DECEMBER 9, 2009

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We will do our best to post announcements for the most valuable training courses, networking opportunities, and job openings. Please help us build this portion of the site by sending us your event and job postings.
Web Seminar:
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Aggregation Assessment

- Available online now -
International Conference:
Stem Cell Engineering
- May 2-5, 2010 -
Jobs at the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER)
 
Techno-Blast
Masthead Image

Provided by Thomas Deerinck and Mark Ellisman, National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research, University of California, San Diego. (Also featured in the Fall 2006 issue of the BioProcessing Journal.)

Description: Four fluorescent labeling techniques brought together with cultured HeLa cells. Two-photon fluorescence microscopic imaging.

We'd like to see your image in an upcoming Techno-Blast. Forward them to the techie.

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We hope you enjoy visiting our site and find the content both valuable and timely.

We are committed to posting the best technical content we can collect as we do our best to make your interaction a pleasurable experience. We look forward to reading your comments to the boss.

Suggested Reading
Adenovirus Vector Production Issues: Case Studies
Conceptual Design of a Multiuse
Manufacturing Facility for Gene Therapy
A Message from "The Boss"

Happy Holidays, and let’s all wish for a more sane and prosperous 2010.  But of course, wishing alone won’t get us where we need to go. So please read on to see my recipe for holiday cheer and a far brighter new year.

But first, let’s take a moment to talk about online publishing. We’re constantly scrambling to stay on top of technology advancements, and I guess this is aspect of my job that keeps me young. I’ve actually found myself explaining what Twitter and Kindle are to the 20-somethings in my company. And then I’ve learned that a consortium of magazine publishers is developing a new web-based format that will be viewed on devices not yet available, and this is while they’re all trying to figure out what’s going to happen to print. So you can never relax in this brave new world, and the only solution is to keep finding new ways to provide ever-increasing value to your subscribers, contributors, and advertisers.

Then recently, we’ve had a number of requests to make PowerPoint presentations and abstracts available from various conferences. And in particular, the Viral Vectors and Vaccines Conference from 1997 has been in demand – go figure. So, with approval from the presenters, we’ve made two of the presentations available in this Techno-Blast. Let us know what you think and we may post even more to our websites. 

So now to my favorite subject and the crux of this blog – mergers and acquisitions (M&A’s). They continue at a dizzying pace even while so many industry participants are just trying to hang on. Apparently some of the biggest firms still have excess money or access to cheap money, and they would rather spend it acquiring than building or solidifying what they have. But if they have so much money, why are they laying off so many people?

At the Mid-Atlantic Bio Conference I recently attended in DC, I kept hearing that “companies have a lot of money.” But when I followed-up with a panelist, I was told that much of this money could not be used for operations. Apparently because of the off-shore, or other locations where it’s hiding, it can only be used to buy stock. So as I tried so hard to make sense of things, why do they appear to be getting even crazier as we approach the end of 2009? 

Then from another panel of financial experts, I asked why there had been so few initial public offerings (IPO’s) and so many M&A’s, and if the M&A’s were just easier. But the overwhelming panel opinion was that M&A’s were not necessarily easier or a better choice. The bottom line was that the investment banking community wasn’t interested in doing IPO’s. “But why?” I asked. The most audible response was, “I don’t trust anything the banks tell me,” which somehow left me unfulfilled. So I asked if the investment banks, which typically handle IPO’s, were just too busy buying exotic investment instruments and swapping default credits, and this assertion could not be disputed.

The only financial bright spot of the meeting was during a keynote presentation from Tom Watkins, president and CEO, of Human Genome Sciences (HGS). He was questioned about a company that HGS had spun off, and whether he regretted not owning all of what turned out to be a very successful venture. Mr. Watkins responded that HGS was not able to “get to” the technology and products that were spun off, and that the team which left to run the new venture was passionate about making it a success. In addition, he said that HGS maintained a small but significant ownership position in the company and was able to benefit financially. So according to Watkins, the choice was sitting on technology he wouldn’t get to, or allowing passionate people to make it successful while HGS maintained an equity position. 

I ran into Mr. Watkins later and encouraged him to convince other companies to do something similar. I said I firmly believed that the industry needed more companies and not fewer, that passionate individuals emotionally involved in a technology would do more with it, that more innovation and jobs came from smaller companies, and that big firms should be spinning out ventures rather than stifling them. So please join Tom Watkins and me in urging our big industry players to start thinking outside the box. To make this industry vibrant again, they should be spinning out companies and not gobbling them up. Thanksgiving is behind us, and the time for senseless gluttony is over.  

 
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New Application Note - Discover how isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) can improve formulations development in your organization. Experts from GlaxoSmithKline present two examples of how ITC and DSC can facilitate protein formulation development: "Applications of ITC and DSC in Biopharmaceutical Formulation Development."

Request your copy now. And be sure to explore GE Healthcare's website to discover how the MicroCal ultrasensitive calorimetry systems can help solve your difficult research challenges.

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Content Development
Headlines and links will take you to various postings on our site, and when appropriate, to the sites of various contributors. Postings will include articles, presentations, assays, techniques, protocols, blog chats, reviewer comments, product tutorials, virtual tours, application data, and pretty much any other form of online material that's needed to develop and produce safe and effective products.
Applications

Our initial focus is on the toughest applications which tend to receive very little coverage elsewhere. These include viral gene vectors and cellular vaccines. But as things progress and interest is expressed, we're adding Development Groups and numerous contributors to cover applications such as vaccines, antibodies, recombinant proteins, and tissue regeneration. 

Development Groups

» Viral Vectors
» Cellular Vaccines
» Vaccines
» Antibodies
» Recombinant Proteins
» Tissue Regeneration
» Cell Engineering
» Cell Banking
» Facilities
» Quality Systems
» Safety and Efficacy

Technologies
Technologies will include essentially all the unit operations and support functions involved in bioprocessing, such as cell engineering and banking, cell culture scale-up, filtration, purification, media development, assay development, regulatory affairs, and facility design.
Format
Content formats will include streaming video, YouTube postings, automated PowerPoint presentations--and of course--PDF, HTML, Word, and Excel docs.
Supplier Technology

We will be posting valuable information from key technology supply firms. As with our other primary content, these postings will have been assessed for their balance and credibility, and will include application data, tutorials, articles, presentations, and case histories.

Then in our Supplier-Side column, we will post materials with clear commercial content such as infomercials, ads, press releases, and promotions. And while some of these will be sponsored postings, other valuable resources will appear with no strings attached.

Reviewers
If you would like to help review submissions for a specific application or technology area, please contact the boss. Include your full contact information, the area(s) in which you would like to contribute, and any relevant experience you’ve had on a review or advisory board.
Your Submissions

Please submit materials via email to the techie, but be sure to zip the file if it exceeds 2 MB. Another option is to mail us the file on a key drive. And then, you can upload the file to your FTP site and send us the URL and password we’ll need to download it. Or you can simply email us a link so we can view the material on another website. Depending on the content and format of the material, we will post links to wherever it can best be viewed or downloaded.

All submissions must address a recent advancement or solidify a “best practice” for biologic product development or production. The material format can be streaming video, YouTube postings, automated PowerPoint presentations; as well as PDF, HTML, Word, and Excel docs. Be sure to include complete contact information for the corresponding submitter, an introduction of no more than 75 words, and a list of key words.

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