What has caught my attention in Pharma, Biotech, Biomedicine and Science in the last two weeks? Here is a selection of the news, articles, papers, findings, risings, falls as I have read, heard, discussed, been involved in. Very subjective, not pretending to be comprehensive or representative. Just my selection.
My MedScan in cw 47/48. Two weeks and so many interesting things that it was hard to choose only five. In area of my interests the most important information was another failure of Eli Lilly´s solanezumab, an Alzheimer´s disease drug candidate (monoclonal antibody) targeting Aβ. And, we are approaching quickly Christmas holidays as we enjoyed already the 2nd advent candle…
Here we go:
Billion-dollar biotech deals
Are you impressed by big numbers of many biotech deals? There is a lot of announcements at time of the deals signature. However, it is usually a well kept secret when an agreement is over after a few years or even a few months, not fulfilling all the milestones payments announced. In-front payments of the deals are in many cases only a small part of the overal „possible“ deal. Upfront payments depend on a risk appetite of a licensee and willing of a biotech company to share development risks and uncertainties. Thought we can be still impressed by high upfront payments paid by some big pharma.
„STAT analyzed nearly 700 biotech licensing deals inked over the past four years and found that biobucks hugely outweigh actual cash on the barrelhead. On average, just 14 percent of the total announced value was paid out upon signing“.
Bicykles as possible drugs
In light of the previous input, a company called Bicykle Therapeutics entered into a fantastic 1 billion deal with AstraZeneca. What interested me is the technology this company has offered to AZ. The company acquired a platform from MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK for identifying of proprietary bicyklic peptides,or Bicykles. „Bicycles® are a breakthrough new therapeutic class that combine antibody-like affinity and selectivity with small molecule-like tissue penetration, tuneable exposure and chemical synthesis“.
Bicykle Therapeutics develops „bicykle drug conjugates“ (BDC, e.g with toxins) in oncology field and shows higher availability and targeting of tumours than monoclonal antibodies.
Big data in Biomedical research
Are we sure that we are prepared for analysis of all biomedical data coming out of big trials, experiments, etc.? Many information and facts are already out there and are waiting. For open minded people, bioinformatics, data scientists, unbiased researchers, artificial intelligence…
„Biomedical research is going big-time: Megaprojects that collect vast stores of data are proliferating rapidly. But scientists’ ability to make sense of all that information isn’t keeping up.“ Try this article and see if you agree.
Memory and us
„Sophisticated techniques can decode stimulus representations for items held in a person’s working memory. However, when subjects shift their attention toward something else, the neural representation of the now unattended item drops to baseline, as though the item has been forgotten. Rose et al. used single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to briefly reactivate the representation of an unattended item. A short pulse of TMS enhanced recognition of “forgotten” stimuli, bringing an unattended item back into focal attention.“
The article published in Science brings interesting facts about our memory and forgetting. Try also other recent memory articles of Dr. Postle.
Medical Device startups
Atomwise is a startup medical device company developing supercomputers. Thought we can not directly account these as new medical devices today, this can be changed by tomorrow. „By using one of the world’s top supercomputers to analyse databases 1000 times larger than those of the past, Atomwise is delivering precise and reliable medicinal predictions. Their end goal is finding better medicines faster.“ Other worthy to watch medical device startups are introduced regularly by MedReps on their website.