Novartis Acquires Vedere Bio, a Novel Optogenetics AAV Gene Therapy Company

Vedere Bio | October 29, 2020

Vedere Bio, Inc. (Vedere Bio), a stealth-stage company focused on advancing photoreceptor-protein-based optogenetic therapies that are delivered to the retina intravitreally to restore functional vision, announced today that it has been acquired by Novartis. Shareholders in Vedere Bio received $150 million upfront and will be eligible for up to $130 million in milestone payments, for a total of $280 million. Based on technology from the laboratories of Drs. Ehud Isacoff and John G. Flannery of UC Berkeley, and technology directed at enhanced ocular gene therapy delivery arising jointly between UC Berkeley and the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Vedere Bio was formed in the Atlas Venture incubator in June 2019. The company was launched with a $21 million Series A financing and began lab operations at LabCentral in Cambridge, MA where it advanced its lead programs from concept to development candidate within one year. Immediately prior to the acquisition, certain earlier-stage vision restoration and vision preservation assets leveraging the company's ocular gene therapy toolbox were spun out into a newly formed entity – Vedere Bio II, Inc.

Spotlight

Trillions of microbes are living on and inside of you, and we’re only continuing to find out the role these organisms play in our health. A new report based on deliberations from 13 leading scientists from institutions such as Harvard, CalTech and the National Institutes of Health, details what we know about the microorganisms living inside of us.


Other News

OPKO Health Acquires ModeX Therapeutics, Gains Proprietary Immunotherapy Technology with a Focus on Oncology and Infectious Diseases

