EpiGentek launched first-of-its-kind tools to detect SARS-CoV-2-targeted furin activity and screen for inhibitors against COVID-19

EpiGentek | July 10, 2020

New York-based biotechnology firm EpiGentek has released a series of SARS-CoV-2 research assays in combatting the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The two kits focus on studies of SARS-CoV-2 targeted furin or proprotein convertase (PC) cleavage activity. These first-of-its-kind tools can be used to rapidly detect SARS-CoV-2 targeted PC and facilitated proteases using biological samples as well as screen for inhibitors of these enzymes that cleave SARS-CoV-2 proteins. Subsequent implications can be the effective development of drug candidates or therapeutic treatments. The SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein harbors a furin/PC cleavage site at the boundary between the S1/S2 subunits, which could be cleaved by furin and/or furin-like PCs secreted from host cells and bacteria in the airway epithelium. Unlike the first SARS-CoV, cell entry of SARS-CoV-2 is pre-activated by furin and/or furin-like PCs, reducing its dependence on target cell proteases for entry. The cleavage activation of S-protein is well demonstrated to be essential for SARS-CoV-2 spike-mediated viral binding to ACE2, cell-to-cell fusion, and viral entry into human lung cells.

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Such crops could earn biotechnology companies millions of pounds in extra profit if the farm trials show that they can be grown safely in Europe. ... links to two biotech investment companies  Innotech and Diatech. ... Science Research Council, for which Sainsbury is responsible in his ministerial role.


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MEDICAL

Emmaus Life Sciences Announces Launch of Full-Service Telehealth Solution

Emmaus Life Sciences, Inc. | April 12, 2022

Emmaus Life Sciences, Inc. (OTQXC: EMMA), a commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company and leader in the treatment of sickle cell disease, today announced the launch of an innovative full-service telehealth solution with its strategic partners, including Asembia LLC, US Bioservices Corporation and UpScriptHealth. The telehealth program capitalizes on the expansion of telemedicine in the U.S. to afford patients and providers on-line access to Endari®, the company's prescription-grade L-glutamine oral powder, for the treatment of sickle cell disease. The launch of our full-service telehealth solution reflects our stated commitment to make Endari accessible to sickle cell patients in need and we are excited to be launching the program, Our solution will allow patients to see a doctor without leaving home, thereby eliminating unnecessary travel time and expense and the risk of infection that can occur with hospital visits. Eligible patients will be able to receive a same-day physician authorization and prescription for Endari and to have the prescription delivered to their homes within just a few days. As the telehealth solution grows, we are optimistic that it will help us to reach new patients and add meaningful revenue for Emmaus." Yutaka Niihara, M.D., M.P.H., Emmaus' Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. According to a December 3, 2021 report from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), available at the HHS website at https://www.hhs.gov, the share of Medicare visits conducted through telehealth in 2020 increased 63-fold, from approximately 840,000 in 2019 to 52.7 million. The report noted that telehealth was particularly helpful in offsetting potential foregone behavioral health care and that states with the highest use of telehealth in 2020 included Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Connecticut. Other industry sources suggest that the trend toward telehealth accelerated in 2021 and is likely to be sustained. We believe that affording patients and telehealth prescribers access to Endari in a quick and convenient way will improve their experience and potentially increase adherence rates, We look forward to working with our strategic partners on this important project." George Sekulich, Senior Vice President of Global Commercialization of Emmaus. About Emmaus Life Sciences Emmaus Life Sciences, Inc. is a commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company and leader in the treatment of sickle cell disease. The company currently markets U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Endari® (L-glutamine oral powder) indicated to reduce the acute complications of sickle cell disease in adults and children 5 years and older. The company is also engaged in the discovery and development of innovative treatments and therapies for certain rare and orphan diseases as well as those affecting larger populations, such as diverticulosis. About Sickle Cell Disease There are approximately 100,000 people living with sickle cell disease (SCD) in the United States and millions more globally. The sickle gene is found in every ethnic group, not just among those of African descent; and in the United States an estimated 1-in-365 African Americans and 1-in-16,300 Hispanic Americans are born with SCD.1 The genetic mutation responsible for SCD causes an individual's red blood cells to distort into a "C" or a sickle shape, reducing their ability to transport oxygen throughout the body. These sickled red blood cells break down rapidly, become very sticky, and develop a propensity to clump together, which causes them to become stuck and cause damage within blood vessels. The result is reduced blood flow to distal organs, which leads to physical symptoms of incapacitating pain, tissue and organ damage, and early death

