Latest Biotechnology, Pharmaceutical and Healthcare News from Science

10:21 EDT 25th March 2019 | BioPortfolio

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Showing News Articles 1–25 of 161 from Science

Friday 22nd March 2019

Predicting – Or Not Predicting – New Materials

We chemists would love to be able to do just a tiny bit less chemistry now and then and just let models and simulations tell us what would happen instead. Only every once in a while – you wouldn’t want to obtain such a perfectly accurate picture of chemical and physical interactions that there was

Thursday 21st March 2019

A Brief Note About Alzheimer’s

Well, there it is. Biogen and Eisai have announced just this morning that they’re halting Phase III trials of aducanumab, their anti-amyloid antibody, after the monitoring committee judged that further treatment would be futile. I’m not going to do some sort of victory dance, because (once again) this is bad news for Alzheimer’s patients and for

Wednesday 20th March 2019

An Unexpected Halt in Multiple Myeloma for Venetoclax

  Venetoclax (ABT-199) is an unusual drug. But now there’s some unusually bad (and unexpected) news about it. That’s the structure at right, and medicinal chemists will understand immediately why it’s a bit of an outlier. With a molecular weight of 868, that structure just keeps on going, with a somefeatures that you don’t usually see,

Tuesday 19th March 2019

New Chemistry, Making New Things

In a perverse way, I’m enjoying how modern organic synthesis is upsetting the classic undergraduate sort of test-question syntheses. You know – Grignards, ester condensations, oxidation and reduction of carbonyls, Wittigs, Sandmeyer reactions, Friedel-Crafts, good ol’ hammer-and-tongs bond formation. I had sophomore organic back in the early 1980s, so we didn’t even have pa...

Monday 18th March 2019

Drug Industry Consolidation Refuses To Arrive So Quickly

Anyone who’s watched the biopharmaceutical landscape over the years is familiar with two large forces that reshape the list of companies in the area: on one end, you have mergers and acquisitions that decrease the number of firms, and on the other you have startups that increase it. How have these two been balancing out?

Thursday 14th March 2019

Zafgen: Will There Be a Third Act?

A few years ago on this blog, I wrote several times about a small company called Zafgen and their unusual epoxide-based chemical matter (beloranib) that was in development for the rare Prader-Willi syndrome. That’s a genetic disorder that includes, among many other problems, constant hunger (with the complications that you’d expect from that). Zafgen was pursuing

Wednesday 13th March 2019

Sneaking Proteins Into Cells

Now here’s a weird and rather startling paper. One of the things that people in this line of work spend a lot of time on is getting things into living cells. Small molecules often slide in, one way or another (although, to be honest, our detailed understanding of how they do that could use some

Tuesday 12th March 2019

What Those Degraders Are Actually Doing

Since targeted protein degradation is such a hot topic these days, this paper (which adds to the results obtained by this one) should get some interest. It’s a report of a detailed look at the kinetic behavior of several bifunctional degraders – and there’s a lot of kinetic behavior to look at. That’s because you’re looking

Thursday 7th March 2019

Experiences With Phenotypic Screening?

Very little blogging time today, but I wanted to throw a question out to the readership instead. I’m at the Keystone conference on Phenotypic Drug Discovery, so here’s a relevant topic: what are your own experiences with phenotypic screening? Background for those outside the field: broadly speaking, you can sneak up on a drug by

Wednesday 6th March 2019

A New FDA Commissioner, Suddenly

The big news late yesterday afternoon was the resignation of Scott Gottleib as FDA commissioner. I have no idea why he’s leaving, naturally. He’s spoken about wanting to spend more time with his family and being dissatisfied with going back and forth between Connecticut and DC, and I have no doubt that both of those

Tuesday 5th March 2019

More Fragment Binding In Cells – Now With Less Confusion

The Cravatt group (in collaboration with partners from Harvard and Bristol-Myers Squibb) has a paper out on Chemrxiv that’s a followup to a 2017 paper of theirs which (I will freely admit) is one of my favorites. That was on taking fragment-sized compounds (and a slightly higher-MW collection), each labeled with a diazirene (for photoaffinity

Monday 4th March 2019

Institutional Memory

This is a topic that came up in the comments section of a post last week, but it’s important enough that I wanted to give it some exposure here on the front page. It was a question from someone outside the industry, who asked about how companies can retain “institutional memory”, what with all the

