Cell and Gene Therapy, Industrial Impact

Bio-Techne Announces Completion of and Gene Therapy Catapult Analytical Technology (PAT) Consortium

Bio-Techne Announces Completion

Bio-Techne Corporation announced it has completed its participation in the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult Process Analytical Technology (Catapult PAT) consortium, a multi-year collaboration involving 24 partner companies, technology providers, therapy developers, and charities. The Catapult PAT consortium is the first initiative of this scale and functional expertise with member companies and organizations collaborating to develop cell and gene therapy-specific process analytical technologies.

The PAT initiative began in January 2021 with a series of experiments designed to monitor process parameters of an exemplar 8-day T-cell expansion bioprocess using primary T-cells. Data were gathered from five independent analyses to generate an extensive, world-first dataset. An analysis of multiple cytokine targets was conducted using high-plex Luminex® immunoassays and the precision multiplexing Ella™ platform from Bio-Techne. The automated workflow of the Ella platform proved to be particularly amenable to the efficiency, accuracy, and throughput demands inherent in a bioprocess manufacturing environment. With its robust performance in this project, the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult plans to incorporate Ella™ into an existing CGT Catapult facility to further support scientists in the UK.

"As a leader in the forefront of innovative tools to measure cytokines, we are honored to be a part of the Catapult PAT initiative to help advance cell and gene therapy development," said Will Geist, President of Bio-Techne's Protein Sciences Segment. "Bio-Techne remains excited about the potential of these advanced therapies to improve patient outcomes and treat a wide range of diseases that currently have very poor or ineffective treatments."

Established by Innovate UK, the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult fosters collaborations between academia, industry, and healthcare providers to develop new technology and drive innovation. Catapult experts cover all aspects of advanced therapies, from research and development to clinical adoption and every step in between.

About Bio-Techne

Bio-Techne Corporation is a global life sciences company providing innovative tools and bioactive reagents for the research and clinical diagnostic communities. Bio-Techne products assist scientific investigations into biological processes and the nature and progress of specific diseases. They aid in drug discovery efforts and provide the means for accurate clinical tests and diagnoses. With thousands of products in its portfolio, Bio-Techne generated approximately $1.1 billion in net sales in fiscal 2022 and has approximately 3,000employees worldwide.

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Vernal Biosciences Announces Strategic Leadership Appointments to Drive Growth in mRNA and LNP Formulation

Vernal Biosciences | January 03, 2024

<p> Vernal Biosciences, a leading manufacturing and services company specializing in mRNA and lipid nanoparticle (LNP) formulation, proudly announces the additions of Sven Lee, Chief Commercial Officer, and Richard P. Hamel, Chief Financial Officer to its leadership team. Both distinguished leaders will strengthen Vernal&rsquo;s position as a premier mRNA and LNP Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO) while using their deep experience to deliver Vernal&rsquo;s integrated mRNA manufacturing solutions to a growing marketplace.</p> <p> Chief Commercial Officer - Sven Lee</p> <p> Sven will lead the Commercial team, including business development, marketing, technical sales, and alliance management. His team will help customers define their manufacturing needs and provide creative solutions that leverage Vernal&rsquo;s innovative technologies and manufacturing operations. Sven has a 30-year track record achieving remarkable business growth across the biotech and pharma sectors. Prior to joining Vernal, Sven was a Board Member and the Chief Commercial Officer at BioCina, an Australian based CDMO. Prior to BioCina, Sven spent six years as the Chief Business Officer of Abzena, a fully integrated, global biologics and bioconjugate CDMO. Sven has also held prominent roles in sales, marketing, and strategic planning at other CDMOs and life sciences companies including Global VP of Business Development at Catalent Biologics, Sr. Director of Global Business Development &amp; Sales at TerumoBCT, Crucell (now Janssen), and Biogen.</p> <p> As Chief Commercial Officer, Lee says, &ldquo;I am thrilled to be a part of a dynamic team specializing in high purity mRNA and LNP solutions for client partners in the rapidly advancing field of biotechnology of vaccines and therapeutic development for clinical trials and commercial use.&rdquo;</p> <p> Chief Financial Officer &ndash; Richard P. Hamel</p> <p> Richard will be responsible for Vernal&rsquo;s finance strategy and will lead the finance organization, including planning, treasury, tax and reporting, Richard is an accomplished financial executive with over 25 years of experience managing finance teams, improving business performance, and developing systems, processes, and procedures to streamline operations for high growth life science companies. Most recently, Richard was CFO at ReciBioPharm where he played a key role in integrating and managing several business units within ReciBioPharm. Prior to joining ReciBioPharm, he was CFO at United BioSource in Blue Bell, PA helping carve out the business from Express Scripts and building a stand-alone finance organization. Prior to joining United BioSource, Richard spent over seven years at inVentiv Health/Syneos in various financial roles of increasing responsibility including finance, shared services and treasury. Earlier in his career, Richard held a range of finance positions at ThermoFisher, AB Volvo, Kodak, Diageo and EY.</p> <p> As CFO, Richard will support Vernal Biosciences in achieving its ambitious goals and driving long-term success. &ldquo;I am excited to join the Vernal team and apply my experience to further bolster the company&rsquo;s already strong mRNA and LNP portfolio and further expand its unique capabilities,&rdquo; said Hamel.</p> <p> CEO and Founder of Vernal Biosciences, Christian Cobaugh says, &ldquo;On behalf of all Vernal employees and our investors, I am excited to welcome Sven and Rich to Vernal&rsquo;s talented leadership team. Their collective experience and success that they bring to Vernal and our clients complements our expansion, including the recent addition of our GMP facilities and operations. Sven has spent most of his career helping customers find creative solutions in clinical manufacturing and Rich has successfully built and integrated several businesses in the life sciences sector, from early stage to global scale. Their additions to our team will help Vernal democratize access to high purity mRNA and LNPs for all stages of research and development.&rdquo;</p> <p> <strong>About Vernal Biosciences</strong></p> <p> Vernal Biosciences is a leading CDMO specializing in mRNA and LNP manufacturing. Vernal provides comprehensive high purity platform manufacturing solutions for mRNA-based medicines and vaccines, from research to clinical development. Our dedicated team of experts, our platform solutions, and GMP facility show our commitment to our partners, enabling them to focus on accelerating their programs to clinical development to improve patient lives.</p>

