Alexander MacWilliam, Scottish physiologist, discovered that he
could restore heart rhythms in cats using a metronome and a needle
electrode. His work went unrecognized until his paper on the subject
resurfaced in 1972.
(Econ, 3/7/09, TQ p.25)
1896 F. Hoffman-La Roche &
Co. was founded in Switzerland.
(SFC, 3/13/09, p.A10)
1912 Merck chemists in Germany
introduced methylene-dioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA), a
euphoria-producing psychedelic. Documents from the time showed that
MDMA emerged during the company's efforts to develop a potentially
life-saving medicine that would help blood to clot. It later became
known as "ecstasy."
1939 Harry Hind (1915-2012) and
a classmate, seniors at the UC School of Pharmacy, developed the
first device to read the pH of chemical solutions. Hind and Clifford
Barnes went on the found Barnes-Hind Prescription Pharmacy and
Barnes-Hind Pharmaceutical Laboratories, which was acquired by
Revlon in 1976.
(SFC, 5/2/12, p.C5)
1956 Dr. John Jay Osborn
(d.2014) and cardiac surgeon Frank Gerbode used their heart-lung
machine to keep a man alive during surgery to repair a ventricular
(SFC, 5/1/14, p.D6)
1958 Jun 23, Dr. John Jay
Osborn (d.2014) and cardiac surgeon Frank Gerbode used their
heart-lung machine to operate on a boy (8) at Stanford Hospital
before a Bay Area televisioon audience of some 1.2 million.
(SFC, 5/1/14, p.D6)
1958 Oct 8, Dr. Ake Senning
installed the 1st fully implantable pacemaker in Stockholm. Arne
Larsson (43) received the pacemaker, which was built Dr. Rune
Elmqvist. Larsson died in 2001 after receiving 26 different
3/7/09, TQ p.25)
1958 Dr. Aaron Lerner
(1920-2007) led a Yale team in the discovery of melatonin, a hormone
from the pineal gland in the brain. It was later found to regulate
human sleep-wake cycles.
(SFC, 2/19/07, p.B4)
1958 Colombian Dr. Alberto
Vejarano Laverde and engineer Jorge Reynolds Pombo developed the
first artificial pacemaker with internal electrodes and external
electronic unit and implanted it into Gerardo Florez (70), a priest
from Ecuador, who then lived another 18 years.
(Econ, 3/9/13, TQ
1961 M.S. Swaminathan, adviser
to India’s minister of agriculture, invited Norman Borlaug, a plant
geneticist who had improved the yield on Mexican wheat, to visit
(Econ, 12/24/05, p.29)
1961 Otto Wichterle, Czech
chemist, introduced the world’s 1st soft plastic contact lenses.
(Econ, 3/12/05, TQ p.12)
1963 Mar, Norman Borlaug, plant
breeder, arrived in India and began testing new varieties of Mexican
wheat, whose yields were shown to be 4-5 times better than Indian
varieties. In 1970 he won the Nobel Prize for his development of
high-yield wheat varieties for which he was dubbed father of the
(SFC, 10/15/97, p.A15)(WSJ, 12/3/02, p.A1)(Econ,
1968 Dr. Alejandro Zaffaroni
(b.1923), native of Montevideo, Uruguay, founded ALZA Corp. The SF
Bay Area company has grown to be one of the largest medical device
companies in the US specializing in drug delivery technologies. He
later helped to launch Affymax, a drug discovery company, and
Affymetrix, which did DNA research on semiconductor chips.
1969 Nov 22, Jonathan Beckwith
and others of Harvard Univ. announced the isolation of a single gene
of E. coli.
1970 Jun 2, Har Gobind Khorana
(1922-1993), Indian-American chemist at the Univ. of Wisconsin,
announced the synthesis of the 1st artificial gene.
1970 The first radioactive
pacemaker was put into a patient in France.
(Econ, 3/7/09, TQ p.26)
1973 The first Magnetic
Resonance Image was published and the first study performed on a
human took place on July 3, 1977. Lawrence E. Crooks and Jerome
Singer, professors at UC in SF and Berkeley, invented Magnetic
Resonance Imaging (MRI) technology along with about 20 other univ.
1976 Jan, In SF Robert Swanson
(1947-1999), a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, first met with
Herb Boyer, a molecular biologist and co-discoverer of recombinant
DNA. The 10 minute appointment extended to a few hours and the 2 men
proceeded to found Genentech. Genentech was founded with $10,000 per
month funding for R&D with Kleiner Perkins as the largest
(SFC, 5/28/96, p.B1)(SFC, 1/19/98, p.A10)(SFC,
12/7/99, p.D4)(WSJ, 12/14/99, p.A22)
1977 Dr. Frederick Sangar and
his lab mapped the entire 5,000 letter genome of a virus called
phiX174. Sangar had developed one of the first methods of DNA
sequencing. This work led to his 2nd Nobel Prize in 1980.
