Weekend News: Business, Finance and Innovations in Biotech and Pharma Industries


After enjoying the weekend we are back again with all the hottest happenings of Biotech and Pharma industries. Check out the interesting happenings of the weekend and get rid of your Monday blues!


First In-Human Use of CRISPR Approved for Cancer Treatment

Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC) set up at the National Institutes of Health approved the much disputed gene-editing tool, CRISPR to be tested in first set of humans for cancer treatment. Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania want to modify DNA of 18 patients to effectively target cancer cells in humans.

The experiment will be funded by Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy which was founded by the internet billionaire, Sean Parker. The trial is still awaiting approval from the Food and Drug Administration of the U.S.A.

By editing the immune cells of the patients, the scientists aim to target cancer cells more effectively. The scientists will take blood samples, extract and modify the T-cells and reinfuse it to invoke immune system to effectively find and destruct the tumor cells. The trials will basically target difficult-to-treat cases of cancers.


Propellon Develops Promising Epigenetic Modifiers for Cancer Treatment

First-in-class epigenetic modifiers, WDR5 inhibitors, for cancer treatment will be developed and commercialized by the Ontario based biotechnology company- Propellon Therapeutics Inc. which is being created by FACIT, an independent business trust established by OICR (Ontario Institute for Cancer Research).

WDR5 proteins play crucial role in the formation and epigenetic activities of MLL1-associated methylation complexes whose deregulation is being associated with various leukemia.Propellon’s novel WDR5 epigenetic modifiers will aim the protein-protein interactions within WDR5/MLL1 complex and will destroy the pro-cancer methylation activities.

Jeff Courtney, Chief Commercial Officer of FACIT said, “With a focus on accelerating the development of these promising WDR5 inhibitor therapies, Propellon is well-positioned to attract investment and global pharma partners to Ontario, and increase the likelihood of successful translation and improved patient care.”


Gilead’s Odefsey gains EC Approval for HIV-1 Treatment

Gilead Sciences’ once-daily single tablet regimen (STR) Odefsey for the treatment of HIV-1 infection received marketing authorization from the European Commission. Odefsey, combines Gilead Sciences emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide with rilpivirine, marketed by Janssen Sciences, Ireland.

The approval was supported by a bioequivalence study which showed that Odefsey achieved similar drug levels of emtricitabine and TAF in the blood as Genvoya (elvitegravir 150 mg/cobicistat 150 mg/emtricitabine 200 mg/tenofovir alafenamide 10 mg; E/C/F/TAF) and similar drug levels of rilpivirine as Edurant (rilpivirine 25 mg). Clinical studies have also proven the efficacy, tolerability and safety of the drug.

Featured image credit: Umbrella at a tropical market Luang Prabang in Laos. © Casanowe (Stock Photo ID: 115743185)

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