Denmark's SNIPR Biome Launches to Merge CRISPR With the Microbiome

Biospace.com | March 11, 2019

SNIPR Biome, based in Copenhagen, Denmark, announced it had closed a Series A financing worth $50 million. The financing was led by existing investor Lundbeckfonden Emerge in Copenhagen and LSP in Amsterdam, along with North-East Family Office (Copenhagen) and Wellington Partners in Munich. SNIPR manages to merge two currently hot biotech approaches—CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing with the microbiome. The company’s proprietary CRISPR-Cas tech platform is used to selectively and precisely eradicate target bacterial, but still leave the patient’s microbial community alone. The microbiome is the bacteria, viruses, and fungi that live in the body. Increasingly, the nature of the microbiome is found to play a significant role in a variety of diseases and health conditions. And not just in infections, but in cellular signaling and communication. The monies raised will be used to finance the continued development of its CRISPR tech platform and its first clinical programs.

Spotlight

According to one recent survey, hospitals and health systems are no longer questioning the value – or desire – for Patient-Generated Health Data (PGHD). In fact, they are demanding it. Indeed, a 2018 HIMSS Media report found that 90 percent of those incorporating wearable devices in their workflow see it as a technology strategy that can positively impact chronic disease management.

Spotlight

According to one recent survey, hospitals and health systems are no longer questioning the value – or desire – for Patient-Generated Health Data (PGHD). In fact, they are demanding it. Indeed, a 2018 HIMSS Media report found that 90 percent of those incorporating wearable devices in their workflow see it as a technology strategy that can positively impact chronic disease management.

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DIAGNOSTICS

Lucid Diagnostics, a Subsidiary of PAVmed, Announced Launch of VA EsoGuard® Study

Lucid Diagnostics | March 25, 2022

Lucid Diagnostics Inc., a commercial-stage cancer prevention diagnostics company and a majority-owned subsidiary of PAVmed Inc, announced that investigators at the Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center had enrolled their first patient in a Department of Defense ("DoD")- Katarina B. Greer, M.D., an associate professor of medicine at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, is the lead investigator of the research. Lucid supplies the study with EsoCheck® Esophageal Cell Collection Devices and will conduct EsoGuard testing on the obtained samples. We are proud to be partnering with Dr. Greer and the Cleveland VA on this important investigator-initiated clinical study, The study will add important clinical evidence on the impact of EsoGuard in enhancing early detection of esophageal precancer to prevent esophageal cancer deaths by reserving endoscopy for those with a positive EsoGuard test.” Lishan Aklog, M.D., Lucid’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Despite strong clinical practice guideline recommendations, endoscopy has had limited success as a widespread screening tool for Barrett’s Esophagus (BE), a precursor for esophageal adenocarcinoma, a highly lethal form of esophageal cancer, We hope to demonstrate that a strategy that incorporates initial office-based non-endoscopic testing of at-risk patients with EsoGuard improves endoscopy yield and overall cost-effectiveness.” Dr. Greer. Only around 10% of at-risk GERD patients advised for esophageal precancer (BE) screening undergo traditional, invasive upper gastrointestinal endoscopy (EGD). Over 80% of people who undergo EGD screening have a negative result, subjecting the overwhelming majority of these patients to a complicated, invasive, expensive, and inconvenient surgery requiring anesthesia in a specialist procedure center or hospital. EsoGuard has been demonstrated to be 90% sensitive and specific for identifying esophageal precancer and cancer when done on EsoCheck samples, potentially removing the bulk of these negative EGDs, benefiting patients, providers, and the healthcare system. The trial will include up to 100 Cleveland VA patients who meet the American College of Gastroenterology's criteria for esophageal pre-cancer screening. The research compares two screening strategies: (1) regular EGD screening; and (2) EsoGuard testing followed by EGD exclusively in individuals with a positive EsoGuard result. The trial will determine if utilizing EsoGuard to triage patients to EGD improves overall BE screening rates and decreases the number of EGDs with negative screening results. Additionally, the research will analyze the economic implications for the VA system of these two options.

