Coronavirus vaccines are moving towards clinical trials, promises several biotech companies in the US

Edex Live | April 09, 2020

Just three months after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, several biotech companies in the United States have ramped up their efforts to fight the disease with accelerated schedules for creating new vaccines and beginning clinical trials for potential treatments. In normal circumstances, vaccine development would take around 10 years. But the pharmaceutical industry is racing to compress this timeline with the support of non-profit organisations, government agencies and regulatory authorities. In just a few months, more than two dozen companies have announced promising vaccine programmes, speeding through the early stages of testing unlike ever before, The Strait Times reported.

Spotlight

The facial nerve (cranial nerve VII) has multiple functions, but is best known for its role in controlling the muscles of facial expression. In this video, I cover all of the functions of the facial nerve, as well as describe what can happen when the nerve is damaged.


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MEDICAL

Cajal Neuroscience Launches with $96 Million to Transform Target and Drug Discovery in Neurodegeneration

Cajal Neuroscience | November 30, 2022

Cajal Neuroscience, a biotechnology company integrating human genetics, functional genomics and advanced microscopy to discover novel targets and therapeutics for neurodegeneration, launched today with the completion of a $96 million Series A financing. Cajal is uniquely focused on the mechanistic, spatial and temporal complexity of neurodegeneration, integrating deep expertise in neuroscience, neuroanatomy and computational biology with state-of-the-art technologies for high-throughput functional validation. The financing was led by The Column Group and Lux Capital, with additional participation from Two Sigma Ventures, Bristol Myers Squibb, Evotec, Alexandria Venture Investments, Dolby Family Ventures and other investors. “We’ve all seen the challenges that face drug discovery in neurodegeneration. Cajal was founded to meet those challenges head-on by convening some of the best minds in the field and integrating a suite of cutting-edge technologies to identify and advance therapies for neurodegeneration in a completely new way. I truly believe our approach can revolutionize neurodegeneration drug discovery by understanding disease mechanisms with spatial and temporal resolution at unprecedented scale,” Ignacio Muñoz-Sanjuán, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer at Cajal “We want to get to the ground truth of neurodegenerative diseases. Cajal was started from grassroots, bringing together an incredible team of scientists, advisors and investors who share the long-term vision of building foundational systems to explore new pathways and targets and making a difference for patients suffering from neurodegeneration,” said Rob Hershberg, M.D., Ph.D., Co-founder and Executive Chairman of the Board at Cajal. Inspired by the pioneering work of Santiago Ramón y Cajal, whose discoveries on the structural and functional organization of the brain became the foundation of modern neuroscience, Cajal seeks to transform the field of neurodegeneration by revealing the complex and dynamic mechanisms driving disease. Cajal’s platform combines state-of-the-art approaches and technologies, including integrative human genetics and multi-omics, highly multiplexed functional genomics and industrialized whole brain imaging. Through this approach, Cajal is systematically validating the thousands of targets implicated in diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s and creating a comprehensive understanding of neurodegeneration that reveals how, where and when different mechanisms contribute to disease. “The legendary neuroscientist Santiago Ramón y Cajal said that all outstanding work, in art as well as science, results from immense zeal applied to a great idea. That’s precisely why we raced to fund this team,” said Josh Wolfe, Co-founder and Managing Partner at Lux Capital. “When you get the rare combination of the leading scientific minds in neuroscience teaming up to work with cutting-edge visualization, sequencing and computational techniques, and to apply a never-before taken approach to discovering targets and drugs for neurodegenerative disease, you don’t walk slowly toward it -- you sprint for your life.” Cajal’s leadership team includes world-class scientists and experienced biotechnology entrepreneurs who bring scientific rigor, drug development expertise and commitment to advancing therapies for neurodegenerative diseases. About Cajal Neuroscience Cajal Neuroscience is a biotechnology company committed to discovering novel therapeutics for neurodegeneration by leveraging a powerful platform designed to reveal the mechanistic, spatial and temporal complexity of disease at unprecedented scale. Cajal combines a suite of state-of-the-art approaches and technologies, including integrative human genetics and multi-omics, high-throughput functional genomics and advanced microscopy, to accelerate neurodegeneration target and drug discovery. Cajal is headquartered in Seattle, WA.