(Econ, 11/23/13, p.78)
1977-1979 Genentech developed genetic engineering
techniques to create micro-organisms that can produce insulin and
(SFC, 3/13/09, p.A10)
1978 Sep 6, Genentech of South
San Francisco, Ca., announced the successful laboratory production
of human insulin using recombinant DNA technology.
1980 Feb, The first implantable
cardioconverter defibrillator (ICD) was implanted at John Hopkins
Hospital by Dr. Levi Watkins.
(Econ, 3/7/09, TQ
1980 Jul, UCLA physician Martin
J. Cline inserted recombinant DNA into two patients with the blood
disease thalassemia, one in Israel and one in Italy. In doing so, he
violated the US recombinant DNA guidelines and human subjects
1980 Oct 14, Hambrecht &
Quist took Genentech Corp. public at $35 per share which soared to
close at $89 per share.
(SFC, 6/22/96, p.D1)(http://tinyurl.com/3y3m9r)
1980 The US Supreme Court ruled
that "live human-made microorganism is patentable matter." This led
to a rush by Genentech, Biogen and others to commercialize
(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R14)
1980 Dr. George B. Rathmann
(1927-2012) became the first chief executive officer and co-founder
of a startup in Thousand Oaks, Ca., called Applied Molecular
Genetics. The company, which later changed its name to Amgen,
developed Epogen and Neupogen under his watch.
(SFC, 4/26/12, p.C3)
1983 Jul 25, The first nonhuman
primate, a baboon, was conceived in a lab dish in San Antonio, Tx.
1983 Genetic modification (GM)
of agricultural cereals was invented as a more predictable
alternative to mutation breeding. By this time biotechnology had
reached the point where it was possible to insert genes of interest
into A. tumefaciens and transfer those genes into plants.
1984 Jun 4, DNA was
successfully cloned from a quagga, an animal extinct since 1883.
1984 Sep 5, Robert S. Laurent
(1933-2004) received a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) and was
kept alive for 8 days by the electric heart assist pump until a new
heart became available. Dr. Peer M. Portner (d.2009 at 69) of
Stanford Univ. pioneered the device.
1985 Nov, The US FDA approved
imipenem, a penicillin-like drug.
(SSFC, 1/20/08, p.A10)(http://tinyurl.com/2px4jy)
1985 Genentech received FDA
approval for its growth hormone Protropin, the first recombinant
drug marketed by a biotechnology company.
(SFC, 3/13/09, p.A10)
1985 Dr. Alec Jeffries,
geneticist at Leicester Univ., used DNA fingerprinting for the 1st
time to prove a maternity and paternity case.
(Econ, 3/13/04, TQ p.33)
1985 Douglas Prasher and
colleagues at Woods Hole in Massachusetts used cloning technology to
replicate the photoprotein found inside Aequorea victoria, a glowing
species of jellyfish. The cloning of luciferase from fireflies also
took place this year.
(Econ, 3/12/11, TQ p.17)
1991 Medarex, an American
biotech company, went public.
(Econ, 6/14/08, p.84)
1991 Swiss-based Roche Corp.
paid Cetus Corp. of Emeryville, Ca., $300 million for its PCR gene
amplification business, a DNA copying method that became the
foundation for genetic diagnostics.
(SFC, 3/13/09, p.A10)
1992 David Bottstein and Nina
Fedoroff co-authored of "The Dynamic Genome."
(SFC, 8/18/96, Z1
1994 May 19, The US FDA
approved of the first genetically engineered tomato. Flavr Savr
tomatoes supermarkets this year.
1994 Rudolph L. Leibel and
Jeffrey M. Friedman announced that they had identified and sequenced
the gene for the hormone leptin, which is produced by fat cells.
(NH, 2/05, p.35)
1997 Jul 25, An FDA drug panel
endorsed Rituximab, a drug designed to treat B-cell lymphoma. It was
made by Genentech and IDEC Pharmaceuticals. In November Genentech
and Idec (later Biogen Idec), received FDA approval for Rituxan for
1998 Nov 6, Scientists reported
the successful culture of human stem cells in research financed by
Geron Corp. James Thomson of the Univ. of Wisconsin first isolated
stem cells from human embryos. Science published this research in an
article titled "Embryonic Stem Cell Lines Derived from Human
(Econ, 1/28/12, p.77)
1999 Jonathan Weiner authored
“Time, Love, Memory: A Great Biologist and His Quest for the Origins
of Behavior,” a biography of Caltech biologist Seymour Benzer
(1921-2007). Benzer’s work paved the way for scientists to uncover
links between genes and human behavior.
