Archive


Category: Biotech/Pharma News

  • Ticked Tabby Cats and Their Genetic Bases Elucidated

    By Kevin E. Noonan — The domestic cat has been the subject of much study, recently involving its genetic structure, genomic DNA sequence, and comparisons with other felines. The first such study was published in 2014, when an international effort led by Stephen J. O’Brien at the Oceanographic Center, Nova Southeastern University, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida […]

  • Further and More Detailed Study of Domestic Cat Genome

    By Kevin E. Noonan — The advent of technology making feasible elucidation of whole genomic sequencing over the past 30 years has led to reports of many if not most important or interesting animal genomes (including the most celebrated results of the Human Genome Project) (see, e.g., “Nautilus pompilius Genome Determined”; “Giraffe Genome Reveals Relevant […]

  • Nautilus pompilius Genome Determined

    By Kevin E. Noonan — Cephalopods are fascinating creatures, and their primary living representative — the octopus — has recently been the subject of the Academy Award winning documentary “My Octopus Teacher.” They are clearly intelligent (as set forth in Peter Godfrey-Smith’s Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness), but […]

  • Great Dane Genome Reveals Involvement of Retrotransposition in Canine Diversity

    By Kevin E. Noonan — The domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) has been the subject of many genetic studies, particularly since the dawning of the age of Whole Genome Sequencing in the late 20th Century. These studies have elucidated some interesting facts about “man’s best friend,” some of which have been discussed here (see “The […]

  • Great Dane Genome Reveals Involvement of Retrotransposition in Canine Diversity

    By Kevin E. Noonan — The domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) has been the subject of many genetic studies, particularly since the dawning of the age of Whole Genome Sequencing in the late 20th Century. These studies have elucidated some interesting facts about “man’s best friend,” some of which have been discussed here (see “The […]

  • Great Dane Genome Reveals Involvement of Retrotransposition in Canine Diversity

    By Kevin E. Noonan — The domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) has been the subject of many genetic studies, particularly since the dawning of the age of Whole Genome Sequencing in the late 20th Century. These studies have elucidated some interesting facts about “man’s best friend,” some of which have been discussed here (see “The […]

  • Science Does Not Support the Latest COVID Hysteria

    By Kevin E. Noonan — In a time of a global pandemic, with antivaxxer and anti-science sentiments running rife, and when combinations of fear, distrust, and paranoia are rampant, it is easy for important results from basic science to become fodder inaccurately supporting the doomsday memes that abound. This is the story of a scientific […]

  • Top Drugs Losing Patent Exclusivity in 2021

    By Kevin E. Noonan — Earlier this month, Eric Sagonowsky reviewed the top ten drugs in the U.S. (in terms of sales) losing patent exclusivity in an article published by Fierce Pharma. These drugs are Lucentis (Genentech/Roche), Bystolic (AbbVie/Allergan), Vascepa (Amarin), Nothera (Lundbeck), Narcan (Emergent Biosolutions), Brovana (Sunovion), Sutent (Pfizer), Saphris (AbbVie/Allergan), Amitiza (Mallinckrodt), and […]

  • Peach Genome Dissected to Provide Insights into Ecological Influences

    By Kevin E. Noonan — The humble peach has been the inspiration for pies, album titles, independent movies, and a fictional woman’s baseball team, but is also an important food species, yielding 24.5 million tons globally in 2018. Like all plant species, their sessile nature makes them a good target for environmental studies because, unlike […]

  • Giraffe Genome Reveals Relevant Adaptations

    By Kevin E. Noonan — The giraffe is the tallest extant terrestrial animal, and its iconic long neck (6 feet) provides advantages for foraging for food and detecting predators on the veldt over long distances. As a consequence, however, the giraffe has a blood pressure two-fold higher than other ruminant animals needed to bring blood […]

