Oxitec Signs New Multi-year Development Agreement to Apply 2nd Generation Technology to Control Soybean Looper

Prnewswire | April 16, 2019

a UK-based biotechnology company that pioneered the use of biologically-engineered insects to control disease-spreading mosquitoes and crop-destroying agricultural pests and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Intrexon (NASDAQ: XON), has announced the signing of a new multi-year development agreement with a collaborator to develop a self-limiting soybean looper (Chrysodeixis includens) to suppress this damaging agricultural pest that is found throughout the Americas. Soybean looper threatens a variety of crops, primarily soybeans as well as cotton, sweet potatoes, peanuts, lettuce, herbs, tomato, tobacco, and others. It has been historically difficult to control due to growing insecticide resistance. Additionally, individual adult females can lay up to 700 eggs each in their lifetime, allowing a small number of insects to exponentially grow in a very short time span. Oxitec's self-limiting soybean looper will leverage the advantages and benefits of Oxitec's 2nd generation technology as part of their commitment to advancing a new global standard for targeted, safe pest management using self-limiting insects. "Soybean looper threatens crops in the Americas, especially in Brazil and the US, where current control tools are under pressure. It is necessary to rapidly deploy new, safe and targeted technologies," said Grey Frandsen, Chief Executive Officer at Oxitec. "Our targeted biologically-based approach offers the opportunity to suppress this major agricultural pest, prevent widespread crop losses and, perhaps most importantly, complement the newest generations of other valuable pest control methods." As the need for agricultural productivity increases, so does the need for novel pest management solutions. Oxitec's approach has the potential to counter against insects developing resistance to both new and existing methods of insect control.

Spotlight

Vaccination is generally considered as one of the greatest public health achievements in industrialized countries during the 20th century, reducing morbidity and mortality from a broad range of vaccine-preventable diseases. Globally, over 5.9 million deaths are prevented annually through vaccination against nine major infectious diseases, including varicella, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae type b (childhood), hepatitis B, measles, polio, and tuberculosis. In Canada, immunization has saved more lives over the last 50 years than any other health intervention. Indeed, the decline in incidence and death from infectious diseases as a result of vaccination is considered one of the nation’s great triumphs of medical research and public health programming.

Spotlight

Vaccination is generally considered as one of the greatest public health achievements in industrialized countries during the 20th century, reducing morbidity and mortality from a broad range of vaccine-preventable diseases. Globally, over 5.9 million deaths are prevented annually through vaccination against nine major infectious diseases, including varicella, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae type b (childhood), hepatitis B, measles, polio, and tuberculosis. In Canada, immunization has saved more lives over the last 50 years than any other health intervention. Indeed, the decline in incidence and death from infectious diseases as a result of vaccination is considered one of the nation’s great triumphs of medical research and public health programming.

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CELL AND GENE THERAPY

PacBio Acquires Omniome, a DNA Sequencing Startup, for up to $800 Million

PacBio | July 26, 2021

Pacific Biosciences has had no trouble growing its business on its own in the year and a half since its acquisition by Illumina was blocked by the Federal Trade Commission due to concerns that the combination would establish a monopoly in DNA sequencing. Earlier this year, the sequencer manufacturer received a staggering $900 million investment from SoftBank—a commitment almost as large as the $1.2 billion promised by Illumina for the planned acquisition. PacBio is now making its acquisition, setting out a deal for up to $800 million to acquire Omniome, another provider of DNA sequencing technology. The majority of the transaction is comprised of planned upfront payments totaling about $600 million. This will be paid out in $300 million in cash and 9.4 million shares of PacBio common stock. The additional $200 million will come from milestone payments made when Omniome meets certain specified objectives, which will also be paid in a mix of cash and shares. PacBio has committed a small number of its current investors to a private issue of common stock to fund the acquisition. The total gross proceeds from this deal are expected to be about $300 million. Casdin Capital, SoftBank subsidiary SB Northstar LP, and T. Rowe Price Associates are among the investors who will buy approximately 11.2 million shares of PacBio stock for $26.75 per share, which is slightly less than the stock's closing price on the last full day of trading before the buyout was announced. PacBio will be able to extend the capabilities of its single-molecule, real-time sequencing technology, or SMRT Sequencing, for use by its clients in biomedical and infectious disease research, as well as therapeutic and diagnostic development, after the transaction is completed. PacBio's technology is based on long-read sequencing, which analyzes long strands of DNA at a time and can detect larger genomic variants and structural changes than short-read methods—though long-read sequencing has a higher potential error rate in those readings. Meanwhile, Omniome has created its short-read technology that concentrates on the proteins that bind to DNA to generate what it claims are more accurate analyses than existing short-read sequencers. Combining the two technologies is reminiscent of Illumina's planned acquisition of PacBio, which would have merged the latter's long-read technology with Illumina's short-read sequencing. The merger is a significant boost for Omniome, which has attracted several life sciences, investors since its inception in 2013. Each of its most two funding rounds—a series B in mid-2018 and a series C in early 2020—raised $60 million, bringing the San Diego-based startup's total funding to over $130 million.

