Biofuels Are Saving Aviation and Attracting Environmentally Conscious Travelers

Biotech-now.org | July 23, 2019

Biofuels are whats going to save us when it comes to aviation, said Corinne Scown a scientist and engineer at the Joint BioEnergy Institute at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Emeryville, California to NBC News. There just arent a lot of other good options. Our vision is that every time you get on a plane thats fueled with a biofuel, you are not only not emitting fossil carbon, but you are diverting organics from a landfill or helping to avoid unnecessary wildfires. Thats a few years out, but thats where I ultimately would like to see us go. And then you hopefully shouldn’t have any plane shame.” Today, more and more consumers are environmentally conscious travelers. They shop for eco-friendly hotels and vacation packages. However, for some, the amount of carbon emissions caused by air travel has been a hard pill to swallow. Fortunately, some airlines are now using biofuels to significantly reduce the greenhouse gases emitted by their fleets. Why this matters: Biofuels are playing a significant role in reducing harmful pollution, particularly in the sector that emits the most greenhouse gases—transportation. Utilizing biofuels could reduce carbon emissions from airplanes by 60 percent. American researchers are using feedstocks—like algae, waste, and other types of biomass—to convert into cleaner fuels for use in the sky. Currently, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, American Airlines, and Air France are blending biofuels with conventional fuel to power their jets.

Spotlight

Considerable heterogeneity exists in the properties and activity of individual cells, even in the simplest cell system. Analysis at the cell-by-cell level promises valuable and additional biological insight beyond which whole population measures may deliver. In this article, we consider this opportunity from a perspective of analyzing living cells over time, and describe new, enabling and industrial-scale, live-cell analysis solutions for quantifying the phenotypic biology of cell subsets in heterogeneous cultures.

Spotlight

Considerable heterogeneity exists in the properties and activity of individual cells, even in the simplest cell system. Analysis at the cell-by-cell level promises valuable and additional biological insight beyond which whole population measures may deliver. In this article, we consider this opportunity from a perspective of analyzing living cells over time, and describe new, enabling and industrial-scale, live-cell analysis solutions for quantifying the phenotypic biology of cell subsets in heterogeneous cultures.

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RESEARCH

Evelo Biosciences Presents Data on EDP1815 Mechanism of Action and Supporting Ongoing Clinical Development for Inflammatory Diseases

Evelo Biosciences, Inc. | January 18, 2022

Evelo Biosciences, Inc. a clinical stage biotechnology company developing SINTAX™ medicines as a new modality of orally delivered treatments for inflammatory disease, today announced data for EDP1815, the Company’s lead product in inflammation, detailing its mechanism of action and supporting further clinical development in patients with psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. The data were presented in two posters on Saturday, January 15, 2022, at the 2022 Winter Clinical Dermatology Congress in Koloa, Hawaii. “The data presented today build on the substantial evidence accumulated through our clinical and preclinical work, deepening our understanding of the mechanism by which EDP1815 drives its clinical effects. They explain how an oral, gut-restricted SINTAX medicine can interact with the immune system in the gut, leading to systemic inflammation resolution without immunosuppression or concerning side-effects. We are particularly pleased to share these results with the clinical community as we progress EDP1815 into later stages of development for the treatment of psoriasis and atopic dermatitis, two inflammatory diseases that affect millions of people worldwide.” Douglas Maslin, M.Phil, M.B. B.Chir, Dermatology and Pharmacology Physician at Addenbrooke’s Hospital and Immunology Clinical Lead of Evelo Preclinical data from the studies presented at the Winter Clinical Dermatology Congress confirm that EDP1815 modulates systemic inflammation through its initial interaction with innate immune receptors, including TLR2, leading to downstream changes in circulating immune-cell phenotypes. In addition, the data demonstrate that preclinical effects in Th17 models translate into signs of clinical benefit in psoriasis, and that preclinical effects in Th2 models translate into signs of clinical benefit in atopic dermatitis, supporting further clinical development of EDP1815 in these indications. A Phase 2 study of EDP1815 in patients with mild to moderate psoriasis is ongoing, and a Phase 2 study of EDP1815 in patients with mild, moderate, and severe atopic dermatitis is expected to initiate dosing in the first quarter of 2022. About EDP1815 EDP1815 is an investigational oral medicine being developed for the treatment of inflammatory diseases. It is a non-live pharmaceutical preparation of a strain of Prevotella histicola, selected for its potential to provide systemic pharmacological effects after oral administration with gut-restricted distribution. Being non-live, it has not been observed to colonize the gut or modify the microbiome. Preclinically, EDP1815 had anti-inflammatory effects in models that cover multiple pathways of inflammation, Th1, Th2, and Th17. Clinical results from multiple independent cohorts provide evidence supporting EDP1815’s potential to address Th1, Th2 and Th17-mediated inflammation. About Evelo Biosciences Evelo Biosciences is a clinical stage biotechnology company developing orally delivered product candidates that are designed to act on the small intestinal axis, SINTAX™, with systemic therapeutic effects. SINTAX plays a central role in governing the immune, metabolic, and neurological systems. The Company’s first product candidates are pharmaceutical preparations of single strains of microbes selected for their potential to offer defined pharmacological properties. Evelo’s therapies have the potential to be effective, safe, and affordable medicines to improve the lives of people with inflammatory diseases.

