ALX raises $105M for midphase trials of CD47 cancer drug

FierceBiotech | February 12, 2020

ALX Oncology has raised $105 million. The series C round will support phase 2 trials of CD47 myeloid checkpoint inhibitor ALX148 in combination with other anti-cancer therapies. Multiple drug developers have gone after CD47 since evidence of its role in the interactions between cancer cells and the immune system became clear. The evidence suggested tumors evade immune attacks by upregulating CD47, leading researchers to posit that blocking the signal will expose cancer cells to a full-force offensive. However, efforts to realize the therapeutic potential of anti-CD47 antibodies have been undermined by hematological adverse events stemming from the fact the target is found on host cells such as red blood cells.

Spotlight

Systemic diseases of different degrees are common in adults and children. In the benign stages, they can be treated and cured through minimum medical interventions. Some of the diseases that are self-limiting in nature resolve with time. But some other diseases that take serious forms do not cure even after advanced medical procedures. Cancer is the end-stage of these types of diseases.


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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Portal Innovations Expands Chicago Operations Triples Space in Fulton Labs

Portal Innovations | February 03, 2022

Portal Innovations continues its momentum in Chicago by launching the second phase of its operations with the opening of 35,000 square feet of premier wet and dry lab and office space at 400 North Aberdeen in Fulton Labs. The new facility will allow Portal, a life sciences venture development engine, to grow and scale its investment in early-stage biotech companies in Chicago. Portal has tapped Patrick Flavin to serve as President of its flagship Chicago operation. With over 20 years of experience building high-performing teams and collaborations with corporate partners in several public and private life sciences companies, Patrick brings his seasoned biotech-entrepreneurial experience to navigate Portal’s portfolio expansion. Patrick was the founding Executive Director at MATTER and currently serves as a Managing Director at Portal. “I am excited to partner with Patrick as we continue to build Portal into a premier platform of investment in transformative companies with the best innovators, entrepreneurs, academic institutions, and venture capitalists. Patrick’s experience and vision are crucial for Portal to reach the next level here in Chicago.” Portal Founder and CEO John Flavin Through its “Crafted Capital” model, Portal invests seed financial funding, offers access to fully equipped wet and dry lab space, and provides management expertise to leading scientific and entrepreneurial founders. Portal is building a valuable portfolio of life sciences companies at the seed to series A investment stage for long-term value creation. Portal has partnered with Trammell Crow Company, one of the largest commercial real estate developers in the United States, to catalyze the Chicago regional life sciences ecosystem at the Fulton Labs Campus and is currently investing in and supporting companies in its existing 11,000 square feet of wet and dry lab and office space at 1375 West Fulton Street. “I am thrilled to expand our operations in Fulton Labs during a very exciting time for breakthroughs in biotech,” said Patrick Flavin. “Portal’s expansion of lab and office space will accelerate our ability to invest in, house, and support the promising life sciences companies that are emerging from the region’s top tier research institutions.” About Portal Innovations Portal Innovations is a premier venture development engine that bridges scientific ideation in life sciences, medtech, and bioinformatics through commercial proof of concept by delivering crafted capital, including seed funding, specialized equipment, lab space, and management expertise to high-potential early-stage companies.

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MEDICAL

Thermo Fisher Scientific Opens Bioprocessing Manufacturing Site in Ogden, Utah

Thermo Fisher Scientific | April 21, 2022

Thermo Fisher Scientific today celebrated the opening of its new single-use technology manufacturing site in Ogden, Utah. The state-of-the-art facility creates additional capacity to produce the high-quality technology and materials needed for the development of new vaccines and breakthrough therapies. The $44 million facility is part of Thermo Fisher’s $650 million multi-year investment, announced last year, to help ensure flexible, scalable and reliable bioprocessing production capacity exists for critical materials used in developing new and existing biologics and vaccines, including for COVID-19. The Ogden site is a 55,000-square-foot facility that will manufacture highly customizable bioprocess container (BPC) systems. These BPCs are used for the delivery, processing, separation, storage and transportation of critical liquids and readily integrate into systems across all steps in the production of life-saving biologics, vaccines and cell and gene therapies. The Ogden facility further strengthens our global manufacturing network, which has been growing to meet increasing demand for single-use consumables and critical raw materials, This new facility expands our presence in Utah and locating here gives us the ability to work closely with our Logan site, providing access to a talented workforce that is ideal for manufacturing the highly complex and customized solutions we provide our customers.” Mitch Kennedy, president, single-use technologies, Thermo Fisher Scientific. The Ogden site has hired more than 300 employees and has the potential to employ up to 450 people across safety, quality, manufacturing, HR, engineering and warehousing. Thermo Fisher currently employs more than 2,000 colleagues across the state of Utah, establishing a critical hub for bioprocessing. Thermo Fisher’s new facility in Ogden is not only an investment in Utah’s bio-tech infrastructure, but also an investment in the thriving communities of our state, Utah is a high-tech hub for businesses seeking an educated, dedicated workforce within communities and an economy that is thriving. I welcome Thermo Fisher’s investment in Utah and congratulate them on this next step on the cutting edge of biotechnology.” Senator Mike Lee. An integral part of Utah’s biotech community, Thermo Fisher has had a positive impact on Utah’s economy, providing several thousand jobs to Utahns around the state, They also have played a critical role in our country’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic by helping pharmaceutical companies produce therapeutics and vaccines. I look forward to joining the opening of their new manufacturing site in Ogden, which shows how our state continues to be a place where companies can grow and thrive.” Senator Mitt Romney. We’re pleased to welcome a new Thermo Fisher Scientific facility to Ogden, This facility, along with campuses in Logan and South Jordan, will bring more than 400 new jobs and expand the company’s employee base to 2,000 statewide. We are grateful to have Thermo Fisher Scientific as part of Utah’s growing biotech economy." Governor Spencer Cox. About Thermo Fisher Scientific Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. is the world leader in serving science, with annual revenue of approximately $40 billion. Our Mission is to enable our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer. Whether our customers are accelerating life sciences research, solving complex analytical challenges, increasing productivity in their laboratories, improving patient health through diagnostics or the development and manufacture of life-changing therapies, we are here to support them. Our global team delivers an unrivaled combination of innovative technologies, purchasing convenience and pharmaceutical services through our industry-leading brands, including Thermo Scientific, Applied Biosystems, Invitrogen, Fisher Scientific, Unity Lab Services, Patheon and PPD.

