Anixa Biosciences and OntoChem Have Synthesized Four Potential Covid-19 Drugs for Testing in Biological Assays

Anixa Biosciences | June 01, 2020

Anixa Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: ANIX), a biotechnology company focused on the treatment, prevention, and diagnosis of cancer and infectious diseases, today announced that the Company, together with partner OntoChem GmbH, has synthesized four potential Covid-19 compounds that will advance to biological assay testing.  Anixa and OntoChem announced their partnership on April 20, 2020 (https://ir.anixa.com/press-releases/detail/947/) and announced discovery of its first potential Covid-19 candidate two weeks later on May 4, 2020. The initial phase of this program was designed to screen approximately 1.2 billion chemical compounds, utilizing in silico methods, against two specific enzymes of SARS-CoV-2.  As the computer-based screening identified potential compounds, they would be synthesized and tested in biological assays to evaluate their potency as predicted by the molecular modeling algorithms.  Should the biological activity be verified, the compounds will be tested in animal studies to further evaluate their candidacy as Covid-19 therapeutics.  Assuming animal studies are successful, the compound or compounds can be readied for human testing. Dr. Amit Kumar, President and CEO of Anixa Biosciences, stated, "When we announced our strategic collaboration with OntoChem, we committed to providing frequent updates regarding the progress of our research, because Covid-19 is such an acute public health and economic problem.  Therefore, we are pleased to announce that since identifying a lead molecule, we have further identified three similar analog compounds.  These molecules target a viral protein, an endoribonuclease, that helps the virus process its genetic material during viral replication.  Before the endoribonuclease can function properly, it needs to interact with a human protein in the infected human cell.  Our in silico molecular modeling indicates that any of these four molecules might disrupt the ability of the viral endoribonuclease to interact with the human protein.  If this is confirmed in our biological testing, we believe the molecules should inhibit the viral replication process and retard the infection."

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Providence Therapeutics Signs Licensing Agreement with SickKids for Immunotargeting Technology

Providence Therapeutics | July 13, 2022

Providence Therapeutics, Canada's premier mRNA medicines company, is pleased to announce that it has entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with The Hospital for Sick Children of Toronto, ON, for an immunotargeting technology platform. This platform provides an innovative approach to generating adjuvant-free vaccines and works by targeting Antigen Presenting Cells of the immune system via the MHC Class II molecules on their surface. This can result in an enhanced immune response to antigens which are coupled to the targeting monoclonal antibody (mAb). The technology builds on the earlier pioneering work done by Dr. Brian Barber, Professor Emeritus of Immunology at the University of Toronto, and has been extensively refined in the laboratory of Dr. Jean-Philippe Julien, Senior Scientist in the Molecular Medicine program at SickKids. The versatile technology platform can generate both monovalent and multivalent therapeutics, in a varied field of applications, including vaccines. With additional features, such as incorporating T-cell epitopes with the aim of generating a broader and longer immune response, the technology can engage both the humoral and cellular components of the immune system. Providence Therapeutics, an emerging specialty Biopharma, has successfully developed a robust, scalable, and effective mRNA medicine platform as exemplified by the clinical success of PTX-COVID19-B. The company is currently applying this platform to a variety of other infectious diseases and to an emerging oncology pipeline. The immunotargeting technology will enable the development team at Providence to explore the development of a new generation of unique mRNA medicines and vaccines by combining both platforms synergistically, potentially offering a multivalent dimension which will be new and unique in the field. "We are very excited to be working with a prestigious institution like SickKids. The immunotargeting technology is an excellent addition to our existing world class mRNA platform and will be important in enhancing the depth and scope of our portfolio of development programs." Brad Sorenson, CEO of Providence Therapeutics "We are excited to identify and potentially develop further novel applications for our immunotargeting technology, which provides an alternative to the use of adjuvants in vaccines," says Dr. Jean-Philippe Julien, the co-inventor of the technology. "This opportunity, emerging from Drs. Julien and Barber's research, is an example of how SickKids Industry Partnerships & Commercialization is working to support promising research and provide access to the robust research and clinical innovation ecosystem at SickKids," says Ihor Boszko, Executive Director, SickKids Industry Partnerships & Commercialization. The financial terms of the License are not being disclosed, but does include a provision for development of the technology through future sponsored research at SickKids. The company is committed to commercializing the technology and has an option for licensing of additional related technologies from the PI's laboratory in the future. About Providence Therapeutics Providence is a leading Canadian clinical stage biotechnology company pioneering mRNA therapeutics and vaccines with operations in Calgary, AB and Toronto, ON. In response to a worldwide need for a COVID-19 vaccine, Providence expanded its focus beyond oncology therapies and devoted its energy and resources to develop a world-class mRNA vaccine for COVID-19, PTX-COVID19-B, which is currently in the planning stages for a Phase 3 booster study to begin before the end of the year. Providence is focused on serving the needs of Canada, and other countries that may be underserved by large pharmaceutical programs.

