Collaborative Research Initiative to Advance Innovation in Oncology

JEAN-CHARLES SORIA | May 31, 2019 | 15 views

Collaboration is core to our science and evident in everything we do – from the papers we publish, to the operational tone in our labs, to the partnerships we establish across industry and academia worldwide. And starting in 2019, AstraZeneca is doubling down on its commitment to collaboration – in a very big way.

Spotlight

SHJ Hospital Pipelines Limited

Formed in 1967 to supply medical pipelines to NHS hospitals in London and the South East of England, SHJ Hospital Pipelines Ltd has grown into one of the most respected companies supplying to the NHS. Health estates have benefited from our expertise and many Estates Managers have recognised our commitment to quality. Products we have currently, EVOLUTION – for remotely monitored medical gas alarms, and EMPOWER– an intelligent medical gas plant control system under Products.

OTHER ARTICLES

Advancement in Genomics Accelerating its Penetration into Precision Health

Article | September 13, 2019

Genomics is an interdisciplinary field of biology emphasizing the structure, editing, evolution, function, and mapping of genomes. It is creating deeper inroads across the precision health domain with the increasing introduction of advanced technologies such as quantum simulation, next-generation sequencing (NGS), and precise genome manipulation. As precision health focuses on providing the proper intervention to the right patient at the right time, genomics increasingly finds applications in human and pathogen genome sequencing in clinical and research spaces. Rising Hereditary Diseases Burden Paving the Way for Genomics in Precision Health In the last few years, a significant surge in the prevalence of diseases and ailments such as diabetes, obesity, baldness, and others has been witnessed across the globe. A history of family members with chronic diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, hearing issues, and heart disease, can sometimes continue into the next generation. Hence, the study of genes is extensively being conducted for predicting health risks and early treatment of these diseases. It also finds use in CRISPR-based diagnostics and the preparation of precision medication for the individual. In addition, ongoing advancements in genomics are making it possible to identify different genetic traits that persuade people to more widespread diseases and health problems. The Emergence of Genomics Improves Disease Understanding Genomics refers to the study of the complete genetic makeup of a cell or organism. Increasing scientific research in the area substantially contributes to increasing knowledge about the human genome and assists in improving the ability to understand disease etiology, risk, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. On account of these improvements, innovative genomic technologies and tools are being developed to enable better precision health not only for the individual but for various regional populations as well. The Way Forward With growing preference for personalized medicine and an increasing need for more accurate pathogen detection and diagnostics, genomics is gaining huge popularity across the precision health domain. Also, increasing research activities for developing novel high-precision therapeutics and rising importance of gene study in the prevention, diagnosis, and management of infectious and genetic diseases will further pave the way for genomics in the forthcoming years.

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Top 10 biotech IPOs in 2019

Article | September 13, 2019

The big question at the start of 2019 was whether the IPO window would stay open for biotech companies, particularly those seeking to pull off ever-larger IPOs at increasingly earlier stages of development. The short answer is yes—kind of. Here’s the long answer: In the words of Renaissance Capital, the IPO market had “a mostly good year.” The total number of deals fell to 159 from 192 the year before, but technology and healthcare companies were standout performers. The latter—which include biotech, medtech and diagnostics companies—led the pack, making up 43% of all IPOs in 2019. By Renaissance’s count, seven companies went public at valuations exceeding $1 billion, up from five the year before

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Cell Out? Lysate-Based Expression an Option for Personalized Meds

Article | April 19, 2020

Cell-free expression (CFE) is the practice of making a protein without using a living cell. In contrast with cell line-based methods, production is achieved using a fluid containing biological components extracted from a cell, i.e., a lysate. CFE offers potential advantages for biopharma according to Philip Probert, PhD, a senior scientist at the Centre for Process Innovation in the U.K.

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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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Spotlight

SHJ Hospital Pipelines Limited

Formed in 1967 to supply medical pipelines to NHS hospitals in London and the South East of England, SHJ Hospital Pipelines Ltd has grown into one of the most respected companies supplying to the NHS. Health estates have benefited from our expertise and many Estates Managers have recognised our commitment to quality. Products we have currently, EVOLUTION – for remotely monitored medical gas alarms, and EMPOWER– an intelligent medical gas plant control system under Products.

