Biozona Weekly: FDA approves Anascorp; new chiefs for Ventana, UA Healthcare

August 4, 2011

By hammersmith


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New drug shows promise in fighting breast cancer
08/04/2011 | Arizona Republic | Jackie Smith

Researchers say a new drug targeting a specific gene in people with advanced breast cancer has shown hopeful results since being put under the microscope at Scottsdale Healthcare’s Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center. In an early Phase 1 study of the drug, focusing on the gene P13K, which is abnormal in 20 to 30 percent of advanced breast cancer patients, two of 97 individuals initially tested experienced significant shrinkage of tumors, according to hospital officials. GDC-0941 was the drug under investigation.

Scorpion antivenin gets FDA’s OK
08/04/2011 | Arizona Republic | Ken Alltucker

Federal drug regulators on Wednesday approved a Mexican-made antivenin tested at Arizona hospitals and shown to help children recover from severe and life-threatening reactions from scorpion stings. Anascorp is the first antidote approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat serious reactions from bark-scorpion stings. These scorpions are heavily concentrated in Arizona and pose a major threat to young children, who can lose muscle control and may suffer breathing troubles from the painful stings.

FDA Approves Antivenom Produced In Mexico
08/03/2011 | KJZZ – Fronteras Desk | Jose Luis Jiménez, Mónica Ortiz Uribe

In a two-part series, Fronteras: The Changing America Desk explored the issue of potentially lethal scorpion stings throughout the Southwest and the lack of an effective treatment. Anascorp is believed to be the first scorpion antivenom to be approved in the United States by the FDA and the first time a drug developed in Latin America has been approved, according to the release from the University of Arizona. The drug underwent FDA supervised clinical trials in Arizona and Nevada.

Tucson Health: New interim CEO of UA Healthcare not an M.D.
08/03/2011 | Arizona Daily Star | Stephanie Innes

Jodi J. Mansfeld, a former executive vice president and chief operating officer for Shands HealthCare in Florida, is now leading UA Healthcare, a $1.2 billion entity created last year when University Medical Center and University Physicians Healthcare merged. Mansfield takes over from Hank Wells, who resigned as interim CEO due to health concerns. She was appointed by the UA Healthcare Board of Directors, which now says it will turn its attention to hiring a permanent president and CEO.

On-Q-ity Founder and Genzyme Vet, Mara Aspinall, Moves to Roche’s Ventana Medical
08/02/2011 | Gregory T. Huang |

Mara Aspinall has been named president of Ventana Medical Systems, an Arizona-based division of healthcare giant Roche that focuses on cancer diagnostics. The appointment was announced in a press release today and is effective next month. Aspinall is well known in the diagnostics world, having previously served as president of the genetic testing unit of Cambridge, MA-based Genzyme. On-Q-ity, which  she started in 2009, focuses on molecular diagnostics for cancer.