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Three-day Course by UC San Diego’s Rady School of Management Center for Executive Development: Biotech Demystified: The Science Behind Business

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

 

 

Biotech Demystified: The Science Behind Business

 

 

Joanna Skubisz

Associate, Communications Planning w firmie Underscore Marketing LLC

 

 

This 3-day hands-on educational program on September 14, 15 & 16, 2015 offered by UC San Diego’s Rady School of Management Center for Executive Development is designed specifically for non-scientist business professionals in the Biotech, Pharma and Life Science industries. It provides participants with a practical understanding of the basic science powering their businesses, giving them the essential tools needed to succeed in today’s life science industries. It provides executives, investors and decision makers with a practical understanding of the basic science powering the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.

San Diego is one of the nation’s top-ranking biotech centers and is home to more than 500 biotech and four major research institutions. Biotech Demystified is offered through the Rady School of Management Center for Executive Development in collaboration with UC San Diego’s Division of Biological Sciences and Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Led by a rich collection of biomedical research faculty from UC San Diego, attendees will dive into a deep pool of contemporary bioscience that include the following topics:

• Science fundamentals

• Cell biology and molecular biology

• Stem cell research

• Personalized medicine and drug delivery

• Cancer and therapeutic approaches

• Biosimilars and biobetters

• Genetic and genome mapping

• Hands-on lab experience with DNA testing

View the course details & register here http://bit.ly/BiotechDemystified.

SOURCE

From: Professionals in the Pharmaceutical and Biotech Industry <groups-noreply@linkedin.com>

Date: Wednesday, August 5, 2015 at 12:32 PM

To: Aviva Lev-Ari <AvivaLev-Ari@alum.berkeley.edu>

Subject: [New announcement] Biotech Demystified: The Science Behind Business

Read Full Post »


Innovation in Cancer Biopharmaceutical Intelligence [11.5]

Writer and Curator: Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP

The content of this article, with several interesting features is as follows:

11.5.1 Carmen Drahl..A Great Organic Chemist and Science Writer

11.5.2 Anthony Melvin Crasto

11.5.3 Amgen files ‘breakthrough’ leukemia drug in the US

11.5.4 Ginseng fights fatigue in cancer patients, Mayo Clinic-led study finds

11.5.5 The 10-Hydroxy-2-Decenoic Acid (10-2-HDA) content in Royal Jelly, is said to possess strong inhibition of malignant cell growth, namely transferable AKR leukemia, TA3 breast malignancy

11.5.6 A Microcapillary Flow Disc (MFD) Reactor for Organic Synthesis

11.5.7 Pauline Lau. Biochemist, Instrumental Analysis, Molecular and Clinical Diagnostics, and Pharmaceuticals

11.5.8  Kinetic and perfusion modeling of hyperpolarized 13C pyruvate and urea in cancer with arbitrary RF flip angles

11.5.9 ZSTK 474

11.5.10 Marrow-Infiltrating Lymphocytes Safely Shrink Multiple Myelomas

Introduction

The following content is a series of discussions that identify innovation in therapeutics and individuals who are leaders in pharmaceutical innovation.

11.5.1 Carmen Drahl. A Great Organic Chemist and Science Writer

Her eyes fit a stellar career path. She is a talent in organic and medicinal chemistry, and an informed reporter.

Extract from Dr. Anthony Melvin Castro,  Organic Chemistry

Carmen Drahl

Carmen Drahl

CARMEN DRAHL

Award-winning science communicator and social media power user based in Washington, DC.

Carmen Drahl is a multimedia science journalist and chemistry communicator based in Washington, DC.

ScienceAlum

ScienceAlum

A social media evangelist, Carmen started her first chemistry blog in 2006. Today, she regularly leverages Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus Hangouts in her reporting.

Carmen has written about how life may have originated on Earth, explained how new medications get their names, and covered the ongoing issues plaguing the forensic science community. Her video on the food science behind 3D printed cocktail garnishes won the 2014 Folio Eddie Award for Best Association Video.

Until December 2014, Carmen worked at Chemical & Engineering News magazine. Her work has also been featured at Scientific American’s blog network, SiriusXM’s Doctor Radio, and elsewhere.

Carmen holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from Princeton University.

Ph.D. with Erik J. Sorensen.  She was on a team that completed the first total synthesis of abyssomicin C, a molecule found in small quantities in nature that showed hints of promise as a potential antibiotic. I constructed molecular probes from abyssomicin for proteomics studies of its biological activity.

M.A. with George L. McLendon worked toward developing a drug conjugate as a potential treatment for cancer. I synthesized a photosensitizer dye-peptide conjugate for targeting the cell death pathway called apoptosis.

Jacobus Fellowship Recipients - Carmen Drahl - Princeton

Jacobus Fellowship Recipients – Carmen Drahl – Princeton

Jacobus Fellowship Recipients – Carmen Drahl – Princeton

At a reception before the Alumni Day luncheon, President Tilghman (third from left) congratulated the winners of the University’s highest awards for students: (from left) Pyne Prize winners Lester Mackey and Alisha Holland; and Jacobus Fellowship recipients Sarah Pourciau, Egemen Kolemen and Carmen Drahl.

Specialties:

interviewing, science writing, social media, Twitter, Storify, YouTube, public speaking, hosting, video production, iPhone videography, non-linear video editing, blogging (WordPress and Blogger), HTML website coding

Carmen Drahl

By the time I discovered science blogs I knew my career goals were changing. I’d already been lucky enough to audit a science writing course at Princeton taught by Mike Lemonick from TIME, and thought that maybe science writing was a good choice for me. After reading chemistry blogs for a while I realized “Hey, I can do this!” and started my own blog, She Blinded Me with Science, in July 2006. It was the typical grad student blog, a mix of posts about papers I liked and life in the lab.

Carmen Drahl pic1

Carmen Drahl

At C&E News I’ve contributed to its C&ENtral Science blog, which premiered in spring 2008. I’ve experimented with a few different kinds of posts- observations and on-the-street interviews when

I run into something chemistry-related in DC, in-depth posts from meetings, and video demos of iPod apps. One of my favorite things to do is toy with new audio/video/etc technology for the blog.

Meant to treat: tumors with loss-of-function in the tumor suppressor protein PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homolog)- 2nd most inactivated tumor suppressor after p53- cancers where this is often the case include prostate and endometrial

Mode of action: inhibitor of phosphoinositide 3-kinase-beta (PI3K-beta). Several lines of evidence suggest that proliferation in certain PTEN-deficient tumor cell lines is driven primarily by PI3K-beta.

Medicinal chemistry tidbits: The GSK team seemed boxed in because in 3 out of 4 animals used in preclinical testing, promising drug candidates had high clearance. It turned out that a carbonyl group that they thought was critical for interacting with the back pocket of the PI3K-beta enzyme wasn’t so critical after all. When they realized they could replace the carbonyl with a variety of functional groups, GSK2636771 eventually emerged. GSK2636771B (shown)

GSK2636771B-300x224

GSK2636771B-300×224

11.5.2 Anthony Melvin Crasto

Principal Scientist, Process research

Glenmark Generics Ltd.

Anthony Melvin Crasto Ph.D

Worlddrugtracker, Principal scientist, Process research, Glenmark-Generics Ltd & Founder of Several Linkedin Gps

IndiaPharmaceuticals
Glenmark Generics Ltd., Glenmark Pharmaceuticals

Previous
Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, Innovassynth, RPG Life Sciences

Education
Institute of Chemical Technology (UDCT)

December 2005 – Present (9 years 6 months) Mahape, Navimumbai, India,
email  amcrasto@gmail.com

Currently working with GLENMARK GENERICS LTD research centre as Principal Scientist, process research (bulk actives) at Mahape ,Navi Mumbai,and leading a team of scientists in developing APIs for regulated markets, this involves visualization and execution of novel routes, polymorphs, and developing intellectual property to protect the invention. This involves all aspects of synthesis in lab and commercialization on plant , support for DMF filing.

Currently involved in development of several targets for regulated markets. Provide support to US/European marketing team for developing and execution of new projects

Process Development :-

  • Providing guidance and support for process development for challenging of patents in regulated market.
  • Design patent non-infringing scalable synthetic routes/process and scale-up of API’s
  • Bench and Pilot scale synthesis transformations in hands on
  • Optimization of the process, ie,developing industrially feasible process.
  • Preparation of PDR, filing of patent and DMF
  • Lead a group of Scientists and Group Leaders(for docs).