  • IP Organizations Support Continued Opposition to Waiver Proposal

    By Donald Zuhn — Late last month, a group of intellectual property organizations sent a letter to members of Congress and officials at the Patent and Copyright Offices to express their support for the United States’ continued opposition to the TRIPS waiver proposal being discussed at the World Trade Organization (WTO). The letter’s signatories included […]

  • Evolution of SARS-CoV-2 from Bat to Human Pathogen

    By Kevin E. Noonan — A recent COVID post elicited the comment that we were just a “ray of sunshine.” Following in this tradition, this post concerns a recent report, in PLOS Biology, that the evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (which causes COVID-19) evinced the development of a “highly efficient human pathogen” (to quote Billie […]

  • Industry Coalition Supports Continued Efforts to Oppose Waiver Proposal

    By Donald Zuhn — Earlier today, a group of fifteen industry and trade organizations sent a letter to five members of the Biden Administration, to express their strong support for the Administration’s work to leverage international mechanisms to help address COVID-19 and also for the Administration’s continued efforts to oppose “a problematic proposal at the […]

  • Neanderthal Ancestors Can Be Human Guardian Angels for COVID Infection, Too

    By Kevin E. Noonan — When it comes to SARS-CoV-2 infection (and resulting COVID-19), it seems our Neanderthal ancestors giveth and taketh away. Genetic material inherited from interbreeding between Neanderthals and early humans has been shown to increase the risk of serious COVID infection (see “Inherited Neanderthal Gene Encodes Genetic Risk for COVID-19”). Recently, further […]

  • Neanderthal Ancestors Can Be Human Guardian Angels for COVID Infection, Too

    By Kevin E. Noonan — When it comes to SARS-CoV-2 infection (and resulting COVID-19), it seems our Neanderthal ancestors giveth and taketh away. Genetic material inherited from interbreeding between Neanderthals and early humans has been shown to increase the risk of serious COVID infection (see “Inherited Neanderthal Gene Encodes Genetic Risk for COVID-19”). Recently, further […]

  • BIO and PhRMA Urge Biden Administration to Oppose Proposed WTO TRIPS Waiver

    By Donald Zuhn — One year ago today, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom declared the COVID-19 outbreak to be a pandemic. At the time of the announcement, the WHO noted that there were 118,000 cases reported globally, but in its most recent situation report, the WHO indicated that as of March 7, 2021 there […]

  • DNA from Pleistocene Era Mammoth Lineages Elucidated

    By Kevin E. Noonan — The wooly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) is an iconic animal, like the saber tooth tiger or dire wolf, from a time in human history when our position at the top of the global food chain was decidedly not assured (and being something’s prey was not limited to just other humans). Perhaps […]

  • Do mRNA-based COVID Vaccines Have an Achilles Heel?

    By Kevin E. Noonan — The COVID-19 pandemic has spread throughout the globe, infecting more than 90 million people and causing almost two million deaths (see “Tracking coronavirus’ global spread”). SARS-CoV-2 infection is the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic; this virus is recognized as the latest viral infection in humans of zoonotic origins, in this […]

  • Dire Wolf DNA Shows Distinct New World Lineage

    By Kevin E. Noonan — When I awoke, the dire wolf Six hundred pounds of sin Was grinning at my window All I said was, “Come on in” But don’t murder me, I beg of you Don’t murder me, please, don’t murder me “Dire Wolf,” Grateful Dead, Workingman’s Dead The dire wolf (Canis dirus), prototype […]

  • Going from Bad to Worse: Evidence for Neuro-COVID Infections

    By Kevin E. Noonan — The COVID-19 pandemic has spread throughout the globe, infecting more than 90 million people and causing almost two million deaths (see “Tracking coronavirus’ global spread”). SARS-CoV-2 infection is the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic; this virus is recognized as the latest viral infection in humans of zoonotic origins, in this […]

