Precigen, Inc. | July 06, 2022
Precigen, Inc. a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the development of innovative gene and cell therapies to improve the lives of patients, announced that the Company has entered into a definitive agreement for the sale of its wholly-owned non-healthcare subsidiary, Trans Ova Genetics, L.C. an industry-leading animal reproductive technologies company, to URUS, a holding company with cooperative and private ownership, for $170 million in upfront cash and up to $10 million earn-out based on the performance of Trans Ova in 2022 and 2023. Consummation of the transaction, anticipated in Q3 2022, is subject to customary closing conditions, including clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976.
"We believe this transaction will support Precigen's mission as a premier cell and gene therapy company laser focused on the rapid development of our top clinical assets to maximize shareholder value and potentially improve the way devastating diseases like cancer are treated. I am proud of Precigen management and the Trans Ova team for successfully leading the financial turnaround of Trans Ova operations to maximize the value of this asset over the last two years. We expect to have the capacity to pay the convertible notes upon maturity and to focus on fast regulatory paths for our healthcare portfolio."
Helen Sabzevari, PhD, President and CEO of Precigen
Rabo Securities USA, Inc. is acting as exclusive financial advisor to Precigen and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP is providing Precigen with legal support for the transaction.
Precigen: Advancing Medicine with Precision™
Precigen is a dedicated discovery and clinical stage biopharmaceutical company advancing the next generation of gene and cell therapies using precision technology to target the most urgent and intractable diseases in our core therapeutic areas of immuno-oncology, autoimmune disorders, and infectious diseases. Our technologies enable us to find innovative solutions for affordable biotherapeutics in a controlled manner. Precigen operates as an innovation engine progressing a preclinical and clinical pipeline of well-differentiated therapies toward clinical proof-of-concept and commercialization.
Orion Biotechnology | July 15, 2022
Orion Biotechnology Canada Ltd, a drug discovery company targeting previously undruggable G Protein-Coupled Receptors and Peptilogics, a biotech company engineering peptide therapeutics by combining computation and biology to improve the treatment landscape for patients with life-threatening diseases, announced today that they have entered a research and development collaboration to leverage AI for drug discovery against an undrugged GPCR target.
The collaboration will combine the capabilities of Peptilogics’ AI platform (NautilusTM) with Orion Biotechnology’s proprietary drug discovery platform. The companies will leverage expertise in peptide design and engineering to drive drug discovery against an undrugged peptidergic GPCR linked to highly prevalent, life-threatening diseases.
Peptilogics’ Nautilus™ platform enables in silico predictive peptide design across diverse targets to efficiently access new functional chemical space and custom-design therapeutics. Additionally, Peptilogics’ supercomputer accelerates model development, prediction and evaluation of peptide sequences to produce higher quality hits with greater chance of success. Synergistically, Orion Biotechnology’s platform explores receptor-ligand shape space using proprietary multiplex synthesis technology to generate precision-engineered peptides with enhanced potency and tailored signaling activity. Orion’s platform generates data matrices for AI-assisted lead optimization, offering one of the fastest drug discovery and development solutions to target peptidergic GPCRs.
On the announcement of this collaboration, Dr. Oliver Hartley, VP Drug Discovery at Orion Biotechnology, commented, “We are pleased to be partnering with Peptilogics to push the boundaries of receptor pharmacology and AI computing to accelerate innovation for improved patient outcomes. An AI-driven paradigm shift is happening in drug discovery, and Orion is pleased to be at the forefront of applying AI to the highly valuable space around GPCRs. The ideal fit between Orion’s platform and unique knowledge of receptor-ligand interactions with Peptilogics’ machine learning models will position us to make AI-driven GPCR drug discovery a reality.”
“Using Peptilogics’ Nautilus™ platform, we combine proprietary deep generative models, predictive models and biophysical simulation to design multiparameter-optimized peptides that have the potential to address historically challenging and novel drug targets. Our AI algorithms enable efficient navigation of the vast peptide design space, allowing us to uncover molecules that may not be discovered through traditional screening. We are excited to partner with Orion Biotechnology for their deep GPCR expertise. By combining the strengths of Peptilogics’ Nautilus™ AI-driven peptide design platform and Orion’s GPCR platform, we aim to reduce the risk, time and cost for drug design.”