OPKO Health | May 10, 2022

OPKO Health, Inc. (NASDAQ: OPK), a multinational biopharmaceutical and diagnostics company, today announced the acquisition of ModeX Therapeutics, Inc. a privately held biotechnology company focused on developing innovative multi-specific immune therapies for cancer and infectious diseases. OPKO acquired ModeX for $300 million in OPKO common stock. Founded in October 2020 with headquarters in Natick, Mass., ModeX Therapeutics has developed highly flexible multi-specific antibody technology platforms with broad targeting and functional capabilities, simpler manufacturing and potentially better specificity and safety, providing significant differentiation from competing platforms. The design of these multi-specifics is amenable to gene-based delivery by mRNA or DNA vectors. The ModeX product portfolio includes cancer immunotherapies that combine four specificities into one protein to improve targeting and immune killing, as well as masking or “stealth” technology to improve tumor-specific killing and reduce side effects. For viral diseases, the lead targets of a broad and potent multi-specific antibody portfolio include HIV and SARS-CoV-2. A vaccine for Epstein-Barr virus is also in development. The acquisition of ModeX Therapeutics significantly broadens our technology foundation and expands our product pipeline to include multi-specific multi-functional antibodies focused on a range of cancers and infectious diseases, with applicability to other therapeutic areas. We believe the promise of better outcomes for patients treated with these multi-specific antibodies represents a next generation of large molecule therapeutics and the next chapter of OPKO, We welcome ModeX’s co-founders Dr. Zerhouni and Dr. Nabel, as well as Alexis Borisy to our Board of Directors, and Dr. Zerhouni and Dr. Nabel to OPKO’s executive management team. The ModeX executive team brings to OPKO a wealth of experience, knowledge and industry contacts, which we expect will have a tremendous long-term positive impact on OPKO as we advance their technology and product pipeline and leverage potential synergies with our current portfolio in diagnostics and therapeutics.” Phillip Frost, M.D., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of OPKO. Elias Zerhouni, M.D., Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board of ModeX, has been appointed President and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of OPKO. Dr. Zerhouni brings extensive experience in academia, government and industry as a leading authority on emerging trends and issues in medical care and biomedical research and development. A physician scientist with an academic background in imaging and biomedical engineering, Dr. Zerhouni most recently served as President of Global Research & Development and Executive Vice President of Sanofi. Dr. Zerhouni also served as Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Senior Fellow for Global Health Research at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Presidential U.S. Envoy for Science and Technology, and Professor and Chair of the Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Biomedical Engineering, Executive Vice Dean and Dean for Research at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Zerhouni was elected to the National Academy of Medicine and to the National Academy of Engineering. He serves on the Board of the Lasker Foundation, the Foundation for NIH, the Davos Alzheimer’s Collaborative and Research!America. He received the 2017 Scripps Executive of the Year Award for the pharmaceutical industry and the French Legion of Honor in 2008. He has been a director of Danaher Corporation since 2009. Being part of OPKO represents a transformative opportunity for both companies. We anticipate it will accelerate ModeX’s product pipeline focused on unmet needs in oncology and infectious diseases and the development of our innovative technologies, and also will take advantage of synergies with OPKO’s programs, ModeX has operated quietly since we were founded 18 months ago on the basis of over 10 years of prior foundational work. We have assembled a world-class executive team with outstanding public and private sector leadership experience to advance our programs. Our lead drug candidate is already in the clinic while several others in late preclinical stages are expected to enter clinical development in 2023. We were enticed to join OPKO by its leadership’s vision and enthusiasm for strengthening our mutual potential for breakthrough innovation.” Dr. Zerhouni. Gary Nabel, M.D., Ph.D., Co-Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of ModeX, has been appointed Chief Innovation Officer of OPKO and joins OPKO’s Board of Directors. Dr. Nabel, a renowned virologist and immunologist, served as Chief Scientific Officer and Senior Vice President of Sanofi where he directed the breakthrough laboratory that developed tri-specific products now in early clinical development. He is the founding director of the NIH’s Vaccine Research Center, working on vaccines and broadly neutralizing antibodies against HIV, influenza, SARS, Ebola, Chikungunya and Epstein-Barr virus. He was previously an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Michigan. In recognition of his expertise at the forefront of virology, immunology, gene therapy and molecular biology, Dr. Nabel was elected to the National Academy of Medicine, is a fellow of the American Association of Physicians and the American Academy of Arts Sciences, and was awarded the Geoffrey Beene Builders of Science Award from Research!America. Alexis Borisy, the Lead Independent Director of ModeX, also joins OPKO’s Board of Directors. Mr. Borisy is a leading biotechnology entrepreneur and investor with more than 25 years of experience, including founding, serving as Chief Executive Officer and/or Chairman of nine NASDAQ-listed companies. He co-founded and served as either the Chief Executive Officer or Chairman of Blueprint Medicines, Foundation Medicine, Relay Therapeutics, Tango Therapeutics, Celsius Therapeutics and CombinatoRx. With the additions of Dr. Zerhouni, Dr. Nabel and Mr. Borisy to OPKO’s Board, the number of Directors expands to 13. About OPKO Health, Inc. OPKO is a multinational biopharmaceutical and diagnostics company that seeks to establish industry-leading positions in large, rapidly growing markets by leveraging its discovery, development, and commercialization expertise and novel and proprietary technologies.

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MEDICAL

ILC Dover Announces Liquid Single-Use Bioprocessing Bags for Rapidly Growing Biotherapeutics and Cell & Gene Therapy Markets

