3-D protein structure reveals a new mechanism for future anti-cancer drugs

Medical Xpress | February 15, 2019

A research team at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) has discovered a new mechanism for a class of anti-cancer drugs known as E1 inhibitors. Their findings, published in Nature Communications on December 4, 2018, reveal a novel binding site that will promote drug design of more efficient E1 inhibitors. The team was led by Shaun Olsen, Ph.D., an assistant professor of Biology and Molecular Biology at MUSC and a member of the Developmental Cancer Therapeutics Program at Hollings Cancer Center. Olsen has dedicated his career to solving 3-D structures of proteins. Olsen and his team use these protein structures to model interactions with other molecules, including potential new drugs.
In the article, Olsen and his team report that they have discovered a new site on a protein, SUMO E1, which is a target for E1 inhibitors. The new binding site is located in the center of the protein and was previously thought to be out of reach. Olsen's team discovered an alternative conformation of the protein that exposes the site and allows a new inhibitor (COH000; Sumo Biosciences, Inc., Pasadena, CA) to bind.

Spotlight

For centuries, farmers have used tools, from plows to tractors, to turn over,
or till, their soil to remove weeds before planting. While this has been a
common and effective method for generations, it can ultimately lead to soil
erosion and loss of essential soil nutrients. Advances in biotech crops and
crop protection products are allowing farmers worldwide a new approach
through conservation – or no-till – agriculture. By leaving the soil untilled,
farmers build up the nutrients in their fields and preserve topsoil, which
boosts yields and helps our environment

Spotlight

For centuries, farmers have used tools, from plows to tractors, to turn over,
or till, their soil to remove weeds before planting. While this has been a
common and effective method for generations, it can ultimately lead to soil
erosion and loss of essential soil nutrients. Advances in biotech crops and
crop protection products are allowing farmers worldwide a new approach
through conservation – or no-till – agriculture. By leaving the soil untilled,
farmers build up the nutrients in their fields and preserve topsoil, which
boosts yields and helps our environment

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CELL AND GENE THERAPY

Elastrin Therapeutics Announces Newly Formed Scientific Advisory Board

Elastrin Therapeutics Inc. | January 17, 2022

Elastrin Therapeutics Inc., a privately held biotechnology company leveraging a platform technology to develop therapeutics that render calcified tissue and organs supple again, announced the formation of its Scientific Advisory Board. The Board is comprised of leading industry and university experts in cardiovascular research and clinical development. Former CMO of Elastrin Therapeutics, Dr. Pedro M. Quintana Diez, will act as chairman. Elastrin Therapeutics’ lead asset ELT-001 is an EDTA-loaded nanoparticle conjugated with a proprietary monoclonal antibody for the treatment of vascular calcification. “We are fortunate to work with such an amazing group of medical scientists, cardiovascular experts and pharma executives on our Scientific Advisory Board,” said Dr. Matthias Breugelmans, CEO of Elastrin Therapeutics. “The members bring a remarkable understanding of cardiovascular research, as well as deep expertise in the development of clinical drugs.” “Elastrin is a prime example of what Kizoo is looking for in its investments: Not delaying an age-related disease but reversing it,” Patrick Burgermeister, Partner at Kizoo Technology Capital and member of Elastrin Therapeutics’ Board of Directors Elastrin Therapeutics’ Scientific Advisory Board is comprised of: Prof. Charles O'Neill, MD: Dr. O’Neill has had an active basic and clinical research program in vascular calcification for the past 20 years and has published over 45 articles on this subject. As a practicing nephrologist, he has a particular interest in vascular calcification in patients with chronic kidney disease. Current research is aimed at approaches to assess reversibility of calcification in animal models and to slow progression of calcification by altering hemodialysis prescription in clinical trials. Prof. Elena Aikawa, MD, PhD: Dr. Elena Aikawa is a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and the Naoki Miwa Distinguished Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine and the Director of Heart Valve Translational Research Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She was at the forefront in the discovery of inflammation-dependent mechanisms of cardiovascular calcification. Her studies contributed to the discovery of calcifying extracellular vesicles as a precursor of microcalcification. Prof. Frank Rutsch, MD: Frank Rutsch is an Associate Professor in Pediatrics at Münster University Children’s Hospital, Münster, Germany. After a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of California, San Diego, he became the leader of an independent research group at Münster University Children’s Hospital in 2004. Dr. Rutsch’s main research interests are focused on the discovery of the underlying genetic defects and translational aspects in rare pediatric metabolic and autoimmune disorders. Dr. Klaus-Dieter Langner: Klaus-Dieter Langner is a life science expert with more than 32 years of experience in pharmaceutical industry. Klaus started his career as research scientist at Behringwerke/Hoechst focusing on the expression of recombinant human plasma proteins and immunomodulators. After 12 years, he moved to Grünenthal where he was appointed as Head of Research. In his last position, Klaus acted as Chief Scientific Officer and Member of the Corporate Executive Board. Prof. Linda Hands, MD: Linda Hands was appointed Clinical Reader in the University of Oxford and Honorary Consultant Vascular surgeon in 1992 after training in London, Oxford and Chicago. She was Clinical Director of Vascular and cardiothoracic surgery for three years and also served on the Health Authority and a NICE committee. Linda retired in late 2017 as Associate Professor and remain an Hon. Emeritus Professor at the John Radcliffe Hospital Oxford and Emeritus Fellow of Green College, Oxford. Dr. Pedro M. Quintana Diez, M.D.: Pedro is an internal medicine doctor with over 20 years of clinical development experience in the international biotech and pharmaceutical industry. Prior to joining Elastrin Therapeutics, Pedro served as CMO of Sensory Sciences LLC and held VP and leadership positions at Grunenthal, Abbvie and ParinGenix. Pedro managed Phase II and III developments in cardiovascular and lung diseases. 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MEDICAL

