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November 8, 2017updated 10 Nov 2017 5:12pm

October’s top stories: NIH found new target proteins for anti-malaria drugs, NCI discovered new way to combat cancer

NIH found new target proteins for anti-malaria drugs and Netherlands Cancer Institute (NCI) discovered a new way to fight cancer. Pharmaceutical-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from October.

NIH found new target proteins for anti-malaria drugs

A new study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the US identified two proteins required by the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum (P. Falciparum) to infect red blood cells.

The plasmepsins IX and X proteins are also needed by the parasite to exit the cells after multiplication and are expected to be potential new targets for the development of new anti-malaria medication.

Plasmodium falciparum, which produces ten types of plasmepsin proteins, was reported to have developed drug-resistance in five South East Asian countries.


NCI discovered new way to fight cancer

A research team from the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NCI) discovered the underlying mechanism of cancer drug addiction that can lead to the development of more rational alternating therapies to kill cancer cells.

Often, cancer cells not only become resistant to existing therapy but also become addicted to the treatments that are supposed to combat and eliminate them.

Studies in patients, animal models and cultured cells have shown that the dependency can be used against tumours, where the drug-addicted cancer cells die in large numbers when the treatment is suddenly discontinued.


Saudi FDA approved Sobi’s Alprolix for haemophilia B

The Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) approved Swedish Orphan Biovitrum’s (Sobi) clotting therapy Alprolix (eftrenonacog alfa) for the treatment of patients with haemophilia B in Saudi Arabia.

Developed using Fc fusion technology, Alprolix is an extended half-life and recombinant factor IX Fc fusion protein therapy designed to extend circulation in the body.

The drug is engineered with the fusion of factor IX to Fc portion of immunoglobulin G subclass 1 (IgG1) and is manufactured using a human cell line.


Researchers collaborated to use supercomputing for cancer drugs discovery

Researchers from the University of California (UC) collaborated with affiliated national laboratory scientists and industry experts to use advanced supercomputing capabilities for the development of new and personalised cancer treatments.

The researchers will exploit the high-performance computing and deep machine learning that would help develop effective cancer therapies more quickly and accurately.

The public-private effort will support the university’s partnership with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory with the aim of speeding up the process of cancer treatment development that currently takes about five to ten years.


UK Government offered new funding for life sciences sector

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond announced a new £17m life sciences funding, which is intended to aid the discovery of new drugs and support treatment for mental health.

Provided by HM Treasury, the funding is expected to benefit the National Health Service (NHS) and patients in the country.

The life sciences industry is considered important for the country’s economy as it comprises more than 5,000 companies, with a total of about 235,000 employees and £63.5bn turnover.


Pharmexcil forecasted India’s generics exports growing at 22% per year

An update provided by the India Brand Equity foundation (IBEF) and the Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council (PHARMEXCIL) showed that the country’s generic exports are expanding by approximately 22% per year.

As per the data, India’s branded generic sector boasts a value of $12bn accounting to 98% of the marketplace.

The exports cover more than 60,000 brands and 60 therapeutic classes and form about 20%-22% of the world’s production.


Australian Government offered $100m fund for brain cancer research

The Government of Australia announced new funding of $100m to advance brain cancer research as part of efforts to provide a better life to people suffering from the disease.

Formed as an alliance between the Federal Government, philanthropists, medical experts, patients and their families, the Australian Brain Cancer Mission is intended to double patient survival rates over the coming decade.

Initially, the government is awarding $50m through the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) and $10m from the Minderoo Foundation’s Eliminate Cancer Initiative.


University of Strathclyde researchers studied new way to prevent Alzheimer’s

A new study by researchers at the University of Strathclyde, UK, investigated a new method of enhancing brain activity for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.

The 14-month study aims to evaluate the use of light stimulation to block the build-up of a toxic protein, beta-amyloid, in the cells of the brain areas that are vulnerable to the disease.

Sponsored by Alzheimer’s Research UK, the study is intended to provide a new prevention strategy for people who are at high risk of the disease.


Amgen and Simcere partner agreed to develop and commercialise biosimilars in China

US-based biotechnology company Amgen entered an exclusive agreement with Chinese firm Simcere Pharmaceutical Group to co-develop and commercialise four biosimilars in China.

Under the partnership, the two companies will work together to develop undisclosed biosimilars in the areas of inflammation and oncology.

As part of the agreement, Simcere will be responsible for distributing and commercialising the products in China, and Amgen will have a limited right to co-promote the biosimilars.


AbbVie’s hepatitis C drug recommended for use within UK NHS Wales

The All Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG) recommended AbbVie’s Maviret for use within NHS Wales, UK, to treat adults suffering from chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.

Indicated for HCV infection across all major genotypes (GT1-6), Maviret is a once-daily, ribavirin-free regimen with a combination of 100mg of glecaprevir and 40mg of pibrentasvir, which targets and inhibits proteins required for the viral replication.

Discovered under the firm’s alliance with Enanta Pharmaceuticals, glecaprevir is an inhibitor of NS3/4A, while pibrentasvir inhibits NS5A.

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