HIV infant model opens new avenues for research

Drug Target Review | October 09, 2019

An animal model to test HIV infection in infants could lead to biomarkers that predict viral rebound after ART interruption. Researchers have developed an animal model to test HIV infection and therapies in infants, allowing them to develop biomarkers to predict viral rebound after antiretroviral therapy (ART) interruption. The new model allows for immune interventions against the HIV envelope protein through the use of a SHIV, as opposed to a SIV, a simian immunodeficiency virus that has a very different virus envelope than HIV. It takes advantage of recent advances in SHIV development that fully replicated the clade C viruses that are involved in the majority of infant HIV transmission. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, US have developed a new way to make SHIV, in which mutations are made around the CD4 binding site that HIV uses for entry into cells. “This opened up a new treasure trove of SHIVs that would be available for this type of model,” said Sallie Permar MD, PhD, professor of paediatrics in the Division of Infectious Diseases.

Spotlight

More than 700,000 people die from the bites of infected mosquitos each year. Gene editing can help fight the spread of mosquitos that carry infectious diseases like Zika virus, West Nile Virus, Chikungunya Virus, Dengue Fever, Yellow Fever and Malaria.

Spotlight

More than 700,000 people die from the bites of infected mosquitos each year. Gene editing can help fight the spread of mosquitos that carry infectious diseases like Zika virus, West Nile Virus, Chikungunya Virus, Dengue Fever, Yellow Fever and Malaria.

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RESEARCH

Skye Bioscience Establishes New Cannabinoid Pharmaceutical Innovation Program

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

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AI

Iktos Partners with Kadmon to Use AI for New Drug Design

Iktos, Kadmon | May 19, 2021

Iktos, a company specializing in Artificial Intelligence for new drug design, announced today that it has signed a Research Collaboration Agreement with Kadmon, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company based in New York, USA, under which Iktos' generative modeling artificial intelligence (AI) technology will be used to allow the rapid and cost-effective design of novel drug candidates. Iktos will use its de novo structure-based generative modeling technologies to find novel compounds that meet a pre-defined target product profile as part of the deal, to speed up Kadmon's early-stage discovery efforts. Kadmon discovers, develops, and delivers small molecules and biologics for the treatment of human diseases. Intending to identify and develop new product candidates for significant unmet medical needs, Kadmon is expanding and incorporating novel drug discovery platforms. The AI technology developed by Iktos, which is focused on deep generative models, aids in the speed and efficiency of the drug discovery process. Iktos' technology creates virtual novel molecules that have all of the properties of a successful drug molecule automatically. This approach, which has been validated by Iktos' other collaborations, is an innovative approach to one of the most difficult problems in drug design: finding molecules that meet several important drug criteria at the same time, such as potency, selectivity, safety, and project-specific properties. Iktos' technology enables the creation of new hits with optimal protein-ligand interactions in early-stage discovery projects, as predicted by molecular modeling technology. This technique allows for a one-of-a-kind discovery of chemical space, as well as the development of innovative molecule designs with greater Freedom to Operate. Furthermore, allowing multi-parametric in silico optimization from the start of a project greatly reduces the hit finding and hit-to-lead optimization phases. About Iktos Iktos, a French start-up founded in October 2016, specializes in the development of artificial intelligence technologies for chemical research, especially medicinal chemistry, and new drug design. Iktos is working on a proprietary and innovative approach focused on deep learning generative models that allow users to build molecules in silico that follow all of the performance criteria of a small molecule discovery project using existing evidence. Iktos technology allows for significant efficiency gains in upstream pharmaceutical R&D. Iktos' software is utilized as both professional services and a SaaS software platform, Makya. Spaya, a synthesis planning software built on Iktos' proprietary AI technology for retrosynthesis, is also in the works.

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CELL AND GENE THERAPY

Curi Bio Closes $10M Series A in Oversubscribed Round

Curi Bio Inc. | December 30, 2021

Curi Bio Inc., a leading developer of human stem cell-based platforms for drug discovery, announced the second closing of a $10 million oversubscribed Series A financing. New investors include UTC Investment and DS Asset Management, joining current Curi Bio investor and Series A lead Dynamk Capital. The investment will be used to scale Curi’s existing business and accelerate the development of its innovative engineered tissue analysis platforms, including its Mantarray™ platform. “Curi Bio is thrilled to partner with the distinguished teams at UTC Investment, DS Asset Management, and Dynamk Capital to fuel our next stage of growth. To discover new therapies requires human-relevant disease models. Curi is working to close the gap between preclinical results and clinical outcomes, not only in small molecule discovery, but also in frontier areas like next-generation genetic medicines and cell therapies.” Michael Cho, JD, CEO of Curi Bio With costs to develop a single new medicine now exceeding $2Bn, the need for more human-relevant disease models to improve translational efficiency in the drug development process has never been greater. Curi’s core platform – the Curi Engine™ – integrates human stem cells, tissue specific biosystems, and A.I./M.L.-enabled data analysis to accelerate the discovery and development of new therapeutics. With this three-pronged strategy — human cells, systems and data — Curi is rapidly becoming a market leader in creating high-fidelity models of human diseases for drug discovery, especially for striated muscle, including cardiac and skeletal muscle, and neuromuscular models. “Curi Bio’s technology platforms create significant value for pharma and biotech companies by accelerating discovery timelines and increasing the chances of success for new therapies in development,” said Dr. Gustavo Mahler, Managing Partner, Dynamk Capital. “We look forward to strong growth in Curi Bio’s customer portfolio.” Curi Bio’s core technologies and products include NanoSurface™ Plates for structural maturation, Cytostretcher™ cell-stretching instruments, and the Mantarray platform for contractility analysis. The Mantarray platform enables researchers to generate and analyze 3D engineered human muscle tissues, providing clinically relevant functional readouts, and reducing reliance on poorly predictive animal models. Curi also offers a suite of customized research services utilizing the Curi Engine, including new assay and model development and phenotypic screening. Curi Bio counts all of the top-ten global pharmaceutical companies among its clients, customers, and partners. About Curi Bio Curi Bio’s preclinical discovery platform combines human stem cells, systems, and data to accelerate the discovery of new medicines. The Curi Engine is a seamless, bioengineered platform that integrates human iPSC-derived cell models, tissue-specific biosystems, and A.I./M.L.-enabled phenotypic screening data. Curi’s suite of human stem cell-based products and services enable scientists to build more mature and predictive human iPSC-derived tissues—with a focus on cardiac, musculoskeletal, and neuromuscular models—for the discovery, safety testing, and efficacy testing of new drugs in development. The company’s proprietary technologies are supported by over 100 publications and 19 patents. By offering drug developers an integrated preclinical platform comprising highly predictive human stem cell models to generate clinically-relevant data, Curi is closing the gap between preclinical data and human results, accelerating the discovery and development of safer, more effective medicines.

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