Could hacking the immune system cure allergies?

SANDRINE CEURSTEMONT | January 24, 2019

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Scientists are redesigning natural allergens to help the immune system defend against them, in a move that could eliminate the side effects and lifelong medication of treating allergies the most common chronic condition in Europe. More than 150 million Europeans suffer from allergies and this number is on the rise due to triggers such as growing pollution. By 2025, one in every two people in the EU could be affected by allergies, according to the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Spotlight

BlueRock Therapeutics

BlueRock Therapeutics is an engineered cell therapy company with a mission to develop regenerative medicines for intractable diseases. BlueRock’s Cell+Gene platform harnesses the power of cells for new medicines across neurology, cardiology and autoimmune indications. BlueRock’s cell differentiation technology recapitulates the cell’s developmental biology to produce native cell therapies which are further engineered for additional function. Utilizing these cell therapies to replace damaged or degenerated tissue brings the potential to restore or regenerate lost function. BlueRock was founded in 2016 by Versant Ventures and capitalized with one of the largest-ever Series A financings in biotech history by Bayer AG and Versant. BlueRock’s culture is defined by scientific innovation, the highest ethical standards and an urgency to bring transformative treatments to all who would benefit. The company strives to be a top employer of scientific talent, empowering every member of the team to

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Biotech: Finding The DNA For Success

Article | April 3, 2020

The integration of artificial intelligence within life sciences is making drug discovery and development more innovative, less labor intensive and more cost-effective, says Deloitte’s annual global outlook. According to Deloitte’s 2020 Global Life Sciences Outlook, the biotech sector is at an inflection point. To prepare for the future and remain relevant in the ever-evolving business landscape, biopharma and medtech organizations will be looking for new ways to create value and new metrics to make sense of today’s wealth of data, the report overview says. As data-driven technologies provide biopharma and medtech organizations with treasure troves of information, and automation takes over some mundane tasks, new talent models are emerging based on purpose and meaning. The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning approaches within life sciences is making drug discovery and development more innovative, time-effective and cost-effective, the Deloitte report states.

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Selexis Cell Line Development Strategies

Article | April 3, 2020

In today’s biotechnology landscape, to be competitive, meet regulations, and achieve market demands, “we must apply Bioprocessing 4.0,” said Igor Fisch, PhD, CEO, Selexis. In fact, in the last decade, “Selexis has evolved from cloning by limiting dilution to automated cell selection to nanofluidic chips and from monoclonality assessment by statistical calculation to proprietary bioinformatic analysis,” he added. Single-use processing systems are an expanding part of the biomanufacturing world; as such, they are a major component of Bioprocessing 4.0. “At Selexis, we use single use throughout our cell line development workflow. Currently, we have incorporated single-use automated bioprocessing systems such as ambr® and the Beacon® optofluidic platform for accelerated cell line development. By using these systems and optimizing our parameters, we were able to achieve high titers in shake flasks. Additionally, the Beacon systems integrate miniaturized cell culture with high-throughput liquid handling automation and cell imaging. This allows us to control, adjust, and monitor programs at the same time,” noted Fisch.

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Learning How FoxA2 Helps Turn Stem Cells into Organs

Article | April 3, 2020

Scientists at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania discovered early on in each cell, FoxA2 simultaneously binds to both the chromosomal proteins and the DNA, opening the flood gates for gene activation. The discovery, “Gene network transitions in embryos depend upon interactions between a pioneer transcription factor and core histones,” published in Nature Genetics, helps untangle mysteries of how embryonic stem cells develop into organs, according to the researchers. “Gene network transitions in embryos and other fate-changing contexts involve combinations of transcription factors. A subset of fate-changing transcription factors act as pioneers; they scan and target nucleosomal DNA and initiate cooperative events that can open the local chromatin. However, a gap has remained in understanding how molecular interactions with the nucleosome contribute to the chromatin-opening phenomenon,” write the investigators.

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Ruminating on Bioprocessing 4.0

Article | April 3, 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

BlueRock Therapeutics

BlueRock Therapeutics is an engineered cell therapy company with a mission to develop regenerative medicines for intractable diseases. BlueRock’s Cell+Gene platform harnesses the power of cells for new medicines across neurology, cardiology and autoimmune indications. BlueRock’s cell differentiation technology recapitulates the cell’s developmental biology to produce native cell therapies which are further engineered for additional function. Utilizing these cell therapies to replace damaged or degenerated tissue brings the potential to restore or regenerate lost function. BlueRock was founded in 2016 by Versant Ventures and capitalized with one of the largest-ever Series A financings in biotech history by Bayer AG and Versant. BlueRock’s culture is defined by scientific innovation, the highest ethical standards and an urgency to bring transformative treatments to all who would benefit. The company strives to be a top employer of scientific talent, empowering every member of the team to

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