CELL AND GENE THERAPY
Mekonos | November 24, 2020
Mekonos, a biotech organization launching the first-of-its kind system-on-a-chip (SoC) for focused ex vivo gene engineering, today reported it has finished a $4.6 million financing round. Mekonos will utilize the new funding to quicken the SoC stage for its current and new ad organizations. The SoC stage, with IP from Stanford University, is a breakthrough that allows for molecular delivery in gene editing and synthetic biology. The stage is versatile over all cell types and has demonstrated to be a high return answer for partners. The stage assists organizations with expanding limit, quicken revelations, and develop new pre-clinical assets in the emerging cell and gene therapy space.
The financing round was driven by Novartis AG with participation from institutional VCs including Hike Ventures, CRCM Ventures. Existing investors participated in the round, including Good AI Capital and past lead Elementum Ventures.
Cedilla Therapeutics | November 17, 2021
Cedilla Therapeutics, a biotechnology company bringing a new dimension to precision oncology, announced appointments across its research and development (R&D) and finance teams, including Joshua Murtie, Ph.D., as Vice President of Biology and Chris Lindblom as Vice President of Finance. These hires are part of an ongoing initiative to expand Cedilla’s leadership and enable future growth as the company progresses its lead programs, conditional inhibitors of TEAD and CDK2, toward the clinic and continues to develop a broad portfolio of small molecule medicines that target key oncogenic drivers.
“We are delighted to expand our team with these key hires, who share our passion and commitment to developing targeted medicines that conditionally modulate proteins in their functional state. We look forward to Joshua and Chris’ many contributions as we continue to explore the power of our novel approach to access historically undruggable cancer drivers, advance our lead conditional inhibitor programs targeting TEAD and CDK2 into clinical development, and ultimately build Cedilla into a fully integrated organization and leader in precision medicine.”
Alexandra Glucksmann, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Cedilla Therapeutics
Joshua Murtie, Ph.D., has been appointed Vice President of Biology. Dr. Murtie brings over ten years of industry experience to Cedilla. He worked most recently as Senior Director at Servier Pharmaceuticals, where he oversaw cancer biology, in vivo pharmacology and early-stage program management at the company’s U.S. research site. Earlier, he spent nearly seven years at Agios Pharmaceuticals in roles of increasing responsibility, ultimately serving as Senior Director and Head of Cancer Biology, with responsibility for the strategic oversight of the company’s cancer biology portfolio from early target discovery to translational research. Prior to Agios Pharmaceuticals, Dr. Murtie worked as an investigator at Sanofi and Novartis. He holds a Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and completed his research fellowship at Harvard Medical School.
“I am thrilled to join Cedilla, particularly as we prepare to advance our lead programs, targeting TEAD and CDK2, into investigational new drug application-enabling studies next year,” said Dr. Murtie. “Both TEAD and CDK2 are well-known yet elusive cancer targets, which, if drugged successfully, could benefit the lives of patients living with a broad range of solid tumors. I am incredibly impressed by the collaborative and innovative culture at Cedilla and look forward to working closely with the team to translate our research efforts into precision therapies for patients in need.”
Chris Lindblom has been appointed Vice President of Finance. Over the course of his 19 years in the biotechnology industry, Mr. Lindblom has crafted long-range financial plans for public and private companies and played a key role in helping companies raise capital through private equity rounds, venture debt deals and public offerings. Prior to joining Cedilla, Mr. Lindblom served as Vice President of Finance at IFM Therapeutics, Cogen Immune Medicine (through its merger with Torque Therapeutics to form Repertoire Immune Medicines) and Warp Drive Bio (through its acquisition by Revolution Medicines). Earlier, Mr. Lindblom held various senior finance roles at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, including through the commercial launch of VELCADE®, and at Infinity Pharmaceuticals. He also served as Vice President of Finance at OvaScience and Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration at BIND Therapeutics. Mr. Lindblom holds an MBA from Boston College and a B.S. in accounting from Syracuse University. He is also a CPA.
“Since its founding, Cedilla has attracted a strong team, including leading scientists and advisors and a robust investor syndicate, to support its mission to bring a new dimension to precision oncology and deliver medicines that can offer profound benefits to patients,” said Mr. Lindblom. “I am honored to take on this role and eager to partner with my new colleagues as we continue building Cedilla for its next phase of growth.”
About Cedilla Therapeutics
Cedilla Therapeutics is bringing a new dimension to precision oncology. We have discovered new ways to selectively inhibit oncogenic drivers with small molecules that conditionally modulate proteins in their functional state. Our conditional inhibitors are unlocking critical and elusive cancer targets including TEAD and CDK2. We are a driven and patient-focused team.
Adaptive Biotechnologies | February 19, 2022
Adaptive Biotechnologies Corporation a commercial stage biotechnology company that aims to translate the genetics of the adaptive immune system into clinical products to diagnose and treat disease, presented data on T-cell receptor (TCR) sequences associated with Crohn’s disease (CD) during an oral presentation today at the 17th Congress of European Crohn’s and Colitis Organisation (ECCO) being held virtually February 16-19. The study identified and characterized TCR sequences associated with CD utilizing Adaptive’s immunoSEQ® technology, providing fundamental insights into the body’s response to CD at the cellular level.
