Planet’s ocean-plastics problem detailed in 60-year data set

nature | April 17, 2019

Scientists have uncovered the first strong evidence that the amount of plastic polluting the oceans has risen vastly in recent decades — by analysing 60 years of log books for plankton-tracking vessels.
Data recorded by instruments known as continuous plankton recorders (CPRs) — which ships have collectively towed millions of kilometres across the Atlantic Ocean — show that the trackers have become entangled in large plastic objects, such as bags and fishing lines, roughly three times more often since 2000 than in preceding decades. This is the first time that researchers have demonstrated the rise in ocean plastics using a single, long-term data set, says Erik van Sebille, an oceanographer at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. “I’m excited that this has been finally done,” he says. The analysis was published1 on 16 April in Nature Communications. Although the findings are unsurprising, long-term data on ocean plastics had been scant: previous studies looked mainly at the ingestion of plastic by sea creatures over shorter timescales, the researchers say.

Spotlight

, mankind has always relied upon natural grown resources to make higher added value products. Originating from nature, these grown resources - often referred to as renewable resources, biobased feedstocks or biomass - include a vast range of plants and trees, including some well-known agriculturally grown crops like cotton, rubber trees, sugarcane, corn and rapeseed, to name a few.

Spotlight

, mankind has always relied upon natural grown resources to make higher added value products. Originating from nature, these grown resources - often referred to as renewable resources, biobased feedstocks or biomass - include a vast range of plants and trees, including some well-known agriculturally grown crops like cotton, rubber trees, sugarcane, corn and rapeseed, to name a few.

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MEDTECH

ZS and Seven Bridges Collaborate to Innovate Drug Research

ZS, Seven Bridges | May 07, 2021

ZS and Seven Bridges disclosed a collaboration today that will merge ZS's experience in biomedical testing facilities and data science with Seven Bridges' technology platform, which enables multi-omics analytics through the translational and clinical continuum. The hybrid offers biopharmaceutical and biotechnology firms a one-stop-shop for multi-omics analysis innovation and scalability. ZS and Seven Bridges work together to help clients produce breakthrough science, promote drug development, and improve the probability of approval for potential drug candidates. "Working side by side with our clients to help streamline R&D data and maximize pace and market to enhance patients' lives is at the heart of what we do at ZS," said Aaron Mitchell, principal, and leader of ZS's research and development excellence program. "Our collaboration with Seven Bridges allows our clients, and eventually patients, to gain access to new therapies and diagnostics more quickly." "Drug discovery, translational medicine, and preclinical drug research all require study at the molecular and genomic levels of implementation, and our collaboration with Seven Bridges provides our clients with a new option for innovation and scalable capacity," said John Piccone, principal, and leader of ZS's biomedical research service line. "We are building a talent pool of molecular natives with a strong knowledge of chemistry, data science, and technology to collaborate with our clients in the discovery of potential drug targets, the selection of drug candidates, and the solution of key translational medicine challenges. The integration of the Seven Bridges Platform and experts with the ZS consulting teams results in a modular approach for clients with growing multi-omics data and analytics requirements." "We are delighted to be combining the Seven Bridges platform with ZS's innovative apps for drug discovery and translational medicine. Integrating our multi-omics analysis platform and ARIATM, a centralized solution for molecular and patient-level phenotypic analysis at scale, with their research data lake is a critical requirement for ZS's pharmaceutical clients "said Bruce Press, Seven Bridges' Chief Revenue Officer. About Seven Bridges Seven Bridges allows researchers to derive meaningful insights from genomic and phenotypic data, thereby advancing precision medicine. A compliant analytic platform, intelligently curated content, innovative algorithms, unmatched access to federated data sets, and specialist on-demand technical resources comprise the Seven Bridges Ecosystem. Researchers at the world's leading academic, biotechnology, clinical diagnostic, government, medical centers, and pharmaceutical institutions are using this systematic approach to bioinformatics to maximize R&D effectiveness, improve hypothesis resolution, isolate vital biomarkers, and even transform a failing clinical trial around while also minimizing computational workflow times and data storage costs.

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CELL AND GENE THERAPY

2seventy bio Announces Expanded Collaboration Agreement With Novo Nordisk to Continue Development of in vivo Gene Editing Approach

