TARA Biosystems | November 03, 2021
TARA Biosystemsa, biotechnology company harnessing human biology and data to transform cardiac drug discovery, today announced a collaboration with Scipher Medicine, a precision medicine company matching patients with the most effective therapy. The collaboration will address a critical unmet need for effective therapeutics in cardiac laminopathies.
Cardiac laminopathies, associated with mutations in the LMNA gene, can result in electrical and mechanical changes in the heart. These changes can have profound clinical consequences, including cardiomyopathy, sudden cardiac death, and end-stage heart failure. At present, therapies that correct the underlying pathologies do not exist.
“This collaboration demonstrates the transformative potential of combining biology-driven data with network biology to further drug discovery and development and unlock new medicines and therapeutics,”
said Misti Ushio, PhD, CEO of TARA Biosystems
Scipher will leverage human molecular data analyzed by its Spectra™ platform, which includes data from TARA’s BiowireTM II LMNA disease models, to identify novel targets for a stratified disease population. This approach aims to identify proteins upstream and downstream of LMNA signaling within the Spectra™ network model. The identified targets will be evaluated in TARA’s BiowireTM II platform, which consists of induced pluripotent stem cell-derived human cardiac tissue models, including a repertoire of healthy, gene-edited, patient-derived, and drug-induced phenotypes of human disease.
“The Spectra platform uniquely integrates AI with the protein network of human cells to identify novel targets in highly complex and debilitating diseases such as laminopathy,” said Slava Akmaev, PhD, CTO, and Head of Therapeutics at Scipher Medicine. “By interrogating the network neighborhood of LMNA and its relationship with the proteins appropriate for targeted therapeutics we are confident that we can identify several novel and relevant drug targets.”
“The TARA platform is highly versatile and can capture robust physiologic endpoints of human cardiac function, including contractility, electrophysiology, calcium signaling, structure, as well as genomic, proteomic, and metabolic profiles,” said Robert Langer, PhD, Board of Directors at TARA Biosystems. “We believe that TARA and Scipher combined efforts have the potential to lead to drug development that enables a truly personalized treatment for patients.”
Under the terms of the partnership, TARA has the exclusive option to progress identified targets into drug discovery and clinical development. Scipher is eligible to receive milestone payments and royalties. TARA will retain the rights for the development, and commercialization of therapeutics for the selected targets.
“The partnership with TARA is a further example of how our disease agnostic Spectra platform can be applied to where novel targets are most needed,” added Alif Saleh, CEO of Scipher. “The ability to quickly validate novel targets identified by Spectra on TARA’s human tissue model platform allows us to rapidly iterate to identify most effective targets.”
About TARA Biosystems, Inc.
Headquartered in New York City, TARA Biosystems harnesses innovations in stem cell biology and tissue engineering to generate in vitro biology that recapitulates human physiology with unprecedented fidelity. Our highly versatile and robust platform captures integrated physiologic endpoints of human cardiac function across a wide repertoire of cardiac disease phenotypes. Our data facilitates decisive evaluation of the efficacy and risk of novel medicines, increasing the probability of success and decreasing long timeframes associated with traditional drug discovery efforts. Safer and more effective new medicines that rapidly make it to market means better health and longer lives, and we believe that benefits people everywhere.
A platform deciphering the complexity of disease by analyzing large patient molecular datasets through the unique lens of the human interactome and AI. Built upon over a decade of experimental research, the platform’s backbone is the network map of human biology explaining how proteins expressed from the human genome interact to cause specific disease phenotypes, providing the wiring diagram needed to interpret dynamic individual patient molecular data to reveal actual disease biology. Spectra™ is not a model but a disease representation rooted in experimental human biology and proprietary patient molecular data, allowing us to identify a patient’s unique disease signature, predict drug response to approved drugs and identify novel drug targets in patients not responding to existing therapies.
About Scipher Medicine®
Scipher Medicine, a precision immunology company, believes that patients deserve simple answers to treatment options based on scientifically backed data. Using our proprietary Spectra Network Biology platform and artificial intelligence, we commercialize blood tests revealing a person's unique molecular disease signature and match such signature to the most effective therapy, ensuring optimal treatment from day one. The patient molecular data generated from our tests further drives the discovery and development of novel and more effective therapeutics. We partner with payers, providers, and pharma along the health care value chain to bring precision medicine to autoimmune diseases.
CELL AND GENE THERAPY
Sphere Fluidics | October 29, 2021
Sphere Fluidics, a company that has developed and is commercialising single cell analysis systems underpinned by its proprietary picodroplet technology, announced today that it has closed a $40 million investment round. The round was led by Sofinnova Partner and Redmile Group investing on equal terms.
Sphere Fluidics will use the funding to enable the expansion of the Company’s international sales activities in key markets and improving its support for customers. Furthermore, it will expand its product research and development programs, including novel applications for its proprietary Cyto-Mine® Single Cell Analysis System.
The Cyto-Mine is an automated cost-effective platform which integrates single cell screening, sorting, dispensing, imaging, and clone verification and has been purchased by an international customer base including global pharmaceutical companies, biotech, CDMOs, and leading research institutions. The platform can process millions of samples per day, assessing and isolating rare or valuable cell variants or biological products, to simplify and improve throughput across antibody discovery, cell line development and single cell diagnostics. The funds raised will support ongoing commercialization, broadening the technology’s adoption into new, innovative research areas such as cell therapy, synthetic biology and genome editing, in addition to ongoing enhancements of the platform’s capabilities and performance. In conjunction with the financing, Sofinnova’s Tom Burt and Redmile Group’s Rob Faulkner will join the Board.
“This is a transformational investment from two of the most respected specialist investment funds in the industry and a recognition of the untapped potential of the pioneering product and market development carried out by the Company to date.
Andrew Mackintosh, Chairman of Sphere Fluidics
Frank Craig, CEO, Sphere Fluidics, commented: “This funding round is not only testament to the potential of Sphere Fluidics’ single cell analysis technology, but also to the expertise of our team. The investment will underpin our growth strategy, enabling us to expand both our product range and our support to new and existing customers, globally.
Tom Burt, Partner, Sofinnova Partners, commented: “We remain impressed by Cyto-Mine’s high-throughput, ease-of-use and accessible cost. In the growing markets of monoclonal antibody discovery, cell line development and cell therapy, we see a significant need for such an affordable and reliable single cell analysis system as Cyto-Mine, capable of performing multiple assays on tens of millions of individual cells per run.”
Xylyx Bio | September 30, 2020
Xylyx Bio, a leader in advanced disease models for drug discovery, today announced the launch of specialized contract R&D services that support improved assessment of antifibrotic drug candidate efficacy. Despite ongoing advances, the current drug discovery paradigm is highly inefficient. Approximately 40% of development costs are associated with preclinical studies, yet 80% of drug candidates fail before reaching Phase I trials, largely due to lack of translatability of efficacy data to humans. Commonly used assays have limited ability to predict how a drug candidate will act when introduced into patients, costing biopharma companies billions in the quest to determine which drugs will be most effective. To address this, Xylyx Bio now offers specialized contract R&D services based on its highly predictive IN MATRICO™ platform. Xylyx Bio's custom assays incorporate human disease-specific extracellular matrix (ECM) substrates combined with clinically relevant informatics to better represent human biology and reliably de-risk drug discovery through early efficacy signals that simultaneously reduce costs and development time.