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Twist Bioscience Expands Express Genes Rapid Synthesis Service

Twist Bioscience Corporation | January 30, 2024

Twist Bioscience Corporation a company enabling customers to succeed through its offering of high-quality synthetic DNA using its silicon platform, today announced the expansion of Twist Express Genes, a new leading gene synthesis service with an order to shipping turnaround starting at five business days1, to include larger DNA preparations up to 1 milligram. The Express Genes offering, initially launched in November 2023, now extends to larger midiprep (10μg to 100 μg) and maxiprep (100μg to 1mg) DNA preparations. As with Twist standard speed Clonal Genes, all Twist Express Genes are NGS-verified as clonally perfect. “Since the initial launch of our Express Genes service in November, we have received positive and enthusiastic feedback from existing customers on our consistent and rapid turnaround time. By expanding Express Genes to include midiprep and maxiprep, we can now offer rapid gene synthesis at all gene prep scales, enabling large scale experimentation for pharmaceutical, biotechnology, academic and industrial chemical researchers,” said Emily M. Leproust, Ph.D., CEO and co-founder of Twist Bioscience. “With the expanded offering of Twist Express Genes, more researchers can gain access to Twist genes fast and at scale, including those using alternative providers and those cloning their own genes. The ability to order and receive synthetic DNA fast and at scale means more time for cutting-edge research, more make-test-learn cycles, and an accelerated journey to game-changing discoveries.” Twist leverages its ability to miniaturize the chemical reaction to create DNA using its silicon-based DNA synthesis platform along with expertise, software, optimized processes and the expanded layout of its Wilsonville facility to deliver Clonal Genes and Gene Fragments at scale and with rapid turnaround times. Twist’s Express Genes are offered with dynamic pricing, which reflects market demand and manufacturing capacity in a responsive premium price. Customers are able to quickly and easily place orders for Express Genes through Twist’s ecommerce platform. Twist Express Genes Twist Express Genes are 0.3kb to 5.0kb in length. Due to scale enabled by Twist’s platform, orders of any size both small and large can be filled, and as with standard speed Twist Clonal Genes, Twist Express Genes are NGS sequence-verified as one hundred percent accurate. Twist Express Genes can be cloned into catalog vectors or custom vectors so that customers can move right to experimentation. They can also be shipped in customers’ preferred delivery formats, including tubes and plates. For more information and product specifications click here. Current turnaround times for some Twist Bioscience products Express Genes1 (50ng-10µg): starting at 5 business days, now for up to 10µg Standard Clonal Genes (50ng-10µg): starting at 10 business days Express Genes1 (10µg-1mg): starting at 8 business days Standard Clonal Genes (10µg-1mg): starting at 13 business days 1 Express Clonal Genes ship in 5-7 business days. DNA prep sizes including 10 μg - 100 μg, and 100 μg - 1 mg may incur an additional 3-5 days for synthesis. Orders placed outside of the US will incur additional delivery turnaround time. Express Genes orders that require new custom vector onboarding will incur an additional 1-2 weeks for processing. About Twist Bioscience Corporation Twist Bioscience is a leading and rapidly growing synthetic biology and genomics company that has developed a disruptive DNA synthesis platform to industrialize the engineering of biology. The core of the platform is a proprietary technology that pioneers a new method of manufacturing synthetic DNA by “writing” DNA on a silicon chip. Twist is leveraging its unique technology to manufacture a broad range of synthetic DNA-based products, including synthetic genes, tools for next-generation sequencing (NGS) preparation, and antibody libraries for drug discovery and development. Twist is also pursuing longer-term opportunities in digital data storage in DNA and biologics drug discovery. Twist makes products for use across many industries including healthcare, industrial chemicals, agriculture and academic research.