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Canopy Biosciences Launches Next-Generation ChipCytometry™ Instrument for Spatial Biology with Sub-Cellular Resolution

Canopy Biosciences | March 04, 2022

Canopy Biosciences, a Bruker Company, announced the commercial launch of the CellScapeTM system, the next generation in ChipCytometryTM instrumentation, advancing the cutting-edge for quantitative in situ spatial phenotyping. ChipCytometry delivers single-cell targeted spatial proteomics for complex whole-tissue analysis of the tumor microenvironment, as well as deep immune profiling for applications in immunology, neuroscience, and infectious disease. The new benchtop CellScape system builds on the existing core strengths of the original ChipCytometry instrument, the ZellScannerONE™, which has enabled spatial biology research with sub-cellular resolution and a large field of view suitable for whole slide pathology imaging, on both tissue samples and cell suspensions since 2016. The CellScape system , with its multiplexed fluidics integration, adds complete walk-away automation, improved optical performance, sub-cellular resolution and massively increased throughput for whole slide imaging of millions of cells, while maintaining the key features of the core ChipCytometry technology, including high-plex phenotyping with single-cell resolution, very high dynamic range imaging for detection and quantification of both high- and low-expressing targets, and compatibility with standard commercially available fluorescently labelled antibodies, requiring no proprietary antibody conjugation. This powerful combination of features will significantly improve researchers’ workflow, accelerate spatial biology discovery, and drive broader adoption of high-plex spatial omics for translational and clinical applications. “The ChipCytometry platform has been a great tool for us in developing high content staining approaches for in-depth spatial immune profiling of human tissue samples. The improvements to throughput and automation of the CellScape system gives the opportunity to scale up studies and explore larger cohorts – and accelerate studies aimed at improving patient care.” Paul Klenerman, Ph.D., Professor of Gastroenterology at The University of Oxford “Following the acquisition of Canopy Biosciences by Bruker in 2020, we were able to leverage Bruker’s advanced fluorescence microscopy expertise to design the CellScape instrument as an integrated, multiplexed imaging system that is highly optimized for the application of high-throughput quantitative spatial omics with sub-cellular resolution,” added Thomas Campbell, Ph.D., Product Manager at Canopy Biosciences. “The improved optical performance of the system builds on the high resolution and high dynamic range that was already best-in-class with our ChipCytometry technology.” About the CellScape Instrument Through enhanced optics and automation, the throughput of CellScape is markedly improved compared to the previous generation of ChipCytometry instrumentation. Combined with multi-sample automated processing, which is available standard with every CellScape, the platform will have among the highest throughput of any highly multiplexed spatial proteomics system available today. CellScape will also be available with an optional FalconFastTM configuration, which provides an even greater increase in throughput, bringing into reach large-scale clinical studies that have previously not been possible at a high plex. About Canopy Biosciences, a Bruker Company Canopy Biosciences was formed in 2016 and rapidly built a comprehensive portfolio of products and services for spatial biology, multi-omics, and bioprocessing. Canopy offers its ChipCytometry technology for precise spatial multiplexing in cells and tissue samples, along with other technologies of ultrasensitive DNA sequencing (RareSeq), RNA-Seq, and gene expression analysis for services. Canopy Biosciences is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, with a CLIA site in California, and a site in Germany to serve researchers at universities, research institutions, and biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies worldwide. Canopy was acquired by Bruker Corporation in 2020.

