petri dish

A strange thing has happened during an otherwise bleak time for biotech venture capital. Life science venture capitalists are apparently hitting more of their investments out of the park.

There were 17 so-called “Big Exits” for investors in privately held biotech companies, and 18 in the medical device business in 2011, the most of any year since 2005 in a new set of data analyzed by Silicon Valley Bank. For this analysis, a “Big Exit” was counted each time a venture-backed life sciences company was acquired, and the up-front payment was worth at least $75 million. Although many of these “Big Exit” acquisitions are structured to include milestone payments that can make the deals more lucrative over time, those future payments often don’t materialize, and they weren’t factored in to the SVB analysis of investment returns.

The purpose of this funding opportunity (FOA) is to improve hearing health care outcomes and reduce health disparities through the development and commercialization of improved devices for hearing health care (HHC).  For the purposes of this FOA, “hearing health care” is defined as assessment and access to hearing aids and nonmedical treatment, including hearing screening and hearing assessment as well as acquiring an appropriate device and services for the individual’s hearing loss and communication needs.  Appropriate technologies must have the following basic characteristics: easily affordable, effective, culturally acceptable, and accessible to those who need them. 

This announcement calls for applications to develop devices and other technologies that address the HHC needs of the nation, including health disparity populations.  Generally, health disparity populations include racial and ethnic minorities, the rural and urban poor, and other medically underserved populations.

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.

truvada-hiv-drug

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.

saic-logo

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.

humana-logo

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.

human-genome-sciences

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.

human-genome-lab

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.