TEDMED Walking, FDA Clears Pacira Drug, Zogenix Close to NDA, & More San Diego Life Sciences News

Xconomy San Diego — 

Drug approvals and advances in new cancer therapies were the prevailing themes in San Diego’s life sciences news over the past week. Our briefing begins now.

TEDMED, the exclusive medical and healthcare symposium that died in 2004 and was resurrected in 2009, is now the walking TEDMED. The entertaining show with a mix of big ideas, celebrity presentations, humor, and music that played at the Hotel del Coronado for the past three years said it is moving to Washington DC. Playing at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in the nation’s capital will give the $4,000-a-person symposium a bigger stage and a more influential audience, according to Priceline.com founder Jay Walker, who led an investor group that acquired the show in April. About 850 attended last week’s four-day symposium in the San Diego area.

—Federal regulators approved a new pain-killing drug intended to put off the post-surgical need for opioids that was developed by Pacira Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: PCRX), the Parsippany, NJ-based drug developer with operations in San Diego. The FDA’s approval marked the end to a protracted drug-development saga for the long-acting form of a pain drug called bupivacaine. Pacira plans to begin marketing the drug, branded as Exparel, in January.

—The FDA approved a new diagnostic test that was developed by San Diego-based Gen-Probe (NASDAQ: GPRO) to detect strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) that pose a higher risk for cervical cancer and precancerous legions. Gen-Probe said regulators approved its Aptima HPV test to run on TIGRIS, a fully automated, high-throughput molecular diagnostic system. Using a Pap smear sample, the company says its test detects 14 high-risk types of HPV, giving patients and doctors information earlier and more accurately.

—Luke’s BioBeat column focused on several cancer drugs the FDA approved in August, which he suggested could be a turning point in the decades-long battle against cancer. Instead of broad-based anti-cancer drugs, Luke says regulatory approval of vemurafenib (Zelboraf), brentuximab vedotin (Adcetris), and crizotinib (Xalkori) signals the … Next Page »

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