Improving How Neurological Drugs are Developed Using Cell-Type-Specific Analysis

CHELSEA WEIDMAN BURKE | October 9, 2019 | 4 views

Studying the brain and developing drugs against neurological diseases have been challenging for many reasons, including not fully understanding the pathology of neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Ideally, drugs that specifically target proteins involved in disease are desirable because they limit side effects. However, you need to know what protein to target before setting out to develop a drug against it. How do researchers determine what should be targeted within the complexity of the brain?

Spotlight

St. David's HealthCare

With more than 110 sites across Central Texas, St. David’s HealthCare includes seven of the area’s leading hospitals and is one of the largest health systems in Texas. The organization was recognized with a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award—the nation’s highest presidential honor for performance excellence in 2014. St. David’s HealthCare is the third-largest private employer in the Austin area, with more than 9,000 employees.

OTHER ARTICLES

Advancement in Genomics Accelerating its Penetration into Precision Health

Article | April 17, 2020

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 | April 19, 2020

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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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

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

Article | January 20, 2021

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

St. David's HealthCare

With more than 110 sites across Central Texas, St. David’s HealthCare includes seven of the area’s leading hospitals and is one of the largest health systems in Texas. The organization was recognized with a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award—the nation’s highest presidential honor for performance excellence in 2014. St. David’s HealthCare is the third-largest private employer in the Austin area, with more than 9,000 employees.

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CELL AND GENE THERAPY

Amyris Partners with Inscripta to Enhance Development of Sustainable Ingredients Using the Onyx™ Genome Engineering Platform

Amyris | October 06, 2021

Amyris, Inc. (Nasdaq: AMRS), a leading synthetic biotechnology company active in the Clean Health and Beauty markets through its consumer brands, and a top supplier of sustainable and natural ingredients, today announced that Amyris has licensed the Onyx genome engineering platform from Inscripta, a leading gene editing technology company. Amyris and Inscripta will also explore joint research and development opportunities to expand the Onyx platform functionality. Amyris' product development and formulation team uses a proprietary Lab-to-Market™ operating system to develop and scale a growing portfolio of sustainable ingredients. The Onyx platform automates benchtop biofoundry activity and will bring greater genetic diversity and value to Amyris' ingredient development pipeline, complementing Amyris' existing Lab-to-Market operating system with the goal of improving efficiency and reducing timelines for the development of future molecules. To date, Amyris has successfully commercialized 13 sustainable ingredients, which are formulated in over 20,000 products and used by over 300 million consumers, demonstrating the growing demand for sustainable products with clean and effective ingredients. Automated, high-throughput gene editing is revolutionizing the writing of genomes the way next-generation sequencing transformed the reading of genomes. Inscripta is the first company to deliver an integrated and intuitive benchtop platform that will expand access to scalable, robust genome engineering and help scientists develop solutions to some of today's most pressing challenges. "Amyris has shown the world how new products can be made more sustainable through biology. Their team has high proficiency in utilizing cutting-edge technology, and we are excited they will be pioneering the use of our platform," said Sri Kosaraju, President and CEO of Inscripta. "We have great regard for Amyris' mission, and we are committed to seeing the Onyx platform become a substantial contributor to new clean chemistry products in the future." "The Onyx platform offers significant potential for generating greater genetic diversity in our projects, which we expect to lead to more efficient product innovation," said Sunil Chandran, Senior Vice President of Research and Development at Amyris. "Inscripta's platform seamlessly integrates with our own and opens up new experimentation avenues for our scientists to continue bringing unique bio-based products to customers. We pride ourselves on continuous innovation and expect Onyx to help us expand our pipeline, while achieving lower costs and reducing time to market." For more information about Amyris visit amyris.com and to learn about Onyx, visit www.inscripta.com/products. About Inscripta Inscripta is a life science technology company enabling scientists to solve some of today's most pressing challenges with the first benchtop system for genome editing. The company's automated Onyx platform, consisting of an instrument, consumables, assays, and software, makes CRISPR-based genome engineering accessible to any research lab. Inscripta supports its customers around the world from facilities in Boulder, Colorado; San Diego and Pleasanton, California; and Copenhagen, Denmark. To learn more, visit Inscripta.com and follow @InscriptaInc. About Amyris Amyris (Nasdaq: AMRS) is a science and technology leader in the research, development and production of sustainable ingredients for the Clean Health & Beauty and Flavors & Fragrances markets. Amyris uses an impressive array of exclusive technologies, including state-of-the-art machine learning, robotics and artificial intelligence. Our ingredients are included in over 20,000 products from the world's top brands, reaching more than 300 million consumers. Amyris is proud to own and operate a family of consumer brands - all built around its No Compromise® promise of clean ingredients: Biossanceâ clean beauty skincare, Pipetteâ clean baby skincare, Purecane™, a zero-calorie sweetener naturally derived from sugarcane, Terasanaâ clean skincare treatment, Costa Brazil luxury skincare, OLIKA hygiene and wellness, Rose Inc.™ clean color cosmetics and JVN™ clean haircare.

