Novartis’s rare cancer drug is launched in the UK

Pharmatimes have reported that Novartis have launched their new drug Jakavi which means for the first time patients in the UK with a rare form of blood cancer will now have access to this targeted therapy

Jakavi (ruxolitinib) is a first-in-class JAK 1 and JAK 2 inhibitor, and is now available to treat patients in the UK with disease-related enlarged spleen or various forms of myelofibrosis, which affects around 0.34-0.76 people in every 100,000.

Myelofibrosis is a rare, potentially life-threatening blood cancer characterised by bone marrow failure, enlarged spleen and debilitating symptoms including extreme fatigue, poor quality of life and weight loss, and shortened survival.

Jakavi received EU approval at the end of August 2012

 

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Olympic Team GB work with scientists on gene tests for injuries

As reported by the BBC, Scientists behind Olympic Team GB are working on genetic tests to understand why some athletes are prone to injury Scientists at the Institute for Human Health and Performance at University College London are currently researching how and why tendon injuries and stress fractures occur as they are common in elite athletes University College London’s Prof Hugh Montgomery says they have found a gene they think strongly influences the risk of stress fracture…….If we understood that genetic component we would have a much better understanding of the patho-physiology – the disease processes that let that happen” The study has been working with the English Institute of Sport (EIS), which aims to apply the latest in sports science and medicine for the benefit of Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes. EIS’s Director of Sport Science, Dr Ken van Someren said “If we can identify some particular genes that are associated with a higher risk of injury in certain individuals, and we think we’re close, we can tailor the training, conditioning and preparation that we put those individuals through.”

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GSK supports Olympics anti doping operation

The Guardian has reported that GSK today marks its role as Official Laboratory Services Provider for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by launching its first UK advertising campaign to celebrate the role that anti-doping science will play in helping ensure this summer’s Games are the cleanest possible.

The multimillion-pound ad campaign features a string of British athletes, including Marlon Devonish and Phillips Idowu to highlight its role running the anti-doping testing laboratory for the London Olympic games.

The London 2012 anti-doping laboratory, provided by GSK in partnership with the London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and King’s College London opened today and will be operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week. More tests will be carried out at the London 2012 lab, based at GSK’s Harlow site, than at any other Games with every medallist and up to 50 per cent of all competing athletes being tested.

 

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A Biorenewables Development Centre has opened in York

The BBC has reported that the Bio renewables Development Centre (BDC) a new facility designed to make the UK a world leader in green chemistry has opened at the University of York.

The Bio renewables Development Centre (BDC) hopes to bridge the gap between laboratories and the chemicals industry. This is essential as chemicals derived from plants are expected to play an important role in the future as oil supplies decline. The centre received £2.5m funding from the government.

The centre’s director, Joe Ross, said the facility aimed to help the industry make the transition from petroleum-based chemicals to renewable feedstocks. “At the University of York, we have had two centres – one based in biological sciences, the other in chemistry – that are doing a lot of R&D within what we call biorenewables, so using plants or microbes to make useful stuff……….over recent years, we have realised that we need to have a centre that allows us to scale-up that process. And the result is the BDC.”

 

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GSK & Theravance receive positive data for pill

PharmaTimes have reported that GlaxoSmithKline and Theravance have reported positive data from four Phase III trials assessing a combination therapy for maintenance treatment of COPD, making the once-daily pill closer to a regulatory filing.

The clinical trials involved more than 4,000 patients, including two 24-week efficacy trials comparing a combination of the long-acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA) umeclidinium bromide and the long-acting beta-agonist (LABA) vilanterol. The date showed statistically significant improvements when compared with placebo and the individual parts in both trials, which tested difference doses.

Darrell Baker, SVP Respiratory Portfolio Optimisation Leader at GSK said “We are very encouraged by the results of these initial studies for our LAMA/LABA, an important cornerstone of our broad respiratory development portfolio…. These studies, together with our earlier dose-ranging work, give us confidence that this is a once-daily medicine with the potential to benefit many patients with COPD.

 

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Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca strengthens diabetes alliance

WorldPharmaNews reported that Bristol-Myers Squibb company announced today that they will acquire biopharmaceutical company Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Following BMS’s acquisition of Amylin, BMS and Astra Zeneca will enter into collaboration arrangements, based on the framework of the existing diabetes alliance, regarding the development and commercialisation of Amylin’s portfolio of products.

AstraZeneca will make a payment to Amylin, as a wholly owned subsidiary of Bristol-Myers Squibb, in the amount of approximately $3.4 billion in cash. Profits and losses arising from the collaboration will be shared equally.

