Swallowing A Biologic Drug?

Emily BurkeBiologics, Drug Delivery, Drug Development

Swallowing A Biologic Drug? Over the past two decades, biologic drugs — drugs composed of proteins produced by living cells — have become the safest, most effective top sellers within the pharmaceutical industry. Approved to treat a variety of diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, and a whole range of cancers, these drugs include monoclonal antibody therapeutics, … Read More

Pills, Peptides, & Proteins

Emily BurkeBiologics, Biotech Basics, Drug Discovery, Small Molecule Drugs

Promising Peptide Therapies The front runners in the game of drug delivery include small molecule and large molecule drugs, but there is another class that lands right in between: peptides. Several companies, including Rhythm Pharmaceuticals (Boston, MA), Kalos Therapeutics (San Diego, CA), Aileron Therapeutics (Cambridge, MA), and Bicycle Therapeutics (Cambridge, MA) have emerged as prominent players in the peptide arena. Let’s review the differences between the drug classes and … Read More

Amazing Antibodies Part 2: Enlightened & Nano

Emily BurkeEdited by Sarah Van Tiem, Immunotherapy, Monoclonal Antibodies, The WEEKLY

What Can’t These Little Dudes Do? When last we met, we discussed the fundamentals of monoclonal (mAb) therapies and looked at two recent advances: antibody-drug conjugates and bispecific antibodies. This week continues our adventure in antibody innovation by introducing antibody-based photoimmunotherapy and nanobodies. Lightening Cancer Patient’s Prospects Photoimmunotherapy was conceived of at the National Institutes of Health and is being developed by Aspyrian Therapeutics (San Diego, … Read More

Amazing Antibodies Part One: Bispecifics & Antibody-Drug Conjugates

Emily BurkeBiologics, Drug Discovery, Edited by Sarah Van Tiem, Immune System, Monoclonal Antibodies, The WEEKLY

Attack Of The Mono- & Polyclonals Monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapeutics burst onto the healthcare scene twenty years ago. They remain one of the most versatile and effective therapies available for a whole range of diseases including different types of cancers, autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases, and most recently, even high cholesterol. Tried and true mAbs, such as Herceptin and Rituxan, remain in … Read More

The Immune System: Friend & Sometimes Foe

Emily BurkeAuthor Emily Burke PhD, Biotech Basics, Edited by Sarah Van Tiem, Immune System, Immunotherapy

The Immune System: Friend & Sometimes Foe The immune system. Yes, everybody has one. It’s pretty important to our health. But what the heck is it? In short, the immune system is a complicated network of organs, cells, and signaling molecules. Without this guardian, we fall prey to dangerous pathogens and toxic substances in the environment. The immune system can … Read More

Phage Therapy: New Hope For Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Emily BurkeDrug Discovery

Old Way Of Fighting Bacteria Renewed One of the greatest public health challenges of the 21st century is antibiotic resistance, which occurs when a few bacteria in a given population develop a genetic mutation that enables them to survive — even in the presence of antibiotics.How do bacteria become drug resistant? Suppose a particular antibiotic inhibits an enzyme required for bacterial replication. … Read More

Biotech In Space!

Emily BurkeDrug Discovery

Experimenting In Lower Earth’s Orbit Drug discovery in space? If this sounds like a page from science fiction, think again. Leading pharmaceutical companies are now collaborating with NASA to run experiments on the International Space Station (ISS). The focus on bone density, protein structure, vaccine development, immune function, and aging brings a swath of potential to this fascinating endeavor. In this issue, … Read More

Breaking Bad With SCLC & NSCLC

Emily BurkeALK, Cancer, Drug Development, Drug Targets, The WEEKLY

Breaking Down Lung Cancer  The hit TV series Breaking Bad features anti-hero Walter White, who starts out as a sympathetic character: a mild-mannered high school chemistry teacher with a nagging cough that turns out to be lung cancer. Money problems precipitated by costly treatments, poor insurance, and a modest salary push him to start cooking up meth to ensure the financial security of … Read More

Gluten: Protein of Doom

Emily Burkeceliac, Drug Discovery, Edited by Sarah Van Tiem, gluten sensitivity

Celiac Disease Imagine the tantalizing scent of freshly baked bread. Now, think about even a single scrumptious slice wreaking havoc on you: stomach pain, bloating and other digestive consequences. Welcome to Planet Celiac—home to the millions of Americans diagnosed with celiac disease. Today’s WEEKLY looks at this autoimmune disorder and how biotech companies are working to make life a lot … Read More

Red Blood Cells: Ready For Double-Duty?

Emily BurkeDrug Delivery, Drug Development, Drug Discovery, Edited by Sarah Van Tiem, The WEEKLY

RED BLOOD CELLS: READY FOR DOUBLE-DUTY? Biotech Primer WEEKLY talks a lot about white blood cells, with good reason. These powerful immune cells defend us against pathogens and have recently been adapted to fight cancer as CAR-T cells. What about the body’s other major type of blood cell–red blood cells (RBCs)? Although they receive less media attention, scientists have long … Read More

Rare Disease Focus: PKU

Emily BurkeDrug Approvals, Drug Development, Edited by Sarah Van Tiem, Orphan Disease, Orphan Drugs

Biopharma To The Rescue: PKU The ubiquitous soda can. Who hasn’t seen one? Ever look on the back, at the disturbingly long paragraph of ingredients? The list of ingredients on the back of a can of diet soda are perhaps even more unsettling. Underneath it, there’s a warning in bold: “Phenylketonurics: Contains Phenylalanine.” Phenylalanine doesn’t harm most people. But what’s … Read More

Groundbreaking Migraine Drug Explained

Emily BurkeAuthor Emily Burke PhD, Drug Approvals, Drug Development, Drug Discovery, Drug Targets, Edited by Sarah Van Tiem, Migraine

FIRST IN CLASS MIGRAINE APPROVAL Last month the FDA approved Amgen’s (Thousand Oaks, CA) new migraine drug Aimovig, the first drug shown to prevent the onset of migraines. The drug significantly reduces the number of migraine days in difficult-to-treat (those that have failed 2 to 4 prior treatments) patient populations. In some patients dubbed “super responders”, migraines occurrence went from several times/month to no occurrence for 6 … Read More

CRISPR’s GENOME DETECTIVES

Emily BurkeCRISPR/Cas9, Diagnostics, genome editing

CRISPR’s GENOME DETECTIVES Last week, we reviewed how CRISPR works and its potential to revolutionize genetic therapies. Here we look at how scientists have started using this technology to develop new diagnostics. Media attention has been focusing almost exclusively on how scientists use CRISPR to edit DNA. But as you read last week, the biotech industry has begun to turn … Read More

Taking a Swing at Peanut Allergies

Emily BurkeThe WEEKLY

HOW DO ALLERGIES DEVELOP? Every summer, watching a game at the ballpark and digging into a bag of peanuts is a source of entertainment for many Americans. For the 15 million who suffer from peanut allergies, the idea of being taken out to the ballgame elicits concern — or even anxiety. Food allergies — think tree nuts, milk, eggs, wheat, … Read More