News Feature

  • News Feature |

    The Chan Zuckerberg Biohub is both an institute and an academic network devoted to accelerating research via cutting edge technologies and open science. Its focus on single-cell analysis and infectious disease has placed it front and center in the pandemic.

    • Laura DeFrancesco
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    Single-cell analysis sheds light on immune response to COVID-19 infection, enables the rapid discovery of antibody leads, and points to ways to get ahead of future pandemics.

    • Michael Eisenstein
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    Research groups around the globe are looking to see whether urban wastewater monitoring can be integrated into surveillance systems for SARS-CoV-2 and other pathogens.

    • Charles Schmidt
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    The University of Washington’s Institute for Protein Design has become a hub to galvanize de novo protein engineering, citizen science and much more since its founding in 2012.

    • Caroline Seydel
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    Capturing the value back from plastic waste has been the holy grail of recyclers. Biotechnology is taking us closer to a solution.

    • Laura DeFrancesco
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    Companies are doing their best to accelerate experimental drugs and vaccines for COVID-19 through the pipeline. Each faces its own set of challenges, but all agree on the need for a radical rethink of the clinical development process for pandemics.

    • John Hodgson
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    Long neglected compared with the gut microbiome, skin microbes are beginning to yield their secrets in health and disease, spurring a new cadre of biotech startups.

    • Charlie Schmidt
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    Lymphatics in the central nervous system are attracting both controversy and drug hunters in search of therapeutic targets for a host of diseases.

    • Elie Dolgin
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    The biopharmaceutical industry’s positive regulatory momentum carried on through 2019, despite an early-year government shutdown, a data manipulation scandal around a high-profile approval, and many months without permanent leadership at the FDA.

    • Chris Morrison
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    In one year, George Church’s group spun out 16 different startups. What explains the lab’s incredible output of entrepreneurs?

    • Laura DeFrancesco
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    Adult stem cell companies are pivoting their businesses to commercialize exosomes as therapeutics.

    • Mark Zipkin
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    The devastating diagnosis of a rare disease is prompting an increasing number of people to go to the bench and take research into their own hands

    • Malorye Allison Branca
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    Despite dazzling lab demonstrations, robust and viable clinical interventions using brain–computer interfaces remain some way off.

    • Eric Smalley
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    Non-invasive stimulation of the brain is being touted to promote health and well-being and for ‘curing’ disease, but the mechanistic underpinnings of the devices remain unclear.

    • Emily Waltz
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    Millions of people each year are giving up their genotype information for research, for health, for fun and now for profit.

    • Laura DeFrancesco
    •  & Ariel Klevecz
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    As issues of product consistency, standardization and specificity are being tackled, can phage therapeutics—long oversold and overhyped—finally realize their antibacterial potential?

    • Charles Schmidt
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    Realizing the dream of noninvasive glucose monitoring

    • Emily Waltz
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    NASH has replaced hepatitis C as the most important nonalcoholic liver disease. Biotech and pharma are racing to tap into this enormous market.

    • Ken Garber
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    The FDA approved record numbers of new molecular entities, orphan drugs, small-molecule generics and biosimilars in 2018. Could industry’s regulatory success of the past two years become the new normal?

    • Chris Morrison
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    As clinical evidence mounts demonstrating the power of combining oncolytic viruses and checkpoint inhibitors, companies are scrambling to get in on the action.

    • Melanie Senior
  • News Feature |

    Ambitious efforts to catalog viruses across the globe may facilitate our understanding of viral communities and ecology, boost infectious disease diagnostics and surveillance, and spur new therapeutics. Charles Schmidt investigates.

    • Charles Schmidt
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    A cadre of new biotechs have set their sights on targeting RNA with small-molecule drugs. Justin Petrone and Laura DeFrancesco report.

    • Justin Petrone
    •  & Laura DeFrancesco
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    Donor organ monitoring and ex vivo perfusion technology are transforming transplantation and offering new therapeutic opportunities. Melanie Senior reports.

    • Melanie Senior
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    T cell receptor (TCR) gene therapy can target the immune system to solid tumors in ways CAR-T cells can't match, but the field is still looking for a clear success. Ken Garber reports.

    • Ken Garber
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    A positive regulatory environment, combined with a raft of drug approvals that included the first US gene therapy, buoyed the sector in 2017. The FDA's flexibility and focus on marketplace competition is likely to galvanize innovators in the coming year. Chris Morrison reports.

