Damage from Marijuana to Blood Vessels May Be Prevented by Antioxidant

Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News | July 31, 2019

Collaborating scientists in Taiwan and the U.S. have identified a compound in soybeans that may help to prevent some of the adverse cardiovascular effects of both recreational and medical marijuana use. The researchers, at National Taiwan University in Taipei, Stanford Cardiovascular Institute, and Stanford University, report the results of their laboratory studies in a poster presentation at the American Heart Association’s Basic Cardiovascular Sciences 2019 Scientific Sessions. The abstract (#497, Poster session 2) is titled “Studying Cardiovascular Effects Of Marijuana On Healthy Individuals using Human Derived Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells.” Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug in the world, and its legal status is increasingly being relaxed for recreational use. However, studies have linked marijuana smoking with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. “Epidemiological studies indicate that marijuana increases the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD),” wrote the research team, headed by Tzu-Tan “Thomas” Wei, PhD, who is assistant professor of pharmacology in the College of Medicine at National Taiwan University. Three synthetic cannabis drugs are also now approved by FDA for treating chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, but such drugs also have side effects. Medical cannabis therapies containing delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—the main psychoactive component of marijuana—are associated with cardiovascular effects, including changes to heart rate and blood pressure. “These medications are prescribed to reduce the nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy and to increase appetite in certain people with acquired immune deficiency syndrome,” said Wei.

Spotlight

The healthcare industry across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is in the midst of a transition, one that will help improve the operating environment, reduce costs and increase opportunities across the value chain of the multibillion-dollar industry.

Spotlight

The healthcare industry across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is in the midst of a transition, one that will help improve the operating environment, reduce costs and increase opportunities across the value chain of the multibillion-dollar industry.

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

BioNTech and Medigene Announce Global Collaboration to Advance T Cell Receptor Immunotherapies Against Cancer

