MEDICAL

HealthPartners, Helix partner to create DNA testing program that helps families better understand their genetic health

Helix | March 09, 2022

Health_Partners_Helix
HealthPartners and leading genomics company, Helix, are launching myGenetics, a population genomics program that will provide important health information to families across Minnesota and surrounding states.

The myGenetics program hopes to enroll more than 100,000 participants over four years. Genomic data generated will be integrated with patient health records and shared during their personal clinical care. Through the partnership, HealthPartners will be able to identify risk earlier and potentially mitigate serious disease. In similar programs, as many as 1 in 75 participants were found to be at risk for a serious health issue, of which 90 percent would not have been discovered through traditional practice.

We see population genomics as a critical step in our efforts to improve the health of the communities we serve across Minnesota and surrounding states, By understanding the role genetics play in an individual's health, we can deliver more personalized care and improve the lives of our patients."

Steve Connelly, MD, co-executive medical director at HealthPartners.

The program aligns with HealthPartners ongoing drive to deliver simple, personalized, affordable care. The program will be strictly voluntary and will come at no cost to the patient. It's a partnership both HealthPartners and Helix say will help advance precision medicine and greater health equity.

We are thrilled to partner deeply with one of the leading integrated delivery networks in the nation. We are excited to enable population access to preventable and actionable genetic insights and to empower providers and patients to make more informed medical decisions, The partnership will also generate cutting edge insights on the best ways to improve quality outcomes, close care gaps and lower the cost of care."

James Lu, MD, PhD, CEO and co-founder of Helix.

HealthPartners will leverage Helix's end-to-end genomic platform and unique Sequence Once, Query OftenTM model. It allows patient access to genetic data in a cost-efficient manner while also advancing ongoing genomics research. Helix has helped to launch similar programs at the Mayo Clinic, Renown Health and most recently, the Medical University of South Carolina.

About Helix
Helix is the leading population genomics and viral surveillance company operating at the intersection of clinical care, research, and data analytics. Through its CLIA / CAP laboratory, its end-to-end workflow, and data analytics platforms, Helix enables health systems, life sciences companies, payers, and government partners to accelerate the integration of genomic data into patient care and public health decision making.

About HealthPartners
HealthPartners is dedicated to improving health and well-being in partnership with members, patients and the community. As an integrated health system, it provides care to more than one million patients and coverage to more than 1.8 million medical and dental health plan members nationwide. HealthPartners also provides medical education and conducts research through HealthPartners Institute.

Spotlight

Reproductive cloning and research cloning are very similar in terms of their technology up until a cloned embryo is made. But how the embryo is utilized is what determines the major difference between research and reproduction cloning. This infographic on cloning points out the different facts about cloning.

Spotlight

Reproductive cloning and research cloning are very similar in terms of their technology up until a cloned embryo is made. But how the embryo is utilized is what determines the major difference between research and reproduction cloning. This infographic on cloning points out the different facts about cloning.

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

XtalPi and CK Life Sciences to collaborate in AI-empowered tumour vaccine research and development, opening a new paradigm for scientific innovation

