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Seeking the ‘eye of the tiger’

WASHINGTON—Science funding is getting an infusion of cash after Congress in December passed a $45 billion reauthorization of the America Competes Act—a bill designed to invest in research and science education, and to fund and foster innovations that will help keep the United States competitive in tech-driven industries.

It signals another key milestone for scientific research, and history teaches us that building and maintaining a competitive advantage is vital to our country.

The importance of maintaining a competitive advantage on the global stage can be defined by one striking moment that occurred Oct. 24, 1957: Sputnik I was launched, an event that marked a 20-year race for supremacy in space between the Soviet Union and the United States. For two decades, the two nations traded volleys in the space race, with the United States gaining the upper hand by the late 1960s. By the 1970s, space exploration stood as a symbol of the competitive nature between the world’s two superpowers for technological, military, cultural and intellectual supremacy.

In a less grandiose analogy, the United States must regain the “eye of the tiger.”

In Rocky III, the fictional boxer Rocky Balboa must come back from a rattling defeat to Clubber Lange and the death of his longtime manager, Mickey. He trains with his old nemesis, Apollo Creed, learning along the way that he needs to stay hungry and keep “the eye of the tiger.”

Sadly, the story has changed in recent decades, with the United States slowly losing its competitive edge. It seems as if we no longer place a premium on education, research and innovation. Evidence of this is seen in the World Economic Forum’s recent ranking of the quality of math and science education around the world—the United States stands 48th. We are lagging behind other countries in the issuance of patents and ­even—in an era of high unemployment—American companies consistently suffer from a shortage of individuals with critical skills.

The America Competes Act can serve as an investment in regaining our competitive edge and becoming the world leader in education, research and innovation.

The bill, which has been in legislative limbo throughout the year, sets funding levels for the next three fiscal years for the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy’s research programs, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. It also funds education initiatives and a range of other programs.

The legislation provides a total of $23.5 billion for NSF, $16.9 billion for the DOE’s Office of Science, $2.9 billion for NIST, $600 million for education efforts and $1.4 billion for other programs.

The original America Competes Act was approved in 2007. The legislation is based on recommendations outlined in the “Rising Above the Gathering Storm” report released by the National Academy of Sciences in 2005. It urged the United States to work harder to support technological innovation and enhance science, technology and mathematics education.

“In acting to update and extend the America Competes Act, we will spur innovation, invest in cutting-edge research, modernize manufacturing, and increase opportunity,” says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “Simply put, we will continue to ‘rise above the gathering storm’—and keep America No. 1.”

Earlier this year, the bill stood in political limbo, with an earlier draft that was nearly double the cost of the version passed through the House and Senate. A compromise was reached during the lame duck session to cut down the term of the bill from five years to three, creating most of the savings from the original $86 billion draft.

“If we are to reverse the trend of the last 20 years, during which our country’s technological edge in the world has diminished, we must make the investments necessary today,” House Science and Technology Committee Chairman Representative Bart Gordon, D-Tenn., said in a statement.

“More than half of our economic growth since World War II can be attributed to development and adoption of new technologies. These investments are the path toward sustainable economic recovery and growth and the path toward prosperity for the next 50 years,” Gordon said.

Among the new programs in the act, 98 percent of which will fund new scientific research, is the creation of an inter-agency public access committee in the Office of Science and Technology Policy. The committee will coordinate federal science agency policies related to the stewardship and dissemination of research results, including digital data and peer-reviewed scholarly publications.

Another aspect of the bill welcomed by the research community is the authorization of the funding boost for NSF, NIST, and DOE, which “puts us on a path towards a continued increasing investment in those programs over the next 10 years,” Jennifer Zeitzer, director of legislative relations at the Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biolog.

“It’s a bipartisan bill, which we’re happy about because it sends a signal that investing in science and paying attention to science issues is something that both parties care about,” she said.

Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., a former professor and one of the few members of Congress trained as an engineer, says he was proud to have helped write and pass the measure, which he says “makes essential, job-creating investments in advanced research and science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.”

“I am grateful for the valuable feedback I received from the Association of American Universities and the Association of Public Land-grant Universities while writing the NSF title of this bill,” he adds in a statement. “Because of their expertise, and because of what I learned from scientists and research administrators across the country, I believe this legislation will have an enduring positive impact on university-based research and STEM education programs.”

