CELL AND GENE THERAPY

AbbVie and Caribou Biosciences Announce Collaboration and License Agreement for the Research and Development of CAR-T Cell Therapeutics

AbbVie | February 11, 2021

AbbVie and Caribou Biosciences, Inc., a leading clinical-stage CRISPR genome altering biotechnology organization, reported today that they have gone into a cooperation and permit arrangement for the innovative work of fanciful antigen receptor (CAR)- T cell therapeutics. Albeit allogeneic, "off-the-shelf" CAR-T cell therapies have indicated early guarantee in some malignancy patients, the requirement for beating the dismissal of allogeneic CAR-T cells by the host immune system stays a vital test to their more extensive turn of events. Utilizing Caribou's CRISPR genome editing platform to engineer CAR-T cells to withstand have resistant assault would empower the advancement of the next-generation of "off-the-shelf" cellular therapies to benefit a broader patient population.

"We are excited to partner with AbbVie on the development of new CAR-T cell therapies. This collaboration validates Caribou's differentiated next-generation CRISPR genome editing technologies that provide best-in-class efficiency and specificity," said Rachel Haurwitz, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Caribou. "We believe AbbVie is an ideal partner for Caribou as we expand upon the number of targets and diseases addressable by our technologies. Genome-edited CAR-T cell therapies hold tremendous potential for patients, and this partnership accelerates our ability to address significant unmet medical need."

About AbbVie
AbbVie's mission is to discover and deliver innovative medicines that solve serious health issues today and address the medical challenges of tomorrow. We strive to have a remarkable impact on people's lives across several key therapeutic areas: immunology, oncology, neuroscience, eye care, virology, women's health and gastroenterology, in addition to products and services across its Allergan Aesthetics portfolio.

About Caribou Biosciences, Inc.
Caribou is a leading clinical-stage CRISPR genome editing biotechnology company founded by pioneers of CRISPR biology. Outside of this collaboration, Caribou is advancing an internal pipeline of allogeneic cell therapies for oncology. CB-010, Caribou's lead allogeneic CAR-T cell program, targets CD19 and is being evaluated in a Phase 1 clinical trial for patients with relapsed/refractory B cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. CB-011, Caribou's second allogeneic CAR-T cell therapy, targets BCMA for multiple myeloma, and CB-012, Caribou's third allogeneic CAR-T cell therapy, targets CD371 for acute myeloid leukemia. CB-011 and CB-012 are in preclinical development. Additionally, Caribou is developing iPSC-derived allogeneic natural killer (NK) cell therapies for solid tumors. Through its next-generation CRISPR genome editing technologies, Caribou is implementing multiple strategies to boost CAR-T and NK cell persistence to overcome cell exhaustion and to prevent rapid immune-mediated clearance. These sophisticated edits drive the durability of clinical benefit of these off-the-shelf medicines.

Spotlight

Most organizations sit on a wealth of healthcare data but raw data in itself is not enough to drive down costs and reduce risk, according to a new infographic by Advanced Plan for Health. The infographic examines how to leverage predictive analytics to improve key areas of cost and risk including wellness programs, case management, and telehealth use.

Spotlight

Most organizations sit on a wealth of healthcare data but raw data in itself is not enough to drive down costs and reduce risk, according to a new infographic by Advanced Plan for Health. The infographic examines how to leverage predictive analytics to improve key areas of cost and risk including wellness programs, case management, and telehealth use.

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

BioConsortia Showcases Breakthrough Microbial Products and Pipeline of Innovation