XtalPi Inc. | November 25, 2022

XtalPi announced today that they are embarking on a strategic collaboration with CK Life Sciences, a member of the CK Hutchison Group. XtalPi and CK Life Sciences will leverage their respective expertise to jointly develop a novel AI tumour vaccine R&D platform to improve the discovery and design capabilities of tumour vaccines and accelerate the development of more vaccine types. The goal of this collaboration is to realize precision treatment for patients worldwide. According to public information, there were nearly 20 million newly diagnosed cancer patients worldwide in 2021, of which about 4.5 million cases came from China. Many cancer types lead to detrimental outcomes, with high morbidity and mortality, and there remains a large unmet clinical need. Tumour vaccines targeting different tumour neoantigens, tumour-associated antigens and tumour-specific antigens in patients can be designed for use as immunotherapy, to activate the patient's own specific immune responses. Currently, there are only two therapeutic tumour vaccines— sipuleucel-T for melanoma and Bacillus Calmette-Guérin for bladder cancer, as well as preventive tumour vaccines against human papillomavirus infection and hepatitis B infection approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Recently, several other tumour vaccines have entered clinical development and evidence of efficacy has begun to emerge. According to Mordor Intelligence, the global cancer vaccine market size was US$6.79 billion in 2021 and will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 11.53% from 2022 to 2026. The expected market size by 2026 will be approximately US$12 billion. Currently, the design and preclinical development process for tumour vaccines is complex and lengthy, hindering the efficiency and success rate of tumour vaccine research and development. Incorporating XtalPi's industry expertise in AI computation and robotic automation, this collaboration aims to build an AI tumour vaccine R&D platform that applies advanced AI algorithms and high-precision molecular modeling to predict and design a variety of tumour vaccines that can activate specific immune responses to kill tumours. The tumour vaccines will be screened and verified through automated experiments, and through integrating algorithmic feedback to optimise activity and efficacy, the platform is expected to generate preclinical tumour vaccine candidate compounds with robust immune activity. "As a company headquartered in the Hetao Shenzhen-Hong Kong Science and Technology Innovation Cooperation Zone, XtalPi is committed to realising the synergies between Shenzhen and Hong Kong by creating a new paradigm for innovation in the Greater Bay Area. Empowered by the latest technological advancements in automation, artificial intelligence is accelerating more innovative and diverse areas in drug research and development. Together with CK Life Sciences, we are committed to overcome conventional limitations and discover diverse applications for cutting-edge technologies. We believe the AI cancer vaccine platform jointly developed by CK Life Sciences and XtalPi will inspire the global scientific community to progress vaccine research and development and fast-track key development milestones for cancer vaccines. We are confident that this collaboration will significantly facilitate the scientific research exchange in the Greater Bay Area." Dr. Shuhao Wen, co-founder and chairman of XtalPi Dr. Melvin Toh, Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of CK Life Sciences, comments: "The R&D of tumour vaccines is one of the key development directions of CK Life Sciences. The cooperation with XtalPi will apply XtalPi's AI algorithm, molecular modeling and automated experiments to speed up the R&D process, improve the success rate, and increase the efficacy of tumour vaccines." About XtalPi Founded in 2014, XtalPi founders recognized a common hurdle in drug development having to do with solid polymorphism, which could be successfully tackled with quantum physics predictions. Since then, XtalPi has maintained its focus on identifying and then attacking traditional bottlenecks in biopharmaceutical R&D through innovative technologies. Through considerable capital investments in automation and personnel, XtalPi now has four locations worldwide and employs approximately 1000 employees. XtalPi has engaged in collaboration research with nearly all top-20 pharmaceutical companies in the world. Its ID4 platform combines physics-based simulations with experimental validation and refinement, automation for rapid synthesis, and machine learning to continuously improve prediction accuracy and process efficiency. About CK Life Sciences CK Life Sciences is listed on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong. Bearing the mission of improving the quality of life, CK Life Sciences is engaged in the business of research and development, manufacturing, commercialisation, marketing, sale of, and investment in, products and assets which fall into three core categories - nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals and agriculture-related. CK Life Sciences is a member of the CK Hutchison Group.

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Alloy Therapeutics Raises $42 Million Series D Financing to Accelerate Discovery Technology Development Across Biologic Modalities

