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Best of the Blogs, Biotech: Roche Under Investigation for Thousands of Unreported Deaths


Plus, Onyx's high-risk, high-reward cancer drug achieves FDA approval.

This column highlights the most interesting and useful biotech news from around the Web every Thursday.

Link: EMA: Roche Failed To Report Lots Of Side Effects
"The European Medicines Agency is investigating whether Roche (RHHBY) failed to report tens of thousands of adverse events in connection with its various drugs, including 15,161 patients deaths. The probe comes after UK regulators identified deficiencies in reporting adverse events after conducting recently review procedures and was actually part of a coordinate European program to inspect safety reporting systems in the pharmaceutical industry, according to the EMA."

Link: Onyx clears big hurdle in high-stakes gamble on early carfilzomib approval

"Onyx's (ONXX) risky attempt to win an approval for the multiple myeloma drug carfilzomib on the basis of mid-stage data from a single-arm study cleared a major hurdle yesterday evening when an FDA advisory group gave its drug a unanimous thumbs up.

"By a vote of 11 to 0--with one abstention--the panel concluded that a host of severe risks, the death of 5 patients and a questionable benefit did not outweigh the therapy's potential to help a group of cancer victims who had run out of options."

Link: PlantBottle Takes the Petroleum Out of Packaging
"Today's breakout session at the 2012 BIO Convention, Petroleum, PET and PlantBottle – Reducing Dependence on Oil Imports for Plastics, featured Scott Vitters from the Coca Cola Company (COKE), Kieran Furlong of Virent and Bob Bernacki of Gevo (GEVO). The three talked about PlantBottle, a commercial solution already on the market that reduces petroleum in plastic bottles and other PET products by 30 percent."

Link: Robust Octogenarians' Genes Seen Holding Secrets to Aging
"Exactly why James Markam is alive and well is a bit of a mystery. The octogenarian has lost four siblings to cancer, heart disease and emphysema, all before they reached the age of 62. Yet the retired airline executive recalls only one bout of sickness, culminating with a chest cold, 50 years ago.

"Scientists are taking a deep look at Markam's genetics to see if there's something protecting him from illnesses that affect others his age, such as Alzheimer's, cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Markam, 83, is one of more than 1,300 individuals identified as having what Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute, called 'Teflon-coated' genes."

The Hill: Healthwatch
Link: Group: Uninsured Americans will die without healthcare law
"A prominent advocacy group that supports healthcare reform warned Wednesday that tens of thousands of Americans will die for lack of insurance coverage if the law is struck down.

"In a report, Families USA found that more than 130,000 Americans died between 2005 and 2010 because of their lack of health insurance."
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