Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., said her bill that would support the use of embryonic stem cells for research has sufficient bipartisan support to clear Congress. However, it remains unclear whether lawmakers will tackle the bill when Congress resumes session. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., also co-sponsored a similar measure in the Senate.
Researchers have reported that they were able to turn cells from frozen blood into induced pluripotent stem cells, which resemble human embryonic stem cells. Using blood as a source for iPS cells will open new ways for researchers to use the cells in disease studies, the lead researcher said.
GlaxoSmithKline and Genmab said they had revised their licensing deal for Arzerra, their drug candidate for blood cancers, a move in which Genmab will get $134.4 million in upfront payments but will see its future milestones and funding commitments reduced. The amended agreement, which will have "a material impact on Genmab's 2010 financial guidance," calls for GSK to develop the drug for autoimmune diseases while both companies continue developing the treatment for cancer indications.
The FDA granted orphan-drug designation to sapacitabine, Cyclacel Pharmaceuticals' experimental drug for acute myeloid leukemia and bone marrow stem cell disorder. The drugmaker plans to proceed with pivotal late-stage trials of the product this year.
Roche Holding and International Business Machines will work together on the development of a genome-sequencing technology based on IBM's nanopore transistor. Roche said it will provide additional resources and finance the project through its 454 Life Sciences unit. Roche expects the technology to allow it to expedite the development of drugs tailored to specific patient populations.