10 Biggest Events of 2013 Which Shook the World of Biopharma

1.  The authorities of US State, Maryland won a court case and were allowed to take the DNA of criminal suspects upon arrest but before they are convicted of a crime.

2.  Court ruled in favor of a challenge from Ariosa Diagnostics, declaring that U.S. Patent No. 6,258,540 (owned by Sequenom and covering the detection of fetal cell-free DNA in the bloodstream of pregnant women) covered patent-ineligible subject matter. According to court, this fell into the natural-phenomenon exemption from patentability under Section 101 of the U.S. Patent Code.

Sequenom will appeal the decision to protect its patent for MaterniT21 Plus noninvasive prenatal diagnostic test, which unlike older techniques such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling doesn’t carry the same risk of miscarriage.

3.  Thermo Fisher bagged the year’s biggest deal in April when it agreed to acquire Life Technologies for $13.6 billion, plus assumption of Life Tech’s $2.2 billion in debt. The transaction created a powerhouse in biopharma lab instrumentation and supplies with combined revenues of $16.3 billion and about 50,000 employees.

4.  Amgen’s $9.7 billion buy of Onyx Pharmaceuticals added Onyx’s multiple myeloma drug Kyprolis (carfilzomib) and two other drugs to Amgen’s cancer holdings.

5.  Valeant Pharmaceuticals snapped up Bausch & Lomb for $8.7 billion, creating a more-than-$3.5 billion-a-year eye-care giant

6.  J. Craig Venter unveiled a digital biological converter capable of creating a copy of an organism from a distant location—“a biological fax machine,” as The New York Times put it.”

7.  Frederick Sanger, acclaimed as “father of the genomic era” for research that laid essential groundwork for the sequencing of amino acids and later DNA, passed away on November 19 at age of 95.

8.  Jeremy Levin, D.Phil., stepped down in October as CEO of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries after just 17 months on the job.

9.  China’s BGI-Shenzhen cleared U.S. and Chinese regulatory hurdles to acquire Complete Genomics for $117.6 million.

10.  2013 could be remembered for finally figuring out the value of “junk” DNA. Scientists at Sydney’s Centenary Institute reported in August that the 97% of human DNA long referred to as junk is actually a previously unknown mechanism for regulating the activity of genes, thus increasing human understanding of the way cells develop and pointing to new possibilities for therapy.

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