After weeks of speculation that biopharma deal making would cool off, 2019 got off to a flying start as far as mergers-and-acquisitions (M&A) is concerned, thanks to two blockbuster transactions: Bristol-Myers Squibb’s planned $74 billion acquisition of Celgene, followed four days later by Eli Lilly’s planned $8 billion purchase of Loxo Oncology—a deal that quickly became the buzz of the J.P. Morgan 37th Healthcare Conference, held earlier this month in San Francisco.


Our National Cancer Institute-University of Maryland (NCI-UMD) Partnership for Integrative Cancer Research reflects the broad interests of our participating NCI and UMD researchers. We are delighted to invite you to our annual NCI-UMD Partnership for Integrative Cancer Research Symposium on Friday, February 8th from 10am-4pm which will take place in Bethesda, Maryland in the John Edward Porter Neuroscience Research Center at the National Institutes of Health, Bldg 35A, Room 620/630. Please register and plan to participate in our October symposium. The final agenda will be announced shortly.


The past decade has seen intensified research collaboration between pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions. Although such partnerships are recognized as a source of innovation and a key pillar to advance science in drug discovery, they are replete with challenges. Despite much anecdotal evidence and debate, fact-based evidence on the nature of these challenges and how to manage them is scarce.


Deloitte has surpassed its peers to become the world's most valuable professional services brand, according to the 2019 Global 500 report issued by Brand Finance on 22 January 2019. Deloitte's strong performance was due to higher scores in Brand Finance's metrics of familiarity, consideration, satisfaction, preference, recommendation and revenue.   


2019 has kicked off with a wave of innovative health care solutions highlighted at mega-conferences like CES and the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference - from the introduction of the first wearable blood pressure monitor to virtual home health care for seniors to online vision tests allowing patients to renew prescriptions from anywhere at anytime. We are truly living through an age of disruption spurred by technological advances.


United Therapeutics Corporation (Nasdaq: UTHR) today announced the closing of the transactions contemplated by its license agreement with Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ARNA). Under the agreement, United Therapeutics acquired exclusive, worldwide rights to develop and manufacture the Phase 3 investigational drug candidate ralinepag, a next-generation, oral, selective and potent prostacyclin receptor agonist in development for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH).  Upon closing, United Therapeutics paid Arena $800 million. Arena is also entitled to potential milestone payments of up to $400 million based on the achievement of certain regulatory events as well as low double-digit tiered royalties on annual net sales of ralinepag products.    


Cell therapy offers a treasure chest of new medicines, but there is still much to learn about cell activities and how to deliver these potential benefits before science and the industry can fully fulfill on their promise. One of cell therapy’s earliest pioneering companies is MaxCyte, based in Gaithersburg, MD and in the United Kingdom.  Leading MaxCyte is president and CEO Doug Doerfler, a biotech pioneer who has more than 35 years of experience in the discovery, development, commercialization and international financing of biotechnology products and companies. He was also a founder of MaxCyte in July 1998.


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the leading causes of death in the western society, being ranked third most lethal neoplasia in the United States in both men and women.1 In 2014, the American Cancer Society estimated that approximately 136,830 new cases of CRC will be diagnosed in the United States, with more than 50,000 Americans expected to die due to disease progression or complications.1,2 The lifetime cancer-related costs are considerable and differ by cancer site, disease stage, age at diagnosis, and treatment phase. Considering direct healthcare costs, CRC is the second most important neoplasia with estimated expenses of more than $14 billion.3,4

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One major focus for legislators during this year’s session is how to bring down the cost of health care, as everyday Marylanders struggle to afford the cost they pay at the pharmacy counter. Despite disagreements between different groups within and beyond health care, there is broad consensus that something must be done about the cost patients pay without denying Marylanders the world-class treatments available to them, many of which are made right here in Maryland.


The FDA is witnessing a surge of cell and gene therapy products entering early development, evidenced by a large upswing in the number of investigational new drug (IND) applications. Based on this activity, we anticipate that the number of product approvals for cell and gene therapies will grow in the coming years, reflecting significant scientific advancement and the clinical promise of these new innovations.