MEDTECH

GP-write Partners with DNA Script to Accelerate DNA-Writing Technology and Accessibility

Genome Project-write | October 18, 2021

GP-write’s CAD is a one-stop shop for microbe, plant and animal genome writing and redesign. Its automated workflow allows users to rapidly upload a genome, redesign it and synthesize the new sequence. The tool enables researchers to directly order synthetic DNA or related products and services from GP-write’s affiliated members.

DNA Script’s SYNTAX System, a benchtop DNA printer powered by their groundbreaking enzymatic DNA synthesis (EDS) technology, enables users to print sequences designed on GP-write’s CAD tool right in their lab. The first-of-its-kind DNA printer expedites workflows, making DNA writing as simple and efficient as next-generation sequencing.

DNA Script will host a roundtable at the GP-write 5.0 conference on October 22 at 12:30 p.m. ET to engage attendees in a discussion centered on biosecurity as it relates to emerging technologies, including GP-write’s new CAD tool and DNA Script’s SYNTAX System.

“We’re pleased to join GP-write and their industrial partners to drive innovation on the forefront of DNA printing technologies. Just as NGS, or DNA 'read,' and CRISPR, or DNA 'edit,' have brought significant advances to research and clinical care, we believe the broad accessibility of synthetic DNA printing, or DNA 'write,' offered by our SYNTAX System will be equally transformative and power the next bio-revolution.”

Thomas Ybert, co-founder and CEO of DNA Script

GP-write President and General Counsel, Amy Cayne Schwartz, notes that the organizations are partnering to work toward realizing “a shared vision of a future where writing genomes is facile, democratized and safely accessible.” Schwartz explains that “this will open up new frontiers for development of novel therapeutics and solutions for environmental health.”

About Genome Project-write
GP-write, conceived as a sequel to the Human Genome Project, applies lessons learned from HGP to pursue scientific exploration fully integrated with the development of genome engineering technologies. The primary goal of the project is to drive dramatic cost reductions and expedite whole-genome writing and redesign over the next decade, empowering researchers to uncover complex biological behavior and reprogram organisms to address defining global challenges in medicine, biotechnology and environmental health. 

About DNA Script
Founded in 2014, DNA Script is a pioneering life sciences technology company developing a new, faster, more powerful and versatile way to design and manufacture nucleic acids. The company has developed an alternative to traditional DNA synthesis called Enzymatic DNA Synthesis, or EDS, allowing this technology to be accessible to labs with the first benchtop enzymatic synthesis instrument, the SYNTAX System. By putting DNA synthesis back in the lab, DNA Script aims to transform life sciences research through innovative technology that gives researchers unprecedented control and autonomy. 

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MEDICAL

Anixa Biosciences Announces the Initiation of its Ovarian Cancer CAR-T Phase 1 Trial at Moffitt Cancer Center

Anixa | March 31, 2022

Anixa Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: ANIX), a biotechnology company focused on the treatment and prevention of cancer and infectious diseases, today announced the initiation of a Phase 1 trial evaluating its novel chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy in ovarian cancer. The CAR-T approach used for Anixa's therapy is known as chimeric endocrine receptor T-cell (CER-T) since the target of the engineered T-cells is an endocrine receptor. The Phase 1 trial at Moffitt Cancer Center will evaluate the safety and efficacy of Anixa's therapy in patients with ovarian cancer. Anixa holds an exclusive, worldwide license for the technology, which was developed at the Wistar Institute. While CAR-T therapy has shown efficacy in some hematological tumors, reproducing the same results with solid tumors, such as ovarian cancer, has proven challenging. One of the reasons for this difficulty is that effective CAR-T therapy needs a specific antigen to recognize that is only present on target cancer cells in order to avoid negatively affecting healthy cells. The CER-T therapy being evaluated in Anixa's Phase 1 study differs from traditional CAR-T in that it targets the follicle stimulating hormone receptor (FSHR), which research indicates is exclusively expressed on ovarian cells in healthy adult females. We are thrilled to have partnered with world-class scientists at Moffitt Cancer Center to advance our CER-T platform and feel that this partnership provides a critical opportunity to make a significant impact on the treatment of solid tumors, We strongly believe that our unique targeting approach differentiates our CER-T platform from traditional CAR-T approaches and that CER-T has potential to work in solid tumors where other therapies have failed." Dr. Amit Kumar, President, CEO and Chairman of Anixa Biosciences. CAR-T therapies are rapidly becoming an important player in cancer therapy, and our lab has developed a technology that has the potential to target tumors by using an existing biological mechanism that is well understood. If our CER-T approach is successful, it could serve as a model for future targeted CAR-T therapies in other cancer types. The goal in cancer therapy has always been to kill cancer cells with limited damage to healthy tissue, and we look forward to seeing how this CER-T therapy may be able to accomplish that in solid tumors, which have historically proven challenging to eradicate with cell therapy." Jose R. Conejo-Garcia, M.D., Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Immunology at Moffitt Cancer Center and co-inventor of the CER-T technology. About Anixa's CER-T Approach (Follicle Stimulating Hormone Receptor-Mediated CAR-T technology) Anixa's chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) technology approach is an autologous cell therapy comprised of engineered T-cells that target the follicle stimulating hormone receptor (FSHR). FSHR is found at immunologically relevant levels exclusively on the granulosa cells of the ovaries. Since the target is a hormone (chimeric endocrine) receptor, and the target-binding domain is derived from its natural ligand, this technology is known as CER-T (chimeric endocrine receptor T-cell) therapy, a new type of CAR-T. About Anixa Biosciences, Inc. Anixa is a clinical-stage biotechnology company with a number of programs addressing cancer and infectious disease. Anixa's portfolio of therapeutics includes a cancer immunotherapy program being developed in collaboration with Moffitt Cancer Center, which uses a novel type of CAR-T, known as chimeric endocrine receptor T-cell (CER-T) technology, and, with partner MolGenie GmbH, a COVID-19 program focused on compounds targeting the Mpro enzyme of SARS-CoV-2, which is largely conserved across all recently identified variants like Delta and Omicron. The company's vaccine portfolio includes a novel vaccine being developed in collaboration with Cleveland Clinic to prevent breast cancer – specifically triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), the most lethal form of the disease – as well as a vaccine to prevent ovarian cancer. These vaccine technologies focus on immunizing against "retired" proteins that have been found to be expressed in certain forms of cancer. Anixa's unique business model of partnering with world-renowned research institutions on clinical development allows the company to continually examine emerging technologies in complementary fields for further development and commercialization

