Ginkgo Bioworks | August 12, 2022
Ginkgo Bioworks the leading horizontal platform for cell programming, and the Rwanda Development Board representing the government of the Republic of Rwanda, today announced that they have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the intent of developing and implementing new biosecurity capabilities in Rwanda.
The initial goal of the planned partnership is to support Rwanda's public health institutions as they work to address biosecurity challenges in the region. Ginkgo, through its biosecurity and public health initiative, Concentric by Ginkgo, plans to collaborate on the ground with RDB to equip these institutions with biosecurity tools and training as well as the secure data infrastructure they need to leverage automation, data analysis, bioinformatics capabilities, and other critical genomic sequencing technologies.
Concentric leverages a nationwide laboratory network to provide pathogen monitoring capabilities across thousands of sites in the U.S., including schools, airports, and other congregate settings. Concentric aims to build sustainable global biosecurity infrastructure to prepare for the next new variant or novel pathogen, and this planned partnership with RDB is a significant milestone in its international expansion as it continues to scale its biosecurity offering.
RDB, a Rwandan government institution, was established in 2008 to accelerate Rwanda's economic development by enabling private sector growth. Ginkgo will build relationships with Rwandan public health institutions and private sector-led biotechnology initiatives in Rwanda; the RDB will contribute expertise in skills development and on-the-ground support for the partnership.
Concentric and RDB recognize the importance of international collaboration and cooperation to promote global health security as biological threats emerge. Effective pathogen monitoring and data sharing capabilities can empower government officials, community leaders, and other stakeholders to make informed public health decisions. In the long-term, these capabilities can also be leveraged to form the foundation for a sustainable regional bioeconomy. For example, in the context of this MOU, Ginkgo and RDB plan to collaborate to inform workforce development priorities in the areas of biotechnology, biomanufacturing, and bioengineering, and to explore potential opportunities for Rwanda to leverage its biodiversity as a foundation for innovation within its bioeconomy.
"The future of biosecurity is global—COVID-19 has shown us all that pathogens don't recognize national borders. To prepare for the next biological threat, we need the infrastructure in place to build a global weather map tracking the spread and evolution of infectious diseases. We deeply appreciate Rwanda's leadership working to define a new era of biosecurity, and we are incredibly excited to use our platform to support Rwanda's public health institutions with critical capabilities that we believe will help them face challenges ranging from this pandemic to agricultural and travel biosecurity."
Matt McKnight, General Manager, Biosecurity at Ginkgo Bioworks
Clare Akamanzi, Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Board, noted, "The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the need for robust public health and biotechnology infrastructure in Rwanda and around the world. We are excited about our plans to partner with Ginkgo to bring cutting-edge biosecurity capabilities to Rwanda across various sectors including health and agriculture. We believe this will stimulate our growing bioeconomy and help us learn more about our biodiversity."
About Ginkgo Bioworks
Ginkgo is building a platform to enable customers to program cells as easily as we can program computers. The company's platform is enabling biotechnology applications across diverse markets, from food and agriculture to industrial chemicals to pharmaceuticals. Ginkgo has also actively supported a number of COVID-19 response efforts, including K-12 pooled testing, vaccine manufacturing optimization and therapeutics discovery.
About the Rwanda Development Board
The Rwanda Development Board is a government agency responsible for leading the country's transformation into a dynamic global hub for business, investment, tourism and innovation. Its mission is to fast-track economic development in Rwanda by enabling private sector growth.
Invenshure | June 03, 2022
Venture studio Invenshure announces the launch of MEKanistic Therapeutics, a biotechnology company redefining precision oncology. Co-inventors and pioneers in the MEK inhibitor field, Judith Sebolt-Leopold, PhD, and Christopher Whitehead, PhD, MBA, have rationally designed a drug that blocks two, key pathways (EGFR and PI3K) used to signal cancer cell growth, with a single molecule. In preclinical studies, this first-in-class dual inhibitor shows unparalleled tumor shrinkage without the toxicity generally associated with current kinase inhibitors.
MEKanistic is using cutting edge computational tools to not only understand how these pathways work, but also design medications that perfectly fit within those sites to inhibit the spread of cancer. We have two unique advantages. First, our lead drug's expanded therapeutic window means dramatically reduced side effects for cancer patients. Second, when it's paired with existing cancer therapies, our drug makes them much more effective, We are excited to partner with Pfizer Global R&D veterans, Drs. Leopold and Whitehead, to propel this important technology forward into clinical trials."
Danny Cunagin, CEO of MEKanistic.
MEKanistic will be launching a round of funding in the coming weeks to support the translation of our lead candidate (MTX-531) towards IND approval later this year with the anticipation of initiation of Phase 1 clinical trials in early 2023.