Alloy Therapeutics, Inc. | October 04, 2022

Alloy Therapeutics, a biotechnology ecosystem company, has closed $42 million in Series D financing led by its existing investors 8VC and Mubadala Capital and joined by return investors Thiel Capital, Presight Capital, Founders Fund, and other unnamed family offices and sovereign wealth funds. Alloy will use proceeds from the Series D financing to further support the drug discovery community with new pre-competitive drug discovery technologies in new biologic modalities and new partnership models designed to fuel innovation. Since Alloy’s Series C fundraise in March 2021, Alloy has expanded from its foundational antibody discovery technologies and discovery services into T-cell receptors with the launch of its Keyway TCR Discovery division, and genetic medicines through its collaboration with Dr. Sudhir Agrawal, the inventor of gapmer technology. Alloy has further expanded with three new research sites, in Basel, CH; Athens, GA; and San Francisco, CA. “After three years of hard work and planning, we were proud to formally launch Keyway TCR Discovery in January 2022. We envision a future in 20 years where engineered TCRs and TCR mimics are as successful a modality as monoclonal antibodies are today. Keyway believes this is possible by providing unrestricted access to enabling technologies and discovery services without pharma having to spend billions of dollars to acquire companies for proprietary technologies and people.” Dongxing Zha, CEO of Keyway and Alloy’s CTO for TCR Modalities In response to growing engagement from partners, Alloy will further leverage its Series D funds to continue to invest in expanded offerings across all six of its modalities. These will support the drug discovery community in the pursuit of multi-modal therapeutics while reducing or eliminating stacked downstream payments. Through its affiliated venture studio, 82VS, Alloy supports scientist-entrepreneurs with seamless access to its cutting-edge technologies and discovery services. 82VS companies are often the first customers of Alloy’s innovations, having full access to the Alloy suite of technologies and discovery services to advance the best drug candidates and invent new applications that can benefit the broader Alloy ecosystem and, ultimately, patients and their caregivers. To best serve the vast discovery needs of pharmaceutical companies, Alloy is pioneering an Innovation Subscription offering that gives its collaborators access to all current and future Alloy technology platforms for one flat, annual fee with no milestones or royalties. Partners benefit from Alloy as an ever-growing source of pre-competitive, foundational discovery technology. Alloy also supports complementary CROs, CDMOs and other discovery and development service providers as a critical part of the collaborative ecosystem to empower pharma in its mission to cure disease. In this subscription model, Alloy provides a new home for promising pre-competitive technologies and academic breakthroughs that have traditionally been underfunded or unavailable to all. “Our Innovation Subscription model is available now as an exciting next step in furthering our collaborative mission and unlocking the potential for sharing foundational, pre-competitive drug discovery technologies with the global drug discovery community,” said Alloy Therapeutics Chief Executive Officer and Founder Errik Anderson. “Including this financing, Alloy will have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in innovation that the largest pharma companies can access through a flat, annual subscription with no additional milestones or royalties. Emerging biotech and academics can access our tech through collaboration and more traditional and creative structures. Combined with the reinvestment of 100% of our revenue, including our subscription revenue, back into innovation and access to innovation, Alloy is a new for-profit business model that plays for the collective long game in a non-zero-sum way. The value of a subscription goes up every year, while the fees stay flat or even will decrease with scale. We price this so a single avoided royalty will pay for the entire platform access over a 20-plus-year period. We are grateful