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Biotech tax credit appears perfectly designed for cell therapy companies to recoup research dollars spent in 2009-10

By Dr. Matthew Watson

Stewart Lyman of Lyman BioPharma Consulting posted a great article in today's Xconomy summarizing some key points and links to more information about the rules governing the Therapeutic Discovery Project Credit which have now been released by the US Treasury Department. Today, a detailed fact sheet was released about the tax credit program and it seems almost perfectly designed for most cell therapy companies.

Lyman points out a few important details about the application schedule including:

1. The Formal IRS applications (Form 8942) will not be available until June 21st or thereabouts.

2. The application period opens on June 21 and ends on July 21. The postmark on the application is deemed to be the date of delivery. Preliminary review of the applications is to be completed by Sept. 30; this is to ensure that applicants are eligible taxpayers and that their applications are complete. Applicants will receive determinations as to whether or not they qualify for credits and/or grants, and how much they will receive, by Oct. 29.

By way of a little more background, the following is excerpted from a March article by Dean Zerbe:

What does the credit cover?

The credit/grant covers research in tax years beginning in 2009 and 2010. The taxpayer is provided a 50% credit/grant for qualified investments in "qualifying therapeutic discovery projects." What expenses count as qualified investments? The aggregate amount of costs paid or incurred in the taxable year for expenses necessary for and directly related to the conduct of a qualifying discovery project. What doesn't count? The pay of employees covered by 162(m)(3) of the tax code--think CEOs--doesn't count. Other excluded items: interest expenses; facility maintenance expenses (e.g. mortgage or rent payments, insurance, utility and maintenance and costs of employment of maintenance personnel); and certain indirect costs (basically general and administrative costs) as defined in the Treasury Regulations at 1.263A-1(e)(4).

What is a qualifying therapeutic discovery project?

According to the legislation, it's a project designed to do one of three things:

--Treat or prevent diseases or conditions by conducting pre-clinical activities, clinical trials and clinical studies, or carrying out research protocols for the purpose of securing federal government approval by the FDA.

--Diagnose diseases or conditions or to determine molecular factors related to diseases or conditions by developing molecular diagnostics to guide therapeutic decisions.

--Develop a product, process or technology to further the delivery or administration of therapeutics.

Finally, to qualify, a venture may not have more than 250 employees in all businesses of the taxpayer--meaning a small biotech project at a big company wouldn't qualify.

Which biotech companies might benefit?

Those that are investing significant resources in pre-clinical or clinical studies, which may take years to come to fruition to ultimately satisfy FDA requirements, could now recoup a significant portion of their expenses. Additionally, biotech start-ups focusing on the development of diagnostic assays or applications to advance therapeutics and treatments can also benefit. Finally, companies currently engaged in basic or applied research which may ultimately contribute to curing caner within the next 30 years may also be excellent candidates. Along these lines, companies studying signal transduction pathways, gene therapy and stem cell research seem like prime candidates.

The Cell Therapy Group will be collecting more information about the tax credit and service providers who might be recommended to assist in the application if needed. Contact CTG for more details or watch here for more information.

To Read More: Biotech tax credit appears perfectly designed for cell therapy companies to recoup research dollars spent in 2009-10
categoriaRegenerative Medicine commentoComments Off on Biotech tax credit appears perfectly designed for cell therapy companies to recoup research dollars spent in 2009-10 | dataMay 22nd, 2010
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Google to Invest in Regenerative Medicine

By Dr. Matthew Watson

While the US government prints money to shore up failing and broken business models which no one likes but are considered simply too big (not too important or significant or even useful) to fail, Google is making money and investing it in start ups who expect nothing less than to create "disruptive, even world-changing technologies".

No suggestion here that GOOG is being altruistic, just that this is the way the new entrepreneur and investor class thinks. Opportunity and money are to be found in technologies that improve the way we live, work, play, eat, and think... and perhaps even improve the world.

To Google Ventures this has already meant wind farms, carbon emission reduction systems, green vehicles, and medical cures. To former Microsoft chief scientist Nathan Myhrvold and his high-level think tank, Intellectual Ventures, this means creating TerraPower - a company intending to revolutionize the nuclear power by developing reactors run on waste uranium - and also actively looking at regenerative medicine technologies.

Having formed the fund a little over a year ago, Google is only now starting to make a splash with the fund. Officially the fund has no specific industry focus saying on the Google Ventures website FAQ:

We are interested in a wide range of industries, including (but not limited to) consumer Internet, software, hardware, clean-tech, biotech, health care and others. First and foremost, we're looking for entrepreneurs who are tackling problems in creative and innovative ways, with the potential for significant financial return.

Unofficially and yet not so quietly, Google has named a few broad areas of interest. An article in Monday's New York Times quoted Google Ventures' managing partner, Bill Maris as saying that while they were not going to name particular investment themes, a few broad ares of interest include:

regenerative medicine, bioinformatics, cloud storage, companies that use large data sets, online monetization and mobile.

There it is. Regenerative medicine right there front and center.

In typical Google tradition, Maris, who looks all of 30 years old on the website, has a successfull and multidisciplinary track record. He was involved in founding Web hosting pioneer (now part of, where he built much of the key computing, network and technological infrastructure.Prior to that, Bill was a biotechnology and healthcare portfolio manager for Stockholm, Sweden-based Investor AB. Bill’s background also includes research at the Duke University Medical Center, Department of Neurobiology.

