• Opponents of GM labelling triple lobbying spending in 2014 (03-09-2014)

    All told, the opponents of GMO labeling disclosed $15.2m in #lobbying expenditures for the second quarter of 2014, bringing the six-month total for 2014 to $27.5m. That compared with $9.3m disclosed on lobbying the issue by food and biotechnology companies in 2013, according to EWG, a Washington-based nonprofit that supports GMO labeling.

    In contrast, supporters of GMO labeling disclosed $1.9m in lobbying expenditures for the first half of 2014, up slightly from $1.6m spent in 2013.

    The expenditures by food and biotechnology companies come as the group pushes for passage of a bill introduced in April by US representative Mike Pompeo that would block state laws that require GMO labeling on food packages.

    Vermont in May became the first US state to pass a mandatory GMO labeling law that requires no other trigger to become effective. More than 20 other states are considering mandatory labeling of GMO foods, including Colorado and Oregon, which have the issue on the ballot for the November election.

    États-Unis : le Vermont fait un appel aux dons pour défendre sa loi sur l’étiquetage des OGM (23-07-2014)

    Le jour même de la ratification de la loi, le 8 mai 2014, le gouverneur de l’État, Peter Schumlin, lançait un appel aux dons, via un site Internet, destinés « à financer les recours prévisibles » contre le texte devant la Cour de justice. Le « #Food_Fight_Fund », le Fonds de lutte pour l’alimentation, était en marche.

    La suite lui a donné raison. Début juin 2014, plusieurs groupes agro-industriels, dont la Grocery Manufacturers Association qui regroupe les plus grandes marques alimentaires américaines, ont porté plainte pour bloquer la loi. La bataille juridique qui s’engage pourrait coûter 8 millions de dollars.

    La loi devrait prendre effet le 1er juillet 2016.

  • This incredible magnetic fluid may be the future of biotechnology

    Ferrofluid on VimeoThis dancing, Flubber-like substance may look like the stuff of science fiction. But it is very real and has some promising scientific applications.Ferrofluid is composed of iron-containing particles in water or an organic solvent. Magnets are used to manipulate the shape and direction of the fluid. Over the last 50 years, the versatile liquid has found a variety of applications, from loud speakers to intelligent body armor, but new research suggests ferrofluid could also revolutionize medical science. Chris Suprock, an engineer from Suprock Technologies, recently developed... (...)

  • Promising Malaria Vaccine Looks to Employ Robots to Mass Produce Its Product | Singularity Hub

    a vaccine for malaria that, in early trials, was 100 percent effective. (...) Sanaria, a biotechnology founded in 2003 by long-time malaria researcher Stephen Hoffman and based in a suburb of Washington(...) reported that in a Phase I clinical trial whose participants were consenting U.S. veterans, the vaccine administered at the higher of two doses kept all the patients who got it from becoming infected with malaria when bitten by mosquitos carrying Plasmodium falciparum, which causes 98 percent of all malaria deaths. This year, the company will conduct trials in the U.S., Mali, Tanzania, Equatorial Guinea and Germany.

    #paludisme #vaccin #robotisation #crowdfunding #santé

  • gene gun prototype


    Bicycle pump meets biotechnology
    A gene gun prototype made from wood and a bicycle pump by Rüdiger Trojok, on display in the ’Biohacking: Do It Yourself!’ lab installation at Medical Museion. The gene gun was invented in 1983-1986, and is a simple device that is key to many synthetic biology experiments, delivering gold particles coated with DNA into plants or other organisms - but it cannot be used outside authorized labs. Photograph to be credited to Martin Malthe Borch.

    #bioHacking #Bio-Art

  • GURPS Bio-Tech - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    GURPS Bio-Tech is a GURPS, the Generic Universal Role Playing Game, sourcebook[1] that covers the implementation of biotechnology in the game. The first edition of the book was written for GURPS Third Edition[2] while the second edition of GURPS Bio-Tech[3] was written for GURPS Fourth Edition. Both editions of the game are primarily focused on providing supplemental rules, campaign material, and examples of the uses of biotechnology for the players and game-master alike. The second edition contains two outlines for campaign settings (Alexander Athanatos and Draconis) but is primarily focused on providing rules and examples of devices that Game Masters could adapt for use in their own campaigns.

