INDUSTRIAL IMPACT, DIAGNOSTICS
Vaxxinity, Inc. | March 21, 2023
Vaxxinity, Inc. a U.S. company pioneering the development of a new class of immunotherapeutic vaccines, announced that the first subjects have been dosed in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 1 clinical trial of VXX-401, an investigational vaccine designed to lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, a known factor contributing to heart disease, by targeting proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 serine protease (PCSK9). Heart disease remains the leading cause of death globally, claiming over 18 million lives per year, despite the existence of approved treatments that lower LDL.
“This is an exciting milestone for VXX-401 and Vaxxinity in our pursuit to vaccinate the world against heart disease with a preventative option that is convenient and accessible, addressing an unmet need to combat the leading global cause of death,” said Mei Mei Hu, Chief Executive Officer of Vaxxinity. “PCSK9 antibody therapies are well-tolerated and effective, but huge unmet patient need remains. In order to solve the problem of heart disease, the world needs a scalable, accessible technology that can reach the hundreds of millions, if not billions of people at risk. With an LDL-lowering vaccine we can potentially offer an option that’s cost-effective, safe, convenient, long-acting, and deployable.”
The multicenter Phase 1 dose-escalation trial aims to enroll 48 subjects aged 18 to 75 years, with LDL cholesterol between 2.59 and 4.89 mmol/L. The objectives of the trial are to evaluate safety, tolerability and immunogenicity (as measured by serum anti-PCSK9 antibody titers). Pharmacodynamics of the immune response will be measured by LDL cholesterol levels, an established model of PCSK9 inhibition in hypercholesterolemia.
“We’re excited to get this first-in-human trial of VXX-401 started. The concept of a vaccine for cholesterol could be a game-changer in cardiovascular health due to its potentially very broad reach and impact on human health,” said Professor Stephen Nicholls of Monash University and Victorian Heart Hospital in Australia. “Targeting PCSK9 with a monoclonal antibody is a proven and effective approach for lowering cholesterol and reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Despite the availability of statins and the approval of PCSK9-targeting medicines, there is still a need for new therapies. VXX-401 has the potential to extend the use of PCSK9 inhibition to the full population who could benefit.”
Earlier this month, Vaxxinity presented pre-clinical data at the American College of Cardiology/World Congress of Cardiology Annual Scientific Session demonstrating that VXX-401 induced robust anti-PCSK9 antibodies and durable LDL cholesterol lowering without affecting high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels, indicating that VXX-401 has the potential to be a safe and effective LDL lowering therapy. Data in non-human primate studies show that VXX-401 was well tolerated and provided durable and significant LDL reduction of 30% to 50% change from baseline. The data also demonstrate VXX-401’s immunogenicity: purified antibodies from immunized animals bound to human PCSK9 with high affinity, and exhibited a dose-dependent functional inhibition of PCSK9 in vitro. Additionally, Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells (PBMCs) collected prior to immunization did not release cytokines upon stimulation with various components of the vaccine, suggesting that VXX-401 may safely overcome immune tolerance.
VXX-401 was designed using Vaxxinity’s proprietary synthetic peptide vaccine platform and is being developed for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia. The platform is designed to harness the immune system to convert the body into its own natural “drug factory,” stimulating the production of antibodies. VXX-401 is designed to induce robust, long-acting antibodies against PCSK9 in order to lower LDL cholesterol.
Vaxxinity, Inc. is a purpose-driven biotechnology company committed to democratizing healthcare across the globe. The company is pioneering a new class of synthetic, peptide-based immunotherapeutic vaccines aimed at disrupting the existing treatment paradigm for chronic disease, increasingly dominated by monoclonal antibodies, which suffer from prohibitive costs and cumbersome administration. The company’s proprietary technology platform has enabled the innovation of novel pipeline candidates designed to bring the efficiency of vaccines to the treatment of chronic diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, migraine, and hypercholesterolemia. The technology is also implemented as part of a COVID-19 vaccine program. Vaxxinity has optimized its pipeline to achieve a potentially historic, global impact on human health.
CELL AND GENE THERAPY, INDUSTRIAL IMPACT
Bio-Techne Corporation | March 20, 2023
Bio-Techne Corporation announced it has completed its participation in the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult Process Analytical Technology (Catapult PAT) consortium, a multi-year collaboration involving 24 partner companies, technology providers, therapy developers, and charities. The Catapult PAT consortium is the first initiative of this scale and functional expertise with member companies and organizations collaborating to develop cell and gene therapy-specific process analytical technologies.
