Research creates DNA-like molecule to aid search for alien life

Phys.org | February 22, 2019

In a research breakthrough funded by NASA, scientists have synthesized a molecular system that, like DNA, can store and transmit information. This unprecedented feat suggests there could be an alternative to DNA-based life, as we know it on Earth – a genetic system for life that may be possible on other worlds. This new molecular system, which is not a new life form, suggests scientists looking for life beyond Earth may need to rethink what they are looking for. The research appears in Thursday's edition of Science Magazine. DNA is a complex molecule that stores and transmits genetic information, is passed from parent to offspring in all living organisms on Earth, and its components include four key ingredients called nucleotides – all standard for life as we know it. But, what about life on other worlds? "Life detection is an increasingly important goal of NASA's planetary science missions, and this new work will help us to develop effective instruments and experiments that will expand the scope of what we look for," said Lori Glaze, acting director of NASA's Planetary Science Division.

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Field technologists conduct fish and wildlife surveys, monitor biodiversity, evaluate soil and range conditions, collect water samples and deliver environmental education to a variety of groups.

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Field technologists conduct fish and wildlife surveys, monitor biodiversity, evaluate soil and range conditions, collect water samples and deliver environmental education to a variety of groups.

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Gilead and MacroGenics Announce Oncology Collaboration to Develop Bispecific Antibodies

Gilead and MacroGenics | October 18, 2022

Gilead Sciences, Inc. and MacroGenics announced an exclusive option and collaboration agreement to develop MGD024, an investigational, bispecific antibody that binds CD123 and CD3 using MacroGenics’ DART® platform, and two additional bispecific research programs. The collaboration agreement grants Gilead the option to license MGD024, a potential treatment for certain blood cancers, including acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes. A leader in the bispecific antibody space, MacroGenics has extensive experience applying its proprietary DART platform to develop novel therapeutics. MGD024 is a next-generation, bispecific that incorporates a CD3 component that is designed to minimize cytokine-release syndrome a potentially life-threatening toxicity, while increasing the magnitude of antitumor activity with a longer half-life to permit intermittent dosing. “MacroGenics’ bispecific expertise naturally complements Gilead’s portfolio strengths in immuno-oncology and our growing hematology franchise. We believe MGD024, with its potential to reduce CRS and permit intermittent dosing through a longer half-life, could translate to more patient-friendly dosing and enhanced clinical outcomes for people living with AML and MDS. This partnership is the latest in our efforts to develop and advance transformative new cancer therapies as we deepen our portfolio across oncology indications.” Bill Grossman, MD, PhD, Senior Vice President, Oncology Clinical Development, Gilead Sciences Scott Koenig, MD, PhD, President, and CEO, MacroGenics said, “Rapid advances over the last decade have made CD123 a very promising target in oncology research. Advancing our bispecific DART molecule, MGD024, through a strategic collaboration with the team at Gilead will accelerate our ability to drive further development of MGD024 to the potential benefit of people living with blood cancers.” MacroGenics will be responsible for the ongoing Phase 1 study for MGD024 during which Gilead may elect to exercise its option to license the program at predefined decision points. The Phase 1 study will include a dose escalation segment and an expansion segment that is intended to evaluate MGD024 as monotherapy and in combination with other therapies across multiple indications. About MacroGenics, Inc. MacroGenics is a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative monoclonal antibody-based therapeutics for the treatment of cancer. The company generates its pipeline of product candidates primarily from its proprietary suite of next-generation antibody-based technology platforms, which have applicability across broad therapeutic domains. The combination of MacroGenics' technology platforms and protein engineering expertise has allowed the company to generate promising product candidates and enter into several strategic collaborations with global pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. About Gilead Sciences Gilead Sciences, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company that has pursued and achieved breakthroughs in medicine for more than three decades, with the goal of creating a healthier world for all people. The company is committed to advancing innovative medicines to prevent and treat life-threatening diseases, including HIV, viral hepatitis, and cancer. Gilead operates in more than 35 countries worldwide, with headquarters in Foster City, California.

