Ex-Pfizer oncology R&D lead lands at Fierce 15 winner Vividion Therapeutics

FierceBiotech | February 11, 2020

Pfizer’s former longtime cancer research head Robert Abraham, Ph.D., has become the new chief scientific officer at a San Diego biotech after leaving the Big Pharma last year. He moves over to 2017 Fierce 15 winner Vividion Therapeutics, a biotech looking to increase the number of proteins small molecules can target. Last April, it got off a $82 million series B financing round. Its platform is based on the work of Benjamin Cravatt, Phil Baran and Jin-Quan Yu at the Scripps Research Institute and is designed to identify new sites in the proteome—which is distinct in each cell—that can be drugged.

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT, MEDICAL

WILLOW FURTHER OPTIMIZES ITS BUSINESS TO FOCUS ON NEAR-TERM REVENUE GENERATION AND REDUCE CASH BURN

Willow Biosciences Inc. | December 08, 2022

Willow Biosciences Inc. a leading biotechnology company focused on revolutionizing industrial manufacturing of pure, consistent and sustainable functional ingredients announced today that it has taken additional steps to focus on near-term revenue generation, protect its balance sheet and reduce its cash burn. Since the early part of the year, the Company has reviewed its market opportunities and its portfolio, using a rigorous evaluation process that has taken into consideration the challenges in the current operating environment. As a result of this review, the Company has taken the following proactive actions The Company's business development focus has shifted to near-term revenue generating programs. On May 31, 2022, the Company announced its first partnered program for a pharmaceutical project that has already generated revenue for the Company. A second program was announced in November with Kalsec, a leading global producer of natural taste and sensory, food protection, colors and advanced hops ingredients for the food and beverage industry. The terms for both programs include near-term research and development revenue and milestone payments with the potential for further upside after commercialization. Furthermore, the Company is optimistic that it will be able to announce at least one new additional program in 2023. The Company consolidated its R&D operations into one lab, located in Mountain View, California and is pleased to report that key personnel have relocated to the Mountain View site and the transfer of operations was completed with minimal downtime for operations. In addition, Willow was able to ship and repurpose a significant portion of the existing equipment from its prior Burnaby, British Columbia lab location to the Mountain View facility, thereby reducing the overall costs by centralizing lab activities. The lower overhead cost associated with operating a single lab versus two labs is expected to reduce the Company's burn rate. The Company remains optimistic on the future opportunity for CBG and other cannabinoids and will be well-positioned to capture that value as the markets develop, but with its new focus on other ingredients will not invest in developing new products without partner funding. Willow outsourced its internal Quality Control analytical testing and release requirements, eliminating a number of full-time employee positions in Burnaby. The above-mentioned actions combined with an extensive review of the Company's workflows resulted in a total reduction of non-research and development workforce of eight persons, including four management positions, resulting in a current total headcount of 31 of which 77% are in R&D and operations. Willow continues its focus on operating in a lean fashion while maintaining sufficient R&D and operational resources to execute on its partnered programs and continuing to develop its own product portfolio. With no debt and a significant cash balance of $18.4 million as of September 30, 2022, the Company intends to approve a fully funded budget which covers the entirety of 2023. "By optimizing our business and reducing our cash burn we are in a strong position to pursue a strategic focus on development programs that leverage our precision fermentation technology platform for near-term revenue generation and market success," said Dr. Peter Seufer-Wasserthal, Willow's President and CEO. "Looking forward to 2023, we are excited about a number of new options we see to utilize the platform more broadly within the health and wellness, food and beverage and personal care markets, while working hard to realize shareholder value from our existing and future research and development programs and sale of functional ingredients to our customers." About Willow Biosciences Inc. Willow develops and produces precision fermented functional ingredients for the health and wellness, food and beverage and personal care markets. Willow's FutureGrownTM biotechnology platform allows large-scale production with sustainability at its core. Willow's R&D team has a proven track record of developing and commercializing bio-based manufacturing processes and products to benefit our B2B partners and their customers.

