Press review

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German biotechs flock to Boston, Massachusetts

Country : Germany, U.S.

Keywords :
BERLIN, 15 June (APM) - Anyone who wants to become something in the field of biotech, especially if they want to start a company, leaves Germany and goes to Boston or Cambridge, Massachusetts, Handelsblatt reports on Friday (p66-67).
Germans have fared well in Boston, having received the "Massachusetts Foreign Entrepreneur of the Year in Life Science," award for the last two years, the paper says.
The recipients were Michael Koeris, founder of Sample 6, which identifies dangerous bacteria on vegetables and fruit before they reach customers, and Johannes Fruehauf, founder of Cequent Pharmaceuticals, which develops drugs in inflammatory and cancer indications and was sold to Marina Biotech for $50 million in 2010.
The biggest difference between Germany and the area around Boston is the "speed" and the competition. In order to survive, entrepreneurs have to know where they want to go, it said.
According to U.S. industry organisation MassBio, more than 63,000 people work for roughly 1,000 biotech companies in the state of Massachusetts alone. This is more than in the entire industry in Germany, where there are 647 companies and around 25,000 employees, the paper says.

German investors fear losing biotech 'diamonds'

German investors are worried about losing biotech "diamonds", the German Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVK) has said and Die Welt reports on Friday (p13).
Immuno-oncology biotech Rigontec, bought by Meck & Co in September 2017 (APMHE 54576), is one example of the intensifying "sell-off of German technology", said BVK's board spokesperson Regina Hodits.
German money is lacking, especially in later growth phases, when investments of more than €50 million are involved.
"We have to break several vicious circles in order to stop a downward spiral made of lack of capital and migration of start-ups outside Europe," she said.

Pharma-chemical trade union demands 7% income increase

The German union for mining, chemicals and energy (IG BCE) wants the 580,000 employees of the chemicals and pharmaceutical industry to receive a total 7% wage increase in the upcoming collective bargaining round, reports FAZ on Friday (p21).
Under the package, monthly wages would increase by 6% and holiday pay would rise from €613 to €1,200 euros. In addition, the union wants to negotiate with employers about new rules for working time organisation and qualifications in order to better equip the industry for digital change.
The Federal Employers' Association of the Chemical Industry (BAVC) demanded a "sense of proportion instead of 7%". IG-BCE negotiator Ralf Sikorski, however, sees no contradiction in this: "The industry is "bursting with strength, plant capacity utilisation is at record levels. The employees deserved a "fair pay increase".

Sanofi Hoechst's HR and head in 'constructive dialogue' with trade unions

Head of human resources and organisation of the Hoechst location of Sanofi Germany, Oliver Coenenberg, is conducting a "constructive dialogue" with trade unions, he told FAZ on Saturday (p41).
Coenenberg was appointed in January at a difficult time, since he has to cut more than 200 permanent jobs on the site (APMHE 55741).
The German "co-determination" model - with representatives of employees being members of the supervisory board - needs to be explained over and over outside of Germany, Coenenberg said.
"Co-determination is not understood internationally and needs explanation. But this is paying off," says Coenenberg.

Two brothers with orphan disease in exploratory trial in Germany

Two brothers with orphan disease chorea acanthocytosis (ChAc) are testing a leukaemia treatment for a year in a trial conducted at the Centre for Regenerative Therapies in Dresden (CRTD), with positive results, reported FAZ on Sunday (p21).
After nine months, one patient can stand on tiptoe again and his reflexes have returned whereas the second one's memory has improved and the disease "has not got worse". However, neurologist Andreas Hermann remains cautious in his prognosis since ChAc is "a slowly progressing disease".
They are the first patients worldwide to test the drug. As no pharmaceutical company agreed to provide the drug for free, the treatment costs - €3,500 per person per month - were at first partly covered by the CRTD. After long negotiations, the health insurance company will now pay the rest, the paper said.

Sanofi plays catch-up

After a slow start, Sanofi hopes to make a dent in the market for cancer immunotherapies, Die Welt (p10) wrote on Thursday. (APMHE 58507)
The pharma is well on its way to gaining a solid position in the field and is currently working on 10 new cancer drugs. Only one of them has so far made it to the approval process in the U.S. and Europe, the paper said.

New guidelines for ADHD drugs

New German guidelines for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) will recommend drug treatment for children with moderately severe conditions, SZ reveals on Friday (p14).
Until now prescriptions were only valid for children with a severe form of the disorder and only behavourial therapy was recommended in first line for moderately severe conditions.
Pills for ADHD have been a "hot topic" in Germany for years, the paper said. It can be expected that the new recommendations will be controversial, it added.
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