MEDICAL

Ambagon Therapeutics Launches With $85 Million Series A to Advance Pioneering Molecular Glue Platform and Progress Pipeline

Ambagon Therapeutics | January 07, 2022

Ambagon Therapeutics, a biotechnology company unlocking intrinsically disordered proteins and other difficult-to-target protein classes, announced an $85 million Series A to augment its drug discovery platform and to advance its pipeline of molecular glues.

The financing was led by Nextech Invest. Ambagon was previously seeded by RA Capital Management, Droia Ventures, Inkef Capital, AbbVie Ventures, MRL Ventures Fund, and Mission BioCapital. Investors from the seed round joined the A round, along with new investor Surveyor Capital.

Many disease-relevant proteins have regions of intrinsic disorder that cannot be targeted by conventional small molecule drugs. Several thousand proteins with such intrinsically disordered regions have been identified that interact with the hub protein 14-3-3. In binding to a disordered protein region, 14-3-3 induces order, conferring druggability.

By stabilizing naturally occurring 14-3-3:client interactions, Ambagon aims to rapidly develop novel therapeutic candidates for difficult-to-drug proteins. The pipeline currently focuses on oncology, where many opportunities exist to engage currently-undruggable targets.

Ambagon was founded by world leaders in 14-3-3 biology and drugging protein-protein interactions: Michelle Arkin, Professor and Chair of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and co-Director of the Small Molecule Discovery Center at UCSF, Luc Brunsveld, Professor of Chemical Biology at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), and Ambagon Chief Technology Officer Christian Ottmann, Associate Professor of Molecular Cell and Structural Biology, TU/e.

Ambagon’s seasoned leadership team includes Chief Executive Officer Scott Clarke, previously CEO of Tizona Therapeutics and Trishula Therapeutics, and Chief Scientific Officer Nancy Pryer, previously CSO at Day One Biopharmaceuticals and Chief Development Officer at Nurix Therapeutics.

Our deep understanding of 14-3-3 biology has broad applications for drug discovery as it opens up disordered protein regions as therapeutic targets. Combined with our proprietary structural insights, curated chemical library, and bespoke drug discovery tools, our experienced drug development team is well placed to bring forward new medicines addressing previously undruggable targets.”

 Scott Clarke

“Ambagon’s modular approach for leveraging 14-3-3 biology to enable drug discovery is not just unique, but uniquely well-conceived,” said Melissa McCracken, Partner, Nextech Invest. “We are excited to see such an exciting platform translate into a very rich pipeline.”

“We are proud to continue to support Ambagon as it works to create first-in-class and best-in-class drugs through targeted stabilization of protein complexes,” said Adam Rosenberg, Ambagon’s Chair and RA Capital Venture Partner. “Since our seed investment, the team has developed an impressive proprietary dataset and systemic understanding of 14-3-3 interactions. Ambagon truly has the potential to change the narrative for disordered targets.”

About Ambagon Therapeutics
Ambagon Therapeutics is a biotechnology company pioneering methods to unlock intrinsically disordered protein targets using small molecules. Ambagon applies deep knowledge of 14-3-3 proteins and a proprietary suite of drug discovery tools to create molecular glues that stabilize 14-3-3:target complexes. These molecular glue stabilizers amplify native biology to restore or inhibit target function, potentiate target activity, or promote or block target degradation. Ambagon’s initial focus is on oncology, with five programs in discovery. It has locations in San Carlos, California, and Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

About 14-3-3 Biology
Ambagon’s platform harnesses the biology of the regulatory hub protein 14-3-3, which reads serine/threonine phosphorylation. With more than 3000 client proteins reported, 14-3-3 has a vast interactome, enabling the manipulation of a broad range of biology across indications.

In binding its clients, 14-3-3 imposes order on disordered client protein sequences, conferring druggability on otherwise undruggable proteins and protein regions.

About the Modular Ambagon Drug Discovery Platform
By selectively stabilizing the interaction between 14-3-3 and a 14-3-3 client protein, Ambagon can create first-in-class drugs addressing high value targets inaccessible by other means, particularly those with a high degree of disorder, including transcription factors, adaptor/scaffolding proteins, and RNA binding proteins.

Spotlight

Cost containment in the healthcare system has placed clinical laboratories under constant pressure to improve efficiency while addressing patient care and safety concerns. As part of the design process, today’s instrument manufacturers seek to ensure that automation errors do not occur. A cap inspection system is one solution to improve error prevention processes. By inspecting test tubes and caps to collect detailed information such as diameter, cap color, and cap type, instrument manufacturers no longer need to engineer for the worst case scenario.


