New comparative study on DNA modifications across the fungal tree of life

Phys.org | February 25, 2019

DNA activity can change without changing the sequence of the DNA segment itself. Gene activation and inactivation can be the basis for how species produce unique individuals. Some processes that change gene activity are well understood in the context of model species. However, scientists are still grappling with how some processes, like DNA methylation, change gene activity in many diverse organisms. Broader theories applicable to all species have proven elusive, given the amount of natural variability on Earth. Now, a group of scientists has published a study in Nature Ecology and Evolution comparing and relating DNA methylation across 40 diverse fungal species. The paper, part of a larger effort to develop a unified theory of DNA methylation, begins to fill a taxonomic gap for the "rules" associated with DNA methylation that are conserved across species, as well as where and why they have diverged. "Undoubtedly, differences in DNA determine the observable characteristics of individuals," said Adam Bewick, postdoctoral research associate in the University of Georgia Franklin College of Arts and Sciences Department of Genetics and first author on the new paper. "However, an increasing amount of evidence suggests that heritable alterations to how DNA is expressed, without changes to the DNA sequence can contribute to or determine these characteristics. One way that expression differences are achieved is through modifications, like a methyl group that attaches to DNA."

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Biotechnology is one of the fastest-growing areas in science. As a Biotechnology and Bioinformatics student at La Trobe, you’ll study with industry leaders at a university recognised for its research in molecular science. You'll also study in Melbourne, an international hub for biotechnology and life sciences.

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MEDTECH

BeiGene Announces Strategic Alliance with Ontada to Improve U.S. Community Oncology Care

BeiGene | August 16, 2022

BeiGene a global biotechnology company that is developing and commercializing innovative and affordable oncology medicines to improve treatment outcomes and access for far more patients worldwide, today announced a strategic agreement with Ontada®, a McKesson business with leading provider technology and actionable real-world research, education, and evidence in oncology, to improve U.S. community oncology care through the development of real-world evidence data, tools, and insights to help increase access to affordable, cutting-edge therapies. The partnership will be led by Ontada and focus on accelerating the development and implementation of RWE to improve community education on the financial impact and value of oncolytics as well as improve patient access to oncology medicines. “BeiGene is excited to work with Ontada to advance our shared vision of improving patient access, affordability, and value for community oncology stakeholders and key partners working at the intersection of clinical practice and real-world evidence. Working together, BeiGene and Ontada will generate novel oncology insights through real-world data, tools, and technologies that will facilitate the acceleration of precise decision-making in support of community oncology practices whose ultimate mission is to improve patient outcomes.” Josh Neiman, Chief Commercial Officer, North America and Europe, at BeiGene As part of the collaboration, the companies will optimize the use of RWE to communicate value across key stakeholders including patients, providers, and payers; develop timely education on emerging science and therapeutic differentiation; and collaborate to advance use of RWE in healthcare and regulatory decision making to increase timely and affordable patient access to life-saving oncology therapies. “BeiGene aims to bring 10 molecules per year to the clinic starting in 2023 and, as this research advances, we’re delighted to form this strategic partnership with McKesson, which shares the same vision as BeiGene for improving the care of cancer patients,” said Christiane Langer, M.D., Senior Vice President of Global Medical Affairs, Ex-China, at BeiGene. “This collaboration will leverage Ontada’s technology platform and deep understanding of the experiences