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From SCRIP Intelligence: WHO panel: Use of Unproven Ebola Treatments Ethical

A special panel of medical ethicists and other experts convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) said it is ethical to offer unproven experimental interventions with unknown efficacy and adverse effects as potential treatments for or preventions against Ebola – a disease which has now killed more than 1,000 people in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, with the international agency reporting 1,848 cases in the largest, most severe outbreak in history.

WHO, which declared Ebola an international public health emergency on 8 August, convened the panel after questions were raised about the use of Mapp Biopharmaceutical's experimental treatment zMapp, a cocktail of three investigational monoclonal antibodies, in two American aid workers infected with the virus while serving Liberia. The two, whose conditions have steadily improved, have since been transferred to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, which has a highly specialized, isolated unit that was set up in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to treat patients who are exposed to certain serious infectious diseases (, 11 August 2014, 8 August 2014, 7 August 2014, 5 August 2014).

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AstraZeneca Announces Positive Top-Line Results for Lesinurad Trials

AstraZeneca today announced positive top-line results from CLEAR1, CLEAR2 and CRYSTAL, the pivotal Phase III clinical trials investigating the potential of lesinurad, a selective uric acid re-absorption inhibitor (SURI), as a combination therapy for the treatment of patients with symptomatic gout. Lesinurad is an investigational agent that inhibits the URAT1 transporter, increasing uric acid excretion and thereby lowering serum uric acid (sUA).

CLEAR1 and CLEAR2 studied lesinurad (200mg and 400mg once daily) in combination with the xanthine oxidase (XO) inhibitor allopurinol, in symptomatic gout patients not achieving target sUA levels on their current allopurinol dose. CRYSTAL studied lesinurad (200mg and 400mg once daily) in combination with the XO inhibitor febuxostat (80mg once daily) in gout patients with tophi (visible nodules of uric acid crystals that are deposited in joints and skin).

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From SCRIP Intelligence: Tiny Biotech Mapp's Ebola Drug Thrust into Spotlight

An experimental treatment used in at least two American aid workers infected with the deadly Ebola virus may have helped improve those patients' conditions – thrusting the tiny US biotech that is developing the drug, which has not yet been tested in human clinical trials, into the spotlight.
San Diego, California-based Mapp Biopharmaceutical's zMapp has been developed with funding from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) under a collaboration that also includes LeafBio and Defyrus (, 4 August 2014).

ZMapp is composed of three humanized monoclonal antibodies manufactured in plants, specifically Nicotiana, according to Mapp.

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From SDCCSD: 51,000 Students to Start Classes at City, Mesa, and Miramar Colleges on Aug. 18

An estimated 51,000 students will begin classes at San Diego City College, Mesa College, and Miramar College when the fall semester begins on Aug. 18, and they will have 400 additional course sections to choose from.

An operating budget of nearly $313 million has allowed the district to hire 46 new, tenure-track faculty, bringing to 90 the number of full-time teaching positions added since Jan. 1. Enrollment is expected to be up 2 percent from 2013-14.

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Bio Investor Forum: Buzz of BIO Nomination Opens

Nominate your company to be the Buzz of BIO at BIF!

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Buzz of BIO Nominations Open!
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Announcing the Buzz of BIO: Recognizing the most innovative companies at the 2014 BIO Investor Forum™

Are you an early-stage company looking for your next financing round, or a late-stage private company hoping to make the valuable connection needed to take your product to the next phase? Nominate your company to be the Buzz of BIO at this year's BIO Investor Forum.

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