Engineered DNA vaccine protects against emerging Mayaro virus

Medical Xpress | February 07, 2019

Infections by the mosquito-borne Mayaro virus (MAYV) have largely been restricted to people who ventured into the heavily forested areas of Trinidad and Tobago and neighboring regions of South America. However, recent laboratory studies showing additional mosquito vectors can transmit MAYV as well as a reported case of MAYV infection in Haiti in 2015, reveal the potential for the virus to expand its range further into tropical regions of the Caribbean and Central and South America. Now, researchers reporting in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases have developed a novel vaccine capable of inducing protective immunity against MAYV. MAYV, which causes fever, rash, headache, nausea, and vomiting, was first identified in Trinidad in 1954. Some people who contract MAYV develop recurrent joint pain that can last for months after the initial infection. Over the years since its discovery, only sporadic cases have been reported, mostly in tropical areas of South America, but recent surveys have suggested it may be circulating in Central America and a case was confirmed in Haiti in 2015. MAYV infection causes fever, rash, headache, nausea, and vomiting In the new study, Kar Muthumani, director of the Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases at The Wistar Institute, and colleagues used synthetic DNA technologies to design a DNA vaccine that encodes the sequence for the MAYV envelope (E) glycoproteins. The researchers optimized a consensus sequence representative of multiple MAYV strains (scMAYV-E) to account for the natural genetic variability in the main antigen on the surface of the virus.

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Cell-based assays are prevalent within neuroscience. Some typical applications include investigations into the underlying mechanisms of neuronal signaling and neurodegeneration. However, subtle, progressive cellular changes are difficult to capture using traditional technologies. Techniques that facilitate consistent monitoring of cell biology in vitro over time are therefore necessary to characterize these dynamic processes.

Spotlight

Cell-based assays are prevalent within neuroscience. Some typical applications include investigations into the underlying mechanisms of neuronal signaling and neurodegeneration. However, subtle, progressive cellular changes are difficult to capture using traditional technologies. Techniques that facilitate consistent monitoring of cell biology in vitro over time are therefore necessary to characterize these dynamic processes.

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MEDICAL

GenScript Launches GMP Single-Strand and Double-Strand DNA Service for Supporting Gene and Cell Therapy Development

GenScript | May 18, 2022

GenScript USA Inc., the world's leading life-science research tools and services provider, announced the availability of new GMP-grade GenExact™ single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) and GenWand™ closed-end linear double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) services. These services will enable next-generation gene and cell therapy R&D programs to advance to IND filing and clinical trials faster and more efficiently. Today's announcement, made at the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy (ASGCT) 25th annual meeting (booth #280), further establishes GenScript as the leading provider of non-viral homology-directed repair (HDR) template solutions for immune-cell engineering. GenScript now offers varying grades of non-viral HDR payload materials that support use cases across early discovery research, process development, and clinical studies. CRISPR-based non-viral gene insertion methods have gained popularity among research teams with concerns about the FDA's recent draft guidance concerning the use of viruses for gene and cell therapy. Non-viral HDR templates, in combination with CRISPR technology, can accelerate cell engineering compared to traditional GMP virus-based engineering, delivering results faster than alternate techniques. This new investment by GenScript demonstrates our commitment to non-viral delivery technology. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners and stakeholders in academia and industry to support their cell therapy R&D programs and further development of non-viral delivery platforms and workflows, We know this technology will be a more efficient and safer solution for cell engineering." Ray Chen, PhD, president of GenScript USA Life Science Group. GenScript's GMP ssDNA And dsDNA services enable faster CAR-T drug development: GenExact™ ssDNA up to 5000nt in length, 100mg/batch production scale GenWand™ closed-end, linear dsDNA up to 10,000nt in length, gram level/batch production scale GenScript has been collaborating with several academic and industry partners in the development of CRISPR non-viral gene insertion. Recently, Dr. Alex Marson's lab at UCSF published a paper demonstrating how CRISPR RNP technology can both knock out endogenous T-cell receptors and integrate replacement anti-cancer receptors. The UCSF team has been using GenScript's latest single-strand DNA to improve non-viral gene knock-in efficiency. Working in collaboration with GenScript, the team engineered modifications to the DNA payload to promote co-localization and delivery (or 'shuttle') to the nucleus. About GenScript Biotech Corporation GenScript Biotech Corporation (Stock Code: 1548.HK) is a global biotechnology group. Based on its leading gene synthesis technology, GenScript has developed four major platforms including the global cell therapy platform, the biologics contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) platform, the contract research organization (CRO) platform, and the industrial synthesis product platform. GenScript was founded in New Jersey, USA in 2002 and listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2015. GenScript's business operation spans over 100 countries and regions worldwide, with legal entities located in the USA, mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, the Netherlands, and Ireland. GenScript has provided premium, convenient, and reliable products and services for over 100,000 customers.