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AI

Deargen Announces New Model for Optimizing Drug Candidate Molecules With Nearly Doubled Performance Compared to Existing Models

Deargen | April 12, 2021

Deargen, a drug research and development biotech company based on artificial intelligence (AI), announced on April 9 that it presented study results on controlled molecule generator (CMG) technology at the ACM Conference on Health, Inference, and Learning (ACM CHIL) 2021. CMG technology can modify many properties of molecules at the same time. The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), based in New York, is one of the world's most prominent academic organizations. The ACM was founded in 1947 and now has over 100,000 members worldwide. The ACM Conference on Health, Inference, and Learning 2021 was held online on April 8th as a healthcare conference. Deargen's latest CMG technology overcomes the limitations of current models for predicting molecule properties. Deargen's test results revealed that the new CMG method enhances efficiency by nearly doubling as compared to existing versions such as MolDQN and VJTNN. Deargen tried to improve aniracetam, which has the lowest binding affinity of dopamine D2-type receptor (DRD2) among 28 DRD2-targeted compounds in clinical or pre-clinical trials, in the most recent report. The study discovered that aniracetam's DRD2 binding affinity was highly enhanced while its other properties remained relatively unchanged. The technology of optimizing properties of candidate molecules in the process of developing new drugs, such as efficacy, toxicity, and structural similarity, is positioning itself as a key strategy for reducing costs and time required for drug development. Models that predict properties of previously proposed molecules, such as MolDQN, VJTNN, and VSeq2Seq, are considered to have limitations when used to produce new drugs because they either alter properties of molecules that must be retained by optimizing only one property or take very long to process data. Deargen's CMG model, on the other hand, will optimize only desired properties while minimizing changes in other properties that are meant to be retained as set by molecule design as it can consider multiple properties at the same time. Since it takes less time to examine, it can be directly applied to the development of new drugs. “Not only is our representative technology, MT-DTI, being used for discovering various new substances, including treatment prediction for COVID-19, but we are also poised to provide more advanced new drug development services by developing an ensemble of CMG models with our other platform MolEQ,” said Bonggeun Shin, Deargen's Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer. Deargen President Kilsoo Kang said, "Deargen has accomplished drug development technologies on a global level and continues to invest in advancing these technologies and extending their support range." “The most recent technological advancement will provide an important momentum in the development of AI-powered new drugs.”