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MEDICAL

Anitoa Launches Molecular Test (PCR) for Monkeypox

Anitoa | June 30, 2022

Anitoa Systems, market leader in fast, portable molecular testing, today announced the availability of a CE-marked turn-key PCR solution for testing Monkeypox. This portable solution includes one of a family small foot-print real time PCR instruments called the Maverick qPCR, with an extraction-free multiplex PCR reagent that tests OPXV/MPXV gene-targets in the skin lesion sample from patients suspected of infection with Monkeypox. Anitoa's Monkeypox test is designed to be carried out on-site, near patient, thus avoiding the need to transport patient samples to central labs for testing. The World Health Organization reported that over 2,100 people in 42 countries have been diagnosed with monkeypox as of June 15, nearly all during the past two months. As of June 17, the CDC reports 24 confirmed monkeypox cases in California, US. Although The CDC reports that the threat to the general U.S. population is considered low, it is important for healthcare providers worldwide to have a preparedness plan. Already having a presence in Africa, Anitoa Systems has started deloying its near-patient Monkeypox test in selected clinics in Africa. Anitoa is prepared to deliver its Monkeypox test solution world-wide when the need arises. Anitoa's Maverick line of multiplex real time PCR devices are lab-accurate, fast, portable and calibration-free. They can operate on battery power (including car battery) and takes up very little bench space. Maverick qPCR instruments are built on Anitoa's proprietary CMOS biosensor technology. They have been used widely for on-site testing of food, environment samples and agriculture products due to its rugged all solid-state design, small form factor, and lower operation cost. Anitoa's Monkeypox detection solution is part of an on-going program at Anitoa to develop tests to help combat a series of neglected tropical diseases in low resource settings. These tests currently include IVDR tests for Dengue, Yellow Fever, and Malaria We are closely monitoring the situation of Monkeypox infections around the world and tailoring our test solutions to the needs of the people affected." Zhimin ding, CEO of Anitoa Systems, LLC About Anitoa Anitoa Systems, a medical device technology start-up established in 2013 with headquarter in Sunnyvale, California, develops highly integrated and portable bio-sensor devices for molecular detection, based on its unique CMOS image sensor-based fluorescence and chemiluminescence molecular imaging. By replacing the traditional bulky and costly photon-multiplier tube (PMT) and CCD-based optical sub-systems, Anitoa's ultra-low-light CMOS sensor technology enables a new generation of compact and inexpensive molecular testing platforms targeting infectious, oncology and cardio-vascular markers. Anitoa manufactures its qPCR instruments and test kits in Hangzhou, China and Fremont, California.

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Persephone Biosciences Closes $15M Seed Financing Round

Persephone Biosciences | July 20, 2022

Persephone Biosciences Inc., a synthetic biology company reimagining patient and infant health through the development of microbiome-based medicines, today announced that it has closed a $15 million seed financing round. The round was co-led by First Bight Ventures and Propel Bio Partners, and included investments from Y Combinator, Fifty Years, Susa Ventures, American Cancer Society’s BrightEdge Fund, Pioneer Fund, and ZhenFund among others. “This financing is a significant milestone for Persephone and the culmination of years of thoughtful engagement with forward-thinking investors and individuals who are committed to the vast potential of our platform and technology. We plan to deploy this capital to further expand our research and clinical programs across a range of therapeutic areas, as well as pursue new collaborations. With our ARGONAUT study ramping up, it is an exciting time for us. We are grateful for the support of all our stakeholders and their commitment and confidence in our vision.” Stephanie Culler, CEO and Co-founder of Persephone Biosciences Persephone was founded to leverage a unique understanding of the microbiome as a therapeutic approach for a number of indications, including infant health and oncology. The company’s ARGONAUT trial (NCT04638751) is the largest study ever conducted in the U.S. to identify biomarkers for cancer treatment and prevention by mapping the gut-immune axis. In December 2021, Persephone announced that Janssen Biotech, one of Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, would collaborate with the company on the colorectal cancer patient arm of ARGONAUT, and on an arm of additional healthy individuals with varying cancer risk. Then in April 2022, Persephone announced a collaboration with Ginkgo Bioworks to enable the synthetic biology tools needed to develop the next generation of microbial therapies. About Persephone Biosciences Persephone Biosciences is pioneering the use of synthetic biology for the development of microbial products that impact patient and infant health. Persephone is building an end-to-end platform to industrialize the development of engineered cells that restore health to damaged human ecosystems. The company was founded in the summer of 2017 by synthetic and metabolic engineering pioneers, Stephanie Culler, Ph.D., and Steve Van Dien, Ph.D.

