CELL AND GENE THERAPY
Phytolon; Ginkgo Bioworks | February 28, 2022
Phytolon, a growing startup company making natural food colorants, announced a partnership today with Ginkgo Bioworks the leading horizontal platform for cell programming, to produce vibrant cultured food colors via fermentation of yeast. Under this partnership, Phytolon is leveraging Ginkgo's ability to engineer biology at scale to work together on the production of vibrant betalain pigments, the healthy and colorful compounds found in foods like beets and cactus fruit. The project aims to take Phytolon's colors across the full 'yellow-to-purple' spectrum to the next level, and to potentially maximize the business opportunity of Phytolon's vibrant colors for applications in the food and cosmetics industries.
Scientists have developed hundreds of artificial food dyes by using the tools of synthetic chemistry to convert petrochemical sources into a wide range of colors. Biotechnology offers an opportunity to tap into the vibrant colors of biology to produce more sustainable, yet equally vibrant, colors. While artificial dyes are visually appealing and cheap to manufacture, many have been banned in food and feed due to health concerns. As consumers increasingly seek out more sustainable and nature-derived products, the food industry is working to find food colors that have equivalent pigment vibrancy to those found in synthetic chemical dyes but which come from biological rather than petrochemical sources.
Phytolon has developed a proprietary process for producing betalain pigments through precision fermentation of certain yeast strains. Together, Phytolon and Ginkgo are partnering with the goal of maximizing the production efficiency of purple and yellow betalain-producing strains.
"We're excited to work with Ginkgo to develop natural food colors that can potentially outperform conventional artificial dyes in cost and performance. We believe biotechnology makes it possible to produce a wider range of colors than ever before that may outperform current benchmark colorants, and we look forward to building products that may meet and even exceed consumer expectations for healthier, sustainable foods, all while aiming to maintain industry requirements for high quality and cost-efficiency."
Dr. Tal Zeltzer, Co-founder and CTO of Phytolon
"We love enabling growing startups like Phytolon through our platform, using biotechnology to challenge industry norms and attempt to build a fundamentally better product than what's on the market today," said Jennifer Wipf, Head of Commercial, Cell Engineering at Ginkgo Bioworks. "The planet needs new sustainable solutions, and we are excited to partner with Phytolon to support a more sustainable food system."
Phytolon is a biotechnology startup company that is taking food coloring to the next level by leveraging a novel technology for production of natural pigments via precision fermentation of yeast. Phytolon's products have been successfully validated by global leaders in the food industry, and Phyloton expects to enter into commercialization agreements with initial strategic partners in the near term. Phytolon is supported by partners such as The Trendlines Group Millennium Foodtech, EIT-Food, Consensus Business Group, Arkin Holdings and others.
About Ginkgo Bioworks
Ginkgo is building a platform to enable customers to program cells as easily as we can program computers. The company's platform is enabling biotechnology applications across diverse markets, from food and agriculture to industrial chemicals to pharmaceuticals. Ginkgo has also actively supported a number of COVID-19 response efforts, including K-12 pooled testing, vaccine manufacturing optimization and therapeutics discovery.
Iktos, Kadmon | May 19, 2021
Iktos, a company specializing in Artificial Intelligence for new drug design, announced today that it has signed a Research Collaboration Agreement with Kadmon, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company based in New York, USA, under which Iktos' generative modeling artificial intelligence (AI) technology will be used to allow the rapid and cost-effective design of novel drug candidates. Iktos will use its de novo structure-based generative modeling technologies to find novel compounds that meet a pre-defined target product profile as part of the deal, to speed up Kadmon's early-stage discovery efforts.
Kadmon discovers, develops, and delivers small molecules and biologics for the treatment of human diseases. Intending to identify and develop new product candidates for significant unmet medical needs, Kadmon is expanding and incorporating novel drug discovery platforms.
The AI technology developed by Iktos, which is focused on deep generative models, aids in the speed and efficiency of the drug discovery process. Iktos' technology creates virtual novel molecules that have all of the properties of a successful drug molecule automatically. This approach, which has been validated by Iktos' other collaborations, is an innovative approach to one of the most difficult problems in drug design: finding molecules that meet several important drug criteria at the same time, such as potency, selectivity, safety, and project-specific properties.