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

c-LEcta Announces That It Has Reached Agreement to Be Acquired by Kerry Group

c-LEcta | February 16, 2022

c-LEcta, a leading biotechnology company in enzyme engineering and bioprocess development, has announced that it has reached an agreement with Kerry Group for it to acquire a majority shareholding of the company. Kerry is a world-leading taste and nutrition partner for the food, beverage, and pharmaceutical markets. This strategically compelling combination will accelerate Kerry’s innovation capabilities in enzyme engineering, fermentation and bio-process development while also enabling c-LEcta to fufill its long term growth potential. “We are very happy to join Kerry group and their global presence in the food and pharmaceutical sectors gives us access to additional markets. At the same time, their expertise in ingredient technologies and applications is a perfect fit as we continue to drive our growth potential in the future. We will continue to collaborate with our existing industry partners and will of course continue to produce and distribute our products for our valued customers.” Dr Marc Struhalla, founder and CEO of c-LEcta Thomas Pfaadt, CFO of c-LEcta adds: “We want to thank our previous investors for the great cooperation over the past years. Without their contribution, such a development would not have been possible. Together, we have achieved a lot and we are thankful for their support.” Commenting on the agreement with c-LEcta, Dr Albert McQuaid, Chief Science and Technology Officer of Kerry, said: “The food and pharmaceutical industries are on the cusp of a new wave of innovation where new developments in biotechnology, synthetic biology and precision fermentation are radically transforming these sectors. c-LEcta is a leader in these new technologies, which includes fermentation-based products such as disruptive new enzymes, and the strategically compelling combination with Kerry will accelerate our innovation capabilities in enzyme engineering, fermentation and bio-process development. Our broad market reach across food and pharma markets, combined with our deep enzyme applications expertise and integrated ingredient technology design, will enable and accelerate the growth potential of c-LEcta’s strong portfolio and technology capabilities while also supporting us in the creation of tastier, more sustainable and healthier products.” About c-LEcta c-LEcta is a leading biotechnology company located in Leipzig, Germany. The company has established itself as a leading player in the realisation of high-value biotechnology products for regulated markets, either as in-house development or in close cooperation with the industry. c-LEcta innovation capability delivers cost-efficient and sustainable production processes, creating growth opportunities across existing and new markets. About the Kerry Group Kerry is a world-leading taste and nutrition partner for the food, beverage, and pharmaceutical markets and with its broad portfolio of ingredient solutions reaches more than one billion customers worldwide. Together with their customers, Kerry develops innovative products with great taste, improved nutritional value, and higher functionality, while having a better impact on the environment. Thanks to their leading consumer knowledge, their global RD&A team with more than 1,100 food scientists, and their comprehensive, global presence, Kerry can overcome the complex challenges of their customers with differentiated solutions. Kerry is willing to be a valued partner for their customers and to create a world of sustainable nutrition.

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MEDICAL

SelfDecode Offers Free Kidney Health DNA Report to Celebrate National Kidney Month

SELFDECODE | March 07, 2022

SelfDecode is kicking off National Kidney Month with a national campaign to raise awareness about the importance of preventative measures to optimize kidney health. For the month of March, SelfDecode is offering a free Kidney Health DNA Report to anyone who uploads a DNA file for analysis. Through genetic testing, SelfDecode is providing people with the opportunity to gain insight regarding their genetic predisposition for health issues and receive personalized recommendations to optimize their health. Kidney health is just one of the dozens of health topics that SelfDecode offers reporting for. Your kidneys are part of your body's natural detox system. They filter your blood and remove excess water, salt, minerals, and waste. If something goes wrong with this system, chronic kidney disease (CKD) can arise. According to the CDC, about 15% of American adults have CKD, and most don't even know that anything is wrong. By the time they learn, they may have already progressed to the later stages. That's why understanding your genetic predisposition for kidney problems and taking preventative actions can be so crucial, Two kidneys working together can filter as much as 180 L of fluid a day, so there are few better ways to optimize your natural detoxification system than by taking care of your kidneys." Dr. Puya Yazdi, Chief Science Officer at SelfDecode. Typical actions to promote a healthy life, like eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly, will go a long way in maintaining good kidney health. But there are also certain factors you could monitor that may be more personal to you. For example, phosphorus is an essential mineral, but in excess it can cause a buildup of calcium in the kidneys, which has been linked to kidney damage. Variants of certain genes have been associated with higher levels of phosphorus, which has the potential to increase the risk of poor kidney health. A person who knows that they have these specific genetic variants can choose to take particular care in limiting phosphorus intake to a healthy amount. ABOUT SELFDECODE SelfDecode is a fast-growing precision health company providing consumers and companies with advanced genetic analysis and personalized insights. Using AI, SelfDecode combines DNA, lab, and environmental data to provide science-based health advice tailored to each individual.

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Spotlight

Systemic diseases of different degrees are common in adults and children. In the benign stages, they can be treated and cured through minimum medical interventions. Some of the diseases that are self-limiting in nature resolve with time. But some other diseases that take serious forms do not cure even after advanced medical procedures. Cancer is the end-stage of these types of diseases.

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