raised this year by biotechnology companies
fell by $9.7 billion through September, or 54 percent, compared with the
same period in 2007, according to Burrill & Co., a life sciences investment
bank in San Francisco. That may mean work on dozens of potential treatments
will stall or die as companies fire workers and shelve early research projects,
industry executives and investors said. Biotechnology companies in the U.S.
are raising less cash than they have in a decade, according to Burrill, which
tracks investment in the life-sciences industry. Financing fell to $8.2 billion
through September, from $17.9 billion last year. Venture capital funding
fell 16 percent, to $2.9 billion. The financial crisis has also opened
up some interesting opportunities for large pharmaceutical companies to gain
access to promising drugs from the biotech industry.
Device and Diagnostic Industry
The medical device and diagnostics industry is expected to grow an annual
9% from the $240 billion, worldwide business it was in 2007, Science states.
Last year's investments were enough to create 2,000 new jobs, although these
positions may have career trade-offs. Abbott Labs, Zimmer and
Johnson & Johnson are some of the top industry companies in the United
States. Johnson & Johnson's device and diagnostics sales, alone,
accounted for 35% of company totals in 2007. Its business plans include driving
additional results through areas such as orthopedics, devices for cardiac
care and technology to battle obesity. Increases are also seen in international
companies such as Agappe Diagnostics Ltd., which forecasted 300% growth this
year. The Indian company reported 100% growth last year.
"Growth in the healthcare market, including the medical device and diagnostics
sectors, is expected to outpace GDP growth in the emerging markets, due
both to an expansion of personal income and rising prices as well as increased
adoption of advanced medical technologies and aging of the population,"
Biomedical Business & Technology reported this year. The industry
magazine noted populations 65 and older will increase by 300% to 575% in
China, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam by 2050. The same
group could increase by 147% in the United States. "The increasing
demand for healthcare services, coupled with growth in personal income, will
drive strong expansion in the healthcare markets in Asia, as well as in the
Middle East, creating ongoing opportunities for exports by medical device
companies in the U.S. and Western Europe," Biomedical Business & Technology
Dupont Opens in
DuPont opened the DuPont Knowledge Center (DKC) November 21, 17 months
after breaking ground last summer. Located on 15 acres in the ICICI Knowledge
Park in the city’s Genome Valley, the center will be a research hub for
India and the Asia Pacific region in the areas of agricultural and industrial
biotechnology as well as engineering design and will grow to serve a broad
range of DuPont businesses. The center will include a biotechnology
center, materials research center and global engineering design center, making
it the first integrated knowledge center outside the United States. DKC brings
together basic research, applications development, engineering design, bioinformatics
and patent services to serve the Asia Pacific region, a key growth market
for the company. DuPont 2007 net sales in Asia Pacific were $5.18 billion.
With 25 percent average annual growth rates, India is an emerging growth market
for DuPont. http://onlinepressroom.net/DuPont/NewsReleases/
to Move 100 to Hyderabad
At a time when global pharmaceutical companies such as Merck and Pfizer
are trimming their workforce to beat the economic blues, Novartis, the Swiss
pharmaceutical major, has decided to shift 100 jobs to India. The
company plans to make Hyderabad as its back office hub for data management
in clinical research and financial service segments. Though Novartis’ global
recruitments shows no increase in numbers, its Hyderabad office will see
an addition of at least 100 people in the coming months, said Jurgen Brokatzky-Geiger,
head (human resources), Novartis. Speaking to Business Standard, Geiger
said the cut in the workforce in the pharmaceutical companies have more to
do with the business realities than with the current global crisis. Even Novartis
had announced a cut of about 3,000 jobs last year, though the company has
not made any similar move this year. On the outsourcing plans of Novartis
in India, Geiger said the Hyderabad office, started two years ago, will turn
out to be the sourcing hub for several operations of Novartis.
Novartis had initially planned to turn its Hyderabad centre as an R&D
hub. The plan for the facility was announced in 2006 after Novartis
signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Andhra Pradesh government
for allotment of land near Hyderabad. However, the project did not take
off. The company had blamed Indian position on intellectual property rights
protection as a reason for going slow on its R&D plans. Novartis
has two domestic subsidiaries, of which Novartis India is listed on Indian
Gardasil for Men
For the first time, an expensive vaccine aimed at preventing cervical cancer
in women has proven successful at preventing a disease in men, according to
a study released by the vaccine's maker. The disease is sexually transmitted
genital warts, embarrassing and uncomfortable, but not life-threatening.
Still, the results are expected to bolster a likely bid by the vaccine's manufacturer,
Merck & Co. Inc., to begin marketing the vaccine to boys, experts said.
