Scientists Simplifying Science

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July 2017

Stop poisoning yourself with beauty!

in That Makes Sense by

Men and women have used cosmetics since 10,000 BC, for health, hygiene and aesthetic reasons. Although the types and styles of cosmetics have undergone intense changes over time, it has always been a part of our culture. FDA defines cosmetics as “articles intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied to the human body…for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance” [FD&C Act, sec. 201(i)]. In recent times, with changing social dynamics and thanks to social media, we judge people based on their appearance more than ever. The huge boom in the global cosmetic market, which is estimated to reach $675 billion by 2020, is a testament of this fact. According to a survey, women use 16 products every day on an average in the US, which contain hundreds of different chemicals, some of which are extremely hazardous.

Since the cosmetic industry is not as highly regulated as the food or drug industry, these products don’t need to be approved by the FDA before being marketed, unless they use color additives and/or any of the banned chemicals. Consequently, the onus is onto us to educate ourselves on the risk of chemical toxicity and possible health hazards of using different cosmetics and make an informed decision.

Commonly used murky chemicals and possible risks attached

  1. Phthalates: Apart from being used in packaging, household products and pharmaceuticals, phthalates are widely used in makeup and cosmetics like shampoo, soap, hair spray, nail polish, perfumes, lotions etc. in the form of dibutyl, dimethyl or diethyl phthalate. The latter work as a plasticizer, making the products such as nail polish or hair spray less brittle or more flexible.

Although risk of potential health problem due to low level of phthalate exposure in humans are still under investigation, some phthalates like di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate are believed to be human carcinogens. Di-n-butyl phthalate, for example, when consumed in high amounts show an adverse effect on animal reproduction in the laboratory.

  1. Parabens: Various parabens (methyl, ethyl, propyl and butyl paraben) are most commonly used in cosmetics as preservative to protect them against microorganisms, thus prolonging shelf life. We can easily find parabens in shaving creams, makeup, hair gel, deodorant, moisturizing creams. At present, FDA gives a clean chit to parabens, but some studies have raised concerns. Paraben being biologically active, can mimic estrogen and androgen. It can inhibit the sulfotransferase enzyme, hence increasing chances of breast cancer as well as affecting male reproductive functions.
  1. Dioxane: Though dioxane is not added to cosmetics intentionally for any purpose, it’s a byproduct of foaming agents, emulsifiers or some solvents, and could be present as a contaminant.

Limited data available show that 1,4-dioxane targets liver and kidneys. Long-term exposures to high doses of dioxane through drinking water, showed elevated chance of liver tumors in rats. Exposure to dioxane has also been related to fatal hemorrhage in kidney and lesions. Unlike phthalates and parabens, FDA does monitor the levels of 1,4-dioxane in personal care products.

  1. Coal tar: Initially, coal tar was introduced by the cosmetic industry in the form of permanent hair dyes. Color additives used in hair dyes nowadays are derived from petroleum. As the colors derived from both petroleum and coal tar can be chemically identical, all of these colors fall under the category of “coal tar dyes”.

Coal tar has been proven to be carcinogenic. Increased risk of bladder cancer has been found in women who frequently dyed their hair. Occupational exposure to coal tar dyes in case of hairstylist, barbers, beauticians also pose risk of a higher incidence of cancer.

Although most color additives need FDA approval, coal tar dye is somehow an exception. If a product label shows a special caution statement about allergic reaction and other possible harmful side effects, and includes an instruction about proper usage of the product, FDA cannot use its authority to take action against a coal-tar hair dye!

  1. Hydroquinone: Skin bleaching has always been a part of some cultures, mostly in Asia, which leads to the risks of exposure to hydroquinone, an ingredient for skin lightening. Hydroquinone reduces production of melanin causing the skin to fade. It is commonly used to treat hyperpigmentation due to sun exposure, acne marks and age spots.

Exposure to higher level of hydroquinone has some acute effects like skin irritation, eye injury, headache, dyspnea, convulsion, nausea, edema of organs etc. Though the EPA has not identified hydroquinone as a carcinogen, studies done on female mice have shown carcinogenic activity via escalation of hepatocellular neoplasms and risk of skin tumors.

  1. Formaldehyde: This is a well-known preservative. FDA identifies formaldehyde as a skin allergen and irritant. It has also been linked to nose and lung cancer. Various cosmetic companies nowadays don’t use formaldehyde directly in their products, instead formaldehyde releasing chemicals like DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (bromopol) and glyoxal, quaternium-15, methenamine, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate and diazolidinyl urea are used
  1. Lead: This heavy metal has found its way into makeup (as eye makeup and lead white) since the time of ancient Egyptians, and the modern time is no different. A recent study showed that about 400 lipsticks including popular brands contain lead. Although the amount of lead in any given product might be around the acceptable limit, the major concern is that lead levels can build up in our body and cause damage to brain, nervous system and kidneys. Pregnant women have increased risk of miscarriage, malformations, stillbirth and premature delivery with low birthweight, when exposed to high level of lead.
  1. Nanoparticles (NPs) of TiO2 and ZnO: In recent times, the use of TiO2 and ZnO NPs have increased quite a lot. Nanoparticles are used in sunscreen as they protect skin from UVA and UVB radiations without affecting endocrine system like other UV reflecting chemicals. Also use of NPs makes the products aesthetically more pleasing assuring smooth application without the ashy trace of most sunscreen, making it perfect to be termed as “revolutionary” by the cosmetic industry.

Many studies have shown cytotoxic effects of TiO2 NP. Though TiO2 is chemically inert, nano-sized TiO2 has been linked with oxidative stress, DNA strand breakage and chromosomal damage.

  1. Fragrance: According to FDA, fragrance and flavor ingredients can be listed simply as “fragrance” or “flavor” – therefore cosmetic companies do not need to reveal the actual chemical composition of the “Fragrance”. This is where it gets tricky – a lot of chemicals that are included in this concoction of fragrance are skin allergens, irritants, have hormonal and reproductive toxicity and are carcinogens.

Look fabulous, but be safe

Lack of studies on long term effects of various chemicals used in cosmetics is a major concern. Also, the market is highly unregulated and rules behind the use of certain chemicals vary across countries, because of which, composition of a particular product made by a certain company may get altered in different countries. As we don’t know a lot about all the harmful ingredients and their effects just yet, the only approach we may have is to be “safe than sorry”.  While getting rid of all grooming products and going back to primitive ways might be a little cynical, when studies show that cosmetics most certainly can cause hormonal disbalance in teenage girls, it definitely demands our attention as consumers. The best we can do, is to read product labels, become knowledgeable about the ingredients, keep companies and government accountable and probably switch to more natural options.


About Sanchita:

Sanchita completed her PhD from Jadavpur University (Kolkata, India) in Chemistry, followed by a Postdoctoral position at University of Texas at El Paso. Currently she is freelancing in technology scouting and market research and aims to transition into a position where her transferable skills would be put to use. Apart from science she enjoys travelling, writing and reading a lot!

 

Editor: Sayantan Chakraborty, PhD

The contents of Club SciWri are the copyright of PhD Career Support Group for STEM PhDs (A US Non-Profit 501(c)3, PhDCSG is an initiative of the alumni of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. The primary aim of this group is to build a NETWORK among scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs).

This work by ClubSciWri is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

STEM Peers 2017

in ClubSciWri by

Mission Statement: The first annual meeting of PhD Career Support Group (PhDCSG) is a much anticipated career advancement event, bringing professionals from more than a dozen life sciences industries and academia under one roof. Learn from first-hand accounts of success from mentors, entrepreneurs, recruiters, and professionals in industry and academia to help STEM graduates successfully navigate careers in life sciences. The meeting will feature highly interactive sessions from an impressively diverse group of STEM professionals, including panel discussions, small-group lunches and one-on-one networking opportunities.

If you are a STEM graduate don’t miss out on being a part of this event!

 

STEM Peers 2017- Connecting Scientists

1st Annual Symposium on PhD Career Advancements

Organized by Career Support Group for STEM PhDs (PhD CSG)

•September 23, 2017 • Boston, MA  •

Venue: Aeronaut Brewing Company, 14 Tyler St, Somerville, MA 02143 (Driving Directions)

Symposium Co-chairs
Syam Anand (Founder Mainline IP and Secretary, PhDCSG)
Ranjith Anand (Gingko Bioworks, Boston)

Symposium Organizers
Ananda Ghosh (Founder, PhDCSG)
Abhinav Dey (Co-founder, PhDCSG)

