Breast Cancer Subtypes

Emily BurkeBiotech Basics, Cancer, Genetics, Mechanism of Action

FOUR MOLECULAR VARIANTS EXPLAINED Hearing your doctor utter the words HER2-positive, HR-positive, triple-negative, or BRCA mutation can be devastating — even for the most resilient person. Simply put, breast cancer is a complex disease. A diagnosis can be derived from any combination of the factors listed above — or, none at all. The National Cancer Institute (Bethesda, MD) has outlined four molecular subtypes of the disease. … Read More

Pills, Proteins & Peptides

Emily BurkeThe WEEKLY

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 … Read More

The Intrigue Of HIF

Emily BurkeCancer, Clinical Trials, Cocktail Fodder, Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA), Drug Development, Drug Targets, Mechanism of Action, Small Molecule Drugs, Term of the Week, The WEEKLY

The Versatility Of HIFs Quite a few headlines touting a term called “HIF compound” or “hypoxia-inducible factor compound” have intrigued us here at WEEKLY headquarters. GlaxoSmithKline (London, England), Akebia Therapeutics (Cambridge, MA) and more have HIF-inducing drugs in the pipeline which may prove to be attractive alternatives to Amgen’s (Thousand Oaks, CA) injectable Epogen currently on the market. In earlier stages of research, HIFs are being studied for their connection to tumor … Read More

The Mechanics Of Melanoma

Emily BurkeBiologics, Biotech Basics, Cancer, Clinical Trials, Drug Development, Drug Targets, Mechanism of Action, Monoclonal Antibodies, Small Molecule Drugs, The WEEKLY

Spectrum Of Therapies Melanoma accounts for less than 1% of skin cancer cases yet causes the vast majority of skin cancer deaths. If detected early enough, melanoma is almost always curable. If not, its ability to metastasize makes it difficult to treat. Melanoma is more common in young adults than many other types of cancer, with 25% of new cases occurring in people under age … Read More

Stem Cell Snapshot

Emily BurkeBiologics, Cardiovascular Disease, Clinical Trials, Drug Development, Drug Targets, Genetics, Genomics, Mechanism of Action

Inducing Stem Cells To Heal Headlines touting stem cells often claim the therapies heal everything from hair loss to hearing loss. While many of these treatments are not FDA approved, there are some promising innovations winding through preclinical and clinical development. Here at WEEKLY headquarters, we like to tease out the science behind the scene, so let’s review regenerative medicine basics and survey … Read More

New Hope For Spinal Muscular Atrophy

Emily BurkeAntisense, Biologics, Clinical Trials, Drug Development, Drug Targets, FDA, Genomics, Mechanism of Action, Orphan Disease, Orphan Drugs, Ribonucleic Acid (RNA), The WEEKLY

FIRST THERAPY APPROVED FOR SMA Squeaking by on December 23rd as the last new drug approval of 2016, Biogen’s (Cambridge, MA) Spinraza now provides hope for the thousands of families affected by a debilitating neuromuscular disorder known as spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). SMA robs people of their ability to walk, eat, and ultimately, breathe. In addition to Spinraza, there are 13 … Read More

Unwiring The Biology Of Fibrosis

Emily BurkeAntisense, Biologics, Clinical Trials, Drug Development, Drug Targets, Mechanism of Action, Monoclonal Antibodies, Small Molecule Drugs, Term of the Week, The WEEKLY

Fibrotic Disease Innovations Fibrotic diseases — organ and tissue disorders that occur as a result of the buildup of excessive scar tissue — are sounding the alarm in the biotech sector. A silent epidemic creeping up on the Western world involves non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), or liver fibrosis associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes. Left untreated, NASH can lead to liver failure. Currently, … Read More

The Science Behind The Opioid Epidemic

Emily BurkeBiotech Basics, Clinical Trials, Cocktail Fodder, Drug Development, Drug Targets, Mechanism of Action, Small Molecule Drugs

A Big Pain The opioid addiction crisis gained attention at the highest levels of U.S. policy circles this past year. Presidential candidates that disagreed on nearly everything else vowed to make fighting the epidemic a priority if elected. In July, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill to strengthen prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts. And no wonder – according to … Read More

Cancer Vaccines & Game Changers

Emily BurkeBiologics, Cancer, Clinical Trials, Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA), Drug Development, Drug Targets, Genomics, Mechanism of Action, Term of the Week

