Mini tumors could help identify personalized treatments for people with rare cancers

Medical Xpress | February 25, 2019

UCLA scientists have developed a new method to quickly screen hundreds of drugs in order to identify treatments that can target specific tumors. The approach could help scientists understand how a person's tumor would respond to a certain drug or drug combination, and it could help guide treatment decisions for people with rare and hard-to-treat cancers. A paper detailing the new technique was published in Communications Biology. "We always focus on how we need new and better drugs to treat cancer," said Alice Soragni, the senior author of the study and a scientist at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. "While that's true, we also have many drugs currently available—we just haven't been able to figure out who is going to respond to which ones for most of them." The screening method uses patients' own cells, collected during surgery, to create miniature tumor organoids.

Spotlight

On the 7th of February 2016, The Faculty of Biotechnology held presentations for the 2015 graduating students’ projects. The event began with a Presentation from the Dean of the Faculty Prof. Ayman Diab, and a hosting from the course coordinator Dr. Gehan Safwat entailing the current achievements.

Spotlight

On the 7th of February 2016, The Faculty of Biotechnology held presentations for the 2015 graduating students’ projects. The event began with a Presentation from the Dean of the Faculty Prof. Ayman Diab, and a hosting from the course coordinator Dr. Gehan Safwat entailing the current achievements.

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AI

Peptilogics and Cerebras Systems Partner on AI Solutions to Advance the Future of Peptide Therapeutics

Cerebras Systems , Peptilogics | August 19, 2021

Cerebras Systems, the pioneer in high performance artificial intelligence (AI) compute, and Peptilogics, a biotechnology platform company and an emerging leader in leveraging computation to design novel therapeutics, today announced a collaboration to accelerate the development cycle of peptide therapeutics through AI. Leveraging the revolutionary Cerebras CS-2 system – powered by the world’s fastest AI processor – Peptilogics will be able to push the boundaries of innovation in drug design and novel peptide therapeutics. This cutting-edge exploration of innovation is a scientific game changer with the potential to meaningfully reduce the time from bench to bedside. “Our mission at Peptilogics is to radically alter drug development and realize the full potential of peptides as therapeutics,” said Nick Nystrom, PhD, SVP and Head of Computation and Data, Peptilogics. “By partnering with Cerebras, we will be able to accelerate our research by orders of magnitude for important areas such as membrane proteins, including G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). Traditional drug discovery operates on the time scale of one new drug in ten years. We aim to flip that to ten new leads in one year.” Peptides are sequences of amino acids, essentially small proteins, that play critical roles in how our bodies operate. They offer relatively unexplored opportunities for therapeutics, conferring potential advantages over other types of drugs. The “design space,” or number of possible peptide structures, is vastly larger than could be explored through traditional drug discovery. AI – specifically deep learning – is well-suited to identify ideal peptide structures as drug candidates. Through this collaboration, Cerebras and Peptilogics scientists will use the CS-2 system to develop and run advanced models to identify novel peptide therapeutics that meet specific biological activity and biophysical criteria. By accelerating the slowest step of the research cycle and training deep learning models on big data, Peptilogics with Cerebras will be positioned to deliver better therapeutics sooner. Peptilogics joins other life science leaders, including GSK and AstraZeneca, in leveraging Cerebras’ industry-leading AI technology to advance drug discovery. “Peptilogics is operating at the forefront of AI-enabled drug design. With Cerebras, they are part of a select group of partners that share similar interests in pushing the boundaries of scientific research and AI computing to radically accelerate innovation for better healthcare outcomes,” said Andy Hock, VP of Product at Cerebras. “Cerebras Systems makes world-leading AI compute accessible and easy to use so that our partners at Peptilogics can test more ideas quickly, reduce the cost of curiosity, and achieve their mission of discovering peptide therapeutics in record time.” About Cerebras Systems Cerebras Systems is a team of pioneering computer architects, computer scientists, deep learning researchers, and engineers of all types. We have come together to build a new class of computer to accelerate artificial intelligence work by three orders of magnitude beyond the current state of the art. The CS-2 is the fastest AI computer in existence. It contains a collection of industry firsts, including the Cerebras Wafer Scale Engine (WSE-2). The WSE-2 is the largest chip ever built. It contains 2.6 trillion transistors and covers more than 46,225 square millimeters of silicon. By comparison, the largest graphics processor on the market has 54 billion transistors and covers 815 square millimeters. In artificial intelligence work, large chips process information more quickly producing answers in less time. As a result, neural networks that in the past took months to train, can now train in minutes on the Cerebras CS-2 powered by the WSE-2. About Peptilogics Peptilogics is a clinical-stage biotechnology platform company that designs and develops novel peptide therapeutics. The company is supported by investors including Presight Capital, Founders Fund, and Peter Thiel, who are known for their investments in companies such as AbCellera (NASDAQ: ABCL), Compass Pathways (NASDAQ: CMPS), SpaceX, and Synthego. Through its computational platform, Peptilogics is advancing drug discovery to uncover new, previously unexplored chemical design space, while ensuring biological viability and scalable manufacturing. Peptilogics’ anti-infectives pipeline includes a novel clinical stage anti-infective, PLG0206, that has been granted FDA Orphan Drug Designation and Qualified Infectious Disease Product Designation for its initial focus on the treatment of prosthetic joint infections, an urgent unmet medical need.