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AI

Deargen Announces New Model for Optimizing Drug Candidate Molecules With Nearly Doubled Performance Compared to Existing Models

Deargen | April 12, 2021

Deargen, a drug research and development biotech company based on artificial intelligence (AI), announced on April 9 that it presented study results on controlled molecule generator (CMG) technology at the ACM Conference on Health, Inference, and Learning (ACM CHIL) 2021. CMG technology can modify many properties of molecules at the same time. The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), based in New York, is one of the world's most prominent academic organizations. The ACM was founded in 1947 and now has over 100,000 members worldwide. The ACM Conference on Health, Inference, and Learning 2021 was held online on April 8th as a healthcare conference. Deargen's latest CMG technology overcomes the limitations of current models for predicting molecule properties. Deargen's test results revealed that the new CMG method enhances efficiency by nearly doubling as compared to existing versions such as MolDQN and VJTNN. Deargen tried to improve aniracetam, which has the lowest binding affinity of dopamine D2-type receptor (DRD2) among 28 DRD2-targeted compounds in clinical or pre-clinical trials, in the most recent report. The study discovered that aniracetam's DRD2 binding affinity was highly enhanced while its other properties remained relatively unchanged. The technology of optimizing properties of candidate molecules in the process of developing new drugs, such as efficacy, toxicity, and structural similarity, is positioning itself as a key strategy for reducing costs and time required for drug development. Models that predict properties of previously proposed molecules, such as MolDQN, VJTNN, and VSeq2Seq, are considered to have limitations when used to produce new drugs because they either alter properties of molecules that must be retained by optimizing only one property or take very long to process data. Deargen's CMG model, on the other hand, will optimize only desired properties while minimizing changes in other properties that are meant to be retained as set by molecule design as it can consider multiple properties at the same time. Since it takes less time to examine, it can be directly applied to the development of new drugs. “Not only is our representative technology, MT-DTI, being used for discovering various new substances, including treatment prediction for COVID-19, but we are also poised to provide more advanced new drug development services by developing an ensemble of CMG models with our other platform MolEQ,” said Bonggeun Shin, Deargen's Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer. Deargen President Kilsoo Kang said, "Deargen has accomplished drug development technologies on a global level and continues to invest in advancing these technologies and extending their support range." “The most recent technological advancement will provide an important momentum in the development of AI-powered new drugs.”