The Business Roundtable lauded Congress for its swift action in passing the America Competes Reauthorization Act.

“The bill will attract more young Americans into technical fields, expand the employment horizons and earnings potential of millions of new American workers, and strengthen America’s future. The Act helps increase our nation’s competitiveness by driving recruitment of K-12 math and science teachers, enhancing the skills of existing teachers, and increasing investments in both scientific research and math and science education. The reauthorization of this act will ensure America remains a global leader in technology, innovation and science in the 21st century,” said Larry Burton, Executive Director, Business Roundtable.

Nonetheless, it was a long and winding road to passage for the bill. The scientific community made an urgent call for it to be reauthorized in September—even issuing a stirring update to the original National Academies report—but despite their best efforts the legislation expired in October before the Senate had time to pass it.

The bill was revived in early December with Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander among those credited for bringing the bill forward. Alexander is a strong supporter of the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is another of the agencies set to benefit from the funding increases mandated by America Competes.

“We’re very pleased. We think it’s a very, very important statement in support of research,” says Robert Berdahl, president of the Association of American Universities in Washington, D.C.

Society of Photographic Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) leaders are among researchers, engineers, and others in the science and engineering community celebrating the passage today of the America COMPETES Act of 2010.

“We are delighted to see continued strong support for the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology,” said SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs.

“We are also happy to see approval for both continued and new spending for Department of Energy (DOE) research, and support for ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy),” Arthurs said. “This is a vital step in building a vigorous innovation pathway, linking the excellent R&D produced by DOE and other agencies to successful commercialization and the creation of jobs.”

Deborah L. Wince-Smith, president and CEO of the Council on Competitiveness, says the group applauds the passage of the America Competes Reauthorization Act with bipartisan support.

“By passing this legislation, Congress has taken a critical step in maintaining America’s leadership in innovation and entrepreneurship, which serves as the foundation for economic growth and long-term prosperity,” she says in a statement.

“The America Competes Act reauthorization paves the way for the vital funding of research, STEM education and American innovation, and will help keep America competitive through a time of great economic uncertainty. We encourage the 112th Congress to build upon this reauthorization and show their commitment to raising the standard of living for all Americans.”

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December 30, 2010 Posted by | Academia & Non-Profit, Corporate, Government, Labwork & Science | Leave a comment

Research efforts can help fragile young lives

Whether we are researchers or journalists, as we explore the landscape of the drug development world we are reminded just how fragile human life can be.

This week, I came across a story that a team of pediatric cancer researchers have identified variations in a gene as important contributors to neuroblastoma, the most common solid cancer of early childhood.

The study team, led by researchers at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, found that common variants in the LMO1 gene increase the risk of developing an aggressive form of neuroblastoma, and also mark the gene for continuing to drive the cancer’s progression once it forms.

The team’s work appears online in Nature. According to their report, a cancer of the sympathetic nervous system that usually occurs as a solid tumor in the abdomen, neuroblastoma accounts for 10 percent of childhood cancer deaths.

According to its website, The Cancer Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia cares for more children with cancer than any other pediatric hospital in the United States. It is ranked second in children’s cancer care in the U.S. by U.S.News & World Report.

It is so sobering to think that the youngest and most vulnerable—our children—sometimes are engaged in a fight for their lives as they battle myriad issues that come with adult-sized problems.

The researchers found a significant association between neuroblastoma and the LMO1 gene, located on chromosome 11, detecting the strongest signal among patients with the most aggressive form of the disease. This portion of the study identified SNPs, changes in a single letter within the DNA sequence, which predispose a child to developing neuroblastoma.

The research team utilized genetic tools to decrease LMO1’s activity, and showed that this inhibited the growth of neuroblastoma cells in culture. Increasing LMO1 gene expression had the opposite effect, causing tumor cells to proliferate.

Because other genes in the LMO family are known to be active in acute leukemias, other researchers have been investigating potential anti-leukemia drugs to target portions of the LMO pathway.

This is just one example of all of the great work going on in labs in hospitals, academic institutions and other facilities in the United States and around the world.

The research offers great hope for children battling cancer. It also is further proof that the work being done in research labs around the world are yielding results that can take steps to eradicate the diseases that take a great toll on us emotionally and physically, regardless of sex, age or race.

