Aanika Biosciences | December 01, 2021
Biotech start-up Aanika Biosciences today announced the initial closing of its $12 million Series A round, led by Jon Cholak of Adit Ventures along with existing investors Draper Associates and SOSV. The investment will help scale the company’s food tracing technology platform, advance research and expand its Brooklyn food safety and manufacturing facility to approximately 30,000 square feet.
Aanika's proprietary technology is designed to accelerate the speed and accuracy of how food safety issues are handled. The platform, which uses edible microbial ‘tags,’ has already been tested on leafy greens and has the potential to be applied to other foods and ingredients including oils, coffee, meats and grains.
“Innovation in food safety is long overdue, and there couldn’t be a more important time to bring a technology like this to the market. The pandemic has truly exposed the fragility of our supply chain. Being able to expand and build out our capability will give farmers, insurers, food companies and consumers an added layer of transparency and security, as well as minimize the economic and environmental impact of food recalls.”
Dr. Ellen Jorgensen, Chief Science Officer for Aanika
The technology enables farmers to 'watermark' crops with edible, food-friendly microbes that can be detected at any point in the product’s journey through the supply chain, so that when there is a case of foodborne illness it can be traced directly to the source.
“Foodborne illness impacts over 50 million people and costs the U.S. tens of billions of dollars a year. Our technology can help minimize the impact and we are developing solutions that may prevent it from happening in the first place,” said co-founder and CEO of Aanika, Vishaal Bhuyan. “Identifying the origin of food recalls is just the start of what this platform can do. We are excited to see how far we can push our microbial technology to add value in the form of combating contamination, increasing nutritional content and supporting crop health. We are also exploring how our technology can even revolutionize agricultural insurance underwriting. All of this is driven by the power of biology.”
"We believe Aanika could transform the food system as their traceability technology can integrate with the blockchain and ensure high quality data from end-to-end,” said Tim Draper, Founder and Managing Partner of Draper Associates.
About Aanika Biosciences
Aanika Biosciences was co-founded in 2018 by Vishaal Bhuyan after he personally experienced the consequences of ordering fresh, ethically sourced seeds and receiving stale, contaminated products instead. He made it is his mission to create a safer food supply by finding a way to track, trace and authenticate products. Aanika’s customized microbial-based tags help companies gain valuable insights about their supply chains, help their customers make better consumption choices, and create a more sustainable world.
Skye Bioscience, Inc. | October 13, 2021
Skye Bioscience, Inc. (“Skye” or the “Company”), a biopharmaceutical company developing proprietary, synthetic cannabinoid-derived molecules to treat glaucoma and other diseases with significant unmet need, has formed a new exclusive sponsored research agreement with Emerald Health Biotechnology Espana SLU (“EHBE”), focused on developing and characterizing novel molecules that can affect the endocannabinoid system (ECS) for therapeutic benefit. The research initiative, referred to as the Cannabinoid Pharmaceutical Innovation Program (CPIP), will focus on targeting important signaling pathways in the endocannabinoid system to realize therapeutically beneficial effects.
The CPIP reflects the company’s continued commitment to expand its leadership in cannabinoid-based science and cutting-edge research that can be commercialized through new and existing technologies. It leverages R&D initiatives with key opinion leaders with specialized research centers in the US and internationally, such as the University of Mississippi, University of Cordoba, and University of Eastern Piedmont. This agreement deepens the commitment of Drs. Munoz and Appendino, who will be the principal investigators and continue to lead Skye’s scientific advisory board. The CPIP is driven by the focus on investing in key value-creating pillars for the Company - ophthalmology applications, clinical development, pipeline expansion and people - to achieve the vision of creating a world-class cannabinoid pharmaceutical company.
"As the world comes to appreciate the broad and dynamic role of the endocannabinoid system in humans and animal health, the pharmaceutical potential of cannabinoids to modulate this system is just starting to be understood. While the anecdotal evidence of the health benefits of cannabinoids dates back millenia, modern science has barely scratched the surface to validate the benefits of the ECS in preventing and treating diseases. Skye’s ambition is to play a leading role in effecting important therapeutic outcomes by influencing the endocannabinoid system. We want to continue to make strategic investments that can further bring value to all stakeholders, and our clear focus in this initiative is to achieve novel discoveries that achieve important clinical utility with commercial value. These overarching priorities will guide our strategy, project initiatives, and investments."
Punit Dhillon, Chief Executive Officer and Chair of Skye Bioscience
Under the terms of the agreement:
Skye will approve and fund designated projects and have exclusive rights to all data and products, and any intellectual property resulting from this research collaboration will be owned by Skye
Research will be broad and encompass novel molecules that modulate the ECS to treat or prevent human or animal diseases
EHBE will receive a single digit royalty on all licensing revenue or other consideration paid to Skye by a third-party licensee, assignee or purchaser related to any product commercialized as part of a Skye Project
Skye will pay EHBE a retainer of $200,000 per year.
“Having worked with cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system for over 25 years, it is clear that there are tremendous opportunities to discover and create cannabinoid-derived molecules with potential to beneficially interact with the ECS for positive medical outcomes. With the launch of Skye’s new Cannabinoid Pharmaceutical Innovation Program with our research team in Cordoba, Spain, our efforts will focus on preclinical development of CBDVHS, R&D of CB1 modulators involved in pain, inflammatory diseases, neurological diseases, fibrotic diseases and metabolic diseases, and drug discovery relating to modulators of the cannabinoid receptors CB2 and GPR55. We aim to generate a wide portfolio of proprietary products and IP around molecules with commercial potential.”
