Merging With Machines: A Look at Emerging Neuroscience Technologies

HIROKI KOTABE | October 22, 2019 | 37 views

Billionaire entrepreneur and technophile Elon Musk is just one of the prominent futurists echoing the sentiment that we are on the verge of a full merger with machines. “It’s increasingly hard to tell where I end and where the computer begins,” states historian, professor, and New York Times bestselling author Yuval Noah Harari at his keynote address at the Fast Company European Innovation Festival. “In the future, it is likely that the smartphone will not be separated from you at all. It may be embedded in our body or brain, constantly scanning your biometric data and your emotions.”

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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Next-Gen Gene Therapy to Counter Complex Diseases

Article | September 22, 2022

Gene therapy has historically been used to treat disorders with in-depth knowledge caused by a single genetic mutation. Thanks to the introduction of new generation technologies, the potential of gene therapy is expanding tAo treat diseases that were previously untreatable. Evolution of Gene Therapy One of the major success stories of the twenty-first century has been gene therapy. However, it has not been the same in the past. The field's journey to this point has been long and mostly difficult, with both tragedy and triumph along the way. Initially, genetic disorders were thought to be untreatable and permanently carved into the genomes of individuals unfortunate enough to be born with them. But due to the constant technological advancement and research activities, gene therapy now has the potential to treat various genetic mutation-causing diseases with its ability to insert a new copy and replace faulty genes. Gene Therapy is Finding New Roads in the Medical Sector Gene therapy can help researchers treat a variety of conditions that fall under the general heading of epilepsy, instead of only focusing on a particular kind of disorder brought on by a genetic mutation. Following are some of the domains transformed by gene therapy. Neurology – Gene therapy can be used for the treatment of seizures by directly injecting it into the area causing an uncontrolled electrical disturbance in the brain. Furthermore, by using DNA sequences known as promoters, gene therapy can be restricted to specific neurons within that area. Ophthalmology – Genetic conditions such as blindness can be caused due to the mutation of any gene out of over 200 and resulting in progressive vision loss in children. With advanced gene therapies such as optogenetics, lost photoreceptor function can be transferred to the retinal cells, which are responsible for relaying visual information to the brain. This might give patients the ability to navigate in an unknown environment with a certain level of autonomy. The Future of Gene Therapy The news surrounding gene therapy has been largely favorable over the past few years, with treatment after treatment obtaining regulatory approvals, successful clinical trials, and garnering significant funds to begin development. With more than 1,000 clinical trials presently underway, the long-awaited gene therapy revolution might finally be here.

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Expansion of BioPharma: Opportunities and Investments

Article | July 13, 2022

Biopharmaceutical innovations are among the most ingenious and refined achievements of modern medical science. New concepts, techniques, and therapies are emerging, such as the cell therapy Provenge, which can be used to treat cancer, and gene therapies, which provide even more amazing promises of disease remission and regenerative medicine. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a huge boom in the pharmaceutical industry. This is because more and more attention is being paid to increasing manufacturing capacity and starting new research on drug development. Biopharma: Leading the Way in the Pharma Sector In the past couple of years, the biopharmaceutical sector has deepened its roots across the medical and pharmaceutical industries, on account of the transformation of pharmaceutical companies towards biotechnology, creating opportunities for growth. Also, growing advancements in technologies such as 3D bioprinting, biosensors, and gene editing, along with the integration of advanced artificial intelligence and virtual and augmented reality are estimated to further create prospects for growth. According to a study, the biopharmaceutical sector makes nearly $163 billion around the world and grows by more than 8% each year, which is twice as fast as the traditional pharma sector. Massive Investments Directed Towards Biopharma Investing in biotech research and development (R&D) has yielded better returns than the pharma industry average. Hence, a number of pharmaceutical companies are shifting their presence toward biopharma to capitalize on the upcoming opportunities by investing in and expanding their biotechnology infrastructure. For instance, Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., an American manufacturer of scientific instrumentation, reagents and consumables, and software services, announced an investment of $97 million to expand its bioanalytical laboratory operations into three new locations in the U.S. With this investment, the company will add 150,000 square feet of scientific workspace and install the most advanced drug development technologies to produce life-changing medicines for patients in need.