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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

Aanika Biosciences, an emerging biotech company using microbial based technologies to protect the safety and security of our food system, announced today it has received acceptance into the Bermuda Monetary Authority’s (BMA) Innovation Hub. The program will allow reinsurers to explore how the application of Aanika’s traceability and prevention technology can help reduce the magnitude and size of claims while lowering premiums and expanding protection for the food and agriculture industry. Reinsurance is an almost $500 billion global industry that allows insurance carriers to offload portfolio risks to reinsurers and hedge funds. Aanika estimates its technology could help in the underwriting of nearly $100 billion in premiums linked to contamination, recalls, crop insurance as well as non-safety related claims linked to ESG practices and general product liability. Bermuda is one of the largest hubs for the reinsurance market in the world and the center of innovation in the space. Prior to co-founding Aanika, CEO Vishaal Bhuyan spent more than a decade in finance focused on investing, managing and co-authoring multiple books on insurance-linked derivatives related to human longevity, overfishing and water scarcity. “Climate change will wreak havoc on our food system – potentially accelerating contamination outbreaks, diseases and natural disasters that are damaging and outright destroying crops around the world. ,” says Bhuyan. “ The insurance industry is not yet equipped to handle the volatility of risk and magnitude of loss - and is operating with a massive blind spot. In recent years insurers have adopted machine learning, satellite data and blockchain technologies to increase efficiency and more accurately price risks, but this will be the first use of synthetic biology to better prepare and protect themselves and their policyholders.” The proof-of-concept initiative approved by the BMA will enable Aanika to partner with insurance carriers to develop ‘test policies’ for the U.S. food and agricultural market that mandate applying the microbial technology in their supply chain. This improved ability to distinguish identical commodities from each other will increase transparency throughout the claims process beyond what is possible with digital technologies alone. Aanika co-founder and Chief Science Officer Dr. Ellen Jorgensen says this is a unique and unprecedented opportunity to unlock the potential of synthetic biology. “We need stable, scalable, actionable solutions now to build a more resilient global food supply, which means finding inventive ways of looking at the problem,” says Dr. Jorgensen. “The Aanika science team has developed a way to adapt nature to meet this challenge, and it will be exciting to see how leveraging it in an unconventional way like reinsurance can have immediate as well as long-term benefits.” By tapping into the reinsurance industry, Aanika will be able to commercialize biological innovations in ways that have never been done before. Aanika’s goal is to capture a fee on every policy that is essentially microscopically tethered to the product while using its growing pipeline of “secondary functions” to further enhance the stability and shelf life of said product – reducing the probability and magnitude of a claim. About Aanika Biosciences Aanika Biosciences was co-founded in 2018 by Vishaal Bhuyan after he personally experienced the consequences of ordering fresh, ethically sourced seeds and receiving stale, contaminated products instead. He made it his mission to create a safer food supply by finding a way to track, trace and authenticate products. Aanika’s customized microbial-based tags help companies gain valuable insights about their supply chains, help their customers make better consumption choices, and create a more sustainable world. About Bermuda Monetary Authority The Bermuda Monetary Authority (Authority or BMA) regulates Bermuda’s financial services sector. The Authority was established by statute in 1969. Its role has evolved over the years to meet changing needs in the financial services sector. Today it supervises, regulates and inspects financial institutions operating in the jurisdiction. It also issues Bermuda’s national currency, manages exchange control transactions, assists other authorities with the detection and prevention of financial crime, and advises Government on banking and other financial and monetary matters.

