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ECI Biotech Recruiters Blog

We have just moved into our new location.

09 Apr 09 | Filed in Miscellaneous with 3 Comments

This will be the last posting at this location.

Please go to our new site at www.PharmaceuticalJobSite.com

Looking forward to seeing you there.

ECI Biotech Blog is moving to more fancy quarters.

08 Apr 09 | Filed in Miscellaneous with 1 Comment

The ECI Biotech Blog has become a victim of its own success. The parent company, ECI Biotech Recruiters is a very specialized recruiting firm in biotech, while the blog serves a more general audience. As a result, we have been receiving many resumes from good candidates who just don’t happen to fit what we do. So many in fact, that it has become difficult to connect with them and let them know that we cannot help. We’ve resorted to just emailing these folks back, which seems a bit cold.

So some time this week the blog will be moving to its new home at www.PharmaceuticalJobSite.com. We look forward to seeing you there.

Codon Devices in Cambridge, Ma becomes another recession casualty.

07 Apr 09 | Filed in Pharma/Biotech Company Info with 1 Comment

Codon has been in business for about five years, and has been working on ways to synthesize DNA and other genetic material. We have heard that the reason for the shutdown was their inability to raise more money.

There are several reasons that so many small biotechs are having financial problems. Launching an IPO is extremely difficult in this environment right now. Also, Venture Capitalists have also been hit by the stock market meltdown, and free cash is at a premium. They appear to be taking the more conservative route with their investments and putting less money into new companies and more into companies that will have a shorter turn-around to profitability or a sale.

In order to get the attention of potential investors today, a small biotech needs to have a strong product on the verge of commercialization.

I’m still surprised that they have shut down because they were backed by some of the best financed VC’s in the industry such as Flagship Ventures, Highland Capital Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Stem Cell research from an eighth graders perspective.

05 Apr 09 | Filed in Miscellaneous with 7 Comments

My girlfriends granddaughter, Jordan is in the eighth grade. But she has the maturity of someone twice her age. She is an honor roll student whose dream is to one day be a journalist. So I decided to give her a taste of journalism by lettng her write a post on the biotech blog. Since she is so young, I had expected her to just blindly agree with me and accept that stem cells are the greatest thing since sliced bread. She threw me a curve.

The following are Jordan’s feelings on Stem Cell research.

“Stem Cell research has been a hot topic for a while now. Scientists have evaluated the many pros and cons that this new idea carries. So the major question remains. Do we proceed with this innovative and demanding task?

Personally, I somewhat disagree. This issue has an extremely large backbone with several branching points, so I’ll begin with the thoughts I have mainly considered. First off, our world is already overpopulated. As of now, we are slowly diminishing our natural resources, many of which are nonrenewable. Sure, there’s the ‘Go Green’ option, but who is to say the majority will actually take that path. And even if they do, will that be enough to compensate for the large population increases caused by successful stem cell research?

With the longer life expectancy using the stem cell, overpopulation will reach an explosive high. Maybe if people would decide to concieve fewer children or every country had the law China has allowing only one child per family, we would all be in a better living environment. Do you really think one child per famly will be embraced in the United States? Since that most likely will not happen, we must plan for the future.

If we use stem cells there must be limitations or restrictions. Otherwise, we could do serious damage to our planet with the human population increase. Second of all, is this really worth it? This project will require tens of billions of dollars in testing and evaluating. Can we honestly afford it? Our economy is already in a free fall and budget deficits in the trillions of dollars. Do we really have the opportunity to spend this amount of money? Clearly, stem cells would be a huge technological advancement, but is this the best time to do it?

Yes, millions of people can be healed, bettered or even saved from death: but how long have we gone without it? I believe that death is unavoidable in many cases. As I previously stated above, limitations are necessary. Lastly, will stem cells have a positive affect overall? With such a new and powerful approach we all must consider the risk of error or major blunder. If stem cell research and other modern biotech techniques fell into the wrong hands–perhaps Muslim extremists willing to die for their cause–would superbugs be created that would kill millions or even wipe out life on the earth?

Maybe I’m seeing this with the glass half empty or maybe with negative emotions, but all I’m saying is before we continue we must strongly consider the actions we take. Who knows, maybe Stem Cell research could be the greatest advancement in history. Or it could end humanity as we know it. All I can say is that the future will quite possibly hold a life-changing discovery for mankind.”

Pretty heavy stuff for an eighth grader to have to worry about. And when I was growing up, I had to worry about the Russians, the Cold War and the Atomic Bomb. Will it ever change, or will mankind keep on marching blindly towards an unavoidable disasterous end?

With thoughtful young people like Jordan and her peers around, perhaps there is hope.

NIH Molecular Targets Development Program seeking collaborators for HIV & HCV Therapeutics made from Scytovirins.

04 Apr 09 | Filed in Collaborations and Alliances with 0 Comments

The NCI is seeking statements of capability or interest from parties interested in collaborative research to further develop, evaluate or commercialize novel HIV and HCV therapeutics made from proteins and antibodies purified from cyanobacteria. If you feel your company or lab could contribute, their contact information is at the bottom of this article.

