FEATURE

GSK Wins EMA Approval to Market Multiple Myeloma Treatment

By Judy Ya-Hsuan Lin Multiple myeloma is the second most common blood cancer, as more than 48,000 people in the European Union were diagnosed with it in 2018. Multiple myeloma is treatable, but not curable. The high number of diagnoses and the limitations in current treatment options warrant greater R&D and investment opportunities for developing a potential panacea for the illness. Belantamab mafodotin (GSK2857916) is a new multiple myeloma treatment developed by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a global healthcare company. It is an investigational, antibody-drug conjugate for which GSK had sought approval from regulatory bodies in the US and Europe. At the start of this month, the drug received marketing authorization and an accelerated assessment by the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) Committee for Human Medicinal Products (CHMP). The drug had earned EMA’s PRIME designation back in 2017. PRIME is a program seeking to expedite the development of investigational medicines that demonstrate clinical...
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GSK Wins EMA Approval to Market Multiple Myeloma Treatment
FEATURE

New ‘Minigene’ Insertion Approach Could Treat Rare Liver Disease in Mice

By Ruchi Jhonsa, Ph.D. Ornithine transcarbamylase (OTC) deficiency is an X linked, rare genetic disorder that is caused by a complete or partial lack of enzyme ornithine transcarbamylase. Resulting in an excessive accumulation of ammonia in the blood, OTC deficiency can lead to neurological abnormalities, reduced muscle tone and enlarged liver, respiratory abnormalities and eventually coma. Although the occurrence of OTC disorder is rare (1 in 40000), it can occur by genetic aberrations at more than 300 different regions on the gene. Current therapeutic methods aim at suppressing the symptoms by reducing protein amount in the food or supplementing citrulline or ornithine or essential amino acids in the diet. However, when ammonia levels shoot up in the blood, a drug intervention is needed to clear it. Buphenyl and Ravicti by Hyperion Therapeutics and Ammonul by Valeant Pharmaceuticals are the only drugs approved by the FDA for the treatment of chronic...
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New ‘Minigene’ Insertion Approach Could Treat Rare Liver Disease in Mice
FEATURE NEWS IN BRIEF

Weight-Management Drug Belviq Withdraws from US Market

Japan's Eisai Co Ltd. complies with the US Food and Drug Administration's request to voluntarily withdraw its weight-loss drug, Belviq (Lorcaserin) from the US market. The decision for the agency's request came after a follow-up analysis of CAMELLIA-TIMI 61 trial, a 5-year clinical trial involving 12,000 participants that assessed the safety of the drug.  The FDA's risk-benefit assessment concluded that Belviq posed a higher risk to patients in developing cancer. It is reported that 7.7% (462) of patients who were taking 10 mg of Belviq twice a day were affected by more cancers as compared to 7.1% (423) in the placebo group. Pancreatic, colorectal, and lung cancers were some of the types diagnosed in those patients. The agency stated that there was little difference during the initial period, but the imbalance in the incidence of cancer grew over time. Belviq was FDA approved in 2012, as an adjunct to a...
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Weight-Management Drug Belviq Withdraws from US Market
FEATURE

RNA-Silencing Protein AGO4 Functions In Antiviral Defense

Argonaute (AGO) proteins bind to short interfering RNAs (siRNAs) or microRNAs (miRNAs) and form the core of the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC). Although the function of the AGO proteins in effecting gene silencing is well known, the individual functions of the four members, AGO1-AGO4 in antiviral immunity has remained elusive. A new study published recently reports the novel role of AGO4 protein in the antiviral defense pathway in mammals. This discovery offers a potential "universal" drug target for antiviral treatments in the future. RNA interference provides innate immunity against invading viruses in plants and invertebrates. In mammals, viral RNAs have been found to elicit interferon (IFN) response following their recognition by specialized receptors. The presence of antiviral RNAi pathways in mammals was a topic of debate until two seminal Science papers published in 2013 had confirmed its existence. Since then, researchers have investigated how these antiviral systems complement or cooperate...
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RNA-Silencing Protein AGO4 Functions In Antiviral Defense
FEATURE INTERVIEW

Peeking into the Future of Synthetic Biology and Gene Editing, an Exclusive Interview with Dr. George Church

GeneOnline interviewed the legendary Dr. Church, while he was invited to the National Institute of Genomics and Proteomics of Taiwan University, and had him share some of his opinions on the field of genetic engineering with the audience. The Father of Synthetic Biology If you want to describe Dr. George Church in one sentence, many people will say that he is "the most daring synthetic biologist." You may have heard of genetic engineering, but you probably haven't thought about the crazy things that genetic engineering can do! The fictional genetic engineering ideas that occur only in movies has now been gradually realized. This includes editing DNA to treat hereditary diseases, editing aging genes to reverse aging, replacing USB with DNA to store digital data, engineering cells that are not infected by viruses, transplanting pig organs to the human body (Xenotransplantation), and synthesizing the human genome from scratch. All these admirable...
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Peeking into the Future of Synthetic Biology and Gene Editing, an Exclusive Interview with Dr. George Church
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INTERVIEW

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FEATURE INTERVIEW

Peeking into the Future of Synthetic Biology and Gene Editing, an Exclusive Interview with Dr. George Church

GeneOnline interviewed the legendary Dr. Church, while he was invited to the National Institute of Genomics and Proteomics of Taiwan University, and had him share some of his opinions on the field of genetic engineering with the audience. The Father of Synthetic Biology If you want to describe Dr. George Church in one sentence, many people will say that he is "the most daring synthetic biologist." You may have heard of genetic engineering, but you probably haven't thought about the crazy things that genetic engineering can do! The fictional genetic engineering ideas that occur only in movies has now been gradually realized. This includes editing DNA to treat hereditary diseases, editing aging genes to reverse aging, replacing USB with DNA...
Read More
Peeking into the Future of Synthetic Biology and Gene Editing, an Exclusive Interview with Dr. George Church
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INDUSTRY

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First AI-Guided Ultrasound ECHO Software Approved for Marketing

Caption Guidance, an echocardiography software, offers real-time guidance for ultrasound image acquisition using artificial intelligence technology.  On February 7th, San Francisco-based startup Caption Health (previously known as Bay Labs), announced …

ASIA INSIGHT

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Weekly Cover: Expansion of Samsung Biologics Projects into U.S. and Europe

20200203-0209 Expansion of Samsung Biologics Projects into U.S. and Europe For fiscal 2019, Samsung Biologics reported a high figure, recording sales growth of 30.9 percent at 701.6 billion won, and …

TECHNOLOGY

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Scientists Use CRISPR To Fight Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

The Disease  Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is an X-linked recessive disorder predominantly affecting male children. This debilitating, muscle-weakening disease is the most common and severe form of muscular dystrophy. It is caused due to defective frameshift mutations in the …

NORTH AMERICA

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JP Morgan Healthcare Conference 2020 Updates

Although major merger or acquisition announcements have eluded the 38th Annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference so far, several companies have shared important updates and collaboration deals. We handpicked a few of …

TODAY IN HISTORY

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