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DIAGNOSTICS

Evonetix Granted Patent for Technology Enabling Thermally-Controlled DNA Synthesis

evonetix | April 04, 2022

EVONETIX LTD (‘Evonetix’), the synthetic biology company bringing semiconductor technology to DNA synthesis, today announced it has been granted patent EP3551331B1 in Europe for its proprietary thermal control technology for DNA synthesis, as well as the design and manufacture of its silicon chips. This patent extends Evonetix’s IP portfolio and is a key step in the Company’s strategy to develop a benchtop DNA synthesis platform, to change how DNA is accessed, made, and used. Evonetix’s novel approach to parallel DNA synthesis is underpinned by precise, independent, control of temperature at thousands of individual synthesis sites across the surface of a silicon chip. In contrast to conventional approaches, which use acid deprotection to control the synthesis cycle, Evonetix uses thermal control with semiconductor-based arrays. This offers greater accuracy and selectivity to deprotect sequences at the correct point to add the next nucleotide and remove mismatching sequences. Thermal control of DNA synthesis enables highly parallel synthesis and gives the ability to work through sequences that are hard to synthesise using conventional techniques and to remove errors during the assembly of gene sequences through temperature mediated error removal. There is currently an unmet need in the synthetic biology industry for long, accurate, DNA sequences, and the ability to remove errors during assembly allows researchers to achieve longer strands of DNA, and run applications such as gene synthesis, CRISPR screening, and protein engineering. Securing this patent to cover our core technology adds further strength to our IP portfolio and underlines Evonetix’s position as leaders in our field. Our technology will give researchers the capabilities of service centres in their own lab, accelerating the advancement of synthetic biology and opening new possibilities in this exciting market.” Matthew Hayes, Chief Technology Officer at Evonetix.

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CELL AND GENE THERAPY

SOPHiA GENETICS Launches New Deep Learning Capabilities to Support the Detection of Homologous Recombination Deficiencies

SOPHiA GENETICS | March 08, 2022

SOPHiA GENETICS (Nasdaq: SOPH), a leader in Data-Driven Medicine, announced today the launch of their SOPHiA DDM Homologous Recombination Deficiency (HRD) Solution, opening new doors for cancer research. The application provides a unique approach for molecular cancer testing by combining the identification of HRD-causing mutations with the analysis of HRD-induced genomic instability across the whole genome of tumor samples. HRD is caused by a cell's impaired ability to repair DNA double-stranded breaks through the homologous recombination repair (HRR) pathway and is linked with the development of certain cancers. It is also an important predictor of tumor response to treatment with PARP inhibitors. Molecular testing of tumor samples using SOPHiA DDM enables simultaneous detection of both HRR mutations that can cause HRD, including those in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, and the accumulated damage to genomic integrity that can result from them, using shallow whole-genome Next Generation Sequencing. SOPHiA GENETICS is collaborating with AstraZeneca, aiming to expand access to in-house HRD testing across European laboratories and institutions. Providing laboratories with innovative solutions to enable locally-delivered HRD testing is critically important, particularly in settings such as advanced ovarian cancer, where approximately half of all newly diagnosed patients have HRD-positive tumors, We are pleased to work with SOPHiA GENETICS in their mission to empower their laboratory customers and increase the range of options available for HRD detection." Kristina Rodnikova, SVP Global Oncology Diagnostics at AstraZeneca. To combat current challenges with HRD detection offerings, the SOPHiA DDM HRD Solution provides laboratories and institutions with a decentralized approach to HRD testing for tumor samples. The SOPHiA DDM HRD Solution allows the user to retain full ownership of their data and save time and expenses, while also offering comprehensive genomic insights powered by deep learning algorithms. We at SOPHiA GENETICS have always been on a mission to improve health outcomes by advancing data-driven medicine, which is why I am extremely excited to announce the launch of our new HRD research solution, Our SOPHiA DDM HRD Solution will provide researchers and other healthcare professionals with a decentralized approach to fully integrated HRD testing, enabling the HRD status of more advanced ovarian cancer cases to be determined without reliance on send-out testing solutions." Dr. Jurgi Camblong, Co-founder and CEO of SOPHiA GENETICS. About SOPHiA GENETICS SOPHiA GENETICS (Nasdaq: SOPH) is a healthcare technology company dedicated to establishing the practice of data-driven medicine as the standard of care and for life sciences research. It is the creator of the SOPHiA DDM™ Platform, a cloud-based SaaS platform capable of analyzing data and generating insights from complex multimodal data sets and different diagnostic modalities. The SOPHiA DDM™ Platform and related solutions, products and services are currently used by more than 790 hospital, laboratory, and biopharma institutions globally.

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