The PAT initiative began in January 2021 with a series of experiments designed to monitor process parameters of an exemplar 8-day T-cell expansion bioprocess using primary T-cells. Data were gathered from five independent analyses to generate an extensive, world-first dataset. An analysis of multiple cytokine targets was conducted using high-plex Luminex® immunoassays and the precision multiplexing Ella™ platform from Bio-Techne. The automated workflow of the Ella platform proved to be particularly amenable to the efficiency, accuracy, and throughput demands inherent in a bioprocess manufacturing environment. With its robust performance in this project, the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult plans to incorporate Ella™ into an existing CGT Catapult facility to further support scientists in the UK.
"As a leader in the forefront of innovative tools to measure cytokines, we are honored to be a part of the Catapult PAT initiative to help advance cell and gene therapy development," said Will Geist, President of Bio-Techne's Protein Sciences Segment. "Bio-Techne remains excited about the potential of these advanced therapies to improve patient outcomes and treat a wide range of diseases that currently have very poor or ineffective treatments."
Established by Innovate UK, the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult fosters collaborations between academia, industry, and healthcare providers to develop new technology and drive innovation. Catapult experts cover all aspects of advanced therapies, from research and development to clinical adoption and every step in between.
Bio-Techne Corporation is a global life sciences company providing innovative tools and bioactive reagents for the research and clinical diagnostic communities. Bio-Techne products assist scientific investigations into biological processes and the nature and progress of specific diseases. They aid in drug discovery efforts and provide the means for accurate clinical tests and diagnoses. With thousands of products in its portfolio, Bio-Techne generated approximately $1.1 billion in net sales in fiscal 2022 and has approximately 3,000employees worldwide.
INDUSTRIAL IMPACT, MEDICAL
Synthego | March 17, 2023
Synthego Corp., a leading genome engineering solutions provider, announced today the launch of its service partner ecosystem, CRISPR Discovery Partners, designed to accelerate drug discovery by providing a seamless research workflow from CRISPR editing to phenotypic data and downstream services. The ecosystem brings together high-value partners including Arctoris, BrainXell, Curia, PhenoVista, and Pluristyx to offer a coordinated solution for CRISPR-driven drug discovery.
The CRISPR Discovery Partner ecosystem creates an integrated workflow starting with Synthego's CRISPR Engineered Cells through functional readouts, providing researchers with a faster, more efficient, and more reliable way to move their discoveries forward. Researchers can access the full range of genome engineering services through Synthego, as well as downstream services including small molecule screening, cell-based assays, high content imaging, iPSC differentiation, and multi-omics through partners. The result is a streamlined drug discovery process that can help accelerate the development of life-saving treatments.
Synthego's CRISPR Discovery Partners include
Arctoris, a tech-enabled drug discovery service company, combines wet lab automation and machine learning with a world-class team of experienced drug discovery researchers to enable the accelerated development of small molecule, biologics, and cell therapy assets.
BrainXell provides differentiation services to generate high-purity, iPSC-derived human neurons, astrocytes, and microglia for research use with a focus on drug discovery. BrainXell also offers fibroblast reprogramming and select downstream assay services.
Curia, a global contract research, development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), offers products and services from discovery through manufacturing to help customers transform R&D results into real-world impact.
PhenoVista, a San Diego-based CRO, specializes in modern, human, cell-based in vitro assay development and analysis. Internationally recognized for developing and implementing both fully bespoke projects and pre-validated Ready-2-Go assay services, this award-winning research partner leverages high-content imaging to enable life scientists to accelerate their discovery of novel therapeutics and improve global health.
Pluristyx offers expertise and tools to support and accelerate the development and commercialization of revolutionary therapeutics to treat serious human diseases by providing unique products, consulting, and contract services, including cell line expansion and banking.
Synthego is a genome engineering company that enables the acceleration of life science research and development in the pursuit of improved human health. The company leverages machine learning, automation, and gene editing to build platforms and products for science at scale. With its foundations in engineering disciplines, the company's platform technologies vertically integrate proprietary hardware, software, bioinformatics, chemistries, and molecular biology to advance basic research, target validation, and clinical trials. With its technologies cited in hundreds of peer-reviewed publications and utilized by thousands of commercial and academic researchers and therapeutic drug developers, Synthego is at the forefront of innovation enabling the next generation of medicines by delivering genome editing at an unprecedented scale.