Rusted root: Weedy rice repeatedly evolves 'cheater' root traits

phys | April 05, 2019

Weedy rice is neither wild rice nor crop rice, but rice gone rogue that has shed some traits important to people. It also is an incredibly aggressive, potentially detrimental weed that pops up almost everywhere rice is grown, and it can reduce crop yields by more than 80 percent if it invades a field. Researchers from Washington University in St. Louis and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center used a new imaging technique to reveal a takeover strategy that has worked for weedy rice over and over again: roots that minimize below-ground contact with other plants.

Spotlight

Stem cell culture in stirred-tank bioreactors makes scale-up easier and allows comprehensive monitoring and control of parameters like temperature, pH, and dissolved oxygen. Here are some tips to help you transfer your stem cell culture from dishes and flasks to bioreactors.

Spotlight

Stem cell culture in stirred-tank bioreactors makes scale-up easier and allows comprehensive monitoring and control of parameters like temperature, pH, and dissolved oxygen. Here are some tips to help you transfer your stem cell culture from dishes and flasks to bioreactors.

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CELL AND GENE THERAPY

CSL Plasma Reimagines Donor Experience With First Donations Completed on Innovative Plasma Collection Technology

CSL Plasma | August 08, 2022

CSL Plasma, the plasma collection business of global biotherapeutics leader CSL Behring, began a new era in plasma donations, collecting its first plasma donations using leading-edge plasma collection technology that is expected to significantly reduce average collection time – by approximately one-third – and improve the donor experience. The Rika Plasma Donation System, only available at CSL Plasma and developed by Terumo Blood and Cell Technologies, is designed to reduce collection time, and improve the donor and operator experience. When considering prior average CSL Plasma donation procedure times, this could represent about a 30% reduction in average donation time for donors. The new plasmapheresis system first launched today in the Aurora, Colorado, CSL Plasma location, as part of a phased rollout to CSL Plasma U.S. collection centers. Plasma collected at CSL Plasma facilities is used in the manufacturing of lifesaving plasma-derived therapies. "Today marks a threshold moment for plasma donors following years of dedication, innovation and collaboration – demonstrating how we are driven by our promise in delivering lifesaving and life-extending therapies to patients around the world. We look forward to the positive impact this new technology brings and are thankful for plasma donors who continue to do the amazing every day when they donate at CSL Plasma." CSL Chief Operating Officer Paul McKenzie CSL Plasma believes features of the new Rika system can enable the collection of more plasma, in shorter periods of time, supporting quality and safety, and, ultimately, better serving patients who rely on plasma-based therapies. One of the first plasma donors to experience the Rika system, Kelly Geiser is a resident of the Denver area. She has donated plasma since 2017, and is a Platinum level donor as part of CSL Plasma's donor loyalty program, iGive Rewards®. Geiser appreciated that she was able to complete the donation procedure with the new technology in under 35 minutes and in the fastest donation time she has experienced, while every plasma donor's experience will vary. Donating plasma is also personal for Geiser, who says that therapies made from plasma have helped her and her family, including a parent who recently underwent emergency surgery. "It feels good knowing I'm helping people and, who knows, I might've helped somebody I know," said Geiser. According to Terumo BCT, benefits of the Rika Plasma Donation System include Rika completes one plasma collection in 35 minutes or less on average. The proprietary design of the system's centrifuge maximizes the plasma yield per cycle. The Rika Plasma Donation System was designed to allow no more than 200 milliliters of blood cells outside the donor's body, resulting in a low extracorporeal volume, which may contribute to a more comfortable donor experience. With less than 200 milliliters of blood cells outside the donor's body at any given time, should the initial procedure not be completed, the donor can return and donate without being deferred. The device is designed with an advanced user interface to guide CSL Plasma front-line employees. Operators can quickly and confidently resolve alarms, thanks to guidance provided on the Rika system's touchscreen, which also alerts operators about situations that require attention and provides suggested actions to resolve the situation. The system allows for real-time data analytics to drive device maintenance and repairs. CSL Plasma is implementing the new devices at Colorado centers and then expanding to other U.S. locations, providing donors more opportunities to "do the amazing" and be rewarded for their generosity. "As a long-time leader in our industry, CSL Plasma looks forward to this new plasmapheresis technology to delight our plasma donors and attract new donors while supporting a better operating experience for our employees," said Walter Charles, CSL Plasma Senior Vice President and General Manager. "As we complete the implementation of new technology at U.S. centers, we continue to address the critical and ongoing need for human plasma to produce life-saving medicines for people with serious and rare diseases." About CSL Plasma CSL Plasma operates one of the world's largest and most sophisticated plasma collection networks, with more than 300 plasma collection centers in the U.S., Europe and China. Headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, CSL Plasma is a subsidiary of CSL Behring, a global biotherapeutics company and a member of the CSL Group of companies. Plasma collected at CSL Plasma facilities is used by CSL Behring for the sole purpose of manufacturing lifesaving plasma-derived therapies for people in more than 100 countries. The parent company, CSL Limited headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, employs more than 25,000 people. About CSL Behring CSL Behring is a global biotherapeutics leader driven by our promise to save lives. Focused on serving patients' needs by using the latest technologies, we discover, develop and deliver innovative therapies for people living with conditions in the immunology, hematology, cardiovascular and metabolic, respiratory, and transplant therapeutic areas. We use three strategic scientific platforms of plasma fractionation, recombinant protein technology, and cell and gene therapy to support continued innovation and continually refine ways in which products can address unmet medical needs and help patients lead full lives.

