Informex Turns 30 in MiamiRead More
UBM’s Informex celebrated its 30th Birthday in Miami Beach last week, with 3,500 visitors and 450 exhibitors from the best pharmaceutical, fine chemical and specialty chemical companies from around the globe.
The show spanned over four days, and included exhibitor showcases, panel discussions, networking events and even a house build project… This year Informex stepped up its digital presence with an active presence on Twitter, and a useful new mobile app that kept visitors up to date with activities, contacts, schedules and news.
The show kicked off on the first day with exhibitor showcases from industry-leaders including DSM Technology, Johnson Matthey, Ash Stevens, CML and Chiral Quest. Across town, in Fort Lauderdale, visitors and exhibitors from more than 20 different companies (including our very own @PeterAtNotch) took part in Habitat for Humanity’s 3rd annual workday (organised by Rx-360 and Codexis)- getting their hands dirty, and helping to build a house for a family in need. You can read more about the H4H event on SOCMA’s blog by clicking here.
With Breaking Bad taking the world by storm, Dr. Donna Nelson, the scientific advisor for the hit US show, got Wednesday under way by sharing her experience working with the writers and production team with the eager crowd at the lecture theatre. Responding to an article in C&EN where Vince Gilligan called for scientific advice, Nelson spotted the opportunity to help educate and interest young generations in chemistry, and played a key advisory role to the writing team.
Other lectures explored topics on the chemical supply chain, IP, trade barriers for chemical manufacturers, trends and opportunities for chemical manufacturers and green chemistry. Interestingly, this year’s show attracted a slightly wider market, with lectures on printed electronics and 3D printing, and new exhibitors, including XRCC (Xerox Research Centre of Canada).
Thursday morning’s panel ‘Creating value in partnerships between pharma and technology providers’ moderated by Greg Hughes, VP of Alliance and New Customers at Codexis, brought together representatives from Merck, Codexis, Chiral Quest and Teva to discuss the key factors in successful partnerships. Chris Savile, Associate Director of Business Development at Codexis reinforced the need for trust and flexibility, and a truly collaborative approach.
In the news, Informex and CPhI announced at the show that they have joined forces to produce CPhI Pharma Insights market report. “The report will provide European perspectives on the accessibility, growth and export market in the USA and is designed to encourage and increase trade harmonisation between the two major pharma economies of the world” (source).
Informex will return to its spiritual home in New Orleans next year, February 3rd-6th.
30 Years of Macintosh!Read More
January 24th 1984, Steve Jobs took to the Flint Centre (Cupertino, CA) stage to unveil the future of computing. It was the first personal computer to feature a graphical user interface.
Pulled from a zipped up bag came a chunky but small, beige box called simply ‘Apple Macintosh’. It sold for $2,495 and the CPU speed was just 8MHz, with 128K RAM of memory. Soon after its release it was deemed insufficient, little did they know that this was the beginning of a timeline of innovation that would change the world… all with the click of a mouse.
Today, 30 years on, we take a nostalgic look back with Apple to reflect on how the small chunky box came to evolve into a sleek 27” flat screen that holds up to 3TB.
As pioneers, Apple has always been positioned as ahead of the game, innovative beyond your wildest dreams. Early Apple employee Randy Wigginton describes the Macintosh as a “quantum leap forward” in terms of making “everything very accessible and smooth. It was the first computer people would play with and say: That’s cool.”” (Source: Metro Friday January 24th 2014)
Apple itself delivered the Macintosh with a promise. The promise that the ‘power of technology taken from a few and put in the hands of everyone, could change the world.’ So intuitive and easy to use, that anyone could use it. It has become a universal tool for creatives to get ideas out of their heads. A universal tool for making the impossible possible. As Dr. Maki Sugimoto states In Apple’s ‘30 years of innovation’ video, “With its release it inspired people to think what’s possible, and that made people do better work.” Apple has listened and engaged with its audience to really gain perspective of what’s needed and what’s not needed, then create new technology and release it to the world, generating excitement every time.