Iktos' technology enables the creation of new hits with optimal protein-ligand interactions in early-stage discovery projects, as predicted by molecular modeling technology. This technique allows for a one-of-a-kind discovery of chemical space, as well as the development of innovative molecule designs with greater Freedom to Operate. Furthermore, allowing multi-parametric in silico optimization from the start of a project greatly reduces the hit finding and hit-to-lead optimization phases.
Iktos, a French start-up founded in October 2016, specializes in the development of artificial intelligence technologies for chemical research, especially medicinal chemistry, and new drug design. Iktos is working on a proprietary and innovative approach focused on deep learning generative models that allow users to build molecules in silico that follow all of the performance criteria of a small molecule discovery project using existing evidence. Iktos technology allows for significant efficiency gains in upstream pharmaceutical R&D. Iktos' software is utilized as both professional services and a SaaS software platform, Makya. Spaya, a synthesis planning software built on Iktos' proprietary AI technology for retrosynthesis, is also in the works.
CELL AND GENE THERAPY
I-Mab | July 12, 2021
I-Mab, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical business dedicated to discovering, developing, and commercialization of novel biologics, announced today the signing of two new partnerships with Chinese emerging biotech firms to enhance its next-generation innovation pipeline.
Collaborations with Immorna, an mRNA biotech company, and neoX Biotech, an AI-enabled R&D biotech company, provide I-Mab access to revolutionary technologies to search for new cancer treatments. I-Mab will create new anti-cancer antibody therapies using Immorna's ground-breaking self-replicating mRNA technology. Furthermore, I-Mab will collaborate with neoX Biotech on up to ten new biologics programs that will use neoX's unique artificial intelligence algorithm under a strategic partnership agreement. Today's announcement adds to the Company's existing collaboration agreements with Complix for a cell-penetrating antibody platform and Affinity for a masking antibody platform in March 2021, allowing it to continue expanding its globally competitive pipeline of next-generation antibody assets enabled by transformative technologies.
The cooperation agreements specify that both partner firms will earn secret upfront and milestone payments.
I-Mab is a global biotech business focused on discovering, developing and ultimate commercialization of new and highly distinct biologics in the immuno-oncology therapeutic space. Through drug discovery, the Company's goal is to deliver transformational medicines to patients all around the globe. I-internationally, Mab's competitive pipeline of more than 15 clinical and preclinical stage therapeutic candidates is driven by its internal R&D capabilities and global licensing agreements based on the Company's exclusive Fast-to-Proof-of-Concept and Fast-to-Market pipeline development methods. The Company is quickly transitioning from clinical-stage biotech to a fully integrated global biopharmaceutical company with cutting-edge global R&D capabilities, a world-class GMP manufacturing facility, and commercialization capacity. I-Mab has a global presence in Shanghai, Beijing, Hangzhou, Hong Kong in China, and Maryland and San Diego in the United States.
Immorna, founded in 2019, is a rapidly expanding biotech company focused on creating self-replicating and traditional mRNA-based therapeutics and vaccines. Immorna has developed a strong CMC platform for mRNA synthesis, purification, and analytical testing since its inception, and it is ideally suited for commercial development. In addition, Immorna has developed an arsenal of mRNA delivery vehicles using cutting-edge screening tools, including polymers and lipid nanoparticles containing multiple proprietary cationic lipids suited for intramuscular, intravenous, or tissue-targeting delivery. Immorna's pipeline is diverse, including cancer immunotherapy, infectious diseases, rare genetic disorders, and cosmetology. Immorna's oncology and infectious disease projects are nearing the clinical stage. Immorna's global presence includes Hangzhou, Shanghai in China, and Wilmington, DE in the United States.
About neoX Biotech
neoX Biotech is a next-generation biotech firm that focuses on computational design for novel drug research and development. neoX focuses on studying and developing macromolecular medicines and multi-specific drugs by combining artificial intelligence (AI), biophysics, and high-throughput experiments. neoX has created a highly transferable and sophisticated platform for early drug discovery via in-depth protein-protein interaction analysis (PPI). NeoX has shown preclinical success in a number of novel drug pipelines derived from this platform. Founded in 2018 by two physicians from MIT and Caltech, neoX has received over $100 million in funding from renowned venture capital firms such as Sequoia Capital China, 5Y Capital, Vision Plus Capital, Vertex Ventures, LYFE Capital, ZhenFund, and others.