Germany, SwitzerlandSwitzerland

Big players desert biotech project


Mannheim – German chemical company BASF, Swiss agribiotech specialist Syngenta and US market leader Monsanto have resigned from a large international project for developing solutions on how to feed the world’s growing population. The three biotech giants said that they would no longer be supporting the project, since a recently released project report failed to back genetically modified crops as a tool for reducing poverty and hunger. The companies argued that the report should back their GM technology as a measure for securing future food supplies because it can boost yields and make plants more resistant. Instead, the report highlighted the risks of GM crops, and said they could pose problems for the developing world. The “International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development” (IAASTD) is based on the work of 4,000 scientists and experts from around the world, and is the body that focuses attention on food issues in much the same way the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has for global warming. Bob Watson, director of the project said he was “very disappointed” by the companies’ move. “Our goal was to have them included”. The draft report says there is a “wide range of perspectives on the environmental, human health and economic risks, and benefits of modern biotechnology, many of which are as yet unknown”. It also says it is not clear whether GM crops actually increase yields, and warns that use of the technology in the developing world could concentrate “ownership of agricultural resources” in the hands of the companies involved, as well as causing problems with patents.



Basel/Hinxton (UK) – Two European teams have created huge repositories of cancer genomics data that help predict drug response. Swiss Novartis and the Boston-based Broad Institute have combined data obtained from large-scale...



London/Lausanne – The global private equity firm Celtic Therapeutic L.L.L.P. believes in the power of antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs). It is investing $50m in a new Switzerland-based company called ADC Therapeutics Sarl which...



Basel/Vienna - Following promising results from a Phase III study, Roche has submitted a regulatory application to EMA for subcutaneous Herceptin (trastuzumab) to treat HER2-positive breast cancer. Roche said subcutaneous...



After the US Food & Drug Administration forced Swiss generics giant Sandoz AG to update its production facilities in Quebec, there are now fears that supplies of some medicines could grow tight in Canada. The regulatory authority...



The hepatitis C space has seen a string of large deals in the last weeks that include a US$11bn buyout of Pharmasset by Gilead. Now Novartis is also trying to get in the game with the purchase of a global exclusive licence from...



Allschwil – Swiss Actelion Ltd. has strengthened its commercial offerings by securing rights in certain countries to Auxilium’s biotech drug Xiaflex for treating tissue buildup under the skin. The US pharma is to receive US$10m...



Zug – Life Sciences specialist HBM partners has raised €90m in the first close of its HBM BioCapital II fund, which will invest in revenue-generating companies in the pharmaceuticals, medical device and diagnostics sectors....



Stans – Mondobiotech, a drug discovery company in troubled waters, could soon be under Italian ownership: The Swiss biotech announced it has entered into exclusive negotiations with Milan-based provider of pharmaceutical and...

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