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Monthly Archives: July 2003

Antibiotics, The Next Generation
Few things are as inexorable as the march of bacterial resistance. When a person or animal is given an antibiotic, it kills enough pathogens to cure the illness. But bacteria that have mutated so they can resist the drug survive. The next time these bacteria cause an infection, the antibiotic is less likely to work. But that is drawing some biotech companies into the antibiotic research.

BIO leader hits proposal for drug price regulation

The Cambridge-based chairman of the nation’s largest biotech organization is strongly opposing any federal controls in drug pricing if a prescription drug component is added to Medicare.

“It’s price controls or innovation; you can’t have both,” said Richard Pops, who recently was elected to head the board of directors of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), a Washington-based information and lobbying group. Pops is CEO of Alkermes Inc. in Cambridge.

Biotech industry in survival mode
Restructuring, retrenching and reinventing themselves, Bay Area biotechnology firms are adapting to weather the economic downturn.

“We’ve noticed (biotech companies) will abandon one or two research products and in the process may have discovered something of more use, readjusting their core competency to find something marketable today, rather than long term”

Antibacterials: a dying trade
: Despite strong worldwide demand for effective antibacterial products, sustaining growth within this segment will become a challenging task for major pharmaceutical companies. Currently only six marketed drugs have sales of greater than $1 billion and by 2011, 12 out of 29 key products will face patent expiry. A relatively sparse R&D pipeline will do little to replace older products.

Can Your Genomics Work Contribute to Biodefense
Three years ago, Luis Villarreal, a virologist at the University of California, Irvine, came up with the idea of using in vitro gene activation by PCR to study the proteome of a virus in hopes of developing a high-throughput platform for identifying new vaccines.

Villarreal and his collaborators at the university saw infectious disease as their primary target, but after the anthrax attacks in late 2001 they realized that their work might just as easily apply to tackling bioterror agents…