BioNTech SE | February 22, 2022

BioNTech SE and Medigene AG a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company focusing on the development of T cell immunotherapies, announced that they have entered a multi-target research collaboration to develop T cell receptor (TCR) based immunotherapies against cancer. The initial term of the collaboration is three years. Medigene will contribute its proprietary TCR discovery platform for the development of TCRs against multiple solid tumor targets nominated by BioNTech. Medigene’s automated, high throughput TCR discovery platform is designed to bypass central tolerance to yield high affinity TCRs. T cell therapy has become a disruptive medical innovation in the treatment of patients with cancer. Engineered TCR-modified T cells (TCR-T cells) are reprogrammed to express a TCR that can recognize specific antigens only present on tumor cells, thereby enabling a precise and potent immune response to attack a patient’s tumor. “This collaboration with Medigene expands our cell therapy portfolio and TCR discovery capabilities, and further strengthens our ability to be a leader in the rapidly emerging field of engineered cell therapies. We look forward to working closely with Medigene to develop new treatments which address solid tumors with high unmet medical need.” Ugur Sahin, M.D., Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of BioNTech Prof. Dolores Schendel, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientific Officer at Medigene: “Medigene is at the forefront of the development of TCR-T therapies for oncology. The sale and licensing deal with BioNTech is an important validation from a global leading biotech company of our proprietary technologies to discover and characterize highly specific TCRs and empower resulting TCR-T cells to fight solid tumors. This partnership provides Medigene with meaningful financial resources to fuel our next generation development programs targeting potentially novel tumor-specific “dark matter” antigens, further tools to enhance T-cell-based immunotherapies, as well as additional potential strategic deals with future milestone payments and royalties.” BioNTech will acquire Medigene’s next generation preclinical TCR program, which combines TCR-4 of Medigene’s MDG10XX program targeting PRAME with Medigene’s proprietary PD1-41BB switch receptor technology. BioNTech will also obtain the exclusive option to acquire additional existing TCRs in Medigene’s discovery pipeline and will receive licenses to the company’s PD1-41BB switch receptor and precision pairing library. This has the potential to augment TCR cell therapy efficacy and can be applied to all BioNTech cell therapy programs. Under the terms of the agreement, Medigene will receive EUR 26 million upfront, as well as research funding for the period of the collaboration. BioNTech will be responsible for global development and hold exclusive worldwide commercialization rights on all TCR therapies resulting from this research collaboration. Medigene will be eligible to receive development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments up to a triple digit million EUR amount per program in addition to tiered deferred option payments on global net sales for products based on TCRs arising from the collaboration and royalties on products utilizing at least one of the licensed technologies. About BioNTech Biopharmaceutical New Technologies is a next generation immunotherapy company pioneering novel therapies for cancer and other serious diseases. The Company exploits a wide array of computational discovery and therapeutic drug platforms for the rapid development of novel biopharmaceuticals. Its broad portfolio of oncology product candidates includes individualized and off-the-shelf mRNA-based therapies, innovative chimeric antigen receptor T cells, bi-specific checkpoint immuno-modulators, targeted cancer antibodies and small molecules. Based on its deep expertise in mRNA vaccine development and in-house manufacturing capabilities, BioNTech and its collaborators are developing multiple mRNA vaccine candidates for a range of infectious diseases alongside its diverse oncology pipeline. BioNTech has established a broad set of relationships with multiple global pharmaceutical collaborators, including Genmab, Sanofi, Bayer Animal Health, Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, Regeneron, Genevant, Fosun Pharma and Pfizer. About Medigene Medigene AG (FSE: MDG1, ISIN DE000A1X3W00, Prime Standard) is a publicly listed biotechnology company headquartered in Planegg/Martinsried near Munich, Germany. With its scientific expertise, Medigene is working on the development of innovative immunotherapies to enhance T cell activity against solid cancers in fields of high unmet medical need. Medigene’s pipeline includes preclinical as well as clinical programs in development. Medigene’s strategy is to develop its own therapies towards clinical proof-of-concept. In addition, the Company offers selected partners the opportunity to discover and develop therapies on the basis of its proprietary technology platforms. In return for such partnerships, Medigene expects to receive upfront and milestone payments as well as research and development funding and royalties on future product sales. About Medigene’s TCR-T cells T cells are at the center of Medigene’s therapeutic approaches. With the aid of Medigene’s immunotherapies the patient’s own defense mechanisms are activated, and T cells harnessed in the battle against cancer. Medigene’s therapies arm the patient’s own T cells with tumor-specific T cell receptors (TCRs). The resulting TCR-T cells should thereby be able to detect and efficiently kill cancer cells. About Medigene’s PD1-41BB switch receptor Checkpoint inhibition via PD1-PDL1 pathway: Solid tumor cells are known to be sensitive to killing by activated T cells. Tumor cells can escape this killing activity by expressing inhibitory molecules, so-called ‘checkpoint proteins’, such as Programmed Death Ligand 1 (PD-L1) on their surface. When this occurs, activated T cells which express PD-1, the natural receptor for PD-L1, are inactivated. The expression of PD-L1 by tumors represents an adaptive immune resistance mechanism that can lead to tumor survival and growth. About Medigene’s precision pairing library T cell receptors (TCRs) consist of an alpha and a beta chain, which together act as a receptor on the cell surface of T cells. Medigene's therapies aim to equip the patient's own T cells with tumor-specific TCRs. The resulting TCR-T cells should thereby be able to detect and efficiently kill cancer cells. The precision pairing library allows selection of specific modifications in each chain of a TCR so that the alpha and beta chains preferentially pair with each other, with the result that improved TCR surface expression and/or functionality is achieved.

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MEDTECH

Avantor® will Increase Global Production of Single-Use Technologies to Meet the Biopharma Demand

Avantor | April 27, 2021

Avantor Inc., a main worldwide supplier of crucial items and administrations to clients in the existing sciences, trend-setting innovations, and applied materials businesses, today declared that it will increment worldwide limit with regards to top-notch single-use advances utilized in the creation of biologics and antibodies. In the U.S. what's more, in Europe, the Company will build its single-use producing impression by 30% and twofold its cleanroom space. The speculation will uphold developing client interest for monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), novel cell and quality treatments for oncology and different illnesses, just as immunizations, including those for COVID-19. Avantor as of late extended its Morrisville, North Carolina, single-use office and expects finish of a cleanroom extension at its Devens, Massachusetts, activity by mid-year. The Company likewise hopes to open its subsequent European single-use office in Hillegom, the Netherlands, by then too. Dr. Ger Brophy, Executive Vice President of Biopharma Production at Avantor, said, "The business' reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic has depended intensely on the incorporation of single-use items into biopharma creation measures. Adequacy and security are critical to our clients, and they look to us to comprehend and uphold their prerequisites as they quickly extend their assembling limit. "These options to our worldwide single-use fabricating biological system are basic strides in empowering our clients to get treatments to patients rapidly," Brophy added. The speculation further fortifies the Company's single-use organization, giving item consistency and abilities near bioproduction clients to help guarantee productive and continuous stock. About Avantor Avantor®, a Fortune 500 organization, is a main worldwide supplier of strategic items and administrations to clients in biopharma, medical care, training and government, and trendsetting innovations and applied materials enterprises. Our portfolio is utilized in essentially every phase of the main examination, advancement, and creation exercises in the enterprises we serve. Our worldwide impression empowers us to serve more than 225,000 client areas and gives us broad admittance to explore research facilities and researchers over 180 nations. We set science underway to make a superior world.