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Bicycle Therapeutics Announces Expansion of Genentech Immuno-Oncology Collaboration

Bicycle Therapeutics | October 26, 2021

Bicycle Therapeutics plc a biotechnology company pioneering a new and differentiated class of therapeutics based on its proprietary bicyclic peptide (Bicycle®) technology, today announced that Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, has exercised an option to initiate a new program, expanding the exclusive strategic collaboration agreement with Bicycle to discover, develop and commercialize novel Bicycle®-based immuno-oncology therapies. Bicycle and Genentech are collaborating on the discovery and pre-clinical development of novel Bicycle-based immunotherapies against multiple targets. Pursuant to the terms of the February 2020 agreement, Genentech has exercised an option to include a new program under the agreement, triggering a $10 million payment to Bicycle. None of the compounds in Bicycle’s wholly owned oncology pipeline, including its immuno-oncology candidates, are included in the collaboration. “We are pleased both with the progress achieved so far in our ongoing work with Genentech and that Genentech has elected to exercise an option to add a new program under the collaboration. We believe the expansion of our collaboration underscores the potential utility of Bicycles compared to other modalities, as well as the potential broad applicability of Bicycles in a wide-range of targets “We look forward to continuing to work closely with the preeminent immuno-oncology team at Genentech to develop potential new cancer treatments based on Bicycles.” Kevin Lee, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Bicycle Therapeutics About Bicycle Therapeutics Bicycle Therapeutics (NASDAQ: BCYC) is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing a novel class of medicines, referred to as Bicycles, for diseases that are underserved by existing therapeutics. Bicycles are fully synthetic short peptides constrained with small molecule scaffolds to form two loops that stabilize their structural geometry. This constraint facilitates target binding with high affinity and selectivity, making Bicycles attractive candidates for drug development. Bicycle is evaluating BT5528, a second-generation Bicycle Toxin Conjugate (BTC™) targeting EphA2, and BT8009, a second-generation BTC™ targeting Nectin-4, a well-validated tumor antigen, in company-sponsored Phase I/II trials. In addition, BT1718, a BTC™ that targets MT1-MMP, is being investigated in an ongoing Phase I/IIa clinical trial sponsored by the Centre for Drug Development of Cancer Research UK. Bicycle is headquartered in Cambridge, UK, with many key functions and members of its leadership team located in Lexington, MA. For more information, visit bicycletherapeutics.com. Forward Looking Statements This press release may contain forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements may be identified by words such as “aims,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “could,” “estimates,” “expects,” “forecasts,” “goal,” “intends,” “may,” “plans,” “possible,” “potential,” “seeks,” “will” and variations of these words or similar expressions that are intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain these words. Forward-looking statements in this press release include, but are not limited to, statements regarding Bicycle’s collaboration with Genentech; the discovery, development and potential commercialization of potential product candidates using Bicycle’s technology and under the collaboration agreement; the therapeutic potential for Bicycles in immuno-oncology and other applications; and the potential to receive milestone payments and royalties under the strategic collaboration agreement. Bicycle may not actually achieve the plans, intentions or expectations disclosed in these forward-looking statements, and you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. Actual results or events could differ materially from the plans, intentions and expectations disclosed in these forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including: the risk that Bicycle may not realize the intended benefits of its technology or of the collaboration agreement with Genentech, including that Bicycle and Genentech may not successfully identify, develop and commercialize additional product candidates; the risk that Bicycle may not be able to maintain its collaboration with Genentech and realize the benefits thereof; and other important factors, any of which could cause Bicycle’s actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, are described in greater detail in the section entitled “Risk Factors” in Bicycle’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on August 5, 2021, as well as in other filings Bicycle may make with the SEC in the future. Any forward-looking statements contained in this press release speak only as of the date hereof, and Bicycle expressly disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained herein, whether because of any new information, future events, changed circumstances or otherwise, except as otherwise required by law.

