Adaptive Biotechnologies and Microsoft expand partnership to decode COVID-19 immune response and provide open data access

BioSpace | March 20, 2020

Adaptive Biotechnologies and Microsoft expand partnership to decode COVID-19 immune response and provide open data access
Adaptive Biotechnologies Corp. (Nasdaq: ADPT) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) on Friday announced they will leverage their existing partnership mapping population-wide adaptive immune responses to diseases at scale to study COVID-19. Finding the relevant immune response signature may advance solutions to diagnose, treat and prevent the disease, augmenting existing research efforts that primarily focus on the biology of the virus. These data will be made freely available to any researcher, public health official or organization around the world via an open data access portal.

Spotlight

Genome-editing system CRISPR is now being accused of causing cancer. The system has previously been celebrated for its advancements in curing disease. However, Geek reports that two studies published this week warn that cells altered by CRISPR-Cas9 can trigger cancer. The CEO of CRISPR Therapeutics called the findings “plausible." Stocks have since crashed in companies trying to make the technology mainstream.

Spotlight

Genome-editing system CRISPR is now being accused of causing cancer. The system has previously been celebrated for its advancements in curing disease. However, Geek reports that two studies published this week warn that cells altered by CRISPR-Cas9 can trigger cancer. The CEO of CRISPR Therapeutics called the findings “plausible." Stocks have since crashed in companies trying to make the technology mainstream.

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RESEARCH

TurtleTree and Solar Biotech enter strategic partnership

TurtleTree | August 16, 2021

Solar Biotech, led by industrial biotech expert Alex Berlin, has become a significant piece of the puzzle for sustainable food tech companies taking products to market. TurtleTree knew from the beginning that one of the biggest challenges for food tech companies was developing the technologies required to scale up bio-manufacturing processes. TurtleTree is a biotech company based in Singapore and the US. The company is focused on providing access to the best nutrients in milk using sustainable technologies. With so many food tech companies coming onto the scene, dedicated talent and resources needed to reach commercial scale are scarce. Microbes like yeast and fungi are nature's perfect tools for bio-manufacturing. Precision fermentation uses microbial hosts as cell factories to produce specific beneficial ingredients in a controlled environment without having to go through animal agriculture. What happens in the lab is just half the battle. Efficient precision fermentation and product recovery at an industrial scale demand agility, flexibility, decades of experience, unique multidisciplinary process and equipment engineering, and a well-connected network of bioprocessing and microbial biotech partners, all professionally taken care of by Solar Biotech. Many startups and VC's believe major breakthroughs in the lab will result in the real-world commercialization of bioproducts. The reality is that many projects run into years of roadblocks and scale-up challenges making commercial viability difficult. There is a major difference between traditional fermentation methods, where the microbial biomass itself is the end product, and precision fermentation, where a highly technical skillset is required to obtain the specific desired bioproduct synthesized by the microbial host. A key factor in reaching price parity with traditional food production methods is the availability of technologically advanced large-scale food-grade bioprocessing facilities, which combine precision fermentation and downstream processing lines that are customized for each player. Based on a Good Food Institute (GFI) report, available biomanufacturing facilities suitable for food precision fermentation is only 3% of the total manufacturing capacity. With the increasing demand for large-scale precision fermentation, we are already seeing the supply falling short. Alex Berlin, Solar Biotech Founder, CEO & CTO, having built his extensive experience from his time at Novozymes and other industrial biotech companies, has a track record of developing and scaling up bioproducts that were quite challenging for many others. The TurtleTree team identified this value early on, built a strong collaboration model, and made an investment in Solar Biotech. "TurtleTree's decision to back Alex Berlin and Solar Biotech's team from the early days has started to pay dividends. Our teams can focus on lab-scale R&D and go-to-market as we look to play a major role in the sustainable food supply chain, while Solar Biotech delivers the bioprocessing technologies required for production at scale," says Max Rye, co-founder and chief strategist of TurtleTree. "My team and I are passionate about not only producing the food of the future but also about making a difference in the way these bioproducts are made. Industrial Biomanufacturing at scale has not evolved significantly for decades. We are committed to making a difference, in particular, with a focus on the deployment of unique cutting edge and sustainable bioprocessing technologies. We believe solar energy and a circular economy strategy will play a major role in how we produce novel bio-processed ingredients," says Alex Berlin. About TurtleTree TurtleTree is unlocking access to the natural ingredients found in milk using a host of cell-based technologies. Together with its valued partners, TurtleTree is able to achieve resource efficiency and provide millions with access to the beneficial nutrients found in milk. We aim to transform performance nutrition, food systems, and cellular agriculture with our cell-based technology platform. About Solar Biotech Founded in 2019 by Alex Berlin, Solar Biotech brings bioproducts from benchtop to industrial bioprocessing commercial scale. Its proprietary technology uses a combination of unique technologies, skills, and experience to swiftly adapt to the needs of each bioproduct. Solar Biotech customises modular plant architectures, called BioNodes, for specific bioproducts. Solar Biotech's 100% solar-powered platform and facility help precision fermentation companies scale up their operations sustainably and at a fraction of the cost.