LIST of Participants

Participant Name Institution
Abhi Dey  EmoryUniversity
Abhishek Das  Palleon Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Adwait Godbole  The Scripps Research Institute, Florida
Aishwarya Swaminathan  University of Massachusetts Medical School
Ajit Kamath  Boston University
Ambily Abraham  UMass medical school
Ambrish Roy  Vertex Pharma
Amritraj Patra  Vanderbilt University
Ana Batista  CellPress
Ananda Ghosh  New York University
Anandaroop Dasgupta  Healthcare Consulting
Anisha Zaveri  Weill Cornell Medicine
Anita Chavan  Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Anshu Malhotra  Emory University
Arun K Rooj  Brigham and Women’s Hospital, HMS
Arvind Panday  Harvard Medical School
Aswin Garimalla  Research Foundation City University of New York
Ayyappan Subbiah  Sevengenes Inc.
Banishree Saha  UMASS Amherst
Benjamin Gabriel  University of Rhode Island
Bhanvi Mishra  New York Medical College
Chakravarthi Venkata Srinivasa
 University of Alabama at Birmingham
Chang Liu  Brandeis University
Christopher Link  Eton Bioscience
Colleen Brady  CellPress
Cong Huang Massachusetts General Hispital-Harvard Medical School
Danika Khong  Scismic LLC
David Waterman  Brandeis University
Deepti Gadi  Massachusetts General Hispital-Harvard Medical School
Devasena Ponnalagu  Drexel University
Dolonchapa Chakraborty  BenchSci
Elizabeth Wu  Scismic LLC
Eugenia Rojas
Ganapathy Subramanian Sankaran
 UMass medical school
Gargi Chaudhuri  Brigham & Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School
Gaurav Jain  New York University
Giang Nguyen  Tufts University School of Medicine
Gyanendra Kumar  St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Harish Ramamurthi  Oracle
Harpreet Singh  Drexel University
Hema Chug  Boston Children’s Hospital
Ilan Shanmugam  Boston University
Ishita Banerjee  UConn Health
Jagan Srinivasan  Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Jayeeta Sen  Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
K Kannan  Takeda
Kiran Gireesan  Yale University
Kirk Haltaufderhyde  University of Rhode Island
Krutika Bavishi  Weill Cornell Medical College
Kumaraguru Raja  Research Analyst
Kushagra Bansal  Harvard Medical School
Manju Mummadisetti  Rutgers University
Mishtu Dey  University of Iowa
Muthu Dhandapani  Mitra Biotech
Nandhu Mohan Sobhana  SUNY Upstate Medical University
Nandini Mani  Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School
Nazish Abdullah Weill Cornell Medical College
Neha Deshpande  Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary/Schepens Eye Research Inst/Dept. of Opthalmology HMS
Neha Diwanji  University of Massachusetts Medical School
Nick Deal  Stratacuity
Nikhil Gupta  New York University
Ola Soderquist  Sevengenes, Inc
Onkar Bhardwaj  Akamai Technologies
Pallab Ghosh  Harvard Medical School
Pooja Gudibanda  Cornell University
Prabuddha Dey  Rutgers University
Prajna Behera  Rutgers University
Prasad Subramaniam  Rutgers University
Praveen Anand  Harvard University
Priya  Free university and MPIKG Berlin, Germany
Radha Mukherjee  Weill Cornell Medicine
Radhika Raheja  Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Rahul Chib  Rutgers University
Rajat Kumar Pal  CUNY
Rajeshkumar Prakash  Biogen
Ranjith Anand  Gingko Bioworks
Rati Sharma  Harvard Medical School
Richa Jaiswal  Lake Pharma
Rohit Arora  Harvard University
Ruby  Tufts University
Sahana Bhattacharya  CUNY
Samik Chakraborty  Boston Children’s Hospital
Sanjay K Bharti  University of Virginia
Sankalp Gupta  New York University
Sarojini Adusumilli  Arizona Technology Enterprises
Saurabh Khasnavis  Harvard Medical School
Sayantan Chakraborty  NIH
Scott Eastman  Eli Lilly
Shiteshu Shrimal  UMass Medical School
Shreyas Gokhale  MIT
Shreyas Jadhav  Research Scientist
Shruti Gupta  New York University
Shyamtanu Datta  UT Southwestern Medical Center
Siddheshwari Advani  UMass Amherst
Simon Mongtrison  Berklee College of Music, NY
Smita Salian-Mehta  Abbvie
Srinivasan Parthiban  Vingyani
Subhalaxmi (Subbu) Nambi
 University of Massachusetts Medical School
Sujatha Koduvayur
Sujay Ramanathan  Drexel University
Sumit Rai  MGH
Susannah  Brandeis University
Susi Macdonald  Stratacuity
Sutirtha Datta  Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Syam Prasad Anand  Mainline IP
Thirupathi Barla  Harvard University
Tribhuwan yadav  Harvard Medical School – Massachusetts General Hospital
Tuhin Das  Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Vidhi Deepak Thakkar  Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Georgia State University
Vinay Eapen  Harvard Medical School
Vladimir Botchkarev  Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Xiangmin Lv  Harvard Medical School – Massachusetts General Hospital
Zachary Knecht  Brandeis University

 

At the registration desk

(Connecting the DOTS) to help all those who fear networking and break the ice during their initial interactions. At the registration desk you will get a registration pack that will have your 1. Name Tag, 2. Lunch Ticket, 3. Breakfast ticket, and 4. Networking Stickers (Color coded). Choose the sticker/stickers which can provide maximum benefit to you and others at the meeting, and place it on your name tag. You can seek help and be a mentor in several other ways so wear the color with pride and humility.

Program Schedule

8am-9am Arrival and Registration

Welcome Note: Abhinav Dey
Introductory Note: Ananda Ghosh
Keynote Introduction: Ranjith Anand

9:30am-10am Keynote Lecture
Melina Fan (Co-founder/CSO Addgene)

10am-10:30am Panel Discussion on Industry Research Careers
Session Chair: Ranjith Anand (Gingko Bioworks)
Panelists: 
Smita Salian-Mehta (Abbvie), Ambrish Roy (Vertex),
Richa Jaiswal (LakePharma)

10:30am-10:40am Grant Writing as a Postdoc: Vinay Eapen (Jane Coffin Childs Fellow, HMS)

10:40am-11:10am Panel Discussion on Academic Career Development
Session Chair: Nikhil Gupta (NYU)
Panelists: Mishtu Dey (University of Iowa), Jagan Srinivasan (WPI), Harpreet Singh (Drexel)

11:10am-11:30am Recruiter’s Perspective
Nick Deal (Stratacuity)

11:30am-12pm Panel Discussion on Careers in the Business of Science
Session Chair: Syam Anand (Founder Mainline IP)
Panelists: 
Ragoo Raghunathan (Metabolon), Subhalaxmi Nambi (UMass),
Rajnish Kaushik (UMass), Ananda Ghosh (NYU)

12pm-1pm Lunch Break with Musical Performance by IMON

1pm-1:45pm Panel Discussion on Science Communication and  Management Careers
Session Chair: Abhi Dey (Co-Founder, ClubSciWri)
Panelists: Colleen Brady (CellPress), Ana Batista (CellPress), Sutirtha Datta (Clinical Trials Office, MSKCC), Muthu Dhandapani (Mitra Biotech)

2pm-4pm Networking Session- Chair: Smita Salian-Mehta
4pm-4:30pm Awards Ceremony
4:30pm-5pm Closing Remarks and Future Directions (Syam Anand, Conference Co-Chair)


Registration Fee 25$

Instructions to Register and Pay the Registration Fee

Click Here to Register Or Scan this QR Code

  1. Please complete required information in STEM Peers 2017 registration form.
  2. Email: your email address
  3. Name: Please provide your full name
  4. Organization: Please provide your current associated Organization/ University.
  5. Designation: Please provide your current designation.
  6. Participation: Please select appropriate participation group (Postdoc/PhD etc).
  7. Contact: Please provide your contact number.
  8. Food: Please provide information if you have any dietary restriction.
  9. Arrival time: Please provide details of your arrival time at event.
  10. Please select I am not a robot.
  11. Once you complete adding information, please click submit.
  12. Once you submit your registration, a new window will  pop-up confirming the receipt of your registration along with a highlighted link. (This is the link for registration fee payment)      
  13. Please click on link to pay and finalize registration.
  14. Payment can be made via using a PayPal account only.
  15. You can also use the “Buy Now” option (shown below) to pay your registration fee of 25$

 

(Please leave your name and email address as a note when paying using Paypal)

 

Click “Donate” to help PhDCSG (Please include your name, email address and phone number as an additional note while making the donation)




PhD Career Support Group (PhD CSG) for STEM PhDs is a US Non-Profit 501(c)3  organization and all donations to PhDCSG are tax deductible

 

We thank our sponsors

Co-Chair’s Note:-

Why STEM Peers 2017 could be important for your career advancement?

  1.  If you don’t know what it takes to advance to the next level. If you think your publications make your career, attend and learn more.
  2. If you don’t know what it takes to get hired- the key skills, how to market them, how to to get them noticed by people who matter, and how to make your CV/resume stand out. If you think having a great CV will get anyone’s attention, attend and learn more.
  3. If you don’t know what it takes to stay in a job- getting hired could be the easy part. Staying in a job needs to understand the key job requirements that employers are seeking. If you think your bench work and associated skills is all it takes, attend and learn more.
  4. If you don’t know what it takes to advance your career after staying for a while in a new job (industry/pharma/IP/academia). Advancing your career depends on skills you develop while on the job. This needs preparation and updating of skills, sensing changing needs etc. If you think what got your hired will also advance your career further, attend and learn more.

I cannot emphasize this more- many bench scientists don’t understand these before their funding runs out or visa restrictions start dawning upon them.

Here is your chance to interact with folks who have successfully transitioned and advanced their careers further. Awareness, networking and DETAILS matter.

Finally, would you rather spend hours weeding through the internet to get the info you want or a day with successful people who are keeping their time aside for you?

STEM Peers is a bargain in that respect. We are able to bring all this to you in an affordable manner ONLY because we are a non-profit. Make use of STEM Peers 2017.

Best wishes!