(SSFC, 12/2/07, p.C7)
1999 Fluidigm Corporation
(originally Mycometrix) was founded to commercialize integrated
fluidic circuits (IFC) technology developed in the laboratory of
biophysicist Stephen Quake, PhD, who invented a microscopic valve
while he was teaching at Caltech in 1998.
2000 Jun 26, Public and private
gene researchers, Celera Genomics and the National Human Genome
Research Institute, announced at the White House that they had
roughly mapped the human genome. Craig Venter, head of Celera,
acquired private funding in 1998 and began decoding in September
1999. In 2007 Venter authored “A Life Decoded: My Genome: My Life.”
A truly complete sequence was not published until 2003.
(SFC, 6/27/00, p.A1)(AP, 6/26/01)(WSJ, 10/27/07,
p.W6)(Econ, 6/19/10, SR p.3)
2000 Xiangzhong “Jerry” Yang
(d.2009 at 49), persudaded Connecticut to establish a $20 million
Center for Regenerative Biology at Storrs. In 1999 Yang helped clone
a calf named Amy, the first farm animal cloned in the US.
(SFC, 2/12/09, p.B4)
2000 Genmab, a biotech company
based in Denmark, went public with Dr. Lisa Drakeman of the US as
CEO. Drakeman, with a doctorate in the history of religion, had
gained biotech experience in Medarex, a firm created by her husband.
In 2006 GlaxoSmithKline paid $357 million for a 10% stake in the
(Econ, 6/14/08, p.84)
2003 Jan 4, Clonaid, the
company that claims to have produced the first human clone, said a
second child was born to a Dutch lesbian Jan 3.
(AP, 1/5/03)(SSFC, 1/5/03,
2003 The Methuselah Mouse Prize
was created offering cash to teams that breed longer living rodents.
(Econ, 5/16/15, p.72)
2003 MIT introduced the Int’l.
Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition.
(Econ, 9/5/09, TQ p.30)
2003 In Chinese researchers at
the State Key Laboratory of Agrobiotechnology of the China
Agricultural University introduced human genetic coding into the DNA
of Holstein dairy cow embryos, then transferred the embryos into cow
surrogates. This followed years of testing on mice. By June, 2011,
over 300 cloned cattle lived on an experimental farm in suburban
Beijing, with new calves delivered every week.
2004 Aug 23, Researchers
presented results on genetically engineered mice capable of running
farther and longer than those bred naturally.
(SFC, 8/24/04, p.A2)
2005 Aug 11, A team of
scientists from 10 countries reported that they had deciphered the
genetic code of rice. This was the first cereal crop to be
(SFC, 8/11/05, p.A6)(Econ, 5/10/14, p.14)
2006 Sep 17, Elizabeth
Blackburn (57), a biochemist at UCSF, was named winner of the Lasker
Award for Basic Medical Research. She shared $100,000 the award with
Carol W. Greider, a former graduate student, and Jack W. Szostak
(53), a Harvard geneticist and longtime collaborator. Their
discoveries included proteins called telomeres that cap the ends of
chromosomes and regulate the longevity and death of human and animal
(SSFC, 9/17/06, p.B1)
2006 Dec 30, Maria del Carmen
Bousada (67) of Spain became the world's oldest mother after she
gave birth to twins in the northern city of Barcelona. She had
previously undergone in vitro fertilization in Los Angeles. Bousada
(69) died on July 11, 2009, leaving behind her twin toddlers.
(AP, 12/30/06)(AP, 7/15/09)
2006 In North Carolina Anthony
Atala and colleagues at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative
Medicine made new bladders for 7 patients. Patient tissue cells were
used to grow the bladders on scaffolds. As of 2010 the bladders were
(Econ, 2/20/10, p.77)
2007 May 3, A US federal judge
barred planting of alfalfa engineered by Monsanto to resist Roundup,
a popular weed killer made by Monsanto, pending further study.
(WSJ, 5/4/07, p.A1)
2007 Sep 14, It was reported
that researchers at Tokyo Univ. had developed a method, dubbed
surrogate broodstocking, whereby they inject newly hatched, sterile
Asian masu salmon with sperm-growing cells from rainbow trout. The
grown salmon then produce trout.
(SFC, 9/14/07, p.A14)
2007 Oct 21,
In Brazil activists trying to invade a 304-acre biotech seed
farm, owned by the Swiss firm Syngenta AG, clashed with guards
and at least two people were shot dead.
