GlaxoSmithKline teams with Vir Biotechnology to develop coronavirus vaccine, treatments

The Business Journals | April 06, 2020

GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology Inc. said Monday they have signed a binding coronavirus research and development agreement. As part of the agreement, GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK) will invest $250 million in Vir (NASDAQ: VIR). GlaxoSmithKline, based in London, has large operations in Philadelphia and Montgomery County. Vir is based in San Francisco. Shares in Vir jumped almost 27% to close at $36.70 Monday. GSK's stock price finished up 2% to $37.91. The collaboration will seek to use Vir’s proprietary monoclonal antibody platform technology to accelerate the development of existing anti-viral antibodies, and to identify new ones, that could be used as a vaccine or therapy to help address the COVID-19 pandemic and future outbreaks.

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If you eliminated all biotechnology-produced crops ("GMOs") in the United States, the Purdue team found that corn yields would decline by 11 percent, soybeans would decline by 5 percent, and cotton would decline by 19 percent.


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MEDICAL

Slingshot Biosciences, Inc. Partners With Cambridge Bioscience to Distribute Synthetic Cells Throughout United Kingdom and Ireland

Slingshot | June 16, 2022

SLINGSHOT BIOSCIENCES, INC. the makers of synthetic cells that bring consistent precision and accurate control to replace inconsistent blood and tissue controls for use in flow cytometry and other biotech markets, today announced they have extended their distribution channel through a new agreement with Cambridge Bioscience, a UK-based specialist distributor of life science research tools. The agreement entitles Cambridge Bioscience to the right to distribute and resell Slingshot Bio’s products in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Through Cambridge Bioscience’s network of customers, Slingshot Bio will be able to establish its presence in the United Kingdom and Ireland market with the well-established presence and expertise of Cambridge Bioscience which has been selling into flow cytometry for many years. Cambridge Bioscience’s network will provide us with the market penetration needed to reach our full sales potential. Slingshot Biosciences has considered many distribution partners and we are confident that Cambridge Bioscience’s extensive knowledge in the field, prominent presence, and large customer base will help us leverage our position in the flow cytometry market.” Jeffrey Kim, CEO & Founder. About Slingshot Biosciences, Inc. Founded in 2012, Slingshot Biosciences is a fast-growing life sciences company with a platform technology and paradigm-shifting mission to make synthetic cells the gold standard for all cell-based applications—including diagnostics, and adoptive cell therapy development and instrument calibration.

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Akili Announces Public Company Board of Director Nominees