Lamberto Andreotti, chief executive officer, Bristol-Myers Squibb said “The acquisition of Amylin by Bristol-Myers Squibb is also a unique way for Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca to expand the alliance between the two companies, and it demonstrates Bristol-Myers Squibb’s innovative and targeted approach to partnerships and business development.

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MCerts level 2 Environmental Consultant – Dublin

Barney Smith at CK Science is recruiting for a MCerts level 2 qualified Environmental Consultant for an Environmental Testing and Monitoring company in Dublin on a permanent basis.

Responsibilities:

As an Environmental Consultant you will be responsible for air monitoring and stack emissions testing on a number of different sites based around the Dublin area.

Qualifications:

The successful candidate for this Environmental Consultant role must be qualified to minimum MCerts level 2 and have completed parts 1-4 within the course.

The company:

The company operate across the UK and Ireland, as a dedicated stack emissions testing contractor, providing independent advice and support to manufacturing and process sites in compliance with environmental legislation.

Barney Smith - Manager at CK ScienceHow to apply:

Apply online:

For more information or to apply for this MCerts level 2 Environmental Consultant position please contact Barney Smith on 0191 384 8905 or email bsmith@ckscience.co.uk. Please quote reference DH24652 in all correspondence.

 

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Leading engineering technology could monitor hip replacements for signs of wear

The Engineer has reported that new leading technology could monitor hip replacements for signs of wear, powered by the movement of the user’s walk.

The device which has been engineered is designed to fit inside a typical prosthetic hip joint, uses a piezo-electric device that generates up to 3.7V of electricity as the user walks to power a strain gauge and a transmitter.   The device contains a ball bearing that rolls back and forth as the user walks along and strikes a substrate covered on one side with piezo-electric material (known as a unimorph) to produce electricity.

Hopefully this new device will be able to tell doctors if the replacement is starting to break down and advise the patient on lifestyle changes or the potential need for another operation. This will hopefully prolong the life of some replacements or at least signal when it is time for a new one, before the patient is in pain.

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Manufacturing Engineer – Hertfordshire

Reena Dhana at CK Science is currently recruiting for a Manufacturing Engineer to join a Global Chemical Manufacturing Organisation at their site in Hertfordshire on a full time, 6 – 8 month contact.

Responsibilities:

As a Manufacturing Engineer the main purpose of your role will be:

  • Designing, installing and commissioning of new production processes and equipment
  • Troubleshooting and developing existing areas as well as providing support on process related issues to the manufacturing and quality teams.

Qualifications:

As a Manufacturing Engineer you will have the following qualifications, skills and experience:

  • Degree / HNC in Production, Mechanical, Chemical Engineering or a related discipline (or equivalent)
  • Proven practical experience within a Manufacturing or Process Engineering function in a Chemical Manufacturing industry
  • Knowledge of Manufacturing Methodologies (e.g. 6 Sigma, Lean) and Process Control Equipment / Systems (e.g. SCADA, PLC, Eurotherm) is essential

As a Manufacturing Engineer, you will be joining a Global Chemical Manufacturing Organisation who in return is offering a competitive salary.

Reena Dhana - Consultant at CK ScienceHow to apply:

Apply online:

For more information or to apply for the role of Manufacturing Engineer please contact Reena Dhana on 01438 723 500 or email rdhana@ckscience.co.uk.  Alternatively please. Please quote reference ST24576 in all correspondence.

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Merck sign $303 million biotherapeutics deal

PharmaTimes has reported that Merck & Co has entered into a possible $303 million USD collaboration with Ambrx to develop ‘smart bomb’ antibodies.

Merck hope to develop biologic drug conjugates using Ambrx’s “site-specific protein medicinal chemistry technology”

Merck is paying an upfront fee of $15 million and is eligible to receive milestones totalling up to $288 million. Ambrx will also receive royalties.

Richard Murray, head of biologics and vaccines research at Merck said that this collaboration will allow us to combine Ambrx’s expertise in site-specific protein conjugation chemistry with Merck’s expanding antibody capabilities and extensive small molecule resources.

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Scientists have grown human bone from stem cells

The Telegraph has reported that scientists have succeeded in growing human bone from stem cells in a laboratory, which they claim may eventually pave the way for patients to have broken bones repaired or replaced with new ones grown outside the body.

The researchers started with stem cells taken from fat tissue. It took around a month to grow them into sections of fully-formed living human bone up to a couple of inches long.  The technology, which has been developed along with researchers at the Technion Institute of Research in Israel, uses three dimensional scans of the damaged bone to build a gel-like scaffold that matches the shape.