Friday 1st March 2019

California Tells Elsevier to Take a Hike

The science publishing struggles are not calming down – just the opposite. As of yesterday, the entire University of California system is no longer subscribing to Elsevier journals. That’s a mighty big university system and a mighty big publisher; this is Godzilla vs. Megalon. The dispute is around two mighty big issues as well. The

Thursday 28th February 2019

Celgene Complications

Is Bristol-Myers Squibb going to buy Celgene or not? Most such deals go through, but the exceptions are big ones (such as Pfizer’s bid for AstraZeneca). The uncertainty has come in because of yesterday’s announcement from Wellington management, the largest institutional holder of BMY (8% of common shares) that they oppose the deal. You can

Wednesday 27th February 2019

Proteasome Inhibitors, Refined

The proteasome is quite the structure. It is the shredding unit of the cell, where no-longer-needed proteins go to be ripped down to their components for recycling, and it’s become a more and more important part of drug discovery over the years. For one thing, all this fashionable targeted protein degradation work is about sending

Tuesday 26th February 2019

Targeting microRNAs

Medicinal chemists spend the vast majority of their time targeting proteins. Enzyme active sites, receptors, allosteric sites, interfacial sites – it’s one protein after another, to the point that you can mentally assume that your compounds are going to be hitting the familiar landscape of backbone amide bonds, pi-interacting tryptophan side chains, hydrogen-bonding aspartates and

Friday 22nd February 2019

Birch Reduction Without Tears. Or Ammonia. Or Metals.

The Birch reduction is pretty interesting to run, especially the first time you do it. Liquid ammonia is not a typical reaction solvent, and condensing it off a cold finger always looks a bit like a magic trick. You’ll be standing there with a beaker of sodium or lithium metal pieces (sitting under solvent!), which

Birch Reduction Without Tear. Or Ammonia. Or Metals.

The Birch reduction is pretty interesting to run, especially the first time you do it. Liquid ammonia is not a typical reaction solvent, and condensing it off a cold finger always looks a bit like a magic trick. You’ll be standing there with a beaker of sodium or lithium metal pieces (sitting under solvent!), which

Thursday 21st February 2019

Breakthroughs, Sort of

We’re all familiar with the FDA’s “breakthrough” designation for drugs (and drug indications) in the clinical trial/approval process. Opinions vary on the whole idea – useful way to prioritize regulatory attention, PR device for all involved because they’re handing ’em out like Halloween candy these days, or some of each. But if you want to

Wednesday 20th February 2019

Large Teams and Small Ones in Science

I had a book review recently in Nature, on a new volume (Thrifty Science) that looks over the history of early scientific experimentation from the viewpoint of its frugal nature – the idea of reusing and repurposing equipment, objects, and even rooms in one’s house. There was indeed a lot of this sort of thing,

Tuesday 19th February 2019

Reaching Into the Cell

One would like to be able to reach into a cell and mess around with its functions in real time. Thanks to CRISPR and other gene-editing technologies, we can (more or less selectively) tweak individual genes, to a wide number of interesting effects. What if that gene just disappears? What if it gets expressed even more?

Friday 15th February 2019

India’s Disgrace

I’ve written here about what I referred to as “nationalist science”, in that case actions by the Hungarian government against its own universities and the Chinese government’s vigorous promotion of traditional medicine. Now we can (unfortunately) add another one to the list. The Hindu nationalist movement in India has been moving into science and medicine

Thursday 14th February 2019

Odd Peroxides Indeed

You know, normally when you start combining interesting or reactive functional groups in the same molecule, you end up with something that’s worse than before. Would I pick up a flask containing a compound that has both a perchloryl ester and a geminal di-azide? I would not, and neither should you, should som eone ever

Wednesday 13th February 2019

Vibrating Proteins, Resolved

Here’s something that many of us don’t tend to think about when we think about enzymes: vibrational energy. But it’s long been thought that anisotropic vibrational energy transfer (VET) plays a role in both enzyme active sites and in things like coupling to allosteric sites. Getting a handle on that, though, has not been easy

Tuesday 12th February 2019

The FDA and the Dietary Supplements

I’ve been complaining for years on this blog about the “dietary supplement” industry, which exists in its present form thanks to Sen. Orrin Hatch. That’s the 1994 “Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act”, which like many a federal bill has a name that is somewhat detached from reality. I would suggest the “Sell Any Damn

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