University System of Maryland

This week, the University System of Maryland (USM) announced that smoking would no longer be permitted on any of the 12 USM campuses, including the flagship University of Maryland at College Park.

The policy, which will take effect on June 30, 2013, prohibits smoking on campus grounds, outdoor structures, and in school vehicles. Each university president, however, will be able to designate a “very limited area” where smoking may occur without interfering with the health of others.

DHHS

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius joined First Lady Michelle Obama and local officials from across the country to announce the next chapter in the Let’s Move! Cities, Towns, and Counties program, which encourages local elected officials to focus on improving the health of their communities.

Secretary Sebelius announced five goals for local officials to achieve within the next year to address obesity and help communities be healthier. These goals align with Let’s Move!’s five basic pillars.

“Make no mistake, childhood obesity is a national problem and demands everyone’s attention.  But it’s a problem that can’t be solved just at the national level.   We can make a significant impact, city by city, town by town, county by county,” Secretary Sebelius said.

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US regulators took a step into the unknown this week when they approved the first drug to prevent HIV infection. US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Margaret Hamburg hailed the pill, Truvada, as a tool for reducing the rate of infection in the United States, where 50,000 people are diagnosed each year. But the drug combines low doses of two anti­retroviral agents normally used to treat infection, and some researchers fear that its use in healthy people could have unacceptable side effects and spark the emergence of resistant viruses.

US insurers must now decide whether they will pay for Truvada, which costs roughly US$10,000 for a year’s supply. Moreover, health-policy experts must script guidelines on how to prescribe it, and how to monitor side effects and HIV infections in people using the drug. “There are a lot of questions about how to implement it,” says Connie Celum, an HIV researcher at the University of Washington in Seattle, who led a large trial of the drug in East Africa and has begun studies to answer practical delivery questions, such as which subsets of people are at highest risk.

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Science Applications International Corp.'s $473 million acquisition of maxIT Healthcare Holdings Inc. will more than double the company's commercial health care business and make good on a two-year strategy to expand SAIC's presence in that market, company executives told Washington Business Journal Wednesday.

The deal, announced Tuesday evening and expected to close in August, will create a health care business worth just north of $850 million and add about 1,300 employees to the SAIC workforce. Westfield, Ind.-based maxIT will function as a wholly owned subsidiary, with no layoffs planned and additional hires anticipated.

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Health benefits and health care company Humana Inc. has agreed to sponsor Blueprint Health, a New York City-based business accelerator for entrepreneurs in the health care and well-being industry.

According to a news release, Louisville-based Humana will be the exclusive health insurance platinum sponsor of the summer 2012 Blueprint Health Accelerator. Terms of the sponsorship were not disclosed.

Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University and 11 other universities are teaming up with a for-profit company founded by two Stanford University computer science professors to offer free Internet courses worldwide, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

The schools joined four others already working with Coursera, a for-profit education technology company, which will offer over 100 online courses beginning this fall, the WSJ reported.

NIH Careers

The NIH is the premier biomedical research center for the world. Its 27 Institutes and Centers employ approximately 18,000 employees doing a vast array of jobs, all supporting efforts for a healthy nation. For information on the NIH mission, goals, and Institutes and Centers, visit NIH Overview.

As part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) mission to support biomedical research and reduce the burden of illness worldwide, the NIH Roadmap Initiative outlines the need to position the NIH to address the evolving public health challenges of the 21st Century and to enhance public-private partnerships. To support this mission, the NIH Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) is working to address global health challenges by facilitating the transfer of technologies to people around the world.

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Rockville-based Human Genome Sciences Inc., which rejected a $13-per-share takeover offer from GlaxoSmithKline PLC as too low, has accepted a $14.25 per share offer from its lupus drug development partner. The handshake brings to a close a monthslong, sometimes tense struggle for control of the company.

Glaxo announced Monday that Human Genome Sciences (NASDAQ: HGSI) had agreed to its offer to acquire the company in a $3.6 billion squirt transaction that values Human Genome at $3 billion net of cash and debt.

Human Genome

U.K. drug maker GlaxoSmithKline said Monday it had secured its takeover of Rockville-based Human Genome Sciences after agreeing to pay a higher price for the U.S. biotechnology company.

In a joint announcement by the two companies, GSK said it would pay $14.25 per share for Human Genome Sciences, up from its previous offer of $13 per share. The offer values Human Genome Sciences at $3.6 billion.

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GlaxoSmithKline of Britain is near a deal to buy the biopharmaceutical company Human Genome Sciences on friendly terms for about $2.8 billion, potentially ending a long hostile takeover campaign, a person briefed on the matter said on Sunday.

Under the new terms of the deal, GlaxoSmithKline would pay about $14 a share in cash, this person said.

jhutt

The Johns Hopkins Technology Transfer Office (JHTT) is the University’s intellectual property administration center, serving Johns Hopkins researchers and inventors as a licensing, patent, and technology commercialization office and acting as an active liaison to parties interested in leveraging JHU research or materials for academic or corporate endeavors. SNNLive spoke with Wesley Blakeslee, Executive Director of Johns Hopkins Technology Transfer Office at the BioMaryland booth at the BIO International Convention 2012 in Boston, MA.

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Johns Hopkins University is creating a new center to help public health agencies and accountable provider or payer groups better take advantage of health IT technologies.

The Johns Hopkins Center for Population Health IT, or CPHIT, is intended to broaden the focus of health IT systems including electronic health records and e-health beyond clinicians treating individual patients, says Jonathan Weiner, director of the new center. The idea is to "harness these health IT systems to create solutions for the many population health issues facing our nation," he says in a July 11 announcement.