How one fern can soak up so much arsenic—and not die

phys.org | May 17, 2019

Arsenic-contaminated soil and groundwater pose risks to millions of Americans and hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Cleaning up the toxic metal is a laborious and expensive process, with some remediations of arsenic reaching into the hundreds of millions of dollars. A fern—Pteris vittata, also known as the Chinese brake fern—holds promise for reducing both the time and cost associated with arsenic cleanup. It is unique because it can hyper-accumulate and tolerate very high levels of arsenic that it takes up from the soil, sequestering the toxic element in its fronds. Scientists have now determined how this fern does it. Jody Banks, a Purdue professor of botany and plant pathology, and her team described the genetic and cellular mechanisms that control the fern's arsenic tolerance in a paper published in the journal Current Biology. The findings could lead one day to the modification of other plants that would remediate arsenic from contaminated soils more quickly and efficiently.

Spotlight

Our immune systems are at war with cancer. This animation reveals how monoclonal antibodies can act as valuable reinforcements to shore up our defences – and help battle cancer.

Spotlight

Our immune systems are at war with cancer. This animation reveals how monoclonal antibodies can act as valuable reinforcements to shore up our defences – and help battle cancer.

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CELL AND GENE THERAPY

AgeX Therapeutics Receives Stock Exchange Deficiency Letter

AgeX Therapeutics | November 24, 2021

AgeX Therapeutics , Inc. a biotechnology company developing therapeutics for human aging and regeneration, announced that on November 17, 2021 it received a letter from the staff of the NYSE American indicating that AgeX does not meet certain of the Exchange’s continued listing standards as set forth in Section 1003(a)(i) and (ii) of the Exchange Company Guide in that AgeX has stockholders equity of less than $2,000,000 and has incurred losses from continuing operations and/or net losses during its two most recent fiscal years, and that it has stockholders equity of less than $4,000,000 and has incurred losses from continuing operations and/or net losses during three out of four of its most recent fiscal years. Pursuant to Section 1009 of the Exchange Company Guide and as provided in the Deficiency Letter, AgeX may provide the Exchange staff with a plan (the "Plan") by December 17, 2021 advising the Exchange staff of action AgeX has taken and will take that would bring AgeX into compliance with the Exchange’s continued listing standards by June 17, 2023. AgeX intends to submit a Plan by the December 17, 2021 deadline. There is no assurance that the Exchange staff will accept the Plan. If the Exchange staff accepts the Plan, the Exchange staff will review AgeX’s compliance with the Plan on a quarterly basis and if AgeX does not show progress consistent with the Plan or is not in compliance with the Exchange’s continued listing standards by June 17, 2023, the Exchange will commence delisting procedures. If AgeX does not submit the Plan or if the Exchange staff does not accept the Plan, the Exchange staff will promptly initiate delisting proceedings. AgeX intends to make arrangements to have its common stock quoted on an electronic interdealer quotation system if its common stock is delisted from the Exchange. About AgeX Therapeutics AgeX Therapeutics, Inc. is focused on developing and commercializing innovative therapeutics to treat human diseases to increase healthspan and combat the effects of aging. AgeX’s PureStem® and UniverCyte™ manufacturing and immunotolerance technologies are designed to work together to generate highly defined, universal, allogeneic, off-the-shelf pluripotent stem cell-derived young cells of any type for application in a variety of diseases with a high unmet medical need. AgeX has two preclinical cell therapy programs: AGEX-VASC1 (vascular progenitor cells) for tissue ischemia and AGEX-BAT1 (brown fat cells) for Type II diabetes. AgeX’s revolutionary longevity platform induced Tissue Regeneration (iTR™) aims to unlock cellular immortality and regenerative capacity to reverse age-related changes within tissues. HyStem® is AgeX’s delivery technology to stably engraft PureStem or other cell therapies in the body. AgeX is seeking opportunities to establish licensing and collaboration arrangements around its broad IP estate and proprietary technology platforms and therapy product candidates.