2seventy bio, Inc | January 07, 2022

2seventy bio, Inc. announced that it has entered into an option and license agreement with Novo Nordisk for joint research and development of an in vivo gene editing treatment for hemophilia A. This agreement builds upon a successful existing multi-year research collaboration between the two companies. Under the terms of this agreement, Novo Nordisk will have the option to license 2seventy bio’s proprietary mRNA-based megaTAL™ technology for the development of a new treatment approach for hemophilia A patients with the goal of offering a sustained therapeutic effect. “This collaboration aims to develop the first direct in vivo application of our megaTAL technology. We are excited to explore this technology with Novo Nordisk, with the goal of developing a new potential therapeutic approach for patients with hemophilia A. Moreover, we view this work as further validation and a natural extension of our technology platform. Based on what we continue to learn, this technology may play a potential role in expanding our gene editing platform toward future in vivo and ex vivo applications that can enhance our oncology pipeline. We are also excited to announce a partnership between 2seventy bio and Genevant Sciences for the use of Genevant’s lipid nanoparticle platform in our collaboration with Novo Nordisk.” Philip Gregory, D. Phil., chief scientific officer, 2seventy bio The collaboration agreement with Novo Nordisk builds upon the original research collaboration signed between bluebird bio and Novo Nordisk in 2019, focused on identifying a development gene therapy candidate for people with hemophilia A. The collaboration utilizes 2seventy bio’s megaTAL technology that has the potential to provide a highly specific and efficient way to silence, edit, or insert genetic components. Hemophilia A is a genetic bleeding disorder resulting from defective Factor VIII. “We are excited to continue our partnership with 2seventy bio to jointly develop a next-generation in vivo genome editing treatment, with the ultimate ambition of offering people with hemophilia A lifetime free of factor replacement therapy,” said Karin Conde-Knape, senior vice president, Global Drug Discovery, Novo Nordisk. “This partnership reflects Novo Nordisk’s commitment to utilizing novel technology platforms to advance truly disease-modifying therapies for people with serious chronic diseases.” Under the terms of the agreement, Novo Nordisk will obtain the option to exclusively license 2seventy bio’s in vivo mRNA platform and gene editing technology for use in the treatment of patients with hemophilia A. 2seventy bio will receive an upfront payment of $5 million and is eligible for near-term milestone and option exercise payments of up to $35 million, in addition to development, regulatory, and commercial milestones, as well as a royalty on net sales. Novo Nordisk will be responsible for funding all research and development activities. Related to this collaboration, 2seventy bio has also entered into an agreement with Genevant Sciences for access to Genevant’s industry-leading LNP technology platform for use in 2seventy bio’s collaboration with Novo Nordisk for the treatment of patients with hemophilia A. 2seventy bio plans to use the Genevant LNP platform for efficient delivery of megaTAL mRNA to hepatocyte cells within the liver. “We are very pleased that 2seventy bio has entrusted Genevant and our LNP platform with delivery for its important gene editing program in hemophilia A,” said Pete Lutwyche, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer, Genevant Sciences Corporation. “Our scientists have been at the forefront of the LNP field for more than 20 years, and we are excited for our innovative technology to be used for this important application with great unmet need.” Under the terms of the agreement between 2seventy bio and Genevant, 2seventy bio obtained rights to license Genevant’s LNP technology for use with megaTAL mRNA products in the treatment of patients with hemophilia A. Genevant is eligible for upfront and near-term option exercise payments totaling $10 million, as well as development and commercialization milestones, and royalties in the mid-single digits on future product sales. About megaTALs MegaTALs are single-chain enzymes that combine the natural DNA recognition and cleavage processes of Homing Endonucleases with the modular DNA binding properties of transcription activator-like effectors. This protein fusion architecture allows the generation of highly specific and active nucleases in a compact format compatible with all current viral and non-viral cell delivery methods. About Novo Nordisk A/S Novo Nordisk is a leading global healthcare company, founded in 1923 and headquartered in Denmark. Our purpose is to drive change to defeat diabetes and other serious chronic diseases such as obesity and rare blood and endocrine disorders. We do so by pioneering scientific breakthroughs, expanding access to our medicines, and working to prevent and ultimately cure disease. Novo Nordisk employs about 47,000 people in 80 countries and markets its products in around 170 countries. About Genevant Sciences Genevant Sciences is a leading nucleic acid delivery company with world-class platforms, the industry’s most robust and expansive lipid nanoparticle patent estate, and decades of experience and expertise in nucleic acid drug delivery and development. The Company’s scientists have pioneered LNP delivery of nucleic acids for over 20 years, and the Company’s LNP platform, which has been studied across more than a dozen discrete product candidates and is the delivery technology behind the first and only approved RNAi-LNP (patisiran), enables a wide array of RNA-based applications, including vaccines, therapeutic protein production, and gene editing. About 2seventy bio Our name, 2seventy bio, reflects why we do what we do - TIME. Cancer rips time away and our goal is to work at the maximum speed of translating human thought into action – 270 miles per hour — to give the people we serve more time. We are building the leading immuno-oncology cell therapy company, focused on discovering new therapies and leveraging platform technologies that truly disrupt the cancer treatment landscape.