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MEDTECH

IBM Research and Arctoris accelerate closed loop drug discovery with AI and Cloud

Arctoris | September 14, 2021

IBM Research and Arctoris announced they are investigating the application of AI and automation to accelerate closed loop molecule discovery. IBM Research has developed RXN for Chemistry, an online platform leveraging state-of-the-art Natural Language Processing (NLP) architectures to automate synthetic chemistry. Representing chemical reactions via SMILES (Simplified Molecular Input Line Entry System), the system is able to perform highly accurate reaction predictions using its powerful AI. Optimised synthetic routes are then used as input for RoboRXN, an automated platform for molecule synthesis. Arctoris has developed Ulysses, an end-to-end automated platform for drug discovery research. The platform ensures accuracy, precision, and reproducibility by leveraging robotic experiment execution and digital data capture technologies across cell and molecular biology and biochemistry/biophysics. Experiments conducted with Ulysses generate more than 100 times more datapoints per assay compared to industry standard, leading to deeper insights and accelerated progress compared to manual methods. The two platforms are now being combined for the first time in a research collaboration that will see new small molecule inhibitors for undisclosed targets being designed, made, tested, and analysed (DMTA) in an autonomous, closed loop approach. Concretely, IBM Research will design and synthesize novel chemical matter (Design, Make), to be profiled and evaluated by Arctoris (Test, Analyze), with the resulting data informing the subsequent iteration of the DMTA cycle. The collaboration is currently on-going; financial terms were not disclosed. About IBM Research For more than seven decades, IBM Research has defined the future of information technology with more than 3,000 researchers in 16 locations across five continents. Scientists from IBM Research have produced six Nobel Laureates, 10 U.S. National Medals of Technology, five U.S. National Medals of Science, six Turing Awards, 19 inductees in the National Academy of Sciences and 20 inductees into the U.S. National Inventors Hall of Fame. About Arctoris Arctoris is a biotechnology company founded and headquartered in Oxford with additional operations in Boston and Singapore. Ulysses, the unique technology platform developed by Arctoris, enables the company to conduct its R&D – from target via hit and lead to candidate – significantly faster, and with considerably improved data quality and depth. With its robotics, Arctoris generates richer, more reliable data, enabling better decisions both in human-driven and computational drug discovery, leading to higher success rates and an accelerated progression of programs towards the clinic. Led by an experienced team, Arctoris pursues its internal pipeline of small molecule inhibitors in different indications, and also partners with other biotech and pharma companies for small molecule and biologics discovery, with partners in the US, UK, Germany, Australia, Korea, China, and several other countries.

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Aegle Therapeutics Receives Rare Pediatric Disease Designation from the FDA for AGLE-102 for Patients with Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa

Aegle Therapeutics | October 06, 2020

Aegle Therapeutics Corporation, a first-in-class biotechnology company committed to delivering cell-free therapy to patients affected by severe dermatological conditions, today announced that the FDA has granted Rare Pediatric Disease (RPD) Designation to AGLE-102™ for the treatment of dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (DEB), a skin blistering disorder. AGLE-102 is a composite of mesenchymal stem cell-derived extracellular vesicles that deliver proteins, genetic material and regenerative healing factors to diseased and damaged tissue. "The FDA's grant of Rare Pediatric Disease designation following its earlier grant of Fast Track Designation to AGLE-102 for DEB underscores the significant unmet medical need of children and adults living with this debilitating disease. AGLE-102 has the potential to be the first multifaceted approach to treat this rare patient population," said Shelley Hartman, CEO of Aegle Therapeutics. The FDA grants Rare Pediatric Disease designation for diseases that primarily affect children ages 18 years or younger and fewer than 200,000 persons in the U.S. If Aegle's new drug application ("NDA") for DEB is approved, Aegle may receive a priority review voucher from the FDA, which can be redeemed to obtain priority review for any subsequent marketing application or may be sold to another company for their programs.

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