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Jnana Therapeutics Announces Positive Clinical Proof of Concept Achieved with JNT-517, a Potential First-in-Class Oral Treatment for PKU

Jnana Therapeutics, Inc. | February 02, 2024

Jnana Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biotechnology company leveraging its next-generation chemoproteomics platform to discover medicines for challenging-to-drug targets, today announced positive, statistically significant interim results from its ongoing clinical study of JNT-517 in individuals with phenylketonuria (PKU). JNT-517, a small molecule inhibitor of the phenylalanine (Phe) transporter SLC6A19, is being evaluated as a potential first-in-class oral treatment for PKU across all ages and genotypes. On the basis of these positive interim results, Jnana has adapted the Phase 1b trial design to support the potential for accelerated progression of JNT-517. “There is an urgent need for an oral, safe, and efficacious therapy for the more than 60% of individuals with PKU not currently on therapy. Across the spectrum of mild to severe disease, our results demonstrate a robust, sustained reduction in blood Phe levels, the registrational endpoint for PKU, giving us high confidence in the path forward for JNT-517,” said George Vratsanos, M.D., Chief Medical Officer and Head of R&D at Jnana Therapeutics. “We are also encouraged by this validation of the power of our RAPID platform to discover small molecules with compelling clinical benefit against challenging-to-drug targets.” JNT-517 is being studied in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in individuals with mild to severe PKU. Following a 28-day screening period focused predominantly on ensuring an average blood Phe level of >600µM, study participants were randomized with no run-in period to 75mg of JNT-517 twice daily (BID) or placebo. The planned interim analysis was based on 13 participants, eight dosed with JNT-517 and five dosed with placebo over 28 days, and demonstrated the following results JNT-517 led to a statistically significant (p=0.0019 vs. placebo) mean blood Phe reduction from baseline of 51%, measured per-protocol at day 28. A high response rate was seen where seven of eight (88%) treated participants achieved >30% reduction in blood Phe from baseline; five of eight (63%) achieved >45% reduction; and two of eight (25%) achieved >65% reduction. A robust response was seen across participants treated with JNT-517 irrespective of baseline blood Phe levels, which ranged from 593µM to 1,526µM with a mean of 1,124µM. A rapid onset of effect was observed with significant blood Phe reduction achieved within seven days after commencing dosing, which was sustained through the full 28 days of dosing. JNT-517 was safe and well tolerated with no serious adverse events and no clinically significant changes in laboratory parameters, consistent with the safety profile demonstrated in the Phase 1a healthy volunteer study. "JNT-517 represents a completely new therapeutic approach that could transform the current treatment paradigm in PKU, in particular for individuals with severe, or classical, PKU where there is the highest unmet medical need,” said Cary O. Harding, M.D., study investigator and Professor of Molecular and Medical Genetics at Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine. “I am encouraged by the clinical results to date and look forward to working with Jnana and the PKU community to continue to advance this program.” Based on these interim results, Jnana has adapted the protocol of the ongoing trial to include dose exploration. Jnana expects topline data from the second dose cohort in mid-2024 and plans to submit full data from the two dose cohorts for presentation at a scientific meeting in the second half of 2024. Jnana anticipates the company will engage regulators in the second half of 2024 and seek to advance JNT-517 directly into a pivotal Phase 3 study in the first half of 2025. JNT-517 Phase 1b Clinical Trial The ongoing clinical program includes a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial evaluating the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and effect on blood and urinary Phe of JNT-517 dosed over a four-week period in individuals diagnosed with PKU. The study dosed its first participant with PKU in August 2023 and is enrolling individuals aged 18 to 65 at clinical sites in the United States and Australia. For more information about the study, please see clinicaltrials.gov (NCT05781399). About JNT-517 JNT-517 is a selective small molecule inhibitor of the Phe transporter SLC6A19 that has the potential to be a first-in-class oral therapy used to treat any person with PKU, regardless of age or genotype. JNT-517 acts at a novel, cryptic allosteric site to block kidney reabsorption of Phe and offers a promising new approach to reduce blood Phe levels. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted JNT-517 Rare Pediatric Disease Designation in late 2022. About PKU PKU is a rare inherited metabolic disorder caused by a deficiency of the enzyme phenylalanine hydroxylase (PAH). This enzyme is required for the breakdown of phenylalanine (Phe), an amino acid found in all protein-containing foods. When PAH is deficient or defective, Phe accumulates to abnormally high levels in the blood. If left untreated, toxic levels of Phe in the blood can result in progressive and severe neurological impairment and neuropsychological complications. The SLC transporter SLC6A19 is responsible for kidney reabsorption of Phe back into the bloodstream, and the inhibition of SLC6A19 offers a novel, oral approach for the treatment of PKU by facilitating urinary excretion of excess Phe. About Jnana Therapeutics Jnana Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biotechnology company leveraging its next-generation RAPID chemoproteomics platform to discover medicines for highly validated, challenging-to-drug targets to treat diseases with high unmet needs. Jnana is focused on developing first- and best-in-class therapies to treat a wide range of diseases, including rare diseases and immune-mediated diseases. Jnana’s wholly owned lead program, JNT-517, which targets an allosteric site on the phenylalanine transporter SLC6A19, is a potential first-in-class oral approach for the treatment of PKU, a rare genetic metabolic disease. Located in Boston, Jnana brings together scientific leaders in small molecule drug discovery and development, a highly experienced management team, and the backing of leading life science investors Bain Capital Life Sciences, RA Capital Management, Polaris Partners, Versant Ventures, Avalon Ventures, Pfizer Ventures, and AbbVie Ventures.

