Senior Correspondent, London
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Oct 7, 2015

DNA research deployed in war on cancer scoops Nobel prize

STOCKHOLM/LONDON, Oct 7 (Reuters) – Three scientists from
Sweden, the United States and Turkey won the 2015 Nobel Prize
for Chemistry on Wednesday for working out how cells repair
damaged DNA, providing new ammunition in the war on cancer.

Detailed understanding of DNA damage has helped drive a
revolution in cancer treatment as researchers develop new drugs
that target specific molecular pathways used by tumour cells to
proliferate.

Oct 6, 2015

Nobel prize for solving puzzle of elusive neutrino particles

STOCKHOLM/LONDON, Oct 6 (Reuters) – A Japanese and a
Canadian scientist won the 2015 Nobel Prize for Physics on
Tuesday for discovering that elusive subatomic particles called
neutrinos have mass, opening a new window onto the fundamental
nature of the universe.

Neutrinos are the second most bountiful particles after
photons, the particles of light, with trillions of them
streaming through our bodies every second, but their true nature
has been poorly understood.

Oct 5, 2015

Beating parasites wins three scientists Nobel prize for medicine

STOCKHOLM/LONDON (Reuters) – Three scientists from Japan, China and Ireland whose discoveries led to the development of potent new drugs against parasitic diseases such as malaria and elephantiasis won the Nobel Prize for Medicine on Monday.

Irish-born William Campbell and Japan’s Satoshi Omura won half of the prize for discovering avermectin, a derivative of which has been used to treat hundreds of millions of people with river blindness and lymphatic filariasis, or elephantiasis.

Oct 1, 2015

Call for Britain to over-ride patents on Roche cancer drug

LONDON, Oct 1 (Reuters) – A group of patients and
campaigners has called on Britain’s health minister to over-ride
patents protecting Roche’s expensive breast cancer drug
Kadcyla to allow for the import or manufacture of cut-price
copies.

The move shows the growing pricing pressure on drug
companies on both sides of the Atlantic, especially in the field
of cancer where new treatments can cost well over $100,000.

Sep 28, 2015

Roche gets jump on rivals in race for progressive multiple sclerosis treatment

LONDON (Reuters) – Switzerland’s Roche has moved into pole position in the race to launch the world’s first treatment for progressive multiple sclerosis but smaller players are working hard on rival approaches.

While there are a number of treatments for relapsing remitting MS, the most common form of the disease, there are no approved drugs for progressive MS, which is marked by steadily worsening symptoms.

Sep 28, 2015

Roche gets jump on rivals in race for progressive MS treatment

LONDON, Sept 28 (Reuters) – Switzerland’s Roche has
moved into pole position in the race to launch the world’s first
treatment for progressive multiple sclerosis but smaller players
are working hard on rival approaches.

While there are a number of treatments for relapsing
remitting MS, the most common form of the disease, there are no
approved drugs for progressive MS, which is marked by steadily
worsening symptoms.

Sep 28, 2015

Roche drug succeeds in hard-to-treat form of multiple sclerosis

By Ben Hirschler

(Reuters) – Switzerland’s Roche said on Monday its experimental drug ocrelizumab had proved effective against hard-to-treat primary progressive multiple sclerosis in a keenly awaited final-stage clinical trial.

The injectable antibody medicine is the first product to show positive study results in both the progressive form of the disease and more common relapsing forms, underscoring its multibillion-dollar sales potential.

Sep 25, 2015

Bristol’s Opdivo boosts kidney cancer survival beyond two years

By Ben Hirschler

(Reuters) – Bristol-Myers Squibb’s immunotherapy drug Opdivo extended kidney cancer survival rates by more than two years in a late-stage trial, setting it up to be used beyond melanoma and lung cancer.

The U.S. company said in July the study was stopped early because its drug was more effective than Novartis’ established product Afinitor, but detailed results were only disclosed at the European Cancer Congress in Vienna on Saturday.

Sep 23, 2015

GSK may get EU green light for new biotech asthma drug this week

LONDON (Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline may get a green light from European regulators as early as this week for a new biotech medicine to treat severe asthma, boosting prospects for its struggling respiratory business.

A recommendation from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) would confirm the British drugmaker’s lead in a race to develop an injectable drug for patients with severe asthma who don’t respond well to traditional inhalers.

Sep 23, 2015

Steep discounts help biotech drug copies gain ground in Europe

LONDON (Reuters) – Cut-price versions of expensive biotech drugs are gaining ground in Europe, following surprisingly steep price discounts offered on the first copy of a complex antibody medicine for rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease.

The potential for so-called “biosimilars” to take business from pricey original brands is grabbing the attention of both healthcare providers, who see big budget savings, and investors, worried about the impact on drug company earnings.

    • About Ben

      "Ben Hirschler is European pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and healthcare correspondent, based in London. Previously, he was in charge of British company news and before that was posted to Johannesburg, covering the economic challenges facing post-apartheid South Africa."
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