Skill sets:- Technical skills:

Synthesis:

  • Development of novel synthetic routes/process for pharmaceuticals and successful implementation of the technology in pilot plant
  • Conducted various reactions at laboratory and production scales.
  • Synthesized various classes of compounds.
  • Experienced to work under cGMP condition

EX Hoechst Marion Roussel(SANOFI AVENTIS), RPG Life Sciences,Innovassynth, SEARLE,AGREVO,IOC

Glenmark Generics Ltd.

Research Activities Covered in Entire Career

1) Extensive range of chemistry and scale of manufacture from laboratory, scale up laboratory, pilot plant, plant scale including third party activity.

Applied intellectual and synthetic skills to the process development of pharmaceutical drugs/their intermediates, and natural products, neutraceuticals, mettalocenes, speciality chemicals, flavours and fragrances in the laboratory and monitor them during plant trials.

Act as a technology transfer man and provide all data required for transfer from lab to commercialization.

Use of Internet and manual literature search methods to decide on non-infringing route

Write DHR for API before implementation of novel route in the plant and assist for all batches for the DMF purposes, very well versed with IPR issues

Ability to develop novel routes for API,s and draft patents,well versed with polymorphism issues.

Several patents filed in US/EU

Total experience 23+ in industry.

Currently working as principal scientist and leading a team of scientists in developing APIs for regulated markets, this involves novel routes, polymorphs, and developing intellectual property to protect the invention. This involves all aspects of synthesis and commercialization and assist in providing support for DMF filing.

11.5.3 Amgen files ‘breakthrough’ leukemia drug in the US

Daily News | Sept 22, 2014

Selina Mckee

Biotechnology giant Amgen has filed its investigational cancer immunotherapy blinatumomab in the US for the treatment of certain forms of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL).

Specifically, the Biologic License Application seeks approval to market the drug for patients with Philadelphia-negative (Ph-) relapsed/refractory B-precursor forms of the aggressive blood/bone marrow cancer.

Blinatumomab is the first of Amgen’s BiTE antibody constructs, a novel immunotherapy approach under which antibodies are modified to engage two different targets simultaneously. The drug has already been awarded both ‘Orphan’ and ‘Breakthrough’ status by the Food and Drug Administration, indicating that it could offer a significant advance over available therapies on at least one clinically significant endpoint.

The submission includes data from a Phase II which successfully met its primary endpoint, showing a complete response (no leukaemia cells detectable with microscopy) rate of 43% in patients with relapsed/refractory ALL, including those with resistance to previous treatment approaches.

“Currently, there is no broadly accepted standard treatment regimen for adult patients with relapsed or refractory ALL,” noted Anthony Stein, clinical professor, Haematology/Oncology at City of Hope, adding that “blinatumomab has the potential to significantly advance treatment options for patients living with this difficult-to-treat disease”.

In the US, it is estimated that more than 6,000 cases of ALL will be diagnosed in 2014. In adult patients with relapsed or refractory ALL, median overall survival is just three to five months, further highlighting the urgent need for new treatment options.

Read more at: http://www.pharmatimes.com/Article/14-09-22/Amgen_files_breakthrough_leukaemia_drug_in_the_US.aspx#ixzz3aL5d1ZnJ

Follow us: @PharmaTimes on Twitter

11.5.4 Ginseng fights fatigue in cancer patients, Mayo Clinic-led study finds

By Ralph Turchiano on Aug 5, 2014 •

High doses of the herb American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) over two months reduced cancer-related fatigue in patients more effectively than a placebo, a Mayo Clinic-led study found. Sixty percent of patients studied had breast cancer. The findings are being presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting.

Researchers studied 340 patients who had completed cancer treatment or were being treated for cancer at one of 40 community medical centers. Each day, participants received a placebo or 2,000 milligrams of ginseng administered in capsules containing pure, ground American ginseng root.

“Off-the-shelf ginseng is sometimes processed using ethanol, which can give it estrogen-like properties that may be harmful to breast cancer patients,” says researcher Debra Barton, Ph.D., of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center.

At four weeks, the pure ginseng provided only a slight improvement in fatigue symptoms. However, at eight weeks, ginseng offered cancer patients significant improvement in general exhaustion — feelings of being “pooped,” “worn out,” “fatigued,” “sluggish,” “run-down,” or “tired” — compared to the placebo group.

11.5.5 The 10-Hydroxy-2-Decenoic Acid (10-2-HDA) content in Royal Jelly, is said to possess strong inhibition of malignant cell growth, namely transferable AKR leukemia, TA3 breast malignancy

Royal Jelly - queen larvae

Royal Jelly – queen larvae

Royal Jelly – queen larvae

Royal jelly is a honey bee secretion that is used in the nutrition of larvae, as well as adult queens.[1] It is secreted from the glands in the hypopharynx of worker bees, and fed to all larvae in the colony, regardless of sex or caste.[2]

When worker bees decide to make a new queen, because the old one is either weakening or dead, they choose several small larvae and feed them with copious amounts of royal jelly in specially constructed queen cells. This type of feeding triggers the development of queen morphology, including the fully developed ovaries needed to lay eggs.[3]

Other Common Names:  Apilak, Gelée Royale, Queen Bee Jelly

Royal Jelly has been called the “Crown Jewel” of the beehive that has become extremely popular since the 1950s as a wonderful source of energy and natural way to increase stamina; perhaps that is the reason why the Queen Bee is so strong and enduring.  It is also thought to be a great nutritional source of enzymes, proteins, sugars and amino acids, but there is no scientific proof to verify the supplement’s efficacy for its use as an overall health tonic.

Royal Jelly is a thick, milky material that is secreted from the hypopharyngea- salivary glands in the heads of the young nurse bees between the sixth and twelfth days of life, and when honey and pollen are combined and refined within the nurse bee, Royal Jelly is naturally created.  While all larvæ in a colony are fed Royal Jelly, it is the only food that is fed to the Queen Bee throughout her life; other adult bees do not consume it at all.  All female eggs may produce a Queen Bee, but this occurs only when – during the whole development of the larvæ – she is cared for and fed by this material – in large quantities.

As a result of this special nutrition, the Queen develops reproductive organs (while the worker bee develops traits that relate only to work, i.e., stronger mandibles, brood food, wax glands and pollen baskets).  The Queen develops in about fifteen days, while the workers require twenty-one; and finally, the Queen endures for several years, while workers survive only a few months. “10-2 HDA,” thought to be the principle active substance in Royal Jelly, makes the Queen Bee fifty percent larger than the other female worker bees and gives her incredible stamina, ovulation ability and longevity, living four to five years longer than worker bees who only live forty or more days.  Perhaps this is the reason why so many positive qualities have been attributed to Royal Jelly as a truly rare gift of nature, but it should be noted that there is no clinical evidence to support the claims.

There is even great controversy as to the constituents included in the supplement.  Most researchers claim that it includes all the B-vitamins and vitamins A, C, D and E; some disagree.  It does contain proteins, sugars, lipids (essential fatty acids), many essential amino acids, collagen, lecithin, enzymes and minerals, in addition to the very valuable 10-2-HDA (10-Hydroxy-2-Decenoic Acid).  It is said that Royal Jelly may be most effective when combined with honey.

The 10-Hydroxy-2-Decenoic Acid (10-2-HDA) content in Royal Jelly, is said to possess strong inhibition of malignant cell growth, namely transferable AKR leukemia, TA3 breast malignancy, etc., and recent studies indicated immuno-regulation and anti-malignancy activities.  It can promote the growth of T-lymphocyte subsets, Interleukin-2 and the generation of tumor necrosis factor.  Much research is being conducted on this valuable active constituent, which has exhibited positive physiological and pharmacological effects including vasodilative and hypotensive activities, antihypercholesterolemic activity and anti-inflammatory functions.

10-2-HDA (10-Hydroxy-2-Decenoic Acid)

10-2-HDA (10-Hydroxy-2-Decenoic Acid)

11.5.6  A Microcapillary Flow Disc (MFD) Reactor for Organic Synthesis
OCT 28, 2014

A Microcapillary Flow Disc (MFD) Reactor for Organic Synthesis,
C.H. Hornung, M.R. Mackley, I.R. Baxendale and S.V. Ley and, Org. Proc. Res. Dev., 2007, 11, 399-405.

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/op700015f

This paper reports proof of concept, development, and trials for a novel plastic microcapillary flow disc (MFD) reactor. The MFD was constructed from a flexible, plastic microcapillary film (MCF), comprising parallel capillary channels with diameters in the range of 80−250 μm. MCFs were wound into spirals and heat treated to form solid discs, which were then capable of carrying out continuous flow reactions at elevated temperatures and pressures and with a controlled residence time. Three reaction schemes were conducted in the system, namely the synthesis of oxazoles, the formation of an allyl-ether, and a Diels−Alder reaction. Reaction scales of up to four kilograms per day could be achieved. The potential benefits of the MFD technology are compared against those of other reactor geometries including both conventional lab-scale and other microscale devices.