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MEDTECH

2022 U.S. Market Research Report with COVID-19 Forecasts2

Article | July 11, 2022

The global biotechnology market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.9 percent from 2022 to 2030, with a value estimated at USD 1,023.92 billion in 2021. The market is being propelled by strong government support in the form of initiatives aimed at modernizing the regulatory framework, improving approval processes and reimbursement policies, and standardizing clinical studies. The growing presence of personalized medicine and an increasing number of orphan drug formulations are opening up new avenues for biotechnology applications and driving the influx of emerging and innovative biotechnology companies, which is driving market revenue even further. The 2022 Biotech Research and Development Market Research Report is one of the most comprehensive and in-depth assessments of the industry in the United States, containing over 100 data sets spanning the years 2013 to 2026. This Kentley Insights report contains historical and forecasted market size, product lines, profitability, financial ratios, BCG matrix, state statistics, operating expense details, organizational breakdown, consolidation analysis, employee productivity, price inflation, pay bands for the top 20 industry jobs, trend analysis and forecasts on companies, locations, employees, payroll, and much more. Companies in the Biotech Research and Development industry are primarily engaged in biotechnology research and experimental development. Biotechnology research and development entails the investigation of the use of microorganisms and cellular and bimolecular processes to create or modify living or non-living materials. This biotechnology research and development may result in the development of new biotechnology processes or prototypes of new or genetically altered products that can be replicated, used, or implemented by various industries. This report was created using the findings of extensive business surveys and econometrics. The professionals follow reports with accurate and apt information on market sizing, benchmarking, strategic planning, due diligence, cost-cutting, planning, understanding industry dynamics, forecasting, streamlining, gap analysis, and other ana

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MEDTECH

Biotech in 2022

Article | July 11, 2022

The robust global channel of more than, 800 gene and cell curatives presently in trials will produce clinical readouts in 2022, revealing what lies ahead for advanced curatives. The impact will be felt in 2022, no matter how you slice it. Eventually, how well industry and non-supervisory bodies unite to produce new frameworks for advanced therapies will shape the year 2022 and further. Pacific Northwest talent will continue to contribute to the advancement of gene and cell curatives in both the short and long term, thanks to its deep pool of ground-breaking scientific developers, entrepreneurial directorial leadership, largely skilled translational scientists, and endured bio manufacturing technicians. We may see continued on-life science fund withdrawal from biotech in 2021, but this can be anticipated as a strong comeback in 2022 by biotech industry, backed by deep-pocketed life science investors who are committed to this sector. A similar investment, combined with pharma's cash-heavy coffers, can result in increased junction and acquisition activity, which will be a challenge for some but an occasion for others. Over the last five years, investment interest in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest has grown exponentially, from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Oregon. The region's explosive portfolio of new biotech companies, innovated out of academic centres, demonstrates the region's growing recognition of scientific invention. This created a belief that continued, especially because Seattle's start-ups and biotech enterprises are delivering on their pledge of clinical and patient impact. Talent and staffing will continue to be difficult to find. It's a CEO's market, but many of these funds' return, and are not rising in proportion to the exorbitant prices they're paying to enter deals. This schism has become particularly pronounced in 2021. Hence, everyone in biotech is concerned about reclamation and retention.

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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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Neurocrine Biosciences and Xenon Launch Up-to-$1.7B Epilepsy, Neuroscience Collaboration

GEN | December 02, 2019

Neurocrine Biosciences has agreed to exclusively license and co-develop Xenon Pharmaceuticals’ Phase I epilepsy candidate XEN901 as a treatment for children—as well as develop three preclinical compounds, the companies said today—through a collaboration that could generate up to $1.7 billion for Xenon. XEN901 is designed as a highly selective Nav1.6 sodium channel inhibitor being developed to treat children with SCN8A developmental and epileptic encephalopathy (SCN8A-DEE) and other potential indications, including adult focal epilepsy. Xenon has completed a Phase I trial of a powder-in-capsule formulation of XEN901 in healthy adults. However, Xenon has also developed a pediatric-specific, granule formulation of XEN901, and has completed juvenile toxicology studies intended to support pediatric development of the drug candidate. “With its proven expertise in developing and commercializing treatments for neurological disorders, we believe Neurocrine Biosciences is an ideal partner to maximize the potential value of XEN901 for patients,” Xenon CEO Simon Pimstone, MD, PhD, FRCPC, said in a statement.

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Machine Learning Harnessed To Build Map of the Connectome

Technology Networks | November 08, 2019

The brain is considered to be one of the most complex systems in existence. And while significant headway has been made to understand it, we tend to generate more questions than answers. But now a research team led by Kyoto University has developed a machine learning model that allows scientists to reconstruct neuronal circuitry by measuring signals from the neurons themselves. The model has the potential to elucidate the difference in neuronal computation in different brain regions. To comprehend the brain, we must look at the neurons that construct it. Our entire world of perception runs across these billions of cells in our head. And that is compounded by the exponentially larger number of connections -- known as synapses -- between them, making the path to our understanding a challenge. Shigeru Shinomoto from Kyoto University's School of Science, who headed the project, explains that although it is possible to record the activity of individual neurons in the brain -- and that number has increased dramatically over the last decade -- it is still a challenge to map out how each of these cells connects to each other.