Technology:

The emergence of mutant drug resistant strains of HIV has created the need for more effective and less toxic anti-HIV agents. This invention provides:

(1) Isolated and purified antiviral peptides or antiviral proteins named Scytovirins isolated and purified from aqueous extracts containing the cyanobacgteria, Scytonema varium.

(2) An antibody which binds an epitope of Scytovirin isolated and purified from Scytonema varium.

(3) A purified nucleic acid molecule that comprises a sequence which encodes an amino acid sequence homologous to Scytovirin.

(4) A vector comprising the isolated and purified nucleic acid molecule and a host cell or organism comprising the vector.

(5) A conjugate comprising the peptide and an effector component.

(6) A method of inhibiting a viral infection prophylatically and therapeutically.

Thus, this invention may represent potential new therapeutics for treatment of retroviral infections, including AIDS. Because the technology has its origin in natural products, the potential for development of less toxic HIV therapeutics is evident.

The inventors hav also demonstrated that Scuytovirin has potent anti-Hepatitis C virus (HCV) activity. Currently, there is neither effective treatment nor vaccine against HCV infection, which can lead to liver cancer and death. Scytovirin can be used alone or in combination with other anti-HCV drugs for HCV treatment and prevention.

(more…)

LRIG announces 7th Annual Sample Management Conference

02 Apr 09 | Filed in Meetings/Trade Shows with 1 Comment

On Tuesday, April 7 the LRIG Mid Atlantic and LRIG New England Chapters will be holding their seventh annual sample management conference, focused on automated biorepositories. It will be held at the Groton Inn & Suites in Groton, CT. For more information go to http://lab-robotics.org/meetings/0904.htm

I have gone to a number of LRIG New England conferences and have found them to be good quality and well attended. I would recommend that anybody interested in sample management should make an effort to get there.

Besides the conference, Pfizer in Groton will be hosting tours of the Pfizer Kings Heights Technology Center, including their sample management operations, Compound Liquid Store, and DNA and BioFluids Store. This Pfizer location contains one of the two largest automated biorepositories in the world, so it should be quite interesting.

The technology exhibition and social networking time will also include a buffet, and presentations will be held at the Groton Inn as well. Transportation between the conference center and Pfizer will be provided.

There will be quite a few exhibitors showing the latest in sample managemen technology at the conference as well.

MIT Engineers genetically engineer viruses to build lithium-ion battery.

31 Mar 09 | Filed in New Research Discoveries with 1 Comment

Some interesting information came out from MIT on their efforts to build batteries using genetically engineered viruses.

The new virus powered batteries have the same energy capacity and power performance as current rechargeable batteries that will be used to power plug-in hybrid cars. The new batteries developed at MIT will be described in more detail in the April 2 online version of Science.

They can be made by a very inexpensive and environmentally friendly process. The synthesis is done at below room temperature, and does not require any harmful organic solvents, and everythng going into the battery is non-toxic, including the viruses.

In order to create the battery, the researchers genetically engineered viruses that first coat themselves with iron phosphate, then grab hold of carbon nanotubes to create a network of highly conductive material.  Because the viruses recognize and bind to certain materials such as the carbon nanotubes, each iron phosphate nanowire can be electrically wired to conducting carbon nanotube networks. Electrons can then travel along the cabon nanotube networks.

In lab tests, batteries with the new material can be charged and discharged at least 100 times. That is fewer times than currently available lithium-ion batteries, but the researchers expect to be able to increase that number by a considerable amount in the near future.

Last week, MIT President Susan Hockfield took the prototype battery to a press briefing at the White House, where she and President Obama spoke about the need for federal funding to advance new clean-energy techniques.

The research was funded by the Army Research Office Institute of the Institute of Collaborative Technologies, and the National Science Foundation through the Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers Program.

Wyeth CEO to receive $53 million severance package.

30 Mar 09 | Filed in Miscellaneous with 1 Comment

The CEO at Wyeth will be getting $53 million because of the Pfizer deal. This certainly goes past being just a golden parachute. I think it can be more accurately described as a platinum parachute. It is estimated that a total of 15 executives at Wyeth will receive payouts in the range of $1 million to almost $5 million.

Last year Bernard Poussot, Wyeth’s CEO received total compensation of $21.2 million, which was up a whopping 79% from the prior year. Other items he was paid for included a $132,000 housing allowance and $101,000 for home security.

Sorry for the inactivity

27 Mar 09 | Filed in Miscellaneous with 0 Comments

I’ve been out sick with the flu for pretty much the entire week. Just starting to get a little better. Hopefully I’ll be back to normal and do some posting over the weekend.

Discussion between a PhD Christian and PhD Darwinist at the Creation Museum

22 Mar 09 | Filed in Miscellaneous with 19 Comments

You Tube Video of a discussion on religion between Dr Georgia Purdom, a PhD in Molecular Biology from Ohio state, who does research at the Creation Museum and Dr Michael Shermer who is a firm believer in Darwin. Very interesting stuff. One thing that did surprise me is that the two of them managed to remain relatively respectful of the others views, which was refreshing.

Although she is convinced that he will suffer eternal damnation and burn in hell forever while she will sit at the right hand of God, and he is convinced that she’s a wild-eyed far right wacko doing psudo-science. But they were respectful about it.

Discussion between a PhD Christian and PhD non christian

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