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R&D news in brief

Our weekly round-up of drug discovery and development stories.

New EuropaBio members

EuropaBio, the European Association for Bioindustries, has welcomed 14 new members to its organisation. The companies come from different industry sectors that make use of biotechnology, including biopharmaceutical companies Crucell, MorphoSys and Rottapharm. ìHaving the sector well represented in Brussels means the industry can actively contribute to the political environment and help convince policy makers to build the bio-economy,î said Feike Sijbesma, chairman of EuropaBio. The full list of new members can be found at www.europabio.org.

Avastin results impressive

Avastin (bevacizumab) significantly increases survival in patients with advanced colorectal cancer when used in combination with an oxaliplatin-containing chemotherapy regimen, a phase III trial has found. The trial revealed that when Avastin was combined with FOLFOX4, overall survival was increased from 10.7 months to 12.5 months in patients with advanced colorectal cancer who had previously failed one chemotherapy regimen for their advanced disease. Further data revealed that patients receiving Avastin plus chemotherapy had a 26 per cent reduction in the risk of death compared to those treated with chemotherapy alone.

Bat company plans flotation

A German pharmaceutical firm with a product based on the saliva of the vampire bat is planning to float on the German stock exchange. Paion hopes to sell 5 million shares for between Ä11-14 a share, valuing the company at Ä200m. Paion's main product, desmoteplase, for the treatment of stroke, is based on a protein found in the saliva of the vampire bat which stops blood from clotting. The drug is currently in phase II clinical trials and has received fast-track status from the US Food and Drug Administration.

Obesity project launched

The European Commission has launched a project to investigate how diet and genetic factors cause obesity. The DIOGenes (diet obesity and genes) Integrated Project will aim to discover the role of the carbohydrate and high dietary protein content in enhancing the feeling of being full after eating. The Commission is providing Ä14.5m in funding for the project, which involves 30 organisations from 15 countries.

30th September 2008

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