Recent pharma innovations

1. Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati has developed a scaffold made of silk composite functionalised with copper-doped bioactive glass to facilitate faster bone regeneration.

The scaffold seeded with stem cells was found to differentiate into bone cells, facilitate growth of blood vessels and successfully integrate the newly formed bone cells with the native bone.

The research team developed the silk composite by adding chopped silk fibre to liquid silk. Unlike pure silk, the silk composite has greater strength. The addition of bioglass further enhanced the strength of the composite.

The team plans to undertake trials on larger animals now, and is hopeful to get regulatory clearance soon.

2. AstraZeneca is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company, announced that the European Commission has granted marketing authorisation for Lokelma (formerly ZS-9, sodium zirconium cyclosilicate) for the treatment of adults with hyperkalaemia.

Hyperkalaemia is a serious condition characterised by elevated potassium levels in the blood associated with cardiovascular, renal and metabolic diseases.

3.Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are used to suppress acid production in the stomach and are among the most widely sold drugs in the world, but a new study reveals that long-term use of the medicine can increase stomach cancer risks by almost 250 percent.  Helicobacter pylori, carried by more than half of the world’s population – most often harmlessly, but in a small percentage of people, the bug has been tied to the development of stomach cancer.

Previous research found that people with an ongoing Helicobacter pylori infection taking a PPI stood a greater chance of developing a precursor to stomach cancer, called atrophic gastritis.

4.Microsoft is partnering with Seattle biotech company Adaptive Bio-technologies on a year-long project to build a universal blood test that can screen for dozens or even hundreds of diseases at a time, all by decoding the information in the immune system.

Microsoft is investing an undisclosed sum in Adaptive and is offering the company cloud computing and machine learning services. The combined value of those two is in the hundreds of millions of dollars. If the project is a success, it would be a radical change to how we diagnose diseases from cancer to multiple sclerosis and would mark a new era for health technology. Revolution in diagnostic aspects specially  on diseases that are often diagnosed in very late stages, like pancreatic and ovarian cancer; autoimmune diseases that are typically hard to diagnose, like multiple sclerosis; and infectious diseases that can remain in a person’s system and reoccur, like chronic Lyme disease.

5.AstraZeneca is working in collaboration with the molecular diagnostics firm Myriad Genetics’ for its test myChoice HRD Plus to identify advanced ovarian cancer patients who might benefit from maintenance treatment using Lynparza (olaparib) and Avastin (bevacizumab).

The new deal is part of an ongoing collaboration formed by the firm with AstraZeneca in 2007 for the development of a companion diagnostic test to detect individuals for treatment with olaparib.

myChoice HRD Plus is a comprehensive homologous recombination deficiency test for the detection of loss of a tumour’s ability to repair breaks in double-stranded DNA. The test includes loss of heterozygosity, telomeric allelic imbalance and large-scale state transition technologies, along with 90 additional genes and molecular markers.

6. GHIT Fund is an international public-private partnership spearheaded by the Government of Japan, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome Trust and a group of pharmaceutical companies. GHIT Fund has awarded the University of Florida and partners in the United States and Japan $3.2 million to advance a promising vaccine to prevent transmission of malaria. New grant from the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund will further development of processes to move the vaccine from the experimental stage to human trials and, ultimately, a clinical treatment.

Rhoel Dinglasan, an associate professor of infectious diseases in UF’s College of Veterinary Medicine and the university’s Emerging Pathogens Institute, has spent years developing a malaria transmission blocking vaccine, or TBV.

7. Merck to  introduce on April 17-19, in New York City, US three new products for the flexible manufacturing of biologics at INTERPHEX, .

Pellicon® Capsule with Ultracel® Membrane. This first-of-its-kind single-use tangential flow filtration device is used for bio-processing of antibody-drug conjugates and monoclonal antibodies.

Millipak® Final Fill Filter. These filters provide maximum product yield in high-value, small-volume processing.

Mobius® Power MIX 2,500-Liter and 3,000-Liter large-scale single-use mixers. These mixing systems combine high-performance technology with design elements that make them easy to use when mixing the most challenging buffers, media and bio-pharmaceutical ingredients.

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