Syam Anand

 

 

FAQs about STEM Peers

  1. What is the registration fee? Ans: $25 for Postdoctoral Fellows/Graduate Students; 50$ Faculty members/Industry members/Others; Late-registration fee/On-site registration Fee: 30$
  2. What is included in the registration fee? Ans: The registration fee includes access to all conference sessions and exhibits. When you check-in at the registration desk, you will receive a delegate package, which includes copies of the conference program, your name tag, and other relevant information. The registration fee also covers access to a morning coffee break, and an afternoon coffee break on the entire day of the conference.
  3. Do I have to be a CSG member to attend the conference? Ans: No
  4. Do you have discounted rates for graduate students/postdocs? Ans: Student/Postdoc registrations are heavily subsidized, and therefore the Early Registration Discount for these already discounted registrations is smaller
  5. Do you have early registration discounts? Ans: To have a better idea of how many participants will attend and to promote timely registration for the conference, CSG may offer an early registration discount. A discount applies to regular registrations received before the early registration deadline, as specified on the registration page.
  6. How do I confirm that I am registered? Ans: Once your registration is finalized, you will receive a confirmation email indicating that you are officially registered. You will receive an Official Receipt from PayPal, via email again, as proof of payment. In addition, your name will appear in the list of registered attendees on sciwri.club
  7. Can I get a certificate of attendance? Ans: A certificate of attendance can be printed for you on request and e-mailed to you after the conference. Please visit the registration desk and request a certificate to be mailed. We would appreciate it, if you wait for a time when the registration desk is less crowded to request a certificate.
  8. Is there a discounted rate of registration? Ans: Mail us stempeers@gmail.com
  9. What if I have a question that is not answered here? Ans: This FAQ only covers answers to questions that we receive frequently. If you have a question that still has not been answered, please email us stempeers@gmail.com and one of us will be happy to assist you.
  10. What is your cancellation policy? Ans: We understand that members who have registered for the conference may have to cancel their registrations due to unforeseen circumstances. While we try to accommodate cancellations to the best of our ability, any cancellation, especially late ones, put CSG at a difficult situation. Due to the size of our conference, we make many of our arrangements well in advance and therefore cancellations come with a cost to CSG. Therefore, the CSG Board has developed a cancellation policy to balance the needs of our members with the costs of cancellation to CSG. As such, please note that cancellation requests for an already confirmed registration will be processed according to the following schedule:

Before August 15: %100 refund ($5 cancellation fee)

August 15 – August 31: 10$ refund.

After September 1: No refunds available

For any queries mail us: stempeers@gmail.com

Download the flyer here

Follow us on Twitter @PhDCSG

Acknowledgements: Tribhuwan Yadav, Radhika Raheja and Anita Chavan for testing the registration process.

Featured Image and CSG Logo design By Ipsa Jain

 

Transitioning from Bench to Pharma – Face to face with Dr. Sourav Sarkar, Senior Scientist, AstraZeneca, UK

in Face à Face by

Dr. Sourav Sarkar (SS) shares his academic journey with Nida Siddiqui (NS) and describes the factors that led to his transition into the industry. He also provides some invaluable pointers for future “transitioners”.

NS: Could you tell us about yourself?

 SS: I am an experienced research scientist with broad knowledge and understanding in cell biology and biochemistry. I did my masters in Biochemistry from Calcutta University, India followed by PhD in Genetics and cell biology from Bose Institute, Kolkata, India. After completion of PhD, I joined University of Warwick, UK to pursue postdoctoral research in understanding molecular mechanism of chromosome segregation in normal and cancerous cells. Currently I am working in AstraZeneca, Cambridge, UK as a senior scientist where my role is to screen different classes of compounds to find candidates that are effective, as well as selective against targets in different cancer types, and to gain a better understanding of the molecular mechanism of action of specific compounds against a target.

 NS: What were some of the exciting projects that you worked on during your PhD/Postdoc?

SS: I have mainly worked on understanding the molecular mechanism of chromosome segregation during mitosis and meiosis, and how genetic alterations affect this process in cancer cells.

I have been involved in several projects during my research career and most of them have been very interesting, but if I must choose then I would say that the following projects have been particularly exciting.

  1. a) To understand the role of fusion gene(s) in chromosome segregation, and its contribution towards development of aneuploidy, and consequently cancer. There is considerable evidence that suggests potential links between fusion gene(s) and cancer, so it is very important to understand the molecular basis of this association.
  2. b) To understand how cells respond to nutritional status in the environment, and trigger entry into quiescence/gametogenesis program for their survival.

NS: Did you have any dilemma after your PhD, to choose between a postdoc/industry position?

SS: After completion of PhD, I decided to continue my research work in an academic setting. Frankly speaking, I never had any thoughts of moving to the industry after my PhD.

NS: When did you decide it was time to move on and transition to the industry?

SS: To consider moving to the industry was not an easy decision for me. However, successful scientific research is not a product of ideas alone. Other factors, such as research funding play a crucial role, and I have personally experienced research getting affected due to the lack of funds. It was during my postdoc that I realised that staying in academia was not going to be an easy task. There is constant pressure of publishing articles, getting grants etc. and this to some extent I believe led to a situation where “publish or perish” became a harsh reality.  Considering all these factors, I thought it would be a good time for me (after my second postdoc) to move to the industry, where I could still be involved in science, and address relevant scientific questions. Moreover, I felt that joining a pharmaceutical industry would give me the perfect opportunity to work more closely with experts from different fields towards a common goal of developing new medicines and improving human health. 

NS: What are the skills that helped you crack your current position?

SS: My research experience during PhD and postdoc gave me the invaluable opportunity to learn various technical skills ranging from cell and molecular biology to protein biochemistry. In addition to my technical skills, I also got the chance to develop my inter-personal skills over this period. Interacting with researchers from various fields of expertise has helped shape my research career. The set of skills I acquired from these communications turned out to be highly valuable towards obtaining my current position in this company.

 NS: How has PhD Career Support Group (PhDCSG) played a role during your transition period?

SS: PhDCSG is a great initiative and I must thank all the people who are behind this. CSG has helped me better prepare myself during the transition stage. The vast variety of posts by people from different areas, starting from CV writing to preparing for a job interview etc. are very useful. One learns a lot from CSG as people share their personal experiences on topics relevant to early-career scientists, which to me is extremely valuable.

 NS: What would you advise PhD students and postdocs, looking to transition to the industry?

SS: I would suggest few points to work on before making the move.

  1. First ask yourself whether you are prepared for the move.
  2. Be honest, be prepared to take risks, and believe in yourself.
  3. Continue to learn and develop skills in your area of specialization, but also keep your mind open to picking up new skills in other areas, as and when an opportunity presents.
  4. Understand your subject very well and develop the quality to address pertinent questions.
  5. Both, technical and inter-personal skills are key during transition.
  6. Don’t hesitate to interact with people, reaching out to them, and making yourself visible in the job sector.
  7. Attend conferences, meetings, networking events etc. where you would get an opportunity to meet people from different industries.
  8. If possible, attend courses on career development.

And most importantly, remember, employers won’t come and knock on your door; you will have to create opportunities for yourself.

 

About Dr. Sourav Sarkar

Dr. Sourav Sarkar is a senior scientist at AstraZeneca, Cambridge, UK. He completed his PhD from Bose Institute, Calcutta, India followed by two postdoctoral stints at the University of Warwick, UK.

 

About Nida Siddiqui

Nida Siddiqui is currently pursuing final year PhD at the Centre for Mechanochemical Cell Biology, University of Warwick, UK. Follow her on LinkedIn and Twitter @siddnida

Editor: Arunima Singh

About: Arunima obtained her PhD in Computational chemistry from the University of Georgia, USA, and is currently a postdoctoral researcher at New York University. She enjoys traveling, reading, and the process of mastering a new cuisine. Her motivation to move to New York was to be a part of this rich scientific, cultural, and social hub.

 Cover image: Pixabay

The contents of Club SciWri are the copyright of PhD Career Support Group for STEM PhDs (A US Non-Profit 501(c)3, PhDCSG is an initiative of the alumni of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. The primary aim of this group is to build a NETWORK among scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs).

This work by Club SciWri is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

IP Career Prospects in India

in Sci-IP by

Prity Khastgir is a techno-savvy patent attorney in India with 12 yrs of experience working with clients across the globe. Her areas of expertise are IP portfolio research, cross-border technology transactions, licensing agreements, product clearance, freedom-to-operate, patent infringement & invalidity analysis, research & opinions. Currently, she helps startups to raise funds, assists foreign companies to find right business partners in India. She also assists enterprises to enter and find the right angels, and VCs in Malaysia, Singapore, US, UK, Japan and India. Here, she answers questions about IP career prospects in India, in her Face-to-face interaction with Reetu Mehta.

 

Is Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) a good career option in India?

Before answering this question, I ask myself why I do what I do every morning. Am I passionate about my day? IPR is a fascinating field and apt for people who wants answers to questions related to what, why, when and how. IPR is a field of law protecting creations of mind in form of ideas, inventions, brands, trademarks, copyrights, software codes, industrial design registration and trade secrets. However, if research is not your cup of tea then please do not enter this field. You have to passionate about innovations. Many people enter this field because it is a high paying job in the long run compared to normal 9-5 jobs in India. However, not everyone will be able to sustain in this field in the long run. Therefore, be wise before entering this field. You should be fascinated by technologies around you, have a problem solving approach, and be compassionate towards your peers.

How can a life science PhD begin with career in IPR?

Life science is study of life processes. The scope of PhD in IPR is better as the person is familiar with research. The best way to move forward is to do online IPR courses and get an overview of IPR. One should have interest and passion to solve the queries related to the intellectual creations of mind. One should have problem solving approach as client is looking for solutions.

