tl, dr May
This month was all about delivering another successful UGM for us, but there is also plenty of other noteworthy things have happened around us. Enjoy this latest selection.Carbon Fiber production is scaling up to meet demands Things around the “island of stability” Who’s the most R&D productive pharma? Proteome map ready AZ – Pfizer dating is over Check out our latest UGM
1) There hasn’t been a single month, for a long time now, without some exciting news on graphene or other carbon-based materials being revealed. Why would this month would be any different? :) Although this piece is not about earth shaking scientific discoveries, it can still be considered as a major step towards carbon allotropes turning into disruptive technologies and fulfilling their long awaited expectations. Just recently SGL group plant, partner of the BMW group, has announced that it will triple its carbon fiber production rate from 3000 tons to 9000 tons a year.1 Carbon fiber is a material consisting of mainly carbon atoms in a fiber form (different from the hollow structured carbon nanotubes) featuring 5-10 µm in diameter, and its major application area is as a reinforcing agent in composite materials. Up to date the biggest challenge was to reduce the cost of production – the common preparation method is the high temperature carbonization of polymers (PAN) - BMW, together with SGL, is seemed to solved this issue and planning to extend its production line with another 4 units to produce enough of this lightweight material to replace aluminum in specific items in existing and future BMW models.
2) International team of 72! scientists has discovered/confirmed another long-lived super-heavy element (117) that serve as further evidence that the “island of stability” can still surprise us.2 Z=117 was created via the fusion reaction of 48Ca and 249Bk that resulted in several decay chains associated with the isotope of 297117. The “Island of Stability” contains yet to discover heavy isotopes of trans-uranium elements that are, in theory, much more stable than those of closer to uranium. These elements are located around N=178 and Z=118.
3) Sector & Sovereign Health has announced the list of the top 22 most productive drug companies in terms of R&D, placing Bristol-Meyers-Squibb on top of the list before Celgene and Vertex.3 The metrics that have been taken into account include the economic return of R&D spending, number of patents for every $1M spent on R&D activities, patent citations, number of patents in a particular disease (“leadership” index) and an internal bias index. It is very interesting to see how these companies can retain their leading role, especially knowing that that the number of new drugs / $1B invested has been rapidly decreasing over the last few decades (halved in every 9 years!) leaving behind a tremendous empty space in drug discovery. I would like to think that perhaps Open Innovation that is a relatively new approach to target research has something to do with it. What do you think?
4) A draft map of proteins (proteome) encoded by the human genome has finally got assembled by two independent teams of scientists.4 The teams have identified 1000s of proteins that in total account for more than 80% of the predicted amount. What made it possible is, once again, high-resolution mass spectrometry, a technique that is one of the most rapidly developing analytical techniques.
5) Pfizer has failed to takeover AstraZeneca when the UK company rejected its final £69B offer in wanting an extra 5%. 5Some investors were left pretty unhappy with this decision!
6) We’ve just had our 10th European User Group Meeting in Budapest, and celebrated this anniversary with an outstanding set of presentations delivered by distinguished experts in the field. Please visit our UGM page if you wanna see what other people have to say about ChemAxon.6 :)---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- References 1) http://www.motorauthority.com/news/1092034_bmw-tripling-production-at-carbon-plant 2) http://www.uni-mainz.de/presse/17241_ENG_HTML.php 3) http://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewherper/2014/05/22/new-report-ranks-22-drug-companies-based-on-rd/ 4) http://cen.acs.org/articles/92/web/2014/05/Human-Proteome-Map-Assembled.html 5) http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/may/19/astrazeneca-board-reject-pfizer-takeover-bid 6) http://revamp.chemaxon.com/events/ugm-budapest-2014/#program