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MEDICAL

Absci Opens Door to New Biotechnology Campus

Absci | October 23, 2021

Absci Corporation the drug and target discovery company harnessing deep learning AI and synthetic biology to expand the therapeutic potential of proteins, today announced the opening of its new campus located in Vancouver, Washington, a few miles east of the downtown location that housed the company for the last four years. “Absci has been an incredibly positive force in the Vancouver community since establishing its headquarters here in 2016 I have followed Absci’s progress as it expanded within and has now outgrown that initial Vancouver facility. Absci is not only attracting investment and top talent to Washington, it is continuously innovating, creating exciting new possibilities for the future of medicine. I look forward to cutting the ribbon on Absci’s new campus early next month, and to continuing to support the development of our biotechnology ecosystem here in Washington. Washington Governor Jay Inslee The new Absci facility was concepted and constructed in a close collaboration between the company, Portland design firm Bora Architecture & Interiors, and local contractor Bremik Construction. Covering over 85,000 square feet of laboratory, office, and meeting spaces, it features regionally sourced, renewable, and natural building materials, custom finishes, and a vibrant aesthetic. The scalable laboratory space was designed to maximize flow, increase capacity, and readily reconfigure as needed. In addition to tripling capacity for program execution, the incorporation of in-house tissue culture capabilities, high throughput analytical instrumentation, advanced liquid handling and automation, and a dedicated clean air fermentation facility, in conjunction with a state-of-the-art offsite computational cluster, facilitate the expanded scope of Absci’s research and development activities. Additionally, integrated technologies for high volume data capture across Absci’s workflow generate the input for ongoing training of Absci’s Denovium EngineTM deep learning AI models for drug discovery and cell line design. “It’s inspiring to come to work each day in this exceptional building,” said Sean McClain, founder and CEO of Absci. “We designed the light-filled space around collaboration and the pursuit of scientific excellence, and we are thrilled with the pride our Unlimiters feel inhabiting this new campus. We strive every day to bring new insights to challenging problems, and this collaborative setting really encourages all of us to step beyond the impossible to create new possibilities for patients.” “When I visited Absci’s campus, I was impressed by the quality and productivity that imbues the space,” commented Bharat Dixit of ClearB Therapeutics. “The facility is designed with a modern look, yet with practical aspects in mind -- the futuristic gowning rooms, the bright, open lab spaces with lots of natural light and intuitive flow, as well as state-of-the-art robotic equipment, to name a few. And the friendly town hall full of people sharing ideas seems to be a sign of big success ahead.” About Absci Absci is the drug and target discovery company harnessing deep learning AI and synthetic biology to expand the therapeutic potential of proteins. We built our Integrated Drug Creation™ Platform to identify novel drug targets, discover optimal biotherapeutic candidates, and generate the cell lines to manufacture them in a single efficient process. Biotech and pharma innovators partner with us to create the next generation of protein-based drugs, including Bionic Proteins™ containing nonstandard amino acids, and other novel drug designs that may be impossible to make with other technologies. Our goal is to enable the development of better medicines by Translating Ideas into Drugs™. For more information visit www.absci.com. Availability of Other Information about Absci Investors and others should note that we routinely communicate with investors and the public using our website (www.absci.com) and our investor relations website (investors.absci.com), including without limitation, through the posting of investor presentations, SEC filings, press releases, public conference calls and webcasts on these websites. The information that we post on these websites could be deemed to be material information. As a result, investors, the media, and others interested in Absci are encouraged to review this information on a regular basis. The contents of our website, or any other website that may be accessed from our website, shall not be deemed incorporated by reference in any filing under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended. Absci Forward-Looking Statements Certain statements in this press release that are not historical facts are considered forward-looking within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, including statements containing the words “will,” “may,” "pursues," “anticipates,” “plans,” “believes,” “forecast,” “estimates,” “expects,” and “intends,” or similar expressions. We intend these forward-looking statements, including statements regarding drug development efforts, to be covered by the safe harbor provisions for forward-looking statements contained in Section 27A of the Securities Act and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act, and we make this statement for purposes of complying with those safe harbor provisions. These forward-looking statements reflect our current views about our plans, intentions, expectations, strategies, and prospects, which are based on the information currently available to us and on assumptions we have made. We can give no assurance that the plans, intentions, expectations, or strategies will be attained or achieved, and, furthermore, actual results may differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements and will be affected by a variety of risks and factors that are beyond our control, including, without limitation, risks and uncertainties relating to drug development efforts; along with those risks set forth in our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on September 7, 2021, as well as discussions of potential risks, uncertainties, and other important factors in our subsequent filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Except as required by law, we assume no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

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