11.5.7 Pauline Lau. Biochemist, Instrumental Analysis, Molecular and Clinical Diagnostics, and Pharmaceuticals.

She was born on the China-Russian border, near the end of the rail line.  When they came to US her mother saw bagels and said, look – they have round bread.

At the meetings she always took us to the best Chinese restaurant, and said not to ask what’s in the food.  They always brought out a fish fresh from the tank and showed it to us.  When she went to Roche, where she became a legend. she got a house on the lake. They had to remove the roof to put a round banquet table in her house. At a meeting in Mexico, we saw the amazing too good to be true Monarch butterflies filling the trees.  Her photographic skills are suberb.  She’ll live to 100.

Carl Garber just retired and gave me the address.  I just found your photo calender!

Yes, I have been hiding in Taiwan for the past almost 10 years.  I moved from diagnostic to pharma and selling mostly biosimilar products to pharmaceutical emerging countries which has strong market growth comparing to US/EU.

Pauline Lau Group

Pauline Lau Group

Pauline Lau Group

Pauline Lau Group
http://www.gbimonthly.com/v9_2014/v9spreport_2014_2.html

I do not go back to US often now.  We have an office in Taipei.  Here is a recent magazine article about our company.  You will see few of my employees and I in front of our 28th floor office window.

I am rushing out for Singapore and will be meeting there for a few days.

11.5.8  Kinetic and perfusion modeling of hyperpolarized 13C pyruvate and urea in cancer with arbitrary RF flip angles

Naeim Bahrami, Christine Leon Swisher, Cornelius Von Morze, Daniel B. Vigneron, Peder E. Z. Larson
Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, University of California – San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA
Quant Imaging MedSurg 2014; 4(1):24-32
http://dx.doi.org:/10.3978/j.issn.2223-4292.2014.02.02

Abstract: The accurate detection and characterization of cancerous tissue is still a major problem for the clinical management of individual cancer patients and for monitoring their response to therapy. MRI with hyperpolarized agents is a promising technique for cancer characterization because it can non-invasively provide a local assessment of the tissue metabolic profile. In this work, we measured the kinetics of hyperpolarized [1-13C] pyruvate and 13C-urea in prostate and liver tumor models using a compressed sensing dynamic MRSI method. A kinetic model fitting method was developed that incorporated arbitrary RF flip angle excitation and measured a pyruvate to lactate conversion rate, Kpl, of 0.050 and 0.052 (1/s) in prostate and liver tumors, respectively, which was significantly higher than Kpl in healthy tissues [Kpl =0.028 (1/s), P<0.001]. Kpl was highly correlated to the total lactate to total pyruvate signal ratio (correlation coefficient =0.95). We additionally characterized the total pyruvate and urea perfusion, as in cancerous tissue there is both existing vasculature and neovascularization as different kinds of lesions surpass the normal blood supply, including small circulation disturbance in some of the abnormal vessels. A significantly higher perfusion of pyruvate (accounting for conversion to lactate and alanine) relative to urea perfusion was seen in cancerous tissues (liver cancer and prostate cancer) compared to healthy tissues (P<0.001), presumably due to high pyruvate uptake in tumors. Keywords: Hyperpolarized carbon-13; metabolic imaging; cancer; perfusion; kinetic modeling; dynamic MRSI

Hyperpolarization is the nuclear spin polarization of a material far beyond thermal equilibrium conditions. The accurate and correct diagnosis and characterization of cancer is still a major problem for the clinical management of every kind of cancer patients, including individual prostate or liver cancer patients, and also in order to monitor their response to therapy (1-3). Magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (MRSI) with hyperpolarized 13C labeled substrates is a new method to study any cancers that may be able to simultaneously and noninvasively assess changes in metabolic intermediates from multiple biochemical pathways of interest. Recent studies have shown a large amount of potential applications of hyperpolarized (HP) 13C MRSI for the in vivo monitoring of cellular metabolism and the characterization of disease. The low natural abundance and sensitivity of 13C compared to protons poses a technical challenge using conventional approaches (4,5). Dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP) of 13C labeled pyruvate and subsequent rapid dissolution generates a contrast agent with a four order-of-magnitude sensitivity enhancement that is injected and gives the ability to monitor the spatial distribution of pyruvate and its conversion to lactate, alanine, and bicarbonate. The conversion of pyruvate to lactate catalyzed by the enzyme lactate dehydrogenase is of particular interest, as the kinetics of this process have been shown to be sensitive to the presence and severity of disease in preclinical models (6,7). HP MRSI can also be used to measure perfusion that in cancer can reflect spatially heterogeneous changes to existing vasculature and neovascularization as tumors surpass the normal blood supply, including microcirculatory disturbance in abnormal vessels. Tumor perfusion data in addition to the metabolic data available from spectroscopic imaging of 13C pyruvate would be of important value in exploring the complex relationship between perfusion and metabolism in cancer at both preclinical and clinical research levels (8-11). The primary purpose of this research was to study the dynamics of simultaneously injected HP [1-13C]-pyruvate and 13C-urea to provide improved characterization of cancerous tissues. To achieve rapid, 2 s temporal resolution, whole mouse MRSI we used a 18-fold accelerated compressed sensing acquisition and reconstruction with smaller flip angles for pyruvate and urea compared to lactate and alanine for efficient usage of the hyperpolarized magnetization by preserving the substrate. This flip angle scheme required using a modified kinetic model that accounts for arbitrary RF flip angles (12-15). Data was acquired in mice with prostate and liver cancer and comparisons were made to normal tissues such as kidney and healthy liver of the metabolite concentrations, including Urea, Pyruvate, and Lactate, the conversion constant (Kpl) between pyruvate to lactate, and the conversion constant (Kpa) between pyruvate to alanine. We also created novel parameterizations of the total pyruvate and urea perfusions in order to assess vascular delivery and tissue uptake. A key new feature of our modeling is the ability to detect metabolic conversion, magnetization exchange between compounds, and perfusion when using arbitrary RF flip angles for different compounds.

We observed a strong correlation between Kpl and the total lactate to total pyruvate ratio, as others have also shown. The ratio is a simpler calculation and easier to implement than the kinetic modeling. However, we have determined through simulation that the total lactate to total pyruvate ratio is highly influenced by the delivery time of pyruvate, so care should be taken when using this ratio if variable vascular delivery rates are expected. Both the kinetic modeling and metabolite ratio are highly influenced by the actual RF flip angles, and precise B1 calibration is important for quantitative measurements. Measurement of urea perfusion can be a marker vascular delivery since urea primarily stays in the vasculature. Liver is a very vascular organ and the opened capillary shape of liver vasculature likely caused high urea perfusion in liver. The kidneys are highly vascularized and are also responsible for concentrating urea for removal in the urine. In tumors, the tissue request for blood is high but in a more uncontrolled way because of the abnormality of blood vasculature and circulation inside most tumors. Thus the urea perfusion in tumors is likely more sporadic and random. Urea cannot perfuse well in some parts of tumor particularly in suspected necrotic regions. On the other hand, some parts of tumor have more metabolic activity and, therefore, these parts need more blood and more vessels, and consequently should have more urea perfusion. Our total pyruvate and urea perfusion parameterizations are different from conventional perfusion modeling, and were designed as a simple representation of the total amount of these compounds that are present in the tissue. In particular, the total pyruvate perfusion also includes any pyruvate or metabolic products that remain in the tissue, in addition to those present in the vasculature. The urea perfusion should primarily represent the vasculature delivery since it primarily stays in the vessels, while the total pyruvate perfusion can also be a marker for vascular delivery but also includes tissue uptake. We hypothesize that when the pyruvate perfusion is higher relative to urea perfusion it represents a higher amount of uptake of the pyruvate that is flowing into the tissue.

Conclusions In this study we fit metabolite T1 values, conversion rates, Kpa, and Kpl, and measured novel pyruvate and urea perfusion parameterizations across cancerous and normal tissues from data acquired with a multiband RF excitation, compressed sensing dynamic MRSI pulse sequence. Our modeling allowed for use of arbitrary RF flip angles between metabolites, which in turn allows for efficient usage of the hyperpolarized magnetization. We observed a high correlation between our Kpl fits and the total lactate to pyruvate signal ratio, suggesting either could be used to characterize pyruvate-lactate metabolism. Through the novel pyruvate and urea perfusion parameterizations we were able to quantify the increased uptake of pyruvate in cancerous tissues, which correlated with increased metabolic conversion to lactate. These provided a more complete characterization of cancerous tissue metabolism and perfusion.

