Dual control: Plant peptide hormone generates distinct cell structures for water flow

Phys.org | January 23, 2019

Water flow through plants is critical to our food supply: without proper water flow, plants cannot carry out photosynthesis, or grow or reliably produce flowers, fruit or seeds. Water flows within specialized structures from the roots, through the stem to the leaves, where its evaporation is regulated by microscopic pores called stomata. All the water-conducting structures are produced by tightly controlled developmental sequences: cells must divide to produce the necessary cell types in the correct place at the right time. But many details of how these complex developmental processes are controlled remain unclear.
Osaka University researchers, in collaboration with laboratories in China, Germany, and Japan, have revealed a key piece in the jigsaw of mechanisms that control plant cell development. The team found that a peptide hormone is a signaling molecule that controls the development of two completely different types of cells, both of which are involved in creating cellular structures for water flow. The hormone does this by binding to two distinct receptors in the two locations. The team recently published their findings in Nature Plants.

Spotlight

Nascent pharmaceutical industry grew from established dye-producing industry where organic synthesis to create new molecules and production processes for making them matured.

Spotlight

Nascent pharmaceutical industry grew from established dye-producing industry where organic synthesis to create new molecules and production processes for making them matured.

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ShouTi Introduces Basecamp Bio as a Wholly Owned Subsidiary to Expand Pipeline and Partnerships

ShouTi Inc | February 18, 2022

ShouTi Inc., a clinical-stage global biopharmaceutical company developing novel oral therapeutics to treat a wide range of chronic diseases, today introduced Basecamp Bio, a wholly owned subsidiary dedicated to fueling ShouTi’s pipeline and pursuing drug discovery partnerships. Basecamp Bio integrates unique insights, skills, technological know-how and experience to navigate the complex challenges of membrane protein structure-based drug discovery. Its mission is to prosecute the most challenging structure-based drug discovery targets, including G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), and deliver discovery assets to ShouTi’s development pipeline. In addition, Basecamp Bio will explore selective partnerships to tackle high value targets pursued by the biopharmaceutical industry. Basecamp Bio is led by Yingli Ma, Ph.D., President, who brings close to 15 years of research, technology, and drug discovery experience including her previous role as general manager of Amgen Shanghai Research Center. Dr. Ma led Amgen’s global structural biology and drug discovery programs in cardiometabolic and inflammatory diseases. “By bringing together our deep expertise in structure-based drug design with leading drug discovery technologies, we aim to create orally-available small molecule medicines against some of the most complex targets including those validated by biologics,” said Dr. Ma. “With all of these breakthrough technologies under one roof, and access to the Shanghai biotech contract research organization ecosystem as a resource, Basecamp Bio has the ability to greatly accelerate the discovery of assets with best-in-class potential.” Basecamp Bio’s technology leverages the power of cryo-electron microscopy, machine learning and X-ray crystallography, as the basis for its molecular designs. The company employs state-of-the-art small molecule hit identification, including DNA encoded library technology and affinity mass spectrometry selections for membrane proteins. This is integrated with cutting-edge computational chemistry and medicinal chemistry along with a matrix of pharmacological assay platforms. ShouTi’s exceptional experience with cell surface receptor signaling and pharmacology will further enable Basecamp Bio to achieve its goal of designing medicines with optimal pharmaceutical properties to address patient needs. “Given the broad potential of the platform and our team’s deep expertise with challenging drug targets, we are excited to deploy Basecamp Bio to both advance our own pipeline and enable early-stage drug discovery partnerships to extend the reach of our leading-edge science,” Melita Sun Jung, Chief Business Officer, ShouTi About ShouTi ShouTi is a clinical stage global biopharmaceutical company aiming to develop and deliver novel oral therapeutics to treat a wide range of chronic diseases with unmet medical needs. The company’s cutting-edge technology platform leverages structure-based drug discovery and computational chemistry expertise and enables ShouTi to develop oral small molecule therapeutics for the treatment of various diseases, including those in the metabolic, cardiovascular, and pulmonary therapeutic areas. By leveraging ShouTi’s world-class GPCR know-how, the company aims to design differentiated small molecule therapies to overcome the limitations of biologics and peptide therapies targeting this family of receptors.

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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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Navrogen Inc. and Tavotek Biotherapeutics Announce Strategic Collaboration to Improve Therapeutic Efficacy of Antibody Pipeline Agents

Navrogen Inc. | August 18, 2021

Navrogen Inc. a biopharmaceutical company specialized in developing therapies for cancer and immune-related disorders, and Tavotek Biotherapeutics, a biotech company focusing on novel multi-specific antibodies in immuno-oncology and autoimmune diseases, announced today that they have entered into a strategic collaboration to identify and develop experimental monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) for the treatment of various cancer indications. Under the agreement, Navrogen and Tavotek will collaborate on the development of future Tavotek oncology assets while utilizing Navrogen's proprietary screening technology to identify mAb leads that are susceptible to Humoral Immuno-Oncology (HIO) factors. HIO is a process by which tumors produce factors that suppress a patient's humoral immune response against malignant tissues as well as diminish therapeutic response of immune-mediated anti-cancer therapies. Working with Navrogen's HIO platform technologies and its expertise in patient tumor screening methods, the teams will identify and/or engineer HIO-refractory antibodies that are effective across a wide range of HIO-positive cancers leading to innovative treatment options for patients with limited therapeutic options. About Navrogen™ Inc Navrogen is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery of tumor-produced Humoral Immuno-Oncology (HIO) factors that are associated with suppressed humoral immunity, poor prognosis and limited therapeutic response of immune-mediated anti-cancer therapies. The company's mission is to develop first-in-class agents that can overcome the immunosuppressive effects of HIO factors by employing its proprietary screening and engineering technologies as well as diagnostic assays that can identify patients whose tumors produce HIO factors to advise physicians on therapeutic options. About Tavotek Biotherapeutics Tavotek is a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering, acquiring, developing, and commercializing therapeutic medicines for patients suffering from debilitating diseases with significant unmet medical needs. Tavotek has a rich pipeline of product candidates at various stages of development for cancer, autoimmune conditions, and inflammatory diseases.

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