ILC Dover | March 30, 2022

ILC Dover LP ("ILC Dover" or the "Company"), specializing in innovative single-use solutions for biotherapeutics and pharmaceutical processing, announced its launch of liquid single-use bioprocessing bags, representing the first of many new products for handling and supply of sterile liquids for the biotherapeutics market. This expansion is a continuation of ILC Dover's solution set across the entire biotherapeutic and pharmaceutical manufacturing workflow, from powder containment and handling, through sterile liquid handling and pre-filled liquid and powder bags. ILC Dover manufactures its high-quality, single-use bioprocessing bags in Frederica DE, but ultimately will utilize its growing cGMP global footprint to support its customers and partners worldwide. The Company maintains manufacturing for its pharmaceutical and biotherapeutic customers in Frederica DE, Durham NC, Stockport UK, Rossens Switzerland, and Blarney Ireland, with a large, planned expansion in Juarez, Mexico coming online later in 2022. ILC Dover's differentiated value proposition comes during a time of unprecedented disruption in the life science supply chain amidst significant industry growth. ILC Dover is committed to providing comprehensive solutions customized to our customers unique needs. Additionally, the Company's overall global footprint, quality, and supply reputation ensure that it can meet customer needs at scale with speed. In addition to the launch of ILC Dover's single-use bioprocessing bags, the Company is also rapidly expanding its offering of sterile liquids and (pre-filled and non pre-filled) powder offerings. ILC Dover will be providing updates throughout the year on these launches. In the past two weeks, we've made two large investments in our customers' success: our Juarez capacity expansion and transformation, and the official launch of our exciting single-use bioprocessing bags, We will continue to innovate to serve our pharmaceutical, biotherapeutic, and cell & gene therapy customers across the entire processing and manufacturing workflow." Corey Walker, CEO of ILC Dover. About ILC Dover ILC Dover is a world-leader in the innovative design and production of solutions for biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, medical device markets as well as a leading supplier for the (aero)space industries. Our customers will attest to our relentless dedication to high value products, advanced technology, and responsive service, as our visionary solutions have improved efficiency while safeguarding people, product, and infrastructure in hazardous conditions through flexible protective solutions since 1947.

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RESEARCH

Medolife Rx Announces Changes to Management and Improvements to AELIA’s Marketing Efforts

Medolife Rx, Inc. | February 07, 2022

Medolife Rx, Inc. a global integrated biopharmaceutical company with manufacturing, and consumer product distribution, which is a majority owned subsidiary of Quanta, Inc. that the Company is in progress of revamping their online marketing platform, starting off with a change in the marketing and brand development for their AELIA brand wellness products that utilize the company’s polarized ingredients. Medolife believes these changes will bring greater product awareness and improved online presence. The Company’s manager of marketing and brand development, Maggie Dumais, has stepped down from their position under mutual agreement with the Company. In order to support the Company’s vision of a new marketing strategy, Medolife is finalizing an agreement with a new director of marketing and brand development, whose name will be announced at a later date. “We are excited with the new direction that the Company is taking with its AELIA products and expect a positive outcomeThe Company’s values, goals and plans will be presented in a way that reflects our mission to promote health and well-being with our expanding line of products.” Medolife CEO Dr The Company also hired a new team to oversee the overhaul of AELIA’s websites, product listings and social media presence. The Company hopes that, with the help of these experienced professionals, their online platforms will see an increase in sale conversions and consumer feedback. Medolife thanks its shareholders and clients for believing in them. The Company will have more positive news coming out soon. About Medolife Rx Medolife Rx, Inc. is a global biotechnology company with operations in clinical research, manufacturing, and consumer products. Medolife Rx was created through the merger of Medolife, a private company founded by Dr. Arthur Mikaelian, who pioneered the unlaying polarization technology, and Quanta, Inc., a direct-to-consumer wellness product portfolio company. The Company’s lead clinical development programs include Escozine®, a proprietary formulation consisting of small molecule peptides derived from Rhopalurus princeps scorpions, which is amplified by the Company’s polarization technology and is being researched as a treatment of various indications, including COVID-19 and cancer. The Company intends to pursue product registration and drug approval in multiple countries. Through its subsidiary AELIA, Medolife manufactures and distributes consumer wellness products in consumer areas such as pain relief, beauty, and general wellness. AELIA products are designed using Dr. Mikaelian’s polarization technology, which applies advances in quantum biology to increase the potency of active ingredients. Ultimately, Quanta's mission is to deliver better, more effective ingredients to elevate product efficacy, reduce waste, and facilitate healthier, more sustainable consumption. Beyond its own clinical and consumer applications, the polarization technology used by Medolife and its subsidiaries has many potential applications. From potentiating bio-ingredients, to producing more-effective carbon-trapping plants, to transformative anti-aging solutions, Medolife could have the opportunity to upend how commercial and pharmaceutical products are made and increase their benefits, while decreasing their chemical concentration.