11.5.9  ZSTK474

(Dr. Anthony Melvin Castro)

zstk474

zstk474

ZSTK474 is a cell permeable and reversible P13K inhibitor with an IC₅₀ at 6nm. It was identified as part of a screening library, selected for its ability to block tumor cell growth. ZSTK474 has shown strong antitumor activities against human cancer xenographs when administered orally to mice without a significant toxic effect.

Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) has been implicated in a variety of diseases including cancer. A number of PI3K inhibitors have recently been developed for use in cancer therapy. ZSTK474 is a highly promising antitumor agent targeting PI3K. We previously reported that ZSTK474 showed potent inhibition against four class I PI3K isoforms but not against 140 protein kinases.

However, whether ZSTK474 inhibits DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK), which is structurally similar to PI3K, remains unknown. To investigate the inhibition of DNA-PK, we developed a new DNA-PK assay method using Kinase-Glo. The inhibition activity of ZSTK474 against DNA-PK was determined, and shown to be far weaker compared with that observed against PI3K. The inhibition selectivity of ZSTK474 for PI3K over DNA-PK was significantly higher than other PI3K inhibitors, namely NVP-BEZ235, PI-103 and LY294002.

PATENT                                                                                                          SUBMITTED GRANTED

Heterocyclic compound and antitumor agent containing the same as active ingredient [US7071189]                                                                                                                                                               2004-06-17   2006-07-04

Treatment of prostate cancer, melanoma or hepatic cancer [US2007244110]                                                                                                                                                                                                   2007-10-18

Heterocyclic compound and antitumor agent containing the same as effective ingredient [US7307077]                                                                                                                                                           2006-11-02   2007-12-11

Immunosuppressive agent and anti-tumor agent comprising heterocyclic compound as active ingredient [us7750001]                                                                                                                                   2008-05-15   2010-07-06

Pyrimidinyl and 1,3,5-triazinyl benzimidazoles and their use in cancer therapy [us2011009405]                                                                                                                                                                       2011-01-13

Substituted pyrimidines and triazines and their use in cancer therapy [us2011053907]                                                                                                                                                                                     2011-03-03

Immunosuppressive agent and anti-tumor agent comprising heterocyclic compound as active ingredient [us2010267700]                                                                                                                             2010-10-21

Amorphous body composed of heterocyclic compound, solid dispersion and pharmaceutical preparation each comprising the same, and process for production of the same [us8227463]                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           2010-09-30    2012-07-24

Pyrazolo[1,5-a]pyridines and their use in cancer therapy
[us2010226881]                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 2010-09-09

Pyrimidinyl and 1,3,5-triazinyl benzimidazole sulfonamides and their use in cancer therapy [us2010249099]                                                                                                                                                   2010-09-30

11.5.10 Marrow-Infiltrating Lymphocytes Safely Shrink Multiple Myelomas

 Medical researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center have published a report that appeared in the journal Science Translational Medicine in which they describe, for the first time, the safe use of a patient’s own immune cells to treat the white blood cell cancer multiple myeloma. There are more than 20,000 new cases of multiple myeloma and more than 10,000 deaths each year in United States. It is the second most common cancer originating in the blood.

The procedure under investigation in this study is called utilizes a specific type of tumor-targeting T cells, known as marrow-infiltrating lymphocytes (MILs). “What we learned in this small trial is that large numbers of activated MILs can selectively target and kill myeloma cells,” says Johns Hopkins immunologist Ivan Borrello, M.D., who led the clinical trial.

According to Borrello, MILs are the foot soldiers of the immune system that attack invading bacteria or viruses. Unfortunately, they are typically inactive and too few in number to have a measurable effect on cancers.

Experiments conducted is Borrello’s laboratory and in the laboratory of competing and collaborating scientists have shown that when myeloma cells are exposed to activated MILs in culture, these cells could not only selectively target the tumor cells, but they could also effectively destroy them.

To move this procedure from the laboratory into the clinic, Borrello and his collaborators enrolled 25 patients with newly diagnosed or relapsed multiple myeloma. Only 22 were able to receive this new treatment, however.

The Hopkins team extracted and purified MILs from the bone marrow of each patient and grew them in the laboratory to increase their numbers. Then they activated the MILs by exposing them to microscopic beads coated with immune activating antibodies. These antibodies bind to specific cell surface proteins on the MILs that induce profound changes in the cells. This induction step wakes the MILs up and readies them to sniff out tumor cells. These laboratory-manipulated MILs were then intravenously injected back into each patient (each of the 22 patients with their own cells). Three days before these injections of expanded MILs, all patients received high doses of chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant, which are standard treatments for multiple myeloma.

One year after receiving the MILs therapy, 13 of the 22 patients had at least a partial response to the therapy (their cancers had shrunk by at least 50 percent) Seven patients experienced at least a 90 percent reduction in tumor cell volume and lived and average of 25.1 months without cancer progression. The remaining 15 patients had an average of 11.8 progression-free months following their MIL therapy. None of the participants experienced serious side effects from the MIL therapy.

According to Borrello, several U.S. cancer centers have conducted similar experimental treatments (adoptive T cell therapy). However, only this Johns Hopkins team has used MILs. Other types of tumor-infiltrating cells can be used for such treatments, but Borrello noted that these cells are usually less plentiful in patients’ tumors and may not grow as well outside the body.

In nonblood-based tumors, such as melanoma, only about half of those patients have T cells in their tumors that can be harvested, and only about one-half of those harvested cells can be grown. “Typically, immune cells from solid tumors, called tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, can be harvested and grown in only about 25 percent of patients who could potentially be eligible for the therapy. But in our clinical trial, we were able to harvest and grow MILs from all 22 patients,” says Kimberly Noonan, Ph.D., a research associate at the Johns Hopkins Universithttp://www.fiercevaccines.com/special-reports/gvax-pancreasy School of Medicine.

This small trial helped Noonan and her colleagues learn more about which patients may benefit from MILs therapy. As an example, they were able to determine how many of the MILs grown in the lab were specifically targeted to the patient’s tumor and whether they continued to target the tumor after being infused. They also found that patients whose bone marrow before treatment contained a high number of certain immune cells, known as central memory cells, also had better response to MILs therapy. Patients who began treatment with signs of an overactive immune response did not respond as well.

Noonan says the research team has used these data to guide two other ongoing MILs clinical trials. Those studies, she says, are trying to extend anti-tumor response and tumor specificity by combining the MILs transplant with a Johns Hopkins-developed cancer vaccine called GVAX and the myeloma druglenalidomide, which stimulates T cell responses.

These trials also have elucidated new ways to grow the MILs. “In most of these trials, you see that the more cells you get, the better response you get in patients. Learning how to improve cell growth may therefore improve the therapy,” says Noonan.

Kimmel Cancer Center scientists are also developing MILs treatments to address solid tumors such as lung, esophageal and gastric cancers, as well as the pediatric cancers neuroblastoma and Ewing’s sarcoma.

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Presentations Content for All Business Track Panels and the Scientific Panel on Immunotherapy @ MassBio Annual Meeting 2015, Cambridge, MA, Sonesta Hotel, 3/26 – 3/27, 2015

 REAL TIME Curator: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

9:00 am – 9:30 am 3/26/2015  Welcome Remarks & MassBio Board Elections @ MassBio Annual Meeting 2015, Cambridge, MA, Sonesta Hotel, 3/26 – 3/27, 2015

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2015/03/22/900-am-930-am-welcome-remarks-massbio-board-elections-massbio-annual-meeting-2015-cambridge-ma-326-327-2015/

9:30 am – 10:15 am 3/26/2015, Keynote: Kathy Giusti, Founder & Executive Chairman of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, @ MassBio Annual Meeting 2015, Cambridge, MA, Sonesta Hotel, 3/26 – 3/27, 2015

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2015/03/26/930-am-1015-am-3262015-live-keynote-kathy-guisti-founder-executive-chairman-of-the-multiple-myeloma-research-foundation-massbio-annual-meeting-2015-cambridge-ma-sonesta-hotel/

10:30 am – 11:30 am, 3/26/2015 – LIVE Better Business Track: It’s Not Your Grandfather’s Manufacturing @ MassBio Annual Meeting 2015, Cambridge, MA, Sonesta Hotel, 3/26 – 3/27, 2015

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2015/03/26/1030-am-1130-am-3262015-better-business-track-its-not-your-grandfathers-manufacturing-massbio-annual-meeting-2015-cambridge-ma-sonesta-hotel-326-327-2015/

11:45 am – 1:30 pm, 3/26/2015,  LIVE – The MassBio Annual Awards Luncheon @ MassBio Annual Meeting 2015, Cambridge, MA, Sonesta Hotel, 3/26 – 3/27, 2015