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CELL AND GENE THERAPY

Childhood Trauma and Genetics Linked to Increased Obesity Risk

DRI | March 10, 2022

New research from the Healthy Nevada Project® found associations between genetics, obesity, and childhood trauma, linking social health determinants, genetics, and disease. The study, which was published this week in Frontiers in Genetics, found that participants with specific genetic traits and who experience childhood traumas are more likely to suffer from adult obesity. In 2016, DRI and Renown Health launched the Healthy Nevada Project®, the nation’s first community-based, population health study, which now has more than 60,000 participants. The project is a collaboration with personal genomics company, Helix, and combines genetic, environmental, social, and clinical data to address individual and community health needs with the goal of improving health across the state and the nation. The new study focuses on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), which are traumatic and unsafe events that children endure by the age of 18. Over 16,000 participants in the Healthy Nevada Project® answered a mental health survey, and more than 65 percent of these individuals self-reported at least one ACE occurrence. These 16,000 participants were cross-referenced with their genetic makeup, and clinical Body Mass Index (BMI) measures. According to the research team’s findings, study participants who had experienced one or more types of ACE were 1.5 times more likely to become obese adults. Participants who experienced four or more ACEs were more than twice as likely to become severely obese. Our analysis showed a steady increase in BMI for each ACE a person experienced, which indicates a very strong and significant association between the number of adverse childhood experiences and adult obesity, More importantly, participants’ BMI reacted even more strongly to the occurrence of ACEs when paired with certain mutations in several genes, one of which is strongly associated with schizophrenia.” lead author Karen Schlauch, Ph.D., of DRI. We know that genetics affect disease in the Healthy Nevada Project®, and now we are recognizing that ACEs also affect disease, Our new study shows that the combination of genes and environmental factors like ACEs, as well as many social determinants of health, can lead to more serious health outcomes than either variable alone. More broadly, this new work emphasizes how important it is for population genetic studies to consider the impact of social determinants on health outcomes.” Healthy Nevada Project® Principal Investigator Joseph Grzymski, Ph.D., of DRI and Renown Health. The study team believes that it is important for clinical caregivers to understand the strong impact that negative childhood experiences such as ACEs can have on both child and adult health. The researchers hope the information from this study will encourage doctors and nurses to conduct simple screenings for ACEs and consider a patient’s social environment and history in combination with genetics when developing treatment plans for better patient health. According to the 2019 Youth Behavior Risk Survey (YRBS), 25.6 percent of Washoe County teenagers are overweight or obese. Obesity is a serious health concern for children and adolescents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obese children and adolescents are more likely to become obese as adults. Obese and overweight children and adolescents are at risk for multiple health problems during their youth, which are likely to be more severe as adults, Obese and overweight youth are more likely to have risk factors associated with cardiovascular diseases, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes. Losing weight, in addition to a healthy diet, helps to prevent and control multiple chronic diseases and improves quality of life for a lifetime.” Max J. Coppes, MD, PhD, MBA, FAAP, Nell J Redfield Chair of Pediatrics at the University of Nevada Reno School of Medicine, Physician in Chief of Renown Children's Hospital. We’d like to thank all of the Healthy Nevada Project® participants who provided information to make our work possible, Our research illustrates that it’s not just genetics that cause disease, but that our environment and life experiences interact with our genes to impact our health in ways that we are only beginning to understand.” Robert Read, M.S., of DRI. About DRI The Desert Research Institute (DRI) is a recognized world leader in basic and applied environmental research. Committed to scientific excellence and integrity, DRI faculty, students who work alongside them, and staff have developed scientific knowledge and innovative technologies in research projects around the globe. Since 1959, DRI’s research has advanced scientific knowledge on topics ranging from humans’ impact on the environment to the environment’s impact on humans. DRI’s impactful science and inspiring solutions support Nevada’s diverse economy, provide science-based educational opportunities, and inform policymakers, business leaders, and community members. With campuses in Las Vegas and Reno, DRI serves as the non-profit research arm of the Nevada System of Higher Education.

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