Akili Interactive | July 11, 2022

Akili Interactive a leading digital medicine company pioneering the development of cognitive treatments through game-changing technologies, announced the nominees for its future board of directors, effective upon the closing of Akili’s business combination with Social Capital Suvretta Holdings Corp. I subject to customary closing conditions. Shares of the new public company’s common stock are expected to trade on Nasdaq under the symbol “AKLI.” Akili’s public company board of directors is expected to consist of seven directors, with several new and recent additions, including William (BJ) Jones, Chief Commercial Officer of Biohaven Pharmaceuticals; Christine Lemke, Co-Chief Executive Officer of Evidation Health; Ken Ehlert, former Chief Scientific Officer at UnitedHealth Group; and Chamath Palihapitiya, founder and CEO of Social Capital and Chairman and Managing Partner of SCS. Nominees also include existing Akili directors Bharatt Chowrira, Ph.D., J.D., Adam Gazzaley, M.D., Ph.D. and Eddie Martucci, Ph.D. These director nominees bring industry leadership and deep expertise in access and reimbursement, innovative go-to-market approaches and groundbreaking research that will guide Akili as the company enters its next phase of growth to commercialize digital therapeutics at scale. “Akili is creating a new class of medicine that has the potential to fundamentally change how we think about cognitive health. As we forge this new path, it’s important to have a broad range of expertise, from pioneering leading-edge science to navigating our healthcare system to establishing new standards of patient care. The board and I look forward to supporting Eddie and his team as they bring their first product to market, and hopefully many more breakthrough therapeutics in the coming years.” Chamath Palihapitiya, incoming chair of Akili’s board of directors Eddie Martucci, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Akili, added: “We look forward to becoming a publicly-traded company through our merger with SCS and we are proud to nominate this impressive slate of life sciences and technology leaders to constitute Akili’s new public board and help guide our corporate and clinical strategy.” Board Member Biographies Chamath Palihapitiya founded Social Capital in 2011 and has been its Managing Partner since its inception. Mr. Palihapitiya also serves as the Chief Executive Officer and the Chairman of the board of directors of DNAB, DNAC and DNAD. In addition, Mr. Palihapitiya currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer and the Chairman of the board of directors of each of Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. IV and Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. VI. Mr. Palihapitiya previously served as the Chief Executive Officer and the Chairman of the board of directors of Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. from May 2017 until the consummation of its business combination with Virgin Galactic in October 2019, and served as the Chairman of the board of directors of Virgin Galactic until February 2022. Mr. Palihapitiya also previously served as the Chief Executive Officer and the Chairman of the board of directors of Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. II until the consummation of its business combination with Opendoor Labs Inc. in December 2020 and as the Chief Executive Officer and the Chairman of the board of directors of Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. III until the consummation of its business combination with Clover Health Investments, Corp. in January 2021 and as the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the board of directors of Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. V until the consummation of its business combination with Social Finance, Inc. in May 2021. Mr. Palihapitiya also served as a director of Slack Technologies Inc. from April 2014 until October 2019. Prior to founding Social Capital in 2011, Mr. Palihapitiya served as Vice President of User Growth at Facebook, and is recognized as having been a major force in its launch and growth. Mr. Palihapitiya was responsible for overseeing Monetization Products and Facebook Platform. Prior to working for Facebook, Mr. Palihapitiya was a principal at the Mayfield Fund, one of the United States’ oldest venture firms, before which he headed the instant messaging division at AOL. Mr. Palihapitiya graduated from the University of Waterloo, Canada with a degree in electrical engineering. William Jones, Jr. has served as Chief Commercial Officer of Biohaven Pharmaceuticals Holding Company Ltd., a publicly traded biopharmaceutical company, where he has been responsible for building the company’s commercial capability and launching their first FDA-approved product (Nurtec ODT), since April 2019. Prior to Biohaven, from January 2016 to March 2019, Mr. Jones served as Vice President, Head of Sales and Commercial Operations for the general medicine business unit of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, a publicly traded pharmaceutical company. Mr. Jones holds a B.S. in human factors engineering from the United States Air Force Academy, an M.S. in industrial engineering from Texas A&M University and an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. Christine Lemke has served as a member of Akili’s board of directors since September 2021. Since March 2012, Ms. Lemke has been employed by Evidation