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2015/03/26/1145-am-130-pm-3262015-the-massbio-annual-awards-luncheon-massbio-annual-meeting-2015-cambridge-ma-sonesta-hotel-326-327-2015/

1:30 pm – 2:20 pm 3/26/2015, Precision Medicine: Who’s Paying? @ MassBio Annual Meeting 2015, Cambridge, MA, Sonesta Hotel, 3/26 – 3/27, 2015

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2015/03/26/130-pm-220-pm-3262015-live-precision-medicine-whos-paying-massbio-annual-meeting-2015-cambridge-ma-sonesta-hotel-326-327-2015/

2:25 pm – 3:15 pm 3/26/2015 Better Business Track: Externalizing Pharma R&D @ MassBio Annual Meeting 2015, Cambridge, MA, Sonesta Hotel, 3/26 – 3/27, 2015

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2015/03/26/225-pm-315-pm-3262015-better-business-track-externalizing-pharma-rd-massbio-annual-meeting-2015-cambridge-ma-sonesta-hotel-326-327-2015/

3:30 pm – 4:20 pm LIVE Trends in Science Track: Immunotherapy – Oncology and Beyond @ MassBio Annual Meeting 2015, Cambridge, MA, Sonesta Hotel, 3/26 – 3/27, 2015

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2015/03/26/330-pm-420-pm-3262015-trends-in-science-track-immunotherapy-oncology-and-beyond-massbio-annual-meeting-2015-cambridge-ma-sonesta-hotel-326-327-2015/

8:40 am – 9:30 am   3/27/2015  Better Business Track: Innovative Ways to Fund Your Early-Stage Company @ MassBio Annual Meeting 2015, Cambridge, MA, Sonesta Hotel, 3/26 – 3/27, 2015

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2015/03/27/840-am-930-am-3272015-live-better-business-track-innovative-ways-to-fund-your-early-stage-company-massbio-annual-meeting-2015-cambridge-ma-sonesta-hotel-326-327-2015/

9:40 am – 10:30 am 3/27/2015 Better Business Track: The Evolving Reimbursement Landscape @ MassBio Annual Meeting 2015, Cambridge, MA, Sonesta Hotel, 3/26 – 3/27, 2015

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2015/03/27/940-am-1030-am-3272015-live-better-business-track-the-evolving-reimbursement-landscape-massbio-annual-meeting-2015-cambridge-ma-sonesta-hotel-326-327-2015/

11:00 am – 12:00 pm, 3/27/2015 Defining Value @ MassBio Annual Meeting 2015, Cambridge, MA, Sonesta Hotel, 3/26 – 3/27, 2015

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2015/03/27/1100-am-1200-pm-3272015-live-defining-value-massbio-annual-meeting-2015-cambridge-ma-sonesta-hotel-326-327-2015/

12:45 pm – 1:30 pm  3/27/2015  LIVE Keynote: Andrew Lo, Director of the MIT Laboratory for Financial Engineering  @ MassBio Annual Meeting 2015, Cambridge, MA, Sonesta Hotel, 3/26 – 3/27, 2015

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2015/03/27/1245-pm-130-pm-3272015-live-keynote-andrew-lo-director-of-the-mit-laboratory-for-financial-engineering-massbio-annual-meeting-2015-cambridge-ma-sonesta-hotel-326-327-2015/

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War on Cancer Needs to Refocus to Stay Ahead of Disease Says Cancer Expert


War on Cancer Needs to Refocus to Stay Ahead of Disease Says Cancer Expert

Writer, Curator: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D.

Is one of the world’s most prominent cancer researchers throwing in the towel on the War On Cancer? Not throwing in the towel, just reminding us that cancer is more complex than just a genetic disease, and in the process, giving kudos to those researchers who focus on non-genetic aspects of the disease (see Dr. Larry Bernstein’s article Is the Warburg Effect the Cause or the Effect of Cancer: A 21st Century View?).

 

National Public Radio (NPR) has been conducting an interview series with MIT cancer biology pioneer, founding member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, and National Academy of Science member and National Medal of Science awardee Robert A. Weinberg, Ph.D., who co-discovered one of the first human oncogenes (Ras)[1], isolation of first tumor suppressor (Rb)[2], and first (with Dr. Bill Hahn) proved that cells could become tumorigenic after discrete genetic lesions[3].   In the latest NPR piece, Why The War On Cancer Hasn’t Been Won (seen on NPR’s blog by Richard Harris), Dr. Weinberg discusses a comment in an essay he wrote in the journal Cell[4], basically that, in recent years, cancer research may have focused too much on the genetic basis of cancer at the expense of multifaceted etiology of cancer, including the roles of metabolism, immunity, and physiology. Cancer is the second most cause of medically related deaths in the developed world. However, concerted efforts among most developed nations to eradicate the disease, such as increased government funding for cancer research and a mandated ‘war on cancer’ in the mid 70’s has translated into remarkable improvements in diagnosis, early detection, and cancer survival rates for many individual cancer. For example, survival rate for breast and colon cancer have improved dramatically over the last 40 years. In the UK, overall median survival times have improved from one year in 1972 to 5.8 years for patients diagnosed in 2007. In the US, the overall 5 year survival improved from 50% for all adult cancers and 62% for childhood cancer in 1972 to 68% and childhood cancer rate improved to 82% in 2007. However, for some cancers, including lung, brain, pancreatic and ovarian cancer, there has been little improvement in survival rates since the “war on cancer” has started.

(Other NPR interviews with Dr. Weinberg include How Does Cancer Spread Through The Body?)

As Weinberg said, in the 1950s, medical researchers saw cancer as “an extremely complicated process that needed to be described in hundreds, if not thousands of different ways,”. Then scientists tried to find a unifying principle, first focusing on viruses as the cause of cancer (for example rous sarcoma virus and read Dr. Gallo’s book on his early research on cancer, virology, and HIV in Virus Hunting: AIDS, Cancer & the Human Retrovirus: A Story of Scientific Discovery).

However (as the blog article goes on) “that idea was replaced by the notion that cancer is all about wayward genes.”

“The thought, at least in the early 1980s, was that were a small number of these mutant, cancer-causing oncogenes, and therefore that one could understand a whole disparate group of cancers simply by studying these mutant genes that seemed to be present in many of them,” Weinberg says. “And this gave the notion, the illusion over the ensuing years, that we would be able to understand the laws of cancer formation the way we understand, with some simplicity, the laws of physics, for example.”

According to Weinberg, this gene-directed unifying theory has given way as recent evidences point back once again to a multi-faceted view of cancer etiology.

But this is not a revolutionary or conflicting idea for Dr. Weinberg, being a recipient of the 2007 Otto Warburg Medal and focusing his latest research on complex systems such as angiogenesis, cell migration, and epithelial-stromal interactions.

In fact, it was both Dr. Weinberg and Dr. Bill Hanahan who formulated eight governing principles or Hallmarks of cancer:

  1. Maintaining Proliferative Signals
  2. Avoiding Immune Destruction
  3. Evading Growth Suppressors
  4. Resisting Cell Death
  5. Becoming Immortal
  6. Angiogenesis
  7. Deregulating Cellular Energy
  8. Activating Invasion and Metastasis

Taken together, these hallmarks represent the common features that tumors have, and may involve genetic or non-genetic (epigenetic) lesions … a multi-modal view of cancer that spans over time and across disciplines. As reviewed by both Dr. Larry Bernstein and me in the e-book Volume One: Cancer Biology and Genomics for Disease Diagnosis, each scientific discipline, whether the pharmacologist, toxicologist, virologist, molecular biologist, physiologist, or cell biologist has contributed greatly to our total understanding of this disease, each from their own unique perspective based on their discipline. This leads to a “multi-modal” view on cancer etiology and diagnosis, treatment. Many of the improvements in survival rates are a direct result of the massive increase in the knowledge of tumor biology obtained through ardent basic research. Breakthrough discoveries regarding oncogenes, cancer cell signaling, survival, and regulated death mechanisms, tumor immunology, genetics and molecular biology, biomarker research, and now nanotechnology and imaging, have directly led to the advances we now we in early detection, chemotherapy, personalized medicine, as well as new therapeutic modalities such as cancer vaccines and immunotherapies and combination chemotherapies. Molecular and personalized therapies such as trastuzumab and aromatase inhibitors for breast cancer, imatnib for CML and GIST related tumors, bevacizumab for advanced colorectal cancer have been a direct result of molecular discoveries into the nature of cancer. This then leads to an interesting question (one to be tackled in another post):

Would shifting focus less on cancer genome and back to cancer biology limit the progress we’ve made in personalized medicine?

