🧬The Latest Life Science Innovations Changing Patients Lives | April 19, 2024

Innovations and Impacts

🧬The Latest Life Science Innovations Changing Patients Lives | April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

The California Biotechnology Foundation is committed to keeping you up to date about the latest breakthroughs in biotech treatments and the impact of this industry on California and beyond. This newsletter edition, as of April 19th, 2024, brings you the latest updates directly from the forefront of innovation. Among the notable advancements featured are:

  • San Diego is experiencing a “Biotech Beach Boom”, mirroring the rapid progress of health and life sciences sectors of Silicon Valley.
  • Johnson & Johnson has partnered with over 100 community health organizations to address healthcare disparities and promote equity for BIPOC individuals in the U.S.
  • The FDA approved Basilea’s antibiotic Zevtera to treat various bacterial infections, addressing the critical need for new antibiotics in the U.S.

Recent News

  • Vaccine breakthrough means no more chasing strains
    UC Riverside News – April 15, 2024
    Scientists at UC Riverside have demonstrated a new, RNA-based vaccine strategy that is effective against any strain of a virus and can be used safely even by babies or the immunocompromised. Every year, researchers try to predict the four influenza strains that are most likely to be prevalent during the upcoming flu season. And every year, people line up to get their updated vaccine, hoping the researchers formulated the shot correctly. The same is true of COVID vaccines, which have been reformulated to target sub-variants of the most prevalent strains circulating in the U.S.
  • FDA Expands Approval of Severe Asthma Drug
    Medpage Today – April 11, 2024
    The FDA expanded the approval of benralizumab (Fasenra) to include treatment of younger kids with uncontrolled severe asthma with an eosinophilic phenotype, AstraZeneca announcedopens in a new tab or window on Thursday. Previously approvedopens in a new tab or window for individuals 12 and up, the broader indication now allows for use of the injectable add-on maintenance therapy in patients ages 6 to 11 years as well.
  • Pfizer’s RSV vaccine shows potential to protect high-risk adults ages 18-59, widening possible use
    CNBC News – April 9, 2024
    A vaccine from Pfizer showed the potential to protect adults ages 18 to 59 who are at increased risk of getting severely sick from respiratory syncytial virus in a late-stage clinical trial, the company said. The initial data suggests that Pfizer’s shot, known as Abrysvo, could help protect a far wider population from RSV. The vaccine is currently approved in the U.S., Europe, Japan and other countries for adults ages 60 and older and expectant mothers who can pass on protection to their fetuses.
  • Adding vaccine to immunotherapy for liver cancer shows promise in early trial
    Medical Press – April 9, 2024
    A custom-made anti-tumor vaccine added to standard immunotherapy was twice as likely to shrink liver cancer as when a patient received immunotherapy alone, a new study shows. The vaccine could help liver cancer patients live longer, as fewer than one in 10 survive five years after their diagnosis, the researchers noted. In fact, about 8% of patients who received the new vaccine had a complete response, with no evidence of cancer left.
  • Trial shows Wegovy can ease heart failure symptoms
    Biopharma Dive – April 8, 2024
    Among people who got Wegovy, the score on the 100-point symptomatic questionnaire fell an average of 14 points, significantly more than the average decline of six points for the people on placebo. People who received Wegovy on average lost 10% of their body weight, compared with 3% for those who got placebo. The difference was statistically significant.
  • FDA approves CAR-T therapies from J&J, Bristol Myers for earlier myeloma use
    Biopharma Dive – April 5, 2024
    The OKs come three weeks after a panel of FDA advisers agreed the benefits of earlier treatment outweighed the risks, including concerns raised by agency reviewers over data indicating an elevated chance of death among treated study participants early on in the companies’ main trials.
  • US FDA approves Daiichi, AstraZeneca drug for treatment of solid tumors
    Reuters – April 5, 2024
    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave accelerated approval for the expanded use of Daiichi Sankyo, opens new tab and AstraZeneca’s, opens new tab drug to treat patients with a type of solid tumor. The drug, sold under the brand name Enhertu, originally won U.S. approval in late 2019 as a third-line treatment for HER-2-positive breast cancer patients, and the fresh approval opens the treatment across multiple HER2-expressing solid tumors.
  • ‘Biotech Beach’: What’s behind San Diego’s biotech gold rush
    Fox 5 News – April 4, 2024
    There’s a quiet biotech boom happening right under our noses in San Diego County and every day, it gets just a little louder. Now, more than ever, the region’s health and life sciences sector is starting to resemble the vestiges of the exponential growth of Silicon Valley — and industry insiders lovingly call it “Biotech Beach.” The biotech sector is spreading out from just the big companies, and now even a single scientist with a dream of a new therapy or medication is getting a chance to develop their ideas. Azzur Group is just the latest example of the San Diego biotech sector scaling like Silicon Valley of the early 2000s, creating clean rooms available on demand for biotech startups attempting a moonshot of ending some of the worst diseases on the planet.
  • New clinic for treatment-resistant depression opens at UC Davis Health
    UC Davis Health – April 4, 2024
    The UC Davis Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences opened its new Advanced Psychiatric Therapeutics (APT) Clinic this week. Located at the Ambulatory Care Center on the Sacramento campus, the facility is dedicated to treating patients with treatment-resistant depression. The APT Clinic offers two new treatment options: transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and esketamine nasal spray.
  • FDA approves new antibiotic for several hard-to-treat infections
    Biopharma Dive – April 4, 2024
    Swiss drugmaker Basilea Pharmaceutica on Wednesday won Food and Drug Administration approval for its drug Zevtera in a step that could help address the critical need for new antibiotics in the U.S. The FDA cleared the drug for three different conditions: community-acquired bacterial pneumonia, Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infections, and acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections. The approval covers adults with any of the three conditions as well as pediatric patients with pneumonia.
  • J&J doubles down on health equity with 100-plus partnerships and renewed local health initiatives
    Fierce Pharma – April 3, 2024
    As April’s National Minority Health Month begins, Johnson & Johnson is picking up the pace in its “race to health equity.” The company announced Wednesday that it now counts among its collaborators more than 100 community-led health organizations dedicated to eliminating the disparities in healthcare that persist for many BIPOC people in the U.S., both in terms of the quality of care they receive and their access to job opportunities in the industry. J&J’s support for these organizations includes funding from its $100 million pool set aside specifically for promoting health equity.
  • Giving Students a New Window on Genomic Technologies
    3BL CSR Wire – April 3, 2024
    “We developed a ‘Lab-in-a-Box’ program to empower teachers and expose students to our technology and then partnered with Biocom California to roll it out and potentially scale it,” says Vanessa Light, senior manager of Corporate Social Responsibility at Illumina. “We train teachers on an Illumina benchtop sequencer, and then they have the opportunity to bring the sequencer into their classrooms and put it in the hands of students.”

Stay informed on the latest news and trends on the economic and health benefits of this industry by visiting the new CABiotech.org.

If you have any questions about hosting informational briefings for your colleagues serving in the legislature, contact California Biotechnology Foundation Executive Director Patty Cooper at (916)764-2434 or [email protected].