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CELL AND GENE THERAPY

c-LEcta Continues Its Growth in 2021 and Sees Itself Excellently Positioned for the Future With the ENESYZ Technology Platform

c-LEcta | December 20, 2021

c-LEcta, a global biotechnology company with technology leadership in enzyme engineering and bioprocess development, continued its growth in 2021. The high expectations for the fiscal year have been fully met and were even significantly exceeded. Thus, the management expects annual revenue in the range of EUR 20 million, which equates to a doubling of last year’s result. With an expanded team, further investments in the product range and the ENESYZ technology platform are expected to keep up the pace of growth in the coming year. The continued growth confirms the Leipzig-based company’s strategy of placing its development on a solid foundation with a broad range of specialized enzymes for the pharmaceutical and food industries. With average revenue growth of 56% from 2018 to 2020 and further growth expected to reach around EUR 20 million in 2021, even during the Covid-19 pandemic, the business performance illustrates the strength and resilience of this strategy. “We are very proud of our performance in recent years. Our products provide good growth momentum and also great resilience due to the diverse application fields and this has supported us over the last two years. To continue to drive this growth in the long term, we have continued to build our team again this year and now employ 108 people. Moving forward, we plan to continue to invest in additional staff and equipment,” Thomas Pfaadt, CFO of c-LEcta GmbH c-LEcta managed to launch its new product NuCLEANase in October 2021. NuCLEANase is an enzyme that is used to remove unwanted DNA residues, in the food industry, for example, but also helps to dissolve deposits on machines and manufacturing equipment. The high demand from customers already at its launch confirms the high market potential for this product. “NuCLEANnase is an incredibly versatile product that holds great potential. However, the development also demonstrates the versatility of our ENESYZ technology platform, which allows enzyme developments based on different production systems for a wide range of applications. ENESYZ is constantly being further developed. For example, this year we were able to integrate an additional expression host, Bacillus, into our enzyme engineering platform,” explained Dr. Marc Struhalla, founder and CEO of c-LEcta. The company also made significant progress in the area of machine learning and artificial intelligence in 2021. “We were recently able to achieve some very promising results in this innovative area. The topic is a very important building block for future product developments and we are extremely motivated to rapidly expand our expertise in this area,” Dr. Struhalla added. Many new customers were once again acquired over the course of 2021. There was strong demand for the products from the DENARASE family, which also address the gene and cell therapy market. A total of more than 500 mailings were sent out to more than 200 customers from nearly 30 countries. The largest sales market was the USA. The ELISA kit launched in 2020 was also a particular success, with very significant growth in demand in 2021. c-LEcta’s most important markets, the food and pharmaceutical industries, are subject to strict regulations worldwide. An enzyme dossier submitted by c-LEcta facilitates the approval of its products for customers from the food industry. With the filing of a master file with the FDA, c-LEcta supports its customers in terms of regulatory compliance and demonstrates the quality of its manufacturing processes and products. In October, c-LEcta secured itself its own building complex with more than 10,000 m2 of space in the new biotechnology campus that spans a total area of 27,000m2 and is to be built at the “Alte Messe” site in Leipzig starting in the second quarter of 2022. “We want to and will indeed continue to grow. Great new space is being built at Alte Messe, which will allow us to set up state-of-the-art office and laboratory areas for our growing team. This will provide us with the space to continue our growth,” Dr. Struhalla concluded. About c-LEcta c-LEcta is a world-leading biotechnology company with a focus on enzyme engineering and application in regulated markets like the food and pharma industries. The company is based in Leipzig, Germany, and has established itself as a leading player in the realization of high-value biotech products, either in the form of in-house developments or in close cooperation with industry. The company currently employs more than 100 people.

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Spotlight

Trillions of microbes are living on and inside of you, and we’re only continuing to find out the role these organisms play in our health. A new report based on deliberations from 13 leading scientists from institutions such as Harvard, CalTech and the National Institutes of Health, details what we know about the microorganisms living inside of us.

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