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MEDTECH

Lysando AG and Amicogen Inc. Sign General Development Agreement

Lysando AG and Amicogen Inc. | October 19, 2022

Lysando AG market leader in the field of antimicrobial proteins has signed a general development agreement with Amicogen Inc., a publicly traded biotechnology company and CDMO headquartered in South Korea. In August last year, Lysando and Amicogen entered into a strategic partnership backed up by a mutual participation model. This collaboration has since been further intensified, now culminating in aforementioned general development agreement. "Amicogen is our first choice for process development and scale-up of any new Artilysin®. This important step in our partnership with Amicogen will help our customers to significantly shorten the time-to-market of Artilysin®-powered products." Count Markus Matuschka de Greiffenclau, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Lysando AG Amicogen is an established and professional partner enabling Lysando to develop its own projects to market-readiness at maximum speed, thus further accelerating Lysando’s entry into the pharmaceutical industry. Ongoing projects targeting indications such as urinary tract infections or neurodermatitis are progressing well. About Amicogen Inc. Amicogen Inc is a CDMO and biotechnology company based in Jinju, South Korea. Amicogen is a leader in the development and production of specialty enzymes and proteins for the biopharmaceutical, food, cosmetics and other industries. One of Amicogen's core competencies is the use of new technologies such as directed gene evolution. The heart of the business is a novel approach that uses biocatalysts to replace chemical with enzymatic processes. These biocatalysts provide an environmentally friendly manufacturing process for downstream industries reducing emissions, simplifying production processes and increasing productivity. About Lysando AG Lysando AG is the market leader for antimicrobial proteins, so-called Artilysin®s. They can effectively eliminate problem-causing bacteria without associated high risk of resistance formation and microbial disbalances. Artilysin®s constitute an innovative, proprietary and environmentally friendly technology with a wide range of applications: in human and veterinary medicine, but for example also in cosmetics. Lysando AG's research facility is Lysando Innovations Lab GmbH located in Regensburg's BioPark. BioPark Regensburg fosters companies in biotechnology, medical technology, diagnostics & analytics as well as the local healthcare management.

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CELL AND GENE THERAPY

Capstan Therapeutics Launches with $165 Million to Deliver on the Clinical Promise of Precise In Vivo Cell Engineering

Capstan | September 15, 2022

Capstan Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company dedicated to developing and delivering precise in vivo cell engineering to patients, launched today with $165 million in financing to build on the foundational insights of world-renowned leaders in mRNA and cell therapy, combining the power of cell therapy with the precision of genetic medicines to help bring safer, first-in-class medicines to more patients in multiple indications. Capstan’s foundational precision in vivo engineering technology builds on research conducted in the laboratories of world-renowned mRNA and cell therapy scientists at the University of Pennsylvania. Capstan’s funding includes a recently closed $102 million Series A financing led by Pfizer Ventures and joined by Leaps by Bayer, Eli Lilly and Company, Bristol Myers Squibb, Polaris Partners, Alexandria Venture Investments, and all existing investors, which follows a $63 million seed financing led by Novartis Venture Fund and OrbiMed and joined by RA Capital, and Vida Ventures in November 2021. Advancing Breakthrough Therapies through Precision in vivo Engineering The company plans to use the funds to further its mission of advancing the clinical promise of cell-based therapies by enabling precise in vivo engineering of cells with payloads necessary to benefit patients across multiple disease categories. Capstan’s modular platform leverages the biological and technological expertise of its founding scientists and includes proprietary targeted lipid nanoparticles (tLNP) technology, a suite of targeting moieties to mediate cell type-specific uptake, and disease-specific mRNA payloads aimed at directly engineering, or ablating pathogenic cells through in vivo generated CAR T cells. Capstan is prioritizing programs based on the potential to transform clinical standards of care. The company’s initial efforts will focus on developing first-in-class in vivo CAR therapies, with the goal to deliver treatments in an outpatient setting, for patients who have diseases for which there are no effective treatments. Capstan also plans to leverage its precision delivery and engineering technology to advance new therapies for certain monogenic blood disorders. Visionary Team of Accomplished Executives Poised to Deliver a Transformational Approach Capstan is also pleased to announce that Laura Shawver, Ph.D., has joined the company as President and Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Shawver brings more than 20 years of experience in executive leadership positions in oncology and other serious diseases to this role, most recently serving as CEO of Silverback Therapeutics and President and CEO of Synthorx. “Our ambition at Capstan is to invent new clinical paradigms through targeted in vivo reprogramming of cells,” said Dr. Shawver. “Our founding scientific and operational team is purpose-built to advance programs to the clinic that unite decades of combined experience in groundbreaking CAR therapies with the latest advances in mRNA delivery technology. We are also fortunate to have a distinguished investor syndicate that understands the cell therapy landscape and recognizes the potential of this innovative approach. I am thrilled to lead this team as we work toward making this vision a reality for patients.” “Laura is an exceptional leader with a well-established track record in drug development and passion for addressing unmet needs in oncology and other serious diseases. We are delighted to have someone of Laura’s caliber captain this exciting next chapter for Capstan to help unlock the potential of this transformative approach for patients.” Michael Baran, Ph.D., Partner, Pfizer Ventures Dr. Shawver joins an accomplished leadership team of industry veterans who have been at the forefront of cell and gene therapy, including Adrian Bot, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, formerly Global Head and Vice President of Translational Medicine at Kite, a Gilead Company and previously Chief Scientific Officer at Kite Pharma; and Priya Karmali, Ph.D., Chief Technology Officer, who has over two decades of experience in the field of lipid nanoparticle mediated nucleic acid delivery technologies. The company’s scientific founders include several of the experts from the University of Pennsylvania who authored two landmark studies establishing preclinical proof-of-concept for non-viral, in vivo CAR-T therapy that Capstan plans to develop and advance toward the clinic. A 2019 Nature publication demonstrated the preclinical use of ex vivo CAR-T cell therapy against FAP, a fibrosis-related target. A follow-on study published in Science earlier this year built on these earlier results and demonstrated the production of functional CAR-T cells in vivo in a mouse model following a single IV administration of an mRNA encoding an anti-FAP CAR packaged in CD5-targeted-LNPs. The scientific founders span diverse areas of research expertise Preclinical translation – Jonathan Epstein, M.D. and Haig Aghajanian, Ph.D. (Dr. Aghajanian is now a Capstan employee.) Cell engineering – Carl June, M.D. and Bruce Levine, Ph.D. mRNA and targeted LNP technologies – Drew Weissman, M.D., Ph.D. and Hamideh Parhiz, Pharm.D., Ph.D. Immunology and Fibrosis – Ellen Puré, Ph.D. and Steven Albelda, M.D. “Capstan is uniting several recent life science technological advances in a manner that can hopefully unlock the potential of these technologies to develop new medicines for patients across a wider range of diseases,” said Drew Weissman, M.D., Ph.D., Co-Founder of Capstan, who serves as the Roberts Family Professor in Vaccine Research and Director of the Penn Institute for RNA Innovation in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and co-recipient of the 2021 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award. “Research conducted at Penn demonstrates the tremendous promise of harnessing mRNA and targeted LNP delivery to train a patient’s body to make CAR-T cells in vivo, potentially creating new treatment options,” said Jonathan Epstein, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine. “We believe this approach has the potential to make an important impact not only in oncology, but also in fibrosis and many other diseases. My fellow scientific co-founders and I all look forward to actively partnering with Capstan in our collaborative effort to develop medicines that may benefit patients around the world.” About Capstan Capstan Therapeutics is advancing precision in vivo cell engineering to develop therapeutics for a broad range of disease categories with unmet or underserved clinical need. The core technology comprises targeted Lipid Nanoparticles to enable engineering or ablation of pathogenic cells in the body. The company is combining the power of cell therapy with the precision of genetic medicines to develop new treatment options for patients for oncology, fibrosis, inflammation-related diseases, and monogenic blood disorders. The Company is co-founded by pioneers in the field of CAR-based immunotherapy, nucleic acid drug delivery, tLNPs, and regenerative medicine, including experienced industry leaders, as well as academic faculty members from the University of Pennsylvania. Capstan has a bicoastal presence with operations in San Diego, CA and Philadelphia, PA.