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MEDICAL

Ratio Therapeutics Launches to Discover and Drive Early Clinical Development of Best-in-Class Targeted Radiopharmaceuticals for Treatment of Cancers

Ratio Therapeutics | June 13, 2022

Ratio Therapeutics Inc. today announced its launch with a mission to develop best-in-class targeted radiopharmaceuticals for the treatment of cancers. Founded by entrepreneurial scientists Jack Hoppin, Ph.D., and John Babich, Ph.D., Ratio emerges from stealth mode with more than $20 million in seed funding, fully funded development alliances with Bayer AG and Lantheus Holdings Inc., a robust portfolio of assets developed with two proprietary technologies, and a growing team of world-class experts in radiopharmaceuticals discovery and development. The company's near-term plans call for the submission of its first investigational new drug (IND) applications, which are expected this quarter, and the initiation of clinical trials later this year. Based in Boston, Ratio is set to move to a new 19,000-square-foot headquarters and research facility in the Seaport District in January. Ratio's radiopharmaceuticals strategy is focused on optimizing tumor localization while minimizing uptake by normal tissues. To achieve this, the company uses its proprietary technology platform called Trillium™ that is based on Dr. Babich's prior research at Weill-Cornell Medical College and first developed and validated by the founders in a previous venture. Trillium is a trifunctional small molecule scaffold that can be fine-tuned to alter its plasma clearance, target affinity and therapeutic payload. Each component of the scaffolding can be independently optimized to boost tumor uptake over normal tissue uptake, thereby maximizing therapeutic index. Ratio has successfully applied this framework to several tumor targets and multiple therapeutic payloads. In addition, Ratio is developing a technology platform to take advantage of the tumor killing power of the alpha emitter, Actinium-225. This proprietary technology is called the Macropa™ chelate platform. Ratio's scientists have already successfully incorporated Macropa into the Trillium platform as well as several peptides and antibodies. Macropa's unique chemistry enables ease of manufacture and robust in vitro and in vivo stability of the resulting radiotherapeutic compound. The ability to fine-tune our targeted radiotherapeutics using Trillium and Macropa enables us to address head-on the trifecta of typical challenges we see with most radiopharmaceuticals: delivery, safety and efficacy, Over the past year, we have generated significant preclinical data that demonstrate our ability to create excellent performing drug candidates that now are advancing into the clinic. Our goal is to become the partner of choice for pharmaceutical companies committed to this area of cancer therapy by enabling the optimization of a broad array of targeting compounds. We will shepherd these therapies through early clinical studies on our own or in collaboration." Dr. Babich, Ratio's President and Chief Scientific Officer. Targeted radiotherapy is an exciting and emerging field where chemistry meets physics meets medicine. We have assembled and will continue to build a world-class interdisciplinary team of researchers and developers with a singular focus on delivering these treatments to cancer patients. It isn't often that a start-up company has in place the early financial backing and industry support to advance entirely new drug discoveries to clinical development at this pace. It is with great pride that we announce our formal launch and exit from stealth mode." Dr. Hoppin, Ratio's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. In collaboration with Bayer, Ratio has leveraged its Trillium platform for the identification of lead prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA)-targeted therapeutic compounds for prostate cancer. At the same time, Ratio is working with Lantheus to develop a lead fibroblast activation protein (FAP)-targeted PET diagnostic compound for a broad array of epithelial-derived cancers, such as breast, pancreatic, lung and stomach cancer. Both collaborations are fully funded and reflect the types of partnerships that Ratio is currently pursuing with other companies. About Ratio Therapeutics Ratio Therapeutics Inc. is a Boston-based pharmaceutical company with the mission to accelerate the development of next-generation precision radiopharmaceuticals for solid tumors and transform oncology treatment paradigms. Founded by John Babich, Ph.D., and Jack Hoppin, Ph.D., the company currently employs a growing team of radiopharmaceuticals discovery and development experts with backgrounds in the life science industry. Ratio's fully integrated proprietary R&D platforms, Trillium™ and Macropa™, enable the imaging, discovery and advancement of novel radiopharmaceuticals that have first/best-in-class delivery, safety and efficacy properties. The tunable nature of the company's platforms enables the efficient and timely generation of numerous novel radiopharmaceuticals for a broad range of high unmet need in solid tumors. Built to be the radiopharmaceuticals discovery and development partner of choice, Ratio currently collaborates with Bayer and Lantheus.

