Industry news

December 1, 2005
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors

Pharmaceutical Technology Europe

Pharmaceutical Technology Europe, Pharmaceutical Technology Europe-12-01-2005, Volume 17, Issue 12

The monopoly held by the large pharmaceutical companies within drug discovery could be falling into the hands of biotechnology firms claims Frost and Sullivan. The consultancy company's report, Biochips Technology Redefines Process of Drug Discovery, states that biochip manufacturers are encouraging end users to accept the new technology by providing novel and effective solutions.

Gambling with biochips

Biotechnology is taking over the pharmaceutical stronghold

The monopoly held by the large pharmaceutical companies within drug discovery could be falling into the hands of biotechnology firms claims Frost and Sullivan. The consultancy company's report, Biochips Technology Redefines Process of Drug Discovery, states that biochip manufacturers are encouraging end users to accept the new technology by providing novel and effective solutions.

In return for the offers provided by the biochip manufacturers, drug discovery companies are slowly incorporating the technology into the product pipeline, which is aimed at reducing timelines and attrition rates. Drug targets can be identified and prioritized quickly with the technology because biochips have the ability to confirm several gene expressions at the same time.

However, the innovative nature of the technology is not enough to cause widespread uptake, which is currently slowed by the cost. Potential customers are unsure if the benefits outweigh the initial price. Nevertheless, this market is predicted to grow by 25% from 2004–2011, with higher growth expected in the protein section because of the nature of drug targets.

www.frost.com

Hologram security

The Malaysia Ministry of Health has issued further guidance on the requirement for all registered pharmaceutical products to be labelled with a Meditag in a bid to reduce unregistered imitation drugs. All products, including traditional medicine and health supplements, registered with the Malaysian Drug Control Authority are required to bear the hologram security device.

Exceptions to the requirement are cosmetics, OTC external care products such as antibacterial, oral care or anti-acne products. Failure to comply with this law can result in a fine up to RM 25000 ($6632) and/or a jail sentence for up to 3 years for first-time offenders. Subsequent offenders can look forward to a similar fine and/or jail for up to 5 years. Any corporate entity failing to abide by this law will be charged RM 50000 ($13264) for first-time offenders or RM 100000 ($26529) for subsequent offenders.

Enforcement officers will be able to check that the manufacturer's serial number is correct along with the authenticity of the hologram using a special decoder and microscope.

www.pacificbridgemedical.com

Tablet production

A new binder that helps to optimize customers' production processes and increase tablet hardness has been launched by BASF. The excipient, Kollidon VA64 Fine, can be used for both direct compression and roller compaction. Manufacturers can, therefore, reduce production process times for solid dosage forms. The smaller particle size of the binder reportedly increases the tensile strength of the tablet cores and makes them less susceptible to breakage and abrasion.

www.basf.de

R&D funding initiative

Companies and universities in the UK involved in R&D may be able to receive financial assistance from the government's Technology Programme. This initiative helps by investing directly in new projects and emerging technologies to enable collaboration for developing new technology faster and more effectively.

The programme has already invested approximately £80 million in R&D and knowledge transfer projects — about 100 projects have been awarded grants valuing from £30000 to in excess of £2 million. It has also introduced R&D tax credits worth £600 million a year for companies that have supported SMEs to the sum of £778 million.

The programme also focuses funding on specific projects, and with more than £300 million from the government, it aims to increase the UK's R&D intensity to 2.5% by 2014. An area that is considered to be critical in the advancement of UK science and innovation base is regenerative medicine, which is the benefactor of £10 million.

Companies and universities that are involved in industrial oriented basic research projects can apply for funding, which is distributed biannually.

www.dti.gov.uk/technologyprogramme

Drug drought

Big pharmaceutical companies are starting to feel the slowing growth of the drug industry. In a recent example, a heart disease treatment from Sankyo Pharma has failed a Phase II trial showing that research within the industry is drying up all over the world.

The defeat of the Japanese company is a victory for Pfizer, which would have gained a rival if the drug was released. However, the industry is suffering from a lack of novel drugs and the increasing generic versions of already existing ones, which are popular as they are cheaper.

www.sankyopharma.com

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