WuXi ATU and Wugen Announce Manufacturing Partnership to Expedite the Delivery of Novel Cell Cancer Immunotherapies

Wugen | June 16, 2022

WuXi Advanced Therapies (WuXi ATU), a global Contract Testing, Development and Manufacturing Organization (CTDMO), and Wugen Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company based in St. Louis and San Diego, today announced a partnership to produce Wugen's WU-NK-101, a novel immunotherapy that harnesses the power of memory natural killer (NK) cells to treat cancers. WuXi ATU will provide manufacturing and testing services for WU-NK-101 to enable the delivery of this innovative cell therapy product to cancer patients. Wugen aims to develop a pipeline of off-the-shelf cell therapy products to treat a broad range of hematological and solid tumor malignancies. As Wugen's first program from the company's proprietary MonetaTM platform, WU-NK-101 leverages the hyper-functional, long-lasting anti-tumor functionality of memory NK cells to manufacture next-generation, off-the-shelf cancer cell therapies at commercial scale. WU-NK-101 is currently in development to treat acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) and solid tumors. WuXi ATU's integrated CTDMO platform enables the development of WU-NK-101 by leveraging the company's Good Manufacturing Process (GMP) cell therapy manufacturing and testing capabilities to support regulatory filings and clinical trials. We are delighted to partner with WuXi ATU, With WuXi ATU's cell therapy manufacturing expertise, integrated GMP manufacturing and testing capabilities, we can keep advancing our allogeneic WU-NK-101 program into clinical trials and accelerate the timeline for delivering convenient, effective therapeutics to patients." Dr. Dan Kemp, President and Chief Executive Officer of Wugen. About WU-NK-101 WU-NK-101 is a novel immunotherapy harnessing the power of memory natural killer (NK) cells to treat liquid and solid tumors. Memory NK cells are hyper-functional, long-lasting immune cells that exhibit enhanced anti-tumor activity and a cytokine-induced memory-like (CIML) phenotype. This rare cell population has a superior phenotype, proliferation capacity, and metabolic fitness that makes it better suited for cancer therapy than other NK cell therapies. Wugen is applying its proprietary MonetaTM platform to advance WU-NK-101 as a commercially scalable, off-the-shelf cell therapy for cancer. WU-NK-101 is currently in development for acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) and solid tumors. About Wugen Wugen, Inc., is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing the next generation of off-the-shelf memory natural killer (NK) and CAR-T cell therapies for cancer. Wugen is leveraging its proprietary MonetaTM platform and deep genomic engineering expertise to pioneer a new class of memory NK cell therapies with a cytokine-induced memory-like (CIML) phenotype, uniquely designed to treat hematological and solid tumor malignancies.

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

MeMed raises $93M to accelerate commercialization of its host immune-response product portfolio

MeMed | January 10, 2022

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