 

In a 2012 post Genomics And Targets For The Treatment Of Cancer: Is Our New World Turning Into “Pharmageddon” Or Are We On The Threshold Of Great Discoveries? Dr. Leonard Lichtenfield, MD, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for the ACS, comments on issues regarding the changes which genomics and personalized strategy has on oncology drug development. As he notes, in the past, chemotherapy development was sort of ‘hit or miss’ and the dream and promise of genomics suggested an era of targeted therapy, where drug development was more ‘rational’ and targets were easily identifiable.

To quote his post

That was the dream, and there have been some successes–even apparent cures or long term control–with the used of targeted medicines with biologic drugs such as Gleevec®, Herceptin® and Avastin®. But I think it is fair to say that the progress and the impact hasn’t been quite what we thought it would be. Cancer has proven a wily foe, and every time we get answers to questions what we usually get are more questions that need more answers. The complexity of the cancer cell is enormous, and its adaptability and the genetic heterogeneity of even primary cancers (as recently reported in a research paper in the New England Journal of Medicine) has been surprising, if not (realistically) unexpected.

                                                                               ”

Indeed the complexity of a given patient’s cancer (especially solid tumors) with regard to its genetic and mutation landscape (heterogeneity) [please see post with interview with Dr. Swanton on tumor heterogeneity] has been at the forefront of many clinicians minds [see comments within the related post as well as notes from recent personalized medicine conferences which were covered live on this site including the PMWC15 and Harvard Personalized Medicine conference this past fall].

In addition, Dr. Lichtenfeld makes some interesting observations including:

  • A “pharmageddon” where drug development risks/costs exceed the reward so drug developers keep their ‘wallets shut’. For example even for targeted therapies it takes $12 billion US to develop a drug versus $2 billion years ago
  • Drugs are still drugs and failure in clinical trials is still a huge risk
  • “Eroom’s Law” (like “Moore’s Law” but opposite effect) – increasing costs with decreasing success
  • Limited market for drugs targeted to a select mutant; what he called “slice and dice”

The pros and cons of focusing solely on targeted therapeutic drug development versus using a systems biology approach was discussed at the 2013 Institute of Medicine’s national Cancer Policy Summit.

  • Andrea Califano, PhD – Precision Medicine predictions based on statistical associations where systems biology predictions based on a physical regulatory model
  • Spyro Mousses, PhD – open biomedical knowledge and private patient data should be combined to form systems oncology clearinghouse to form evolving network, linking drugs, genomic data, and evolving multiscalar models
  • Razelle Kurzrock, MD – What if every patient with metastatic disease is genomically unique? Problem with model of smaller trials (so-called N=1 studies) of genetically similar disease: drugs may not be easily acquired or re-purposed, and greater regulatory burdens

So, discoveries of oncogenes, tumor suppressors, mutant variants, high-end sequencing, and the genomics and bioinformatic era may have led to advent of targeted chemotherapies with genetically well-defined patient populations, a different focus in chemotherapy development

… but as long as we have the conversation open I have no fear of myopia within the field, and multiple viewpoints on origins and therapeutic strategies will continue to develop for years to come.

References

  1. Parada LF, Tabin CJ, Shih C, Weinberg RA: Human EJ bladder carcinoma oncogene is homologue of Harvey sarcoma virus ras gene. Nature 1982, 297(5866):474-478.
  2. Friend SH, Bernards R, Rogelj S, Weinberg RA, Rapaport JM, Albert DM, Dryja TP: A human DNA segment with properties of the gene that predisposes to retinoblastoma and osteosarcoma. Nature 1986, 323(6089):643-646.
  3. Hahn WC, Counter CM, Lundberg AS, Beijersbergen RL, Brooks MW, Weinberg RA: Creation of human tumour cells with defined genetic elements. Nature 1999, 400(6743):464-468.
  4. Weinberg RA: Coming full circle-from endless complexity to simplicity and back again. Cell 2014, 157(1):267-271.

 

Other posts on this site on The War on Cancer and Origins of Cancer include:

 

2013 Perspective on “War on Cancer” on December 23, 1971

Is the Warburg Effect the Cause or the Effect of Cancer: A 21st Century View?

World facing cancer ‘tidal wave’, warns WHO

2013 American Cancer Research Association Award for Outstanding Achievement in Chemistry in Cancer Research: Professor Alexander Levitzki

Genomics and Metabolomics Advances in Cancer

The Changing Economics of Cancer Medicine: Causes for the Vanishing of Independent Oncology Groups in the US

Cancer Research Pioneer, after 71 years of Immunology Lab Research, Herman Eisen, MD, MIT Professor Emeritus of Biology, dies at 96

My Cancer Genome from Vanderbilt University: Matching Tumor Mutations to Therapies & Clinical Trials

Articles on Cancer-Related Topic in http://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com Scientific Journal

Issues in Personalized Medicine in Cancer: Intratumor Heterogeneity and Branched Evolution Revealed by Multiregion Sequencing

Issues in Personalized Medicine: Discussions of Intratumor Heterogeneity from the Oncology Pharma forum on LinkedIn

Introduction – The Evolution of Cancer Therapy and Cancer Research: How We Got Here?

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Protecting Your Biotech IP and Market Strategy: Notes from Life Sciences Collaborative 2015 Meeting


 

Protecting Your Biotech IP and Market Strategy: Notes from Life Sciences Collaborative 2015 Meeting

Achievement Beyond Regulatory Approval – Design for Commercial Success

philly2nightStephen J. Williams, Ph.D.: Reporter

The Mid-Atlantic group Life Sciences Collaborative, a select group of industry veterans and executives from the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device sectors whose mission is to increase the success of emerging life sciences businesses in the Mid-Atlantic region through networking, education, training and mentorship, met Tuesday March 3, 2015 at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia (USP) to discuss post-approval regulatory issues and concerns such as designing strong patent protection, developing strategies for insurance reimbursement, and securing financing for any stage of a business.

The meeting was divided into three panel discussions and keynote speech:

  1. Panel 1: Design for Market Protection– Intellectual Property Strategy Planning
  2. Panel 2: Design for Market Success– Commercial Strategy Planning
  3. Panel 3: Design for Investment– Financing Each Stage
  4. Keynote Speaker: Robert Radie, President & CEO Egalet Corporation

Below are Notes from each PANEL Discussion:

For more information about the Life Sciences Collaborative SEE

Website: http://www.lifesciencescollaborative.org/

Or On Facebook

Or On Twitter @LSCollaborative

Panel 1: Design for Market Protection; Intellectual Property Strategy Planning

Take-home Message: Developing a very strong Intellectual Property (IP) portfolio and strategy for a startup is CRITICALLY IMPORTANT for its long-term success. Potential investors, partners, and acquirers will focus on the strength of a startup’s IP so important to take advantage of the legal services available. Do your DUE DIGILENCE.

Panelists:

John F. Ritter, J.D.., MBA; Director Office Tech. Licensing Princeton University

Cozette McAvoy; Senior Attorney Novartis Oncology Pharma Patents

Ryan O’Donnell; Partner Volpe & Koenig

Panel Moderator: Dipanjan “DJ” Nag, PhD, MBA, CLP, RTTP; President CEO IP Shaktl, LLC

Notes:

Dr. Nag:

  • Sometimes IP can be a double edged sword; e.g. Herbert Boyer with Paul Berg and Stanley Cohen credited with developing recombinant technology but they did not keep the IP strict and opened the door for a biotech revolution (see nice review from Chemical Heritage Foundation).
  • Naked patent licenses are most profitable when try to sell IP

John Ritter: Mr. Ritter gave Princeton University’s perspective on developing and promoting a university-based IP portfolio.

  • 30-40% of Princeton’s IP portfolio is related to life sciences
  • Universities will prefer to seek provisional patent status as a quicker process and allows for publication
  • Princeton will work closely with investigators to walk them through process – Very Important to have support system in place INCLUDING helping investigators and early startups establish a STRONG startup MANAGEMENT TEAM, and making important introductions to and DEVELOPING RELATIONSHIOPS with investors, angels
  • Good to cast a wide net when looking at early development partners like pharma
  • Good example of university which takes active role in developing startups is University of Pennsylvania’s Penn UPstart program.
  • Last 2 years many universities filing patents for startups as a micro-entity

Comment from attendee: Universities are not using enough of their endowments for purpose of startups. Princeton only using $500,00 for accelerator program.