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CELL AND GENE THERAPY

Through Cutting-Edge mRNA and AI Technology Platforms, I-Mab Expands Its Emerging Portfolio of Next-Generation Novel Oncology Therapeutics

I-Mab | July 12, 2021

I-Mab, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical business dedicated to discovering, developing, and commercialization of novel biologics, announced today the signing of two new partnerships with Chinese emerging biotech firms to enhance its next-generation innovation pipeline. Collaborations with Immorna, an mRNA biotech company, and neoX Biotech, an AI-enabled R&D biotech company, provide I-Mab access to revolutionary technologies to search for new cancer treatments. I-Mab will create new anti-cancer antibody therapies using Immorna's ground-breaking self-replicating mRNA technology. Furthermore, I-Mab will collaborate with neoX Biotech on up to ten new biologics programs that will use neoX's unique artificial intelligence algorithm under a strategic partnership agreement. Today's announcement adds to the Company's existing collaboration agreements with Complix for a cell-penetrating antibody platform and Affinity for a masking antibody platform in March 2021, allowing it to continue expanding its globally competitive pipeline of next-generation antibody assets enabled by transformative technologies. The cooperation agreements specify that both partner firms will earn secret upfront and milestone payments. About I-Mab I-Mab is a global biotech business focused on discovering, developing and ultimate commercialization of new and highly distinct biologics in the immuno-oncology therapeutic space. Through drug discovery, the Company's goal is to deliver transformational medicines to patients all around the globe. I-internationally, Mab's competitive pipeline of more than 15 clinical and preclinical stage therapeutic candidates is driven by its internal R&D capabilities and global licensing agreements based on the Company's exclusive Fast-to-Proof-of-Concept and Fast-to-Market pipeline development methods. The Company is quickly transitioning from clinical-stage biotech to a fully integrated global biopharmaceutical company with cutting-edge global R&D capabilities, a world-class GMP manufacturing facility, and commercialization capacity. I-Mab has a global presence in Shanghai, Beijing, Hangzhou, Hong Kong in China, and Maryland and San Diego in the United States. About Immorna Immorna, founded in 2019, is a rapidly expanding biotech company focused on creating self-replicating and traditional mRNA-based therapeutics and vaccines. Immorna has developed a strong CMC platform for mRNA synthesis, purification, and analytical testing since its inception, and it is ideally suited for commercial development. In addition, Immorna has developed an arsenal of mRNA delivery vehicles using cutting-edge screening tools, including polymers and lipid nanoparticles containing multiple proprietary cationic lipids suited for intramuscular, intravenous, or tissue-targeting delivery. Immorna's pipeline is diverse, including cancer immunotherapy, infectious diseases, rare genetic disorders, and cosmetology. Immorna's oncology and infectious disease projects are nearing the clinical stage. Immorna's global presence includes Hangzhou, Shanghai in China, and Wilmington, DE in the United States. About neoX Biotech neoX Biotech is a next-generation biotech firm that focuses on computational design for novel drug research and development. neoX focuses on studying and developing macromolecular medicines and multi-specific drugs by combining artificial intelligence (AI), biophysics, and high-throughput experiments. neoX has created a highly transferable and sophisticated platform for early drug discovery via in-depth protein-protein interaction analysis (PPI). NeoX has shown preclinical success in a number of novel drug pipelines derived from this platform. Founded in 2018 by two physicians from MIT and Caltech, neoX has received over $100 million in funding from renowned venture capital firms such as Sequoia Capital China, 5Y Capital, Vision Plus Capital, Vertex Ventures, LYFE Capital, ZhenFund, and others.

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Researchers identify new way to make cancer self-destruct

Medicalxpress | July 01, 2019

For years, researchers have been trying to target a gene called MYC that is known to drive tumor growth in multiple cancer types when it is mutated or over-expressed, but hitting that target successfully has proven difficult. Now researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania have identified a new pathway that works as a partner to MYC and may be its Achilles' Heel. The pathway involves a protein called ATF4, and when it's blocked, it can cause cancer cells to produce too much protein and die. These findings in cell lines and mouse models could point the way toward a new therapeutic approach as inhibitors that can block synthesis of ATF4 already exist. The journal Nature Cell Biology published the findings today. MYC is a gene that controls normal cell growth, but when it is mutated or amplified in cancer, it sets off a chain reaction that helps tumors grow uncontrollably. While there is currently no specific way to target it, previous research has focused on blocking other steps in the chain as a workaround to impede tumor growth. The team, led by Constantinos Koumenis, Ph.D., the Richard Chamberlain Professor of Radiation Oncology and vice chair and research division director of Radiation Oncology, have previously shown that in certain tumors, one of these steps is regulated by a kinase called PERK, which activates ATF4. However, in this new study, they've shown that blocking PERK does not always stop tumor growth because MYC actually controls a second process that can work in parallel as a redundancy in the system. This study identified this second kinase, which is called GCN2.

