CELL AND GENE THERAPY

MUSC and Helix launch In Our DNA SC, first-of-its-kind population genomics program to drive preventive, precision health care for South Carolinians

Helix | September 21, 2021

The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and Helix have announced a strategic collaboration to develop a first-of-its-kind population genomics initiative in South Carolina called In Our DNA SC. The large-scale program is designed to improve health care outcomes by integrating genetic insights into clinical care and research. The statewide initiative will enroll 100,000 patients in genetic testing over the next four years at no cost to the patient.

The program will enable the use of genomic insights with an initial focus on actionable information regarding a patient's risk for certain forms of cancer and cardiovascular disease. The genetic reports will allow patients and their health providers to develop precision health care plans to proactively mitigate the conditions and take a more preventive approach to patient care. Patient enrollment in In Our DNA SC is expected to begin in the fall.

Medical University of South Carolina and Helix to develop a first-of-its-kind genomics initiative called In Our DNA SC.

In addition, MUSC and Helix will be developing a robust clinico-genomic dataset from consenting participants that will help researchers learn what can cause certain diseases, how we may be able to treat them more effectively and, possibly, improve the standard care for everyone. This is expected to lay the groundwork for a broader collaboration with other organizations across the health care value chain.

As South Carolina's only comprehensive academic health sciences center, delivering the highest quality care throughout the state is our top priority. Precision medicine is an emerging field that is going to transform the future delivery of health care. Being a leader and helping to define this path is core to our mission. We are excited to have the opportunity to partner with Helix to deploy this first-of-its-kind population genomic program for our patients. This collaboration will help drive preventive, precision health care for South Carolinians.

- David J. Cole, M.D., FACS, MUSC president

The strategic relationship with Helix allows MUSC to leverage Helix's unique Sequence Once, Query Often™ model and its end-to-end integration platform to enable immediate application and continual on-demand use of genetic insights throughout a patient's life. By working with South Carolina's only integrated academic health sciences center in the state, Helix gains access to thousands of providers and research staff dedicated to understanding how to deliver the highest quality patient care available to serve the people of South Carolina and beyond.

Enrollment in the program will initially be available to patients who sign up at select MUSC clinics and locations, later expanding to participants throughout the community and state in collaboration with MUSC's clinical affiliates and partners. Additionally, participants who consent to securely contribute their genetic data will help MUSC develop one of the largest clinico-genomic datasets in the country. Analyses from this platform will be used to pioneer and further advance genomics research.

About the Medical University of South Carolina
Founded in 1824 in Charleston, MUSC is home to the oldest medical school in the South as well as the state's only integrated academic health sciences center, with a unique charge to serve the state through education, research and patient care. Each year, MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and nearly 800 residents in six colleges: Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. MUSC brought in more than $271 million in biomedical research funds in fiscal year 2020, continuing to lead the state in obtaining National Institutes of Health funding, with more than $129.9 million. As the clinical health system of the Medical University of South Carolina, MUSC Health is dedicated to delivering the highest quality and safe patient care while training generations of compassionate, competent health care providers to serve the people of South Carolina and beyond. Close to 25,000 care team members provide care for patients at 14 hospitals with approximately 2,500 beds and 5 additional hospital locations in development, more than 300 telehealth sites and nearly 750 care locations situated in the Lowcountry, Midlands, Pee Dee and Upstate regions of South Carolina. In 2021, for the seventh consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report named MUSC Health the No. 1 hospital in South Carolina. MUSC and its affiliates have collective annual budgets of $4.4 billion. The more than 25,000 MUSC team members include world-class faculty, physicians, specialty providers and scientists who deliver groundbreaking education, research, technology and patient care.

About Helix
Helix is the leading population genomics company operating at the intersection of clinical care, research, and genomics. Its end-to-end platform enables health systems, life sciences companies, and payers to advance genomic research and accelerate the integration of genomic data into clinical care. Powered by one of the world's largest CLIA / CAP next-generation sequencing labs and the first and only FDA authorized whole exome sequencing platform, Helix supports all aspects of population genomics including recruitment and engagement, clinically actionable disease screening, return of results, and basic and translational research. In response to the COVID-19 public health crisis, Helix has launched a sensitive and scalable end-to-end COVID-19 test system to meet the needs of health systems, employees, governments, and other organizations across the country.