2007 Nov 14, A US-led team from
Oregon said they had created the world's first cloned embryo from a
monkey, in work that could spur cloning of human cells for use in
(AFP, 11/14/07)(WSJ, 11/15/07, p.A1)
2007 Nov 16, Belgium
researchers studying the collective behavior of insects said tiny
robots programmed to act like roaches were able to blend into
cockroach society. Cockroaches tend to self-organize into leaderless
groups, seeming to reach consensus on where to rest together.
2007 Nov 20, Scientists in
Japan and the US reported that they have made ordinary human skin
cells take on the chameleon-like powers of embryonic stem cells, a
startling breakthrough that might someday deliver the medical
payoffs of embryo cloning without the controversy.
2007 Gabor Forgacs co-founded
Organovo, a US company dedicated to building human tissues. In 2014
the company delivered samples for testing of its first product,
slivers of human liver tissue.
(Econ, 3/8/14, p.18)
2007 Malaysia’s Prince
Naquiyuddin Jaafar founded the EntoGenex biotech company. It took a
pre-existing protein called the Trypsin Modulating Oostatic Factor
(TMOF) and by 2012 developed it into what he called a fatal "diet
pill" for mosquitoes. The firm combined the TMOF with bacillus
thuringiensis israelensis (Bti) bacteria, which eats holes in the
guts of larvae but is non-toxic to people. He hoped it could
potentially become a weapon in the even larger fight against
malaria, which kills an estimated 650,000 people per year.
2008 Jan 24, Researchers at the
J. Craig Venter Institute of Rockville, Md., reported that they have
built from scratch a synthetic chromosome containing all the genetic
material needed to produce the bacterium Mycoplasma genitalium, the
tiniest bacteria ever found.
(SFC, 1/25/08, p.A1)(Econ, 1/26/08, p.76)
2008 Feb 1, Scientists in Japan
and New Zealand said they have created a "tear-free" onion using
biotechnology to switch off the gene behind the enzyme that makes us
2008 Feb 5, British scientists
said they have created human embryos containing DNA from two women
and a man in a procedure that researchers hope might be used one day
to produce embryos free of inherited diseases.
2008 Feb 9, The French
government suspended the use of genetically modified corn crops in
France while it awaits EU approval for a full ban.
2008 Jun 16, Maryland’s Gov.
Martin O’Malley unveiled the BIO 2020 Initiative, America’s largest
per-capita investment in biotech.
2008 Jun 17, Hewitt Crane (81),
inventor and bioengineering pioneer, died in Portola Valley, Ca. His
doctorate at Stanford described the neuristor, a hypothetical
electronic device modeled on the neuron.
(SFC, 6/26/08, p.B5)
2008 Jun 29, US researchers
reported that a drug called lodamin, developed using nanotechnology
and a fungus that contaminated a lab experiment, may be broadly
effective against a range of cancers.
2008 Aug 19, US scientists said
they have devised a way to grow large quantities of blood in the
laboratory using human embryonic stem cells.
(SFC, 8/20/08, p.A7)
2008 Aug 22, Japanese
scientists said they had derived stem cells from wisdom teeth,
opening another way to study deadly diseases without the ethical
controversy of using embryos.
2008 Aug 27, US scientists said
they have transformed ordinary pancreas cells in living mice into a
rarer type of cell that churns out insulin opening possibilities for
future treatment of disease.
(WSJ, 8/28/08, p.D3)
2008 Aug 29, French
neurosurgeons said they had successfully treated brain tumors
through ultra-keyhole surgery, using a tiny fiber-optic laser to
destroy cancerous cells.
2008 Nov 6, Japanese
researchers said they had created functioning human brain tissues
from stem cells, a world first that has raised new hopes for the
treatment of disease.
2008 Nov 19, Spanish doctors
reported the successful transplant to a woman of a new windpipe with
tissue grown from her own stem cells, eliminating the need for
2008 Nov 24, In Indonesia
health workers and rights activists sharply criticized a plan by
lawmakers in remote Papua province, who have thrown their support
behind a controversial bill requiring some HIV/AIDS patients to be
implanted with microchips, part of extreme efforts to monitor the
2008 Dec 12, The Vatican raised
its opposition to embryonic stem cell research, the morning-after
pill, in vitro fertilization and human cloning to a new level in a
major new document on bioethics.
2008 In Boston a biohacker
movement began when Jason Bobe co-founded a 2-member group called
DIYbio (do-it-yourself biology).
(SSFC, 12/20/09, p.A18)
2009 Jan 23, Geron Corp., a
Menlo Park, Ca., biotechnology company, announced that it had
received a FDA clearance to mount a study of its stem cell treatment
for spinal cord injuries in up to 10 patients.
(WSJ, 1/23/09, p.A12)
2009 Jan 29, A South Korean
biotech company claimed to have cloned dogs using a stem cell
technology for the first time in the world.