Read More

INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Bicycle Therapeutics Announces Expansion of Genentech Immuno-Oncology Collaboration

Bicycle Therapeutics | October 26, 2021

Bicycle Therapeutics plc a biotechnology company pioneering a new and differentiated class of therapeutics based on its proprietary bicyclic peptide (Bicycle®) technology, today announced that Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, has exercised an option to initiate a new program, expanding the exclusive strategic collaboration agreement with Bicycle to discover, develop and commercialize novel Bicycle®-based immuno-oncology therapies. Bicycle and Genentech are collaborating on the discovery and pre-clinical development of novel Bicycle-based immunotherapies against multiple targets. Pursuant to the terms of the February 2020 agreement, Genentech has exercised an option to include a new program under the agreement, triggering a $10 million payment to Bicycle. None of the compounds in Bicycle’s wholly owned oncology pipeline, including its immuno-oncology candidates, are included in the collaboration. “We are pleased both with the progress achieved so far in our ongoing work with Genentech and that Genentech has elected to exercise an option to add a new program under the collaboration. We believe the expansion of our collaboration underscores the potential utility of Bicycles compared to other modalities, as well as the potential broad applicability of Bicycles in a wide-range of targets “We look forward to continuing to work closely with the preeminent immuno-oncology team at Genentech to develop potential new cancer treatments based on Bicycles.” Kevin Lee, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Bicycle Therapeutics About Bicycle Therapeutics Bicycle Therapeutics (NASDAQ: BCYC) is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing a novel class of medicines, referred to as Bicycles, for diseases that are underserved by existing therapeutics. Bicycles are fully synthetic short peptides constrained with small molecule scaffolds to form two loops that stabilize their structural geometry. This constraint facilitates target binding with high affinity and selectivity, making Bicycles attractive candidates for drug development. Bicycle is evaluating BT5528, a second-generation Bicycle Toxin Conjugate (BTC™) targeting EphA2, and BT8009, a second-generation BTC™ targeting Nectin-4, a well-validated tumor antigen, in company-sponsored Phase I/II trials. In addition, BT1718, a BTC™ that targets MT1-MMP, is being investigated in an ongoing Phase I/IIa clinical trial sponsored by the Centre for Drug Development of Cancer Research UK. Bicycle is headquartered in Cambridge, UK, with many key functions and members of its leadership team located in Lexington, MA. For more information, visit bicycletherapeutics.com. Forward Looking Statements This press release may contain forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements may be identified by words such as “aims,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “could,” “estimates,” “expects,” “forecasts,” “goal,” “intends,” “may,” “plans,” “possible,” “potential,” “seeks,” “will” and variations of these words or similar expressions that are intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain these words. Forward-looking statements in this press release include, but are not limited to, statements regarding Bicycle’s collaboration with Genentech; the discovery, development and potential commercialization of potential product candidates using Bicycle’s technology and under the collaboration agreement; the therapeutic potential for Bicycles in immuno-oncology and other applications; and the potential to receive milestone payments and royalties under the strategic collaboration agreement. Bicycle may not actually achieve the plans, intentions or expectations disclosed in these forward-looking statements, and you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. Actual results or events could differ materially from the plans, intentions and expectations disclosed in these forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including: the risk that Bicycle may not realize the intended benefits of its technology or of the collaboration agreement with Genentech, including that Bicycle and Genentech may not successfully identify, develop and commercialize additional product candidates; the risk that Bicycle may not be able to maintain its collaboration with Genentech and realize the benefits thereof; and other important factors, any of which could cause Bicycle’s actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, are described in greater detail in the section entitled “Risk Factors” in Bicycle’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on August 5, 2021, as well as in other filings Bicycle may make with the SEC in the future. Any forward-looking statements contained in this press release speak only as of the date hereof, and Bicycle expressly disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained herein, whether because of any new information, future events, changed circumstances or otherwise, except as otherwise required by law.