Further, the study by researchers at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia shows how we can expand our knowledge base for translating genetic discovery to clinical issues through integrative genomics, combining SNP discovery arrays with gene expression arrays and other functional approaches.

With the great results coming from this work, perhaps the suffering of some of the small and meek can be eased.

December 7, 2010 Posted by | Academia & Non-Profit, Announcements and Events, Labwork & Science, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Putting a face on diabetes isn’t too hard

In my role with ddn, whether in the print publication or the online venues, I get to write about myriad diseases that affect the human population on this planet.

From Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s diseases to diabetes and cancer, companies that we cover each month are working to find new ways of battling these insidious diseases.

In talking with many of the people on the front lines of the research effort to develop these treatments, I get to put a name and face to efforts to improve our chances of surviving and thriving when these illnesses strike.

Over the years, the pages of ddn have featured stories about diseases that strike particularly close to home for those of us writing the articles. For me, it’s diabetes.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and it serves as a reminder for us all of a disease that is a growing problem.  According to some health studies, by 2050, one in three adults could be diabetic.

Today, nearly 24 million Americans have diabetes – including an estimated 6 million Americans who have it and don’t know it. It is estimated that another 57 million adults in the U.S. have pre-diabetes, placing them at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for 95 percent of all cases.

I don’t have to look too far to put a face on diabetes. My wife was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes just over a year ago. Her father was diagnosed five years ago, but he lived with the disease for many years and didn’t know it, choosing to ignore the warning signs.

As a result of years of living with uncontrolled diabetes, my father-in-law today is 64 years old, legally blind and must undergo kidney dialysis three times a week. For him, it’s a matter of life or death.

After being diagnosed, my wife felt as if she were just handed a death sentence. I knew from the stories I’d written that there are two ways to live – you can control the disease or it can control you.

We’ve learned that type 2 diabetics can take a number of oral medications to help their body metabolize sugars, increase insulin production or block the absorption of carbohydrates.

My wife also has a key advantage over her father in her fight against diabetes – early detection. While a diagnosis is a life-changing experience, knowing the what you’re up against is instrumental in effective treatment.

It also is key in thwarting the ravages of diabetes, which include neuropathy, which causes tingling, numbness and destruction of nerves. Because of neuropathy, diabetics must check their feet regularly to ensure they have no wounds. If undetected, a wound can lead to infection that could lead to amputation. Diabetes may also lead to kidney disease, heart disease and blindness.

We’ve learned from the endocrinologist that the goal of diabetes treatment is the prevention of long-term complications. We’ve also had to talk to dietitians and diabetes educators, learning that it truly takes a village to keep a diabetic well.

I’ve learned that even a simple trip to the optometrist can heighten anxiety in my wife. She has her father as a constant reminder of what can happen with this disease.

Type 2 diabetics can take a number of oral medications to help their body metabolize sugars, increase insulin production or block the absorption of carbohydrates, and that’s where we are at. Thanks to the work of countless researchers over the decades, these treatments are available to help diabetics keep their blood sugar levels in check.

Researchers today are at work to discover new drug candidates that have greater efficacy against these diseases. Stepping outside of my role as a journalist and speaking as a husband and father, I have to say just how grateful I am for the work of these researchers. Whether you work at the biggest pharma or the smallest of labs, your work is having an impact on the lives of people the world over.

Some of you may even be motivated in the lab by your own personal experience. We all can share that common bond in the human condition. The faces of these diseases are all around us, and the battle is no less important today. That key discovery that could deliver the knock-out punch to a disease could be occurring in a lab right now.

And to all of the researchers who toil each day to find the Holy Grail, I thank you.

November 17, 2010 Posted by | Academia & Non-Profit, Corporate, Government, Labwork & Science | , , , | Leave a comment

Sequencing, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll: A look at Ozzy’s genome

All aboard

Scientists have stepped up to take a ride on the rails of the crazy train, sequencing and analyzing the full genome of heavy metal rocker Ozzy Osbourne.

And if you thought all rock stars were Neanderthals who bark at the moon, at least in the case of Ozzy Osbourne, you’d be partially right.

Known as the Prince of Darkness and the beheader of bats and birds, the deeper question might be just what the genetic code will reveal about the former Black Sabbath frontman.

In a recent column in the Sunday Times of London, Osbourne admitted his skepticism for the project. “The only Gene I know anything about is the one in Kiss,” he wrote.

