Weekly Biotech Blog Roundup

Yes, you heard it right. The FDA is contemplating the use of social media. One attendee,Porter Novelli's Peter Pitts, dubbed it,"Super Bowl of Part 15 Hearings.” The hearing got,

"under way yesterday in a near-capacity federal conference hall. More than 800 people had tried to register, said DDMAC director Thomas Abrams, and 69 speakers were slated for 77 scheduled slots running 10-15 minutes each (all the more remarkable considering the conference hall's prohibition on coffee and its lack of wireless)."

According to Medical and Marketing Media, One of the presenters wrote,

"As opposed to the first Internet FDA public hearing in 1996, this one hammered into the FDA's head how important the Internet is for health information seekers. Speaker after speaker made the point: the Internet can no longer be ignored if you are serious about protecting the public health. This time, pharmaceutical companies also made the same point. In 1996, only visionaries could imagine how important the Internet would be in the health arena. FDA is not visionary, so the agency can be excused for not acting in 1996. This time, they have seen the light and have even used the Internet themselves to help improve public health."

"Thursday's testimony addressed four questions: for what online communications should manufacturers, packagers, or distributors be accountable; how companies can fulfill regulatory requirements in Internet and social media in light of space limitations and real-time tools; what parameters should apply to the posting of corrective information on sites controlled by third parties; and when the use of links is appropriate."

In industrial biotechnology this week the Wall Street Cheat Sheet says algae is the next great thing.

“Algae could be the most promising candidate yet for the future of the biofuels industry. Although algae-based fuels won’t be commercially available for several years, algae offers several advantages over other first-generation renewable fuels, such as corn and soybeans. For example, algae grows faster, requires less resources, can be used as jet fuel, can use existing distribution systems, and absorbs carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses.”

The post closes with,

“All of this syncs up neatly with a White House concerned with climate change and looking to develop “green energy” technologies with long economic coattails. While it may be too early to call algae the clear winner in the biofuels race, at least for now, the future of algae-based biofuels looks bright.”

The Biofuels Digest writes about BIO’s recent Pacific Rim Summit,

“In Hawaii, at the BIO Pacific Rim Summit, Joule Biotechnologies announced that it has achieved direct microbial conversion of CO2 into hydrocarbons via engineered organisms, powered by solar energy. Joule’s Helioculture process mixes sunlight and CO2 with highly engineered photo synthetic organisms, which are designed to secrete ethanol, diesel or other products. However, unlike algae and other current biomass-derived fuels, the Helioculture process does not produce biomass, requires no agricultural feedstock and minimizes land and water use. It is also direct-to-product, so there is no lengthy extraction and/or refinement process.”

Sounds interesting, guess we’ll have to stay tuned. Yesterday the DOE and the USDA announced,

“projects selected for more than $24 million in grants to research and develop technologies to produce biofuels, bioenergy and high-value biobased products. Of the $24.4 million announced today, DOE plans to invest up to $4.9 million with USDA contributing up to $19.5 million. Advanced biofuels produced through this funding are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent compared to fossil fuels.”