glaxosmithkline

British healthcare firm GlaxoSmithKline has filed for US regulatory approval of its new type 2 diabetes drug albiglutide, which belongs to the same group of injectable GLP-1 receptor agonists as Byetta, Bydureon and Victoza .

GSK announced on Monday that it had submitted the once-weekly medication to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval and confirmed that it also plans to seek European Union regulatory approval for the new product in 2013.

greenleaf-peter-stepping-down

Peter Greenleaf is stepping down down as president of Gaithersburg-based biotechnology giant MedImmune, according to a company spokesman, to take the helm of parent company AstraZeneca’s Latin America business.

He will be replaced by Bahija Jallal, who currently serves as MedImmune’s executive vice president of research and development. Jallal joined the company in 2006 as vice president of translational sciences.

medimmune-campus

MedImmune executive Bahija Jallal will be the new chief of the Gaithersburg biotech under a leadership shuffle by parent company AstraZeneca, a spokesman confirmed Wednesday. Current MedImmune President Peter Greenleaf will lead AstraZeneca's Latin American business.

Jallal, who joined MedImmune in 2006 as a vice president of translational sciences, has also been promoted to AstraZeneca's senior executive team, according to an announcement on Tuesday. That announcement, however, left unclear exactly how her role at MedImmune would change, and how that change would affect Greenleaf.

medical-funding

There might be a lot of griping about how tight the venture capital world is when it comes to funding medical devices, but reality seems to be spinning a different yarn altogether.

A new funding report from CB Insights, a venture capital database, describes the medical device industry as the “sector darling” of VCs who invested in healthcare in the fourth quarter of 2012. In fact medical device deals comprised 42 percent of the overall number of healthcare deals done in the fourth quarter of last year. By comparison biotech deals stood at 15 percent, drug development at 13 percent and pharmaceuticals at 10 percent.

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The buzz around biotechnology investing that could be felt this year at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference could reach the beleaguered medical-device sector as well.

But it won’t be a spate of IPOs—and the headlines they generate–that re-ignites interest in device companies, several investors said.

"What we are really hoping to see in 2013 are great new products approved, and put on the market," said Ryan Drant, a general partner at New Enterprise Associates and a board member at the Medical Device Manufacturers Association.

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If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it one bajillion times. If you’re going to start a business accelerator, don’t clone Y Combinator or TechStars. Find a niche. With the glut of new accelerators today, the most successful are building vertical-specific approaches that bring together seed capital with meaningful industry partnerships to create real business (and learning) opportunities for their startups. Lately, digital health has been leading the way in this regard, as Rock Health, Healthbox, New York Digital Health Accelerator, DreamIt Health and Startup Health are all beginning to blossom.

One of the veterans (a relative term) of this space is the NYC-based Blueprint Health, an accelerator that got its start in 2011 and launched its first batch in January of last year. Today, the accelerator is announcing its third batch of startups as part of its Winter Program, which kicks off on Monday.

eckstein-jens-sr-one

Amid the exhaustive meet-and-greet opportunities available at the 2013 JP Morgan conference, which took place in San Francisco earlier this week, we met with Jens Eckstein, who joined SR One as its latest president slightly more than a year ago. SR One, as most IV Blog readers know, is the corporate venture arm of GlaxoSmithKline, and one of the oldest corporate venture funds in the industry. In an era in which such funds are assuming an ever-more important role in early-stage funding of innovative biotech companies, SROne’s priorities and strategic direction should be of great interest.

GSK has set broad parameters for SR One, with few restrictions; the firm invests with an eye on "the future of pharma in general," not GSK, Eckstein says. GSK has never bought an SR One investment, and the firm steps aside if it sells one of its portfolio companies. He adds that the fund's priority is early-stage innovation, with innovation defined broadly as “anything that changes the way medicine is done today.” That said, as SR One’s interests move "earlier and earlier” up the value chain, the evergreen funding provided by the corporate parent eliminates funding cycles and gives the venture firm a huge advantage over independent competitors.

baltimore-skyline

The Baltimore-area ranks fourth on a new Forbes list of the hottest tech markets in the country.

The report, conducted by Praxis Strategy Group, made its calculations based on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) employment from 2001 to 2012 in the country’s 51 largest metropolitan areas.

The report says Baltimore’s STEM employment has grown 17.9 percent since 2001. In the last two years, STEM employment rose by 3.9 percent.

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The Federal Communications Commission will make $400 million available annually to healthcare providers to expand the development of broadband telehealth networks from a pilot to a permanent program. The pilot program has supported 50 provider healthcare networks in 38 states.

The telehealth networks will link urban medical centers to rural clinics or offer instant access to electronic health records (EHRs). The agency will begin accepting applications for the grants in late summer, according to the Jan. 7 announcement by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.

glaxosmithkline

GlaxoSmithKline is looking to fatten its drug pipeline through another venture capital investment with a $50 million commitment to a California fund.

The drug giant on Wednesday said it would invest in the $250 million Sanderling Biotech Venture Fund. The fund will be managed out of San Mateo, Calif.

The commitment is one of several made by GSK (NYS: GSK) to several funds focused on helping emerging and early-stage companies advancing potential drug candidates. 

johns-hopkins-kimmel-cancer-center

Using cervical fluid obtained during routine Pap tests, scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center have developed a test to detect ovarian and endometrial cancers. In a pilot study, the "PapGene" test, which relies on genomic sequencing of cancer-specific mutations, accurately detected all 24 (100 percent) endometrial cancers and nine of 22 (41 percent) ovarian cancers. Results of the experiments are published in the January 9 issue of the journal, Science Translational Medicine.

The investigators note that larger scale studies are needed before clinical implementation can begin, but they believe the test has the potential to pioneer genomic-based cancer screening tests.

astra-zeneca-logo-2

AstraZeneca has been talking about the importance of expanding its network of collaborations at the JPMorgan healthcare conference in San Francisco.

Blogging from the meeting, Shaun Grady, vice president of strategic partnering and business development at the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker, noted that AstraZeneca and its MedImmune unit have a team of 60 "scouting for opportunities that fit our therapeutic and commercial focus". He added that the firm has scheduled a record number of meetings at the event, approximately 320 in total.

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Venture capitalists invested $1.4 billion in digital health companies in 2012, according to a report from Rock Health, FierceHealthIT reports (Gold, FierceHealthIT, 1/8).

The figure represents a 45% increase from the $986 million invested in 2011. In addition, the total number of venture capital deals in the digital health sector increased by 56% between 2011 and 2012.

Techcouncilmd

The Tech Council of Maryland called on legislators Monday to triple the funding for the state's research and development tax credit and double the scope of its popular biotech tax credit, among other measures.

The Tech Council of Maryland places the expansion of the R&D credit from $6 million to $18 million among its top priorities for the 2013 General Assembly session, which convenes in Annapolis on Wednesday. The measure failed to win approval last year despite passing the Senate. The Tech Council also wants to see that credit made available for companies that haven't yet reached profitability.

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Life sciences company Plasmonix will begin selling its first product, QuantArray, early this year. The Baltimore County startup plans to commercialize two other products later in 2013, the QuantaWell 100 and the Quanta NP, and will seek $2 million to $3 million for another round of financing, CEO William Gjust says.

Plasmonix’ develops support tools to detect cells in medical research and clinical diagnostics by enhancing luminescent and fluorescent signals using metal nanoparticles. QuantArray, its latest product, has various applications in performing assays, a test that analyzes components, and enhances luminescent signals hundred-fold over conventional methods. The technology can be be applied not only in the life sciences, but also apparel, paint and cosmetics.