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

McMaster, Sartorius Stedim Biotech team up to advance biomanufacturing processes with next-gen tech

Sartorius Stedim Biotech S.A | August 23, 2021

Sartorius Stedim Biotech, a leading international partner of the biopharmaceutical industry, has entered into a partnership with McMaster University to improve manufacturing processes of antibody and virus-based treatments for diseases such as COVID-19, cancers, and genetic disorders. Using a state-of-the-art multi-column chromatography system provided by Sartorius Stedim Biotech, the McMaster team will "perfect" a process for the purification of therapeutic viruses that is more effective and cheaper than those currently available. This will pave the way for new and more affordable treatments to reach patients with a variety of needs. "Teaming up with Sartorius Stedim Biotech is an exciting opportunity for McMaster Engineering. This research will push the envelope in leading advanced, cutting-edge research in bio-manufacturing," says John Preston, associate dean, research, innovation and external relations in the Faculty of Engineering. "Establishing industry-friendly, collaborative environments is critical in solving real-world problems." This work aims to support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) set out by the United Nations, designed to give our people and planet a better future. More effective bio-manufacturing can make advanced biotherapeutics cost-effective and available to more people globally. "This partnership with McMaster University will lead to impactful research that will make important treatments available at a greater scale. We see this as a way to expand our research development and bring SDG-aligned pharmaceuticals to Canadian and global markets," says Brandon Corbett, research scientist at Sartorius Stedim Biotech. David Latulippe, associate professor of Chemical Engineering, and Prashant Mhaskar, professor of Chemical Engineering and Canada Research Chair in Nonlinear and Fault-Tolerant Control, are leading this project with Sartorius Stedim Biotech. The collaboration will initially run for four years. What is chromatography? Chromatography is an essential purification technology in biomanufacturing. To produce biotherapeutics, scientists use a bioreactor with specialized cell lines and customized growth media. Next, the biotherapeutic must go through a series of purification steps, often with duplicate steps to satisfy the requirements of regulatory bodies. Sartorius Stedim Biotechs' multi-column chromatography system uses parallel processing strategies to make the process more resource and cost-efficient. "Our ultimate goal is to perfect the downstream chromatography process by combining detailed experimental work with advanced process modelling concepts," says Latulippe. "This way, we can control the outcome and fix the processes on site, as production is happening, so everything is always 'on spec'." Currently, monoclonal antibodies are the leading biotherapeutic being used to fight against COVID-19. Training the next generation As part of the partnership, Sartorius Stedim Biotech will provide student training opportunities at their research and development facilities in North America and Europe. Ian Gough, a graduate of McMaster's Chemical and Bioengineering program, has already started working on this project. Gough is a former member of the Summer Studentship Internship program from BioCanRx, a Networks of Centres of Excellence program. Claire Velikonja, a recent chemical engineering graduate from the University of Toronto, will join the team in September. Both Gough and Velikonja received a Canada Graduate Scholarship from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to provide additional support for their first year of graduate studies. A profile of Sartorius Stedim Biotech Sartorius Stedim Biotech is a leading international partner of the biopharmaceutical industry. As a total solutions provider, the company helps its customers to manufacture biotech medications safely, rapidly and economically. Headquartered in Aubagne, France, Sartorius Stedim Biotech is quoted on the Eurolist of Euronext Paris. With its own manufacturing and R&D sites in Europe, North America and Asia and an international network of sales companies, Sartorius Stedim Biotech has a global reach. The Group has been annually growing by double digits on average and has been regularly expanding its portfolio by acquisitions of complementary technologies. In 2020, the company employed more than 7,500 people, and earned sales revenue of 1,910 million euros. About McMaster University Ranked among the world's top engineering schools, the Faculty of Engineering plays a significant role in helping McMaster University earn its reputation as one of Canada's most innovative universities. Our focus is on experiential, problem-based learning, and our interdisciplinary approach to collaboration results in smarter insights, groundbreaking ideas, and greater optimism. This approach is helping us create a Brighter World.

