Cell-free DNA NGS Assay May be Complementary to Solid Tissue Assays

KERRY COLLIGAN | August 16, 2016

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The availability of a next-generation sequencing (NGS) assay using cfDNA input is enabling cancer researchers to accelerate their work to help move the community closer to personalized medicine. We recently caught up with Andrew Felton to chat about his views on cell-free DNA (cfDNA) cancer research. The idea of detecting the mutations involved in cancer from a simple blood draw, has been an aspirational goal for the oncology community for a considerable period of time. I’m truly excited to see the realization of this dream come to fruition for cancer research, and for our team to contribute to this progress. It is really exciting and rewarding to finally be able offer a solution to the community, and then observe the ingenious work begin to be demonstrated and published by our customers.

Spotlight

ZZ Biotech, LLC

ZZ Biotech LLC is a clinical stage company developing innovative biologic treatments for ischemic stroke and other neurological diseases and wound healing applications including the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers. ZZ Biotech was incepted in 2006 to focus on the development of 3K3A-APC, a novel second-generation variant of a naturally occurring human protein licensed from The Scripps Research Institute. ZZ Biotech’s 3K3A-APC is a genetically engineered variant of recombinant APC, a serine protease. APC has two biochemical pathways in the body. APC exerts anticoagulant activity by inactivation of Factor Va and VIIIa, and it exerts cytoprotective activity primarily through interaction with the endothelial protein C receptor (EPCR) and protease-activated receptor-1 (PAR-1). 3K3A-APC was designed through elegant biochemistry and molecular biology as a safer, “bio-better” version of APC, with greatly reduced anti-coagulant activity.

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Making Predictions by Digitizing Bioprocessing

Article | April 20, 2021

With advances in data analytics and machine learning, the move from descriptive and diagnostic analytics to predictive and prescriptive analytics and controls—allowing us to better forecast and understand what will happen and thus optimize process outcomes—is not only feasible but inevitable, according to Bonnie Shum, principal engineer, pharma technical innovation, technology & manufacturing sciences and technology at Genentech. “Well-trained artificial intelligence systems can help drive better decision making and how data is analyzed from drug discovery to process development and to manufacturing processes,” she says. Those advances, though, only really matter when they improve the lives of patients. That’s exactly what Shum expects. “The convergence of digital transformation and operational/processing changes will be critical for the facilities of the future and meeting the needs of our patients,” she continues. “Digital solutions may one day provide fully automated bioprocessing, eliminating manual intervention and enabling us to anticipate potential process deviations to prevent process failures, leading to real-time release and thus faster access for patients.” To turn Bioprocessing 4.0 into a production line for precision healthcare, real-time release and quickly manufacturing personalized medicines will be critical. Adding digitization and advanced analytics wherever possible will drive those improvements. In fact, many of these improvements, especially moving from descriptive to predictive bioprocessing, depend on more digitization.

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5 Biotech Stocks Winning the Coronavirus Race

Article | April 20, 2021

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

Article | April 20, 2021

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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2 Small-Cap Biotech Stocks You Haven't Heard of, But Should Know About

Article | April 20, 2021

With everything that's going on with the COVID-19 pandemic, many healthcare companies have grabbed plenty of spotlight during these challenging times. At the same time, a number of otherwise promising businesses have slipped under the radar. That's especially true for small-cap biotech stocks that aren't actively involved in developing tests, vaccines or treatments for COVID-19. Vaccine developers, protective equipment producers, and healthcare service providers are all attracting plenty of attention during this pandemic, but there are just as many promising biotech stocks that aren't involved in these areas. Here are two such companies that you might have missed, but they deserve a spot on your watch list.

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Spotlight

ZZ Biotech, LLC

ZZ Biotech LLC is a clinical stage company developing innovative biologic treatments for ischemic stroke and other neurological diseases and wound healing applications including the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers. ZZ Biotech was incepted in 2006 to focus on the development of 3K3A-APC, a novel second-generation variant of a naturally occurring human protein licensed from The Scripps Research Institute. ZZ Biotech’s 3K3A-APC is a genetically engineered variant of recombinant APC, a serine protease. APC has two biochemical pathways in the body. APC exerts anticoagulant activity by inactivation of Factor Va and VIIIa, and it exerts cytoprotective activity primarily through interaction with the endothelial protein C receptor (EPCR) and protease-activated receptor-1 (PAR-1). 3K3A-APC was designed through elegant biochemistry and molecular biology as a safer, “bio-better” version of APC, with greatly reduced anti-coagulant activity.

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