EpiGentek | July 10, 2020
New York-based biotechnology firm EpiGentek has released a series of SARS-CoV-2 research assays in combatting the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The two kits focus on studies of SARS-CoV-2 targeted furin or proprotein convertase (PC) cleavage activity. These first-of-its-kind tools can be used to rapidly detect SARS-CoV-2 targeted PC and facilitated proteases using biological samples as well as screen for inhibitors of these enzymes that cleave SARS-CoV-2 proteins. Subsequent implications can be the effective development of drug candidates or therapeutic treatments.The SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein harbors a furin/PC cleavage site at the boundary between the S1/S2 subunits, which could be cleaved by furin and/or furin-like PCs secreted from host cells and bacteria in the airway epithelium. Unlike the first SARS-CoV, cell entry of SARS-CoV-2 is pre-activated by furin and/or furin-like PCs, reducing its dependence on target cell proteases for entry. The cleavage activation of S-protein is well demonstrated to be essential for SARS-CoV-2 spike-mediated viral binding to ACE2, cell-to-cell fusion, and viral entry into human lung cells.
Antheia | August 13, 2021
Antheia, a synthetic biology company enabling next-generation plant-inspired medicines, and Ginkgo Bioworks, which is building the leading horizontal platform for cell programming, today announced a partnership to accelerate the development and production of essential medicines. Ginkgo, which recently announced a business combination with Soaring Eagle Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ: SRNG), serves customers across industries seeking to develop new and better products. Antheia plans to leverage Ginkgo's high throughput enzyme design and screening capabilities to broaden its pipeline of critical active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and key starting materials (KSMs).
Nearly half of all medicines today are sourced from nature, and many of the most widely used essential medicines are sourced directly from medicinal plants. The World Health Organization classifies "essential medicines" as medicines "that satisfy the priority health care needs of the population." The supply chains for most critical plant-based medicines are fragile, and depend on a years-long process of growing, harvesting, transporting, and processing specialty plants. During times of extreme demand or constrained supply, many plant-based medicines, including widely used analgesics and sedatives, can be in shortage, as was recently the case during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Antheia is committed to using synthetic biology to enable more equitable access to essential medicines," said Kristy Hawkins, CSO and co-founder at Antheia. "By partnering with Ginkgo Bioworks, a global leader in organism engineering, we are greatly increasing our ability to develop essential medicines at the speed and scale necessary to drive change in global pharma supply chains."
Synthetic biology platforms, such as those created by Antheia and Ginkgo Bioworks, make it possible for critical medicines to be produced on-demand in a much more efficient and environmentally friendly process compared to today's fragmented production systems. Additionally, when it comes to plant-based pharmaceuticals, biomanufacturing has significant advantages in supply chain resiliency and agility, cost, quality control, sustainability and efficiency compared to the conventional production methods, which are based on crop farming.
"We're proud to partner with Antheia, a leader in the application of synthetic biology, as they leverage our platform to produce essential medicines at scale," said Tom Knight, co-founder at Ginkgo Bioworks. "Antheia and Ginkgo are both committed to using biology to build a better future, and we look forward to a long lasting partnership that will drive substantial impact."
Antheia is focused on plant-inspired pharmaceuticals that are too complex to be produced through scalable synthetic chemistry processes. Antheia has managed to efficiently produce these highly-complex pharmaceuticals by pioneering whole-cell engineering, a technique that reconstructs multi-step biosynthetic pathways of unprecedented complexity in yeast cells. As Antheia brings its engineered microbes to commercial scale, it continually invests in strain optimization to ensure highly efficient production of the pharmaceutical compound of interest. Through this partnership, Antheia plans to leverage Ginkgo's extensive and rapid cell programming platform and biological codebase to greatly expand and accelerate its strain and enzyme engineering work.
"Antheia is at the cutting edge of synthetic biology innovation, and its whole-cell engineering platform is capable of producing entire classes of medicines that were previously inaccessible," said Barry Canton, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at Ginkgo Bioworks. "We are thrilled that Ginkgo's platform can support innovators like Antheia as they create next generation manufacturing technologies for essential medicines."