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XtalPi and CK Life Sciences to collaborate in AI-empowered tumour vaccine research and development, opening a new paradigm for scientific innovation

XtalPi Inc. | November 25, 2022

XtalPi announced today that they are embarking on a strategic collaboration with CK Life Sciences, a member of the CK Hutchison Group. XtalPi and CK Life Sciences will leverage their respective expertise to jointly develop a novel AI tumour vaccine R&D platform to improve the discovery and design capabilities of tumour vaccines and accelerate the development of more vaccine types. The goal of this collaboration is to realize precision treatment for patients worldwide. According to public information, there were nearly 20 million newly diagnosed cancer patients worldwide in 2021, of which about 4.5 million cases came from China. Many cancer types lead to detrimental outcomes, with high morbidity and mortality, and there remains a large unmet clinical need. Tumour vaccines targeting different tumour neoantigens, tumour-associated antigens and tumour-specific antigens in patients can be designed for use as immunotherapy, to activate the patient's own specific immune responses. Currently, there are only two therapeutic tumour vaccines— sipuleucel-T for melanoma and Bacillus Calmette-Guérin for bladder cancer, as well as preventive tumour vaccines against human papillomavirus infection and hepatitis B infection approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Recently, several other tumour vaccines have entered clinical development and evidence of efficacy has begun to emerge. According to Mordor Intelligence, the global cancer vaccine market size was US$6.79 billion in 2021 and will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 11.53% from 2022 to 2026. The expected market size by 2026 will be approximately US$12 billion. Currently, the design and preclinical development process for tumour vaccines is complex and lengthy, hindering the efficiency and success rate of tumour vaccine research and development. Incorporating XtalPi's industry expertise in AI computation and robotic automation, this collaboration aims to build an AI tumour vaccine R&D platform that applies advanced AI algorithms and high-precision molecular modeling to predict and design a variety of tumour vaccines that can activate specific immune responses to kill tumours. The tumour vaccines will be screened and verified through automated experiments, and through integrating algorithmic feedback to optimise activity and efficacy, the platform is expected to generate preclinical tumour vaccine candidate compounds with robust immune activity. "As a company headquartered in the Hetao Shenzhen-Hong Kong Science and Technology Innovation Cooperation Zone, XtalPi is committed to realising the synergies between Shenzhen and Hong Kong by creating a new paradigm for innovation in the Greater Bay Area. Empowered by the latest technological advancements in automation, artificial intelligence is accelerating more innovative and diverse areas in drug research and development. Together with CK Life Sciences, we are committed to overcome conventional limitations and discover diverse applications for cutting-edge technologies. We believe the AI cancer vaccine platform jointly developed by CK Life Sciences and XtalPi will inspire the global scientific community to progress vaccine research and development and fast-track key development milestones for cancer vaccines. We are confident that this collaboration will significantly facilitate the scientific research exchange in the Greater Bay Area." Dr. Shuhao Wen, co-founder and chairman of XtalPi Dr. Melvin Toh, Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of CK Life Sciences, comments: "The R&D of tumour vaccines is one of the key development directions of CK Life Sciences. The cooperation with XtalPi will apply XtalPi's AI algorithm, molecular modeling and automated experiments to speed up the R&D process, improve the success rate, and increase the efficacy of tumour vaccines." About XtalPi Founded in 2014, XtalPi founders recognized a common hurdle in drug development having to do with solid polymorphism, which could be successfully tackled with quantum physics predictions. Since then, XtalPi has maintained its focus on identifying and then attacking traditional bottlenecks in biopharmaceutical R&D through innovative technologies. Through considerable capital investments in automation and personnel, XtalPi now has four locations worldwide and employs approximately 1000 employees. XtalPi has engaged in collaboration research with nearly all top-20 pharmaceutical companies in the world. Its ID4 platform combines physics-based simulations with experimental validation and refinement, automation for rapid synthesis, and machine learning to continuously improve prediction accuracy and process efficiency. About CK Life Sciences CK Life Sciences is listed on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong. Bearing the mission of improving the quality of life, CK Life Sciences is engaged in the business of research and development, manufacturing, commercialisation, marketing, sale of, and investment in, products and assets which fall into three core categories - nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals and agriculture-related. CK Life Sciences is a member of the CK Hutchison Group.