Then, he wondered if, just maybe, he might have something to offer science.  He stopped being paranoid and stepped up to the plate for science.

“I was curious,” he wrote in his column. “Given the swimming pools of booze I’ve guzzled over the years—not to mention all of the cocaine, morphine, sleeping pills, cough syrup, LSD, Rohypnol…you name it—there’s really no plausible medical reason why I should still be alive. Maybe my DNA could say why.”

As it turns out, Osbourne has said that if genetic testing determines he has a risk of developing an untreatable disease such as Alzheimer’s, he’d rather not know about it.

In July, the Prince of Darkness let a little blood for Cofactor Genomics, a St. Louis–based company, to sequence. Knome Inc., which also helped raise money for the project, analyzed the data.

With that, Ozzy joined the likes of DNA co-discoverer James Watson and Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates on the short roster of people to have their full genome sequenced and analyzed.

Osbourne and his wife, Sharon, talked about the heavy metal singer’s genome sequencing test at the TEDMED conference in San Diego.

The couple joined several genetics experts at the four-day TEDMED conference, which ended Oct. 29 at the Hotel del Coronado. About 600 people paid $4,000 each to attend the series of short talks delivered by leading scientists, authors, executives and celebrities.

Osbourne has spent decades living the rock and roll lifestyle. Because of his fast-living past, he wondered just why anyone would want to do such research one someone who spent decades abusing alcohol and drugs and took self-destructive behavior to an art form.

He also didn’t understand the potential for the testing. .

“I must confess that I don’t really understand this,” Osbourne told the TEDMED audience. “I find it interesting, but I don’t really understand what it means.”

Sharon Osbourne convinced him to take the test, though she admitted that her motives were selfish.

“I’ve always said that at the end of the world, there would be roaches, Ozzy and Keith Richards,” she said. “It’s fascinating to me how his body can endure so much, and he’s still going. I was just really fascinated by his body chemistry.”

According to the analysis, Osbourne has about 300,000 novel variants, a figure similar to that of other newly sequenced genomes. (The number of novel variants discovered per genome will fall as more people are sequenced.)

I guess nobody should be surprised that among the things revealed by the test is that Osbourne has a higher than average chance of being an alcoholic.

Additionally, he doesn’t metabolize caffeine very well, has a gene tied to smelling limitations and is a distant relative of comedian Stephen Colbert, some of the people who died nearly 1,000 years ago at Pompeii, Italy, during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, and prehistoric Neanderthals.

Osbourne also carries a variant in the ADH4 gene that may well explain “his ability to ingest enormous quantities of alcohol” without killing himself, Jorge Conde, co-founder of Knome Inc., told the Toronto Star.

“If there’s a gene for addictive behavior, you’d have thought mine would be written in pink neon,” Osbourne reflected in his column in the Sunday Times.

He also has a variation of a gene known as AVPR1A that was linked to musical abilities in 2009 by researchers who studied the genetic makeup of 19 families in Finland.

“We certainly want to sample a larger sample of musicians to explore that,” said Nathaniel Pearson, a geneticist with Knome.

Most unusually, the analysis found that Osbourne carries two versions of the COMT gene: both the warrior and the worrier variant.

“Those two sides of my personality sum me up perfectly,” Osbourne told the TEDMED crowd.

He doesn’t have any of the markers tied to Alzheimer’s risk, and his wife checked those results before they were given to him.

The blood sample taken from Ozzy Osbourne in July was sequenced in a machine made by Life Technologies of Carlsbad, Calif.

At TEDMED, Life Technologies Chief Executive Greg Lucier showed off the company’s new Personal Genome Machine, which uses tiny chemical pH meters to identify DNA base pairs.

Other sequencers use chemical color tags, lasers, high-tech cameras and super computers in a process that takes more time and costs more money.

Lucier said medical science is on the cusp of a genomics revolution.

“We’re finding new gene associations (with diseases) each and every day,” he told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “There is incredible momentum happening (among physicians) to learn genomics and apply it to care.”

November 2, 2010 Posted by | Academia & Non-Profit, Corporate, Labwork & Science, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Unwrapping the chocolate genome project

As ddn Senior Editor David Hutton’s post today shows us, genomics doesn’t all have to be deadly (or even healthily) serious…

If Willy Wonka had been a scientist, you can bet he’d have been on board with efforts to crack the chocolate genome.