    GURPS, is a game where players and game-masters can, and are encouraged to, create whatever characters and settings they choose. The GURPS Bio-Tech sourcebook gives them a resource to use should they wish to incorporate elements of biotechnology into their games. The books contains rules and advice for creating a wide variety of possible characters, scenarios, story lines, and campaigns that are influenced by either real world theories and practices of bio-technology, or the science fiction of advanced genetic alteration, enhancement, and augmentation.

    #jdr #cyberPunk #bioHacking

    • Gratos en passant par google,

      After dismantling its antibiotics team in 1999, Switzerland’s Roche Holding AG RO.EB -2.10% is recruiting a head of anti-infectives to rebuild its in-house expertise. Last year, Roche licensed an experimental new antibiotic from Polyphor Ltd., a biotechnology company, and is investing as much as $111 million in antibiotic-focused RQX Pharmaceuticals Inc.

      GlaxoSmithKline GSK.LN -1.69% PLC of the U.K. recently said it will receive as much as $200 million in U.S. government funding for its antibiotic program.

      Those companies join just a handful of major pharmaceutical competitors, including AstraZeneca AZN.LN -1.74% PLC and Novartis AG NOVN.VX -2.99% , that are now active in antibiotic discovery and development.

      Pharmaceutical companies moved out of antibiotic development en masse in the past 15 years, citing high research costs, poor returns and onerous regulations. Consequently, the pipeline for new antibiotics dried up. In the 1980s, 30 new antibiotics gained approval in the U.S. Between 2010 and 2012, only one did.

      Pfizer Inc., PFE -2.97% one of the pioneers of penicillin mass production, shut its antibiotic-research facility in 2011, along with Johnson & Johnson. JNJ -2.30% In 2002, Eli Lilly LLY -1.87% & Co. left the field to focus on chronic illnesses. Sanofi SA SAN.FR -4.19% shed its anti-infectives unit Novexel in 2004.

      “We were not having success developing novel approaches for difficult-to-treat bacterial infections,” says Pfizer’s vice president of clinical research, Charles Knirsch. “After a great deal of consideration, we decided that enhancing our focus on infection prevention would represent a more prudent return on investment.”

      Luckily for public health, the unfavorable economics are changing. Regulators in the U.S. and Europe recently have moved to clear roadblocks that have impeded antibiotic development, with the U.S. granting priority review for innovative new drugs.

      Research funding is beginning to flow as well. The European Union funds antibiotic research projects with industry and universities. U.S. government funding is available to companies developing promising new molecules.

      Alternative commercial models are being discussed that get around the problem of low sales volumes: selling new drugs in bulk to health-care providers for use when needed, or charging a fixed license fee for access to them.

      There is an acute medical need for new antibiotics. Antibiotic-resistant infections now kill around 50,000 people a year in the U.S. and Europe, and that number is rising, according to the World Health Organization. In the U.S., two million people a year will contract a drug-resistant infection, with direct health-care costs of as much as $20 billion, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

      Overuse of antibiotics has built up bacterial resistance to them, making current drugs less effective. Their widespread use in animals farmed for meat introduces more antibiotics into the food chain, undercutting their efficacy.

      With few new drugs to prescribe, and the old standbys frequently failing against drug-resistant strains, doctors are sometimes forced to reach for older, more-toxic drugs.

      Finding new ones has become a huge scientific challenge. “Gram-negative” bacteria, including superbugs such as carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae, are particularly hard to target. A kind of double cell wall makes it hard to get antibiotics into the organism, and if they make it inside, “pumps” inside the bacteria often push the drug out.

      “The low-hanging fruit of antibiotics that were easy to discover has been picked,” says Brad Spellberg, infectious-disease expert at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute.

      Even if antibiotics make it to market, oncology drugs are on average three times as profitable, and musculoskeletal drugs produce more than 10 times the returns, according to estimates from a 2009 London School of Economics report.

      For example, ceftaroline fosamil, an antibiotic approved in the U.S. in 2010, costs around $600 for a seven-day course. Contrast that to yervoy, a new drug to treat melanoma, that costs $120,000 for a 12-week course.

      “Society values antibiotics wrongly,” says David Payne, head of antibacterial research at GlaxoSmithKline. “These are lifesaving drugs—they don’t just give patients a few extra months.”

      John Rex, head of infection at AstraZeneca—which has one of the stronger current antibiotic pipelines—concedes that his unit isn’t as big an economic driver as areas such as oncology. “The math is clear,” he says. “It’s hard for the whole anti-infective industry.”