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Better Biosensor Technology Created for Stem Cells

Technology Networks | November 11, 2019

A Rutgers-led team has created better biosensor technology that may help lead to safe stem cell therapies for treating Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and other neurological disorders. The technology, which features a unique graphene and gold-based platform and high-tech imaging, monitors the fate of stem cells by detecting genetic material (RNA) involved in turning such cells into brain cells (neurons), according to a study in the journal Nano Letters. Stem cells can become many different types of cells. As a result, stem cell therapy shows promise for regenerative treatment of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke and spinal cord injury, with diseased cells needing replacement or repair. But characterizing stem cells and controlling their fate must be resolved before they could be used in treatments. The formation of tumors and uncontrolled transformation of stem cells remain key barriers. “A critical challenge is ensuring high sensitivity and accuracy in detecting biomarkers – indicators such as modified genes or proteins – within the complex stem cell microenvironment,” said senior author KiBum Lee, a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. “Our technology, which took four years to develop, has demonstrated great potential for analyzing a variety of interactions in stem cells.”

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Cells’ Mitochondria Work Much Like Tesla Battery Packs

Technology Networks | October 16, 2019

For years, scientists assumed that mitochondria — the energy-generating centers of living cells — worked much like household batteries, generating energy from a chemical reaction inside a single chamber or cell. Now, UCLA researchers have shown that mitochondria are instead made up of many individual bioelectric units that generate energy in an array, similar to a Tesla electric car battery that packs thousands of battery cells to manage energy safely and provide fast access to very high current. “Nobody had looked at this before because we were so locked into this way of thinking; the assumption was that one mitochondrion meant one battery,” said Dr. Orian Shirihai, a professor of medicine in endocrinology and pharmacology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and senior author of the study published in EMBO Journal. It is also not a coincidence that this has taken place in California, where an electric vehicle revolution has made its impact everywhere on campus. Mitochondria are one type of organelle — tiny structures that perform specific functions within a cell. All cells in the human body, except for red blood cells, contain one or more — sometimes several thousand — mitochondria. These organelles have a smooth outer membrane and a wrinkled inner membrane that has folds, called cristae, extending toward the mitochondrion’s center. Until now, researchers thought that the purpose of the inner membrane’s wrinkly texture was simply to increase the surface area for energy production.

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CELL AND GENE THERAPY

Amyris Partners with Inscripta to Enhance Development of Sustainable Ingredients Using the Onyx™ Genome Engineering Platform