What are the required skill sets?

First and foremost, the person should have technology and legal acumen to understand innovations and have a research capability to work at least for 10-12 hours. Thinking out of the box to solve a research project is the key to assisting inventors to protect their inventions.

 

How does a career in IP evolve/grow in India?

The individuals I have come across are passionate about protecting innovations. To evolve in this field you have to be technology savvy. The Intellectual Property law has evolved a lot in last 10 years. Now a trademark can be registered in less than one month in India with proper documentation. The Indian government is giving a number of grants to startups in India to grow by leap and bounds.

 

What is the kind of work one is expected to do and what are the skill sets one can acquire over the course?

Reviewing and researching similar technologies filed across global patent websites. IPR rights are territorial in nature, which means if a patent is protected in India and not in US then anybody is free to use the technology in the US. A patent is granted to a technology that is new, non-obvious to an expert in the same field, and have industrial applicability. Right from patent filing before the patent office to patent grant, a number of steps are executed by a number of patent associates. Apart from this, a patent expert can research and work on a number of projects related to foreign patent litigation cases, which is an excellent knowledge process outsourcing model thriving in India.

 

How was your journey in IPR? What is required for a fulfilling and enjoyable IP career?.

My career has been a roller coaster. I always wanted to do something different in life. I am passionate about everything, which comes my way. Everyday is an opportunity to learn something new. I strongly believe that knowledge is power and to be a successful human being one has to update knowledge on a regular basis. So many innovations are happening on a daily basis. It is next to impossible to learn everything but I make it a point to read at least ten granted patents in different domains. I personally believe that there is so much to learn from every person. I graduated in Applied Science (honours) from Delhi University. I was fortunate to learn from the best teachers in Delhi University and they are like family to me. I did my masters in Biotechnology and fortunate to clear Patent Agent Examination at the age of 21 years. I am a 10K Goldman Sachs scholar from ISB, Hyderabad and legal counsel at BIMTECH, Greater Noida, India. The last 12 years has been a memorable experience and I have worked more than 30,000 hours and the learning has been memorable and incredible. The learning curve in intellectual property domain is exponential and with every project I learn so much about what kind of research is happening in any technology domain across the globe.

 

Where do you think your future will be in 5, 10 years from now?

Well I believe in short-term and long-term goals. My short-term goal is to start an incubation centre focusing on developing untapped intellectual property portfolio from domestic and foreign startups in India. We have already started one centre in Aerocity, New Delhi, India. On a personal front, I intend to join politics and work in developing a holistic intellectual property ecosystem in India, which will help India to become a developed country. 10 years from now, I see India as a developed country and of course I would be part of the Indian Government.

What is the profile of people who practice IP In India, for example, Engineers, Science grads, and Law degree holders? How do they like it? What made them come to IPR?

The current profile is very diverse. The well-known and top IP firms are run by lawyers who don’t have a technical background as the patent law was introduced in India in 1970. Post 2005, the law was amended and a science degree became compulsory to sit for the examination. There is a gap in the industry that needs to be fulfilled. Lawyers are not very sound with technical understanding of patents and science graduates and post-graduates are not conversant with legal law practice. The field is very lucrative as the demand of good skilled professionals is the need of the hour.

To bridge this gap we are starting with autonomous patent law and practice course for individuals in near future. The job prospect in the current scenario is very different as compared to early 2000’s. To cater to the future need of IP based companies in India, we will need techno-legal patent professionals.

 

Does the growth trajectories differ based on the basic qualification? For example, in the US, a PhD is almost a must, how is it in India? 

We can’t compare US patent law with Indian patent practice. India is at least 50 years backward when we compare with the US patent law. I have personally worked on more than 500+ different technologies in my career span of 12 years for US-based business entities. Those technologies will not even enter India before 2050. Having said that, we don’t need PhD as the basic requisite for working in IP field. Of course having a PhD degree is advantageous for companies who are focusing on two to three verticals. The most important point to be considered for working in patent domain is the passion to understand technologies and do research which might be boring for a PhD who is more inclined to wet laboratory research.

 

For an IP assignment whom all do you interact with and what are the kind of clients do you get to work with?  How do they pay and sustain their funding? How does that affect your growth? For example in the US, patent agents can end as partners.

On a personal front I am an entrepreneur at heart. We have association with more than 100+ law firm partners across the globe. The best part of working with IP professionals across the globe is you are never out of work. For example, year-end is holiday season in USA. However, the Chinese market is still working in those months. Chinese New Year is in the month February. So we work with clients across all domains. Sometimes US companies engage us for patent litigation research work. We are one stop solution provider for providing customized patent research work according to clients need. Therefore, we work with Fortune 100 companies at one end and on the other end we work with startups and individual inventors.

We generally take upfront payments for all our projects. Our growth path is exponential and we believe in innovating from ground level. Thinking out of the box is the key to sustain with the big patent law firms in India. We don’t compete with any firm or KPO unit in India. We believe in creating our own path by identifying weak points existing in the current ecosystem.

 

Where is Indian IPR with respect to the rest of the world? Where does it plan to go? How does it fare with respect to other countries (for example BRIC)? Can Indian IPR folks work for Universities, Equity firms, Market analysts etc.?

Of course, the Indian IPR folks can work for Universities, Equity firms, and as Market Analysts for domestic and global companies. I personally think Indian Patent Law and enforcement is very weak in India. We don’t have IP experts in government organizations. A lot has to be changed as far as government polls are concerned and that is my reason of joining politics in near future. India needs to sign different treaties to expedite the patent grant processes in India. India should learn from neighbouring countries like Singapore and Malaysia where patent prosecution highway is on the rise and friendly for foreign companies at the same time. When India is compared with BRIC countries, India has to sign more treaties and hire more patent examiners to take care of the backlog of the patent applications at the Indian Patent Office.

About the Author: Reetu Mehta did her PhD in microbial genetics, in studying the genetic mechanism determining enteric production. Currently, she is utilizing her scientific training in analyzing intellectual property and works for as a Lead Analyst at Tracxn.

 

About the Editor:

Syam

Edited by Dr Syam Anand, PhD (Indian Institute of Science, IISc; Post-Doctoral research, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; Faculty, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Founder and US Patent Agent, Mainline Intellectual Property LLC, Ardmore, Philadelphia USA). Syam has over 20 years experience in diverse areas of Science with domain knowledge in Life Sciences and Intellectual Property. Dr. Anand is also an inventor and budding entrepreneur. A rationalist, Dr. Anand enjoys science at all levels and advocates the use of scientific methods for answering all questions and solving all problems and make common people curious and interested in understanding their worlds.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/syamprasadanand

Photo source: JustDial.com

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This work by ClubSciWri is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Global oncology – Equitable global health

in Medness/SciBiz by
  • 19749360_1493159330748408_1042093450_o-1.jpg?fit=1280%2C1047
    Diagonal Solution to the Problem by Michail Serebrjakov, a photograph by Supriya Pratihar

Cancer care – not only for the rich

Keeping the key numbers in mind

On addressing cancer control, the WHO’s website says: “The key mission of WHO’s work in cancer control is to promote national cancer control policies, plans and programs that are harmonized with strategies for noncommunicable diseases and other related health concerns. Our core functions are to set norms and standards for cancer control including the development of evidence-based prevention, early diagnosis, screening, treatment and palliative care programs as well as to promote monitoring and evaluation through registries and research that are tailored to the local disease burden and available resources.”

A quick look at cancer control and therapies

Cancer – a disease that can arguably be called as one of the most complex enigmas in medical science – has been a challenge in many different ways. Not only has it been extremely difficult to elucidate the molecular causes of the disease to develop cost-effective treatments but also training and development of medical professionals in the field, provision of timely and appropriate therapeutic interventions and public education to ensure possible prevention and control of the disease.

This matter warrants an immediate reality check in the lower and middle-income countries (LMICs) where a huge disparity exists compared to high income countries. Nearly 80% of cancer cases occur in LMICs where the infrastructural support is dismal in most regions of these countries. Without public health insurance system, the enormous cost of present day cancer care is beyond the reach for majority of population, especially in the LMICs. As population in these countries is on the rise, without a proper tab on the cancer care in these countries, we risk a huge part of human population suffering without access to medical health care – that will directly affect economic and social development in these regions.

Diagonal approaches to cancer care – Educating masses on the prevention and providing therapeutic interventions go hand in hand

Cancer care is now a global issue that invokes organizations like WHO to enable local governments to deal with cancer care effectively. But in line with the WHO objectives, local and government structures in India, North east Africa, Mexico and Middle eastern countries have developed diagonal approaches to strengthen the health system by improving human resource development, drug supply, service provision, quality assurance, financing – of which a few are cited below (5).

Most of the cancer incidences in LMICs are due to cancers that are highly preventable but with limited awareness amongst masses. Various liberating structures and community events have now been in use in combination with didactic education to impart awareness on cancer prevention. While working with people directly, it is imperative to be aware of their lifestyles and cultures to be able to impact the most – a learning useful for the local health workers.

– Better communication between specialist oncologists and primary care providers – doctors and nurses, in local Indian hospitals via WhatsApp based interfaces to consult on complex chemotherapy protocols and management of side effects has enabled easier access to better treatments at local district hospitals.

– While financing cancer care remains a huge challenge worldwide, especially in LMICs, Mexico made a remarkable health reform by introduction of a publicly funded health insurance scheme that covers an increasing list of cancers and encourages preventive measures like timely mammograms.