Nicholas Nystrom, Ph.D., Chief Technology Officer of Peptilogics
About Orion Biotechnology
Orion Biotechnology Canada Ltd. is unlocking the therapeutic potential of previously undruggable G Protein-Coupled Receptors (GPCRs). Orion’s world-renowned experts in GPCR pharmacology and peptide/protein engineering leverage Orion’s proprietary drug discovery platform to rapidly and efficiently advance a diversified portfolio of precision engineered GPCR-targeted therapeutic candidates for the treatment of cancer and other serious diseases.
Peptilogics engineers peptide therapeutic candidates to radically improve the treatment landscape for patients with life-threatening diseases. Through biological and pharmaceutical expertise, novel artificial intelligence algorithms, and purpose-built super-computing, Peptilogics is advancing an extensive therapeutic pipeline and accelerating discovery efforts at a pace and scale that was previously impossible. Peptilogics is backed by visionary investors in life science and technology including Peter Thiel, Presight Capital, Founders Fund, CARB-X, and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Ginkgo Bioworks | August 12, 2022
Ginkgo Bioworks the leading horizontal platform for cell programming, and the Rwanda Development Board representing the government of the Republic of Rwanda, today announced that they have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the intent of developing and implementing new biosecurity capabilities in Rwanda.
The initial goal of the planned partnership is to support Rwanda's public health institutions as they work to address biosecurity challenges in the region. Ginkgo, through its biosecurity and public health initiative, Concentric by Ginkgo, plans to collaborate on the ground with RDB to equip these institutions with biosecurity tools and training as well as the secure data infrastructure they need to leverage automation, data analysis, bioinformatics capabilities, and other critical genomic sequencing technologies.
Concentric leverages a nationwide laboratory network to provide pathogen monitoring capabilities across thousands of sites in the U.S., including schools, airports, and other congregate settings. Concentric aims to build sustainable global biosecurity infrastructure to prepare for the next new variant or novel pathogen, and this planned partnership with RDB is a significant milestone in its international expansion as it continues to scale its biosecurity offering.
RDB, a Rwandan government institution, was established in 2008 to accelerate Rwanda's economic development by enabling private sector growth. Ginkgo will build relationships with Rwandan public health institutions and private sector-led biotechnology initiatives in Rwanda; the RDB will contribute expertise in skills development and on-the-ground support for the partnership.
Concentric and RDB recognize the importance of international collaboration and cooperation to promote global health security as biological threats emerge. Effective pathogen monitoring and data sharing capabilities can empower government officials, community leaders, and other stakeholders to make informed public health decisions. In the long-term, these capabilities can also be leveraged to form the foundation for a sustainable regional bioeconomy. For example, in the context of this MOU, Ginkgo and RDB plan to collaborate to inform workforce development priorities in the areas of biotechnology, biomanufacturing, and bioengineering, and to explore potential opportunities for Rwanda to leverage its biodiversity as a foundation for innovation within its bioeconomy.
"The future of biosecurity is global—COVID-19 has shown us all that pathogens don't recognize national borders. To prepare for the next biological threat, we need the infrastructure in place to build a global weather map tracking the spread and evolution of infectious diseases. We deeply appreciate Rwanda's leadership working to define a new era of biosecurity, and we are incredibly excited to use our platform to support Rwanda's public health institutions with critical capabilities that we believe will help them face challenges ranging from this pandemic to agricultural and travel biosecurity."
Matt McKnight, General Manager, Biosecurity at Ginkgo Bioworks
Clare Akamanzi, Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Board, noted, "The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the need for robust public health and biotechnology infrastructure in Rwanda and around the world. We are excited about our plans to partner with Ginkgo to bring cutting-edge biosecurity capabilities to Rwanda across various sectors including health and agriculture. We believe this will stimulate our growing bioeconomy and help us learn more about our biodiversity."
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.
About the Rwanda Development Board
The Rwanda Development Board is a government agency responsible for leading the country's transformation into a dynamic global hub for business, investment, tourism and innovation. Its mission is to fast-track economic development in Rwanda by enabling private sector growth.