Spotlight

Recent work indicates that antigens originating from the microbiome may look, from the perspective of immune cells, like proteins found in the human body, and may therefore trigger an autoimmune response. In several studies, researchers have found that the B and T cells that attack the body bind human proteins as well as mimics of those proteins made by commensal bacteria.

Spotlight

Recent work indicates that antigens originating from the microbiome may look, from the perspective of immune cells, like proteins found in the human body, and may therefore trigger an autoimmune response. In several studies, researchers have found that the B and T cells that attack the body bind human proteins as well as mimics of those proteins made by commensal bacteria.

Related News

RESEARCH

TetraScience R&D Data Cloud Selected by Leading Clinical-Stage Biotechnology Company

TetraScience | September 03, 2021

TetraScience, the R&D Data Cloud company, announced today that Zymeworks Inc. has selected the Tetra Data Platform (TDP) to standardize and automate scientific data flow. As a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development of next-generation multifunctional biotherapeutics, Zymeworks' R&D engine generates and analyzes large amounts of scientific data in its quest to revolutionize drug design. "In order to take advantage of innovative data science applications including AI/ML, it's important to start with harmonizing R&D data in the cloud," stated Chad Garrett, TetraScience CRO, "We're excited to partner with Zymeworks on their data cloud initiative and help them deliver on their mission to enable patients to return home to their loved ones, disease free." The initial Zymeworks deployment of Tetra Data Platform is in production and integrated with key systems and instruments supporting critical lab workflows. By automating and standardizing the flow of data across all sources and targets, the Tetra R&D Data Cloud will deliver faster and richer insights for Zymeworks' scientists. Additionally, Zymeworks will benefit from cloud-native architecture with greater uptime, security, redundancy, governance, and archival capabilities. About TetraScience TetraScience is the R&D Data Cloud company with a mission to transform life sciences R&D, accelerate discovery, and improve and extend human life. The Tetra R&D Data Cloud provides life sciences companies with the flexibility, scalability, and data-centric capabilities to enable easy access to centralized, harmonized, and actionable scientific data and is actively deployed across enterprise pharma and biotech organizations. As an open platform, TetraScience has built the largest integration network of lab instruments, informatics applications, CRO/CDMOs, analytics, and data science partners, creating seamless interoperability and an innovation feedback loop that will drive the future of life sciences R&D.

Read More

MEDTECH

Aesthetics Biomedical® Announces Collaboration with U.S. Dermatology Partners Offering Consumers Luxury Experiential Aesthetic Treatments

