A fungus usually found on skin might play a role in Crohn's disease

Medical Xpress | March 05, 2019

A fungus commonly found in human hair follicles also resides in the gut, where it may worsen intestinal disorders such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in patients with a certain genetic makeup, researchers report March 5 in the journal Cell Host & Microbe. Malassezia yeasts found in oily skin and scalp follicles are linked to skin conditions, including dandruff. These microscopic fungi also end up in the gut, but it's not known how or what they do there. "We were surprised to find that Malassezia restrict was more common on intestinal tissue surfaces in Crohn's disease patients than in healthy people," says co-author David Underhill, Janis and William Wetsman Family Chair in Inflammatory Bowel Disease at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles. "Further, the presence of Malassezia was linked to a common variation in a gene known to be important for immunity to fungi a genetic signature more common in patients with Crohn's disease than the healthy population."

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Many of us will experience some kind of trauma during our lifetime. Sometimes, we escape with no long-term effects. But for millions of people, those experiences linger, causing symptoms like flashbacks, nightmares, and negative thoughts that interfere with everyday life. Joelle Rabow Maletis details the science behind post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.

Spotlight

Many of us will experience some kind of trauma during our lifetime. Sometimes, we escape with no long-term effects. But for millions of people, those experiences linger, causing symptoms like flashbacks, nightmares, and negative thoughts that interfere with everyday life. Joelle Rabow Maletis details the science behind post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Applied DNA Announces Receipt of Largest Single Purchase Order for LinearDNA™ To-Date

Applied DNA Sciences | October 11, 2022

Applied DNA Sciences, Inc. a leader in PCR-based DNA technologies, announced that it received its largest single purchase order for LinearDNA™ valued above the mid-six-figures. The order was placed under a long-standing supply agreement for the bulk manufacture of LinearDNA for a global manufacturer of in vitro diagnostics. Under the terms of the repeat order, the Company will deliver quantities of LinearDNA to the customer in the current quarter, with the full order expected to be fulfilled over the subsequent three quarters. LinearDNA is produced using an enzymatic manufacturing platform that eliminates the use of fermenters and bacteria required by plasmid DNA, the industry’s current manufacturing standard for DNA. LinearDNA eliminates many of the challenges associated with current plasmid-based DNA manufacturing and produces a DNA product without the risks of bacterial contamination and non-target DNA sequences. The enzymatic process provides the means to optimize a customer-specific chemistry and sequence of LinearDNA. This capability has been leveraged for diagnostic applications, including today's announced repeat order, and is commonly used when customers order LinearDNA for use as IVT templates for RNA production. “The application of DNA-based probes in molecular diagnostics is rapidly expanding to give the industry powerful new tools to enhance the diagnosis of infectious diseases, genetic disorders, and malignancies. Our proprietary enzymatic approach to manufacturing DNA via PCR underpins our ability to produce DNA more efficiently and rapidly relative to other DNA production methods and at scale. Applying this capacity also to the manufacture of therapeutic DNA for the next generation of genetic medicines, we believe LinearDNA sits at the intersection of two growing life sciences segments that hold the potential to transform human health.” Dr. James A. Hayward, president and CEO of Applied DNA About Applied DNA Sciences Applied DNA Sciences is a biotechnology company developing technologies to produce and detect deoxyribonucleic acid . Using PCR to enable both the production and detection of DNA, we operate in three primary business markets: (i) the manufacture of DNA for use in nucleic acid-based therapeutics; (ii) the detection of DNA in molecular diagnostics testing services; and (iii) the manufacture and detection of DNA for industrial supply chain security services. The Company’s common stock is listed on NASDAQ under the ticker symbol ‘APDN,’ and its publicly traded warrants are listed on OTC under the ticker symbol ‘APPDW.’

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Naveris Inc. Raises $51 Million to Advance Commercialization of NavDx

Naveris, Inc. | September 20, 2022

Naveris, Inc., a commercial-stage life sciences company dedicated to improving patient care through earlier detection of viral-driven cancers, today announced a $33.4 million expansion of its Series A financing, bringing the total investment in Naveris to $51 million. The financing was led by Gurnet Point Capital, joined by TechU Ventures and BrightEdge, the impact and venture capital arm of the American Cancer Society. Naveris’ blood tests for earlier cancer detection use proprietary patented DNA fragmentomics technology to distinguish between viral DNA arising from cancers versus infection. Proceeds from this financing will be used to advance commercialization of NavDx, Naveris’ flagship blood test for the early detection of cancers caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), and to generate the clinical data needed to expand into other cancer types and indications. “We are delighted to have the continued support of Gurnet Point Capital and TechU Ventures, and to welcome Alice Pomponio and the rest of the BrightEdge team, who collectively bring a deep understanding of both the oncology space and commercial-stage businesses. We founded Naveris on the belief that advances in molecular diagnostics will play a vital role in improving cancer outcomes. This new investment underscores NavDx’s commercial success and potential, and our experienced team’s ability to transform this vision into a reality for patients and oncologists.” Piyush B. Gupta, Ph.D., Naveris founder and Chief Executive Officer "Since our initial investment in 2020, we have been impressed by the Naveris team's vision and their ability to commercially execute on a differentiated strategy in the rapidly developing field of blood-based cancer detection,” said Travis Wilson, Partner at Gurnet Point Capital. “We are pleased to be providing additional capital to ensure that their transformative technology for early cancer detection will benefit as many patients as possible." “We could not be more excited to back Piyush and his team as Naveris works to increase access to diagnose, detect, and monitor viral cancers” said Alice Pomponio, BrightEdge Managing Director. “We understand the burden of HPV related cancers on patients. And we seek to build on the years of research and advocacy of the American Cancer Society to support the next generation of mission aligned companies reducing patient burden.” Along with Naveris' commercial activities, more than 25 medical institutions have partnered with the company to conduct clinical studies and trials utilizing its technology. The company has also partnered with biotechnology companies developing immunotherapies for HPV-related cancers. About Naveris, Inc. Founded in 2017, Naveris is a privately held biotechnology company with facilities in Massachusetts and North Carolina. The company’s mission is to improve outcomes for the millions of people at risk of developing viral cancers through novel molecular diagnostics that enable earlier cancer detection. Naveris’ clinical laboratory is certified for high complexity testing under CLIA, and is accredited by the College of American Pathologists and the New York State Department of Health Wadsworth Center. About Gurnet Point Capital Gurnet Point Capital is a leading healthcare fund that invests in de-risked life sciences companies. Gurnet Point primarily focuses on businesses that have high growth potential in the late product development and commercialization stages of their evolution. These companies become partners not just because of their capacity to generate economic value, but also because of their potential to deliver social impact. Gurnet Point’s team of highly experienced industry executives work closely with its portfolio companies, with an active approach driving operational transformation and outsized returns.