MTX-531's initial application targets head and neck cancers with 900,000 cases worldwide per year. Ultimately, this drug has possible future applications for colon/rectal, esophageal, pancreatic, and some breast cancers. Our work could potentially impact millions of people each year."
Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Sebolt-Leopold.
Invenshure is a venture studio that scours university research labs for novel and disruptive technologies ready for commercialization. Invenshure partners with top scientists, physicians, and researchers from the most trusted institutions in healthcare and technology. The company focuses on high-growth sectors including biotech, genomics, healthcare IT, diagnostics, cloud computing technologies, and wireless technologies.
NeuroSense and NeuraLight | July 29, 2022
NeuroSense Therapeutics Ltd. a company developing treatments for severe neurodegenerative diseases, and NeuraLight, a company developing objective and sensitive biomarkers for neurological disorders, today announced a collaboration to advance the science of digital biomarkers in the detection and monitoring of neurological diseases including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
NeuraLight's platform, uses proprietary computer vision and deep learning algorithms to extract over 100 occulometic markers from facial videos captured with a standard webcam. NeuroSense is conducting a Phase IIb PARADIGM trial, which is a double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluating the efficacy of NeuroSense's lead combination drug candidate, PrimeC, in the treatment of ALS. The NeuroSense-NeuraLight collaboration entails sharing and tracking patient data to advance the identification and use of ALS digital biomarkers in a parallel study conducted by NeuraLight. This collaboration marks NeuraLight's first clinical trial and comes on the heels of NeuraLight's $25M Series A raise.
"There is compelling value in the use of precise biomarkers to diagnose and track the progression of neurodegenerative diseases. We are very pleased to work with the stellar team at NeuraLight who are pioneering the development of digital oculometric biomarkers, which complement our extensive evaluation of biological markers of ALS. We believe these tools have the potential to enable patient stratification and increase the likelihood of success in a future NeuroSense pivotal trial of PrimeC in the treatment of ALS. This is a first step in what we envision as a long-term collaboration with NeuraLight in ALS as well as future studies we plan for Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease."
NeuroSense CEO Alon Ben-Noon
Dr. Rivka Kreitman, NeuraLight's Chief Innovation Officer, commented, "Along with advancing a promising therapy for ALS, we look forward to demonstrating that oculometrics serve as a robust proxy for the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Functional Rating Scale (ALSFRS) through this partnership. The validation of our technology's efficacy will improve success rates of trials moving forward – ensuring objectivity, reliability, and replicability, as well as reducing costs and friction."
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is an incurable neurodegenerative disease that causes complete paralysis and death within 2-5 years of diagnosis. In the US alone, over 5,000 patients are diagnosed yearly with ALS, and researchers anticipate the number of ALS patients in the US to grow 24 percent by 2040. The cause of ALS is unknown, making it difficult for researchers to develop disease-modifying therapies for the neurodegenerative disease.
PrimeC, NeuroSense's lead drug candidate is a combination therapy that was granted Orphan Drug Designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA). NeuroSense completed a Phase IIa clinical study which successfully met its safety and efficacy endpoints including reducing functional and respiratory deterioration and statistically significant changes in ALS-related biological markers indicating PrimeC's biological activity. Through a collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston on novel Neuron-Derived Exosomes (NDEs), NeuroSense is working to further determine the biological changes in ALS-related pathologies and the effect of PrimeC on relevant targets. Results from this study are expected Q2 2022.
NeuraLight is on a mission to transform the lives of billions of people impacted by neurological disorders by digitizing neurological evaluation and care. Our AI-driven platform integrates multiple digital markers to accelerate and improve drug development, monitoring, and precision care for patients with neurological disorders. The technology driving the platform includes proprietary Deep Learning algorithms which automatically extract a host of digital oculometric markers from facial videos captured with a standard webcam or smartphone. Our founders are repeat entrepreneurs and industry veterans (including both the co-founder of Chorus.ai and the founding CTO of Flatiron health) leading a 25-strong team, supported by renowned neurologists and 2 Nobel laureates as well as a stellar Scientific Advisory Board, and have raised $30.5M to date.
NeuroSense Therapeutics, Ltd. is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on discovering and developing treatments for patients suffering from debilitating neurodegenerative diseases. NeuroSense believes that these diseases, which include amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, among others, represent one of the most significant unmet medical needs of our time, with limited effective therapeutic options available for patients to date. Due to the complexity of neurodegenerative diseases and based on strong scientific research on a large panel of related biomarkers, NeuroSense's strategy is to develop combined therapies targeting multiple pathways associated with these diseases.