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MEDICAL

Ochre Bio Launches ‘Liver ICU’ in the United States to Evaluate Effects of RNA Therapies on Human Liver Performance

Ochre Bio | May 12, 2022

Ochre Bio, a biotech company developing RNA medicines for chronic liver diseases, announced today the launch of their ‘Liver ICU’. Housed in BioLabs@NYULangone, a biopharma incubator in New York City, this research site will evaluate the efficacy of new RNA therapeutics on whole human livers maintained on machines. The use of discarded donor livers for research is expected to enhance timelines and accuracy of liver medicine research by testing interventions directly in human livers maintained under conditions mimicking human physiology. This site is a part of a network of three leading liver perfusion research sites across the US. The other two US research sites are the laboratory of Greg Tietjen, Ph.D at Yale University, a pioneer in the field of ex vivo organ research, and LifeShare of Oklahoma, a leading US organ procurement organization. In addition, Ochre Bio is also announcing a partnership with OrganOx, a company at the forefront of changing the way donor livers are preserved in the critical time between donation and transplantation, and one of the first companies to have a liver perfusion device approved by the FDA. This research will involve hundreds of donor livers being kept alive outside the body for multiple days each. These are donor livers that cannot be used for transplant patients for various reasons, and so would be otherwise discarded. The livers will be maintained in human physiological conditions and used to test therapeutic interventions, with the goal of finding new therapies to improve liver transplant outcomes, in the hopes of thereby increasing the supply of transplantable livers, as well as uncovering insights relevant to a wider set of liver diseases. Greg Tietjen’s research group at Yale and LifeShare of Oklahoma will work with the Ochre research team towards being able to consistently perfuse organs for several days to study the effects of RNA therapy on liver performance. We’re excited to announce this new research site in the US, as well as these partnerships with world leaders in liver perfusion research and transplant medicine, This collaboration to evaluate the effects of RNA therapy directly in human livers preclinically is a step change for liver research, that we hope will lead to treatments for a number of liver diseases, and one day reduce the burden of liver transplantation for patients.” Jack O’Meara, CEO & Co-Founder at Ochre Bio. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of Ochre Bio, OrganOx, Yale University and, LifeShare of Oklahoma, the unique capabilities of the OrganOx metra are enabling multi-day isolated organ perfusion research and facilitating a new and exciting approach to developing novel therapeutics for liver diseases. We look forward to seeing the results of this approach leave research and enter the clinic in the future.” Craig Marshall, CEO, OrganOx. We view this work as an opportunity to honor the profound gift that every donor organ represents. While the organs enrolled in this study may not save the life of one transplant recipient, they have the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives in the future by enabling breakthrough new therapies from Ochre Bio to treat end stage liver disease.” Gregory Tietjen, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Transplant Surgery, Yale School of Medicine About Ochre Bio Ochre Bio is a biotechnology company developing RNA therapies for chronic liver diseases. Using a combination of genomic deep phenotyping, precision RNA medicine, and testing in live human donor livers, Ochre is developing therapies for important liver health challenges, from increasing donor liver supply to reducing cirrhosis complications. With laboratories across the UK, Asia and North America, the team has decades of experience leading liver genomics research and bringing advanced therapies to market.

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As organizations increasingly look to the public cloud to address specific business opportunities and use cases, Microsoft’s Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platform is gaining significant momentum. Azure has solidified Microsoft’s position as the clear No. 2 provider behind Amazon Web Services and achieved a growth rate of 136% between 2013 and 2014, making it by far the fastest growing platform in the industry.1

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