Polaris Prepares for Liver Cancer Trial, Goal Draws Near for Hepatitis C Drug, & More San Diego Life Sciences News

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form a new company.

—Rep. Darrell Issa, the San Diego area Republican congressman who is now chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, convened a hearing in San Diego last week to collect testimony from local life sciences innovators. Issa, who was joined by Democrat Susan Davis of San Diego and fellow Republicans Brian Bilbray of Solana Beach, CA, and Duncan D. Hunter of Alpine, CA, heard testimony about overly cautious regulators, burdensome taxes, and threats to basic science research funding. David Gollaher of the California Healthcare Institute in La Jolla testified that venture capital firms avoid whole areas of drug development because the regulatory barriers are too high, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

—In a related vein, Luke’s BioBeat column described efforts by the National Venture Capital Association and medical device trade groups to shake up the FDA’s regulatory mindset. Luke, who talked with Ross Jaffe of Versant Ventures in Menlo Park, CA, says the industry has been offering more data to back up its call for regulatory reform. And he says it appears to be working.

—San Diego’s Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN) joined Lansdowne Partners, IP Group, Invesco Perpetual, Redmile Group, and other undisclosed investors in making a $41 million additional investment in U.K.-based Oxford Nanopore. Illumina is the world’s biggest maker of high-speed gene sequencing machines.

—Proteostasis Therapeutics, founded in Cambridge, MA with technology to fight neurodegenerative diseases from The Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, has obtained two exclusive technology licenses from Harvard University.

—The FDA approved orphan drug status for AM152, the lead drug candidate under development at Amira Pharmaceuticals. The San Diego startup is developing a treatment for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease that makes it difficult to breathe.

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