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CELL AND GENE THERAPY

NeuExcell Therapeutics and Spark Therapeutics Announce Research Collaboration Agreement to Develop a Novel Gene Therapy for Huntington's Disease

NeuExcell Therapeutics | September 13, 2021

NeuExcell Therapeutics and Spark Therapeutics, a member of the Roche Group announced a gene therapy collaboration aimed at developing a safe and effective treatment for patients suffering from Huntington's Disease (HD). Under the terms of the agreement, Spark Therapeutics will receive access to NeuExcell's proprietary neuro-regenerative gene therapy platform and capabilities. NeuExcell's research team will collaborate closely with Spark Therapeutics to advance the program. Under the Option License NeuExcell is eligible to receive upfront, license fees, R&D and Sales milestone payments up to approximately $190 million plus product royalties. Under this Agreement, Spark Therapeutics has the option to license the exclusive worldwide rights of the NeuExcell's HD program. The prevailing assumption has been that mammalian adult neurons cannot be replaced, and so therapeutic approaches for brain diseases tend to focus on slowing disease progress. NeuExcell Therapeutics may have unlocked the method for regenerating neural tissue. The company's neuroregenerative gene therapy platform is built around transcription factor-based trans-differentiation technology. The platform seeks to reprogram endogenous glial cells like astrocytes, which surround neurons and are often reactive after neurons are injured or die, into functional new neurons. While neurons cannot divide to regenerate themselves, glial cells are a renewable source for generating new neurons at the site of injury, and at the scale needed to have a meaningful therapeutic impact. NeuExcell is developing adeno-associated viruses (AAVs)-based neuroregenerative gene therapy to regenerate functional new neurons at the site of the neurodegeneration. "At Spark, we understand that in order to break down barriers for people and families affected by genetic diseases, we need to work with like-minded partners that can integrate innovative technologies with our advanced proprietary AAV vector platform," said Joseph La Barge, Chief Business Officer of Spark Therapeutics. "Using our existing expertise in gene therapy development and NeuExcell's neuro-regenerative gene therapy research and capabilities, together we can progress the potential of gene therapy for patients living with Huntington's Disease." Spark Therapeutic's advanced proprietary AAV vector platform targeted to the central nervous system offers the HD research and development (R&D) program a major advantage. At the forefront of gene therapy research for more than two decades, Spark Therapeutics has extensive knowledge and capabilities in this field that it will use to bring the HD program forward. About Huntington's Disease HD is an incurable, hereditary brain disorder caused by a single defective gene on chromosome 4. As the disease affects different parts of the brain, it impacts movement, behavior, and cognition. It becomes harder to walk, think, reason, swallow, and talk. Eventually, the person will need full-time care. The complications associated with HD are usually fatal. About NeuExcell Therapeutics. NeuExcell is a privately held early-stage gene therapy company headquartered in Pennsylvania, USA. Its mission is to improve the lives of patients suffering from neuro-degenerative diseases and CNS injuries. Based upon the scientific work of Prof. Gong Chen (Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Advisor), the Company has developed a potentially disruptive neural repair technology through in vivo astrocyte-to-neuron conversion by introducing neural transcription factors through adeno-associated virus (AAV)-based gene therapy. NeuExcell's pipeline covers major neurodegenerative diseases such as Stroke, Huntington's Disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, Traumatic Brain Injury, Spinal Cord Injury, and Glioma. About Spark Therapeutics At Spark Therapeutics, a fully integrated, commercial company committed to discovering, developing and delivering gene therapies, we challenge the inevitability of genetic diseases, including blindness, hemophilia, lysosomal storage disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. We currently have four programs in clinical trials. At Spark, a member of the Roche Group, we see the path to a world where no life is limited by genetic disease.

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