Health, Inc., a real-world health measurement and engagement platform, where she currently serves as Co-Chief Executive Officer and Director. Since February 2016, she has also served as co-founder and General Partner of Ensemble Labs, GP, an investor in early stage health technology companies. Prior to Evidation Health and Ensemble Labs, Ms. Lemke was co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Sense Networks, Inc., developers of the first machine learning platform for mobile phone activity data. Ms. Lemke holds a B.A. in business from the University of Washington and an MBA from HEC Paris. Kenneth Ehlert has served as a member of Akili’s board of directors since December 2021. Previously, he held senior leadership positions at UnitedHealth Group, a publicly traded managed healthcare and insurance company, including most recently as Chief Scientific Officer from December 2017 to July 2021. From January 2009 until December 2017, Mr. Ehlert served as Chief Executive Officer of Savvysherpa Inc., a research and development firm. Mr. Ehlert holds a B.A. in economics and mathematics from Brigham Young University and an M.S. in applied economics from the University of Minnesota. Bharatt Chowrira, Ph.D., J.D., has served as a member of Akili’s board of directors since June 2021 and previously served as a member of Akili’s board of directors from November 2017 until September 2019. Since February 2017, Dr. Chowrira has served as President and as a member of the board of directors of PureTech Health plc. Prior to joining PureTech Health, Dr. Chowrira served as President of Synlogic, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing synthetic microbiome-based therapeutics. Dr. Chowrira also previously served as Chief Operating Officer of Auspex Pharmaceuticals Inc., a biotechnology company, and as President and Chief Executive Officer of Addex Therapeutics Ltd., a biotechnology company. Prior to that, Dr. Chowrira held various leadership roles at Nektar Therapeutics, Merck & Co., Sirna Therapeutics and Ribozyme Pharmaceuticals. Since September 2018, Dr. Chowrira has also served as a member of the board of directors of Vedanta Biosciences, Inc., a clinical stage company. He was previously on the boards of Vor Biopharma, Inc., a publicly-traded cell and genome engineering company, between August 2018 and June 2020, and Karuna Therapeutics, Inc., a publicly-traded biopharmaceutical company, from August 2017 to December 2019. Dr. Chowrira received a J.D. from the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law, a Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Vermont College of Medicine, an M.S. in molecular biology from Illinois State University and a B.S. in microbiology from the UAS, Bangalore, India. Adam Gazzaley, M.D., Ph.D., one of Akili’s co-founders, has served as a member of Akili’s board of directors since November 2014 and as Chief Science Advisor since January 2011. Dr. Gazzaley is the David Dolby Distinguished Professor of Neurology, Physiology and Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco (“UCSF”), and the Founder & Executive Director of Neuroscape at UCSF, where he has been employed since July 2005. Additionally, Dr. Gazzaley is co-founder and Chief Scientific Advisor of JAZZ Venture Partners LLC, a venture capital firm focused on technologies that improve human performance. Dr. Gazzaley has also been on the Board of Trustees of the California Academy of Sciences since May 2019, a Science Council Member there since August 2019, and a Science Fellow there since May 2020. From January 2015 to January 2018, he served as a Science Board member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition. Dr. Gazzaley holds a B.S. in biochemistry from Binghamton University, and a Ph.D. in neuroscience and an M.D. from Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He completed his postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and his residency in neurology at the hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. W. Edward Martucci, Ph.D., one of Akili’s co-founders, has served as Akili’s Chief Executive Officer and as a member of Akili’s board of directors since August 2015, including as Akili’s employee beginning in September 2017. From June 2009 to September 2017, Dr. Martucci was employed by PureTech Health PLC, a publicly traded biotherapeutics company, where he co-founded Akili in 2011 and served as Akili’s Chief Operating Officer from 2011 until August 2015. Since February 2017, he has served on the board of the Digital Therapeutics Alliance, a digital therapeutics industry advocacy organization. Dr. Martucci holds a B.S. in biochemistry from Providence College and a M.Phil. and Ph.D. in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University. About Akili Akili is pioneering the development of cognitive treatments through game-changing technologies. Our approach of leveraging technologies designed to directly target the brain establishes a new category of medicine – medicine that is validated through clinical trials like a drug or medical device but experienced like entertainment. Akili’s platform is powered by proprietary therapeutic engines designed to target cognitive impairment at its source in the brain, informed by decades of research and validated through rigorous clinical programs. Driven by Akili’s belief that effective medicine can also be fun and engaging, Akili’s products are delivered through captivating action video game experiences.