    • Chris Morrison
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    How much can genome variation reveal about the appearance of an individual? Laura DeFrancesco investigates the field of molecular photofitting.

    • Laura DeFrancesco
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    Finding partners through DNA profiles has yet to catch on, but the commercial sector for preconception and prenatal testing is booming. Malorye Allison Branca reports.

    • Malorye Allison Branca
  • News Feature |

    Mitochondrial replacement therapy is being touted as a means of combating maternally inherited disease. But concerns are growing about mitochondrial reversion compromising cures. Steve Connor investigates.

    • Steve Connor
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    As the technology to create genetically modified babies moves closer to practice, what questions should we ask before such procedures are contemplated? Amber Dance investigates.

    • Amber Dance
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    Several companies are now banking on bioengineered silk to create a new generation of textiles and materials...and a necktie. Laura DeFrancesco investigates.

    • Laura DeFrancesco
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    Our personal ecosystem of microbes is shed on everything we touch and everyplace we go. Charles Schmidt reports on efforts to harness this information to improve human health and activity.

    • Charles Schmidt
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    The long, tortuous race to market a therapeutic based on RNA interference (RNAi) may be nearing its end. Ken Garber reports.

    • Ken Garber
  • News Feature |

    After years under the radar, RNA vaccines are finally emerging as immunotherapies to combat pandemics and cancer. But as Laura DeFrancesco reports, clinical validation remains elusive.

    • Laura DeFrancesco
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    Despite last year's sharp decline in approvals, registrations of two RNA drugs offer a window into the current state and possible future of drug development. Looking forward, the sector seeks greater clarity on the new presidential administration's priorities and the impact of new healthcare legislation. Chris Morrison reports.

    • Chris Morrison
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    The implosion of blood diagnostics developer Theranos has raised the question: What is feasibly detectible in a drop of blood? Emily Waltz reports.

    • Emily Waltz
  • News Feature |

    Detecting cancer by liquid biopsy is attracting a lot of money and hype. Can it deliver on its promise to transform oncology? Sarah Webb reports.

    • Sarah Webb
  • News Feature |

    Electroceutical devices that stimulate the peripheral nervous system come to the fore. Emily Waltz reports.

    • Emily Waltz
  • News Feature |

    Skeletal muscle atrophy offers a huge opportunity for an effective drug. After many failures, industry may be on the verge. Ken Garber reports.

    • Ken Garber
  • News Feature |

    Spanish researchers are testing GM low-gliadin wheat for gluten-allergy sufferers. But stifling EU bureaucracy and adoption challenges may mean an uphill struggle to market. Lucas Laursen investigates.

    • Lucas Laursen
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    Novel drug approvals in the United States surpassed even 2014's unprecedented totals. The broad trends are familiar but, as Chris Morrison reports, 2015 had its share of pioneering achievements.

    • Chris Morrison
  • News Feature |

    Electronic drugs and delivery systems are reaching the market, giving drug developers and healthcare providers a way to improve patient compliance and more. Emily Waltz reports.

    • Emily Waltz
  • News Feature |

    The first approved combination therapy against cystic fibrosis will open up an increasing proportion of patients for treatment. As Anna Azvolinsky reports, companies are banking on it.

    • Anna Azvolinsky
  • News Feature |

    The recent publication of a simple procedure for creating a CRISPR-Cas9-mediated gene drive has some researchers sounding the alarm. What are the risks to populations in the wild and what precautions are necessary? Laura DeFrancesco investigates.

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    Personal health data are beginning to be shared in the digital world—on mobile devices and the internet. Is the loss of privacy a price worth paying for the presumed benefits? Laura DeFrancesco investigates.

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    Companies exploring biotech approaches to flavor and fragrance production must navigate challenges in regulations, market dynamics and public perception. Emily Waltz investigates.

    • Emily Waltz
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    Using conventional drug discovery and novel synthetic biology approaches, some investigators and companies are mining our resident microbes and their metabolites for targets in small-molecule drug programs. Ken Garber reports.

    • Ken Garber
  • News Feature |

    Approvals of new chemical and biologic entities surged again in 2014, shepherded along by a confident FDA, as industry reaped the rewards of drug development incentives. Chris Morrison reports.

    • Chris Morrison
  • News Feature |

    The drug industry is struggling to find ways of engaging with consumers on social media. Failure to adapt may bring substantial opportunity costs, argues Virginia Hughes.

    • Virginia Hughes
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    As US legislatures and voters continue to wrestle with GM labeling, what is at stake? Jim Kling investigates.

    • Jim Kling