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Best of the Blogs, Biotech: Is an Anti-Obesity Drug Finally in Sight?


Plus, pharma companies unite in $285 million effort to develop new antibiotics.

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

Biopharm Consortium Blog
"Concern about long-term safety was the major consideration in the rejection of the NDAs for Qnexa, lorcaserin, and Contrave, and safety issues were also the reason for the withdrawal of sibutramine. That left only one anti-obesity drug approved by the FDA for long term use – orlistat (Roche's Xenical), with no new drugs In sight. The outlook for obesity drugs was gloomy indeed. However, as of May 2012, after the further studies prescribed by the FDA in 2010, two of the obesity drug Class of 2010–Qnexa and lorcaserin have received positive votes by the FDA's Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee, and are awaiting final FDA action later this year." (Also read Diet Pill Maker Arena Pharmaceuticals Wins Backing of FDA Advisers.)
Fierce Biotech
"A group of Europe's top pharma companies is joining hands with a public innovation initiative and leading scientists in a $285 million effort aimed at developing a new generation of badly needed antibiotics. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Sanofi (SNY), AstraZeneca (AZN), J&J (JNJ) as well as Basilea will join an R&D consortium including the continent's Innovative Medicines Initiative to fund the effort, setting up an information hub that will share data among investigators laboring on new antibiotics." (For related content, see GlaxoSmithKline Goes Hostile in Bid for Human Genome Sciences.)

Kapitall Wire
Link: Investing 101: Biotech Stocks With Insider Buying
"Biotech stocks can provide sudden and magnificent returns, but they can be just as unforgiving. How can you decide which biotech stocks are worth investing in then? We looked into it further: We ran a screen of biotech stocks that are showing insider buying. If anyone knows what is going on with a company, it has to be the people that work there. Many analysts follow insider buying trends exactly for that reason." (Also read High Profile Investors Share Investment Ideas.)
"After months of anticipation, horsetrading and debate, the US Senate finally appears ready to vote on reauthorizing the Prescription Drug Fee and User Act. The legislation is, of course, noteworthy because FDA operations hinge on passage. And there are projected savings: the Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill will reduce direct spending by the federal government, on a net basis, by $71 million over the 2013-2017 period and by $358 million between 2013 and 2022 (read here)."
Phoenix Business Blog
Link: Arizona Biotech Sector Developing, But Where Is the Job Creation?
"Ten years ago, Arizona committed to an aggressive Biotech Roadmap to make the state into a biotech hub. Sometimes it is difficult for the community and for me, from the outside, to see what has happened in the past decade, so I thought I had better go to the AZBio Expo to get a closer look."

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