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Quantum Genomics Signs an Exclusive License and Production Agreement with Gulf Pharmaceuticals Industries Julphar

Quantum Genomics | December 06, 2021

Quantum Genomics, a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the development of first-in-class drugs directly targeting the brain to treat complex/resistant hypertension, has announced the signing of an exclusive license and production agreement with Julphar to market and produce firibastat in the Middle East, all African countries, Commonwealth of Independent States and Turkey. A pharmaceutical company based in the United Arab Emirates and leader in the MENA region, Julphar will receive exclusive rights to manufacture and market firibastat in the following geographic areas: the MENA1 region, CIS2, Turkey and all other countries on the African continent. With its state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, making it possible to mass produce firibastat, Julphar will also be Quantum Genomics’ exclusive supplier for said regions. Quantum Genomics will receive up to $20M in upfront, development and sales milestone payments as well as royalties on future firibastat sales. Julphar has also pledged to invest $2M in Quantum Genomics through a private placement. Details of the transaction will be announced shortly. "Julphar, which was founded forty years ago, is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the MENA region. Its success has been built on its comprehensive portfolio including anti-infectives, dermatology and diabetes products and its presence in all key MENA markets. Its business is expanding fast, and cardiology is one of its key areas of investment. Julphar is also among the region’s largest producers and is the ideal partner to support firibastat’s future production needs. We’re already exploring how Julphar could meet some of those requirements for the United States and Europe," Jean-Philippe Milon, CEO of Quantum Genomics Commenting on the agreement, Dr. Essam Mohammed, Julphar’s CEO said: “Julphar is delighted to partner with Quantum Genomics to commercialize firibastat, a first in class molecule to treat resistant and difficult-to-treat hypertension, and to produce it in our state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Ras Al Khaimah. We are confident that firibastat will add strong value to the treatment of this unmet medical need and to Julphar’s portfolio.” Dr. Essam Mohammed added: “The new landmark agreement brings together a stronger focus on innovative ways to address critical diseases in the MENA region through manufacturing high-quality medications locally.” About Julphar Julphar is one of the largest pharmaceutical manufacturers in the Middle East and Africa, and for more than four decades, the company has been delivering high quality, innovative and affordable healthcare solutions to families across the globe. Established under the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Saqr Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi in 1980, Julphar employs 2,500 people and distributes pharmaceutical products to more than 50 countries across the globe. Julphar’s business is centered on three core business units – Julphar Diabetes Solutions, General Medicines and its consumer division, Julphar Life – which target major therapeutic segments including Gastrology, Pain Management, Wound Care, Antibiotics and Cardio-metabolism. Julphar has 13 internationally accredited facilities in the Middle East and Africa. In 2012, Julphar became one of the largest producers of Insulin with its UAE-based biotechnology production unit. About Quantum Genomics Quantum Genomics is a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the development of a new class of cardiovascular drugs, based on the Brain Aminopeptidase A Inhibition (BAPAI) mechanism. It is the only company in the world to pursue this innovative approach directly targeting the brain, founded upon more than twenty years of research work by Paris-Descartes University and the INSERM/CNRS laboratory led by Dr. Catherine Llorens-Cortès at the Collège de France. Quantum Genomics thus aims to develop innovative treatments for complicated or even resistant hypertension and heart failure.

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