Gene Drive Modified to Run Allelic Errands

Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News | April 10, 2019

A new gene drive system introduces gears well suited to the transmission of relatively slight genetic variants, that is, allelic variants involving only one or a few base pairs. Typical gene drive systems are configured to copy relatively large DNA cargo sequences. The new gene drive system—or allelic drive system—favors or disfavors selected alleles and promises to accelerate the assembly of complex genotypes, which may consist of “point-mutant alleles in combination with insertional transgenes for a multitude or research and applied purposes,” said its creators. The allelic drive comes from the laboratory of Ethan Bier, PhD, a professor of cell and developmental biology at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). According to Bier and colleagues, the allelic drive is equipped with a guide RNA (gRNA) that directs the CRISPR system to cut undesired variants of a gene and replace it with a preferred version of the gene. The new drive extends scientists’ ability to modify populations of organisms with precision editing. In one example of its potential applications, specific genes in agricultural pests that have become resistant to insecticides could be replaced by original natural genetic variants conferring sensitivity to insecticides using allelic drives that selectively swap the identities of a single protein residue (amino acid).

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ZS and Seven Bridges Collaborate to Innovate Drug Research

ZS, Seven Bridges | May 07, 2021

ZS and Seven Bridges disclosed a collaboration today that will merge ZS's experience in biomedical testing facilities and data science with Seven Bridges' technology platform, which enables multi-omics analytics through the translational and clinical continuum. The hybrid offers biopharmaceutical and biotechnology firms a one-stop-shop for multi-omics analysis innovation and scalability. ZS and Seven Bridges work together to help clients produce breakthrough science, promote drug development, and improve the probability of approval for potential drug candidates. "Working side by side with our clients to help streamline R&D data and maximize pace and market to enhance patients' lives is at the heart of what we do at ZS," said Aaron Mitchell, principal, and leader of ZS's research and development excellence program. "Our collaboration with Seven Bridges allows our clients, and eventually patients, to gain access to new therapies and diagnostics more quickly." "Drug discovery, translational medicine, and preclinical drug research all require study at the molecular and genomic levels of implementation, and our collaboration with Seven Bridges provides our clients with a new option for innovation and scalable capacity," said John Piccone, principal, and leader of ZS's biomedical research service line. "We are building a talent pool of molecular natives with a strong knowledge of chemistry, data science, and technology to collaborate with our clients in the discovery of potential drug targets, the selection of drug candidates, and the solution of key translational medicine challenges. The integration of the Seven Bridges Platform and experts with the ZS consulting teams results in a modular approach for clients with growing multi-omics data and analytics requirements." "We are delighted to be combining the Seven Bridges platform with ZS's innovative apps for drug discovery and translational medicine. Integrating our multi-omics analysis platform and ARIATM, a centralized solution for molecular and patient-level phenotypic analysis at scale, with their research data lake is a critical requirement for ZS's pharmaceutical clients "said Bruce Press, Seven Bridges' Chief Revenue Officer. About Seven Bridges Seven Bridges allows researchers to derive meaningful insights from genomic and phenotypic data, thereby advancing precision medicine. A compliant analytic platform, intelligently curated content, innovative algorithms, unmatched access to federated data sets, and specialist on-demand technical resources comprise the Seven Bridges Ecosystem. Researchers at the world's leading academic, biotechnology, clinical diagnostic, government, medical centers, and pharmaceutical institutions are using this systematic approach to bioinformatics to maximize R&D effectiveness, improve hypothesis resolution, isolate vital biomarkers, and even transform a failing clinical trial around while also minimizing computational workflow times and data storage costs.

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Sutro Biopharma and Tasly Biopharmaceuticals Enter into Exclusive License Agreement for STRO-002 in Greater China