The first trial in patients is on course to be conducted later this year, by an Israeli biotechnology company Bonus BioGroup that has been working with academics on the technology.

Professor Avinoam Kadouri, head of the scientific advisory board for Bonus BioGroup, said: “There is a need for artificial bones for injuries and in operations…..We use three dimensional structures to fabricate the bone in the right shape and geometry. We can grow these bones outside the body and then transplant it to the patient at the right time”

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Scientists develop eco friendly carbon catalysts

The Engineer has reported that Norwegian Scientists are developing carbon catalysts that could be used instead of precious metals to speed up chemical reactions.

The 3.2million EU-backed FREECATS (carbon nanostructures as metal free catalysts) project is aiming to develop environmentally friendly catalysts that can be used in fuel cells, water purification and the production of light olefins.  The scientists will attempt to build carbon structures on the atomic scale that are capable of binding or transforming substances in certain ways.

Catalysis is one of the major consumers of precious metals, such as platinum. However, platinum group metals are not usually found naturally in Europe therefore European countries rely on imports.  Bu using alternative catalysts Prof Magnus Rønning of Norwegian University of Science and Technology  said, ‘the European dependency on precious metals will ease and therefore the dependency on less stable countries to supply these’.

The three-year project commenced in April 2012 and the team hopes the first catalysts will be available by the end of this year. There are 9 European research institutions and technology enterprises are working on the project, which is being coordinated by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

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GSK and EPSRC announce extra joint funding in Sustainable Chemistry at the University of Nottingham

As reported by the GSK Media Centre GSK and The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) announced that they will contribute to the funding for a Chair in Sustainable Chemistry to be based at the planned GSK Carbon Neutral Laboratory for Sustainable Chemistry at the University of Nottingham.

It is hoped that this new investment in sustainable chemistry will help to further strengthen the UK as a leader in life-sciences while contributing to environmental stewardship.

The Chair will be responsible for developing and sharing best practice in green chemistry and catalysing new collaborations with other institutions and industry partners.

Sir Andrew Witty, CEO of GSK said: “We recognise that the success of the Sustainable Chemistry centre being established at the University of Nottingham will rely on the experts running it. That is why we are delighted to collaborate with EPSRC to jointly contribute to the funding of this new Chair. We hope this support will enable the University of Nottingham to attract a world class leader, helping to forge stronger links between industry and academia and encourage more young people into science.”

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£250m new funding for life sciences

As reported by the EuroBiotechNews,  approximately £250 million of new funding will go into life sciences across the country, a Government minister has announced.

Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, announced that £250M has been allocated for the first phase of several five year strategic investment programmes. This includes 26 strategic science programmes and 14 key national research capabilities, to be delivered by eight of the UK’s world-leading bioscience research institutes and their university partners. The process will be led by Britain’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts told MPs during Commons Business questions on Thursday that the investment was a “commitment” to Britain’s bioscience research base. Willetts also said: “This investment will sustain excellent science at some of the UK’s leading institutes and universities. This will drive growth, support highly skilled jobs and keep the UK at the very forefront of bioscience, with benefits ranging from healthcare to energy and global food security.”

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The Cambridge cluster of bioscience companies is Europe’s most successful

The BBC reported that the group of  technology and bioscience based companies in and around Cambridge is one of Europe’s most successful and best know clusters.

Since 1960, about 5,000 hi-tech companies have been founded in the area, of which 1,400 remain in business, employing about 40,000 people.

Increasingly big companies are even staying in Cambridge after acquisition by overseas companies such as Broadcom, HP, Medimmune and Takeda, while others, like Amgen, Microsoft and Toshiba, have chosen to locate and maintain research labs and development teams there to be close to these people.

A new book “The Cambridge Phenomenon” is published this week, that  tracks and seeks to explain the area’s success. This book is written by By Charles Cotton and Kate Kirk

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NIH works with Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly

NIH collaborate with Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Eli LillyFierce Biotech reported that The National Institutes of Health today unveiled a collaborative program that will match researchers with a selection of pharmaceutical industry compounds to help scientists explore new treatments for patients.

NIH’s new National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) has partnered initially with Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Eli Lilly. The drug companies will offer up their data and investigators will have a chance to explore new uses, with a set of deal templates in place to help speed the process on 20 programs.

The investigators will have access to failed drugs to see if they can be repurposed for new uses.

Rod MacKenzie, group senior vice president, head of Pfizer PharmaTherapeutics Research and Development said “Pfizer has a rich history of partnering with the academic and public sectors to discover and develop innovative medicines…We believe that participating in this unique program, and making well researched molecules available to NIH’s broad network of researchers, is another important step in advancing a vibrant biomedical ecosystem.”

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