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Personalis and ClearNote Health Announce Partnership to Advance Epigenomic Technology

Personalis, Inc. | February 05, 2024

Personalis, Inc. a leader in advanced genomics for cancer, and ClearNote Health, Inc., a pioneer in epigenomic technologies, today unveiled an alliance through which Personalis will expand its pharmaceutical service offerings by distributing ClearNote’s cutting-edge epigenomic 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) platform. “We have built a unique pharma channel based on our industry-leading tissue and MRD assays and ClearNote Health’s blood-based epigenomic approach is complementary to our offering as it helps our customers deepen their understanding of a patient’s response to immunotherapies,” said Chris Hall, CEO and President of Personalis. “Commercial partnerships such as this broaden our portfolio and are expected to appeal to a wide range of biopharma customers and accelerate our revenue growth.” Echoing this sentiment, Dave Mullarkey, CEO of ClearNote Health, remarked, “Partnering with Personalis presents an excellent opportunity to bring our 5hmC technology to the forefront of cancer research. This alliance is a testament to the synergy between our two companies, enabling us to expand our reach and significantly impact the biopharmaceutical industry. Together, we can accelerate the development of personalized therapies and make a real difference in the lives of patients.” ClearNote Health’s Epigenomics Platform represents a groundbreaking advance in cancer detection, offering real-time insights into disease-specific pathways. By tracking changes in 5hmC levels coupled with artificial intelligence-based analytical methods, the platform can detect cancer earlier, monitor disease progression, understand mechanisms of resistance, and identify promising drug targets and biomarkers. These insights are invaluable for optimizing drug development programs and delivering more effective treatments to patients. The Epigenomics Platform identifies changes in gene activation and gene regulation by labeling specific changes in the 5hmC landscape from plasma-derived cell-free DNA. This rich biological information, as part of clinical trials, enables the monitoring of cancer therapies in real time and contributes to an understanding of drug resistance mechanisms. The partnership marks a pivotal moment in cancer research, leveraging the strengths of both companies to offer unparalleled solutions in the biopharmaceutical industry. About ClearNote Heath, Inc. ClearNote Health is a cancer detection company focused on enabling people at risk for high-mortality cancers to live longer, healthier lives. Utilizing a standard blood draw, the company applies its proprietary epigenomic platform, combining biology and artificial intelligence, to identify DNA-based changes in biology as cancer develops. With lead programs in non-invasive early detection of pancreatic and ovarian cancers in patients at the highest risk for these diseases, ClearNote Health identifies cancers before they progress and when patients are most likely to benefit from treatment. ClearNote Health’s first commercially available test is the Avantect™ Pancreatic Cancer Test, which detects the presence of pancreatic cancer signals in patients at high risk of the disease, including those recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. ClearNote Health is headquartered in San Diego, with additional presence in the San Francisco Bay area and internationally. The company’s CLIA- and CAP-accredited laboratory is located in San Diego, Calif. About Personalis, Inc. At Personalis, we are transforming the active management of cancer through breakthrough personalized testing. We aim to drive a new paradigm for cancer management, guiding care from biopsy through the life of the patient. Our highly sensitive assays combine tumor-and-normal profiling with proprietary algorithms to deliver advanced insights even as cancer evolves over time. Our products are designed to detect minimal residual disease (MRD) and recurrence at the earliest time points, enable the selection of targeted therapies based on ultra-comprehensive genomic profiling, and enhance biomarker strategy for drug development. Personalis is based in Fremont, California.

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