Aesthetics Biomedical® Inc. | October 07, 2021

Aesthetics Biomedical® Inc. (ABM), is pleased to announce their long-term partnership with U.S. Dermatology Partners, the largest physician-led dermatology practice in the United States. With years of experience and more than 90+ locations throughout Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and Virginia, U.S. Dermatology Partners combines the personal level of care found in private dermatology practices with the benefits of a network of physician experts working closely together. As a result, U.S. Dermatology Partners can provide premier medical and cosmetic dermatological care, along with the latest technology, treatments, and management support. Striving to innovate, generate solid clinical and laboratory research, and to enrich the physician as well as the patient experience are principles that Aesthetics Biomedical® was founded on. It is these foundational principles that have led to our synergy with U.S. Dermatology Partners. -Chief Executive Officer & Founder, MaryAnn Guerra U.S. Dermatology Partners, a pinnacle network of specialty experts found a lifetime partner in excellence and innovation with Aesthetics Biomedical®. Beginning in 2021, U.S. Dermatology Partners installed Vivace® into four initial practices. A pilot project between the two organizations launched the partnership that resulted in over 170 consumer treatments being sold within the first four weeks. U.S. Dermatology Partners and ABM marketed the Vivace Experience® concept with the objective of delivering an immediate ROI supporting the purchase of the initial device for the organization. Vivace® is a primary driver expected to positively impact U.S. Dermatology Partners' market growth exponentially and rapidly, already generating significant revenue in six locations across the US, in under six (6) months. Having access to ongoing knowledge and clinical data is critical to U.S. Dermatology Partners physicians who are committed to continuous and consistent superior patient care. U.S. Dermatology Partners is thrilled to be collaborating with Aesthetics Biomedical® to bring the Vivace Experience® to our patients and our growing network to Aesthetics Biomedical®. We expect the innovative technology and outstanding results that Vivace offers will be well-received by both our physicians and patients and will provide another opportunity to deliver superior care to the communities we serve. - U.S. Dermatology Partners Chief Executive Officer Paul Singh Vivace® is a minimally invasive, FDA-cleared, radiofrequency microneedling treatment that stimulates the natural production of collagen and has been shown by physicians to be effective in alleviating facial wrinkles, fine lines, and tightening the face and neck. Aesthetics Biomedical's Vivace® is currently offered in multiple U.S. Dermatology Partners practices across 50% of the markets nationwide with rapid expansion plans in Q4. ABM will help to drive U.S. Dermatology Partners's practice success with superior technology, devices, and products supported by science, customer-focused market recognition, rigorous and continuing education, and strong continuous return on investment. Both organizations are aligned in their commitment to excellence and share a common goal for elevating the consumer experience at the forefront of the partnership. ABOUT AESTHETICS BIOMEDICAL Aesthetics Biomedical® Inc., headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz., is committed to the development and distribution of novel aesthetic devices, products, and services in the global market. Aesthetics Biomedical's innovation center is a leader in breakthrough technologies and combination therapies for its clients, physician network, and the aesthetic arena, creating novel patient treatment experiences that benefit from ongoing research, approved clinical indications for use, as well as a personalized approach designed for consumer benefit. ABOUT U.S. DERMATOLOGY PARTNERS As one of the largest physician-owned dermatology practices in the country, U.S. Dermatology Partners patients not only have access to general medical, surgical, and cosmetic skin treatment through its coordinated care network, but also benefit from the practice's strong dermatology subspecialty thought leaders and medical advisory board. To be the best partners to its patients, U.S. Dermatology Partners is fervently focused on providing the highest level of patient-first care, and its team, therefore, includes recognized national leaders in areas such as clinical research, psoriasis, and Mohs Surgery.

Read More

INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Omega Therapeutics Announces Strategic Research Collaboration with Stanford University School of Medicine

Omega Therapeutics, Inc | October 14, 2021

Omega Therapeutics, Inc. ("Omega"), a development-stage biotechnology company pioneering the first systematic approach to use mRNA therapeutics as programmable epigenetic medicines by leveraging its OMEGA Epigenomic Programing™ platform, today announced a strategic research collaboration with researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine to explore the therapeutic potential of Omega Epigenomic Controllers (OECs) to control ocular disease genes associated with inflammation or regeneration of ocular tissues. Under the terms of the collaboration, Omega and members of the Ophthalmology Department of Stanford University School of Medicine will use the OMEGA Epigenomic Programming platform to discover and research novel ocular targets for potential future OEC development candidates. Albert Wu, M.D., Ph.D., FACS, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, will serve as principal investigator. Other contributors will include Jeffrey Goldberg, M.D., Ph.D., Professor and Chair of Ophthalmology, and Michael Kapiloff, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor (Research) of Ophthalmology. "Through this research collaboration, we aim to expand the reach of our OMEGA platform within regenerative medicine, immunology, and inflammation with ocular disease targets. We will continue exploration of the broad potential of our disruptive platform and OECs, our new class of mRNA therapeutics as programmable epigenetic medicines." Mahesh Karande, President and Chief Executive Officer of Omega Therapeutics About Omega Therapeutics Omega Therapeutics is a development-stage biotechnology company pioneering the first systematic approach to use mRNA therapeutics as programmable epigenetic medicines by leveraging its OMEGA Epigenomic Programming™ platform. The OMEGA platform harnesses the power of epigenetics, the mechanism that controls gene expression and every aspect of an organism's life from cell genesis, growth and differentiation to cell death. The OMEGA platform enables control of fundamental epigenetic processes to correct the root cause of disease by returning aberrant gene expression to a normal range without altering native nucleic acid sequences. Omega's engineered, modular, and programmable mRNA-encoded epigenetic medicines, Omega Epigenomic Controllers™, target specific intervention points amongst the thousands of mapped and validated novel DNA-sequence-based epigenomic loci to durably tune single or multiple genes to treat and cure disease through Precision Genomic Control™. Omega is currently advancing a broad pipeline of development candidates spanning a range of disease areas, including oncology, regenerative medicine, multigenic diseases including immunology, and select monogenic diseases.

Read More