The immunoSEQ assay uses sequencing technology to decipher the complexity of the adaptive immune system. This multi-national study, which was also recently published in The Journal of Crohns and Colitis, utilized immunoSEQ technology to analyze TCRs from blood samples of 1,738 CD cases and 4,970 healthy donors. Intestinal tissue samples from a subset of 380 cases were also analyzed. Through this analysis, 1,121 CD-associated TCRs were identified in patients’ blood and verified in tissue. The identification of disease-specific TCRs is an important first step in identifying a signal and developing an algorithm to inform development of a diagnostic test for CD.
“The study identified Crohn’s-specific TCRs in both the blood and tissue of patients with Crohn’s disease, including a large subset that are ’public,’ or shared among patients. These findings suggest that blood-based testing for this often-debilitating disease could be used to diagnose and more effectively manage the disease through the identification of these disease specific T-cell receptors.”
Matthieu Allez, MD, PhD, Professor and Head, Department of Gastroenterology, Hospital Saint-Louis, Paris
T cells can have a significant impact on inflammation in CD, but until now, disease-associated TCRs have been largely unknown and underleveraged in diagnostics for the disease.1 These findings show that immunoSEQ can successfully identify TCRs for CD in a blood sample, which is reflective of the TCRs in intestinal tissue. The average length of time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis for a CD patient can be 1-2 years in the US but may be much longer in other countries, so the potential to open a new path to identify the disease earlier is significant.2,3 Furthermore, the amount of Crohn’s-related TCRs can provide insights into disease characteristics such as the phenotype and location of the disease, with possible clinical implications.
In addition to TCR findings, the analysis also studied the possible association between human leukocyte antigens (HLAs) alleles and CD-associated TCRs, which live on most cells in the body, by leveraging the novel immunoSEQ HLA Classifier. HLA alleles are genetic factors that have been found to contribute to a small portion of risk for CD. In this study, nearly 400 CD-associated TCRs were found to be associated with specific HLA alleles. These TCR associations highlight the importance of studying TCRs in the context of HLA type and potentially point to new risk factors and insights for CD such as the involvement of specific antigens that the immune system may be reacting to in people living with CD.
“We’re excited to see these results and their potential to advance the scientific community’s understanding of the immune response to Crohn’s disease. The use of immunoSEQ and characterization of TCRs in the blood have the potential to uncover new knowledge on the development and progression of the disease, with the potential to eventually improve diagnostic options and disease management for people living with Crohn’s,” said Harlan Robins, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer and Co-Founder of Adaptive Biotechnologies. “We look forward to continuing our research and advancing the development of our T-Detect test to include an application in the diagnosis of Crohn’s disease.”
CD is a subtype of inflammatory bowel disease, a group of diseases impacting about 6.8 million adults globally.4 Early treatment with effective medications can prevent disease progression towards complications, surgery and disability. However, CD is difficult to diagnose and treat, with more than half of patients initially misdiagnosed. No single blood test currently exists for diagnosis of CD. Instead, patients often undergo a series of tests – often invasive – in order to reach a conclusive diagnosis.
Based on the results of this study, Adaptive is further investigating specific TCR signatures that are associated with CD related behavior and disease activity to further the development of T-Detect in this indication. Additional research will also focus on signal optimization and clinical validation to explore commercial utility.
About the immunoSEQ® Assay
Adaptive’s immunoSEQ Assay helps researchers make discoveries in areas such as oncology, autoimmune disorders, infectious diseases and basic immunology. The immunoSEQ Assay can identify millions of T- and/or B-cell receptors from a single sample in exquisite detail. The immunoSEQ Assay is used to ask and answer translational research questions and discover new prognostic and diagnostic signals in clinical trials. The immunoSEQ Assay provides quantitative, reproducible sequencing results along with access to powerful, easy-to-use analysis tools. The immunoSEQ Assay is for research use only and is not for use in diagnostic procedures.
About T Detect™
T-Detect™ is a highly sensitive and specific diagnostic test under development for multiple diseases, translating the natural diagnostic capability of T cells into clinical practice. In 2018, Adaptive and Microsoft partnered to build a map of the immune system called the TCR-Antigen Map. This approach uses immunosequencing, proprietary computational modeling, and machine learning to map T-cell receptor sequences to disease-associated antigens for infectious diseases, autoimmune disorders and cancer. From a simple blood draw, T-Detect will leverage the map to provide an immunostatus for an individual, enabling early disease diagnosis, disease monitoring, and critical insights into immunity. T-Detect COVID is the first clinical test launched from this collaboration and the first commercially available T-cell test designed to detect recent or prior SARS-CoV-2 infections. T-Detect COVID is not FDA-cleared or approved, it has received an EUA from the FDA and is available for prescription use only.
About Adaptive Biotechnologies
Adaptive Biotechnologies is a commercial-stage biotechnology company focused on harnessing the inherent biology of the adaptive immune system to transform the diagnosis and treatment of disease. We believe the adaptive immune system is nature’s most finely tuned diagnostic and therapeutic for most diseases, but the inability to decode it has prevented the medical community from fully leveraging its capabilities. Our proprietary immune medicine platform reveals and translates the massive genetics of the adaptive immune system with scale, precision and speed to develop products in our Immune Medicine and Minimal Residual Disease (MRD) businesses. We have three commercial products and a robust clinical pipeline to diagnose, monitor and enable the treatment of diseases such as cancer, autoimmune conditions and infectious diseases.