Intercytex which is a biotechnology firm is coming up with a robot for treating baldness and has landed up with £1.85m aid from the government. Under a test undertaken the company took hair follicle from the back of the neck, multiplied them and then replanted the cells for the purpose of inducing new growth. The grant would be utilized by the company for the purpose of developing a robotic system in order to grow the cells so that a number of people could benefit from it. This grant could help in the commercializing of hair follicles. The treatment could help in curing both male and female baldness. Hair follicles would be removed under anesthetic and then grown in culture so that they could multiply and be reinjected. It is expected that this funding would help in treatment of people on a large scale.
Biomedical leaders and international experts have come together in Singapore for a seminar for discussing the state of biotechnology and sharing their vision for the technology with post graduates coming from seventeen countries. Thye would be throwing light on regional and local developments in biomedical R&D and providing insights on the future of this technology in Asia. A panel discussion would also be undertaken which would be exploring the future of biotechnology in Singapore. Called the 2006 Novartis International Biotechnology Leadership Camp it would feature speakers who are top officials in the Economic Development Board’s Biomedical Sciences Group, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases and Genome Institute of Singapore. The participants would be meeting and interacting with experts such as Sir David Lane, Paul Herrling and Edison Liu.
A number of biotechnology companies are not willing to make huge investments with their own money in AIDS vaccine research due to scientific and financial risks. Here are figures to prove this. In the year 2005, biotechnology companies spent about ten percent of the $759 million on AIDS vaccine development and just three of the thirty companies spent around $5 million of their capital in AIDS vaccine research. Companies fear that they may not be able to recover their investments as HIV is mostly prevalent in developing countries and it would be difficult for them to cough up money for the treatment. Though there has been increase in philanthropic funding for finding out cure for AIDS but the involvement of industry is necessary as these companies bring their specialized skills and resources along.
If Farmington’s application to state government program is accepted then in the future it could become a house to biotechnology businesses. The program known as Biotechnology and Health Science Industry Zone (Bio-Zone) program was passed in 2003. Gene Goddard, economic development specialist, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development stated: It is designed to target growth of the bioscience industry. Businesses which take advantage of the program benefit from a close proximity to research centers, such as the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic. It is designed to help consolidate bioscience companies so they can co-locate and share resources The program which was originally implemented in Minneapolis, Rochester and St. Paul saw an expansion during the recent legislative session and now communities such as Moorhead, Worthington and Fergus Falls applied for participating in the program. In the previous month even Farmington City Council voted for enrolling to the program.
As per Dr Durga Rao, Chairman, Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology, IISc, India has a very big potential in the field of biotechnology and it is all set to emerge as the vaccine hub of the world. The vaccine hub title has been possible due to the outsourcing of bio tech applications to the country. India has a lot to gain in this sector due to low cost of production and huge manpower. He further said that students could have a very bright future in the field of biotechnology and India could certainly benefit from the outsourcing trend in this field.
As per the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, WTO has given a ruling that EU moratorium on agricultural biotechnology products approval is illegal. As per Susan Schwab, a top U.S. trade negotiator stated that the ruling has brought U.S. closer towards clearing barriers and expansion of global use of promising advances in the area of food production. The decision thus uphelds a challenge which was brought to WTO in the year 2003 by Argentina, Canada and US and these countries stated that the moratorium on biotech application approvals which was adopted in 1998 was not in compliance with WTO trade rules. Despite all this there is still a lot of support for agricultural biotechnology in Europe.
Enzo Biochem which is a biotechnology company has got a license for a device which enables researchers in increasing the amplification of small RNA samples. This device has been created by LBS Technologies and its helps researchers in gene expression studies. A number of reactions are involved in this technology and it strengthens the amplification of RNA samples which are taken from biopsies and tissue sources when the sample size is small. Now the company has an additional patent apart from its portfolio of six patents dealing with gene amplification technology.
There seems to be worry regarding the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office proposal. This proposal would be limiting the key part of the patent application process meant to reduce the patent backlog of around 700,000 cases by limiting continuations and this might be put into effect before year ending. This particular decision could receive protests from biotech and agri technology companies. Biotechnology is already a very controversial technology and this particular proposal could certainly add some more fire to it. I hope that the proposal is reconsidered in order to avoid undue protests from the pharma fraternity.
Are you a diabetes patient? then this news would certainly bring a ray of hope in your life. If Novocell is to be believed then the company might come up with an effective treatment against diabetes. Let me remind you that Novocell is a company which specializes in stem cell engineering. The company claims that it might be possible to repair insulin producing tissues which are affected by diabetes and said that stem cells from embryos could evolve and turn into cells which could provide insulin. If successful this treatment might be available in another three years. Emmanuel Baetge, chief scientific officer, Novocell said: The efficient, reproducible production of human embryonic stem cell derived, insulin producing endocrine cells through a process that mirrors the development of human pancreatic cells represents a critical step towards providing a renewable source of cells for diabetes therapy. This provides a foundation upon which we can build a standardized process for generating functional insulin-producing cells for the treatment of diabetic patients.