Sutro Biopharma | December 28, 2021

Sutro Biopharma, Inc. a clinical-stage drug discovery, development and manufacturing company focused on the application of precise protein engineering and rational design to create next-generation cancer and autoimmune therapeutics, announced an exclusive license agreement with Tasly Biopharmaceuticals Co., Ltd. a holding subsidiary of Tasly Pharmaceutical Group Co., Ltd. for the development and commercialization of STRO-002 in Greater China, consisting of mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. STRO-002 is a FolRα-targeting antibody-drug conjugate, currently in clinical studies for patients with ovarian and endometrial cancers in the U.S. and Europe. Under the terms of the agreement, Sutro will receive an upfront payment of $40 million and be eligible to receive potentially up to $345 million in development and commercial milestone payments. Tasly will pursue the clinical development, regulatory approval, and commercialization of STRO-002 in Greater China for ovarian and endometrial cancers, with the potential to expand to further oncological indications including non-small cell lung cancer and triple-negative breast cancer. Sutro retains development and commercial rights of STRO-002 outside of Greater China. Sutro will be responsible for the clinical trial and initial commercial supply of STRO-002 for trials in the licensed territory pursuant to a supply agreement according to customary terms. Upon commercialization, Sutro will receive tiered, double-digit royalties based on annual net sales of STRO-002 in Greater China. "We are delighted to gain access to this promising drug, which has the potential to be the best-in-class FolRα ADC for patients with debilitating cancers, including ovarian cancer and potentially FolRα-expressing cancers. There is a huge unmet need for oncology patients within Greater China and we look towards future development and commercialization of STRO-002 to serve these needs." Kaijing Yan, Chairman of the Board Bill Newell, Chief Executive Officer of Sutro added, "This agreement further validates our emerging clinical data surrounding the development of STRO-002. Tasly is an excellent partner for our Greater China collaboration, with a history of successful execution for developing and commercializing therapeutics. We are delighted to broaden the geographical footprint of STRO–002 and allow greater access for cancer patients to a new possible treatment option." About Tasly Biopharmaceuticals Tasly Biopharmaceuticals was founded in 2001 and has more than 20 years of experience in the independent research and development and commercialization of biopharmaceutical products. As a leading innovative biopharmaceutical company in China, Tasly Biopharmaceuticals has a commercialization platform integrating research and development, manufacturing and sales. The company is one of the few pharmaceutical companies in China that can apply perfusion cell culture technology to long-term large-scale commercial production; the company has successfully developed and commercialized its flagship biologic product, Pro-UK, which has great potential to become a blockbuster thrombolytic drug in China. The company focuses on the development of biopharmaceutical products in the three therapeutic areas including cardio-cerebrovascular, oncology & autoimmune, and alimentary tract & metabolism, and it currently has 16 biopharmaceutical pipeline products. The company aims to bring affordable and first-in-class/best-in-class biologic drugs to Chinese patients to meet the growing and unmet clinical needs in the targeted therapeutic areas. About Sutro Biopharma Sutro Biopharma, Inc., located in South San Francisco, is a clinical-stage drug discovery, development and manufacturing company. Using precise protein engineering and rational design, Sutro is advancing next-generation oncology therapeutics.

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MEDICAL

Thermo Fisher Scientific and Qatar Genome Program Partner to Advance Precision Medicine

Thermo Fisher Scientific | May 24, 2022

Thermo Fisher Scientific, the world leader in serving science, and Qatar Genome Program (QGP), a member of Qatar Foundation (QF), have partnered with the goal of accelerating genomic research and clinical applications of predictive genomics in Qatar as a step toward expanding the benefits of precision medicine across Arab populations globally. Under the agreement, Thermo Fisher and Qatar Genome Program will develop an Axiom* custom genotyping array for pan-Arab populations using whole genome sequencing data from 19 Arab countries. The array, with about 800,000 variants, aims to help drive scientific research and insights into conditions including diabetes, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, autism, inherited genetic disorders and cancer. Once available through Thermo Fisher’s global commercial channels in late 2022, the array is intended to provide a cost-effective alternative to whole genome sequencing for Arab populations, enabling increased diversity in large genome-wide studies. Qatar’s national vision is to provide a high standard of living for our people, and that includes providing access to genomics data, technology and insights to improve population health across the country, Our collaboration with Thermo Fisher will not only help us advance precision medicine in Qatar but also among people of Arab identity worldwide.” Dr. Radja Badji, genome operations manager at Qatar Genome Program. Thermo Fisher began working with Qatar Genome Program in 2018 to establish the first microarray designed specifically for the Qatari population. The Q-Chip detects genetic alterations that increase individuals’ risk of both prevalent and rare diseases. As part of the new agreement, the organizations will continue to refine algorithms and define clinically actionable content to assess polygenic risk scores, a measure of disease risk, and clinically relevant variants, including those related to pharmacogenomics. Thermo Fisher’s Axiom microarray technology is designed to help accelerate precision medicine, and we are honored to partner with the Qatar Genome Program as they take bold steps to leverage the power of genomics to improve the standard of care for human health, Together, we’re creating building blocks for implementing comprehensive precision medicine initiatives at scale for population health.” Chad Carter, vice president and general manager of microarray genetic solutions at Thermo Fisher Scientific. About Thermo Fisher Scientific Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. is the world leader in serving science, with annual revenue of approximately $40 billion. Our Mission is to enable our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer. Whether our customers are accelerating life sciences research, solving complex analytical challenges, increasing productivity in their laboratories, improving patient health through diagnostics or the development and manufacture of life-changing therapies, we are here to support them. Our global team delivers an unrivaled combination of innovative technologies, purchasing convenience and pharmaceutical services through our industry-leading brands, including Thermo Scientific, Applied Biosystems, Invitrogen, Fisher Scientific, Unity Lab Services, Patheon and PPD. About the Qatar Genome Program The Qatar Genome Program is an ambitious population-based project aimed at positioning Qatar among the pioneering countries in the implementation of precision medicine. Whole genome sequencing and other omics data is being combined with phenotypic data within the Qatar Biobank, providing a resource for breakthrough research discoveries and to help policy makers set future healthcare priorities for Qatar.

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