Roche Holding has opened a new biotech production facility in Basel, Switzerland, where it will manufacture the cancer drug Avastin. Roche also plans to open a new facility in Penzberg, Germany, in July.
The Indian state of Rajasthan is opening three new drug-testing laboratories, in addition to the existing facility in Jaipur. The new labs are expected to significantly reduce the turnaround time for testing random samples of drugs. The Rajasthan State Drug Control Department is also training inspectors to monitor prices under new regulations set by India's National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority.
The promise of stem cell therapy is causing some Indian doctors to give "false hopes of a dramatic cure from stem cells" and charge very high fees. Pharmabiz says the federal health ministry "needs to wake up and act without any further delay" in establishing a national policy for stem cell use.
Blood bank directors in India seem to agree that new research findings that blood types can be converted to the universal O type will help ease -- but not solve -- blood shortages. However, they cited some roadblocks, such as the long-term effects of conversion, antigens and RH factor.
Roche announced it has bought Therapeutic Human Polyclonals, a California- and Germany-based biotech, to add to its protein research pharma center. Roche said it paid $56.5 million to buy THP, which specializes in human antibody technologies.
Pfizer signed an agreement to acquire rights to Quark Biotech's novel human gene RTP-801 and to molecules that modify its expression or function. RTP-801 is a factor in the development of pathologic blood vessels, which speed progression of age-related macular degeneration.