Biotech M&A Theme Builds Momentum

| March 26, 2019

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The biotech sector has continued to participate in the market rally. One of the reasons is the strength in biopharma M&A activity, which provides unique support for valuations and particularly assists the small-and-midcap biotech companies. We briefly highlight some of the recent transactions and key events.

Spotlight

J. Craig Venter Institute

The J. Craig Venter Institute was formed in October 2006 through the merger of several affiliated and legacy organizations — The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) and The Center for the Advancement of Genomics (TCAG), The J. Craig Venter Science Foundation, The Joint Technology Center, and the Institute for Biological Energy Alternatives (IBEA). Today all these organizations have become one large multidisciplinary genomic-focused organization. With more than 250 scientists and staff, more than 250,000 square feet of laboratory space, and locations in Rockville, Maryland and La Jolla, California, JCVI is a world leader in genomic research.

OTHER ARTICLES

Wisconsin biotech companies could play key roles in long-term economic recovery from COVID-19 pandemic

Article | April 19, 2020

Whether it’s called a modern “Manhattan Project” or a medical moon shot, the concept of long-term economic recovery rests on how confident people are they won’t risk serious illness by venturing forth in public again. Wisconsin stands to be a significant part of such an undertaking, whatever it’s called. The shorter-term debate is well under way over the gradual lifting of COVID-19 emergency rules, such as the now-extended “safer-at-home” order in Wisconsin. At least a dozen states, including regional coalitions on the East and West coasts, are exploring next steps as they seek to balance responses to the virus with calls for reopening the economy, at least, in part. Wisconsin’s ability to shape longer-term responses will come from private and public resources, which range from companies engaged in production of diagnostics.

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Closing bacterial genomes from the human gut microbiome using long-read sequencing

Article | February 12, 2020

In our lab, we focus on the impact of the gut microbiome on human health and disease. To evaluate this relationship, it’s important to understand the particular functions that different bacteria have. As bacteria are able to exchange, duplicate, and rearrange their genes in ways that directly affect their phenotypes, complete bacterial genomes assembled directly from human samples are essential to understand the strain variation and potential functions of the bacteria we host. Advances in the microbiome space have allowed for the de novo assembly of microbial genomes directly from metagenomes via short-read sequencing, assembly of reads into contigs, and binning of contigs into putative genome drafts. This is advantageous because it allows us to discover microbes without culturing them, directly from human samples and without reference databases. In the past year, there have been a number of tour de force efforts to broadly characterize the human gut microbiota through the creation of such metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs)[1–4]. These works have produced hundreds of thousands of microbial genomes that vastly increase our understanding of the human gut. However, challenges in the assembly of short reads has limited our ability to correctly assemble repeated genomic elements and place them into genomic context. Thus, existing MAGs are often fragmented and do not include mobile genetic elements, 16S rRNA sequences, and other elements that are repeated or have high identity within and across bacterial genomes.

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5 Biotech Stocks Winning the Coronavirus Race

Article | April 13, 2020

There are quite a few companies that have found ways to grow their business during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This is especially true for a number of biotechs now working on developing a potential treatment for, or vaccine against, the virus; shares of such companies have largely surged over the past couple of months. Although many of these treatments and vaccines are still have quite a way to go before they're widely available, it's still worth taking some time to look through what's going on in the COVID-19 space right now. Here are five biotech stocks that are leading the way when it comes to addressing COVID-19. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:REGN) wasn't among the initial wave of companies to announce a potential COVID-19 drug. However, investor excitement quickly sent shares surging when the company announced that its rheumatoid arthritis drug, Kevzara, could help treat COVID-19 patients.

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Ruminating on Bioprocessing 4.0

Article | February 18, 2020

The Bioprocessing 4.0 concept seeks to apply automation and technology to the digital transformation of biologics manufacturing. As the paradigm moves forward, it faces barriers to its adoption, according to Eric Langer, president of BioPlan Associates. “Perhaps the greatest challenges involve unsecured links and adapting the applications to areas where automation is critically needed today,” says Langer. “Unresolved security issues could seriously affect a company’s data in a regulated environment, so they will need to have iron-clad anti-hacking protection in place. Unfortunately, cyber security is not yet a top focus for the industry.”

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Spotlight

J. Craig Venter Institute

The J. Craig Venter Institute was formed in October 2006 through the merger of several affiliated and legacy organizations — The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) and The Center for the Advancement of Genomics (TCAG), The J. Craig Venter Science Foundation, The Joint Technology Center, and the Institute for Biological Energy Alternatives (IBEA). Today all these organizations have become one large multidisciplinary genomic-focused organization. With more than 250 scientists and staff, more than 250,000 square feet of laboratory space, and locations in Rockville, Maryland and La Jolla, California, JCVI is a world leader in genomic research.

Events