BioConsortia, Inc. | September 05, 2022

BioConsortia’s innovative microbial products and technical capabilities were on full display August 30th at its Davis, CA headquarters in an investor-focused Technology Showcase event. BioConsortia demonstrated rapid advancements in microbial product and pipeline developments for reducing nitrogen fertilizers, controlling soil pests and plant diseases for larger and better-quality crop yields, as well as protecting crops post-harvest to avoid food waste, while minimizing environmental impact and protecting our planet. The Showcase event reintroduced CRIMSON™ fungicide and biostimulant ZAFFRE™, two products currently awaiting final registrations, and highlighted BioConsortia’s new fungicides, nematicides and nitrogen fixing products that are progressing through registration and commercialization and moving into evaluation with potential partners, as follows: NO-NEM™ bionematicide advances: BioConsortia highlighted progress in bringing novel, safe and effective nematocidal microbes to market. Experts estimate global crop losses of $125 billion or 14% of crop value each year. Currently available chemical controls like methyl bromide, organophosphates and carbamates have an unacceptable level of toxicity to non-target organisms and are being withdrawn from use. NO-NEM is BioConsortia’s first nematicide product heading into full development phase. It has shown excellent performance against economically important pests in row crops, as well as fruits and vegetables, such as soybean cyst nematodes and root knot nematodes. “Today we highlight the breadth of innovations developed to replace chemical crop inputs with superior microbe-based solutions for nitrogen fixing, disease control, nematode control, crop yields and post-harvest food safety. The recent progress of our pipeline – including some exciting technology breakthroughs - means we are ready to advance multiple major products into the commercialization phase with marketing partners.” Marcus Meadows-Smith, CEO of BioConsortia R&D Pipeline Expanded through Technical Innovation Additions to BioConsortia’s R&D pipeline aim to leapfrog currently available microbial products, providing improved efficacy, increased shelf-stability, and reduced field use rates, as follows Leveraging GenePro™ microbe editing platform for nitrogen-fixing breakthroughs: BioConsortia’s proprietary genomics and gene-editing platform, GenePro™, facilitates the discovery and engineering of a wide diversity of microbes faster and more efficiently. BioConsortia’s scientists affirmed GenePro has resulted in the discovery of novel genetic components driving nitrogen-fixation. BioConsortia’s proprietary bacterial strains fix nitrogen under conditions other N-fixing strains will not. This discovery validates the company’s position as a leader in microbe-derived alternatives for agriculture, has resulted in proprietary intellectual property, and will continue to drive our research focus. Expanding library through AMS: BioConsortia’s patent-protected “AMS” - Advanced Microbial Selection™ platform uses evolutionary biology practices to find beneficial microbes that the plant has selected for specific gains. AMS underpins the breadth, depth, and success of BioConsortia’s product pipeline. The company announced the addition of more than 2000 rice diazotrophic microbial strains to its library, following a research program using AMS. This large addition to the library has greatly accelerated BioConsortia’s nitrogen-fixation project for rice, a crop with a paddy production model that represents a unique opportunity to impact the sustainability practices of both large and small growers of one of the world’s most fertilized crops. Novel Bactericide Project: BioConsortia also introduced a new project focused on optimizing microbes for the production of metabolites active against bacterial disease. Project leaders highlighted early technological success within this project – again reliant on the GenePro platform, which focuses on utilizing novel tools to address evolving bacterial disease resistance and increasing bacterial pest pressure resulting from climatic challenges and global trade flows. Novel Multi-spectrum Insecticide: Additionally, the company updated progress on a novel, developmental microbial active ingredient designed to deliver broad-spectrum control of both nematodes and critically important coleopteran and lepidopteran pests. The project aims to deliver a novel mode of action to support and extend crop trait lifecycles in the face of emerging insect resistance. Nematicide leads were originally characterized as strong root colonizers employing the company’s RhizoViz™ system, which uses proteins to visualize colonization robustness in different soils and environmental conditions. BioConsortia’s nematicide pipeline is now among the most expansive in agricultural research. “BioConsortia’s pipeline progress highlights the strengths of the company’s R&D platform – unique in the industry in terms of discovery of plant-affiliated microbes and their optimization as solutions for agriculture,” said Dr. Hong Zhu, Senior VP of Research and Development at BioConsortia. About BioConsortia BioConsortia, Inc. develops superior microbial products that protect plants, enhance fertility, and increase yields while improving the sustainability of agriculture for our environment. Pioneering the use of directed selection within microbial communities, our patented Advanced Microbial Selection process and cutting-edge GenePro genomics and gene-engineering platform enable us to predict, design, and unleash the natural power of microbes.