From educating masses and medical professionals to better health insurance policies – these local experiments serve useful lessons to implement on a larger scale to address disease remediation by combining treatment with preventive measures and better care. While we still await more effective and affordable cancer treatment, there are millions out there who can benefit from the existing pool of knowledge and infrastructure. Let’s at least make sure that we use it equitably without restricting cancer treatment to those born in the first world countries.

References:
1. Cancer Care and Control as a Human Right: Recognizing Global Oncology as an Academic Field, Alexandru E. Eniu, MD, PhD, Yehoda M. Martei, MD, Edward L. Trimble, MD, MPH, and Lawrence N.Shulman, MD, ASCO Eductional Book 2017
2. World Bank definition of 2016
3. Global Health Initiatives of the International Oncology Community, Sana Al-Sukhun, MD, MSc, Gilberto de Lima Lopes Jr., MD, MBA, FAMS, Mary Gospodarowicz, MD, FRCPC, FRCR(Hon), Ophira Ginsburg, MD, MSc, FRCPC, and Peter Paul Yu, MD, FACP, FASCO, ASCO Educational Book 2017
4. Need for Radiotherapy in Low and Middle Income Countries – The Silent Crisis Continues, E.H.Zubizarreta, E.Fidarova, B.Healy, E.Rosenblatt, Clinical Oncology, 2015
5. Thinking Differently in Global Health in Oncology Using a Diagonal Approach: Harnessing Similarities, Improving
Education, and Empowering an Alternative Oncology Workforce, Natalia M. Rodriguez, PhD, Jeannine M. Brant, PhD, APRN, AOCN, FAAN, Dinesh Pendharkar, MD, PhD, MBA, Hector Arreola-Ornelas, MSc, Afsan Bhadelia, MS, Gilberto de Lima Lopes Jr., MD, MBA, FAMS, and Felicia M. Knaul, PhD, ASCO Educational Book 2017

Featured images are by Fuzzy Synapse (on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) and Supriya Pratihar.

About the author:

Somdatta Karak works with Club SciWri as a project coordinator and Corporate Liaison. She is a doctorate in Neuroscience from Georg August University, Göttingen, Germany and has been a Teach for India fellow (2014-16). She loves putting her analytical skills to build newer and more sustainable solutions, enjoys traveling and communicating and takes every opportunity to expand her horizon.

You can reach her here.

About the editor:

Imit Kaur, Ph.D. is a freelance scientific advisor, medical writer, editor, and an active science blogger. She pursued her PhD in Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of Utah. She is experienced in the field of oncology, hematology, pharmacology, nanotechnology and drug development. Follow Imit on LinkedIn (Imit Kaur) or Twitter (@imit_kaur)

 

 

 

 

 

© The contents of Medness are the copyright of the PhD Career Support Group for STEM PhDs (A US Non-Profit 501(c)3, PhDCSG is an initiative of the alumni of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. The primary aim of this group is to build a NETWORK among scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs)

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MedNess – The highs in cancer and sickle cell anemia treatments

in Medness by

MedNess is back with big news from the pharma companies. CAR-T therapy is getting closer to the market and sickle cell anemia sees a new yet ‘not-so-new’ therapeutic development. Stock prices of Indian pharma giant Biocon  soar to a record high with a recommendation for a biosimilar that can be used for treating breast cancer. Do not miss out on the details of what these companies have in mind, and how are their competitors faring.

via GIPHY (http://mistyscience.com/post/120326066555/cytotoxic-killer-t-cells-killing-a-cancer-cell)

 

MedNess North America

Novartis poised to win CAR-T race

In a historic move on July 12, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) unanimously (10-0) recommended approval of Novartis’ CTL019 (tisagenlecleucel-T), a groundbreaking CAR-T therapy for treating relapsed or refractory B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in children and young adults. This decision is expected to lead to approval of the therapy by US FDA on or before October 3.

Due to the complexity of the therapy and expert care needed to manage side-effects, Novartis upon approval will restrict CTL019 use to 30-35 treatment centers in the U.S. who will be trained on a comprehensive risk-mitigation strategy that drew high praise from several ODAC members during the hearing. Novartis has plans for additional filings for CTL019 later this year, including applications with the FDA and European Medicines Agency (EMA) for the treatment of adults with r/r diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL).

Close rival Kite Pharma’s CAR-T application for the treatment of adults with advanced and aggressive lymphoma will receive a decision from FDA in November. Other key players being keenly watched in this field are Juno Therapeutics, Bluebird Bio, and Cellectis.

The announcement, however, did not affect Novartis’ or Oxford BioMedica’s shares, the companies supplying raw materials for CTL019. Before this announcement, Oxford BioMedica renewed its contract with Novartis extending its partnership for the commercial and clinical supply of its LentiVector gene delivery technology. On the other hand, Kite Pharma shares have seen big swings and is currently trading 24% higher than Novartis.

 

FDA approves first sickle cell disease treatment in 20 years

via GIPHY

On July 7, the US FDA approved Endari for patients with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) to reduce severe complications associated with the disorder. Endari, developed by Emmaus Lifesciences Inc. based in Torrance, CA, is the first FDA-approved treatment for pediatric patients with SCD and the first new treatment in almost 20 years for adult patients. The therapy is an orally administered pharmaceutical grade L-glutamine. The therapy’s efficacy and safety were evaluated in a 48-week Phase 3 trial (NCT01179217) involving sickle cell patients between the ages of 5 and 58 who had two or more painful crises in 12 months prior to enrollment. Results from the trial demonstrated that Endari reduced the frequency of sickle cell crises by 25 percent and hospitalizations by 33 percent.

Sickle cell disease is a rare, inherited disorder characterized by abnormally sickle-shaped red blood cells. These malformed red blood cells clog blood vessels and cut off oxygen to the body’s tissues, leading to episodes of severe pain and organ damage. Approximately 100,000 people in the U.S. have sickle cell disease, according to the National Institutes of Health. Endari helps increasing free glutamine in blood, which is taken up by the sickle red blood cells and used to generate anti-oxidant molecules as a product of glutamine degradation. These new antioxidants help neutralize the oxidative stress in sickle cells, allowing them to regain the flexibility needed to travel through blood vessels and capillaries, carrying oxygen to tissues.
L-glutamine, the active ingredient in Endari can be purchased over the counter, which could complicate Emmaus’s ability to obtain insurance coverage. Ontario-based Generex Biotechnology acquired controlling interest in Emmaus LifeSciences in March 2017. The recent FDA approval saw an 8% increase in share value for Generex Biotechnology.

MedNess Asia

Biocon flying high with US FDA recommendation

via GIPHY

(source)

Biocon’s biosimilar of Trastuzumab, a breast cancer drug obtained unanimous recommendation (16-0) from US FDA ODAC – taking the drug closer to procuring US FDA’s marketing approval. Trastuzumab, originally developed by Roche is commonly used to treat HER2-positive breast cancer and has a multi billion-dollar market globally with an estimated market of $6.9 bn in the US alone. Biocon chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw said that they expect to obtain approval to launch their product by September 3.

Biocon collaborated with US drug maker Mylan to develop this biosimilar. Biocon will manufacture the product for all markets globally with a profit sharing arrangement with Mylan for its markets. However, with numerous observations from US FDA and European regulators, Biocon faces concerns regarding quality lapses. To circumvent these Ms. Mazumdar-Shaw mentioned that the company has GMP certification for its drug substance facility for trastuzumab and will expedite the process to seek an early re-inspection.

It is important that the approvals work swiftly for Biocon due to the risk of losing market share to other generics manufacturing competitors . One company to watch out for will be Aurobindo Pharma – the newest entrant in oncology segment in India. It plans to file for 15-17 products in oncology this year and expects to be able to start selling by end of the year. Last month, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories and its partner Natco Pharma obtained US FDA approval for the generic version of Doxil, a chemotherapy drug used for ovarian cancer, Kaposi’s sarcoma, etc. to launch in the US market.

MedNess

While the US FDA approval recommendation has already caused a surge of 11.8% in the stock prices of Biocon, it will need to concentrate highly on strengthening its technical capabilities and avoid quality lapses. It cannot afford to lose time in getting the approvals in order to avoid losing the first mover’s advantage in the market. Aurobindo Pharma has already seen a surge of 22.8% since it announced plans to file its oncology products.

1) https://www.novartis.com/news/media-releases/novartis-car-t-cell-therapy-ctl019-unanimously-10-0-recommended-approval-fda

2) http://blogs.nature.com/tradesecrets/2017/07/15/first-approval-in-sight-for-novartis-car-t-therapy-after-expert-panel-vote

3) http://www.fiercebiotech.com/biotech/novartis-stellar-car-t-efficacy-data-steamroll-safety-doubts-to-power-landmark-cancer

4) https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm566084.htm

5) http://www.emmausmedical.com/Article.aspx?seo=141&l=EN&g=25

6) http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/markets/stocks/news/us-fda-panel-nod-for-biocon-breast-cancer-biosimilar/articleshow/59605651.cms

7) http://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/aurobindo-pharma-looks-to-sell-cancer-drugs-in-the-us-by-year-end-117061100358_1.html

8) http://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/dr-reddy-s-gets-usfda-nod-to-launch-new-ovarian-cancer-drug-in-us-117051700942_1.html

About the authors:

Radhika Gopal is currently a postdoctoral research associate at The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, where she works on Hepatitis C virus glycoproteins. She also chairs the Corporate Sponsorship Committee for the San Diego chapter of AWIS (Association for Women in Science). Radhika has completed project management and business fundamentals courses from UCSD, and is actively seeking opportunities in the Biotech Industry. In her spare time, she enjoys music, hiking, reading music and the beach. She can be reached here.

