Helix | March 09, 2022
HealthPartners and leading genomics company, Helix, are launching myGenetics, a population genomics program that will provide important health information to families across Minnesota and surrounding states.
The myGenetics program hopes to enroll more than 100,000 participants over four years. Genomic data generated will be integrated with patient health records and shared during their personal clinical care. Through the partnership, HealthPartners will be able to identify risk earlier and potentially mitigate serious disease. In similar programs, as many as 1 in 75 participants were found to be at risk for a serious health issue, of which 90 percent would not have been discovered through traditional practice.
We see population genomics as a critical step in our efforts to improve the health of the communities we serve across Minnesota and surrounding states, By understanding the role genetics play in an individual's health, we can deliver more personalized care and improve the lives of our patients."
Steve Connelly, MD, co-executive medical director at HealthPartners.
The program aligns with HealthPartners ongoing drive to deliver simple, personalized, affordable care. The program will be strictly voluntary and will come at no cost to the patient. It's a partnership both HealthPartners and Helix say will help advance precision medicine and greater health equity.
We are thrilled to partner deeply with one of the leading integrated delivery networks in the nation. We are excited to enable population access to preventable and actionable genetic insights and to empower providers and patients to make more informed medical decisions, The partnership will also generate cutting edge insights on the best ways to improve quality outcomes, close care gaps and lower the cost of care."
James Lu, MD, PhD, CEO and co-founder of Helix.
HealthPartners will leverage Helix's end-to-end genomic platform and unique Sequence Once, Query OftenTM model. It allows patient access to genetic data in a cost-efficient manner while also advancing ongoing genomics research. Helix has helped to launch similar programs at the Mayo Clinic, Renown Health and most recently, the Medical University of South Carolina.
Helix is the leading population genomics and viral surveillance company operating at the intersection of clinical care, research, and data analytics. Through its CLIA / CAP laboratory, its end-to-end workflow, and data analytics platforms, Helix enables health systems, life sciences companies, payers, and government partners to accelerate the integration of genomic data into patient care and public health decision making.
HealthPartners is dedicated to improving health and well-being in partnership with members, patients and the community. As an integrated health system, it provides care to more than one million patients and coverage to more than 1.8 million medical and dental health plan members nationwide. HealthPartners also provides medical education and conducts research through HealthPartners Institute.
CELL AND GENE THERAPY
Tune Therapeutics | December 03, 2021
Tune Therapeutics, a biotechnology company pioneering the creation of epi-therapeutic medicines, launched today with its powerful and precise genetic tuning platform, TEMPO. This cutting-edge technology dials gene expression up or down to desired levels – with the potential to reverse pathways of cancer, genetic disease, and aging by changing cell fate and function at will.
"Genetic medicine is at a tipping point. We now understand that the driving force of human health and disease is not our genes, but the epigenomic elements that shape and control them. Until now, scientists and bioengineers lacked the combined understanding, clinical expertise, and technology needed to make epigenomic therapies a practical reality. Now, we have all three."
Matt Kane, CEO of Tune Therapeutics
Tune's proprietary TEMPO platform can rapidly target and adjust the epigenomic machinery of the cell, which shapes DNA and controls gene expression. By varying specific control modules in an iterative process, TEMPO can fine-tune expression toward healthy levels – even in diseases involving multiplex or polygenic interactions.
Unlike genome editing, the tuning process does not generate double- or single-strand breaks in DNA and makes no permanent changes to the DNA sequence. This de-risks the precise targeting of entire gene networks, allowing Tune to simultaneously turn silenced genes on and dial over-expressed genes down, in a practical, therapeutic context.
Tune has already shown that TEMPO can locate epigenomic elements involved in several intractable genetic conditions – revealing targets and networks that would be invisible or inaccessible to gene editing approaches. Moreover, Tune can optimize TEMPO to command expression of individual genes or networks with remarkable specificity and precision. This opens the door to an entirely new class of epi-therapeutics.
"The exciting challenge in front of us is taking these transformative advances in technology and extending their potential for our greater society," said Charlie Gersbach, PhD, Acting Chief Scientific Officer, Tune Therapeutics. "From proof of concept in rare, single-gene disorders to common conditions that aren't linked to a single gene mutation – but are treatable through epigenomic control and constitute the vast majority of human diseases."
Veteran Genomic Medicine Leadership Team
Tune is launching with a veteran leadership team, endowed with deep expertise in gene and cell therapy, genome editing, and epigenetics.