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XtalPi and CK Life Sciences to collaborate in AI-empowered tumour vaccine research and development, opening a new paradigm for scientific innovation

XtalPi Inc. | November 25, 2022

XtalPi announced today that they are embarking on a strategic collaboration with CK Life Sciences, a member of the CK Hutchison Group. XtalPi and CK Life Sciences will leverage their respective expertise to jointly develop a novel AI tumour vaccine R&D platform to improve the discovery and design capabilities of tumour vaccines and accelerate the development of more vaccine types. The goal of this collaboration is to realize precision treatment for patients worldwide. According to public information, there were nearly 20 million newly diagnosed cancer patients worldwide in 2021, of which about 4.5 million cases came from China. Many cancer types lead to detrimental outcomes, with high morbidity and mortality, and there remains a large unmet clinical need. Tumour vaccines targeting different tumour neoantigens, tumour-associated antigens and tumour-specific antigens in patients can be designed for use as immunotherapy, to activate the patient's own specific immune responses. Currently, there are only two therapeutic tumour vaccines— sipuleucel-T for melanoma and Bacillus Calmette-Guérin for bladder cancer, as well as preventive tumour vaccines against human papillomavirus infection and hepatitis B infection approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Recently, several other tumour vaccines have entered clinical development and evidence of efficacy has begun to emerge. According to Mordor Intelligence, the global cancer vaccine market size was US$6.79 billion in 2021 and will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 11.53% from 2022 to 2026. The expected market size by 2026 will be approximately US$12 billion. Currently, the design and preclinical development process for tumour vaccines is complex and lengthy, hindering the efficiency and success rate of tumour vaccine research and development. Incorporating XtalPi's industry expertise in AI computation and robotic automation, this collaboration aims to build an AI tumour vaccine R&D platform that applies advanced AI algorithms and high-precision molecular modeling to predict and design a variety of tumour vaccines that can activate specific immune responses to kill tumours. The tumour vaccines will be screened and verified through automated experiments, and through integrating algorithmic feedback to optimise activity and efficacy, the platform is expected to generate preclinical tumour vaccine candidate compounds with robust immune activity. "As a company headquartered in the Hetao Shenzhen-Hong Kong Science and Technology Innovation Cooperation Zone, XtalPi is committed to realising the synergies between Shenzhen and Hong Kong by creating a new paradigm for innovation in the Greater Bay Area. Empowered by the latest technological advancements in automation, artificial intelligence is accelerating more innovative and diverse areas in drug research and development. Together with CK Life Sciences, we are committed to overcome conventional limitations and discover diverse applications for cutting-edge technologies. We believe the AI cancer vaccine platform jointly developed by CK Life Sciences and XtalPi will inspire the global scientific community to progress vaccine research and development and fast-track key development milestones for cancer vaccines. We are confident that this collaboration will significantly facilitate the scientific research exchange in the Greater Bay Area." Dr. Shuhao Wen, co-founder and chairman of XtalPi Dr. Melvin Toh, Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of CK Life Sciences, comments: "The R&D of tumour vaccines is one of the key development directions of CK Life Sciences. The cooperation with XtalPi will apply XtalPi's AI algorithm, molecular modeling and automated experiments to speed up the R&D process, improve the success rate, and increase the efficacy of tumour vaccines." About XtalPi Founded in 2014, XtalPi founders recognized a common hurdle in drug development having to do with solid polymorphism, which could be successfully tackled with quantum physics predictions. Since then, XtalPi has maintained its focus on identifying and then attacking traditional bottlenecks in biopharmaceutical R&D through innovative technologies. Through considerable capital investments in automation and personnel, XtalPi now has four locations worldwide and employs approximately 1000 employees. XtalPi has engaged in collaboration research with nearly all top-20 pharmaceutical companies in the world. Its ID4 platform combines physics-based simulations with experimental validation and refinement, automation for rapid synthesis, and machine learning to continuously improve prediction accuracy and process efficiency. About CK Life Sciences CK Life Sciences is listed on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong. Bearing the mission of improving the quality of life, CK Life Sciences is engaged in the business of research and development, manufacturing, commercialisation, marketing, sale of, and investment in, products and assets which fall into three core categories - nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals and agriculture-related. CK Life Sciences is a member of the CK Hutchison Group.

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