Dendreon Saga Nears Climax, Gregoire Biotech Fund in Jeopardy, UW’s Biofuel Futurist, & More Seattle-Area Life Sciences News

4/9/09Follow @xconomy

Seattle biotech had a little something for everybody this past week. There was drama (Dendreon), politics (Life Sciences Discovery Fund getting whacked), a scientist’s life story (David Baker), and young competitors vying to make the world a better place (UW Environmental Innovation Challenge).

—Dendreon (NASDAQ: DNDN), the Seattle developer of an immune-stimulating therapy for prostate cancer, has been waiting for months to see whether its drug can help men live longer with minimal side effects. This month, it will find out, and this long-running saga could take yet another twist.

—Gov. Chris Gregoire staked much of her economic development strategy on the 10-year, $350 million Life Sciences Discovery Fund, and now the fund is in jeopardy of being shut down, as we reported in this exclusive. Lawmakers are still ironing out the differences between bills to see how deep to cut. The legislative session is scheduled to end April 26.

—I took out some time to profile one of the leading innovators at the University of Washington, biochemistry professor David Baker. His lab has been fascinated for years by how a linear sequence of genetic code gets transformed into a 3-D protein structure. The Baker lab has gotten good enough at this that it can now design new proteins from scratch on a computer, with potential to do things like create new cellulosic biofuels.

—Elsewhere on campus, we reported on the winners of the first-ever UW Environmental Innovation Challenge. The winning team, calling themselves HydroSense, envision a way to help consumers monitor their household water consumption in real-time, which ought to help people better conserve this precious resource.

—VLST and Novo Nordisk are cementing their new partnership to … Next Page »

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  • Dr. L

    If Dendreon had definitive clinical data that proved Provenge met the FDA’s established criteria at this very moment, why would the company wait until April 28th to announce these life prolonging findings at the AUA’s convention.

    Is not ‘quality of life’ to the terminally ill their legacy.