Merck plans to ask the government for that approval later this year.
In 2006, the U.S. government licensed the vaccine for use in girls and women
ages 9 to 26. Males can spread the virus, but the vaccine was not licensed
for them because there was no evidence it prevented disease in men. Though
about 40 other countries have approved the vaccine for males, there still
is no medical proof Gardasil prevents penile cancer or other HPV-associated
cancers in men. There also is no evidence it prevents men from spreading HPV
Design and Development Laboratory
The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) opened an AIDS Vaccine
Design and Development Laboratory in New York City, the only facility in
the world exclusively devoted to the development of an AIDS vaccine. IAVI
will be the first occupant of a biotechnology park that the City of New York
is creating in the landmark Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
Sun Pharmaceuticals acquired 100 percent of U.S.-based Chattem Chemicals
Inc which operates a manufacturing facility at Tennessee, manufacturing active
pharmaceutical ingredients, with a focus on controlled substances. Its sales
for the year ended June are estimated at $26 million. In 2005, Sun acquired
a manufacturing facility in Hungary to make controlled substance for pharmaceutical
use and another in New Jersey to make controlled substances finished dosages.
The controlled substance formulation product market is estimated at $6 billion,
The FDA will review Takeda’s new drug application for febuxostat
and make its approval decision. Febuxostat is a potent non-purine, selective
inhibitor of xanthine oxidase, which was studied for its ability to lower
levels of serum uric acid in patients with hyperuricemia associated with gout.
Hyperuricemia, elevated uric acid levels in the body, is associated with
gout, a painful type of arthritis. Uric acid is an end-product created when
the body breaks down naturally occurring substances called purines. Hyperuricemia
occurs when this process results in elevated uric acid levels, either through
overproduction or underexcretion of uric acid or a combination of the two.
Hyperuricemia is a precursor to gout; the higher a person's urate level,
the greater the risk for developing gout.
Gout is the most common inflammatory arthritis in men over age 40. According
to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III 1988-1994, an
estimated 5.1 million Americans suffer from gout. It is a chronic condition
characterized by attacks, or "flares," marked by intense pain, redness,
swelling, and heat in the affected joint. These symptoms are the result
of an acute inflammatory response to the presence of crystallized uric acid
in the joint(s). As the disease progresses, these attacks may become more
frequent and patients may develop large deposits of crystallized uric acid
visible under the skin, known as tophi, that can eventually lead to complications
including pain, soft tissue damage and deformity, as well as joint destruction
and nerve compression syndromes such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Roche and Memory Pharmaceuticals announced that the two companies have signed
a definitive merger agreement for Roche to acquire all the outstanding shares
of Memory Pharmaceuticals in an all-cash transaction for an aggregate price
of approximately USD 50 million. Memory Pharmaceuticals develops innovative
drug candidates for the treatment of debilitating central nervous system (CNS)
disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia. Memory Pharmaceuticals'
nicotinic alpha-7 agonist drug candidates in these disease areas are already
in partnered programmes with Roche: R3487/MEM 3454 is in phase II clinical
trials for Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia; R4996/MEM 63908 is in phase
I for Alzheimer's disease.
King and Alpharm Merge
King Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Alpharma Inc. announced that the two companies
have signed a definitive merger agreement under which King will acquire all
of the outstanding shares of Class A Common Stock of Alpharma for $37.00 per
share in cash for a total equity value of approximately $1.6 billion. The
Boards of Directors of both companies have unanimously approved the transaction.
J&J Acquires Omrix
Johnson & Johnson and Omrix Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. a fully integrated
biopharmaceutical company that develops and markets biosurgical and immunotherapy
products, today announced a definitive agreement whereby Omrix will be acquired
for approximately $438 million in a cash tender offer. Omrix is expected to
operate as a stand-alone entity reporting through ETHICON, Inc., a Johnson
& Johnson company and leading provider of suture, mesh, hemostats and
other products for a wide range of surgical procedures.
Affymetrix Inc. announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement
to acquire Panomics Inc., a privately held Fremont, Calif.-based company that
offers a powerful suite of assay products for a wide variety of low to mid-plex
genetic, protein and cellular analysis applications. After inventing
microarray technology in the late 1980s, Affymetrix scientists have been
developing products that provide researchers with a more complete view of
Source: The primary
sources cited above, BBC
News, New York Times (NYT), Washington
Post (WP), Mercury News, Bayarea.com,
Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Intellihealthnews,
Deccan Chronicle (DC), the
Hindu, Hindustan Times, Times of India,
AP, Reuters, AFP, Biospace
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