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MEDICAL

AXIM Biotech Develops Rapid Quantitative Tear Test for MMP-9, An Inflammatory Biomarker of Dry Eye Disease

AXIM Biotech | March 10, 2022

AXIM Biotechnologies, Inc (OTCQB: AXIM) (“AXIM Biotech,” “AXIM” or “the Company”), an international healthcare solutions company targeting dry eye disease (DED), today announced that it has successfully developed a rapid quantitative tear test for MMP-9, an inflammatory biomarker for Dry Eye Disease. Dry Eye Disease, though widespread, is under-diagnosed, in part because symptoms do not always correlate with objective signs. It has a highly variable symptom profile at different stages of the disease, and there is often a discordance between signs and symptoms. A patient can have severe symptoms yet show no sign of ocular surface damage, while others have advanced ocular surface damage, yet report no symptoms. This lack of correlation between clinical signs and symptoms of Dry Eye Disease makes diagnosing and treating patients a challenge. Often times, inflammation is present before the clinical signs of Dry Eye Disease. The challenge has been in early detection of inflammation. Matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), an inflammatory biomarker consistently elevated in the tears of dry eye patients, may accelerate early diagnosis when detected. The central role of inflammation in ocular surface disease is widely recognized, but our ability to measure this in the clinic has been limited to the InflammaDry test that measures tear matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) levels and provides a positive/negative result around a threshold of 40ng/ml of MMP-9. This 'yes or no' report has clinical value, but it is limited. Currently available MMP-9 testing does not detect a reduction in tear MMP-9 levels until the concentration drops below 40ng/ml and thus may miss clinically significant improvement that did not reach that threshold.” Dr. Joseph Tauber, AXIM’s Chief Medical Officer. The clinical benefits of the quantitative test for MMP-9 as a tool for accurate diagnosis of Dry Eye Disease and subsequent treatment include more accurate pre-surgical and post-surgical outcomes. Post-surgical complications, such as corneal wound healing, is facilitated by identifying dry eye prior to surgery. The availability of quantitative tear MMP-9 testing would be a significant advance in our ability to measure the degree of inflammation affecting our dry eye patients, allowing for more objective classification of their disease, Equally important would be the ability to measure improvement in control of inflammation that is the goal of many of our therapies for ocular surface disease, including pharmaceuticals, thermal pulsation treatments and even light based therapies.” Dr. Joseph Tauber. Some reports indicate that nearly half of all U.S. adults experience dry eye symptoms and 33% of patients in eye care clinics present with complaints about dry eye. Given the size of the market, AXIM made the strategic decision to develop a test for MMP-9 to assist in early detection of Dry Eye Disease. Together with our Lactoferrin and IgE Tests and now with the addition of our MMP-9 Test, AXIM will be positioned to corner the market for Dry Eye Disease diagnostic testing.” John Huemoeller, AXIM’s CEO. About AXIM® Biotechnologies Founded in 2014, AXIM® Biotechnologies, Inc. (AXIM) is a vertically integrated research and development company focused on improving the landscape for diagnosis of ophthalmological conditions such as Dry Eye Disease (DED) through rapid diagnostic tests. Additionally, it owns IP and has conducted research on SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) rapid neutralizing antibody tests to detect levels of functional neutralizing antibodies that are believed to prevent SARS-CoV-2 from entering the host cells, as well as for oncological indications.

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Cellarity Expands Leadership Team to Continue Evolution of a Breakthrough Platform to Encode Biology and Purposefully Create New Medicines

