More News! Novartis Accused of Corruption, Water-Cleaning Bacteria & More

Try as we might, we can’t cover all the biotech news out there! Here’s a roundup of news that didn’t make the cut this week.

  • British startup CustoMem has received a €1.4M grant from the EU’s Horizon 2020 program to create membranes that can capture water micropollutants using engineered bacteria.
  • TEVA has signed a deal with Berlin-based ProBioGen that will let it use its artificial 3D micro model of a human lymph node in drug testing.
  • ANGLE has received a research grant to study if Abbott’s Her2 test for breast cancer could be translated into a non-invasive liquid biopsy test.
  • DNA Script has partnered with Dynamic Combinatorial Chemistry (DCC) to create new building blocks to synthesize high-purity DNA.


  • A drug discovered by Heptares Therapeutics has progressed into Phase Ib trials. AstraZeneca is currently testing the drug in another Phase I trial in combination with its PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitor durvalumab.
  • French biotech GamaMabs has received orphan drug designation from the FDA for an antibody treatment for ovarian cancer.
  • Synairgen has dosed the first patients in a Phase II trial for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • Targovax has completed the first part of a Phase I/II trial testing its oncolytic virus in combination with chemo in six patients with mesothelioma. The therapy has proved safe and the company is ready to recruit another 24 participants.
  • Redx Pharma has dosed a first patient in a Phase I/IIa trial for hard to treat cancers. Results are expected in the second half of 2018.
  • AstraZeneca has published data from a Phase III trial showing that its drug Brilinta reduces the risk of coronary death by 36%, and the risk of suffering either cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction or stroke by 19%.

  • Novartis is in the middle of a corruption scandal in Greece. The company is accused of bribing ten former government officials with a sum worth several millions of euros.
  • Centogene has reached a big milestone: the German company has identified one billion gene variants that contribute to rare diseases. This information can be used by physicians for diagnostics and by pharma to develop drugs against new disease targets.
  • Researchers at the University of Freiburg have shown that the gene editing tool CRISPR/Cas9 can be used to modify not just DNA, but also RNA.

Images via Shutterstock



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