INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Antheia and Ginkgo Bioworks Announce Partnership to Accelerate Production of Essential Medicines using Synthetic Biology

Antheia | August 13, 2021

Antheia, a synthetic biology company enabling next-generation plant-inspired medicines, and Ginkgo Bioworks, which is building the leading horizontal platform for cell programming, today announced a partnership to accelerate the development and production of essential medicines. Ginkgo, which recently announced a business combination with Soaring Eagle Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ: SRNG), serves customers across industries seeking to develop new and better products. Antheia plans to leverage Ginkgo's high throughput enzyme design and screening capabilities to broaden its pipeline of critical active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and key starting materials (KSMs).

Nearly half of all medicines today are sourced from nature, and many of the most widely used essential medicines are sourced directly from medicinal plants. The World Health Organization classifies "essential medicines" as medicines "that satisfy the priority health care needs of the population." The supply chains for most critical plant-based medicines are fragile, and depend on a years-long process of growing, harvesting, transporting, and processing specialty plants. During times of extreme demand or constrained supply, many plant-based medicines, including widely used analgesics and sedatives, can be in shortage, as was recently the case during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Antheia is committed to using synthetic biology to enable more equitable access to essential medicines," said Kristy Hawkins, CSO and co-founder at Antheia. "By partnering with Ginkgo Bioworks, a global leader in organism engineering, we are greatly increasing our ability to develop essential medicines at the speed and scale necessary to drive change in global pharma supply chains."

Synthetic biology platforms, such as those created by Antheia and Ginkgo Bioworks, make it possible for critical medicines to be produced on-demand in a much more efficient and environmentally friendly process compared to today's fragmented production systems. Additionally, when it comes to plant-based pharmaceuticals, biomanufacturing has significant advantages in supply chain resiliency and agility, cost, quality control, sustainability and efficiency compared to the conventional production methods, which are based on crop farming.

"We're proud to partner with Antheia, a leader in the application of synthetic biology, as they leverage our platform to produce essential medicines at scale," said Tom Knight, co-founder at Ginkgo Bioworks. "Antheia and Ginkgo are both committed to using biology to build a better future, and we look forward to a long lasting partnership that will drive substantial impact."

Antheia is focused on plant-inspired pharmaceuticals that are too complex to be produced through scalable synthetic chemistry processes. Antheia has managed to efficiently produce these highly-complex pharmaceuticals by pioneering whole-cell engineering, a technique that reconstructs multi-step biosynthetic pathways of unprecedented complexity in yeast cells. As Antheia brings its engineered microbes to commercial scale, it continually invests in strain optimization to ensure highly efficient production of the pharmaceutical compound of interest. Through this partnership, Antheia plans to leverage Ginkgo's extensive and rapid cell programming platform and biological codebase to greatly expand and accelerate its strain and enzyme engineering work.

"Antheia is at the cutting edge of synthetic biology innovation, and its whole-cell engineering platform is capable of producing entire classes of medicines that were previously inaccessible," said Barry Canton, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at Ginkgo Bioworks. "We are thrilled that Ginkgo's platform can support innovators like Antheia as they create next generation manufacturing technologies for essential medicines."

About Antheia
Antheia is unlocking the medicinal power of nature with synthetic biology. Through a novel whole-cell engineering approach to reconstruct complex molecules in yeast, Antheia's platform enables the discovery and manufacturing of plant-inspired drugs of unprecedented complexity and diversity. Antheia's team of scientists and technologists is headquartered in Menlo Park, California.

Spotlight

The biotechnology industry (Biotech) is now about 30 years old – a long enough time in which to evaluate how it’s done. Unfortunately, despite some notable successes, it hasn’t completely fulfilled its promise. The business model on which Biotech has historically relied is also breaking down, as the research base moves east and raising funds gets harder. And the distinctions between Biotech and the pharmaceutical industry (Pharma) are disappearing, with the convergence of the two sectors. But Biotech can’t turn to Pharma for guidance because Pharma’s business model has other flaws – as we explained in “Pharma 2020: Challenging business models”, the White Paper we published in April 2009.1 So what should Biotech do? We believe it should capitalise on the opportunities emerging in the healthcare arena – and reinvent itself by adopting a more collaborative approach.