2009 Feb 6, The US FDA approved
the first drug made with materials from genetically altered animals.
Atryn, developed by GTX Biotherapeutics, was made from the milk of a
genetically altered goat and would be used to treat a rare
blood-clotting disorder known as hereditary antithrombin deficiency.
(WSJ, 2/7/09, p.A4)
2009 Feb 15, French specialists
unveiled a new weapon against cancer, a molecular "decoy" that
mimics DNA damage and prompts cancerous cells to kill themselves.
2009 Mar 9, President Barack
Obama signed an executive order reversing the US government’s ban on
funding stem-cell research today and pledge to “use sound,
scientific practice and evidence, instead of dogma” to guide federal
2009 Mar 9, California-based
Genencor, a division of Danisco A/S, announced the first transfer of
BioIsoprene™ product to The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. By
December the world’s first concept demonstration tires made with
BioIsoprene™ technology, a breakthrough alternative to replace a
petrochemically produced ingredient in the manufacture of synthetic
rubber with renewable biomass, made their debut in Copenhagen,
(http://tinyurl.com/27vewpy)(Econ, 4/24/10, p.79)
2009 Mar 12, Swiss
pharmaceutical giant Roche agreed to pay $46.8 billion to buy the 44
percent of biotech pioneer Genentech that it doesn't already own,
ending a long corporate struggle with its US-based cancer drug
2009 Apr 15, Iranian scientists
at the Royan Research Institute cloned a goat and planned future
experiments they hope will lead to a treatment for stroke patients.
The female goat, named Hana, was born in the city of Isfahan in
2009 Apr 16, Drug makers
GlaxoSmithKline PLC and Pfizer Inc. said they plan to create a new
company to invest in the research and development of HIV treatments.
2009 Apr 24, It was reported
that stem-cell scientists had reprogrammed mature cells into
embryonic-like cells using proteins instead of genes.
(WSJ, 4/22/09, p.A1)
2009 Apr 24, It was reported
that scientists have created the first genetic blueprint of domestic
cattle and found they share 80% of their genes with humans.
(WSJ, 4/22/09, p.A1)
2009 Apr 28, South Korean
scientists said they have engineered four beagles that glow red
using cloning techniques that could help develop cures for human
2009 Apr 29, A South Korean
presidential advisory committee announced that South Korea will lift
a three-year ban on human stem cell research.
2009 May 28, It was reported
that Japanese researchers have added genes to monkeys that cause the
animals to glow under a fluorescent light, and that the new genetic
attributes can pass to their offspring.
(SFC, 5/28/09, p.A9)
2009 Jun 29, It was reported
that Australian scientists have developed a "trojan horse" therapy
to combat cancer, using a bacterially-derived nano cell to penetrate
and disarm the cancer cell before a second nano cell kills it with
chemotherapy drugs. Sydney scientists Dr Jennifer MacDiarmid and Dr
Himanshu Brahmbhatt, who formed EnGenelC Pty Ltd in 2001, said they
had achieved 100 percent survival in mice with human cancer cells by
using the "trojan horse" therapy in the past two years.
2009 Jul 8, British scientists
claimed to have created human sperm from embryonic stem cells for
the first time. Several critics said the sperm cells were clearly
(SFC, 7/9/09, p.A5)
2009 Jul 14, Exxon Mobil said
it would put $300 million into an effort to create a new generation
of biofuels, and to add $300 if plans with Synthetic Genomics, a San
Diego firm under Craig Venter, proved successful.
(Econ, 7/18/09, p.78)
2009 Oct, Ryan Lister, Mattia
Pelizzola and their colleagues of the Salk Institute of California
published their results on the US government Roadmap Epigenome
Program, a look at how the activity of genes regulates the 220 of so
different cells of the human body.
(Econ, 10/17/09, p.93)
2009 Dec 14, Researchers from
US Santa Barbara and the Univ. of Mich published a study describing
their synthetic red blood cells, which are capable of delivering
medicine, oxygen or MRI contrast agents throughout the body.
(SFC, 12/18/09, p.A28)
2009 Swedish doctors created a
virtual autopsy system using computed tomography.
(Econ, 12/12/09, p.90)
2010 Jan 14, An int’l. team of
scientists reported the sequencing of the genes of 3 species of the
Nasonia wasp. 157 research groups in 6 nations spent over 4 years on
the project, which was expected to help reduce the use of farm
pesticides and help in the development of new drugs against human
(SFC, 1/15/10, p.C2)
2010 Feb 2, Australian
researchers said they had discovered a gene associated with
long-sightedness, a development they said could lead to drug
treatments that will replace glasses.