The Elusive Cancer Vaccine The promise of cancer vaccines have proven to be elusive. A new crop of biotechs are hoping to change that by taking advantage of the latest advances in genomics. Scientists are working overtime trying to develop cancer vaccines that train the immune system to recognize and fight an established tumor. In this WEEKLY, we’ll break down the science … Read More

The Race To Beat SMA

Emily BurkeAntisense, Biologics, Clinical Trials, Drug Development, Drug Targets, FDA, Genomics, Mechanism of Action, Orphan Disease, Orphan Drugs, Ribonucleic Acid (RNA), The WEEKLY

Zeroing In On The SMA Pipeline A decade ago, there was only one drug in development for a debilitating neuromuscular disorder known as spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) — robbing people of their ability to walk, eat, and ultimately, breathe. Today, there are 14 therapies making their way through the clinic according to the patient advocacy group Cure SMA. The increase is … Read More

A Bone To Pick With Osteoporosis

Emily BurkeBiologics, Clinical Trials, Drug Development, Drug Targets, Mechanism of Action, Monoclonal Antibodies

The Race To Be The Next Big Bone Drug Amgen’s recent positive Phase III results for an antibody drug is putting it neck and neck with Radius Health’s peptide — the latest in a batch of osteoporosis therapies edging their way to the market. The current widely prescribed generic — bisphosphonate — only works to slow the loss of bone, while these newer drugs add to the therapies that aim to rebuild. … Read More

DMD Makes The Cut

Emily BurkeAntisense, Biologics, Clinical Trials, Cocktail Fodder, Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA), Drug Approvals, Drug Development, Drug Targets, FDA, Genetics, Mechanism of Action, Orphan Disease, Orphan Drugs, Ribonucleic Acid (RNA), The WEEKLY

The Science Behind Sarepta’s Hotly Debated Antisense Drug Sarepta’s (Cambridge, MA) Duchenne muscular dystrophy drug Exondys 51 crossed the finish line earlier this week, with a conditional stamp of approval by the FDA. This hotly debated regulatory result offers new hope for patients and families whose previous treatment options only managed the descent of the disease. Affecting one in approximately 3,500 … Read More

The Antibiotic Economy

Emily BurkeBiotech Basics, Clinical Trials, Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA), Drug Approvals, Drug Development, Drug Targets, Mechanism of Action, Small Molecule Drugs, The WEEKLY

THE STATE OF ANTIBACTERIALS 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. If one bacterium … Read More

Attack Of The Migraine

Emily BurkeClinical Trials, Cocktail Fodder, Drug Development, Drug Targets, Mechanism of Action, Monoclonal Antibodies, Small Molecule Drugs, The WEEKLY

New Avenues For Migraine Therapy Migraines. One of the most convenient excuses to get out of work or dinner with your mother-in-law. More than just a headache, migraines often include symptoms like intense pain, nausea, dizziness, and extreme sensitivity to light or noise. They can last anywhere from a few hours to days on end. Episodes may be as frequent as several times a … Read More

An Inborn Error Of Metabolism

Emily BurkeBiologics, Clinical Trials, Cocktail Fodder, Drug Development, Drug Targets, Mechanism of Action, Orphan Disease, Orphan Drugs, Small Molecule Drugs

Diet Soda’s Ominous Warning “Phenylketonurics—contains phenylalanine” is listed on many diet sodas, including Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi. There is no elaboration, just an ominous warning in bold typeface. Since a few of us at BioTech Primer are big fans of diet soda, we wondered: Should we be worried? And what exactly is a phenylketonuric? A quick Google search reveals … Read More

Unmasking Multiple Sclerosis

Emily BurkeBiologics, Biotech Basics, Clinical Trials, Drug Development, Drug Targets, Mechanism of Action, Monoclonal Antibodies, Small Molecule Drugs, The WEEKLY

 Many Channels Available To Impede MS Progression Continuing our series on central nervous system (CNS) disorders—previously covering Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s—we pivot to unmask Multiple Sclerosis this week. Famous faces suffering from Multiple Sclerosis (MS) include former talk show host Montel Williams and Sopranos star Jamie-Lynn Sigler. MS typically occurs in susceptible individuals between the ages of 20 and 50, and there are … Read More