Savants and Psychics, Beauty and Buddhists at Promega

A mathematical savant, virtual reality experts, renowned nature nature film-maker, well known author, “remote viewer” and assorted new-age folks were part of Promega’s BioPharmaceutical Technology Center’s annual forum on consciousness, Awakening Through Our Senses, that took place May 18-19. It was a mixed bag of amazing science and technology, unmatched beauty, the preposterous, odd and forgettable. There was something for everyone across the intellectual spectrum.

When the Title of a Stem Cell Conference Does Not Include the Words ‘Stem Cells,’ You Know the Field Has Matured

Have you ever seen your nieces or nephews or a high school friend after a ten year hiatus? You are amazed at how much they have changed. You wonder when did they grow up? It seemingly happened overnight and that is slightly disconcerting.

Time and absence can play that trick on science too. In April 2008, I reported in these “pages” on the Stem cell frontier on display at Promega. In that conference, UW Scientist, Jamie Thomson, gave an update on his recent discovery on how to turn fully differentiated, mature cells into new stem cells that could, via biological magic, turn into any different mature tissue cell type.

BreezoMeter Shows a Map of Real-Time Air Pollution in Big Cities

BreezoMeter has collected pollution data and created a way to build real-time air pollution maps for big cities.

The San Francisco company is launching an interactive map of air pollution based on data from real-time traffic information and other data sources, said Ziv Lautman, cofounder and chief marketing officer of BreezoMeter. You can use it to plot the safest path to work on your daily commute.

Wisconsin Tech Company Envision IT Aiming for First Place in Global Innovation Award Competition

It’s down to three from a potential pool of more than 10,000 companies in the global Innovation Award competition put on by IT solutions giant Citrix, and it was announced today that Madison, Wis.-based company Envision IT is among the three finalists. Nominees were judged on their use of technology to positively affect lives. Envision IT’s entry centered on its work with Exact Sciences, also headquartered in Madison, and how Envision IT’s services allowed rapid globalization of Exact Sciences’ early detection colorectal cancer screening test Cologuard thanks to secure, efficient, and easy-to-use technology for the diagnostic company’s international workforce. The winner will be announced January 11 at the 11th annual Citrix Summit in Anaheim, Calif.

You better watch out, you better not cry, pharma: Donald Trump is coming to town

Based on a recent TIME magazine interview with President-Elect Donald Trump, the pharmaceutical and life science industries may expect to find coal in their Christmas stocking, and tougher pricing constraints in 2017.

“I’m going to bring down drug prices,” Mr. Trump said, quoted on the TIME website naming him Person of the Year. “I don’t like what’s happened with drug prices.”

The not-so-precise side of precision medicine

The launch of the Precision Medicine Initiative in 2015, along with this year’s Cancer Moonshot, have touted the promise of genomic data for population health and more personalized diagnosis. As a result, more consumers are seeking genetic testing and more researchers are contributing to these initiatives. But the healthcare industry isn’t necessarily prepared for this shift.

Rise of ‘mission investing’ is trend companies should follow

The latest round of investment in Midwestern BioAg Inc. caught many eyes simply because of its size: The 33-year-old company has raised $21.3 million to continue a $40-million recapitalization that began in 2014.

It also deserved notice because of a phrase used to describe the role of two of its latest financiers: “Mission-related investments.”