Antheia is unlocking the medicinal power of nature with synthetic biology. Through a novel whole-cell engineering approach to reconstruct complex molecules in yeast, Antheia's platform enables the discovery and manufacturing of plant-inspired drugs of unprecedented complexity and diversity. Antheia's team of scientists and technologists is headquartered in Menlo Park, California.
Roche | May 13, 2020
KAPA HyperExome is a state-of-the-art whole exome research panel with improved performance over the on-market SeqCap portfolio, providing improved coverage and uniformity.
The KAPA Target Enrichment portfolio empowers clinical researchers to process more samples successfully while optimizing sequencing efficiency.
When linked with KAPA library prep, the portfolio can reduce turnaround time for results and allows for fully automatable sample prep workflow.
Roche (SIX: RO, ROG)(OTCQX: RHHBY) announced the launch of the new KAPA Target Enrichment portfolio, consisting of both exome and custom target enrichment solutions for sequencing. KAPA HyperExome is a whole exome research panel with significantly improved performance over the existing on-market SeqCap portfolio and other products on the market. In addition to the Target Enrichment portfolio, Roche is also launching the new HyperDesign tool that enables researchers to create custom target enrichment designs that utilize the new KAPA HyperChoice probes. The probes are paired with a streamlined, automatable workflow.
Every step of the next-generation sequencing sample prep process has the potential to impact results. KAPA Target Enrichment portfolio provides the high level of performance and consistency that is needed to empower clinical researchers to process more samples successfully while optimizing sequencing efficiency. These new target enrichment products, along with the KAPA library prep portfolio, provide researchers with a streamlined and fully automatable sample preparation workflow which decreases hands-on and turnaround time.
Read more: Roche Buys Ex-U.S. Rights To Sarepta DMD Gene Therapy Candidate SRP-9001 for up-to-$2.85B+
Next-generation sequencing samples are precious, as samples often can only be collected once. We are pleased to bring an upgraded target enrichment solution to our customers that will increase sequencing efficiency and provide researchers greater confidence in their results. This helps pave the way for the future of personalized healthcare for patients.
- Neil Gunn, Head of Roche Sequencing Solutions
About KAPA Sample Prep Reagents Portfolio
The KAPA Sample Prep Reagents Portfolio provides tools to unlock the potential in every sample by offering solutions for difficult sample types and challenging applications, enabling the most accurate sequencing results. The KAPA portfolio, originally for NGS library preparation, now encompasses off-the-shelf and custom Target Enrichment probes and consumables to provide a single vendor service and support for all sample prep reagents for researchers.
The new KAPA HyperExome, KAPA HyperChoice and KAPA HyperExplore probes replace the SeqCap product portfolio that will be discontinued. Roche will continue to support its use through the first quarter of 2022.
The KAPA HyperExome targets the GRCh38/hg38 genome assembly and covers the CCDS, RefSeq, Ensembl, Gencode and ClinVar genomic databases in an efficient ~43 Mb capture target size.
In 2007, Roche acquired NimbleGen, which was among the first biotech companies to launch microarrays and hybridization probes (SeqCap Portfolio) for target enrichment. The SeqCap product line has played an important role in countless experiments over the years through its exomes, fixed and custom probes for DNA, RNA and epigenetics.
Roche is a global pioneer in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics focused on advancing science to improve people's lives. The combined strengths of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics under one roof have made Roche the leader in personalised healthcare – a strategy that aims to fit the right treatment to each patient in the best way possible.
Roche is the world's largest biotech company, with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology and diseases of the central nervous system. Roche is also the world leader in in vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics, and a frontrunner in diabetes management.
Founded in 1896, Roche continues to search for better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases and make a sustainable contribution to society. The company also aims to improve patient access to medical innovations by working with all relevant stakeholders. More than thirty medicines developed by Roche are included in the World Health Organization Model Lists of Essential Medicines, among them life-saving antibiotics, antimalarials and cancer medicines. Moreover, for the eleventh consecutive year, Roche has been recognised as one of the most sustainable companies in the Pharmaceuticals Industry by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI).
The Roche Group, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, is active in over 100 countries and in 2019 employed about 98,000 people worldwide. In 2019, Roche invested CHF 11.7 billion in R&D and posted sales of CHF 61.5 billion. Genentech, in the United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche is the majority shareholder in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan.