Spotlight: Nobel Prize in Physics 2018 “for groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics”
Arthur Ashkin is an American physicist who invented “optical tweezers” – laser probes that can trap and manipulate tiny particles in beams of light. At 96, he is the oldest Nobel laureate in history.
French physicist Gérard Mourou and Canadian physicist Donna Strickland share the other half of the Nobel prize for the development of “chirped pulse amplification” – a method for making ultra-short, high-intensity laser pulses now routinely used in corrective eye surgery and precision machining. Dr. Strickland is also the first female physics laureate in 55 years, and only the third to-date.
No more excuses to skip fish oil
Vascepa, a purified fish oil medicine, by Amarin Corp is being hailed as a massive breakthrough in medicine. An 8,179 patient prospective cardiovascular outcomes study (REDUCE-IT) found that Vascepa lowered the risk of heart attacks and strokes in patients with a very high level of triglycerides. (Read more at Amarin Corp)
Gilead, oh Gilead
In a highly unusual move by a pharmaceutical company who still holds the patent, Gilead Sciences has decided to release generic versions of its hepatitis C drugs, Epclusa and Harvoni. Before the company launched its first hepatitis C drug in 2014, the treatment was 48 weeks long and didn’t guarantee a functional cure. The authorized list price of the generics is $24,000 for the full-treatment course, which is about a third to a quarter of the patented drugs. This move comes after a worldwide criticism of the exorbitant prices of the drugs. (Read more at Gilead)
Economics of CRISPRomics™
KSQ Therapeutics has a CRISPRomics™ discovery engine that yielded 12 oncology drug discovery programs in 12 months! The company’s pipeline spans three oncology drug categories: adoptive T-cell therapies, immuno-oncology monotherapies, and targeted therapies. (Read more at KSQ Therapeutics)
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, a Musical
Immunologists James P. Alison and Tasuku Honjo have won this year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their work in cancer immunotherapy. Their research focuses on removing a molecule that acts as “brake” which will unleash the immune system on the cancer cells. Another interesting thing about Dr. Alison is that he plays harmonica in a blues band called The Checkpoints and they mostly perform during cancer conferences. (Watch a performance by The Checkpoints)
Big Climate Video, literally
Great Point Partners, a Connecticut based private investment company that solely focuses on the healthcare industry, has signed an agreement to sell Clinical Supplies Management (CSM) to a UK based company, Clinigen for $150M initially and up to $240M based on whether the business meets certain milestones. CSM is a leading provider of clinical trials drug packaging, labeling and logistics solutions to the global life science, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. (Read more at Green Point’s press release)
Alexion, a Boston headquartered global biopharma company has announced to acquire Syntimmune for $400M upfront payment and the potential for an additional $800M payment contingent on reaching certain milestones. Syntimmune is a clinical-stage biotech start-up founded in 2013 that develops antibody therapeutics. The start-up had raised $50M series B at a $125M valuation last year. (Read more at Syntimmune press release)
Supernus Pharmaceuticals, a Maryland-based pharmaceutical company that focuses on developing and commercializing treatments of central nervous system (CNS) diseases is set to acquire Biscayne Neurotherapeutics, a Miami based biotech that develops a novel treatment for epilepsy. Supernus will pay $15 million up front, followed by an additional $73 based on development milestones and up to $95 million for sales milestones. (Read more at bizjournals)
Morphic Therapeutic, a Boston-based biotech startup that develops a new generation of oral integrin therapies has completed $80M series B financing to bring its oral, integrin-blocking drugs to human tests. The round was co-led by Omega Funds and Novo Holdings (Read more at Businesswire)