Sep 2012

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Lithuania: The Next Start-Up Nation? Lithuania held the first Life Sciences Baltics conference held in Vilnius in mid-September in order to jump-start the country’s nascent biotech industry. Lithuania’s leaders, having singled out Israel as a small country that has developed a successful biotech industry in a way that they would like to emulate, invited a 120-member Israeli delegation to help provide content for the meeting. The keynote speaker was Nobel-prize winner Prof. Ada Yonath of the Weizmann Institute.

10 pharmas form nonprofit TransCelerate to accelerate R&D of new medicines. Ten biopharmaceutical companies have formed a non-profit organization, TransCelerate BioPharma, to accelerate the development of new medicines. Participants include Abbott, AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Genentech and Sanofi.

PCAST releases report on innovation in drug discovery and development. The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) has advised that the U.S. set a goal of doubling the output of innovative new medicines that meet critical public health needs over the next 10 to 15 years, while continuing to increase drug safety. The council recommends a number of actions involving industry, academia and the federal government in a recent report.

Doctors "downgrade credibility of industry-funded trials," study finds. Reporting in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) this week, researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, write that "the methodologic rigour of a trial, not its funding disclosure, should be a primary determinant of its credibility." However, their findings show that doctors lose confidence in a study when they know it to have been funded by a drugmaker and that they are less keen to prescribe drugs trialled in industry-financed studies.