As it is, chocolatiers Mars and Hershey have had their eyes on a different kind of Golden Ticket, spending millions to crack the code to unlock the secrets for better sweets.

The race pits two factions of scientists who are working hard to analyze the chocolate genome, the genetic code behind the cocoa tree, which they hope could one day make candy bars taste better, cost less, and maybe come guilt free.

Mars, the maker of such tasty confections as Milky Way, M&Ms and Snickers, dedicated $10 million to a chocolate genome project two year ago. Teaming up with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and tech giant IBM, the confectioner announced earlier this month that it had cracked more than 92 percent of the genome. Their work is available for free at the Cacao Genome Database, a clearinghouse set up by Mars to aid chocolate research.

The Mars team has made available the draft genome that is a rough physical map of the cacao tree’s 10 chromosomes. Roughly 400 million “letters” of code have been arranged into chunks of about 150,000 letters each. This rough map will allow scientists to search for genes associated with particular traits, according to Juan Carlos Motamayor, chief cacao scientist for Mars. The researchers have already figured out where some genes of interest reside, but they aren’t making that information available yet, he tells U.S. News & World Report

“This will help guarantee a sustainable future for cocoa for the farmers, the consumers and Mars Inc.,” Howard-Yana Shapiro, the head of plant research at Mars, told the New York Times.

Rival Hershey, the name behind popular candies like Reese’s and Kit Kat, helped fund a similar effort by the French government and Pennsylvania State University. This faction is waiting to release its findings in an upcoming scientific paper.

The question is: Can all of this effort by scientists lead to better tasting chocolate or increase cocoa’s natural production of flavonoids, which studies show may be good for your body?

According to Mark Guiltinan, a plant molecular biologist at Pennsylvania State University and leader of one of the rival efforts, that just might be the end result, but it hasn’t been the driving force behind the projects.

The point of the research, according to scientists, isn’t to create a “super candy bar,” but rather to improve and accelerate selective breeding, resulting in plants that yield more cocoa beans are more resistant to drought and disease.

Researchers also hope to improve the traditional method of breeding trees, a laborious, trial-and-error process in which researchers try to isolate the sweetest traits and replicate them. That can take as long as 15 years to complete.

Armed with a map of the cacao tree’s genetic makeup, scientists could cut that process down to two or three years. For instance, they could extract the DNA of a young tree and see whether it has the right genes for resisting diseases instead of waiting years for the tree to mature.

Guiltinan tells the Philadelphia Inquirer that chocolate, he said, originates in the poorest countries of the world, mostly from small farmers in the tropics. The cacao plants that produce the cherished cocoa beans are vulnerable to disease and drought – much of Brazil’s cacao was recently destroyed by a fungus, for example.

According to Mars, farmers suffer $700 million to $800 million worth of damage every year. In its website, Mars writes that this milestone in the project was achieved three years early and marks a significant scientific landmark that is already beginning to benefit millions of farmers, especially in West Africa. Seventy percent of the world’s cocoa production comes from West Africa.

The project isn’t a novel idea, with genetic sequencing already having been used to improve breeding for corn, soybeans, and other major crops, he said.

Still, the question on the tip of everyone’s tongue is whether the chocolates will taste better. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about.

Well, yes and no.

Actually, scientists say that it’s possible that better-tasting chocolate may be a part of the end result. The flavor actually comes not from the growing, but from a process of fermentation, which happens off the plants where the beans are subjected to bacteria yeasts and molds.

That breaks down the starches and proteins in the beans, creating lots of smaller compounds that, after roasting, make chocolate taste chocolaty. Chemical analyses have shown that chocolate can contain the same compounds that impart flavor and scents to fruits, flowers, sherry, vinegar, butter, almonds, caramel, nutmeg, and other spices – and, in some cases, Swiss and blue cheese.

The chocolate genome race actually has been underway for more than a decade.

Guiltinan told the Inquirer that his chocolate genome project started in the late 1990s when he and other scientists got grant money from a consortium of chocolate companies, including Hershey. But around the same time, Mars Inc. and the Agriculture Department together decided to launch their own genome project.

Fortunately, the research teams targeted different varieties of the cacao plant. The Mars people sequenced a cutting from a variety called Forastero, which they say is the progenitor of most chocolate on the market today.