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

BioNTech and Medigene Announce Global Collaboration to Advance T Cell Receptor Immunotherapies Against Cancer

BioNTech SE | February 22, 2022

BioNTech SE and Medigene AG a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company focusing on the development of T cell immunotherapies, announced that they have entered a multi-target research collaboration to develop T cell receptor (TCR) based immunotherapies against cancer. The initial term of the collaboration is three years. Medigene will contribute its proprietary TCR discovery platform for the development of TCRs against multiple solid tumor targets nominated by BioNTech. Medigene’s automated, high throughput TCR discovery platform is designed to bypass central tolerance to yield high affinity TCRs. T cell therapy has become a disruptive medical innovation in the treatment of patients with cancer. Engineered TCR-modified T cells (TCR-T cells) are reprogrammed to express a TCR that can recognize specific antigens only present on tumor cells, thereby enabling a precise and potent immune response to attack a patient’s tumor. “This collaboration with Medigene expands our cell therapy portfolio and TCR discovery capabilities, and further strengthens our ability to be a leader in the rapidly emerging field of engineered cell therapies. We look forward to working closely with Medigene to develop new treatments which address solid tumors with high unmet medical need.” Ugur Sahin, M.D., Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of BioNTech Prof. Dolores Schendel, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientific Officer at Medigene: “Medigene is at the forefront of the development of TCR-T therapies for oncology. The sale and licensing deal with BioNTech is an important validation from a global leading biotech company of our proprietary technologies to discover and characterize highly specific TCRs and empower resulting TCR-T cells to fight solid tumors. This partnership provides Medigene with meaningful financial resources to fuel our next generation development programs targeting potentially novel tumor-specific “dark matter” antigens, further tools to enhance T-cell-based immunotherapies, as well as additional potential strategic deals with future milestone payments and royalties.” BioNTech will acquire Medigene’s next generation preclinical TCR program, which combines TCR-4 of Medigene’s MDG10XX program targeting PRAME with Medigene’s proprietary PD1-41BB switch receptor technology. BioNTech will also obtain the exclusive option to acquire additional existing TCRs in Medigene’s discovery pipeline and will receive licenses to the company’s PD1-41BB switch receptor and precision pairing library. This has the potential to augment TCR cell therapy efficacy and can be applied to all BioNTech cell therapy programs. Under the terms of the agreement, Medigene will receive EUR 26 million upfront, as well as research funding for the period of the collaboration. BioNTech will be responsible for global development and hold exclusive worldwide commercialization rights on all TCR therapies resulting from this research collaboration. Medigene will be eligible to receive development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments up to a triple digit million EUR amount per program in addition to tiered deferred option payments on global net sales for products based on TCRs arising from the collaboration and royalties on products utilizing at least one of the licensed technologies. About BioNTech Biopharmaceutical New Technologies is a next generation immunotherapy company pioneering novel therapies for cancer and other serious diseases. The Company exploits a wide array of computational discovery and therapeutic drug platforms for the rapid development of novel biopharmaceuticals. Its broad portfolio of oncology product candidates includes individualized and off-the-shelf mRNA-based therapies, innovative chimeric antigen receptor T cells, bi-specific checkpoint immuno-modulators, targeted cancer antibodies and small molecules. Based on its deep expertise in mRNA vaccine development and in-house manufacturing capabilities, BioNTech and its collaborators are developing multiple mRNA vaccine candidates for a range of infectious diseases alongside its diverse oncology pipeline. BioNTech has established a broad set of relationships with multiple global pharmaceutical collaborators, including Genmab, Sanofi, Bayer Animal Health, Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, Regeneron, Genevant, Fosun Pharma and Pfizer. About Medigene Medigene AG (FSE: MDG1, ISIN DE000A1X3W00, Prime Standard) is a publicly listed biotechnology company headquartered in Planegg/Martinsried near Munich, Germany. With its scientific expertise, Medigene is working on the development of innovative immunotherapies to enhance T cell activity against solid cancers in fields of high unmet medical need. Medigene’s pipeline includes preclinical as well as clinical programs in development. Medigene’s strategy is to develop its own therapies towards clinical proof-of-concept. In addition, the Company offers selected partners the opportunity to discover and develop therapies on the basis of its proprietary technology platforms. In return for such partnerships, Medigene expects to receive upfront and milestone payments as well as research and development funding and royalties on future product sales. About Medigene’s TCR-T cells T cells are at the center of Medigene’s therapeutic approaches. With the aid of Medigene’s immunotherapies the patient’s own defense mechanisms are activated, and T cells harnessed in the battle against cancer. Medigene’s therapies arm the patient’s own T cells with tumor-specific T cell receptors (TCRs). The resulting TCR-T cells should thereby be able to detect and efficiently kill cancer cells. About Medigene’s PD1-41BB switch receptor Checkpoint inhibition via PD1-PDL1 pathway: Solid tumor cells are known to be sensitive to killing by activated T cells. Tumor cells can escape this killing activity by expressing inhibitory molecules, so-called ‘checkpoint proteins’, such as Programmed Death Ligand 1 (PD-L1) on their surface. When this occurs, activated T cells which express PD-1, the natural receptor for PD-L1, are inactivated. The expression of PD-L1 by tumors represents an adaptive immune resistance mechanism that can lead to tumor survival and growth. About Medigene’s precision pairing library T cell receptors (TCRs) consist of an alpha and a beta chain, which together act as a receptor on the cell surface of T cells. Medigene's therapies aim to equip the patient's own T cells with tumor-specific TCRs. The resulting TCR-T cells should thereby be able to detect and efficiently kill cancer cells. The precision pairing library allows selection of specific modifications in each chain of a TCR so that the alpha and beta chains preferentially pair with each other, with the result that improved TCR surface expression and/or functionality is achieved.

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