for our longstanding investors for supporting this vision of arming the drug discovery industry with the tools they need to discover and develop the best medicines for patients more quickly.” Alloy launched in 2017 to democratize foundational, pre-competitive technologies and capabilities for the discovery of therapeutic biologics and has since grown with over 130 partners across academia, biotech, and large biopharma. Its first platform was the ATX-Gx™, a suite of transgenic mouse strains for human antibody discovery that was originally in-licensed from a major pharma company and made broadly available to the drug discovery ecosystem by Alloy, with open access to newly introduced strains. Through its DeepImmune™ Antibody Discovery services, Alloy helps partners find the best therapeutic antibody candidates against targets of interest, by deploying a bespoke blend of its proprietary in vivo, in vitro, and in silico technologies and workflows. In 2022, Alloy launched Keyway™ TCR Discovery as its second fully integrated technology and services offering for the discovery of therapeutic engineered TCRs and TCR mimics. “Alloy has successfully expanded its flagship discovery offering in antibodies to multiple promising modalities to better serve the global drug discovery community,” said Alaa Halawa, Head of Mubadala Capital’s US Ventures business, which first backed Alloy as an investor in its Series C financing. “We are proud to partner with the company as it executes on its promise of enabling scientists through the development of transformative drug discovery technologies. We look forward to seeing how the partnership with large pharma partners and other venture firms will leverage Alloy’s platform to enable their therapeutic discovery teams and emerging startups to advance the best medicines.” About Alloy Therapeutics aAlloy Therapeutics is a biotechnology ecosystem company empowering the global scientific community to make better medicines together. Through a community of partners across academia, biotech, and the largest biopharma, Alloy democratizes access to pre-competitive tools, technologies, services, and company creation capabilities that are foundational for discovering and developing therapeutic biologics across six modalities, including antibodies, TCRs, genetic medicines, peptides, cell therapies, and drug delivery. Partners may access all current and future technologies for a flat annual fee through Alloy’s Innovation Subscriptions offering. As a reflection of Alloy’s relentless commitment to the scientific community, Alloy reinvests 100% of its revenue in innovation and access to innovation. About Alloy’s Antibody Discovery Offering Alloy’s first foundational platform, the ATX-Gx™ mice, is a suite of proprietary transgenic mice strains for human therapeutic antibody discovery, which can be accessed in your lab or through DeepImmune™ Antibody Discovery. This service integrates Alloy’s full complement of proprietary in vivo, in vitro, and in silico discovery and optimization technologies into one comprehensive service offering for fully human monoclonal and bispecific antibody discovery. The technologies and protocols can be replicated in a partner’s organization through a platform transfer and as part of an Alloy Innovation Subscription. Alloy is a leader in bispecific antibody discovery and engineering services, utilizing its proprietary ATX-CLC common light chain platform integrating novel transgenic mice and phage display. About Keyway™ TCR Discovery In 2022, Alloy launched Keyway™ TCR Discovery, Alloy's second fully integrated platform and service offering. Led by a team of TCR therapeutic pioneers and experts and leveraging the full resources of the Alloy ecosystem, Keyway provides comprehensive proprietary technology and capabilities for end-to-end discovery of TCR mimics and engineered TCRs, which includes production and quality control of MHC/peptide complexes, biophysical characterization, specificity testing, reformatting, and engineering, affinity maturation, and in vivo and in vitro preclinical testing. Partners may access Keyway's technology and capabilities through a standard or bespoke one-stop-shop discovery campaign, platform transfer, or Innovation Subscription.