Somdatta Karak, PhD is interested in pharma and healthcare sector in Asia. She also works with PhD Career Support Group / Club SciWri as its project coordinator. She aims to make a more and better informed world for all, and hence experiments with making effective platforms of education. She can be reached here.

About the editor:

Sayantan Chakraborty is an IRTA postdoctoral visiting fellow at the National Institute on Aging – National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, USA. Apart from science, he invests his time in networking, writing, and organizing events. He is consolidating his efforts to build a platform that brings together scientists and industry professionals and to help spread the perception of alternate careers for life science graduates.

Follow him on Twitter @ch_sayantan

 

© The contents of Medness are the copyright of the PhD Career Support Group for STEM PhDs (A US Non-Profit 501(c)3, PhDCSG is an initiative of the alumni of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. The primary aim of this group is to build a NETWORK among scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs)

Featured image: Ipsa Jain (you can find more of her works on Facebook and Instagram)

Spread of evil – Cancer cells in blood stream by IpsaWonders

Blog design: Abhinav Dey

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The human vs mouse conundrum

in Reporting from the Lab by

Editor’s note : Most researchers endeavor to translate their basic findings into the clinic. While we have successfully cured diseases in mice, our struggle to generate similar positive results in humans continues. Preclinical animal models are poor predictors of successful clinical trials, as they often do not encompass the physiologically relevant features of the disease. Shreyas Jadhav explores this conundrum further by shining the spotlight on an article published in Nature Scientific Reports that highlights the differences between mice and human gene expression profiles in Type 2 diabetes and their impact on translation studies. Ultimately, a thorough understanding of the differences between mice and humans can save time and money to avoid failure in clinical trials. – Radhika Raheja

 Almost 90% of diabetes cases are type 2 diabetes, which is characterized by the inability of the body to properly utilize released insulin or due to impaired insulin secretion from the islets. Since insulin regulates glucose levels in the blood, inadequate amounts of insulin in turn results in a buildup of glucose levels, which consequently affects normal physiology. Insulin release from islet cells is regulated by a complex mechanism involving neurotransmitters and hormones. G-Protein Coupled Receptors (GPCRs) are being pursued as potential therapeutic targets for developing pharmaceuticals to treat diabetes due to their role in insulin release by beta cells. In a recently published report in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, researchers have analyzed the GPCR expression profiles in mouse and human islet cells and made some interesting observations in the differences in their expression profiles and their subsequent impact on clinical translation.

Specifically, they compared the GPCR expression profile by qPCR in two laboratory mouse strains (outbred ICR and inbred C57B/6) and human islet cells and reported some interesting findings. Of the 341 GPCR mRNAs analyzed in mice, 183 GPCR mRNAs were expressed above the cut off limit. Not surprising, there was a strong correlation between the GPCR expression profiles of the two mouse strains. They observed strain specific expression profile wherein 12 GPCRs were expressed solely by the C57 mouse islets and 17 additional GPCRs were exclusive to the ICR mouse islets. Finally, out of the ten most abundantly expressed GPCRs, eight were common to both strains (Calcrl, Cckar, Ffar1, Galr1, Glp1r, Gpr158, Gpr56 and Gprc5c). Of the ten most abundantly expressed mouse GPCRs, only three were commonly expressed between mouse and human islets (GPR56, GLP-1 and FFAR1). Interestingly, GLP-1, the most well characterized islet GPCR was present in both mouse and human islets. Indeed GLP-1 receptor is a target for type 2 diabetes and there are currently at least five FDA approved compounds in the market.

The authors further highlighted the significance of these observed differences in the GPCR expression profiles between human and mice by demonstrating functional relevance. Given that the A3 (ADORA3) receptor is expressed only in mice and not in human islets, the A3 agonist MRS 5698 was able to inhibit glucose induced insulin secretion from mouse islets and had no effect on human islets. Also, since the galanin receptors were highly expressed in mouse islets and not as much in human islets, activation of these receptors inhibited insulin secretion in mice whereas their activation in human islets had no effect. Finally, the Gi coupled sst1 (SSTR1) receptor mRNA which showed high expression level in human islets, inhibited insulin secretion in response to the agonist CH 275. The same agonist failed to show a similar response in mouse islets.

While the majority of our current understanding of the disease mechanisms arises from research in rodent models of diabetes (as shown by the identification of the GLP-1 receptor to develop therapeutics), there exist significant differences in the expression profiles of genes between mice and humans. These differences, unequivocally, will have to be taken into account while establishing procedures to develop therapeutics. Despite the ongoing research efforts to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the cause of diabetes, definitive treatment strategies remain largely elusive. This, in part, is due to the complex nature of the disorder and the lack of good disease models.

Given that the ultimate goal is to develop pharmaceuticals that will successfully treat humans, there is a need to overcome the limitations posed by rodent models by at least understanding the similarities and differences between specific human and rodent cells in terms of their expression profiles. This paper represents a step in that direction.

Indeed, this scenario is not exclusive to diabetes and extends to other conditions as well, mainly neurodegenerative disorders where we do not have mouse models that mimic the human condition. This certainly poses a challenge in developing therapeutics that can be used to treat patients. While we have to assess strategies to humanize mouse models, iPS cells (including patient derived iPSC’s) could potentially be employed to understand disease mechanisms and as a drug screening platform.

Article in spotlight

Stefan Amisten, Patricio Atanes, Ross Hawkes, Inmaculada Ruz-Maldonado, Bo Liu, Fariborz Parandeh, Min Zhao, Guo Cai Huang, Albert Salehi and Shanta J. Persaud. A comparative analysis of human and mouse islet G-protein coupled receptor expression. Nature Scientific Reports 7, 46600 (2017)

Additional reading

Amisten, S., Salehi, A., Rorsman, P., Jones, P. M. & Persaud, S. J. An atlas and functional analysis of G-protein coupled receptors in human islets of Langerhans. Pharmacology & therapeutics 139, 359–391 (2013).

Lalita Prasad-Reddy, Diana Issacs. A clinical review of GLP-1 receptor agonists: efficacy and safety in diabetes and beyond. Drugs in Context, 4: 212283 (2015)

Aileen JF King. The use of animal models in diabetes research. British Journal of Pharmacology 166, 877-894 (2012)

Sarah Crunkhorn. Human iPSC-derived b-like cells rescue diabetic mice. Nature Reviews Drug Discivery 15, 382-383 (2016)

Image source 

Monica J. Justice, and Paraminder Dhillon Dis. Model. Mech. 2016;9:101-103

About the author

Shreyas Jadhav completed his PhD from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India, where he studied the role of mRNA translation in the C.elegans model. During his postdoctoral research at Harvard Medical School (Boston Children’s Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital) and Tufts University, his research focused on applying Molecular and Cellular biology techniques to understanding kidney disease mechanisms, including fibrosis. He is interested in communicating research to a broad audience within the scientific community.

About the editor 

Radhika Raheja completed her PhD from Cornell University and is currently a Postdoctoral fellow at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Her research interests have centered around oncology and neuroimmunology. Among other things, she is striving to effectively communicate scientific discoveries to the community.

About the illustrator

Vinita Bharat Ph.D., is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at European Neuroscience Institute, Göttingen, Germany and had been an International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) student here. Her research area focuses on cellular and molecular neuroscience. Other than enjoying ‘being a scientist’, she has also been working on science education. Presenting science in easy and fun way is what she loves doing through her platform “Fuzzy Synapse” (one can find fuzzy synapse on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter). She is a fun, enthusiastic and curious person, passionate about traveling, loves celebrations and bringing smiles around her.

Geospatial Technology – bridging space machinery and geography

in Face à Face by

Geospatial technology encompasses a broad range of tools including remote sensing imagery, GIS software for data analysis and map making, GPS satellites for precise location and positioning, and Internet mapping applications such as Google Earth. An internet search can overwhelm us with information, yet a conversation with an expert yields the best knowledge. Prof. Arup Dasgupta, Managing Editor at Geospatial Media and Communications, is an eminent scientist in the field of Geospatial Technology. Earlier, he has also served as the Deputy Director, SATCOM and IT Applications Area, Space Applications Centre – ISRO, Ahmedabad. My discussion with Prof. Dasgupta (AD) encompassed not only his career, but also the broader impact of Geospatial Technology in our everyday lives.

AS: How has your professional journey panned out so far?

AD: I was born in Calcutta, began my schooling in Allahabad and continued that in Calcutta. In the later years, having completed my school education in Delhi, I graduated in Physics from Delhi University. My dream profession being engineering, I joined the BE program at the Indian Institute of Science where I further went on to complete my ME in Electrical Communications Engineering.

My one and only job was with the Space Applications Centre of Indian Space Research Organization at Ahmedabad which I joined in 1970 and superannuated from in 2005. I’m now settled in Ahmedabad. I began as a television engineer designing a rugged TV set for the Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE) and moved on to managing the rural TV network under SITE. My rural experience resulted in my traversing on to the area of Remote Sensing where I worked on promoting remote sensing applications. Later, I progressed on to Image Processing and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) before retiring as an engineer in charge of satellite communications and information technology applications.