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Alloy Therapeutics and Normunity Sign Multi-Program Antibody Discovery Collaboration in Immuno-Oncology

Alloy Therapeutics | November 18, 2022

Alloy Therapeutics, a biotechnology ecosystem company, announced an antibody discovery collaboration spanning multiple precision immuno-oncology programs for Normunity, a biotech company that recently announced its $65 million Series A financing. The collaboration will support the advancement of Normunity’s immune normalizers, antibody therapies designed to target novel mechanisms that free the body’s normal immunity to fight cancer, which are conceived through a unique biotech-academic collaboration with a renowned immuno-oncology university research lab. Alloy democratizes access to tools, technologies, and services that are foundational for discovering and developing therapeutic biologics and has partnered with more than 130 discovery teams across academia, biotech, and large biopharma organizations. Through its discovery services offering, Alloy conducts high-touch, bespoke therapeutic discovery campaigns against partners’ targets of interest. “Our partnership reflects an exciting opportunity to pair Normunity’s insights in immune disruption and cancer disease biology with Alloy’s world-class antibody discovery expertise. We value Alloy’s collaborative approach and look forward to working together to advance the best therapeutic antibodies to target mechanisms discovered through Normunity’s platforms.” Normunity Chief Scientific Officer William LaRochelle, PhD The collaboration between Alloy and Normunity is leveraging Alloy’s high velocity antibody discovery services offering, Daedamab, which takes a sequencing-first approach to antibody discovery that reduces discovery timelines without sacrificing quality. The Daedamab team is based in Alloy’s research facility in Athens, GA, and its workflow comprises the ATX-Gx™, Alloy’s proprietary mice platform for human therapeutic antibody discovery, in addition to robust B cell isolation, next generation sequencing, cloning-free expression and a high throughput screening process—all supported by a rich informatics engine. “We are very excited to work with Normunity on its set of unique immuno-oncology targets using our high velocity NGS-based antibody discovery methods leveraging the ATX-Gx platform," said Richard Shimkets, PhD, SVP of Genetics and New Technologies at Alloy Therapeutics and CEO of the Daedamab site. “This relationship is emblematic of Alloy’s expertise in deploying the right technologies and processes to find our partners the best therapeutic antibodies against the novel targets they bring us.” Normunity is advancing into the clinic with programs that target mechanisms that drive the exclusion of T cells into immune-sensitive tumors and aim to deliver an active and effective immune system into cold tumors. About Daedamab Alloy’s Daedamab discovery service offers a novel, fast, powerful sequence-first approach to finding and making the best antibodies. The team is based in Athens, GA and supports Alloy collaborators with complete antibody discovery services, antibody sequencing of customer-provided material, expression and testing of customer-provided antibody sequences, humanization, and optimization services. About Alloy Therapeutics Alloy Therapeutics is a biotechnology ecosystem company empowering the global scientific community to make better medicines together. Through a community of partners across academia, biotech, and the largest biopharma, Alloy democratizes access to pre-competitive tools, technologies, services, and company creation capabilities that are foundational for discovering and developing therapeutic biologics across six modalities, including antibodies, TCRs, genetic medicines, peptides, cell therapies, and drug delivery. Partners may access all current and future technologies for a flat annual fee through Alloy’s Innovation Subscriptions offering. As a reflection of Alloy’s relentless commitment to the scientific community, Alloy reinvests 100% of its revenue in innovation and access to innovation. About Normunity Normunity, Inc., is a biotechnology company creating a new class of precision immuno-oncology medicines, called immune normalizers, that target novel mechanisms that free the body’s normal immunity against cancer. Based on an ongoing, interactive academic-biotech partnership with the lab of Dr. Lieping Chen at Yale School of Medicine, Normunity is targeting newly-discovered mechanisms of immune disruption in cancer based on proprietary discovery platforms that elucidate the complex interactions between human cancer and the immune system. The company is advancing an emerging pipeline of immune normalizers, including initial drug programs that target mechanisms that drive the exclusion of T-cells from immune-sensitive tumors and other mechanisms that are barriers to normal immune function in cancer. Normunity is located in Boston, Mass. and West Haven, Conn.

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