      Unlike a drug to treat a chronic condition, antibiotics are usually taken for a week or two, limiting sales. The most commonly prescribed ones, including azithromycin and amoxicillin, are now available as low-cost generics.

      Charging higher prices could help spur development. In a recent paper in Nature, Drs. Spellberg and Rex argue a hypothetical new drug to treat Acinetobacter baumannii, a cause of hospital-acquired infections, could offer value for health-care providers even if priced at as much as $30,000 a course.

      U.S. health insurers Aetna and Cigna declined to comment on the hypothetical price, but the U.K.’s pricing-advisory body NICE already recommends the use of two cancer drugs that cost more relative to the additional lifespan they offer patients.

      While most big drug makers continue to invest elsewhere, some smaller companies are stepping into the antibiotics breach. Small and medium-size companies are now responsible for 73% of antibiotics in development, according to BioPharma statistics.

      Boston-based Cubist Pharmaceuticals CBST -1.21% was formed in 1992 and now has two approved antibiotics and a $5 billion market capitalization.

      Another Boston startup, Enbiotix, is in discussions with multiple big drug makers interested in a deal, including those without active anti-infectives divisions, according to its chief executive, Jeff Wager.

      “Antibiotics are never going to be huge blockbusters,” Mr. Wager says. “And yet the short answer is, we need these drugs. I don’t think big pharma can call themselves good corporate citizens without them.”

    • ah oui merci @kassem ; j’avais essayé par google et ça ne le faisait pas, mais en prenant un autre navigateur, la même astuce a marché — les heuristiques des #paywall sont parfois étranges :)

    • Avec l’histoire personnelle de Quinn Norton qui illustre bien le problème de fond. Une femme exposée régulièrement à une infection urinaire qui devient peu à peu résistante à tous les antibiotiques

      Infection, Watching Life and Death Evolve in the World

      A few years later I finally got insurance and a regular doctor that I saw more than once. He would culture the infection from time to time to decide what to give me. My little E. coli were resistant to Amoxicillin, which I found hilarious, because I wasn’t — I am allergic to it. At some point, my E. coli had evolved resistance to a drug that could very well kill me. “My bug is stronger than me!” I joked with my doctor.

      Then one day Keflex stopped working. On a report from the culture the little resistance box had flipped from no to yes. “No problem,” my doctor told me, “Cipro will work fine,” and it did, for a long time.

      Over the years I kept losing drugs. I would get infections, take a drug for a while that killed it, but then one day I would take the drug and it wouldn’t work anymore.

  • Monsanto may lose GM soya royalties throughout Brazil

    The biotechnology giant Monsanto is one step closer to losing billions of dollars in revenues from its genetically-modified (GM) Roundup Ready soya beans, following a ruling this week by the Brazilian Supreme Court of Justice.

    In 2009, a consortium of farming syndicates from Rio Grande do Sul mounted a legal challenge to the levy, arguing that it is effectively an unjust tax on their businesses, and that it has proved impossible to keep Roundup Ready soya beans separate from conventional varieties. “The issue is that segregating GM and conventional soya is difficult, since the GM soya is highly contaminating,” says João Batista da Silveira, president of the Rural Syndicate of Passo Fundo, one of the leaders of the legal action.

    #ogm #agrobusiness

  • Critics of Biotech Crops Proved Wrong - Harvard

    une défense des #OGM, par Calestous Juma, prof à Harvard, expert aux Nations Unies, membre de la Fondation Bill Gates :

    the adoption of transgenic crops continues to expand at eight per cent per year (...) the fastest adoption rate of any technology in the history of modern agriculture.
    (...) many of its [critics] were wrong to assume from the outset the risks of the technology were likely to outweigh its benefits. Emerging evidence runs counter to those fears.
    Over the 1996–2010 period, biotechnology crops have reduced 443 million kilogrammes of pesticide use.
    This did not only reduce the spraying of chemicals that destroyed biological diversity, but they also cut down harmful exposure by farmers.
    Another major impact of the adoption of biotechnology crops has been reduction of carbon emissions.
    In 2010 alone the world reduced 19 billion kilogrammes of carbon dioxide due to the use of biotechnology crops. This is the equivalent to taking about nine million cars off the road. The world also reduced its use of land by 91 million hectares by adopting the crops.

    #biotechnologies #agriculture #afrique