Cozette McAvoy: Mrs. McAvoy talked about monetizing your IP from an industry perspective

  • Industry now is looking at “indirect monetization” of their and others IP portfolio. Indirect monetization refers to unlocking the “indirect value” of intellectual property; for example research tools, processes, which may or may not be related to a tangible product.
  • Good to make a contractual bundle of IP – “days of the $million check is gone”
  • Big companies like big pharma looks to PR (press relation) buzz surrounding new technology, products SO IMPORTANT FOR STARTUP TO FOCUS ON YOUR PR

Ryan O’Donnell: talked about how life science IP has changed especially due to America Invests Act

  • Need to develop a GLOBAL IP strategy so whether drug or device can market in multiple countries
  • Diagnostics and genes not patentable now – Major shift in patent strategy
  • Companies like Unified Patents can protect you against the patent trolls – if patent threatened by patent troll (patent assertion entity) will file a petition with the USPTO (US Patent Office) requesting institution of inter partes review (IPR); this may cost $40,000 BUT WELL WORTH the money – BE PROACTIVE about your patents and IP

Panel 2: Design for Market Success; Commercial Strategy Planning

Take-home Message: Commercial strategy development is defined market facing data, reimbursement strategies and commercial planning that inform labeling requirements, clinical study designs, healthcare economic outcomes and pricing targets. Clarity from payers is extremely important to develop any market strategy. Develop this strategy early and seek advice from payers.

Panelists:

David Blaszczak; Founder, Precipio Health Strategies

Terri Bernacchi, PharmD, MBA; Founder & President Cambria Health Advisory Professionals

Paul Firuta; President US Commercial Operations, NPS Pharma

 

Panel Moderator: Matt Cabrey; Executive Director, Select Greater Philadelphia

 

Notes:

David Blaszczak:

  • Commercial payers are bundling payment: most important to get clarity from these payers
  • Payers are using clinical trials to alter marketing (labeling) so IMPORTANT to BUILD LABEL in early clinical trial phases (phase I or II)
  • When in early phases of small company best now to team or partner with a Medicare or PBM (pharmacy benefit manager) and payers to help develop and spot tier1 and tier 2 companies in their area

Terri Bernacchi:

  • Building relationship with the payer is very important but firms like hers will also look to patients and advocacy groups to see how they respond to a given therapy and decrease the price risk by bundling
  • Value-based contracting with manufacturers can save patient and payer $$
  • As most PBMs formularies are 80% generics goal is how to make money off of generics
  • Patent extension would have greatest impact on price, value

Paul Firuta:

  • NPS Pharma developing a pharmacy benefit program for orphan diseases
  • How you pay depends on mix of Medicare, private payers now
  • Most important change which could affect price is change in compliance regulations

Panel 3: Design for Investment; Financing Each Stage

Take-home Message: VC is a personal relationship so spend time making those relationships. Do your preparation on your value and your market. Look to non-VC avenues: they are out there.

Panelists:

Ting Pau Oei; Managing Director, Easton Capital (NYC)

Manya Deehr; CEO & Founder, Pediva Therapeutics

Sanjoy Dutta, PhD; Assistant VP, Translational Devel. & Intl. Res., Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

 

Panel Moderator: Shahram Hejazi, PhD; Venture Partner, BioAdvance

  • In 2000 his experience finding 1st capital was what are your assets; now has changed to value

Notes:

Ting Pau Oei:

  • Your very 1st capital is all about VALUE– so plan where you add value
  • Venture Capital is a PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP
  • 1) you need the management team, 2) be able to communicate effectively                  (Powerpoint, elevator pitch, business plan) and #1 and #2 will get you important 2nd Venture Capital meeting; VC’s don’t decide anything in 1st meeting
  • VC’s don’t normally do a good job of premarket valuation or premarket due diligence but know post market valuation well
  • Best advice: show some phase 2 milestones and VC will knock on your door

Manya Deehr:

  • Investment is more niche oriented so find your niche investors
  • Define your product first and then match the investors
  • Biggest failure she has experienced: companies that go out too early looking for capital

Dr. Dutta: funding from a non-profit patient advocacy group perspective

  • Your First Capital: find alliances which can help you get out of “valley of death
  • Develop a targeted product and patient treatment profile
  • Non-profit groups ask three questions:

1) what is the value to patients (non-profits want to partner)

2) what is your timeline (we can wait longer than VC; for example Cystic Fibrosis Foundation waited long time but got great returns for their patients with Kalydeco™)

3) when can we see return

  • Long-term market projections are the knowledge gaps that startups have (the landscape) and startups don’t have all the competitive intelligence
  • Have a plan B every step of the way

Other posts on this site related to Philadelphia Biotech, Startup Funding, Payer Issues, and Intellectual Property Issues include:

PCCI’s 7th Annual Roundtable “Crowdfunding for Life Sciences: A Bridge Over Troubled Waters?” May 12 2014 Embassy Suites Hotel, Chesterbrook PA 6:00-9:30 PM
The Vibrant Philly Biotech Scene: Focus on KannaLife Sciences and the Discipline and Potential of Pharmacognosy
The Vibrant Philly Biotech Scene: Focus on Computer-Aided Drug Design and Gfree Bio, LLC
The Vibrant Philly Biotech Scene: Focus on Vaccines and Philimmune, LLC
The Bioscience Crowdfunding Environment: The Bigger Better VC?
Foundations as a Funding Source
Venture Capital Funding in the Life Sciences: Phase4 Ventures – A Case Study
10 heart-focused apps & devices are crowdfunding for American Heart Association’s open innovation challenge
Funding, Deals & Partnerships
Medicare Panel Punts on Best Tx for Carotid Plaque
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The Vibrant Philly Biotech Scene: Focus on Computer-Aided Drug Design and Gfree Bio, LLC

Curator and Interviewer: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D.

 

 

philly philly2night

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This post is the second in a series of posts highlighting interviews with Philadelphia area biotech startup CEO’s and show how a vibrant biotech startup scene is evolving in the city as well as the Delaware Valley area. Philadelphia has been home to some of the nation’s oldest biotechs including Cephalon, Centocor, hundreds of spinouts from a multitude of universities as well as home of the first cloned animal (a frog), the first transgenic mouse, and Nobel laureates in the field of molecular biology and genetics. Although some recent disheartening news about the fall in rankings of Philadelphia as a biotech hub and recent remarks by CEO’s of former area companies has dominated the news, biotech incubators like the University City Science Center and Bucks County Biotechnology Center as well as a reinvigorated investment community (like PCCI and MABA) are bringing Philadelphia back. And although much work is needed to bring the Philadelphia area back to its former glory days (including political will at the state level) there are many bright spots such as the innovative young companies as outlined in these posts.

efavirenz_med-2In today’s post, I had the opportunity to talk with molecular modeler Charles H. Reynolds, Ph.D., founder and CEO of Gfree Bio LLC, a computational structure-based design and modeling company based in the Pennsylvania Biotech Center of Bucks County. Gfree is actually one of a few molecular modeling companies at the Bucks County Biotech Center (I highlighted another company RabD Biotech which structural computational methods to design antibody therapeutics).

Below is the interview with Dr. Reynolds of Gfree Bio LLC and Leaders in Pharmaceutical Business Intelligence (LPBI):

LPBI: Could you briefly explain, for non-molecular modelers, your business and the advantages you offer over other molecular modeling programs (either academic programs or other biotech companies)? As big pharma outsources more are you finding that your company is filling a needed niche market?

GfreeBio: Gfree develops and deploys innovative computational solutions to accelerate drug discovery. We can offer academic labs a proven partner for developing SBIR/STTR proposals that include a computational or structure-based design component. This can be very helpful in developing a successful proposal. We also provide the same modeling and structure-based design input for small biotechs that do not have these capabilities internally. Working with Gfree is much more cost-effective than trying to develop these capabilities internally. We have helped several small biotechs in the Philadelphia region assess their modeling needs and apply computational tools to advance their discovery programs. (see publication and collaboration list here).

LPBI: Could you offer more information on the nature of your 2014 STTR award?

GfreeBio: Gfree has been involved in three successful SBIR/STTR awards in 2014.   I am the PI for an STTR with Professor Burgess of Texas A&M that is focused on new computational and synthetic approaches to designing inhibitors for protein-protein interactions. Gfree is also collaborating with the Wistar Institute and Phelix Therapeutics on two other Phase II proposals in the areas of oncology and infectious disease.

LPBI: Why did you choose the Bucks County Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center?

GfreeBio: I chose to locate my company at the Biotech Center because it is a regional hub for small biotech companies and it provides a range of shared resources that are very useful to the company. Many of my most valuable collaborations have resulted from contacts at the center.

LPBI: The Blumberg Institute and Natural Products Discovery Institute has acquired a massive phytochemical library. How does this resource benefit the present and future plans for GfreeBio?