Cellarity | February 11, 2022

Cellarity, a life sciences company founded by Flagship Pioneering to encode and simulate human biology to reimagine the way we create medicines, announced today the expansion of its executive leadership team with three key appointments. As Chief Scientific Officer, Laurens Kruidenier, Ph.D., will lead the continued evolution of Cellarity’s platform and pipeline and oversee cross functional integration across all aspects of computation, drug creation, and optimization. As Chief People Officer, Anna O’Driscoll will lead the development of human resources and talent development strategies to enable the fast growth of Cellarity and make the company a top place to work for talent. As Senior Vice President and Head of Data and Software Engineering, Parul Doshi will spearhead the development of a leading and scalable data infrastructure to support the entire drug creation and development process. “We are building a transformative company and bringing together a strong team of people with a track record of making things happen. Laurens is not only an exceptional translational scientist, with experience and success advancing primary research into clinical-stage programs, he is also a team and company builder, helping integrate and mature drug discovery platforms.” Fabrice Chouraqui, Ph.D., CEO of Cellarity and a CEO-Partner at Flagship Pioneering Dr. Chouraqui continued, “Anna brings deep experience in talent and leadership development in the biotech industry, and she is known for her passion to positively impact the employee experience. Parul not only brings broad expertise in data infrastructure across the entire pharma value chain, from preclinical and clinical to tech operations and commercialization but also hands-on expertise in software engineering. I am excited that these top leaders have joined us at this pivotal time as Cellarity grows our team, advances key programs, and scales a pipeline of important new therapeutics.” Cellarity has developed unique capabilities to encode biology and model computationally the changes that occur between health and disease to design breakthrough medicines. Cellarity's transformative approach to drug creation looks beyond an individual molecular target to understand the complex biological network of cellular changes that underlie the start and progression of a disease. Built at the confluence of systems biology, single cell data, and machine learning, the Cellarity platform leverages a more complete view of cell biology to purposefully create drugs. Since all diseases stem from a disorder at the cellular level, Cellarity’s approach can be applied to virtually every disease and uncovers new biology and treatments that are unlikely to be found through target-based discovery. “Despite the tremendous progress the industry has made in advancing medical treatments, most diseases do not have curative therapies, and there are thousands of conditions that lack treatments,” said Dr. Kruidenier. “I’m impressed with Cellarity’s drug creation engine, which looks beyond the single target and embraces the full complexity of human disease. I look forward to working with the team to realize the truly transformative nature of the Cellarity platform and advance into the clinic novel medicines in diverse therapeutic areas to meet a wide range of patient needs.” Laurens Kruidenier, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Kruidenier has more than 25 years of experience in discovery research, both in academic settings as well as in the life sciences industry and a track-record of success in drug discovery and development, driving research programs into clinical study and integrating teams and technologies for growth and scale. Prior to joining Cellarity, Dr. Kruidenier was Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) at Prometheus Biosciences, a precision medicine company in the immune-mediated disease space. At Prometheus, he helped mature the company from an early, seed-stage Cedars-Sinai-spinout into a Nasdaq-listed, platform-driven portfolio company with three active Phase 2 clinical trials. Previously, he held the roles of Vice President of Discovery at Second Genome, where he was responsible for a portfolio of microbiome programs and Head of GI Immunology Research at Takeda Pharmaceuticals, where he was responsible for developing the global discovery research and business development strategy into inflammatory diseases of the bowel. Earlier in his career, Dr. Kruidenier held various positions at different discovery units at GlaxoSmithKline, where he led preclinical teams and projects in immuno-inflammation, epigenetic, and protein degradation drug discovery. He completed his post-doctoral training at the University of London and holds an M.Sc. in medical biology from Utrecht University and a Ph.D. in mucosal immunology from Leiden University. His research has resulted in multiple publications in top tier scientific journals, including Nature. Anna O’Driscoll, Chief People Officer Ms. O’Driscoll has more than a decade of experience in human resources and was most recently Vice President of Human Resources at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, where she worked in roles spanning R&D, Commercial, Corporate Functions, Learning and Development, and Employee Relations as Alnylam evolved from a research organization to a leading biotech company. Prior to Alnylam, she was Head of Talent Strategy and Process at Shire and in the Human Resources Leadership Development Program at Johnson & Johnson. Ms. O’Driscoll graduated with an MBA from the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts and a bachelor’s degree in marketing and languages from Dublin City University. Parul Doshi, Senior Vice President, Head of Data and Software Engineering Ms. Doshi has more than twenty years of experience in information technology (IT) and software engineering and was most recently Head of IT & Digital for Takeda’s Vaccine division. She spent the past 16 years at Takeda, in roles of increasing seniority across several divisions of the company. She notably led the IT programs to launch oncology products NINLARO® and ALUNBRIG® as well as the consolidation of the Vaccines Business Unit to Cambridge, Massachusetts and integration of ARIAD Pharmaceuticals post acquisition. Prior to Takeda, Ms. Doshi worked as a developer at Patni Computer Systems, servicing major companies such as Fidelity Investments and LEGO®. Ms. Doshi graduated with an MBA in information technology and finance from Savitribai Phule Pune University, and a bachelor’s in economics and applied statistics from the University of Rajasthan. About Cellarity Cellarity's mission is to fundamentally transform the way medicines are created through the development of the first full stack digital cell. Founded by Flagship Pioneering in 2017, Cellarity has developed unique capabilities combining high-resolution data, single cell technologies, and machine learning to encode biology, model interventions, and purposefully design breakthrough medicines. By focusing on the cellular changes that underlie disease instead of a single target, Cellarity’s approach uncovers new biology and treatments and is applicable to a vast array of disease areas. The company currently has programs underway in metabolic disease, hematology, immuno-oncology, and respiratory disease. The company has raised $123 million as part of a Series B funding round with contributions from funds and accounts managed by Blackrock, The Baupost Group, Banque Pictet on behalf of their clients, and eight other investors alongside Flagship Pioneering. About Flagship Pioneering Flagship Pioneering conceives, creates, resources, and develops first-in-category bioplatform companies to transform human health and sustainability. Since its launch in 2000, the firm has, through its Flagship Labs unit, applied its unique hypothesis-driven innovation process to originate and foster more than 100 scientific ventures, resulting in more than $140 billion in aggregate value. To date, Flagship has deployed over $2.6 billion in capital toward the founding and growth of its pioneering companies alongside more than $19 billion of follow-on investments from other institutions. The current Flagship ecosystem comprises 42 transformative companies, including Axcella Health (Nasdaq: AXLA), Codiak BioSciences (Nasdaq: CDAK) Denali Therapeutics (Nasdaq: DNLI), Evelo Biosciences (Nasdaq: EVLO), Foghorn Therapeutics Indigo Ag, Kaleido Biosciences (Nasdaq: KLDO), Moderna (Nasdaq: MRNA), Omega Therapeutics (Nasdaq: OMGA), Rubius Therapeutics (Nasdaq: RUBY), Sana Biotechnology (Nasdaq: SANA), Seres Therapeutics (Nasdaq: MCRB), and Sigilon Therapeutics.