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

FogPharma Announces $178 Million Series D Financing to Advance Pipeline of First-in-Class Helicon Polypeptide Therapeutics Targeting

FogPharma | November 22, 2022

FogPharma®, a biopharmaceutical company pioneering a new class of precision medicines that could ultimately prove applicable to the vast majority of therapeutic targets, including those previously considered “undruggable,” today announced a $178 Million Series D financing. The financing round includes new investors ARCH Venture Partners, Milky Way Investments and Fidelity Management & Research Company and existing investors VenBio Partners, Deerfield Management, GV, Cormorant Asset Management, funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., Invus, Farallon Capital Management, HBM Healthcare Investments, Casdin Capital, and PagsGroup, also participated. Proceeds from the Series D financing will be used to advance and accelerate FogPharma’s growing pipeline of hyperstabilized α-helical polypeptide therapeutics, a proprietary new class of drugs designed to overcome the limitations of today’s precision medicines with broad applicability to the vast majority of disease targets and therapeutic areas. FogPharma’s lead Helicon polypeptide development candidate, FOG-001, a first-and-only-in-class direct TCF-blocking β-catenin inhibitor with potential applicability to significant cancer patient populations, is expected to enter clinical development in mid-2023. In addition, FogPharma is advancing other first-in-class programs against important, biologically validated cancer targets that have remained elusive to other approaches including TEAD, NRAS, Pan-KRAS, ERG and Cyclin E1. “FogPharma continues to make rapid progress on our moonshot mission to achieve universal druggability – a world where no targets are off-limits to medicine. We believe that Helicon polypeptides, a compelling new therapeutic modality, represent the future of precision medicine. We are thrilled by the support of our investors and will continue to build our platform capabilities, product pipeline which aims to address a significant percentage of cancer patient populations, and our phenomenal team across all levels as we aim to create one of the most impactful new classes of drugs in history.” Gregory Verdine, Ph.D., founder, chairman and chief executive officer of FogPharma In connection with the Series D Financing, Rick Klausner, M.D., has been appointed to FogPharma’s board of directors. In addition, Dr. Verdine has been appointed as chairman of the board. “The team at FogPharma is building an unprecedented new therapeutic modality and robust pipeline with the potential to make a meaningful difference in the lives of cancer patients,” said Dr. Klausner. “I am excited to join the board of directors and be part of something special – particularly at this important time as FogPharma continues to impressively scale its science, team, operations and infrastructure, with the goal of advancing its first Helicon polypeptide therapeutic into the clinic.” Dr. Klausner is currently the founder and chief scientist of Altos Labs and founder and chairman of Lyell Immunopharma. Dr. Klausner was founder and director of Juno Therapeutics and founder and director of GRAIL. He is also the chairman of Sonoma Biotherapeutics and co-founder and chairman of Lifemine Therapeutics. Previously, Dr. Klausner served as senior vice president, chief medical officer and chief opportunity officer of Illumina Corporation and as executive director for global health for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr. Klausner was appointed by Presidents Clinton and Bush as the eleventh director of the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) between 1995 and 2001. Dr. Klausner served as chief of the Cell Biology and Metabolism Branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development as well as a past president of the American Society of Clinical Investigation. He has served in senior advisory roles to the U.S., Norwegian, Qatari and Indian governments. About FogPharma’s Universal Druggability Platform and Helicon™ Polypeptide Therapeutics Existing drug classes are limited in both reach and applicability, with more than 80% of known human protein disease targets considered “undruggable” because they are beyond the reach of both antibodies and small molecules. FogPharma’s Helicon peptide drug discovery engine integrates directed evolution, proprietary α-helix conformational hyperstabilization chemistry, highly multiplexed drug optimization technology, artificial intelligence including deep learning and machine learning, structure-based drug discovery, cancer genomics and biology, and multiscale manufacturing to rapidly discover Helicon polypeptide therapeutics. This novel therapeutic modality combines the targeting strength and specificity of antibodies with the broad tissue distribution, intracellular target engagement and oral dosing optionality of small molecules to address the limitations of today’s precision medicines and reach the most difficult targets – achieving universal druggability. About FOG-001 FogPharma’s lead Helicon polypeptide development candidate, FOG-001, a first-and-only-in-class direct TCF-blocking β-catenin inhibitor. Dysregulation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway has been shown to occur in at least 20% of all human cancers. In the U.S. alone, FOG-001 has the potential to become a new treatment option for >1 million patients suffering from a broad range of intractable cancers. In biochemical and cellular studies, FOG-001 has been shown to potently, precisely and selectively disrupt the interaction of β-catenin with its obligate downstream transcription factor, TCF. Preclinical studies have demonstrated the ability of FOG-001 to cause tumor growth inhibition and regression by disrupting β-catenin-dependent signaling. FOG-001 is the inaugural member of FogPharma’s TCF-Catenix family of direct-acting β-catenin antagonists and combines key features that distinguish it from previously reported Wnt/β-catenin pathway modulators: FOG-001 acts inside the cell, where it directly binds the key oncogenic driver β-catenin; and FOG-001 blocks TCF-β-catenin engagement at the most downstream node in the canonical Wnt pathway, thus abrogating the signal transmission mechanism by which most, if not all, known Wnt pathway mutations are believed to drive oncogenesis. About FogPharma FogPharma is a biopharmaceutical company pioneering the discovery and development of Helicon™ polypeptides. Through this novel therapeutic modality, FogPharma aims to address the limitations of existing drug classes and achieve universal druggability – a world where no targets are off-limits to new medicines. Spun out of Harvard University by pioneering academic scientist and successful biotech company builder Dr. Gregory Verdine, FogPharma is advancing a broad pipeline of Helicon polypeptide therapeutics against important and biologically validated cancer targets that have remained elusive to other approaches, with the goal of providing new targeted treatment options for significant cancer patient populations. FogPharma is headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., and has raised more than $360 million to date from leading life sciences investors.

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