Read More

CELL AND GENE THERAPY

Through Cutting-Edge mRNA and AI Technology Platforms, I-Mab Expands Its Emerging Portfolio of Next-Generation Novel Oncology Therapeutics

I-Mab | July 12, 2021

I-Mab, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical business dedicated to discovering, developing, and commercialization of novel biologics, announced today the signing of two new partnerships with Chinese emerging biotech firms to enhance its next-generation innovation pipeline. Collaborations with Immorna, an mRNA biotech company, and neoX Biotech, an AI-enabled R&D biotech company, provide I-Mab access to revolutionary technologies to search for new cancer treatments. I-Mab will create new anti-cancer antibody therapies using Immorna's ground-breaking self-replicating mRNA technology. Furthermore, I-Mab will collaborate with neoX Biotech on up to ten new biologics programs that will use neoX's unique artificial intelligence algorithm under a strategic partnership agreement. Today's announcement adds to the Company's existing collaboration agreements with Complix for a cell-penetrating antibody platform and Affinity for a masking antibody platform in March 2021, allowing it to continue expanding its globally competitive pipeline of next-generation antibody assets enabled by transformative technologies. The cooperation agreements specify that both partner firms will earn secret upfront and milestone payments. About I-Mab I-Mab is a global biotech business focused on discovering, developing and ultimate commercialization of new and highly distinct biologics in the immuno-oncology therapeutic space. Through drug discovery, the Company's goal is to deliver transformational medicines to patients all around the globe. I-internationally, Mab's competitive pipeline of more than 15 clinical and preclinical stage therapeutic candidates is driven by its internal R&D capabilities and global licensing agreements based on the Company's exclusive Fast-to-Proof-of-Concept and Fast-to-Market pipeline development methods. The Company is quickly transitioning from clinical-stage biotech to a fully integrated global biopharmaceutical company with cutting-edge global R&D capabilities, a world-class GMP manufacturing facility, and commercialization capacity. I-Mab has a global presence in Shanghai, Beijing, Hangzhou, Hong Kong in China, and Maryland and San Diego in the United States. About Immorna Immorna, founded in 2019, is a rapidly expanding biotech company focused on creating self-replicating and traditional mRNA-based therapeutics and vaccines. Immorna has developed a strong CMC platform for mRNA synthesis, purification, and analytical testing since its inception, and it is ideally suited for commercial development. In addition, Immorna has developed an arsenal of mRNA delivery vehicles using cutting-edge screening tools, including polymers and lipid nanoparticles containing multiple proprietary cationic lipids suited for intramuscular, intravenous, or tissue-targeting delivery. Immorna's pipeline is diverse, including cancer immunotherapy, infectious diseases, rare genetic disorders, and cosmetology. Immorna's oncology and infectious disease projects are nearing the clinical stage. Immorna's global presence includes Hangzhou, Shanghai in China, and Wilmington, DE in the United States. About neoX Biotech neoX Biotech is a next-generation biotech firm that focuses on computational design for novel drug research and development. neoX focuses on studying and developing macromolecular medicines and multi-specific drugs by combining artificial intelligence (AI), biophysics, and high-throughput experiments. neoX has created a highly transferable and sophisticated platform for early drug discovery via in-depth protein-protein interaction analysis (PPI). NeoX has shown preclinical success in a number of novel drug pipelines derived from this platform. Founded in 2018 by two physicians from MIT and Caltech, neoX has received over $100 million in funding from renowned venture capital firms such as Sequoia Capital China, 5Y Capital, Vision Plus Capital, Vertex Ventures, LYFE Capital, ZhenFund, and others.

Read More

Researchers identify new way to make cancer self-destruct

Medicalxpress | July 01, 2019

For years, researchers have been trying to target a gene called MYC that is known to drive tumor growth in multiple cancer types when it is mutated or over-expressed, but hitting that target successfully has proven difficult. Now researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania have identified a new pathway that works as a partner to MYC and may be its Achilles' Heel. The pathway involves a protein called ATF4, and when it's blocked, it can cause cancer cells to produce too much protein and die. These findings in cell lines and mouse models could point the way toward a new therapeutic approach as inhibitors that can block synthesis of ATF4 already exist. The journal Nature Cell Biology published the findings today. MYC is a gene that controls normal cell growth, but when it is mutated or amplified in cancer, it sets off a chain reaction that helps tumors grow uncontrollably. While there is currently no specific way to target it, previous research has focused on blocking other steps in the chain as a workaround to impede tumor growth. The team, led by Constantinos Koumenis, Ph.D., the Richard Chamberlain Professor of Radiation Oncology and vice chair and research division director of Radiation Oncology, have previously shown that in certain tumors, one of these steps is regulated by a kinase called PERK, which activates ATF4. However, in this new study, they've shown that blocking PERK does not always stop tumor growth because MYC actually controls a second process that can work in parallel as a redundancy in the system. This study identified this second kinase, which is called GCN2.

Read More

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