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Enveric Biosciences Advances Drug Development for Mental Health Indications and Intellectual Property Portfolio

Enveric Biosciences, Inc | July 14, 2022

Enveric Biosciences, Inc. a neuroscience-focused biotechnology company developing next-generation, psychedelic-inspired mental health medicines, today revealed drug discovery and development progress targeting mental health indications and intellectual property advances achieved during the first half of 2022. “The first half of 2022 was foundationally successful for Enveric. We validated and executed on the corporate premise that we can deploy PsyAITM, our proprietary artificial intelligence tool, and PsybraryTM, our expanding proprietary portfolio of new chemical entities and drug candidates, to design and improve upon new drug molecules inspired by legacy psychedelic drugs,” Dr. Joseph Tucker, PhD, Enveric’s Chief Executive Officer “Enveric is pleased to advise that our predictions have materialized, and our platforms have successfully generated a large number of promising new molecules that have successfully passed primary screening and moved on to lead optimization, providing us with a strong slate of drug candidates. Our leading program, EVM-201, includes a number of new molecules currently in lead optimization that are geared towards providing improved characteristics and drug-like properties compared with psilocybin. The successful outcomes from our testing efforts completed in the first half of 2022 have positioned the company very well to advance our drug candidates towards the clinic,” continued Dr. Tucker. Clinical-Need Driven Based on extensive direct clinical understanding of the current unmet needs in anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other mental health indications, coupled with in-depth knowledge of the current treatment landscape, Enveric’s Clinical Team is well positioned to tackle the challenges ahead, while aiming to shepherd novel new treatments for a host of mental health indications. Enveric’s Clinical Team is led by a past Board-certified psychiatrist and clinical trialist Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Bob Dagher, MD. Dr. Dagher joined Enveric in December 2021, bringing a wealth of clinical trial management and new CNS-drug development experience from his past roles, including at WCG, Cadent, Covance, Sanofi and GSK, in addition to his first-hand experience in treating patients from his previous clinical practice in psychiatric medicine. Next-Generation Drug Discovery Enveric’s Discovery Team, spearheaded by Chief Innovation Officer Dr. Peter Facchini, PhD, an international leader in natural product biochemistry and biotechnology, completed the rational design of more than 300 Generation-2 (“Gen-2”) psilocin prodrug candidates using well-established design strategies, but adapted to the unique structure of psilocin. The 300 Gen-2 original concept designs, now housed within the PsybraryTM, were screened using PsyAITM. The assessment helped predict chemical structures with appropriate receptor binding, toxicology, and pharmacokinetic profiles that would trigger the desired mechanisms of action while reducing undesirable side effects, and the initial candidate evaluation included, among other metrics, prodrug-likeness, toxicity, ease of chemical synthesis and degree of IP-white space surrounding the molecule. Ranked scoring of these and other AI assessments, as well as commercial considerations (e.g., ease of procuring synthetic starting materials), prioritized 31 novel Gen-2 molecules that have been synthesized in sufficient quantities (~10 mg, 95% purity) for preliminary pharmacological screening. Enveric’s Chemistry Group, led by Dr. Kaveh Matinkhoo, PhD, completed these syntheses, 29 of which were deemed stable enough to advance. Deep-dive chemical structure searches, patentability, and freedom-to-operate reviews were performed on all 29 candidates, under the leadership of Lead Internal Counsel C. Michael Gegenheimer. All the patentability analyses indicated potential patentability results, and 25 of the 29 molecules presented minimal concern with freedom to operate. To strengthen the IP protection for the overall Gen-2 prodrug program, three provisional patent applications, covering 7 structurally diverse clinical classes and thousands of additional potential new drug candidates, have been filed so far in 2022, and additional provisional and PCT filings are expected to continue throughout the year. In other IP developments, an additional three of Enveric’s international patent applications protecting tryptamine derivatives have been published by the World Intellectual Property Organization, bringing the total published so far to seven. EVM-201 Drug Candidate Testing Following the initial Gen-2 ideation, patent filing, synthesis, and screening efforts, more extensive assays were performed on the advancing drug candidates. Numerous internal assays were performed under the leadership of Dr. Jill Hagel, PhD, Vice-President of Innovation and Dr. Sheetal Raithatha, PhD, Director of Research and Development. The internal results were then confirmed and validated using leading independent, third-party Contract Research Organizations (CROs), covering 122 Toxicology tests, 72 receptor-binding and potency tests, 31 pharmacokinetic tests and 24 animal-model tests to provide ample information to support candidate nomination. The synthesis and analysis of these comprehensive pharmacology and toxicology datasets, both internal and external, was led by Dr. Kevin Leach, PhD DABT, Vice President of Preclinical and Translational Research. Enveric is now moving towards lead-candidate nomination and, in preparation for IND filing, has initiated numerous IND-enabling studies on several of the leading candidates at third-party CROs. Recognizing the need for stable drugs with robust, reproducible, and cost-effective manufacturing, several Contract Development & Manufacturing Organizations (CDMOs) are currently engaged with Enveric’s Chemistry Team to determine how best to manufacture our molecules. Enveric has plans in place to produce material at commercial facilities and the CDMO personnel have worked with our chemists to validate that our processes will work at their facilities. This is another necessary step prior to filing the IND. Finally, preliminary formulation work is underway, with a particular focus on enabling improved routes of administration. “The first half of the year has indeed been busy and productive for the dedicated team here at Enveric. We are all very excited at how those efforts have begun to bear fruit. We look forward to advising our shareholders of further key developments, which we anticipate will continue to unfold during the remainder of 2022,” concluded Dr. Tucker. About Enveric Biosciences Enveric Biosciences, Inc. is a neuroscience-focused pharmaceutical company developing next-generation, psychedelic-inspired mental health medicines. Enveric's robust pipeline supports drug development from the clinic to commercialization aimed to help millions of patients in need around the world suffering from conditions that include cancer-related distress, PTSD and more.