Amyris | October 06, 2021

Amyris, Inc. (Nasdaq: AMRS), a leading synthetic biotechnology company active in the Clean Health and Beauty markets through its consumer brands, and a top supplier of sustainable and natural ingredients, today announced that Amyris has licensed the Onyx genome engineering platform from Inscripta, a leading gene editing technology company. Amyris and Inscripta will also explore joint research and development opportunities to expand the Onyx platform functionality. Amyris' product development and formulation team uses a proprietary Lab-to-Market™ operating system to develop and scale a growing portfolio of sustainable ingredients. The Onyx platform automates benchtop biofoundry activity and will bring greater genetic diversity and value to Amyris' ingredient development pipeline, complementing Amyris' existing Lab-to-Market operating system with the goal of improving efficiency and reducing timelines for the development of future molecules. To date, Amyris has successfully commercialized 13 sustainable ingredients, which are formulated in over 20,000 products and used by over 300 million consumers, demonstrating the growing demand for sustainable products with clean and effective ingredients. Automated, high-throughput gene editing is revolutionizing the writing of genomes the way next-generation sequencing transformed the reading of genomes. Inscripta is the first company to deliver an integrated and intuitive benchtop platform that will expand access to scalable, robust genome engineering and help scientists develop solutions to some of today's most pressing challenges. "Amyris has shown the world how new products can be made more sustainable through biology. Their team has high proficiency in utilizing cutting-edge technology, and we are excited they will be pioneering the use of our platform," said Sri Kosaraju, President and CEO of Inscripta. "We have great regard for Amyris' mission, and we are committed to seeing the Onyx platform become a substantial contributor to new clean chemistry products in the future." "The Onyx platform offers significant potential for generating greater genetic diversity in our projects, which we expect to lead to more efficient product innovation," said Sunil Chandran, Senior Vice President of Research and Development at Amyris. "Inscripta's platform seamlessly integrates with our own and opens up new experimentation avenues for our scientists to continue bringing unique bio-based products to customers. We pride ourselves on continuous innovation and expect Onyx to help us expand our pipeline, while achieving lower costs and reducing time to market." For more information about Amyris visit amyris.com and to learn about Onyx, visit www.inscripta.com/products. About Inscripta Inscripta is a life science technology company enabling scientists to solve some of today's most pressing challenges with the first benchtop system for genome editing. The company's automated Onyx platform, consisting of an instrument, consumables, assays, and software, makes CRISPR-based genome engineering accessible to any research lab. Inscripta supports its customers around the world from facilities in Boulder, Colorado; San Diego and Pleasanton, California; and Copenhagen, Denmark. To learn more, visit Inscripta.com and follow @InscriptaInc. About Amyris Amyris (Nasdaq: AMRS) is a science and technology leader in the research, development and production of sustainable ingredients for the Clean Health & Beauty and Flavors & Fragrances markets. Amyris uses an impressive array of exclusive technologies, including state-of-the-art machine learning, robotics and artificial intelligence. Our ingredients are included in over 20,000 products from the world's top brands, reaching more than 300 million consumers. Amyris is proud to own and operate a family of consumer brands - all built around its No Compromise® promise of clean ingredients: Biossanceâ clean beauty skincare, Pipetteâ clean baby skincare, Purecane™, a zero-calorie sweetener naturally derived from sugarcane, Terasanaâ clean skincare treatment, Costa Brazil luxury skincare, OLIKA hygiene and wellness, Rose Inc.™ clean color cosmetics and JVN™ clean haircare.

Read More

Better Biosensor Technology Created for Stem Cells

Technology Networks | November 11, 2019

A Rutgers-led team has created better biosensor technology that may help lead to safe stem cell therapies for treating Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and other neurological disorders. The technology, which features a unique graphene and gold-based platform and high-tech imaging, monitors the fate of stem cells by detecting genetic material (RNA) involved in turning such cells into brain cells (neurons), according to a study in the journal Nano Letters. Stem cells can become many different types of cells. As a result, stem cell therapy shows promise for regenerative treatment of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke and spinal cord injury, with diseased cells needing replacement or repair. But characterizing stem cells and controlling their fate must be resolved before they could be used in treatments. The formation of tumors and uncontrolled transformation of stem cells remain key barriers. “A critical challenge is ensuring high sensitivity and accuracy in detecting biomarkers – indicators such as modified genes or proteins – within the complex stem cell microenvironment,” said senior author KiBum Lee, a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. “Our technology, which took four years to develop, has demonstrated great potential for analyzing a variety of interactions in stem cells.”

Read More

Cells’ Mitochondria Work Much Like Tesla Battery Packs

Technology Networks | October 16, 2019

For years, scientists assumed that mitochondria — the energy-generating centers of living cells — worked much like household batteries, generating energy from a chemical reaction inside a single chamber or cell. Now, UCLA researchers have shown that mitochondria are instead made up of many individual bioelectric units that generate energy in an array, similar to a Tesla electric car battery that packs thousands of battery cells to manage energy safely and provide fast access to very high current. “Nobody had looked at this before because we were so locked into this way of thinking; the assumption was that one mitochondrion meant one battery,” said Dr. Orian Shirihai, a professor of medicine in endocrinology and pharmacology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and senior author of the study published in EMBO Journal. It is also not a coincidence that this has taken place in California, where an electric vehicle revolution has made its impact everywhere on campus. Mitochondria are one type of organelle — tiny structures that perform specific functions within a cell. All cells in the human body, except for red blood cells, contain one or more — sometimes several thousand — mitochondria. These organelles have a smooth outer membrane and a wrinkled inner membrane that has folds, called cristae, extending toward the mitochondrion’s center. Until now, researchers thought that the purpose of the inner membrane’s wrinkly texture was simply to increase the surface area for energy production.

Read More

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