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The Readout Damian Garde

Are there limits to business of DNA testing?

What do we talk about when we talk about "vape"? And how hard is it to get yourself CRISPR'd?

We discuss all that and more on the latest episode of “The Readout LOUD,” STAT’s biotech podcast. First, STAT's Megan Thielking joins us to break down a major week of news in the world of vaping, with mounting safety concerns, regulatory crackdowns, and a high-profile resignation. Then, we discuss 23andMe's latest business venture and what it says about the evolving world of consumer genetic testing. Finally, STAT's Sharon Begley stops by to relate the story of a desperate patient seeking off-the-books genome editing and its implications for the future of medical research.

You can listen to the episode here. To listen to future episodes, be sure to sign up on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

A big biotech score for New York City

New York isn’t letting up in its quest to become the next Kendall Square. 

Deerfield Management, a top health investment firm, plans on dropping a cool $635 million to convert a 12-story Manhattan office building into drug research laboratories, the Wall Street Journal writes. The building, which is slated to open in 2021 with more than 300,000 square feet of lab and office space for researchers and startups, will be in the trendy Nomad neighborhood of the city. 

Deerfield will get $92 million in tax incentives over the next two decades; it’s all part of New York’s $500 million initiative to build up a life sciences in the city.

U.S. academia susceptible to IP theft

Academic centers funded by U.S. taxpayers may be particularly vulnerable to intellectual property theft or illicit foreign influence, a federal watchdog reports. For example, more than half of all NIH-funded institutions haven’t publicly disclosed their conflict-of-interest policies. 

Research funding coming from foreign governments could allow them to ultimately pluck trade secrets from U.S. laboratories, according to a newly released HHS report. 

The concern is that financial motivations could “threaten or distort the use of NIH funds for their intended research purpose,” Erin Bliss, an assistant HHS inspector general, told STAT’s Lev Facher. 

Read more.

It's smart to disclose that your drug is addictive

Failing to mention a medicine’s addictive proclivities is a major no-no these days, given the raging epidemic of prescription drug abuse. But that’s exactly what Galt Pharmaceuticals seems to have done with its insomnia drug Doral, according to an FDA warning letter sent earlier this month.

Regulators say Galt sent an email to doctors extolling the purported benefits of Doral over its competitors, while leaving out the fact that it’s classified a Schedule IV controlled substance. 

Read more. 

More reads

  • In genetic disease, who has the right to know—or not know—what? (The Economist)
  • China's pharmaceutical industry is growing up. (The Economist)
  • Pharmacy startups are getting into the business of prescribing medications. (Business Insider)

Thanks for reading! Until next week,

Friday, September 27, 2019


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