of patients treated in community oncology clinics to help accelerate both the development of the BeiGene portfolio and expand access to treatment options.” “As a leader in real-world research, Ontada is uniquely positioned to support complex research that uncovers deeper patient insights and perspectives that advance cancer care,” said Susan Shiff, Ph.D., president of Ontada. “We are excited to announce this unique partnership with BeiGene and look forward to developing a stronger understanding of how to better treat oncology patients through the use of real-world data and evidence.” About Ontada® Ontada is an oncology technology and insights business dedicated to transforming the fight against cancer. Part of McKesson Corporation, Ontada was founded on the core belief that precise insights – delivered exactly at the point of need – can save more patients’ lives. We connect the full patient journey by combining technologies used by The US Oncology Network and other community oncology providers with real-world data and research relied on by all top 15 global life sciences companies. Our work helps accelerate innovation and power the future of cancer care. About McKesson Corporation McKesson Corporation is a diversified healthcare services leader dedicated to advancing health outcomes for patients everywhere. Our teams partner with biopharma companies, care providers, pharmacies, manufacturers, governments, and others to deliver insights, products and services to help make quality care more accessible and affordable. Learn more about how McKesson is impacting virtually every aspect of healthcare at McKesson.com and read Our Stories. BeiGene Oncology BeiGene is committed to advancing best- and first-in-class clinical candidates internally or with like-minded partners to develop impactful and affordable medicines for patients across the globe. We have a growing R&D and medical affairs team of approximately 2,900 colleagues dedicated to advancing more than 100 clinical trials that have involved more than 16,000 subjects. Our expansive portfolio is directed predominantly by our internal colleagues supporting clinical trials in more than 45 countries and regions. Hematology-oncology and solid tumor targeted therapies and immuno-oncology are key focus areas for the Company, with both mono- and combination therapies prioritized in our research and development. BeiGene currently has three approved medicines discovered and developed in our own labs: BTK inhibitor BRUKINSA® in the U.S., China, the European Union, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and additional international markets; and the non-Fc-gamma receptor binding anti-PD-1 antibody, tislelizumab, as well as the PARP inhibitor, pamiparib, in China. BeiGene also partners with innovative companies who share our goal of developing therapies to address global health needs. We commercialize a range of oncology medicines in China licensed from Amgen, Bristol Myers Squibb, EUSA Pharma and Bio-Thera. We also plan to address greater areas of unmet need globally through our other collaborations including with Mirati Therapeutics, Seagen, and Zymeworks. In January 2021, BeiGene and Novartis announced a collaboration granting Novartis rights to co-develop, manufacture, and commercialize BeiGene’s anti-PD1 antibody, tislelizumab, in North America, Europe, and Japan. Building upon this productive collaboration, BeiGene and Novartis announced an option, collaboration, and license agreement in December 2021 for BeiGene’s TIGIT inhibitor, ociperlimab, that is in Phase 3 development. Novartis and BeiGene also entered into a strategic commercial agreement through which BeiGene will promote five approved Novartis Oncology products across designated regions of China. About BeiGene BeiGene is a global biotechnology company that is developing and commercializing innovative and affordable oncology medicines to improve treatment outcomes and access for far more patients worldwide. With a broad portfolio, we are expediting development of our diverse pipeline of novel therapeutics through our internal capabilities and collaborations. We are committed to radically improving access to medicines for far more patients who need them. Our growing global team of more than 8,500 colleagues spans five continents, with administrative offices in Beijing, China; Cambridge, U.S.; and Basel, Switzerland.