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Agilent Attains ‘Angel’ Level Sponsorship with My Green Lab

Agilent Technologies | December 01, 2022

cevel sponsor of My Green Lab, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building a global culture of sustainability in science. ‘Angel’ level sponsorship provides Agilent access to even more strategic counsel from My Green Lab in support of its sustainability activities and expertise that can be shared with customers. Agilent is also the proud sponsor of the My Green Lab Certification program – considered the gold standard for laboratory sustainability best practices. As a good citizen and role model for customers, Agilent is working to ensure its on-site customer demonstration laboratories globally are Green Lab Certified and have already achieved highest level certification for Waldbronn, Germany, Cheadle, UK, and Santa Clara, US sites. “Sustainability and environmental, social, and governance standards are central to our mission to advance the quality of life, and our sponsorship of My Green Lab helps us to drive this forward. Being an ‘Angel’ level sponsor will further cultivate our knowledge of creating sustainable green labs, which we can share with our customers globally and support them on their sustainability journey.” Darlene Solomon, senior vice president, and chief technology officer at Agilent The Green Lab Certification from My Green Lab is recognized by the United Nations Race to Zero campaign as a key measure of progress for pharmaceutical and medical technology companies toward a zero-carbon future. It indicates that a lab has achieved strong sustainability practices in energy use, water consumption, recycling, and waste production. About Agilent Technologies Agilent Technologies Inc. is a global leader in the life sciences, diagnostics, and applied chemical markets, delivering insight and innovation that advance the quality of life. Agilent’s full range of solutions includes instruments, software, services, and expertise that provide trusted answers to our customers' most challenging questions. The company generated of $6.85 billion in fiscal 2022 and employs 18,000 worldwide.

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CELL AND GENE THERAPY

Cimeio Therapeutics Announces Issuance of Key Patent Covering Cell Therapy Platform

Cimeio | November 29, 2022

Cimeio Therapeutics, a biotechnology company developing a novel approach to cell therapies, today announced the U.S. Patent Office has issued a key patent covering the company’s Shielded-Cell & Immunotherapy Pairs platform. U.S. Patent No. 11,499,168 covers a method for in vivo selective depletion of edited primary hematopoietic cells or non-edited primary hematopoietic cells. This method was first discovered and developed in the lab of company founder Lukas Jeker, M.D., Ph.D., at the University of Basel, and is exclusively licensed to Cimeio. “This comprehensive intellectual property provides broad protection for our platform. We believe this patent, along with those we’ve filed for our target antigen and immunotherapy portfolio, cements us as a leader in the emerging field of cell shielding and will enable the broad development of our SCIP platform.” Cimeio CEO Thomas Fuchs Cimeio uses genome editing to insert novel protein variants into hematopoietic stem cells or other types of cells, allowing the cells to maintain their function while making them resistant to paired immunotherapy depletion. Cimeio’s platform has effectively shielded cells from depletion mediated by antibodies, T-cell engagers, ADCs, and CAR-T cells in preclinical studies. The company is advancing its first programs towards clinical development for genetic and malignant hematologic diseases. As previously disclosed, two posters for the company’s pipeline programs will be presented at the American Society of Hematology meeting in December 2022 in New Orleans. About Cimeio Cimeio is an applied gene editing and immunotherapy company developing a portfolio of Shielded-Cell & Immunotherapy Pairs® which has the potential to transform hematopoietic stem cell transplant. Cimeio’s technology platform is based on the design and expression of modified variants of naturally occurring cell surface proteins in HSCs. These novel variants maintain their function but are resistant to depletion when targeted by a paired immunotherapy which has high affinity for the wild-type version of these proteins. This technology has significant therapeutic potential, which Cimeio is using to develop curative treatments for patients with genetic diseases, hematologic malignancies, and severe autoimmune disorders.