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

MycoWorks Secures Strategic Investment from GM Ventures to Develop Fine Mycelium Materials for Sustainable Automotive Interiors

MycoWorks | October 19, 2022

Biotechnology company MycoWorks announced today its newest investor GM Ventures, the investment arm of General Motors Co. and their long-term agreement to co-develop Fine Mycelium™ materials for potential use in a range of applications within automotive design. MycoWorks' collaboration with GM marks the exploration of its entry into one of the largest end-use markets for leather and demonstrates the significant opportunity to create more sustainable materials for the automotive space. MycoWorks' breakthrough Fine Mycelium technology engineers mycelium, the infinitely renewable root structure of mushrooms, to craft a range of natural, customizable leather alternatives that match the performance of the highest quality animal leather with lower environmental impact. The company's platform has enabled a new class of premium, non-animal materials which could have the opportunity to support GM's continued progress toward its vision of a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion. Animal-free and chrome-free, Fine Mycelium also has superior strength at low thicknesses, offering a compelling pathway to efficiency and weight reduction in car interiors while still meeting the most stringent performance, aesthetic, and environmental requirements of the automotive space. "Working with General Motors to introduce Fine Mycelium to the automotive industry is an enormous step forward in the global new materials revolution. MycoWorks's collaboration with GM is a first for us outside of the fashion industry, demonstrating the enormous potential and applications for Fine Mycelium." Matt Scullin, CEO of MycoWorks "Our strategic investment in MycoWorks aims to advance the development of sustainable automotive materials," said Wade Sheffer, managing director of GM Ventures. "This collaboration will help facilitate R&D efforts and build more sustainable alternatives for our designers." In August 2022, following an oversubscribed $125M Series C funding round, MycoWorks broke ground on its first full-scale production facility, which will enable initial mass-production volumes of several million square feet of Fine Mycelium materials per year, dramatically increase production and partnership capacity, and service Fine Mycelium to a wider range of industries and companies. About MycoWorks In 2013, co-founders Philip Ross and Sophia Wang formed MycoWorks, a San Francisco-based biomaterials company dedicated to bringing new mycelium materials to the world. MycoWorks' patented Fine Mycelium technology, an advanced manufacturing platform and breakthrough in materials science, engineers mycelium during growth to form proprietary, interlocking cellular structures for unparalleled strength and durability. About General Motors General Motors is a global company focused on advancing an all-electric future that is inclusive and accessible to all. At the heart of this strategy is the Ultium battery platform, which powers everything from mass-market to high-performance vehicles. General Motors, its subsidiaries and its joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Baojun and Wuling brands.

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RESEARCH, INDUSTRY OUTLOOK

BigHat Biosciences Announces Research Collaboration with Merck

BigHat Biosciences, Inc. | November 30, 2022

BigHat Biosciences, Inc., a biotechnology company with a machine learning-guided antibody discovery and development platform, announced a collaboration with Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, to apply the company’s technology to design candidates for up to three drug discovery programs. BigHat’s design platform, Milliner, integrates a high-speed characterization with ML technologies to engineer antibodies with more complex functions and better biophysical properties. This approach could help reduce the difficulty of optimizing antibodies and other therapeutic proteins. Under the collaboration, BigHat and Merck will collaborate to optimize up to three proteins by leveraging BigHat’s platform to synthesize, express, purify, and characterize molecules. Mark DePristo, co-founder and CEO of BigHat, continued, "We are thrilled to be collaborating with Merck's world-class drug development teams to design safer, more effective antibodies for these important therapeutic programs.” The teams have initiated work on the first program and are looking forward to using the power of the complementary skills sets within each research team to generate high-quality lead antibodies. “We are excited to begin this collaboration to advance next-generation antibody therapeutics to patients,” said Elizabeth Schwarzbach, BigHat’s Chief Business Officer. "This agreement with Merck brings us a major step closer to our goal of 3-5 deep collaborations with leading biopharmas to complement our internal therapeutic pipeline." “This agreement with BigHat expands Merck’s strategy of applying AI/ML across our drug discovery capabilities. We look forward to working with the team to leverage BigHat’s technology and expertise in enabling molecular design of novel biologic candidates.” Juan Alvarez, vice president of Biologics Discovery, Merck Research Laboratories About BigHat Biosciences, Inc. BigHat Biosciences is designing safer, more effective antibody therapies for patients using machine learning and synthetic biology. BigHat integrates a wet lab for high-speed characterization with machine learning technologies to guide the search for better antibodies. They apply these design capabilities to develop new generations of safer and more effective treatments for patients suffering from today’s most challenging diseases. BigHat is a Series B biotech outside San Francisco with a team-oriented, inclusive, and family-friendly culture. BigHat’s broad pipeline of wholly-owned and partnered therapeutic programs span many disparate indications with high unmet need, such as cancer, inflammation, and infectious disease. BigHat has raised over $100M from top investors, including Section 32, a16z, and 8VC.

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