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

WuXi XDC and AbTis Sign Memorandum of Understanding for Development and Manufacturing of Antibody Drug Conjugates

WuXi Biologics | July 08, 2022

WuXi XDC, a global leading CRDMO dedicated to end-to-end bioconjugates services, and AbTis, a Korean biotechnology company dedicated to the development of antibody drug conjugates announced that a Memorandum of Understanding was signed to form a strategic partnership in AbTis' portfolio of ADC products. Under the partnership, AbTis will have access to WuXi XDC's integrated services for linker and payload manufacturing, ADC conjugation process development, ADC formulation and drug product manufacturing process development, as well as drug substance and drug product manufacturing. This full range of development and manufacturing services will be provided by WuXi XDC at facilities that are all located within a two-hour drive of each other. "We are glad to be collaborating with WuXi XDC. This partnership will allow us to leverage WuXi XDC's world-class expertise in both innovative conjugation technologies and comprehensive capabilities for ADC development and manufacturing. We look forward to making more ADC products accessible to patients." Dr. Sang Jeon Chung, CEO of AbTis "With our integrated services and know-how, we are pleased to be enabling AbTis to develop and manufacture its portfolio of ADC products," said Dr. Jimmy Li, CEO of WuXi XDC. "This strategic partnership demonstrates the trust and confidence our clients have in our end-to-end services, maintained even during the COVID-19 lockdown period, when WuXi XDC teams showcased the strong execution and reflected our commitment to a culture of 'Putting the Customer First.' We will continue to accelerate and transform the discovery, development and manufacturing of bioconjugates, enabling our global partners and benefiting patients worldwide." About AbTis AbTis is a biotechnology company that specializes in antibody-drug conjugates platform technology with its own proprietary patents and its own pipelines in developments in oncology areas. AbTis pipelines are designed to enhance the safety and efficacy of the current antibody-drug conjugates by applying AbTis linker to the mAbs. Its platform ADC linker technology is site-specific and applicable to the native antibodies, commercial antibodies, or novel antibodies under development as it requires no mutation or engineering to antibody itself. Its stable, hydrophilic and cleavable linkers can be attached to various payloads, too. Under the moto of "Patients First", AbTis has been striving to advance its ADC technology and to develop its pipelines with several other antibody and payload companies. AbTis' advanced ADC technology enables partners to co-develop pipelines together in a real open innovation setting. About WuXi XDC WuXi XDC, a joint venture between WuXi Biologics and WuXi STA, provides end-to-end contract research, development and manufacturing of bioconjugates, including antibody drug conjugates (ADCs). The company's services cover antibodies and other biologics, chemical payloads and linkers, as well as bioconjugated drug substance and drug product. WuXi XDC has been successful in bringing multiple ADC projects to the Investigational New Drug (IND) filing stage in 15 months or less, nearly cutting in half the traditional development timeline. As of April 30, 2022, over 240 projects – from early stage to late-stage clinical – are being developed at WuXi XDC, including 26 IND-completed projects and eight projects in phase II/III.

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MEDICAL

Fluent BioSciences and NanoCellect announce joint collaboration to improve resolution of single-cell RNA sequencing analysis of rare cell populations

Fluent BioSciences | June 18, 2022

Fluent BioSciences, a biotechnology company focused on making single-cell analysis simple and accessible to every researcher, and NanoCellect Biomedical, Inc., a leader in the development and manufacturing of innovative and affordable solutions for cell sorting, jointly announced a collaboration to improve resolution and efficiency of single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) analysis of rare cell populations. Single-cell researchers are increasingly requiring scalable, flexible and accessible workflow solutions, and the combination of cell sorting on the NanoCellect platform followed by scRNA-seq on a novel, instrument-free platform for scRNA-seq based on Pre-templated Instant Partitions (PIPseq™) from Fluent can be a highly efficient solution for a wide range of single cell applications across oncology, immunology and neuroscience. For single-cell sequencing to truly become mainstream researchers need benchtop solutions that fit their diverse experimental needs rather than compromising the science with complex, expensive, and inflexible platforms. I am very pleased that Fluent and NanoCellect are able to leverage and combine the unique advantages of our respective technologies to expand the use of single-cell RNA sequencing for rare cell populations." Sepehr Kiani Ph.D., co-founder, and CEO of Fluent BioSciences. Reliable and reproducible sample preparation is critically important to the scRNAseq workflow, NanoCellect's WOLF® and WOLF G2® Cell Sorters can function as a valuable step in the scRNA-seq workflow by isolating only cells of interest while removing dead cells and debris, thus improving scRNA-seq resolution of rare cell populations of interest and overall sequencing data quality." Jose Morachis, Ph.D., President and co-founder at NanoCellect. About Fluent BioSciences Fluent's mission is to accelerate the understanding of single-cell biology through accessible, affordable, and scalable solutions for every researcher. Our breakthrough PIPseq™ technology enables extremely sensitive and unbiased preparation of proteins and nucleic acids for a broad range of applications. About NanoCellect Biomedical NanoCellect is committed to empowering every scientist to make discoveries one cell at a time, by ensuring high cell viability required to advance cell-based research. We develop and deliver microfluidic based solutions that are affordable, compact, and easy-to-use. Our expanding portfolio of instruments and consumables enable biomedical scientists to analyze and sort cells required for drug discovery, single cell-omics, cloning, antibody discovery, and basic research.

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Spotlight

If you eliminated all biotechnology-produced crops ("GMOs") in the United States, the Purdue team found that corn yields would decline by 11 percent, soybeans would decline by 5 percent, and cotton would decline by 19 percent.

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