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San Diego Life Sciences Roundup: Shire, Thesan, ViaCyte, and More

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technology to Reflexion Health, which is moving into the West Health Incubator to commercialize the technology.

—Dean Tozer, a corporate development executive with Shire Regenerative Medicine, joined Life Technologies CEO Greg Lucier and other industry executives during the Seventh Annual Stem Cell Meeting on the Mesa to talk about the clinical outlook for regenerative medicine. Tozer said Big Pharma business executives are getting involved in talks with prospective biotech partners much sooner to determine whether prospective business deals are really worth it. Shire is basing most of its new regenerative medicine business in San Diego.

—A study done by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has raised concerns about a class of medications that are prescribed for patients who are losing their eyesight through a disease known as “wet” macular degeneration. Drugs like bevacizumab (Avastin), aflibercept (Eylea), ranibizumab (Lucentis), and pegaptanib (Macugen), are prescribed to inhibit the blood-vessel growth factor vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). VEGF has been implicated in stimulating abnormal blood vessel growth in a range of cancers and eye diseases. But Scripps says their scientists found that without VEGF, a large subset of light-sensing cells lost their main blood supply and shut down, causing severe vision loss.

—Targeson CEO Jack DeFranco told me the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases have awarded the company more than $551,000 to continue its Small Business Innovative Research Phase 2 grant. Targeson has proposed using an ultrasound-triggered delivery of siRNA as a treatment for diabetic kidney disease.

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