For scientists at the bench, COVID-19 testing a daily ritual

In a pilot program, nearly 230 employees from a dozen biotech startups in Cambridge and Watertown, Mass. regularly visit the Broad Institute for COVID-19 testing. The Boston Globe’s Jonathan Saltzman reports that while much of the world has gone remote during the pandemic, biotech companies have been taking precautions to allow scientists back in the lab – from testing and wearing face masks to maintaining social distancing and working in shifts. Could the biotech community offer strategies for other industries seeking to reopen onsite work?

The (virtual) show must go on: ASCO 2020

Pharmaceutical Technology’s coverage on ASCO 2020, the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting, notes a shift in pharmaceutical developers’ focus from tissue-specific to tissue-agnostic drug development. As the use of next-generation sequencing and broad molecular profiling increases in diagnostic labs, targeting niche genetic aberrations with a broad label across multiple solid cancers could be an effective treatment option.

Critical considerations for COVID-19 vaccine development

If you have been infected or vaccinated for coronavirus, are you protected from getting sick again? Not necessarily. In new paper in Nature Biotechnology, co-authors George Church, SmartPharm Therapeutics CEO Jose Trevejo and researchers from HelixNano write that antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) of infection has been observed in coronaviruses. This means patients who have been infected or vaccinated can later be infected by another strain – and potentially suffer even more serious outcomes. “Careful design and testing of vaccines or alternative approaches to prophylaxis will be needed to prevent ADE,” they write.