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CELL AND GENE THERAPY

Clearmind Announces Notice of Proposed Stock Consolidation

Clearmind Medicine Inc. | September 26, 2022

Clearmind Medicine Inc. a biotech company focused on discovery and development of novel psychedelic-derived therapeutics to solve major undertreated health problems, announces that it will be consolidating all of the issued and outstanding common shares of the Company on the basis of one (1) post consolidation Common Share for each thirty (30) pre consolidation Common Shares. The Corporation's board of directors set September 30, 2022 as the effective date of the Consolidation. Trading of the Common Shares on a post-Consolidation basis on the Canadian Securities Exchange will commence on or about October 3, 2022. The Company's name and trading symbol will remain unchanged. The 39,592,344 Common Shares currently issued and outstanding will be reduced to approximately 1,319,744 Common Shares on a post-Consolidation basis. No fractional shares will be issued. Any fractional interest in Common Shares will be rounded up to the nearest whole Common Share. Letter of transmittals will be mailed to registered Shareholders and registered Shareholders will be required to deposit their share certificate(s), together with the duly completed letter of transmittal, with Computershare Investor Services Inc., the Company's registrar and transfer agent. Non-registered Shareholders holding Common Shares through an intermediary should be aware that the intermediary may have different procedures for processing the Consolidation than those that will be put in place by the Company for registered Shareholders. If Shareholders hold their Common Shares through intermediaries and have questions in this regard, they are encouraged to contact their intermediaries. Outstanding stock options and share purchase warrants will also be adjusted by the Consolidation ratio and the respective exercise prices of outstanding options and share purchase warrants will be adjusted accordingly. About Clearmind Medicine Inc. Clearmind is a psychedelic pharmaceutical biotech company focused on the discovery and development of novel psychedelic-derived therapeutics to solve widespread and underserved health problems, including alcohol use disorder. Its primary objective is to research and develop psychedelic-based compounds and attempt to commercialize them as regulated medicines, foods or supplements. The Company’s intellectual portfolio currently consists of seven patent families. The Company intends to seek additional patents for its compounds whenever warranted and will remain opportunistic regarding the acquisition of additional intellectual property to build its portfolio.

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Spotlight

The facial nerve (cranial nerve VII) has multiple functions, but is best known for its role in controlling the muscles of facial expression. In this video, I cover all of the functions of the facial nerve, as well as describe what can happen when the nerve is damaged.

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