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October 10, 2017 Comments (0) Views: 604 Biotech, Biotech Briefing, Blog

Biotech Briefing: UC San Diego, Salk Scientists Awarded NIH Grants

Plus: TSRI’s HIV research center receives a $27 million grant, and California has a new stem cell law

Awards + Honors

UC San Diego and Salk Scientists Awarded NIH’s High-Risk, High-Reward Grants

Eiman Azim and Emma Farley, assistant professors at UC San Diego and Salk, respectively, were named an NIH Director’s New Innovator for 2017. This NIH award was created to support exceptionally creative scientists with unconventional approaches to major challenges in biomedical research. UC San Diego assistant professor Melissa Gymrek received the NIH Director’s Early Independence Award, which allows her to skip post-doctoral training and move immediately into an independent research position.


Reports + Research

$27 Million Grant Supports TSRI’s HIV Research Center 

HIV continues to be an active area of research because of the virus’s ability to rapidly mutate, remain dormant, and hijack the cell’s machinery. TSRI’s HIVE Center is one of five funded National Centers dedicated to HIV research. The $27 million grant will support the next five years of studying at the atomic level the interactions of the virus in the human host cell. Findings from this research could be used to predict therapeutic resistance and develop novel therapies.


California’s New Stem Cell Law Over Non-FDA Approved Stem Cell “Offerings”

Just over a month ago, the FDA made one of the first strong statements indicating new policy steps and enforcement over “unscrupulous actors who have seized on the clinical promise of regenerative medicine.” The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) have long been fighting this battle from a public education front (CIRM just launched an online tool to explore their stem cell trials). Now, California has a new law that requires clinics to disclose when a stem cell offering or procedure has not been FDA approved. Many in the regenerative medicine community see it is an important, albeit small, step. Read their thoughts here.


A Q&A with Serial Entrepreneur Troy Wilson about Precision Medicine

WuXi AppTec chats with Troy Wilson, who has founded three precision medicine start-ups in the past several years. The article delves into the science behind Kura Oncology, Avidity Biosciences, and Wellspring Biosciences. Most importantly, it’s a thesis on how the precision-medicine based approach can improve the industry’s innovation and productivity, and the need to invest in biology.


MiraCosta College Opens STEM Center

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education is extremely important to San Diego’s innovation economy. As a former undergraduate educator, I am personally excited to see a focus on STEM education at our local community colleges. MiraCosta’s Nordson STEM Center will be located at their Oceanside campus.


Read + Listen

POW! Podcast of the Week

a16z Podcast with MIT’s Bob Langer looks at how and why we engineer biomedical products. It also discusses the history of drug regulation and how that shapes what drugs are developed

BOW! Book of the Week

Bill Gates recommends Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words. Read his blog post on it here.



It’s Happening Here

October 23-24:
MedCity ENGAGE, innovation in patient engagement, will take place October 23-24 at UTC La Jolla.

November 15:
Save the date, November 15, for a first look at the 2018 California Life Sciences Industry Report.

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