2010 Feb 9, India halted the
release of the world's first genetically modified eggplant, saying
further study needed to be done to guarantee consumer safety before
it could be cultivated in the country.
2010 Feb 23, PM Kevin Rudd said
Australia plans to fingerprint and face-scan visitors from about 10
high-risk countries in a bid to combat extremism, which is now a
"permanent" threat. He added that Australia will spend 69 million
dollars (62 million US) on new biometric facilities and will set up
a national control centre to coordinate efforts to fight extremism.
2010 Mar 15, British and
Italian doctors carried out groundbreaking surgery to rebuild the
windpipe of a 10-year-old boy using stem cells developed within his
own body. Doctors at London's Great Ormond Street children's
hospital implanted the boy with a donor trachea, or windpipe, that
had been stripped of its cells and injected with his own.
2010 Apr 22, Codexis, a Redwood
City, Calif.-based developer of biocatalysts for drug and biofuel
production, launched its initial public offering at $13 per share.
Codexis was founded in 2002 as a spin-out from drug developer
Maxygen, which now owns about 21.3%.
2010 May 20, US researchers
announced that they have produced a living cell powered by manmade
DNA. They said the world's first synthetic cell, JCV1-syn1.0, is
more a re-creation of existing life, changing one simple type of
bacterium into another, than a built-from-scratch kind.
Genome-mapping pioneer J. Craig Venter said his team's project paves
the way for designing organisms that work differently from the way
nature intended for a wide range of uses.
(AP, 5/21/10)(Econ, 6/19/10, SR p.11)
2010 May 31, A Malaysian
government official, Malacca Chief Minister Mohamad Ali Rustam,
defended an Indian company's plans to build an animal testing
medicine lab in his state, saying that God created monkeys and rats
for experiments to benefit humans.
2010 Jun 17, Dr. Shinya
Yamanaka (47), UCSF stem cell researcher, learned that he was
awarded the $550,000 Kyoto Prize by Japan’s Inamori Foundation. He
had discovered a technique for transforming adult skin cells into
“pluripotent” stem cells without resorting to human embryos.
(SFC, 6/18/10, p.C2)
2010 Jul 11, Avid
Radiopharmaceuticals presented a study that demonstrated a new brain
scan to detect the brain plaques in patients with Alzheimer’s
(SFC, 7/13/10, p.A7)
2010 Jul, US researchers, led
by entomologist Michael Riehle at the Univ. of Arizona, reported
that they have developed a genetically engineered breed of mosquito
that cannot be infected by the malaria causing parasite.
(SFC, 7/17/10, p.A6)
2010 Aug 24, Researchers in
Japan reported the creation of a highly accurate sensor that can
detect smells and gases using genetically engineered frog eggs.
2010 Sep 16, Australian
scientists said they had made a breakthrough in the fight to save
the cancer-hit Tasmanian devil by mapping the species' genome for
the first time.
2010 Sep 28, Amyris
Biotechnologies (AMRS), an Emeryville, Ca., startup, went public on
NASDAQ with 5.3 million shares. The IPO opened and closed at $16.50
per share. The company, founded by Prof. Jay Keasling, used
genetically engineered organisms to turn plant sugars into a
precursor of diesel.
p.D1)(http://tinyurl.com/24uklyv)(Econ, 3/12/11, TQ p.22)(SFC,
2010 Sep 21, The Lasker
Foundation announced its Lasker Award winners. Dr. Napoleone Ferrara
(54) of Genentech won the clinical medical research award for his
discovery of a protein that led to the development of a drug to halt
vision loss in age-related macular degeneration. The award for basic
medical research went to Douglas Coleman (78) and Jeffrey Friedman
(56) for discovering the hormone leptin. David Weatherall (77) won
for his work in genetic diseases and clinical care for children with
the genetic blood disorder thalassemia.
(SFC, 9/21/10, p.C3)
2010 Sep 28, Amyris
Biotechnologies went public on NASDAQ with 5.3 million shares. The
IPO opened and closed at $16.50 per share. The company used
genetically modified yeast to produce biofuel.
(SFC, 9/29/10, p.D1)
2010 Oct 1, Medicago, a
Canadian company, broke ground at Durham, NC, on its first American
facility. The company genetically manipulates tobacco plants to
produce proteins used in making flu vaccines.
(Econ, 10/23/10, p.36)
2010 Dec 6, British researchers
said they may have found a way to reverse damage in the central
nervous system caused by multiple sclerosis, in a study hailed by
campaigners as a major breakthrough.
2010 Dec 8, US scientists
published a study of stem cell technology used to create mice from
two fathers, an advance that they say could help preserve endangered
species and even help same-sex couples have their own genetic
children one day.
