CRISPR-Chip Can Detect Genetic Mutations Within Minutes

Medgadget | March 26, 2019

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley and the Keck Graduate Institute of The Claremont Colleges have developed a hand-held device that can detect genetic mutations, such as those causing genetic diseases or affecting how people respond to certain drugs, in just minutes. The device employs a combination of CRISPR and graphene transistors to achieve this. The researchers hope that it could make the process of diagnosing genetic conditions and predicting drug responses easier and more accessible, potentially leading to point-of-care DNA analysis. The researchers have called their device the “CRISPR-Chip” and, unlike traditional DNA analysis techniques, the device does not require a lengthy polymerase chain reaction DNA replication step, saving time. Instead, it uses nanoelectronics to analyze the relatively small amounts of target DNA present in a patient DNA sample.

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Novartis Acquires Vedere Bio, a Novel Optogenetics AAV Gene Therapy Company

Vedere Bio | October 29, 2020

Vedere Bio, Inc. (Vedere Bio), a stealth-stage company focused on advancing photoreceptor-protein-based optogenetic therapies that are delivered to the retina intravitreally to restore functional vision, announced today that it has been acquired by Novartis. Shareholders in Vedere Bio received $150 million upfront and will be eligible for up to $130 million in milestone payments, for a total of $280 million. Based on technology from the laboratories of Drs. Ehud Isacoff and John G. Flannery of UC Berkeley, and technology directed at enhanced ocular gene therapy delivery arising jointly between UC Berkeley and the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Vedere Bio was formed in the Atlas Venture incubator in June 2019. The company was launched with a $21 million Series A financing and began lab operations at LabCentral in Cambridge, MA where it advanced its lead programs from concept to development candidate within one year. Immediately prior to the acquisition, certain earlier-stage vision restoration and vision preservation assets leveraging the company's ocular gene therapy toolbox were spun out into a newly formed entity – Vedere Bio II, Inc.

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CELL AND GENE THERAPY

Neurophth and AAVnerGene Announces Strategic AAV Capsids Partnership for Next-Generation Ophthalmic Gene Therapy

Neurophth | January 19, 2021

Neurophth Therapeutics, Inc., a subsidiary of Wuhan Neurophth Biotechnology Ltd. gene therapy organization, and AAVnerGene Inc., a practicing AAV innovation organization, reports a strategic partnership to provide Neurophth with overall rights to commonly choose adeno-associated virus (AAV) capsids for the next generation ophthalmic gene therapy. AAVnerGene's Tissue-specific, Highly-transductive and Expressive New AAVs (ATHENA) screening stage can productively choose the best AAV vector for every cell type in a high-throughput (HTP) way. Significant difficulties in AAV-based gene therapy are the transduction productivity, conceivable resistance to the capsid and complex assembling measures. The capacity to distinguish appropriate cutting edge AAV vectors that could beat the limits of before generation AAV vectors is basic to a patient for accomplishing adequate helpful articulation of the moved gene in the most minimal portion dose regular strategy, for example, intravitreal (IVT) injection with reasonable cost. "AAVnerGene's proprietary technology may create capsid libraries derived from artificial intelligence machine learning, DNA shuffling or directed evolution allowing a significant increase in AAV genetic payload capacity, production, and transduction with the ability to penetrate through the inner limiting membrane of the retina, thus potentially enhance the overall transduction efficiency of capsid library-derived AAV vectors," said Alvin Luk, Ph.D., M.B.A., Chief Executive Officer of Neurophth. "Importantly, if proven successful, the administration of the selected AAVnerGene capsid variant(s) in gene therapy may enable repeated dosing AAVs in both adults and pediatric patients, potentially improving the clinical efficacy at a lower vector dose with better penetration of the barriers in eyes using a safer and less invasive procedure such as intravitreal injection which lower the risk of immune response to the capsid."

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Leica Biosystems and Leap Therapeutics Partner on Companion Diagnostic to Advance Care for Cancer Patients

Leap Therapeutics, Inc. | February 01, 2022

Leica Biosystems, a cancer diagnostics company, has entered into an agreement with Leap Therapeutics, a biotechnology company, to develop a companion diagnostic to detect Dickkopf-related protein 1. The assay will be used to support clinical development of Leap Therapeutics' anti-DKK1 cancer therapy, DKN-01, currently being studied in clinical trials. DKK1 is a protein often implicated in cancer, enabling tumor cells to suppress the immune system and lead to unregulated growth. Overexpression of DKK1 is associated with poor survival in cancer patients. Leap Therapeutics is currently advancing the development of DKN-01, a humanized monoclonal antibody that targets DKK1, to treat cancer. The company is currently studying the drug as part of a combination therapy regimen in a Phase 2 clinical trial in patients with gastric or gastroesophageal junction cancer. The assay developed by Leica Biosystems will utilize RNAscope™ technology from Bio-Techne on the BOND-III Automated Staining System, which allows for detection of DKK1 with high sensitivity and specificity, to help identify patients most likely to benefit from DKN-01 treatment. "Companion Diagnostics are a step toward treating cancer patients based on the biomarker makeup of their disease.We are excited to partner with Leap to advance cancer care." Rachel Skelton, Senior Director of Pharma Partnerships at Leica Biosystems Companion Diagnostics are tests that may be used to determine if a patient's tumor has the biomarker that will predict the outcome of a treatment with a specific therapy. With expertise in assay development, regulatory approval and commercialization, the Leica Biosystems Companion Diagnostics team partners with pharmaceutical companies to develop assays for a diverse range of technologies. Our flexible approach to partnerships, along with the robust capabilities of the BOND Advance Staining Solutions, supports our mission of Advancing Cancer Diagnostics, Improving Lives. "DKK1 is novel and broadly applicable biomarker that is often elevated in patients with poor outcomes," said Jason Baum, Vice President and Head of Translational Medicine at Leap Therapeutics. "Patients whose tumors express elevated levels of DKK1 have shown compelling clinical responses when treated with DKN-01-based regimens. We are pleased to partner with Leica to advance the clinical development of our therapy and improve patient lives." About Leica Biosystems Leica Biosystems is a cancer diagnostics company and a global leader in workflow solutions. Only Leica Biosystems offers the most comprehensive portfolio that spans the entire workflow from biopsy to diagnosis. With unique expertise, we are dedicated to driving innovations that connect people across radiology, pathology, surgery and oncology. Our experts are committed to delivering Improved Quality, Integrated Solutions, and Optimized Efficiencies leading to breakthrough advances in diagnostic confidence. Our mission of "Advancing Cancer Diagnostics, Improving Lives" is at the heart of corporate culture. Visit LeicaBiosystems.com for more information. About Leap Therapeutics Leap Therapeutics is focused on developing targeted and immuno-oncology therapeutics. Leap's most advanced clinical candidate, DKN-01, is a humanized monoclonal antibody targeting the Dickkopf-1 protein. DKN-01 is in clinical trials in patients with esophagogastric, gynecologic, and prostate cancers. Leap has entered into a strategic partnership with BeiGene, Ltd. for the rights to develop DKN-01 in Asia (excluding Japan), Australia, and New Zealand. About Bio-Techne Bio-Techne Corporation is a global life sciences company providing innovative tools and bioactive reagents for the research and clinical diagnostic communities. Bio-Techne products assist scientific investigations into biological processes and the nature and progress of specific diseases. They aid in drug discovery efforts and provide the means for accurate clinical tests and diagnosis. With thousands of products in its portfolio, Bio-Techne generated approximately $931 million in net sales in fiscal 2021 and has approximately 2,700 employees worldwide.

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