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UK Scientists Speed up Brain Cancer Diagnosis with AI

Labiotech.eu | November 05, 2019

A technique combining a blood test with artificial intelligence (AI), developed by the UK company ClinSpec Diagnostics, could help to prioritize which patients need to be scanned for brain cancer. A team led by researchers at the University of Strathclyde and the University of Edinburgh, UK, trialed the technology on blood samples from 400 people suspected of having brain tumors. The researchers used an existing technique called infrared spectroscopy to screen 20,000 chemicals in their blood, and then used AI to identify the chemicals that signal a brain tumor. The test correctly identified 82% of the patients that would go on to be diagnosed with brain cancer. Patients flagged with this brain cancer test can be prioritized for confirmatory brain scans, and their diagnosis might take just two weeks. In current practice, it’s difficult to diagnose tumors from patients’ symptoms, and the process can take up to two months, with multiple visits to the doctor. The blood test is being developed by Brennan’s collaborator, the UK company ClinSpec Diagnostics. While other groups are working on cancer tests using infrared spectroscopy and AI, ClinSpec’s test is the most advanced, according to Brennan.

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Neurocrine Biosciences and Xenon Launch Up-to-$1.7B Epilepsy, Neuroscience Collaboration

GEN | December 02, 2019

Neurocrine Biosciences has agreed to exclusively license and co-develop Xenon Pharmaceuticals’ Phase I epilepsy candidate XEN901 as a treatment for children—as well as develop three preclinical compounds, the companies said today—through a collaboration that could generate up to $1.7 billion for Xenon. XEN901 is designed as a highly selective Nav1.6 sodium channel inhibitor being developed to treat children with SCN8A developmental and epileptic encephalopathy (SCN8A-DEE) and other potential indications, including adult focal epilepsy. Xenon has completed a Phase I trial of a powder-in-capsule formulation of XEN901 in healthy adults. However, Xenon has also developed a pediatric-specific, granule formulation of XEN901, and has completed juvenile toxicology studies intended to support pediatric development of the drug candidate. “With its proven expertise in developing and commercializing treatments for neurological disorders, we believe Neurocrine Biosciences is an ideal partner to maximize the potential value of XEN901 for patients,” Xenon CEO Simon Pimstone, MD, PhD, FRCPC, said in a statement.

Read More

Machine Learning Harnessed To Build Map of the Connectome

Technology Networks | November 08, 2019

The brain is considered to be one of the most complex systems in existence. And while significant headway has been made to understand it, we tend to generate more questions than answers. But now a research team led by Kyoto University has developed a machine learning model that allows scientists to reconstruct neuronal circuitry by measuring signals from the neurons themselves. The model has the potential to elucidate the difference in neuronal computation in different brain regions. To comprehend the brain, we must look at the neurons that construct it. Our entire world of perception runs across these billions of cells in our head. And that is compounded by the exponentially larger number of connections -- known as synapses -- between them, making the path to our understanding a challenge. Shigeru Shinomoto from Kyoto University's School of Science, who headed the project, explains that although it is possible to record the activity of individual neurons in the brain -- and that number has increased dramatically over the last decade -- it is still a challenge to map out how each of these cells connects to each other.

Read More

UK Scientists Speed up Brain Cancer Diagnosis with AI

Labiotech.eu | November 05, 2019

A technique combining a blood test with artificial intelligence (AI), developed by the UK company ClinSpec Diagnostics, could help to prioritize which patients need to be scanned for brain cancer. A team led by researchers at the University of Strathclyde and the University of Edinburgh, UK, trialed the technology on blood samples from 400 people suspected of having brain tumors. The researchers used an existing technique called infrared spectroscopy to screen 20,000 chemicals in their blood, and then used AI to identify the chemicals that signal a brain tumor. The test correctly identified 82% of the patients that would go on to be diagnosed with brain cancer. Patients flagged with this brain cancer test can be prioritized for confirmatory brain scans, and their diagnosis might take just two weeks. In current practice, it’s difficult to diagnose tumors from patients’ symptoms, and the process can take up to two months, with multiple visits to the doctor. The blood test is being developed by Brennan’s collaborator, the UK company ClinSpec Diagnostics. While other groups are working on cancer tests using infrared spectroscopy and AI, ClinSpec’s test is the most advanced, according to Brennan.

Read More

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