2010 Organovo, a San
Diego-based company founded in 2007, developed the first commercial
3D bio-printer. The $200,000 machine will initially produce simple
tissues such as skin, muscle and short stretches of blood vessels.
(Econ, 2/20/10, p.77)(Econ, 3/8/14, p.18)
2011 Jan 17, Japanese
researchers said they will launch a project this year to resurrect
the long-extinct mammoth by using cloning technology to bring the
ancient pachyderm back to life in around five years time.
2011 Feb 16, France-based
Sanofi-Aventis agreed to buy Massachusetts-based Genzyme Corp., the
world’s largest maker of medicines for rare genetic disorders, for
at least 20.1 billion.
(SFC, 2/17/11, p.D2)
2011 Feb 27, Joule Unlimited, a
Massachusetts biotechnology company, said it has invented a
genetically-engineered organism that it says simply secretes diesel
fuel or ethanol wherever it finds sunlight, water and carbon
2011 Jun 17, It was reported
that scientists at Wake Forest have designed a brain implant that
restores lost memory function and strengthens recall of new
information in laboratory rats.
(SFC, 6/17/11, p.A17)
2011 Jun 21, Japanese
researchers said they had developed a self-propelled remote
controlled capsule endoscope that can "swim" through the digestive
2011 Jul 4, Doctors said a test
designed to spot chromosome abnormalities in eggs could be a
"revolution" in fertility, helping older women determine their
chances of having an in-vitro fertilization (IVF) baby.
2011 Jul 7, Swedish officials
said a man (36) with tracheal cancer has received a new lab-made
wind pipe seeded with his own stem cells in the first successful
attempt of its kind.
(SFC, 7/8/11, p.A2)
2011 Jul 27, South Korean
scientists said they have created a glowing dog using a cloning
technique that could help find cures for human diseases such as
Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
2011 Jul 28, Australian farmer
Steve Marsh launched legal action against neighbor Michael Baxter
after genetically modified canola blew onto his farm, prompting
authorities to strip him of his organic license.
2011 Aug 18, US researchers
reported that the drug, SRT-1720, protects mice from the usual
diseases of obesity. The drug is one of a set designed by Sirtris, a
small pharmaceutical company in Cambridge, Mass.
(SFC, 8/19/11, p.A13)
2011 Sep 14, Japanese
researchers from Hitachi working with university scientists unveiled
a headset they say can measure activity in the brain and could be
used to improve performance in the classroom or on the sports field.
2011 Sep 18, The journal Nature
Structural & Molecular Biology reported that online gamers have
deciphered the structure of an enzyme of an AIDS-like virus that had
thwarted scientists for a decade. The gamers produced an accurate
model of a monomeric protease enzyme in just three weeks.
2011 Sep 22, US biotech company
Advanced Cell Technology said it will soon begin the first-ever
European trials using human embryonic stem cells in an experimental
treatment for people with a form of juvenile blindness. The
clearance to begin the European trials came from the UK Medicines
and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and the Gene Therapy
Advisory Committee. The same Massachusetts-based company became the
first to launch a US trial of embryonic stem cells to treat
Stargardt's disease in November 2010.
2011 Oct 16, Scientists at the
Vietnam-based Wellcome Trust Major Overseas Program and the Oxford
University Clinical Research units in Kathmandu and Ho Chi Minh City
announced they had combined cutting-edge gene sequencing technology
with Google Earth to accurately map the spread of typhoid in
Kathmandu for the first time.
2011 Oct 18, The EU’s top court
ruled that scientists cannot patent stem cell techniques that use
human embryos for research.
(SFC, 10/19/11, p.A2)
2011 Oct 26, The X Prize
Foundation offered a $10 million prize to the first team to
sequence the genomes of 100 centenarians. The contest will
begin in January 2013 and last for 30 days.
(Econ, 10/29/11, p.95)
2011 Nov 2, The US FDA said it
has approved the Sapien heart valve made by Edwards Lifesciences,
which can be threaded into place through a major artery from the leg
to the heart. The study was soon halted after 5 of 34 patients
getting Sapien died.
(SFC, 11/3/11, p.A6)(SFC, 11/9/11, p.D4)
2011 Dec 5, Angela Zhang (17)
of Cupertino, Ca, won a $100,000 scholarship, at the Siemens
Foundation's annual high school science competition, for research
that created a tiny particle she likened to a "Swiss army knife of
cancer treatments" because of its precision in targeting cancer
2012 Mar 13, Russian and South
Korean scientists signed a deal on joint research intended to
recreate a woolly mammoth, an animal which last walked the earth
some 10,000 years ago.