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REGULATORY

Lummus and Braskem Announce Partnership for Green Ethylene Technology

Braskem | April 29, 2022

Lummus Technology, a global provider of process technologies and value-driven energy solutions, announced a partnership with Braskem, the largest biopolymer producer in the world, to license green ethylene technology. Lummus and Braskem will license worldwide technology to produce green ethylene and accelerate the use of bioethanol for chemicals and plastics, supporting the industry's efforts towards a carbon neutral circular economy. We are truly excited with this partnership, which helps the world diversify the feedstock sources for chemicals and plastics with biomass. Leveraging the combined experience and expertise of Lummus and Braskem to produce green ethylene thus reduces carbon footprint and plays a promising role in the energy transition, Braskem has already been operating the technology successfully at large scale, and together we are going to expand the world's production of low carbon chemicals and polymers from renewable feedstocks, helping our customers decarbonize their assets and produce greener products." Leon de Bruyn, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lummus Technology. Lummus, a recognized leader in ethylene production technologies, has licensed approximately 40 percent of global ethylene capacity, giving the company the technical capability and licensing expertise to further develop and market the technology behind green ethylene. This partnership enables the license of the technology globally with the first two projects being developed in the U.S. and Thailand; the later still under evaluation and subject to the approvals of the respective governance bodies. Lummus brings licensing experience and process knowledge into this partnership to extend the reach of Braskem's proven green ethylene technology worldwide, With this initiative, we believe we are also contributing with an alternative for the industry to move towards a carbon neutral circular economy." Walmir Soller, VP Olefins/Polyolefins Braskem Europe & Asia and CEO Braskem Netherlands BV. This partnership reflects Lummus' strategic business direction, through its subsidiary Green Circle, as a leader in commercializing and developing breakthrough solutions to address the key pillars of the energy transition, including end-of-life waste plastics recycling, production of bio-derived sustainable chemicals and decarbonization strategies for existing and new assets. Together, Lummus and Braskem are ensuring the growth of green ethylene production worldwide and meeting the demand for green ethylene. About Lummus Technology Lummus Technology is the global leader in developing process technologies that make modern life possible and focus on a more sustainable, low carbon future. Lummus is a master licensor of clean energy, petrochemical, refining, gas processing and renewable technologies, and a supplier of catalysts, proprietary equipment, digitalization and related lifecycle services to customers worldwide. About Braskem With a global vision of the future, oriented towards people and sustainability, Braskem is engaged in contributing to the value chain in order to strengthen the Circular Economy. Its 8,000 team members dedicate themselves every day to improving people's lives through sustainable solutions in chemicals and plastics. With its corporate DNA rooted in innovation, Braskem offers a comprehensive portfolio of plastic resins and chemical products for diverse industries, such as food packaging, construction, manufacturing, automotive, agribusiness, health and hygiene, and more. With 40 industrial units in Brazil, United States, Mexico and Germany and net revenue of R$52.3 billion (US$13.2 billion), Braskem exports its products to clients in over 100 countries.

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Spotlight

Cost containment in the healthcare system has placed clinical laboratories under constant pressure to improve efficiency while addressing patient care and safety concerns. As part of the design process, today’s instrument manufacturers seek to ensure that automation errors do not occur. A cap inspection system is one solution to improve error prevention processes. By inspecting test tubes and caps to collect detailed information such as diameter, cap color, and cap type, instrument manufacturers no longer need to engineer for the worst case scenario.

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