Eduardo Munoz, Managing Director of Emerald Health Biotechnology Espana
About Emerald Health Biotechnology Espana SLU
Emerald Health Biotechnology España SLU (EHBE) is a preclinical-stage drug development research company focused on new cannabinoid derivatives to treat severe life-threatening conditions and other pathologies. Led by cannabinoid research experts and scientific advisors to Skye, Drs. Eduardo Munoz and Giovanni Appendino, EHBE is a pioneer in developing chemical cannabinoid derivatives that improve the therapeutic properties of the natural compounds.
About Skye Bioscience
Skye Bioscience Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company unlocking the pharmaceutical potential of cannabinoids through the development of its proprietary, cannabinoid-derived molecules to treat diseases with significant unmet needs. The company’s lead program, THCVHS, is focused on treating glaucoma, a disease with no cure and the world’s leading cause of irreversible blindness. For more information, please visit: www.skyebioscience.com
CELL AND GENE THERAPY
Ginkgo Bioworks, mRNA Victoria | November 18, 2021
mRNA Victoria, the agency of the Australian State of Victoria Government charged with building the State's mRNA manufacturing and research capability, and Ginkgo Bioworks (NYSE: DNA), the leading horizontal platform for cell programming, announced a partnership to support vaccine development, biosecurity initiatives, and the application to Ginkgo's platform in the pharmaceutical and biotech, food and agriculture, and mining and bioremediation/recycling sectors in Australia. As the first step in the partnership, Ginkgo will establish an office in Melbourne in what is hoped to be a future long-term business expansion within Australia.
Ginkgo's synthetic biology platform infrastructure and expertise brings critical capability to Victoria's biotech sector, and adds significant momentum to the State's rapidly growing biotechnology ecosystem. Ginkgo's cell programming capabilities have supported innovations in diagnostics and vaccine design and manufacturing, as well as ongoing research and development of innovative products such as living medicines, therapeutic proteins, and gene and cell therapies. Further, the company has established one of the largest nationwide COVID testing platforms in the United States, helping communities across the country keep kids in classrooms and COVID out. The company has also established an Airport Biosurveillance Program in collaboration with XpresCheck and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
"Melbourne is one of the leading biomedical research communities in the world. We have to forge international collaborations like this because, as we have all learned, biology doesn't respect borders. We are incredibly excited to work with mRNA Victoria and hope to expand further into the Australian market,"
said Matt McKnight, Chief Commercial Officer, Ginkgo Bioworks
Victoria is a leader in mRNA research and manufacturing in Australia, with the nation's most sophisticated and largest mRNA ecosystem and commercialization capability. Through mRNA Victoria, the Victorian Government will continue to attract world leading biotech innovators to invest in Victoria, creating new jobs and fostering innovation in novel RNA treatments.
"Victoria has a strong RNA ecosystem and is ideally placed to develop a sophisticated supply chain with critical capability from clinical development to the establishment of onshore mRNA manufacturing to the critical biosecurity technologies that enable us to reopen borders and get back to our lives," said Jaala Pulford, Victoria's Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy.
About mRNA Victoria
The State of Victoria is the home of Australia's biotech community with a globally recognized research sector including the country's leading mRNA researchers and existing capabilities in medtech, biotech, pharmaceutical and advanced manufacturing. mRNA Victoria is the Australian State of Victoria Government agency charged with building a world-class mRNA manufacturing and research capability. It leads the engagement and partnership with domestic and international companies, researchers, and other stakeholders in the mRNA ecosystem, and its investments and programs accelerate the growth of mRNA technology's scientific, commercial, and life-saving potential.
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.
Forward-Looking Statements of Ginkgo Bioworks
This press release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws, including statements regarding the potential of Ginkgo's biosecurity capabilities and partnership with mRNA Victoria. These forward-looking statements generally are identified by the words "believe," "project," "potential," "expect," "anticipate," "estimate," "intend," "strategy," "future," "opportunity," "plan," "may," "should," "will," "would," "will be," "will continue," "will likely result," and similar expressions. Forward-looking statements are predictions, projections and other statements about future events that are based on current expectations and assumptions and, as a result, are subject to risks and uncertainties. Many factors could cause actual future events to differ materially from the forward-looking statements in this document, including but not limited to: (i) the effect of the business combination with Soaring Eagle Acquisition Corp. ("Soaring Eagle") on Ginkgo's business relationships, performance, and business generally, (ii) risks that the business combination disrupts current plans of Ginkgo and potential difficulties in Ginkgo's employee retention, (iii) the outcome of any legal proceedings that may be instituted against Ginkgo related to its business combination with Soaring Eagle, (iv) volatility in the price of Ginkgo's securities now that it is a public company due to a variety of factors, including changes in the competitive and highly regulated industries in which Ginkgo plans to operate, variations in performance across competitors, changes in laws and regulations affecting Ginkgo's business and changes in the combined capital structure, (v) the ability to implement business plans, forecasts, and other expectations after the completion of the business combination, and identify and realize additional opportunities, and (vi) the risk of downturns in demand for products using synthetic biology. The foregoing list of factors is not exhaustive. You should carefully consider the foregoing factors and the other risks and uncertainties described in the "Risk Factors" section of Ginkgo's quarterly report on Form 10-Q filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") on November 15, 2021 and other documents filed by Ginkgo from time to time with the SEC. These filings identify and address other important risks and uncertainties that could cause actual events and results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made. Readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking statements, and Ginkgo assumes no obligation and does not intend to update or revise these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. Ginkgo does not give any assurance that it will achieve its expectations.