2012 Mar 15, Kashmir scientists
at Sher-i-Kashmir University said they have cloned a rare Himalayan
goat, hoping to help increase the number of animals famed for their
silky soft undercoats used to make pashmina wool, or cashmere.
2012 May 30, A consortium of
geneticists reported that they have decoded the genome of the tomato
and that is has 31,760 genes, about 7,000 times more than human
beings. They sequenced both the Heinz 1706 variety, used for
ketchup, and its closest wild relative, Solanum pimpinellifolium,
from the highlands of Peru.
(SFC, 5/31/12, p.A10)
2012 Sep 11, It was reported
that Stanford Dr. James Spudich (70), UCSF Dr. Ronald Vale (53)
and NY’s Columbia Dr. Michael Sheetz (65) will receive this
year’s Lasker Foundation’s $250,000 award for discovering how
molecular motors work inside cells.
(SFC, 9/11/12, p.C3)
2012 Sep 12, UC Berkeley
chemical engineer Jay Keasling, founder of Amyris Biotechnology, won
the prestigious Heinz Award of $250,000 for developing an
inexpensive way to mass-produce artemisinin, a plant based drug to
treat malaria. The Heinz Awards were established by Teresa Heinz in
1993 to honor the memory of her late husband, US Senator John Heinz.
2012 Sep 19, An int’l. team of
researchers published the full genome of the Pacific oyster,
Crassostrea gigas, making it the first mollusk fully sequenced.
(SFC, 9/20/12, p.A7)
2013 Feb 20, In San Francisco
tech and investment luminaries announced the new $3 million Life
Sciences Breakthrough Prize and named the effort’s first 11 winners.
(SFC, 2/21/13, p.C1)
2013 Jun 13, The US Supreme
Court ruled that companies cannot patent parts of
naturally-occurring human genes, a decision with the potential to
profoundly affect the emerging and lucrative medical and
biotechnology industries. The court gave Myriad Genetics a partial
victory, ruling that while naturally-occurring DNA was not
patentable, synthetically-created DNA could be patented.
2013 Nov 27, The first
autopsies in Europe to take place without bodies being cut open are
to take place after a new machine was unveiled in Sheffield. This
will enable many post-mortem examinations to be carried out
digitally, saving the body from being cut open with a scalpel.
2013 Dec 13, Europe's
second-highest court said it has overturned a decision by the
European Commission to allow the cultivation and sale of a
genetically modified potato developed by German chemicals group
2013 Austrian researchers
announced that they had coaxed pluripotent stem cells made from skin
cells into differentiating and growing into objects known as
(Econ, 11/1/14, p.74)
2014 Jan 30, Nature published
two papers by a team led by Haruko Obokata of the Riken Center for
Developmental Biology in Japan. The team claimed to have found a
simple way to reprogram ordinary mouse cells, persuading them to
transform themselves into pluripotent cells.
(Econ, 3/22/14, p.79)
2014 Mar 12, Stephen Power (29)
from Cardiff in Wales was reported to be one of the first trauma
patients in the world to have a procedure in which 3D printing was
used at every stage.
2014 Apr 1, Japan’s
government-funded Riken Center said data in a widely heralded
stem-cell research paper was falsified. Haruko Obokata, the lead
researcher accused of the malpractice, denied any wrongdoing.
2014 Apr 30, Researchers
reported the use of scaffolding-like material from pigs for use as
implants into a few young men with disabling leg injuries. They said
the treatment coaxed the men’s own stem cells to regrow new muscle.
(SFC, 5/1/14, p.A16)
2014 Dec 19, Japanese
researcher Haruko Obokata said in a statement that she was leaving
the Riken Center for Developmental Biology after the lab concluded
the stem cells she said she had created probably never existed. The
center said it had stopped trying to match Obokata's results.
2015 Jan 30, Carl Djerassi
(b.1923), Standford chemist, died of complicatioons of cancer at his
home in San Francisco. He was a key contributor to the invention of
the birth control pill.
(SSFC, 2/1/15, p.D1)(Econ, 2/7/15, p.86)
2015 Mar 6, US regulators gave
a green light to sales of the country's first copied version of a
biotechnology drug, or "biosimilar," with approval of Novartis'
white blood cell-boosting Zarxio.
2015 Apr 23, Global scientists
renewed calls to halt controversial research to genetically edit
human embryos after a Chinese team published details a day earlier
of a stunted but breakthrough attempt in this new frontier in
2015 May 18, A team led by
researchers at UC Berkeley reported the steps to make morphine in
the lab with genetically engineered yeast.
(SFC, 5/19/15, p.A7)
2015 May 28, In Spain
biochemists Emmanuelle Charpentier from France and Jennifer Doudna
from the United States were awarded the Princess of Asturias
scientific research award for their work in biotechnology.