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San Diego biotech news from BioSpace, Xconomy, PR Newswire, Marketwired and other sources, click on headlines to read the full story.

Catalyst-Where-You-Want-It Method Expands Possibilities for New Drug Development

November 17, 2014 – 1:00 am | Edit Post

The new method from the Yu lab overcomes a major limitation of previous methods for creating and modifying organic compounds.

The Backwards Brain? Study Shows How Brain Maps Develop to Help Us Perceive the World

November 17, 2014 – 1:00 am | Edit Post

The research from the Cline lab could have implications for treating sensory processing disorders such as autism and offers possibilities for retraining the brain, for instance after stroke.

Scientists Unveil New Targets and Test to Develop Treatments for Memory Disorders

November 17, 2014 – 1:00 am | Edit Post

Two studies from the Puthanveettil lab could lead to new approaches to diseases facing a rapidly aging world population, such as Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s diseases and dementia.

Snapshot: Staff Counselor Diana Bull

November 17, 2014 – 1:00 am | Edit Post

Meet Diana Bull, who joined Scripps California in June.

ICYMI: An astronomer’s windfall, cheers at the Salk

November 14, 2014 – 8:51 pm | Edit Post

Review U-T San Diego’s Week in Science and Technology

Device Maker Says Ebola Patient Recovered After Blood Filtration

November 14, 2014 – 9:10 am | Edit Post

As the global death toll from the current Ebola outbreak officially hit 5,147 this week, a San Diego medical device company is reporting promising findings in the treatment of one infected patient….

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Ebola virus level falls after Aethlon treatment

November 14, 2014 – 9:10 am | Edit Post

Level drops from 400,000 to 1,000 per milliliter of blood, medical society report says.

Tocagen Appoints Faheem Hasnain as Chairman of the Board of Directors

November 14, 2014 – 6:00 am | Edit Post

SAN DIEGO, Nov. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ – Tocagen Inc., a clinical-stage selective cancer immunotherapy company, today announced that Faheem Hasnain, president and chief executive officer of Receptos, Inc. (Nasdaq: RCPT), has been appointed as chairman of the board of directors.

“Faheem’s impressive track record and extensive experience leading the development and commercialization of novel oncology and immunology drugs brings valuable insight and strategic guidance to Tocagen as we advance towards late-stage clinical trials of Toca 511 and Toca FC in patients with high grade glioma,” said Harry Gruber, M.D., chief executive officer of Tocagen. “We are delighted that Faheem has joined us as chairman of the board.” 

Added Mr. Hasnain, “Tocagen has an excellent scientific foundation and an exciting future for its lead- and second generation-gene therapies that are designed to help cancer patients activate their immune systems to fight their cancers. I look forward to working closely with Harry, the board and the Tocagen leadership team to contribute to the continued growth and success of the company.”

Mr. Hasnain is a distinguished industry leader with over 30 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry. Presently, he serves as chairman of the board of Sente, Inc. Previously, he was chairman of the board of Ambit Biosciences Corporation, acquired by Daiichi Sankyo Company, and he served on the board of directors of Seragon Pharmaceuticals, acquired by Roche; Aragon Pharmaceuticals, acquired by Johnson & Johnson; and Tercica, Inc., acquired by Ipsen.

Prior to joining Receptos, Mr. Hasnain was the president and chief executive officer and a director of Facet Biotech, an antibody company acquired by Abbott Laboratories with a focus on multiple sclerosis and oncology. Before Facet Biotech was spun off from PDL BioPharma, Inc., Mr. Hasnain was president, chief executive officer and a director of PDL BioPharma. Prior to this position, Mr. Hasnain held various roles at Biogen Idec Inc., most recently serving as executive vice president of the oncology/rheumatology strategic business unit. Prior to this role, Mr. Hasnain held roles with Bristol-Myers Squibb, where he was president of the Oncology Therapeutics Network, as well as GlaxoSmithKline and its predecessor organizations.

About Tocagen Inc.

Tocagen is a clinical-stage selective cancer immunotherapy company pursuing discovery, development and commercialization of gene therapy drugs using a novel retroviral replicating vector platform. These therapies are designed to help patients fight their cancer by locally activating their immune system selectively against their cancer, with subsequent systemic benefit. 

Tocagen has received grant support from leading brain cancer foundations, including Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2), National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS), American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA), Musella Foundation and Voices Against Brain Cancer (VABC). For more information about Tocagen or Toca 511 & Toca FC please visit www.tocagen.com or www.clinicaltrials.gov using the identifier NCT01470794, NCT01156584 or NCT01985256.

About Toca 511 & Toca FC

Toca 511 & Toca FC, the company’s lead investigational combination product, is being evaluated in three clinical trials in patients with recurrent high grade glioma, including glioblastoma (GBM). Toca 511 & Toca FC is designed to have a dual mechanism of action.  Toca 511 delivers a prodrug-activating gene selectively to cancer cells. Then the prodrug-activating enzyme produced in the cancer cell activates orally administered Toca FC, an extended-release formulation of 5-fluorocytosine (5-FC), into a powerful antimetabolite, 5-FU, selectively in the cancer. The production of 5-FU locally kills tumor cells, which leads to prolonged and selective anticancer immune responses in animal models. Data from ongoing clinical trials show encouraging safety and tolerability, antitumor activity, and evidence to support the proposed mechanism of action. Based on these data the company is now planning to commence late stage clinical trials in patients with high grade glioma.
SOURCE Tocagen Inc.

Essentialis To Present Clinical Update At The

November 14, 2014 – 5:00 am | Edit Post

CARLSBAD, Calif., Nov. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ –Essentialis announced today that Dr. Neil M. Cowen, President and Chief Scientific Officer, will be presenting a summary of interim results of clinical study PC025 on November 16, 2014 at the Annual Research…

Tocagen Inc. Appoints As Chairman Of The Board Of Directors

November 14, 2014 – 5:00 am | Edit Post

SAN DIEGO, Nov. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ –Tocagen Inc., a clinical-stage selective cancer immunotherapy company, today announced that Faheem Hasnain, president and chief executive officer of Receptos, Inc. (Nasdaq…