Although my work sometimes did take up a lot of my time, I never compromised upon relaxing myself every now and then. My hobbies are reading, listening to music and of late, creating working models using a 125-year-old construction set called Meccano.

AS: What is your current role in Geospatial Media and Communications?

AD: I joined Geospatial Media and Communications post-superannuation from ISRO. Currently I am the Managing Editor with the Media & Public Relations Department. I oversee print publication, conduct interviews with key people in governments and industries worldwide, speak at conferences organized by GMC, represent GMC at other conferences and meetings, and write articles and blogs on emerging topics.

AS: What is Geospatial Media and Communications?

AD: GMC is a media house that aims to inform all professional communities and in particular those communities working on earth relates subjects on the advances in geospatial technologies and applications. It provides geospatial industries a platform to showcase their products and services, network with academia, government and other industries to understand upcoming requirements and issues for improving their offerings. A major component is also policy advocacy which helps governments understand the difficulties faced by industry and user communities due to over-regulation of activities, like the controversial Geospatial Activities Regulation Bill. The company also provides academia a platform to understand industry, government and user requirements to enable them tailor their courses to emerging technologies and processes.

AS: How should a layman perceive geospatial technology and its importance?

AD: Let me quote a stanza from Rudyard Kipling’s ‘The Elephant’s Child’.

I Keep six honest serving-men:
(They taught me all I knew)
Their names are What and Where and When
And How and Why and Who.

Any description of an event or a situation has to include answers to these six questions. We live in a three-dimensional world in which a place is defined by three dimensions of a coordinate system. Therefore, the ‘where’ is an important member of the sextet of questions. For example:

Location: Where is …?

Inventory: Where are …?

Routing: What is the best way to go from … to …?

Analysis: What spatial pattern exists?

Modelling: What if …? When will…?

Trend: What has changed? How? Why? Who?

Humankind realized the importance of where which gave rise to science, some call it art, of cartography whose underpinning is the technology of surveying. Today, surveying technology has adopted and adapted the best of other technologies like laser ranging for distance measurement, remote sensing imagery for terrain mapping, Global Navigation Satellite Systems for surveying, routing and position location, computers for GIS, Internet for map publishing, Cloud, Big Data Analytics, Deep Learning, Blockchain and so on. The Internet of Things is heavily dependent on Geospatial information.

A typical example is routing. What happens when you call up Uber or Ola for a taxi ride? The app locates your location via the GPS built into your smartphone. Once you select your destination you can see the route traced out on a map – application of GIS. Once you are in the taxi, the routing directions are audible on the driver’s phone. It uses the current traffic information to avoid congestions en route. How do such apps obtain real-time congestion information? Google collects data on the number of cellphones in a particular route. More stationary phones on the road means congestion – an application of Deep Learning.

Another example is crop insurance. Remote Sensing helps to identify cropped areas and crops under stress. It is also used to determine losses due to episodic events like floods. Based on this the insurer can decide on the risk and fix the premium.

AS: How has your geomatics experience been in ISRO?

AD: My field experience in managing the SITE rural TV network convinced my then Director, Prof. Yash Pal, to offer me a position in the Remote Sensing area. My first position was to organize a utilization program for remote sensing. At that time, the major work was from aerial photography. The scientists were mapping and laboriously measuring the area under different categories in the map using a dot grid. A meeting with the Collector of Panch Mahals district shed light on his interest pertaining to different types of land cover rather than how much. This initial experience helped me to organize applications around mapping using the US Landsat and later Indian satellites like Bhaskara and IRS. I realized that maps made using remotely sensed imagery were only the beginning of a bigger analytical process which could yield actionable information.

Another aspect of my work was the development of data products for the IRS satellites as well as for airborne synthetic aperture radar and SAR from the ESA ERS satellites. Starting with the VAX, we moved to minis and clusters in a client-server architecture. The SAR processors were extremely data intensive and required faster computers which were denied to us under the MTCR regime after Pokhran -1 and Pokhran-2. We teamed up with CDAC and used a transputer based parallel processing machines to attack the problem – reducing processing time from 12 hours on VAX to 40 minutes on a 16 node PARAM from CDAC. We also developed digital
photogrammetry software for stereo data from Cartosat series of satellites.

My interest in natural resource information systems dates back to my earliest years in remote sensing. In 1978, I delivered two lectures at a UN/FAO Training Seminar on “Information Systems for Resources Management” and “Reports for Resource Managers”. My view is that remote sensing by itself cannot realize its full potential unless combined with other data in a structured, preferably computerized format. I was introduced to GIS through publications of the Harvard Laboratory of Computer Graphics. Getting one’s hand on a GIS package was made possible by a fortuitous offer from Colorado University under a conference being organized by the university with SAC at Ahmedabad, for a package called P-MAP which could run on our VAX11/780 and print out maps on a line printer. After cutting one’s teeth on this rather cumbersome software, and an extensive literature search and evaluation of available GIS packages resulted in the procurement of Arc/Info for ISRO. In parallel, we launched the development of an indigenous GIS package, ISROGIS, which was released in September 1991.

For using GIS to establish the Natural Resources Information Systems, we first proposed a National Natural Resources Information System, NRIS, in 1983 at a national seminar on the foundation of the National Natural Resources Management System, NNRMS, in India. After this, I was involved in pre-investment activities of the NRIS and was designated as Deputy Director Information Systems, NNRMS. I drew up an NRIS Program Plan and after consideration by an expert committee set up by the Department of Space, it has been taken up for implementation. I was the Project Director for that program. Initially, we worked on an interim plan to set up 30 demonstration databases all over the country in 17 states.  Subsequently, we expanded this to cover 17 full states in a phased manner.

My work on spatial information systems led me to standards and interoperability issues. I participated in the discussions on setting up a National Spatial Data Infrastructure. I became familiar with issues relating to change management and realized the importance of people, processes and environment in the adoption of new technologies. I might have learned a lot and contributed technically, but could not succeed in making institutions accept geomatics as an essential element of their professional life. That made me realize the importance of integrating geomatics with other systems like ICT.

AS: Would you like to share your journey as a teacher? Any advice for current aspirants?

AD: I never desired to be a teacher. However, my friends from the teaching fraternity seemed to have other ideas. Maybe my association with IEEE and occasional lectures to Student Chapters paved the way for me, hence I was offered several teaching opportunities post-retirement from ISRO. The subjects I taught were Remote Sensing, GIS and Project Management. I realized that there is a need to bring students up to speed on new technologies. Therefore, I introduced new topics like Harvesting Social Media as a Geospatial Data Source, and Lidar Technology and Applications.

Since I didn’t plan to become a teacher, I feel that I am not qualified to offer advice to aspiring teachers. My limited experience showed me that students need to be challenged to think. Interactivity in a class livens things up.

AS: How should one prepare himself to face the current fluctuating job scenario?

AD: In Science and Technology, you must run very fast just to remain in one place. Therefore, your active life must be one of constant learning. Keep your mind open and don’t be afraid to make drastic changes. Above all, follow your heart. I began my career as a television engineer, moved to systems management, then to image and signal processing, and information systems. I explored the potential of the internet and synthesized IT with communication. Now, I am learning all about Blockchain technology and how it can be applied to geospatial systems.

 

 

About Prof. Arup Dasgupta:

Prof. Dasgupta is the Managing Editor at Geospatial Media and Communications (formerly Deputy Director, SATCOM and IT Applications Area, Space Applications Centre – ISRO, Ahmedabad). In this picture, Prof. Dasgupta can be seen creating a working model of an automative with his Meccano set.

 

About Abirami:

Abirami is a research fellow with a focus on cell and molecular biology research and research administration. She is interested in photography and freelancing.

 

 

Editor: Sayantan Chakraborty, PhD 


The contents of Club SciWri are the copyright of PhD Career Support Group for STEM PhDs (A US Non-Profit 501(c)3, PhDCSG is an initiative of the alumni of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. The primary aim of this group is to build a NETWORK among scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs).

This work by Club SciWri is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

 

Continuus Pharmaceuticals: Changing the rules of drug manufacturing

in Entrepreneurship/Face à Face by

Editor’s note: The innovative research and technologies bid adios to many diseases that posed a threat to us. However, with the boost in the population, one major challenge that the pharmaceutical industry confronts is to keep the balance between demand and supply. In the global market, it is no longer just about getting the right cure; it is about searching the fastest, economic, eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives. This face-to-face interview with Bayan Takizawa will throw light on ‘continuous flow model’ of manufacturing which permits the bio-pharma companies significant lead time in the drug production. Additionally, he discussed with Subhalaxmi Nambi how his company Continuus Pharmaceuticals is currently the best solution to bridge the gap between supply and demand.- Rituparna Chakrabarti

An efficient manufacturing process in any industry is the crux of the economic success and market sustainability. This article focused on one such success story. Traditionally, pharma industries focus has been on ‘batch manufacturing’, with multiple disconnected steps. Further, a large plant footprint, magnified the risk of human errors and contaminations, running the system into time crunches. Annually, it is estimated that on average the pharmaceutical industries suffer a loss of $50 billion during the manufacturing process alone. In contrast, other manufacturing sectors, such as the electronics industries implement ‘continuous flow model’ where raw materials are funneled through uninterrupted steps, delivering the final product/services. The Novartis-MIT Center were among the first ones to embrace this model successfully in 2007. Their prototype system circumvented the major roadblocks associated with the stages of manufacturing. Now, it is not any more a far-fetched dream, that a tablet can be produced from the raw materials, just within two days.