Other News
MEDICAL

Texas Children's Pavilion for Women Acquires Austin Perinatal Associates Expanding Hospital's Maternal-Fetal Medicine Footprint to Central Tex

Texas Children's Hospital | May 09, 2022

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MEDICAL

ILC Dover Announces Liquid Single-Use Bioprocessing Bags for Rapidly Growing Biotherapeutics and Cell & Gene Therapy Markets

ILC Dover | March 30, 2022

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DIAGNOSTICS

RQ Bio Launches with Goal to Transform Treatment and Prevention of Viral Infectious Diseases Through Antibody Technologies

RQ Bio | May 17, 2022

RQ Bio today emerges from stealth mode announcing its launch as a new UK-based biotechnology company following the completion of a successful licensing deal with AstraZeneca for RQ Bio's existing mAbs against SARS-CoV-2. The Company, which is headquartered in London, is dedicated to developing treatments and preventative therapies based on potent broad-spectrum mAbs to provide instant and long-lasting immunity for vulnerable people at risk of severe disease or death from existing, emerging and new viral infections. To maximise and accelerate patient impact, the company will continue to be supported by its collaborations with its scientific co-founders, the University of Oxford and leading UK medical research charity LifeArc. Professor Gavin Screaton, Head of the Medical Sciences Division at the University of Oxford, will continue to advise in his capacity as scientific and medical co-founder, as will Clare Terlouw, Head of LifeArc Ventures and UK BIA board member, as a member of the Board of Directors. Our vision is to build on our successful debut with neutralising antibody therapy for SARS-CoV-2 and develop innovative medicines to address current and evolving unmet needs in other viral infectious diseases, By combining our expertise and innovative excellence in core areas we have created a smarter approach to antibody generation making us uniquely positioned to deliver fast patient impact." Hugo Fry, CEO of RQ Bio. LifeArc is committed to backing leading UK academics and scientists, and we were inspired to fund RQ Bio because of the exceptional group of founders who are so passionately dedicated to finding new treatments and preventative therapies in areas of high unmet patient need, LifeArc provided support from across the Charity, including the venture team, scientific labs and other in-house experts to help RQ Bio execute on its business plan, and we look forward to further supporting RQ Bio as it becomes a world-leading infectious disease company." Clare Terlouw, Head of LifeArc Ventures. About RQ Bio RQ Bio's mission has been to develop medicines based on potent broad-spectrum mAbs to provide instant and long-lasting immunity for vulnerable people at risk of severe disease or death from current and future variants of viral infections. RQ Bio has achieved this by combining innovative excellence in core areas to create a smarter approach to antibody generation. RQ Bio has multiple sources of leads and a deep collaboration with the University of Oxford. RQ Bio was founded by scientific experts previously involved with the UK BIA Antibody Taskforce, which worked to build a community of infectious disease antibody experts focussed on the development of rapid and efficient delivery of highly potent neutralising antibodies to help support the UK COVID-19 response. About AstraZeneca Licensing Deal Under the terms of the agreement, RQ Bio has granted AstraZeneca an exclusive worldwide licence to develop, manufacture and commercialise RQ Bio's exisiting early stage mAbs against SARS-CoV-2 and a right of first refusal to take an exclusive licence in respect of any additional mAbs against SARS-CoV-2. RQ Bio will receive upfront and milestone payments of up to $157 million and will be eligible to receive single digit royalties on sales. The successful licensing deal was supported by Oxford University Innovation (OUI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the University of Oxford that manages the University's technology transfer and consulting activities, who worked efficiently and creatively with all parties on the corresponding technology licences and the filing of intellectual properties.

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Aanika Biosciences First Biotech Company to Receive Bermuda Monetary Authority’s Approval for Reinsurance Innovation Hub

Aanika Biosciences, | February 25, 2022

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Spotlight

The biotechnology industry (Biotech) is now about 30 years old – a long enough time in which to evaluate how it’s done. Unfortunately, despite some notable successes, it hasn’t completely fulfilled its promise. The business model on which Biotech has historically relied is also breaking down, as the research base moves east and raising funds gets harder. And the distinctions between Biotech and the pharmaceutical industry (Pharma) are disappearing, with the convergence of the two sectors. But Biotech can’t turn to Pharma for guidance because Pharma’s business model has other flaws – as we explained in “Pharma 2020: Challenging business models”, the White Paper we published in April 2009.1 So what should Biotech do? We believe it should capitalise on the opportunities emerging in the healthcare arena – and reinvent itself by adopting a more collaborative approach.

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