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

BeiGene Announces Launch of Bioisland Innovation Center

BeiGene | December 27, 2021

BeiGene, a global, science-driven biotechnology company focused on developing innovative and affordable medicines, announced the official launch of the BeiGene Bioisland Innovation Center in Guangzhou, China to enable scientists and entrepreneurs to accelerate development of highly differentiated, cutting-edge medical innovations. The BIC is an innovator-centric incubator built on BeiGene’s goal of supporting exploration of new paths to meet patient needs around the world. “Over a decade ago, we started BeiGene’s journey by following the science and have grown to be a global biotechnology company with capabilities across the full value chain. With the BIC, we are supporting entrepreneurs with similar purpose and vision of delivering innovation that will benefit more patients worldwide. We expect the center will also contribute to our innovation pipeline,” John V. Oyler, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of BeiGene “Science and innovation are BeiGene’s core strengths. We are committed to supporting entrepreneurs incubate bold, new ideas into impactful programs that will create value for patients and benefit patients globally,” added Xiaodong Wang, M.D., Co-Founder of BeiGene, Chairman of the Company’s Scientific Advisory Committee. “With our scientific research, unique clinical development capabilities, and footprint, BeiGene is well positioned to explore new paths of innovation and support new talents in the booming biotechnology hub of Guangzhou’s Greater Bay Area.” Innovator-Centric Incubator to Accelerate Growth and Possibilities The BIC is located in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area, an emerging global biotechnology hub, and will feature a comprehensive research infrastructure and professional management team. The incubator will be equipped with state-of-the-art laboratory infrastructure and comprehensive research capabilities that enable scientists and entrepreneurs to get their ideas off the ground. In addition, scientists and entrepreneurs at the BIC will have potential access to support from BeiGene on full industry value chain integration. The comprehensive, advanced technology platform at the BIC will allow innovators more autonomy in development, and integrated services to position them for growth. “The BIC is focused on cultivating entrepreneurship for new biotech companies with a passion for transformational medicines, diagnostics and medical devices that can help address unmet needs, and advancing breakthrough innovations from early discovery to being accessed by patients all over the world,” said Jonathan Liu, Chief Executive of Bioisland Initiative and Chairman of the Board of BeiGene Biologics Co., Ltd. Dr. H. Fai Poon. CEO of Zhongshan Quacell Biotechnology Co., Ltd., which is part of the innovation center, commented, "We share the same beliefs of the model and concept of the BeiGene Bioisland Innovation Center. This kind of international collaboration not only accelerates technical innovation for small and medium-sized enterprises, but also provides suitable platforms and resources to commercialize these innovations. For Quacell, which also has the 'innovative DNA', to be part of the BIC provides the opportunity to communicate and cooperate with many innovative companies in different fields around the world. We look forward to creating a common path for each other's future research and development. And we believe that this path leads to infinite possibilities to upgrade and even revolutionize the industry." About BeiGene BeiGene is a global, science-driven biotechnology company focused on developing innovative and affordable medicines to improve treatment outcomes and access for patients worldwide. With a broad portfolio of more than 40 clinical candidates, we are expediting development of our diverse pipeline of novel therapeutics through our own capabilities and collaborations. We are committed to radically improving access to medicines for two billion more people by 2030. BeiGene has a growing global team of approximately 8,000 colleagues across five continents.

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RESEARCH

Immagene and Selvita Announce Integrated Drug Discovery Cooperation

Selvita | February 07, 2022

Immagene a Dutch biotech company developing transformational next-generation precision immuno-oncology treatments, and Selvita, one of the largest preclinical contract research organizations in Europe, announce their cooperation on an integrated drug discovery project. Immagene and Selvita have been closely cooperating over the past year on a novel integrated drug discovery project to enhance the clinical benefit of immuno-oncology therapies. In this ongoing effort, Immagene is guiding and tapping into Selvita's extensive drug discovery capabilities. Selvita is responsible for a broad range of drug discovery activities including medicinal chemistry supported by computational chemistry, in vitro pharmacology, DMPK and recombinant protein production. Immagene and Selvita are now extending their cooperation. Edyta Jaworska, VP Sales, Drug Discovery Europe and Asia at Selvita Group, comments: "We are truly delighted with the extension of our close collaboration with Immagene. For Selvita's team, it is a perfect opportunity to leverage the full scope of our integrated drug discovery capabilities. This project is exceptionally promising in terms of its therapeutic potential and unique chemistry." Maarten Ligtenberg, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of Immagene "We are confident that our collaboration with Selvita will help us achieve our aim of generating potent first in class small-molecule immune-oncology assets. The rapid turnaround and effective communication allow for the swift development of our programs. We look forward to a longstanding, joint effort to develop innovative therapeutics." To date, Selvita has delivered numerous promising compounds for biology and DMPK screening, and the project has entered the lead optimization phase. The ultimate aim of the cooperation is to provide Immagene with a clinical candidate for unmet immuno-oncology needs. The continued collaboration will help accelerate Immagene's pipeline expansion efforts by leveraging Selvita's fully integrated R&D platform and unique experience in oncology drug discovery and development. About Immagene Immagene B.V. is a private biotech company developing next-generation precision Immuno-Oncology treatments. Founded on world-leading research from the Netherlands Cancer Institute, and drug R&D expertise from industry veterans, we dedicate ourselves to transforming cancer treatment. About Selvita [SLV] Selvita is a preclinical Contract Research Organization providing multidisciplinary support in resolving the unique challenges of research within drug discovery, regulatory studies, as well as research and development. Selvita Group includes Ardigen – a bioinformatics company harnessing advanced Artificial Intelligence methods for novel precision medicine, and Fidelta, a drug discovery services company specializing in infectious diseases, inflammation, and fibrosis. Selvita Group, established in 2007, operates globally with more than 800 highly qualified employees, of which over 40% hold a PhD degree. The Company's research sites are located in Krakow (HQ) and Poznan, Poland, as well as Zagreb, Croatia (Fidelta). All companies of the Group offer highly synergistic technologies and services.

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