Guiltinan’s effort chose a sample of an heirloom variety called Criollo, which he says is closely related to the original chocolate that the Mayans and Aztecs consumed as a hot drink laced with peppers.

Which brings us back to our fictitious chocolatier of film and literature.

Watching from the sidelines, Willy Wonka has to be excited by the prospects of genetically-enhanced cacao trees. On second thought, he’s probably had a team of Oompa-Loompas working on this for years behind the gates of his mysterious factory.

October 27, 2010 Posted by | Academia & Non-Profit, Announcements and Events, Corporate, Government, Labwork & Science | , , , , | 2 Comments

Up next: Academia’s role in cancer research

If you’re a regular reader of ddn, you’ve probably read the first couple installments of our current series, Trends in Cancer Research, and now the October issue will bring you a focus on the growing importance and role of companion diagnostics in oncology drug pipelines and revenues.

In November, we will be examining academia’s growing role in cancer research as the effort to find new drug candidates to fight this insidious disease continues. We will examine which academic research centers are at the forefront of cancer research; some of the more significant advances in cancer research that came from the academic world; and their main focus in the expansive universe of oncology reseach, be it tumors, delivery, genomics or some other area.

As I cover these areas, another subject I hope to learn more about is whether studying at one of these centers can unlock more career opportunities for its students.

Lastly, we will be asking people how academic research centers select commercial partners—an important issue, of course, with ddn’s business focus.

I welcome input from ddn readers on this vast topic, as many of you are experts in this very area, work in academia in key leadership positions, or know people who have the insights we need for the articles. We have our sources, but we can’t know everyone, and if you can help expand our network, please do. To participate as a source for our upcoming installment or to suggest a source you think I should contact, e-mail me at hutton@drugdiscoverynews.com.

October 11, 2010 Posted by | Academia & Non-Profit, Labwork & Science | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Companion diagnostics ready to soar

As I’ve worked with companies putting together the next installment in our Trends in Cancer Research series, I’ve learned that pharma seems to be realizing that it needs to collaborate with diagnostic companies to stratify patients and to make safer, more effective drugs.

The development of companion drugs and diagnostics has the potential to improve treatment outcomes, enhance patient compliance with prescriptions and eliminate the need for insurers to pay for expensive therapies that often prove to be ineffective.

And the available information on biomarkers that indicate whether a therapy could work on a particular individual continues to grow rapidly.

Still, it can be a daunting task to develop drugs and companion diagnostics.

One company—Eli Lilly & Co.—has announced plans to build a diagnostics capability. A big part of the company’s innovation strategy is providing improved outcomes for individual patients—which it says can be achieved through tailored therapies.

Several technologies exist that enable the development of biomarkers into companion diagnostics. PCR, microarrays and expression profiling are being used to improve the sensitivity and selectivity of companion diagnostics. Next-generation sequencing and proteomics are two other growing areas of interest.

Biomarkers that are validated have the ability to lead to safer and more effective products, especially when developed into a companion diagnostic.

There certainly are challenges, such as identifying the right biomarker early in the discovery process; developing a robust biomarker assay in advance in the clinic; developing companion diagnostics well before reaching Phase III trials; and gaining approval of a drug and diagnostic at the same time.

An example of just how far this area has come is the World Companion Diagnostics Summit—to be held Dec. 1-2 in Boston. The summit will be addressing exactly these most crucial challenges, and has been developed in collaboration with the companion diagnostic pioneers from Roche, Genentech, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Novartis, Pfizer, Amgen, Abbott, Qiagen and Dako.

According to the website, the meeting has “evolved from the urgent need for those committed to personalized medicine to come together and share expertise that will underpin the path for making companion diagnostics a reality.”

Workshops will be held Nov. 30 and Dec. 3.

The summit will provide the scientific community an opportunity to have an open discussion of strategies for developing companion diagnostics and making strides in the quality and efficacy of research results. In the end, hopefully, we will all be winners.

(Note: If your company or institution is doing pharma or biotech research and development the oncology arena and would like to serve as a source for the last installment in ddn’s Trend in Cancer Research series, contact David Hutton at hutton@drugdiscoverynews.com.)

September 27, 2010 Posted by | Corporate, Dealmakers | , , | Leave a comment