  • Molecular Mechanism for (In)Famous Warburg Effect in Cancer Elucidated

    By Kevin E. Noonan — Cancer, the “Emperor of All Maladies” as it has been termed, has been studied for millennia. President Nixon’s “War on Cancer” resulted in slow but steady progress, aided by the biotechnology revolution, the development of monoclonal antibodies (see Herceptin®) and more recent developments in immunological interventions like CAR-T cells (see […]

  • Inherited Neanderthal Gene Encodes Genetic Risk for COVID-19

    By Kevin E. Noonan — Svante Pääbo created the science of detecting Neanderthal DNA in archeological samples (and living humans) almost single-handedly (see Neanderthal Man: In Search of Lost Genomes). So it will come as little surprise to many that he published a paper in September describing his discovery of a gene derived from our […]

  • Sequence Variants in Human Olfaction Genes Associated with Perceptual Differences

    By Kevin E. Noonan — Perception by the five human senses (sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch) varies significantly between individuals and populations. Some use these differences to their advantage, such as sommeliers capable of detecting exquisite shadings in wines (or even the difference between the taste of Coke and Pepsi; see Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink). […]

  • Rubella Virus Relatives Found in Diverse Animal Species

    By Kevin E. Noonan — One of the hallmarks of the current coronavirus pandemic, caused by SARS-Cov-2, is its zoonotic origins. The virus is thought to have risen in bats and “jumped” to humans, and despite conspiracy theories of intentional human engineering (reminiscent of Soviet-backed propaganda in Africa in the 1980’s that HIV/AIDS was produced […]

  • Latest COVID Conundrum: Accessibility of Vaccines (When They Are Available)

    By Kevin E. Noonan — Despite the challenges of addressing a previously unknown virus, development of an effective vaccine, soon, is a distinct possibility (see “Multiple Candidate Coronavirus Vaccines Being Developed According to WHO”). But as set forth in an article in Nature on Monday (“The unequal scramble for coronavirus vaccines — by the numbers”) […]

  • Multiple Candidate Coronavirus Vaccines Being Developed According to WHO

    By Kevin E. Noonan — In the face of the economic and social consequences of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic (COVID-19) and the difficulties attendant in behavioral modifications that could slow progress of the disease (quarantine, lock-down, social distancing, frequent hand washing, and the use of facemasks), the world’s best hope […]

  • Sequence Comparisons Illustrate Susceptibility to Coronavirus Infection

    By Kevin E. Noonan — The pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the most severe since the 1918 influenza pandemic (colloquially known as the Spanish Flu; see, J. Barry, The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, Penguin Books; Revised ed. edition (October 4, 2005)). The geographic […]

  • Homo sapiens Exonerated, Scientists Find

    Turns Out, Early Humans Not the Cause of Woolly Rhinoceros Extinction By Kevin E. Noonan — Paleogenomics (the use of genetic analysis of DNA contained in ancient remains) has developed rapidly since Svante Pääbo first showed that DNA could be extracted in sufficient quantity and of sufficient quality to be useful in making evolutionary comparisons […]

  • Chromosomal Rearrangements Associated with Chemotherapeutic Drug Resistance

    By Kevin E. Noonan — Chemotherapeutic drug resistance is one reason cancer remains an unsolved clinical problem despite the efforts ever since President Nixon declared his “War on Cancer” in 1971. Cancer cells, due in part to the genetic destabilization characteristic of the disease, are capable of expressing genes (normal or aberrant) that permit the […]

  • Evidence of Smallpox Infection in First Millennium Scandinavian Viking Settlements

    By Kevin E. Noonan — One of the signal public health achievements/victories of the 20th Century is the eradication of smallpox (variola virus, VARV) announced by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1980; it has been estimated that smallpox infection killed 300-500 million people in the 20th Century alone. (A compelling example of the effects […]

  • How Bats Are Different

    By Kevin E. Noonan — As the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted life throughout the world this spring, bats have been a prominent feature in news stories and recriminations about how the pandemic started (and being blamed even more than happenings in China, although to be fair the effects of the pandemic, good and bad, have […]