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CELL AND GENE THERAPY, INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

bioAffinity Technologies Expands Diagnostic Division with Promotions and New Hires to Strengthen Clinical Bench

bioAffinity Technologies, Inc. | December 19, 2022

bioAffinity Technologies, Inc. a biotechnology company addressing the need for noninvasive diagnosis of early-stage cancer and diseases of the lung, as well as targeted cancer treatment, today announced that they have made a key promotion and additions to their staff. Jennifer Rebeles, Ph.D., has been promoted to Vice President of Diagnostics. Dr. Rebeles joined bioAffinity in 2019 as Director of Diagnostics where she led the team of scientists in the research and development of the company’s first product, CyPath® Lung, an automated flow cytometry tests that has shown high sensitivity and specificity for the detection of early-stage lung cancer. Dr. Rebeles was a research scientist with the United States Air Force 59th Medical Wing for Science and Technology where she performed recurring analyses on research portfolios to identify critical gaps in military medicine and proposed new projects to address those needs. Prior to that, she served as the Flow Cytometry and Microarray Technical Director at the Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, TX. Dr. Rebeles received her Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health with training in nutritional immunology by investigating the effects of obesity on the immune response to influenza infection. “Dr. Rebeles has shown exceptional leadership and scientific acumen in development and commercialization of CyPath® Lung. She is an expert in flow cytometry, a technology that is the foundation of our diagnostic platform. Her promotion to Vice President is well earned, given the precision and exacting approach to research and management.” bioAffinity Executive Vice President and Chief Medical and Science Officer Vivienne Rebel, MD, Ph.D In addition, Rossella Titone, Ph.D., and Alvaro Souto Padron de Figueiredo, Ph.D., have joined bioAffinity as research scientists in the company’s Diagnostics Division. Dr. Titone joins bioAffinity from the Texas Biomedical Research Institute where, as a Postdoctoral Scientist, she conducted biomedical research in the study of molecular mechanisms of viral dissemination and also spent several years as a researcher at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. She participated in the Postdoctoral Program in Advance Research, Corneal Biology at the University of Texas Southwestern and earned her Ph.D. in Biotechnologies for Human Health, Biomedical Biotechnology and Cancer Research from the University of Eastern Piedmont. Additionally, she earned her Master’s Degree in Biomedical Biotechnologies, Cancer Biology from the University of Siena and a Bachelor’s Degree in Biomedical Biotechnology, Molecular Cancer Biology from the University of Palermo. Dr. Souto Padron de Figueiredo joins bioAffinity from the Division of Hematology & Oncology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio-South Texas Research Facility, Adult Cancer Program, where he worked on a National Institute of Health-funded research grant investigating effects of different immune co-signaling therapy in the treatment of various pre-clinical cancer models and testing new drugs for pharmaceutical companies. He earned his Ph.D. and Master’s Degree in Biological Sciences from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro UFRJ, and his Bachelor’s in Nutrition from the Federal University of State of Rio de Janeiro, UNIRIO. “bioAffinity Technologies is grounded in strong scientific research and skilled, experienced scientists,” said bioAffinity President and CEO Maria Zannes. “These men and women are innovative, dedicated and committed to commercialization of CyPath® Lung and development of additional diagnostics for lung diseases and tests for cancer.” About bioAffinity Technologies, Inc. bioAffinity Technologies, Inc. addresses the need for noninvasive diagnosis of early-stage cancer and diseases of the lung, and targeted cancer treatment. The Company’s first product, CyPath® Lung, is a non-invasive test that has shown high sensitivity and specificity for the detection of early-stage lung cancer. Precision Pathology Services licensed and developed CyPath® Lung as a Laboratory Developed Test (LDT) and has begun test marketing in Texas. OncoSelect® Therapeutics, LLC, a subsidiary of bioAffinity Technologies, is advancing its discoveries shown in vitro to kill cancer cells without harm to normal cells. Research and optimization of the Company’s platform technologies are conducted in its laboratories at The University of Texas at San Antonio.

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