A few weeks ago, Subhalaxmi (Subbu) had the opportunity to interact with Bayan Takizawa, a co-founder and chief business officer at Continuus Pharmaceuticals, Woburn, MA; a spin-off company from the Novartis-MIT Center established in 2012, for Continuous Manufacturing.

During the course of the interview, Takizawa highlighted that Continuus is relentlessly moving forward with their cost/time efficient plans. They aim at better plant footprints and drug quality through implementation of plant-wide Quality by Design. Continuus’ modular manufacturing designs further allowed modification and adaptation of an existing process for a new drug.

Bayan Takizawa exclaimed that “The continuous flow technology is a game-changer! However, we have to acknowledge several challenges towards its broader implementation within the pharma industry.” No doubt that establishing this process is profitable but involves initial capital investments. Moreover, many companies are not enthusiastic about overhauling their established production processes, a phenomenon often termed as industry inertia. However, the situation is changing as there are some early adopters. Continuus has worked with several companies ranging from innovative pharmaceutical to generic companies, leveraging its novel continuous manufacturing technologies. Additionally, they are currently working with government agencies, including the NSF (through their SBIR programs) and the FDA.

In the future, the incorporation of Continuus’ flow technology will enable companies to reduce their cost structures. The modular and flexible nature of the process design makes this technology ideal for personalised medicine applications. Dr. Takizawa is also interested in exploring how this technology platform can be exploited for the development and production of biologic medicines (e.g. oligonucleotides). He emphasized the importance of the rich Massachusetts’ life science ecosystem and how it has contributed to Continuus’s success, as many of the advisors and employees are from this area. He added companies can benefit greatly from the fruitful collaborations with the thriving Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) and the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio) located in Waltham and Cambridge, respectively.

Continuus strength is the people with technical and regulatory expertise, who are flexible to work in a small company culture. Bayan explained they are always excited to welcome those future candidates aboard who are adaptable and willing to accept changes. He quipped “We appreciate someone disagreeing but not disagreeable”. When asked for advice for budding entrepreneurs, he laid stress on using one’s network to connect with interested and helpful people. He personally finds attending conferences to be a great connection-building exercise. Additionally, he believes that creating a competent management team is a key factor in building a successful startup.

 

Finally, he offered some advice for the budding entrepreneurs:

  1. Listen to others – we all think we’re pretty smart, but we have not done it all, and we can learn from listening to others
  2. Listen to your client
  3. Be ready to pivot (especially based on 1 and 2) above
  4. Be objective when picking advisors/directors – you don’t want to pick friends or people who you feel comfortable with – you need people who will provide good guidance and advice
  5. Be ready for tough times ahead – creating a business is not easy. It is important to be energetic, persistent, and resilient while being realistic (don’t be delusional!)

 

Continuus Infoshell….

 

 ———————————————————————–
This interview was conducted by Subhalaxmi (Subbu) Nambi (MS, Ph.D.) She is  a business development associate for Innovation and Business Development at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS). Her responsibilities involve collecting competitive intelligence and market analysis to determine commercial viability and competitive advantage of technologies invented/discovered in UMMS. She is also involved in understanding the IP of the ongoing projects in UMMS. Prior to this position, Subbu did a post-doc with Prof. Chris Sassetti on developing new approaches to understanding the role of genes of unknown function in mycobacterial pathogenesis and validating their products as potential drug targets. She obtained her Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in India. Her graduate research focused on understanding the role of cAMP signaling in mycobacteria.
About the author:
 Anisha Zaveri recently graduated from the Indian Institute of Science and is presently a postdoctoral associate at Weill Cornell Medicine, New York. She works on the human pathogen M. tuberculosis while also dabbling in effective altruism, behavioral economics and data science.

 

 

About the editors:

Rituparna Chakrabarti pursued her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Georg-August University (Göttingen, Germany) and is currently a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Biostructural Imaging of Neurodegeneration (BIN), Göttingen. Over years, she has gained technical expertise in electron and high-resolution light microscopy, in order to study the nanostructures of specialized chemical synapses in the sensory systems. She likes to have a bird’s eye view of her undertakings and gets excited with analytics. Passionately believes in, correct simplification of science, therefore engages in different scientific communication and public outreach projects. To unwind herself she plays mandolin and eagerly looks for a corner at a coffee house to slide herself in with a good read or company.

 

 

Uma Turakhiya, Ph.D. About herself Uma says “I currently work as a regulatory medical writer, having previously completed my Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Freiburg, Germany. I enjoy writing about science and believe that simplification of science and communication are the key to creating a scientific temper in the society. Apart from having a voracious appetite for books, I am enthusiastic about learning new languages, meeting new people and occasionally playing the piano.”

Featured image: Pixabay


The contents of Club SciWri are the copyright of PhD Career Support Group for STEM PhDs (A US Non-Profit 501(c)3, PhDCSG is an initiative of the alumni of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. The primary aim of this group is to build a NETWORK among scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs).

This work by Club SciWri is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

The Patent Chronicle

in Sci-IP by

July 11, 2017: Your weekly dose from the world of patents. The Patent Chronicle is led by Syam Anand, who has been at the core of CSG’s development and an entrepreneur himself. This section is your go to destination every week for a capsule dose on the hottest happenings in the patent world. Syam has clinically dissected out every news on the decision, the background and the impact. He is also in the process of building his scicomm team for this section. If you would like to come aboard, mail him at syam.anand@sciwri.club

 

via GIPHY

 

Broad submits CRISPR patents to MPEG LA Pool

 

Decision: Broad Institute and its collaborators submitted all their CRISPR patents to MPEG LA LLC, a Colorado firm that specializes in creation of patent pools for licensing.

Impact: The submission of Broad CRISPR patents is a sign that the Institute and its collaborators are willing to make licensing of the technology easier for potential end-users and also share the proceeds from CRISPR technology. It is not clear whether UC Berkeley that enjoyed a wining streak in CRISPR patents in various national patent offices is also planning to join the pool. If it does, it will prevent potential users from having to obtain separate licenses from various entities that own the rights to the technology.

Read more

 

Canada rejects the Promise Doctrine

Decision: A Canadian Supreme Court ruled that the Promise doctrine that may be used to invalidate a patent if it does not do everything it promises it will do, goes too far.

Reason: Apotex had sought to invalidate an Astra Zeneca patent using the doctrine as an arguing point. The court rejected Apotex’s argument and held that a “scintilla of utility” is sufficient and further that a single-use related to the subject matter was sufficient. In other words, not everything that is claimed has to work for a patent to be valid, just one would suffice to clear the utility threshold.

Impact: The ruling is a boon to patent owners. It makes Canadian IP law more predictable and will reduce litigations in Canada stemming from the controversial doctrine that put a higher threshold for Canadian patents vs. patents in the rest of the world. Canada was an outlier in this respect and cost patent owners. The doctrine was also a major irritant for US-Canada trade talks. Earlier, NAFTA had refused to intervene in a matter related to the doctrine brought in front of the agency by Eli Lily. The ruling clears the air for such cases in front of NAFTA too.

Read more

 

Small firm gets court ruling that stops Google from showing infringing products in search results

Decision: The Supreme Court of Canada upheld a ruling by a lower court that ordered Google to remove the website of a company that sold infringing products on its website.

Reason: Equustek had sued Datalink for infringement and won. Equustek also had an injunction against Google to remove Datalink websites from global search results. Google did not completely stop Datalink from appearing in the searches. Google argued that the injunction violated freedom of expression. The court held that Google actions were “determinative” in causing harm to Equustek. The court made it clear that freedom of expression does not require facilitation of the unlawful sale of goods, and violation of several court orders.

Impact: The ruling could set an international precedent in protecting intellectual property rights as it directly lays out the responsibilities of service providers. It will force them to take affirmative steps to prevent unlawful sales that affect rightful owners of IP. Organizations involved in civil liberties and freedom of expression rights are afraid that the ruling can set a wrong precedent.

Read more

 

Abbvie’s Humira patent troubles increase

Decision: In an intra partes review brought by Boehringer Ingelheim, the USPTO’s PTAB invalidated five claims in a key Abbvie patent that covered Humira.

Reason: PTAB found that the claims are obvious in light of various combinations of publications that predate the patent.

Impact: Abbvie will face big competition from biosimilars who continue to score wins against Humira. Coherus Biosciences, Samsung Bioepis, Biogen, and Amgen are continuing to chip away at Humira’s exclusivity and patent rights in many parts of the world. As Humira is a major revenue source for Abbvie (60%), Abbvie is looking to diversify.

Read more

Access the key patent here

 

Infographically speaking…..

Where

From Visually.

Proprietary Humor

 

Source: Mimi and Eunice

 

About the author:

Syam

Authored by Dr Syam Anand, PhD (Indian Institute of Science, IISc; Post-Doctoral research, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; Faculty, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Founder and US Patent Agent, Mainline Intellectual Property LLC, Ardmore, Philadelphia USA). Syam has over 20 years experience in diverse areas of Science with domain knowledge in Life Sciences and Intellectual Property. Dr. Anand is also an inventor and budding entrepreneur. A rationalist, Dr. Anand enjoys science at all levels and advocates the use of scientific methods for answering all questions and solving all problems and make common people curious and interested in understanding their worlds.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/syamprasadanand

Feature image source: Pixabay

Blog design: Abhinav Dey

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This work by ClubSciWri is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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