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INDUSTRY OUTLOOK

Tantu and Ginkgo Bioworks Announce Partnership to Engineer a Living Biotherapeutic for Gastrointestinal Healing

Ginkgo Bioworks | September 07, 2021

Tantu, a company engineering living biotherapeutic products to treat gastrointestinal diseases, and Ginkgo Bioworks, which is building the leading horizontal platform for cell programming, today announced a partnership to accelerate the research and development of Tantu's therapeutic genes. Ginkgo, which recently announced a business combination with Soaring Eagle Acquisition Corp., serves customers across industries seeking to develop new and better products using biology. Tantu is working to create an orally administered, living biotherapeutic that will produce and apply anti-inflammatory therapeutic proteins directly into diseased sites in the gut, resulting in improved gut barrier function and faster mucosal healing in patients where systemic anti-inflammatory therapies are not enough. Ginkgo plans to apply its automated foundry to accelerate the traditionally slow steps of candidate strain construction and genomic integration and validation with the aim of accelerating Tantu's first program and potentially helping them reach clinical proof of concept in patients faster. "Each year, 62 million Americans are diagnosed with a digestive disorder and current treatments don't sufficiently promote gastrointestinal healing, meaning many patients need to undergo invasive surgeries to improve their quality of life," said Neel Joshi, co-founder of Tantu. "A therapeutic to aid intestinal mucosal healing could transform patient care for a significant patient population." "We are excited to partner with a pre-seed company like Tantu with the goal of reducing their time-to-market because we view it as an opportunity to invest in the biotech industry through the startups that are driving forward so much innovation," said Jason Kelly, CEO and co-founder of Ginkgo Bioworks. "Working with Tantu provides Ginkgo with the opportunity to leverage its expertise in pharmaceuticals to support the development of a potentially transformative therapeutic for the millions struggling with digestive disorders." Companies across numerous industries use Ginkgo's cell programming platform to find more effective, environmentally friendly ways to create products including food ingredients, fragrances, cosmetics, medicines, and more. By enabling the design of organisms that can produce valuable biological products, Ginkgo helps accelerate the development of innovative, bio-based solutions to the world's most pressing challenges. About Tantu Therapeutics Tantu is developing living biotherapeutic products to treat gastrointestinal diseases. Its lead therapeutic candidate is an engineered microbe that produces anti-inflammatory and healing agents from inside the gut lumen – something that no clinically approved therapeutic currently does. Tantu's local delivery strategy is designed to improve patient outcomes by reducing reliance solely on systemic anti-inflammatory drugs that can suppress the immune system. Tantu's living biotherapeutic products are being designed to complement proven approaches to further improve patients' health and quality of life. 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. In May 2021, Ginkgo announced a business combination with Soaring Eagle Acquisition Corp. (Nasdaq: SRNG), which, if completed, will result in Ginkgo, through a parent entity, Ginkgo Bioworks Holdings, Inc., becoming a public company. The extraordinary general meeting of Soaring Eagle's shareholders in connection with the transaction has been scheduled for September 14, 2021 and the transaction is expected to close shortly thereafter, subject to customary closing conditions.

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

MeMed raises $93M to accelerate commercialization of its host immune-response product portfolio

MeMed | January 10, 2022

MeMed, a leader in host response technologies, announces a $93 million private financing round, bringing total funding in the Company to over $200 million, including support from the U.S. Department of Defense and EU Commission. Funds will be used to scale up manufacturing, accelerate commercialization and expand MeMed’s pioneering host immune response product portfolio. MeMed’s technology suite decodes the body’s immune response within minutes, providing physicians with important patient management solutions that tackle key clinical dilemmas. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently granted a landmark clearance for the use of the MeMed BV® test on the point-of-need platform MeMed Key®, to help healthcare providers distinguish between bacterial and viral infections in both children and adults. MeMed has also developed the MeMed COVID-19 Severity™ test for predicting severe outcomes in COVID-19 patients, which has been cleared for use in Europe. The latest financing brings together new and existing investors including Horizons Ventures, Shavit Capital, Social Capital, La Maison Partners, Touchwood Capital, Caesara Medical Holdings, Union Tech Ventures, ClaI Insurance, Phoenix Insurance, Poalim Equity and Western Technology Investment. “This new investment will enable MeMed to expand operations with a focus on the U.S. We are grateful to our investors for their support and will leverage the funds, the recent FDA clearance, and our growing network of partnerships to provide broad patient access to our technology, as well as expand our product portfolio of pioneering host response solutions.” Eran Eden, MeMed’s co-founder and CEO Patrick Zhang, Horizons Ventures, said: “We strongly believe that MeMed’s strategy of using host immune response technologies is a significant advance in the improvement of two major issues in healthcare today: the rise of antimicrobial resistance due to unnecessary prescription of antibiotics and effectively triaging patients infected with COVID-19. We look forward to playing a role in how MeMed, a category leader in this area, is transforming the way diseases are diagnosed and treated to improve patient healthcare across the globe.” About MeMed Our mission is to translate the immune system's complex signals into simple insights that transform the way diseases are diagnosed and treated, profoundly benefiting patients and society.

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