Madappa Mahadevappa, the former vice chancellor of the University of Agricultural Sciences in Dharwad, India, said encouraging biotech crop field trials could result in the development of drought-resistant strains that could aid farmers and emphasized that the current suspension of field trials could harm the country's agriculture industry. "We have to adopt new technologies to get a better yield," he said.
Former Sprout Pharmaceuticals CEO Cindy Whitehead announced she is launching a business to help startups working on issues important to women. The Pink Ceiling will be a cross between a startup accelerator and an investment fund, helping entrepreneurs develop market entry strategies and secure funding. Whitehead says she is "stiletto strapping" the new venture and invites interested parties to make a "pink pitch."
Emmanuelle Charpentier, the 48-year-old co-inventor of CRISPR–Cas9 gene-editing technology, has worked at nine institutes in five countries over the past two decades, building labs on her own -- "from scratch," as she says -- and amassing awards along the way. This year, she was appointed director of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin. "I am just trying to keep working and keep my feet on the ground," she says.
Novo Nordisk announced plans to seek regulatory approvals in the US and Europe in the fourth quarter of this year for its type 2 diabetes drug NN9535, or subcutaneous semaglutide, after the treatment achieved its main goal in a Phase IIIa trial.
Sanofi is offering $9.3 billion to purchase Medivation through an all-cash deal. The buyout offer could expand Sanofi's product pipeline and is part of its strategy to widen its reach while focusing on fewer businesses. The bid is being reviewed by Medivation's board, according to the US-based firm.
Oncobiologics is aiming to secure $60 million in an initial public offering of 5 million shares. The Cranbury, N.J.-based firm, which specializes in the development of biosimilar drugs, will use the money as working capital and to support general corporate functions and pipeline development.
Taiho Pharmaceutical's and Servier's Lonsurf, or trifluridine and tipiracil, has received marketing approval from the European Commission for the treatment of advanced metastatic colorectal cancer patients who are ineligible for available treatments and those who already received prior therapy. The authorization was based on late-stage trial data showing a 32% reduction in mortality risk for patients who took the drug, compared with those who only received best supportive care.
Advaxis secured fast-track designation from the FDA for ADXS-HER2 for use in patients with osteosarcoma. The treatment also holds orphan-drug status in the US and Europe.
Stemcentrx is being purchased by AbbVie in a cash-and-stock deal worth as much as $9.8 billion. Under the terms of the agreement, AbbVie will pay $5.8 billion upfront and provide an additional $4 billion contingent upon achieving clinical and regulatory milestones. The transaction, which could be completed in the second quarter of this year, would expand AbbVie's cancer treatment portfolio by giving it access to Stemcentrx's oncology therapies such as its small cell lung cancer candidate rovalpituzumab tesirine.
Arch Biopartners' AB569, a combination of sodium nitrite and ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, has been endorsed by the European Medicines Agency's Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products to receive orphan-drug status for use in cystic fibrosis patients with Pseudomonas aeruginosa lung infections. An investigational new drug application could be filed with the FDA sometime in the second half of this year.
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