GfreeBio: To date Gfree Bio has not been an active collaborator with the Natural Products Insititute, but I have a good relationship with the Director and that could change at any time.

LPBI: Was the state of Pennsylvania and local industry groups support GfreeBio’s move into the Doylestown incubator? Has the partnership with Ben Franklin Partners and the Center provided you with investment and partnership opportunities?

GfreeBio: Gfree Bio has not been actively seeking outside investors, at least to date. We have been focused on growing the company through collaborations and consulting relationships. However, we have benefitted from being part of the Keystone Innovation Zone, a state program that provides incentives for small technology-based businesses in Pennsylvania.

LPBI: You will be speaking at a conference in the UK on reinventing the drug discovery process through tighter collaborations between biotech, academia, and non-profit organizations.  How do you feel the Philadelphia area can increase this type of collaboration to enhance not only the goals and missions of nonprofits, invigorate the Pennsylvania biotech industry, but add much needed funding to the local academic organizations?

GfreeBio: I think this type of collaboration across sectors appears to be one of the most important emerging models for drug discovery.   The Philadelphia region has been in many ways hard hit by the shift of drug discovery from large vertically integrated pharmaceutical companies to smaller biotechs, since this area was at the very center of “Big Pharma.” But I think the region is bouncing back as it shifts more to being a center for biotech. The three ingredients for success in the new pharma model are great universities, a sizeable talent pool, and access to capital. The last item may be the biggest challenge locally. The KIZ program (Keystone Innovation Zone) is a good start, but the region and state could do more to help promote innovation and company creation. Some other states are being much more aggressive.

LPBI: In addition, the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center in Bucks County appears to have this ecosystem: nonprofit organizations, biotechs, and academic researchers. Does this diversity of researchers/companies under one roof foster the type of collaboration needed, as will be discussed at the UK conference? Do you feel collaborations which are in close physical proximity are more effective and productive than a “virtual-style” (online) collaboration model? Could you comment on some of the collaborations GfreeBio is doing with other area biotechs and academics?

GfreeBio: I do think the “ecosystem” at the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center is important in fostering new innovative companies. It promotes collaborations that might not happen otherwise, and I think close proximity is always a big plus. As I mentioned before, many of the current efforts of Gfree have come from contacts at the center.   This includes SBIR/STTR collaborations and contract work for local small biotech companies.

LPBI: Thompson Reuters just reported that China’s IQ (Innovation Quotient) has risen dramatically with the greatest patents for pharmaceuticals and compounds from natural products. Have you or your colleagues noticed more competition or business from Chinese pharmaceutical companies?

GfreeBio: The rise of Asia, particularly China, has been one of the most significant recent trends in the pharmaceutical industry. Initially, this was almost exclusively in the CRO space, but now China is aggressively building a fully integrated domestic pharmaceutical industry.

LPBI: How can the Philadelphia ecosystem work closer together to support greater innovation?

GfreeBio: A lot has happened in recent years to promote innovation and company creation in the region. There could always be more opportunities for networking and collaboration within the Philadelphia community. Of course the biggest obstacle in this business is often financing. Philadelphia needs more public and private sources for investment in startups.

LPBI: Thank you Dr. Reynolds.

Please look for future posts in this series on the Philly Biotech Scene on this site

Also, if you would like your Philadelphia biotech startup to be highlighted in this series please contact me: sjwilliamspa@comcast.net or @StephenJWillia2.
Our site is read by ~ 570,000 readers, among them thousand international readers daily and followed by thousands of Twitter followers.

 

Other posts on this site in this VIBRANT PHILLY BIOTECH SCENE SERIES OR referring to PHILADELPHIA BIOTECH include:

RAbD Biotech Presents at 1st Pitch Life Sciences-Philadelphia

The Vibrant Philly Biotech Scene: Focus on Vaccines and Philimmune, LLC

What VCs Think about Your Pitch? Panel Summary of 1st Pitch Life Science Philly

1st Pitch Life Science- Philadelphia- What VCs Really Think of your Pitch

LytPhage Presents at 1st Pitch Life Sciences-Philadelphia

Hastke Inc. Presents at 1st Pitch Life Sciences-Philadelphia

PCCI’s 7th Annual Roundtable “Crowdfunding for Life Sciences: A Bridge Over Troubled Waters?” May 12 2014 Embassy Suites Hotel, Chesterbrook PA 6:00-9:30 PM

Pfizer Cambridge Collaborative Innovation Events: ‘The Role of Innovation Districts in Metropolitan Areas to Drive the Global an | Basecamp Business

Mapping the Universe of Pharmaceutical Business Intelligence: The Model developed by LPBI and the Model of Best Practices LLC

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The Vibrant Philly Biotech Scene: Focus on Vaccines and Philimmune, LLC

Curator: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D

I am intending to do a series of posts highlighting interviews with Philadelphia area biotech startup CEO’s and show how a vibrant biotech startup scene is evolving in the city as well as the Delaware Valley area. Philadelphia has been home to some of the nation’s oldest biotechs including Cephalon, Centocor, hundreds of spinouts from a multitude of universities as well as home of the first cloned animal (a frog), the first transgenic mouse, and Nobel laureates in the field of molecular biology and genetics. Although some recent disheartening news about the fall in rankings of Philadelphia as a biotech hub and recent remarks by CEO’s of former area companies has dominated the news, biotech incubators like the University City Science Center and Bucks County Biotechnology Center as well as a reinvigorated investment community (like PCCI and MABA) are bringing Philadelphia back. And although much work is needed to bring the Philadelphia area back to its former glory days (including political will at the state level) there are many bright spots such as the innovative young companies as outlined in these posts.

First up I got to talk with Florian Schodel, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of Philimmune, which provides expertise in medicine, clinical and regulatory development and analytical sciences to support successful development and registration of vaccines and biologics. Before founding Philimmune, Dr. Schodel was VP in Vaccines Clinical Research of Merck Research Laboratories and has led EU vaccine clinical trials and the clinical development of rotavirus, measles, mumps, hepatitis B, and rubella vaccines. In addition Dr. Schodel and Philimmune consult on several vaccine development efforts at numerous biotech companies including:

 

\His specialties and services include: vaccines and biologics development strategy, clinical development, clinical operations, strategic planning and alliances, international collaborations, analytical and assay development, project and portfolio integration and leadership.

Successful development of vaccines and biologics poses some unique challenges: including sterile manufacturing and substantial early capital investment before initiated clinical trials, assay development for clinical trial support, and unique trail design. Therefore vaccines and biologics development is a highly collaborative process between several disciplines.

The Philadelphia area has a rich history in vaccine development including the discovery and development of the rubella, cytomegaolovirus, a rabies, and the oral polio vaccine at the Wistar Institute. Dr. Schodel answered a few questions on the state of vaccine development and current efforts in the Philadelphia area, including recent efforts by companies such as GSK’s efforts and Inovio’s efforts developing an Ebola vaccine.

In his opinion, Dr. Schodel believes our biggest hurdle in vaccine development in a societal issue, not a preclinic development issue. Great advances have been made to speed the discovery process and enhance quality assurance of manufacture capabilities like

however there has not been a great history or support for developing vaccines for the plethora of infectious diseases seen in the developing world. As Dr. Schodel pointed out, there are relatively few players in the field, and tough to get those few players excited for investing in new targets.

 

However, some companies are rapidly expanding their vaccine portfolios including

 

 

Why haven’t 3rd world countries developed their own vaccine programs?

 

  1. Hard to find partners willing to invest and support development
  2. Developing nations don’t have the money or infrastructure to support health programs
  3. Doctors in these countries need to be educated on how to conduct trials, conduct vaccine programs like Gates Foundation does. For more information see Nature paper on obstacles to vaccine introduction in third world countries.

 

Lastly, Dr. Schodel touched on a growing area, cancer vaccine development. Recent advances in bladder cancer vaccine, cervical, and promising results in an early phase metastatic breast cancer vaccine trial and phase I oral cancer vaccine trial have reinvigorated this field of cancer vaccinology.

 

Historic Timeline of Vaccine Development

vaccine development timeline

Graphic from http://en.pedaily.cn/Item.aspx?id=194125

 

Other posts on this site related to Biotech Startups in Philadelphia and some additional posts on infectious disease include:

 

RAbD Biotech Presents at 1st Pitch Life Sciences-Philadelphia

LytPhage Presents at 1st Pitch Life Sciences-Philadelphia

Hastke Inc. Presents at 1st Pitch Life Sciences-Philadelphia

1st Pitch Life Science- Philadelphia- What VCs Really Think of your Pitch

The History of Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology in the late 19th and 20th Century

 

 

 

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