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Second Genome Announces Bayer Exercised Option Following Completion of Multi-Year Collaboration

Second Genome | March 03, 2022

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Leica Biosystems and Leap Therapeutics Partner on Companion Diagnostic to Advance Care for Cancer Patients

Leap Therapeutics, Inc. | February 01, 2022

Leica Biosystems, a cancer diagnostics company, has entered into an agreement with Leap Therapeutics, a biotechnology company, to develop a companion diagnostic to detect Dickkopf-related protein 1. The assay will be used to support clinical development of Leap Therapeutics' anti-DKK1 cancer therapy, DKN-01, currently being studied in clinical trials. DKK1 is a protein often implicated in cancer, enabling tumor cells to suppress the immune system and lead to unregulated growth. Overexpression of DKK1 is associated with poor survival in cancer patients. Leap Therapeutics is currently advancing the development of DKN-01, a humanized monoclonal antibody that targets DKK1, to treat cancer. The company is currently studying the drug as part of a combination therapy regimen in a Phase 2 clinical trial in patients with gastric or gastroesophageal junction cancer. The assay developed by Leica Biosystems will utilize RNAscope™ technology from Bio-Techne on the BOND-III Automated Staining System, which allows for detection of DKK1 with high sensitivity and specificity, to help identify patients most likely to benefit from DKN-01 treatment. "Companion Diagnostics are a step toward treating cancer patients based on the biomarker makeup of their disease.We are excited to partner with Leap to advance cancer care." Rachel Skelton, Senior Director of Pharma Partnerships at Leica Biosystems Companion Diagnostics are tests that may be used to determine if a patient's tumor has the biomarker that will predict the outcome of a treatment with a specific therapy. With expertise in assay development, regulatory approval and commercialization, the Leica Biosystems Companion Diagnostics team partners with pharmaceutical companies to develop assays for a diverse range of technologies. Our flexible approach to partnerships, along with the robust capabilities of the BOND Advance Staining Solutions, supports our mission of Advancing Cancer Diagnostics, Improving Lives. "DKK1 is novel and broadly applicable biomarker that is often elevated in patients with poor outcomes," said Jason Baum, Vice President and Head of Translational Medicine at Leap Therapeutics. "Patients whose tumors express elevated levels of DKK1 have shown compelling clinical responses when treated with DKN-01-based regimens. We are pleased to partner with Leica to advance the clinical development of our therapy and improve patient lives." About Leica Biosystems Leica Biosystems is a cancer diagnostics company and a global leader in workflow solutions. Only Leica Biosystems offers the most comprehensive portfolio that spans the entire workflow from biopsy to diagnosis. With unique expertise, we are dedicated to driving innovations that connect people across radiology, pathology, surgery and oncology. Our experts are committed to delivering Improved Quality, Integrated Solutions, and Optimized Efficiencies leading to breakthrough advances in diagnostic confidence. Our mission of "Advancing Cancer Diagnostics, Improving Lives" is at the heart of corporate culture. Visit LeicaBiosystems.com for more information. About Leap Therapeutics Leap Therapeutics is focused on developing targeted and immuno-oncology therapeutics. Leap's most advanced clinical candidate, DKN-01, is a humanized monoclonal antibody targeting the Dickkopf-1 protein. DKN-01 is in clinical trials in patients with esophagogastric, gynecologic, and prostate cancers. Leap has entered into a strategic partnership with BeiGene, Ltd. for the rights to develop DKN-01 in Asia (excluding Japan), Australia, and New Zealand. About Bio-Techne Bio-Techne Corporation is a global life sciences company providing innovative tools and bioactive reagents for the research and clinical diagnostic communities. Bio-Techne products assist scientific investigations into biological processes and the nature and progress of specific diseases. They aid in drug discovery efforts and provide the means for accurate clinical tests and diagnosis. With thousands of products in its portfolio, Bio-Techne generated approximately $931 million in net sales in fiscal 2021 and has approximately 2,700 employees worldwide.

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