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MEDTECH

GreenLight Biosciences and Samsung Biologics complete first commercial-scale engineering run for mRNA Covid-19 vaccine

Samsung Biologics | August 02, 2022

GreenLight Biosciences a biotechnology company dedicated to making ribonucleic acid products affordable and accessible for human health and agriculture, and Samsung Biologics a leading global CDMO providing fully integrated end-to-end contract development and manufacturing services, announced the successful completion of the first commercial-scale engineering run for the companies' mRNA production partnership. Since the announcement of the strategic partnership between GreenLight Biosciences and Samsung Biologics in late 2021, technology transfer and scale-up from the lab bench to Samsung's commercial facility was completed in seven months, demonstrating platform adaptability and scalability. GreenLight's process—from drug substance and lipid nanoparticle formulation to bulk drug product—can be completed in the same facility, an important capability. GreenLight's mRNA synthesis reaction had a titer of 12g/L at commercial scale and produced 650g of mRNA. The company's RNA platform allowed GreenLight to move from conceptualizing an mRNA vaccine to delivering released clinical trial material in less than two years. With the demonstration at Samsung, and with GreenLight's Covid booster vaccine clinical trial expected to start in 2022, GreenLight would be capable of supplying mRNA vaccine at a commercial scale. "This demonstrates a major achievement in our continuing goal to offer one-stop end-to-end mRNA production from Drug Substance to Aseptic Fill Finish to commercial release, all from a single site, as we strive across our biomanufacturing network to fight the pandemic," John Rim, CEO and President at Samsung Biologics Earlier this year, Samsung Biologics completed the expansion of its mRNA drug substance manufacturing suite at its Songdo headquarters, where the company is now fully equipped to provide end-to-end mRNA production for clients. "One of the greatest challenges when producing quality pharmaceuticals is advancing from a small lab to large-scale commercial production," said GreenLight CEO Andrey Zarur. "We are grateful for the help and support of Samsung in demonstrating that our small mRNA process can scale in a linear fashion to the industrial scale that will be needed to help satisfy the vaccine needs of humanity." To date, all comparability data conforms with expected outcomes, indicating successful scale up and fit of GreenLight's process to Samsung Biologics' Songdo facility. A second engineering run will start in August, to implement improvements indicated by the first run and to demonstrate repeatability at scale. About GreenLight Biosciences GreenLight Biosciences aims to address some of the world's biggest problems by delivering on the full potential of RNA for human health and agriculture. Our RNA platform allows us to research, design, and manufacture for human, animal, and plant health. In human health, this includes messenger RNA vaccines and therapeutics. In agriculture, this includes RNA to protect honeybees and a range of crops. The company's platform is protected by numerous patents. GreenLight's human health product candidates are in the pre-clinical stage, and its product candidates for the agriculture market are in the early stages of development or regulatory review. GreenLight is a public benefit corporation that trades under the ticker GRNA on Nasdaq.

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