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Portal Innovations Expands Chicago Operations Triples Space in Fulton Labs

Portal Innovations | February 03, 2022

Portal Innovations continues its momentum in Chicago by launching the second phase of its operations with the opening of 35,000 square feet of premier wet and dry lab and office space at 400 North Aberdeen in Fulton Labs. The new facility will allow Portal, a life sciences venture development engine, to grow and scale its investment in early-stage biotech companies in Chicago. Portal has tapped Patrick Flavin to serve as President of its flagship Chicago operation. With over 20 years of experience building high-performing teams and collaborations with corporate partners in several public and private life sciences companies, Patrick brings his seasoned biotech-entrepreneurial experience to navigate Portal’s portfolio expansion. Patrick was the founding Executive Director at MATTER and currently serves as a Managing Director at Portal. “I am excited to partner with Patrick as we continue to build Portal into a premier platform of investment in transformative companies with the best innovators, entrepreneurs, academic institutions, and venture capitalists. Patrick’s experience and vision are crucial for Portal to reach the next level here in Chicago.” Portal Founder and CEO John Flavin Through its “Crafted Capital” model, Portal invests seed financial funding, offers access to fully equipped wet and dry lab space, and provides management expertise to leading scientific and entrepreneurial founders. Portal is building a valuable portfolio of life sciences companies at the seed to series A investment stage for long-term value creation. Portal has partnered with Trammell Crow Company, one of the largest commercial real estate developers in the United States, to catalyze the Chicago regional life sciences ecosystem at the Fulton Labs Campus and is currently investing in and supporting companies in its existing 11,000 square feet of wet and dry lab and office space at 1375 West Fulton Street. “I am thrilled to expand our operations in Fulton Labs during a very exciting time for breakthroughs in biotech,” said Patrick Flavin. “Portal’s expansion of lab and office space will accelerate our ability to invest in, house, and support the promising life sciences companies that are emerging from the region’s top tier research institutions.” About Portal Innovations Portal Innovations is a premier venture development engine that bridges scientific ideation in life sciences, medtech, and bioinformatics through commercial proof of concept by delivering crafted capital, including seed funding, specialized equipment, lab space, and management expertise to high-potential early-stage companies.

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

UNITY Biotechnology Announces Exclusive License Agreement with Jocasta Neuroscience to Continue Development of α-Klotho Program

UNITY | December 21, 2021

UNITY Biotechnology, Inc. a biotechnology company developing therapeutics to slow, halt, or reverse diseases of aging, announced it has signed an exclusive agreement licensing its α-Klotho asset to Jocasta Neuroscience, Inc. for development and commercialization. The α-Klotho protein is a circulating factor associated with improved cognitive performance in preclinical studies. α-Klotho is hypothesized to optimize synaptic neurotransmission of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors in the brain, effectively combatting the cognitive and synaptic deficits, despite high levels of pathogenic Ab, tau, and phosphorylated tau proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease. “Since first licensing the α-Klotho asset from UCSF to explore its potential utility in cognitive disorders and other age-related diseases, I’m proud of the team’s hard work in further advancing the program, and we are pleased to now enter into this agreement with Jocasta. This deal allows us to support the continued development of the α-Klotho asset in a capital-efficient manner and share significantly in the upside economics, while focusing UNITY’s resources to advance our lead UBX1325 program, which has several key readouts in 2022.” Anirvan Ghosh, Ph.D., chief executive officer of UNITY Under the terms of the agreement, UNITY will receive an upfront cash payment from Jocasta, as well as additional payments based on development milestones, approval milestones, and sales-based royalties, per indication. In May 2019, the Company exclusively licensed the α-Klotho asset from University of California, San Francisco for certain patents and know-how rights related to α-Klotho. Under the license agreement, Jocasta Neuroscience is, in addition to the payments due to the Company, required to make all payments due to UCSF from UNITY under the UCSF License. About UNITY UNITY is developing a new class of therapeutics to slow, halt, or reverse diseases of aging. UNITY’s current focus is on creating medicines to selectively eliminate or modulate senescent cells and thereby provide transformative benefit in age-related ophthalmologic and neurologic diseases.

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Spotlight

Such crops could earn biotechnology companies millions of pounds in extra profit if the farm trials show that they can be grown safely in Europe. ... links to two biotech investment companies  Innotech and Diatech. ... Science Research Council, for which Sainsbury is responsible in his ministerial role.

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