Matt Kane, Chief Executive Officer
Akira Matsuno, Co-Founder, President and Chief Financial Officer
Charlie Gersbach, Ph.D., Co-Founder, Acting Chief Scientific Officer
Fyodor Urnov, Ph.D., Co-Founder, Scientific Advisory Board
Heidi Zhang, Ph.D., Executive Vice President, Head of Technical Operations
Blythe Sather, Ph.D., Vice President, Head of Research
In addition, Tune's Board of Directors includes Mr. Kane, Dr. Gersbach, Ali Behbahani, M.D., (New Enterprise Associates), and co-founder Dan McHugh
Drawing upon deep, local talent pools in Durham and Seattle, Tune has assembled two highly seasoned discovery and development teams, secured foundational intellectual property from Duke University, and raised $40 million from top-tier investors – including co-leads New Enterprise Associates and Emerson Collective, with Hatteras Venture Partners, Mission BioCapital, and others joining the round. This financing will enable Tune to rapidly advance its preclinical research, attract top-tier talent, and further develop its therapeutic platform.
"Tune is effectively pioneering a brand-new therapeutic modality," said Dr. Behbahani. "With the unbound potential of this approach, and their collective successes in the field, Tune is primed to become a transformative presence in modern biomedicine."
About Tune Therapeutics
Tune Therapeutics, Inc. is orchestrating the power of the epigenome to treat complex, pervasive diseases that have long eluded treatment. With its versatile and powerful TEMPO epigenomic control platform, Tune's experienced team is pioneering a new therapeutic modality that can fine-tune any gene network. In breaking free from the limitations of traditional gene and cell therapies, Tune is developing solutions for even the most challenging and intractable diseases – and building the capacity to transform human health and medicine.
Entos Pharmaceuticals, Inc., BioMarin | November 16, 2021
Entos Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Entos), a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing genetic medicines with its Fusogenix proteolipid vehicle (PLV) nucleic acid delivery platform, and BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (Nasdaq: BMRN) today announced that they have entered into an agreement that will see Entos apply its Fusogenix nucleic acid delivery technology to promising gene therapy candidates in the BioMarin pipeline. Under the agreement, Entos will create specially formulated product candidates for BioMarin, a world leader in developing and commercializing innovative biopharmaceuticals for genetic diseases driven by genetic causes.
Entos' Fusogenix platform utilizes a PLV formulation with a novel mechanism of action to deliver molecular payloads, intact and unmodified, directly into target cells. By combining well-tolerated neutral lipids with proprietary fusion-associated small transmembrane (FAST) proteins, the Fusogenix platform efficiently delivers mRNA or DNA to target tissue with excellent tolerability. Fusogenix technology has been applied to a wide range of therapeutic approaches, including vaccines, gene therapy, and gene editing.
"As a company committed to addressing the unmet therapeutic needs of patients living with genetic diseases, BioMarin values novel technologies that enable the development of transformative therapies," said Brinda Balakrishnan, M.D., Ph.D., Group Vice President, Corporate and Business Development at BioMarin. "We believe that Entos' Fusogenix platform offers potentially unique benefits for safe and effective tissue targeting compared with other lipid-based delivery systems. The Fusogenix PLV formulations generated under this agreement are a critical first step in determining how we may incorporate this promising platform into our drug development efforts."
"With a 20-year track record of successfully discovering, developing, and commercializing first- or best-in-class therapies for diverse rare diseases, the BioMarin team has extensive expertise in harnessing the potential of breakthrough technologies. We believe this licensing agreement helps validate the potential of our Fusogenix platform. It also provides additional opportunities for incorporating our technology into cutting-edge treatments that may have significant clinical and commercial value."
John Lewis, Ph.D., Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Entos
Under the terms of the agreement, Entos will use its Fusogenix nucleic acid delivery system to specially formulate BioMarin products directed at multiple undisclosed genetic disease indications. BioMarin will conduct preclinical studies of the Fusogenix-formulated candidates to evaluate their potential as therapies to prevent or treat these conditions.
Entos' most advanced clinical program is Covigenix VAX-001, a COVID-19 DNA vaccine encoding SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein and two genetic adjuvants engineered to stimulate host adaptive and innate immune systems. Formulated using the Fusogenix platform, Covigenix VAX-001 is the subject of an ongoing phase 2 clinical trial in South Africa, with additional trials planned in other regions. Licensees of the Fusogenix platform include Oisín Biotechnologies and OncoSenX, which are using the technology for age-related diseases and oncology applications, respectively.
pH Partners, LLC served as financial advisor to Entos.
BioMarin is a global biotechnology company that develops and commercializes innovative therapies for patients with serious and life-threatening rare genetic diseases. The company's portfolio consists of seven commercialized products and multiple clinical and preclinical product candidates.
About Entos Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Entos develops next generation nucleic acid-based therapies using its proprietary Fusogenix proteolipid vehicle (PLV) drug delivery system. Fusogenix is formulated with FAST proteins to deliver mRNA or DNA directly into the cytosol of target cells for translation into protective and therapeutic vaccines and medicines.