Bayer inks Arvinas deal to develop protein degraders

fiercebiotech | June 04, 2019

Bayer is paying Arvinas $17.5 million (€15.5 million) upfront to develop protein-degrading treatments for cardiovascular, oncological and gynecological diseases. The partners will apply Arvinas  targeted protein degrader technology to targets selected by Bayer.Arvinas moved the first targeted protein degrader into human testing earlier this year, beating rival biotechs and Big Pharmas including C4 Therapeutics, Kymera Therapeutics, Merck and Novartis to that milestone. The number of companies pursuing Arvinas reflects excitement about the potential to use cellular machinery to degrade disease-causing proteins rather than simply block their activity.

Spotlight

We have just begun to scratch the surface of linking genes to specific genetic diseases. We’re starting to see drugs be approved to treat these rare and unusual diseases based on the genetics involved, and at Alger we have invested up and down the entire genomics food chain.

Spotlight

We have just begun to scratch the surface of linking genes to specific genetic diseases. We’re starting to see drugs be approved to treat these rare and unusual diseases based on the genetics involved, and at Alger we have invested up and down the entire genomics food chain.

Related News

MEDICAL

Novalis Biotech Announces the Closing of a €25 Million Biotech Acceleration Fund

Novalis Biotech | July 01, 2021

Novalis Biotech, an early-stage venture capital investor in healthcare-related technology, announced today the completion of its €25 million second fund, the Novalis Biotech Acceleration Fund. The fundraising has included both new and returning investors. The second fund's investor base comprises institutional investors, including Participate Maatschappij Vlaanderen (PMV), family offices, and high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs). The Biotech Acceleration Fund will continue to invest in start-up and scale-up companies that use "enabling technologies" to improve healthcare. Genomic and bioinformatics technologies, drug research and manufacturing tools, diagnostics, and personalized medicine are examples. The funds will be divided between early-stage incubation initiatives and late-stage acceleration programs. Grapheal and RheaVita have already made investments in the enabling technologies they are developing. Novalis will continue to use its strong network in the Benelux area and intends to expand its investments throughout Western Europe and the United States. Novalis invests early and focuses on capital-light ideas where modest investments can generate substantial value using software, intellectual property, tools, and other enabling technologies that can transform healthcare. Novalis has a strong track record of turning ideas into profitable businesses by using extensive networks. Novalis Fund 1 was established in September 2018 with a total capitalization of €4 million, which was invested in eight companies, the majority of which were located in the Benelux region. BioLizard, Cergentis, Enzyre, Epify, Fertiga, myNEO, and OHMX.bio are among them. A first exit occurred when doc.ai, a US portfolio company, was acquired by Sharecare as part of an IPO. About Novalis Biotech Acceleration Novalis Biotech is an early-stage venture capital investor in healthcare-revolutionizing technologies. The company's main competence is digitalization in the life sciences, focusing on capital-light "enabling technologies" such as bioinformatics, artificial intelligence, genomics, personalized medicine, research or manufacturing tools, and diagnostics.

Read More

CELL AND GENE THERAPY

Phytolon and Ginkgo Bioworks Collaborate to Take Biological Production of Vibrant Food Colors to the Next Level

Phytolon; Ginkgo Bioworks | February 28, 2022

Phytolon, a growing startup company making natural food colorants, announced a partnership today with Ginkgo Bioworks the leading horizontal platform for cell programming, to produce vibrant cultured food colors via fermentation of yeast. Under this partnership, Phytolon is leveraging Ginkgo's ability to engineer biology at scale to work together on the production of vibrant betalain pigments, the healthy and colorful compounds found in foods like beets and cactus fruit. The project aims to take Phytolon's colors across the full 'yellow-to-purple' spectrum to the next level, and to potentially maximize the business opportunity of Phytolon's vibrant colors for applications in the food and cosmetics industries. Scientists have developed hundreds of artificial food dyes by using the tools of synthetic chemistry to convert petrochemical sources into a wide range of colors. Biotechnology offers an opportunity to tap into the vibrant colors of biology to produce more sustainable, yet equally vibrant, colors. While artificial dyes are visually appealing and cheap to manufacture, many have been banned in food and feed due to health concerns. As consumers increasingly seek out more sustainable and nature-derived products, the food industry is working to find food colors that have equivalent pigment vibrancy to those found in synthetic chemical dyes but which come from biological rather than petrochemical sources. Phytolon has developed a proprietary process for producing betalain pigments through precision fermentation of certain yeast strains. Together, Phytolon and Ginkgo are partnering with the goal of maximizing the production efficiency of purple and yellow betalain-producing strains. "We're excited to work with Ginkgo to develop natural food colors that can potentially outperform conventional artificial dyes in cost and performance. We believe biotechnology makes it possible to produce a wider range of colors than ever before that may outperform current benchmark colorants, and we look forward to building products that may meet and even exceed consumer expectations for healthier, sustainable foods, all while aiming to maintain industry requirements for high quality and cost-efficiency." Dr. Tal Zeltzer, Co-founder and CTO of Phytolon "We love enabling growing startups like Phytolon through our platform, using biotechnology to challenge industry norms and attempt to build a fundamentally better product than what's on the market today," said Jennifer Wipf, Head of Commercial, Cell Engineering at Ginkgo Bioworks. "The planet needs new sustainable solutions, and we are excited to partner with Phytolon to support a more sustainable food system." About Phytolon Phytolon is a biotechnology startup company that is taking food coloring to the next level by leveraging a novel technology for production of natural pigments via precision fermentation of yeast. Phytolon's products have been successfully validated by global leaders in the food industry, and Phyloton expects to enter into commercialization agreements with initial strategic partners in the near term. Phytolon is supported by partners such as The Trendlines Group Millennium Foodtech, EIT-Food, Consensus Business Group, Arkin Holdings and others. 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.

