2012 Trends and Highlights in Biology Industry


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2012 Trends and Highlights in Biology Industry

What’s the most popular in 2012 in biology industry? With the approaching of 2013, here the following we picked ten trends and highlights from the perspective of un-professional, let see them together:

1. Human Origins and Evolution: Several different studies highlight ongoing research on our early ancestors and the evolution of modern humans. Beyond the compelling tale of our early ancestors, the journey out of Africa and the intermixing with Neanderthals and Denisovans, the new research also gives us insight into the significance of rare genetic variants which are vastly more numerous than common variants and tend to have stronger influence on disease risk.

2. Hepatitis C: it was a hit too last year and the furious bubble continued this year. Bristol-Myers Squibb emerged as a frontrunner with its combination of HCV NS5A inhibitor daclatasvir, the protease inhibitor asunaprevir, and the non-nucleoside HCV NS5B polymerase inhibitor BMS-791325. Abbott Laboratories (soon to be AbbVie) looks strong with its similar trio of ABT-267, ABT-450, and ABT-333. Gilead Sciences and its combination of GS-7977 and GS-5885, plus ribavirin. The first-generation battle between Vertex Pharmaceuticals' Incivek and Merck's Victrelis demonstrated that while this is not exactly a winner-takes-all race, relatively modest edges in safety, efficacy or convenience can lead to huge advantages in the marketplace.

3. Noninvasive Prenatal Sequencing: Two separate research groups reported within weeks of each other that they had successfully sequenced a human fetus using non-invasive methods.The breakthrough offers an opportunity for earlier prenatal screening than currently offered with amniocentesis or chorionic villous sampling (CVS) without the same risks for potentially harming a developing fetus.

4. HIV: This year saw the approval the first at-home HIV diagnostic and the first drug to prevent HIV infection (Gilead's Truvada). It also saw the launch of Gilead's Stribild ("Quad"), which the company hopes will help its HIV franchise weather both eventual patent expirations and the potential launch of ViiV Healthcare's dolutegravir as early as late 2013.

5. Family Genetic factors: it demonstrates both family history and genetic tests have strengths in predicting disease risks, but together they provide the best predictor for disease.

6. Cystic Fibrosis: This genetic illness has gone decades without meaningful new options, but that is changing. The year began with the approval of Vertex Pharmaceuticals' Kalydeco for a tiny percentage of CF patients. Promising results of Kalydeco plus the company's experimental VX-809 raise hopes that far more patients with this disease will soon be helped.

7. Antibody-drug conjugates: Seattle Genetics won approval of the first-ever antibody-drug conjugate with its lymphoma drug Adcetris. And despite some early worries, sales look pretty good! It looks likely the Roche/ImmunoGen's breast cancer drug T-DM1 will soon follow (there is a February 26 PDUFA date).

8. Weight loss drugs: Arena Pharmaceuticals won approval for Belviq (lorcaserin) and Vivus got approval for the combo Qsymia--the first new obesity drugs approved since 1999. Unfortunately for the companies, this hasn't thus far translated into great sales.

9. Cancer advances: New molecular entities include Sanofi-Aventis' Zaltrap (colorectal cancer), Onyx Pharmaceuticals' Kyprolis (multiple myeloma), Pfizer's Inlyta (renal cell carcinoma), Genentech's Erivedge (basal cell carcinoma), Pfizer's Bosulif and Ariad Pharmaceuticals' Iclusig (both for chronic myelogenous leukemia), Exelixis' Cometriq (medullary thyroid cancer), and Astellas' Xtandi (prostate cancer).

10. Not so hot--Alzheimer's research: In addition to the clinical failure of antibodies targeting beta amyloid plaques--bapineuzumab and solanezumab--there was also the failure of Pfizer/Medivation's Dimebon, an antihistamine that showed some early promise. Alzheimer's is a tough nut to crack, but we need to keep cracking.

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Tags: 2012 Review,  Biology Industry,  Highlights

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