The years after the release of the original Macintosh saw newer models with higher memory, faster CPU speed and the insertion of the floppy disk drive. Then finally in February 1993 Apple launched the first Macintosh with a colour screen. It was called the Macintosh Color and boasted 512×384-pixel colour, 10” monitor. The next big thing for Apple Computers came in 1998 when they redesigned and renamed the Macintosh to iMac. It used up-to-date technology and had 233 MHz, 32MB of RAM, a 4GB hard drive, a 24x CD-ROM, Ethernet, stereo speakers and a 15” monitor! The brand new look was an egg shape, and half of it was encased in a translucent coloured plastic case and was only available in the colour ‘Bondi Blue’. Following on from this popular release they brought out newer, faster, bigger memory versions in new colours.
January 7th 2002 was the birth of the flat screen iMac. Apple also brought out the new keyboard with white keys and grey letters, a change from the previous hard-to-read black keys with grey letters. In the following years they changed the materials it was made from and the available sizes of screen. With every generation, the Mac reimagines what a computer can be. The newest version of iMac has a LED-backlit display, which provides more accurate colours on the monitor and allows lower power consumption.
As a Digital Account Executive in a creative agency, I’m highly passionate about Macs and all things Apple! The first experience I had of Apple came in the form of my friend’s MacBook in around 2005. She booted it up and I was (and still am) completely in awe with the technology Apple brings.
With the past 30 years of Apple being so exciting, I cannot wait to see what the next 30 years bring!
Happy Birthday, Mac!
Bacteriophages: weapons against bacteriaRead More
A recent BBC Radio 4 programme introduced an interesting alternative to antibiotics for treatment of bacterial infections. This was to use viruses that naturally infect the bacteria that infect us.
Most people have probably heard the term ‘antibiotic resistance‘, but they may be less familiar with what it means, how much of a problem it is, and what is being done about it. The problem is bacteria are becoming more and more resistant to the antibiotics we throw at them. This is through misuse by patients and by over prescribing by doctors. If a patient does not finish a course of antibiotics, the resistant bacteria may survive, multiply and spread. To exacerbate the issue, no new classes of antibiotics have been found since 1987.
England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies recently published a book suggesting that we are facing an ‘apocalyptic’ threat from antibiotic resistant superbugs. The World Health Organisation has estimated that antibiotics, on average, add 20 years to our lives. Dame Davies’ solution would be to increase hygiene measures in hospitals, to limit the current use of antibiotics, and to make it a priority to find new antibiotics.
In the past, new antibiotics have been found by looking amongst the bacteria themselves and the mechanisms they use to attack one another. However, another natural source and a potential alternative to traditional antibiotics would be to look at viruses that infect bacteria. Viruses that specifically infect bacterium are known as bacteriophages.
Dr Martha Clokie from The University of Leicester has been carrying out research into bacteriophages and their phage-derived products, which could be used to treat antibiotic resistant bacterial infections such as Clostridium Difficile. In an interview for BBC Inside Science Dr Clokie described how bacteriophages were discovered in the early 1900s, and were commonly used in Russia until the 1980s. In the West, bacteriophages were used until about the 1940s, but as soon as antibiotics were discovered their use was phased out. This was because antibiotics were seen as being much less complicated to use.
The very thing that led to their disuse – their specificity – is one reason why bacteriophages could be such a good alternative to antibiotics. The specificity of a bacteriophage for a particular species of bacteria means that phages have fewer side effects than antibiotics. For example, when you take antibiotics to cure an infection in the gut, the antibiotic will kill many of the non-pathogenic commensal bacteria normally found in the gut, as well as the bacterium that was causing the problem. Wiping out gut commensal bacteria could allow more sinister strains to take their place. The non-pathogenic bacteria that normally reside in the gut, work in synergy with the body aiding digestion, and playing a role in gut immunity. Therefore, the specificity of bacteriophages is now seen as a benefit.
A large amount of research is being carried out to determine how bacteriophages target bacteria, how they kill them, and what proteins they express that block different parts of bacterial growth. The focus of much of the research is to identify bacteriophages or phage proteins that target bacteria, which are known to have developed resistance to certain antibiotics. Examples of resistant bacteria include Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Clostridium Difficile, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Escherichia coli.
Bacteriophage research has already reached the clinic. Clinical trials are underway using phages for treatment of chronic ear infections caused by antibiotic resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa. There is a good chance that in the next 10 years, we could be given a bacteriophage by our GP rather than a traditional antibiotic to treat well known bacterial infections.