Read More

MEDTECH

Versantis to Present Positive Phase 1b Data at AASLD for VS-01 in Patients with Decompensated Cirrhosis

Versantis | November 15, 2021

Versantis, a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing novel therapies for orphan liver and pediatric diseases, announced that positive Phase 1b clinical data from a study of its lead investigational, orphan-designated product, VS-01, in 12 hospitalized patients with decompensated liver cirrhosis will be presented at the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) annual meeting. The data show that VS-01 was safe and well tolerated in these patients, and demonstrated promising early indications of efficacy in this clinical study. VS-01 is a potentially lifesaving, multi-organ support therapy that aims to timely reverse Acute-on-Chronic Liver Failure (ACLF) by enhancing the clearance of ammonia and other toxins following paracentesis. The Abstract selected for oral presentation is as follows Oral Presentation Title: Safety and Preliminary Efficacy and Pharmacokinetics of Intraperitoneal VS-01 Infustions in Patients with Decompensated Liver Cirrhosis: A First-in-Human, Open-label, Phase 1b Clinical Trial Presenter: Dr. Frank Erhard Uschner, Section for Translational Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine I, Goethe University Clinic Frankfurt, Session Date/Time: Monday, November 15, 2021, 12:30 p.m. EST The annual Liver Meeting, held by AASLD, brings together attendees from around the world to exchange the latest research, discuss new developments in treatments, and network with others in the field. The primary objective of this single-center first-in-human study was to evaluate the safety and tolerability of i.p.-administered VS-01 on top of standard of care in cirrhotic patients with ascites and mild hepatic encephalopathy following single and multiple intraperitoneal administrations. The secondary objectives were to gather preliminary PK, PD, and clinical efficacy data. In total, all 12 patients completed treatment in the Department of Internal Medicine I, Goethe University Frankfurt and were assigned to receive either a single dose of VS-01 (Part A; n=9) or four consecutive doses (Part B; n=3). Following the drainage of ascites in these patients, VS-01 was then infused into the peritoneal cavity via the existing paracentesis catheter and removed after a dwell time of 2-3 hours. No treatment-related serious adverse events were reported and no patient discontinued treatment due to an adverse event. VS-01 also demonstrated promising clinical efficacy results, including a high and dose-dependent ammonia clearance, promising improvement in hepatic encephalopathy based on psychometric tests, and increased peritoneal clearance of ACLF-related metabolites. “The data show that VS-01 is safe and well tolerated in cirrhotic patients with ascites and covert (mild) hepatic encephalopathy, so very promising. We were able to administer VS-01 using standard hospital equipment via the therapeutic paracentesis catheter, which we believe can easily be incorporated into standard of care for patients There are very few treatments available for these patients and VS-01 is complementary to those, so we are excited to continue advancing it’s development and hopefully generate the data supporting this ground-breaking clinical approach.” Prof. Dr. Trebicka, the principal investigator and head of the Section of Translational Hepatology in Goethe University Frankfurt “VS-01 represents a promising new therapeutic for the potential treatment of patients with ascites and acute complications of cirrhosis. The data from this early study were very promising and importantly show that VS-01 appears to be safe and well tolerated in these patients. The amomonia and ACLF metabolites clearance data is particularly encouraging,” added Vincent Forster, CEO and co-Founder of Versantis. “The successful completion of this study supports future development of VS-01. We are now preparing to initiate a multi-center Phase 2a study in patients with ACLF, a seriously underserved and under-resourced indication. Together with our pipeline of innovative products, we are committed to developing and commercializing new treatment options for patients suffering from acute liver diseases.” About Acute-on-Chronic Liver Failure (ACLF) ACLF is an underserved medical condition, which, despite best possible available care, is associated with high short-term mortality. It is characterized by an abrupt life-threatening worsening of a pre-existing chronic liver disease (e.g., cirrhosis) resulting in liver and extrahepatic organ failure rapidly progressing into coma and death. Every year at least 150’000 patients are hospitalized with ACLF in the US and EU. The incidence is growing due to a higher prevalence of diabetes, obesity, fatty liver diseases, and alcohol consumption. By timely reversing ACLF and the multi-organ complications arising from cirrhosis, VS-01 aims to improve outcomes in these patients and relieve the growing health and economic burden of this advanced liver disease. About Versantis Versantis is a clinical stage biotechnology company focused on addressing the growing, un-met medical need in liver diseases. With a pipeline of drug and diagnostic products covering chronic and acute indications, Versantis believes it can revolutionize current standard of care for patients suffering from acquired and genetic hepatic deficiencies. Versantis’ lead program, VS-01, is in clinical development as a first-line therapy for the timely reversal of acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF). It harnesses Versantis’ proprietary scavenging liposomes to extract toxins from the body and, if approved, will be the first drug to take advantage of the intraperitoneal route to potentially support the liver, kidneys and brain, the organs that most often fail in cirrhotic patients. VS-01 has received orphan drug designation (ODD) from the EMA and U.S. FDA, as well as a Rare Pediatric Diseases Designation from the U.S. FDA for Urea Cycle Disorders. Founded by scientists from ETH Zurich with entrepreneurial drive, Versantis has built a team and Board of seasoned industry executives with a proven ability to advance novel therapies from the idea stage into clinical development. The company is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland.

Read More