Pharma Technology Focus – Issue 46

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The WHO has declared the Zika virus outbreak in South and Central America a global public health emergency, citing the potential for the virus to spread rapidly and a lack of vaccines and reliable diagnostic tests. We investigate the challenges involved in tracking the spread of the virus and the prospects for a vaccine.

We also ask what lessons can be learned from Bial’s BIA 10-2474 clinical trial disaster in France, explore the viability of the US’s $1bn ‘moonshot’ effort to cure cancer, and speak to researchers investigating the manipulation of T-cells as a new path to cancer treatment.

Plus, we hear from GlobalData about the need for better diagnostics for endometriosis, find out why scientists are digging up the ground in the search for micro-organisms with therapeutic potential, and ask what’s holding back the widespread roll-out of digital packaging technologies for pharmaceuticals.

Read the issue for free on your iPad through our app, or if you’re on a desktop computer you can also read it in our web viewer.

In this issue

Zika on the Radar
With the Zika virus outbreak now classed as a global public health emergency, Chris Lo asks Virologist Dr Edward Wright of the University of Westminster about the prospects for a vaccine and the challenges involved in sopping the virus from spreading.
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Bioprospecting for Blockbusters
Nature still holds many secrets that could inspire a new generation of biologic drugs. Although the scientific and economic challenges involved in finding and developing pharmaceutically active molecules are formidable, bioprospecting offers clear avenues for tackling the growing issue of antimicrobial resistance, as Chris Lo finds out.
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Reaching for the Stars?
US President Obama recently announced a ‘moonshot’ effort to cure cancer backed by a down-payment of $1bn. Elly Earls takes a look at his hugely ambitious goal.
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T-cell Revolution
Researchers are working on a ground-breaking new avenue of cancer treatment, using T-cells to unlock the body’s own defences. With the latest research showing ‘unprecedented’ results in clinical trials, Abi Millar investigates what makes the latest wave of T-cell therapies so promising.
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Room for Improvement
GlobalData healthcare analyst Edit Kovalcsik, PhD explains how the endometriosis market could benefit from the development of a non-invasive, reliable diagnostic test based on predictive biomarkers.
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Learning from Disaster
A failed phase I clinical trial in Rennes, France has left one patient dead and five others hospitalised. Abi Millar asks what lessons the drug development community must learn from this tragic outcome.
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A Problem of Scale
Smart packaging technologies are evolving rapidly, but scaling up the manufacturing processes required for a widespread roll-out is a whole new challenge for the industry, as Elly Earls finds out.
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Next issue preview

The breast cancer treatment pipeline shows exceptional levels of activity and innovation, with a staggering 1,050 drugs in active development across all stages. We find out what makes this such a lucrative and promising field and ask whether research in this area of oncology could provide a model for others to follow.

We also hear from KeyPharma about the best strategies for getting biosimilars to market, find out about the difficulties of using mice models in selecting drug candidates for human trials, and get an insight into best practice for outsourcing clinical trials to emerging countries. Plus, we find out about the therapeutic potential of olive leaf extract, and find out how text mining can help to speed up R&D in the biotech sector.

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