Google Ventures is said to be aiming at investing about $100 million a year. Any portion of that for regenerative medicine is more than welcome.

While traditional VC money remains reticent to back RM in any signifant way, Google's move confirms a trend we've been seeing and talking about at the Cell Therapy Group for the past 12 months or so. The multinational lifescience, biopharmaceutical, and healthcare companies along with strategic investors all now have regenerative medicine on their radar. They are all quietly and not-so quietly developing internal and external regenerative medicine strategies.

Please join us in welcoming regenerative medicine to the radar screen. It's bound to be an exciting ride ahead.

To Read More: Google to Invest in Regenerative Medicine
categoriaRegenerative Medicine commentoComments Off on Google to Invest in Regenerative Medicine | dataMay 5th, 2010
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Latest Cell Therapy Approval by FDA. Dendreon’s Provenge.

By Dr. Matthew Watson

It has been a long-time coming. It has been hyped and scoffed, bet against and hoped for, but now none of that matters. It's here. Dendreon has brought Provenge to market. Here, in the word's of the FDA...


For Immediate Release: April 29, 2010

FDA Approves a Cellular Immunotherapy for Men with Advanced Prostate Cancer

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Provenge (sipuleucel-T), a new therapy for certain men with advanced prostate cancer that uses their own immune system to fight the disease.

Provenge is indicated for the treatment of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body and is resistant to standard hormone treatment.

Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer among men in the United States, behind skin cancer, and usually occurs in older men. In 2009, an estimated 192,000 new cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed and about 27,000 men died from the disease, according to the National Cancer Institute.

“The availability of Provenge provides a new treatment option for men with advanced prostate cancer, who currently have limited effective therapies available,” said Karen Midthun, M.D., acting director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

Provenge is an autologous cellular immunotherapy, designed to stimulate a patient’s own immune system to respond against the cancer. Each dose of Provenge is manufactured by obtaining a patient’s immune cells from the blood, using a machine in a process known as leukapheresis. To enhance their response against the cancer, the immune cells are then exposed to a protein that is found in most prostate cancers, linked to an immune stimulating substance. After this process, the patient’s own cells are returned to the patient to treat the prostate cancer. Provenge is administered intravenously in a three-dose schedule given at about two-week intervals.

The effectiveness of Provenge was studied in 512 patients with metastatic hormone treatment refractory prostate cancer in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter trial, which showed an increase in overall survival of 4.1 months. The median survival for patients receiving Provenge treatments was 25.8 months, as compared to 21.7 months for those who did not receive the treatment.

Almost all of the patients who received Provenge had some type of adverse reaction. Common adverse reactions reported included chills, fatigue, fever, back pain, nausea, joint ache and headache. The majority of adverse reactions were mild or moderate in severity. Serious adverse reactions, reported in approximately one quarter of the patients receiving Provenge, included some acute infusion reactions and stroke. Cerebrovascular events, including hemorrhagic and ischemic strokes, were observed in 3.5 percent of patients in the Provenge group compared with 2.6 percent of patients in the control group.

Provenge is manufactured by Seattle-based Dendreon Corp.

To Read More: Latest Cell Therapy Approval by FDA. Dendreon’s Provenge.
categoriaRegenerative Medicine commentoComments Off on Latest Cell Therapy Approval by FDA. Dendreon’s Provenge. | dataApril 30th, 2010
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Stem cells for a Webby!

By Dr. Matthew Watson

I know I haven't been a very good blogger for quite some time but I wanted to pass on a letter I just received from my friend James Price as a Charter member of the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation. They're going for a Webby award. You don't have to be Canadian to support their cause - you just have to:

  • believe in the power of interactive, online network-based activism,
  • support the potential of stem cells to change people's lives, and
  • wanna have a little fun raising awareness for our otherwise-sometimes-stodgy-science!

Go vote - it's good for you and the world! (WARNING: you might find out some things about some pretty cool stuff nominated in the other categories while you're there).


Dear Lee,

I'd like to thank everyone who has voted and helped spread the word about the Webby Awards nomination. We think a big part of the Foundation's success, and especially this nomination, is due to your enthusiasm, creativity and support.

That support has taken us a long way. Right now, we're in the lead for Best Activism Website. But our lead is narrow, only 3%, so we need you to pull out all the stops. There are only two days left to vote, so let's make sure it's a win for stem cells!

Why Activism?

A large part of what makes our website and social media pages work is the Charter community. All the material we create - the Stem Cell Charter, "Rock Star Scientists" video and all the posts on our social media pages - are designed to give the stem cell movement a voice - your voice. You are the most important part of getting the word out about stem cell science and helping people see the amazing potential of the field.

Voting and encouraging others to vote is a perfect way to do this. Tweet, post, blog, email and shout your support from the rooftops. Let's show the world how important we think stem cell science is.

How to vote

Step 1: Click HERE and fill in your email address and a password.

Step 2: You will receive an email from the Webby Awards - click the link to activate your account.

Step 3: Go HERE TO VOTE and choose RENEW THE WORLD.

Voting closes at midnight on April 29th. We have two days left!

webby banner

Thanks for your support,

James Price
President & CEO

To Read More: Stem cells for a Webby!
categoriaRegenerative Medicine commentoComments Off on Stem cells for a Webby! | dataApril 28th, 2010
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