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

iNtRON Confirms Efficacy of CDL200 Against CDI Clinical Isolates

iNtRON Biotechnology | July 12, 2022

iNtRON Biotechnology announced that CDL200, a novel biological drug candidate under the development of the world's first enteric colon-targeted capsule formulation for the treatment of intractable and recurrent CDI confirmed the strong efficacy against clinical isolates from CDI patients. A company official explained that the antibacterial activity of CDL200 was evaluated for 20 clinical isolates from patients in Europe and Korea, and rapid lysis effect within few minutes after treatment was confirmed from all of the tested strains. In particular, even though majority of the tested strains are resistant strains to the commonly used antibiotics such as Metronidazole, Vancomycin, and Rifaximin, CDL200 showed very potent and rapid bactericidal activity. CDL200 is an endolysin-based novel biological drug candidate for the treatment of Clostridioides difficile infection, a hard-to-treat and recurrent bowel diseases. CDL200 has innovative drug properties that can eradicate bacteria much faster than the conventional antibiotics in the market, and also can be used for the infection caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria and/or highly virulent bacteria. CDI patient population has been increasing globally and resulting in high mortality rate due to resistance to the existing antibiotics and serious complications such as toxic megacolon, sepsis, and intestinal perforation. Although there is growing interest in refractory CDI that does not respond well to primary treatment, there are only few studies on effective treatment yet. The more serious problem is the frequency of recurrent CDI is increasing, since the risk of subsequent recurrence is over 45% in patients who have had at least one recurrence. The conventional treatment based on Metronidazole and Vancomycin is not effective for CDI with severe intractability and repeating recurrence. And the recently attempted FMT (fecal microbiota transplantation), that is, the treatment of administering donor feces to the patient's intestinal tract, has advantages such as not suppressing the intestinal flora and not creating resistant strains, but the treatment brings objection to the general public and is limited in that there is a possibility that other pathogens from the donor may be transmitted. The mortality rate of CDI was about 3-4% in the past, but due to intensification of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and the emergence of highly virulent strain (NAP1/027), the recent mortality rate has been rapidly increased to over 10%, which makes global awareness growing. Dr. KANG, Sang Hyeon, CTO of iNtRON, said, "We have a number of new endolysin pipelines under the development utilizing our unique itLysin® technology for the serious infection that the development of effective therapeutic agents are urgently needed." "Based on the development experience of SAL200, we will strive to enhance the value of our rich itLysin® pipelines and will continue to secure global competitiveness in the endolysin field." Mr. YOON, Kyung Won, CEO of iNtRON About CDL200 CDL200 is a novel endolysin-based anti- Clostridioides difficile causes an infection of the large intestine which is often referred to as C. difficile or C. diff. CDL200 showed potent and rapid activity against 100% clinical isolates from multi-nation and has no disturbance of the normal flora in human's gut. The potential clinical usage and indications are CDI and IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), and the targeted administration route of CDL200 is oral in capsule formulation. CDL200 is under non-clinical stage development and IND enabling studies will be conducted throughout the year. About iNtRON Biotechnology, Inc. iNtRON is a leader in bacteriophage-based technology with aim to develop and investigate into the 'Immune & Immunotherapeutics' market. While pursuing global research and business development investments since their foundation and accelerated development after entering its IPO in KOSDAQ, the company honed in on innovating BIO New Drugs by developing various 'First-in-Concept' bio-drugs and conducting clinical studies in phases. The Company is committed to development of innovative innovation in the infectious diseases and 'Immune & Immunotherapeutics' area. About iNtODEWORLD, Inc. iNtRON has established its wholly owned US subsidiary, iNtODEWORLD, Inc. in 2017. iNtODEWORLD was initially registered in Delaware and the headquarter office is currently located in Boston. iNtODEWORLD provides news, updates and platform development progresses of iNtRON to its potential global partners and collaborators along with its own R&BD works in the US.

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Versant Ventures Collaborates with AbCellera to Accelerate Drug Development for its Portfolio of Biotech Companies

AbCellera and Versant Ventures | July 28, 2022

AbCellera and Versant Ventures announced a multi-year collaboration to discover therapeutic antibodies for multiple targets selected by Versant’s portfolio of biologics-focused biotechs. Versant and AbCellera already have enabled three of the firm’s stealth-stage companies under previous partnerships. Under the terms of the deal, Versant portfolio companies will have rights to develop and commercialize the resulting therapeutic antibodies. AbCellera will receive research payments from the companies and will be eligible to receive downstream clinical and commercial milestone payments plus royalties on net sales of products. Further terms are not disclosed. "In recent years we have made a series of investments into the next generation of therapeutic antibodies. We are seeing a wave of innovation in the antibody space that is allowing us to add novel functionalities to these molecules. Our partnership with AbCellera will further enable our portfolio companies to pursue these important biologic medicines.” Markus Enzelberger, Ph.D., a partner at Versant “AbCellera’s discovery technology provides a complete solution for antibody therapeutics that unlocks new opportunities and levels the playing field for smaller companies, allowing them to advance programs faster, more efficiently and with a competitive advantage,” said Carl Hansen, Ph.D., CEO and President of AbCellera. “We are excited to deepen our relationship with the Versant team and look forward to helping them continue a strong track record of bringing together breakthrough science, experienced teams, and capital to create bold new biotech companies.” Previously, Versant and AbCellera partnered in separate multi-target deals to enable three of the firm’s stealth-stage companies with new approaches to optimize and expand antibody therapies. These include antibody-focused newcos in the fields of immunology and oncology based in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. About Versant Ventures Versant Ventures is a leading healthcare venture capital firm committed to helping exceptional entrepreneurs build the next generation of great companies. The firm’s emphasis is on biotechnology companies that are discovering and developing novel therapeutics. With $4.2 billion under management and offices in the U.S., Canada and Europe, Versant has built a team with deep investment, operating and R&D expertise that enables a hands-on approach to company building. Since the firm’s founding in 1999, more than 85 Versant companies have achieved successful acquisitions or IPOs. About AbCellera Biologics Inc. AbCellera is a technology company that searches, decodes, and analyzes natural immune systems to find antibodies that its partners can develop into drugs to prevent and treat disease. AbCellera partners with drug developers of all sizes, from large pharmaceutical to small biotechnology companies, empowering them to move quickly, reduce cost, and tackle the toughest problems in drug development.

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