Initially, GSK officials had sounded distinctly skeptical about whether the vaccine could be ready in time to help contain the outbreak. But this morning there was a distinct can-do attitude in its approach to the crisis.
GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) has acquired upstart vaccine developer Okairos for $325 million. The deal delivers the Swiss biotech's genetic vaccine development platform, which uses viral vectors to spur a T-cell attack on a range of diseases such as hepatitis C, HIV, malaria, TB and RSV.
Now, more than ever, the life sciences industry is all about innovative and disruptive technologies. Every year for the past decade, FierceBiotech has made its picks on which companies hold the best odds for success in our Fierce 15 report. This year, though, we've added another Fierce 15 to focus on medical devices and diagnostics. I'd like to encourage readers to consider the differences by comparing the companies in each report.
Nick Leschly, the CEO of Bluebird Bio, playfully dubbed the ambitious spirit of biotechs Levin Syndrome, a fictional affliction named after Third Rock Ventures' Mark Levin that compels biotech entrepreneurs to, as they say, go big or go home. Our Fierce 15 companies are all "going big." They also went home… with trophies. Check out the slideshow below.
There's more than one way to build a biotech company. And this year's Fierce 15 companies reflect a range of companies operating with a spectrum of business models. Here's the full report >> Click here to view a video of FierceBiotech Editor John Carroll announcing the Fierce 15 at BioPharm America >>
Hepatitis C virus infection is spread through the blood, and it can lead to liver cirrhosis and is the leading cause of liver cancer. Okairos, a spinout from Merck ($MRK), is starting a Phase I/II clinical trial for its preventive hepatitis C vaccine for people at risk of infection, which it says is the first multi-center, double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of a vaccine to prevent HCV infection.
As far as most biotech investors are concerned, the most exciting work being done in the hepatitis C field involves next-gen treatments that can potentially quell the virus without the need for the troublesome interferon in the combo.
A group of European investigators working in league with a small biotech spun out of Merck four years ago has claimed an early-stage success with a small human trial that has generated positive