Phylagen, a Biotech Company Launches Phylagen Surface™ Sars-cov-2 Test Kit to Detect the Virus

Phylagen | July 31, 2020

Phylagen, an award-winning biotech company specializing in decoding the environmental microbiome for indoor safety, today announced the national availability of its Phylagen Surface™ SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) test kit. Designed to be used by anyone on any surface, Phylagen Surface™ provides an early indication of outbreaks in shared spaces including nursing homes, schools, hospitals, restaurants, offices and retail shops. "Surface testing can help curb the spread of COVID-19 but it needs to be accessible," said Dr. Jessica Green, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO, Phylagen. "Taking temperatures, wearing masks, social distancing, and testing symptomatic people isn't enough; we need methods to identify asymptomatic spreaders, too. We've made Phylagen Surface™ user-friendly for the general public at an accessible price point so it can be part of the critical safety measures public spaces are adopting right now." Led by Dr. Jessica Green, a founder in the field of indoor environmental microbiology at the University of Oregon, Phylagen has been building the world's largest environmental microbiome database since the company launched in 2015. With the coronavirus outbreak, Phylagen quickly converted their highly specialized technology into an easy-to-use product. In addition, by digitizing the genetic data contained in every surface sample, Phylagen uses artificial intelligence to build predictive technology that can anticipate a virus outbreak before it even occurs.

Spotlight

The development of cutting edge cancer treatment that uses the immune system is hinged on a better understanding of the tumor microenvironment (TME). The TME provides valuable context for understanding what subtypes of immune cells are present and how to exploit their position and ultimately destroy the tumor cells. Immuno-oncologists are at the forefront of cancer treatment, but the field is evolving fast, and so it is imperative to stay sharp with the latest visualization and analysis techniques.


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MEDICAL

Anitoa Launches Molecular Test (PCR) for Monkeypox

Anitoa | June 30, 2022

Anitoa Systems, market leader in fast, portable molecular testing, today announced the availability of a CE-marked turn-key PCR solution for testing Monkeypox. This portable solution includes one of a family small foot-print real time PCR instruments called the Maverick qPCR, with an extraction-free multiplex PCR reagent that tests OPXV/MPXV gene-targets in the skin lesion sample from patients suspected of infection with Monkeypox. Anitoa's Monkeypox test is designed to be carried out on-site, near patient, thus avoiding the need to transport patient samples to central labs for testing. The World Health Organization reported that over 2,100 people in 42 countries have been diagnosed with monkeypox as of June 15, nearly all during the past two months. As of June 17, the CDC reports 24 confirmed monkeypox cases in California, US. Although The CDC reports that the threat to the general U.S. population is considered low, it is important for healthcare providers worldwide to have a preparedness plan. Already having a presence in Africa, Anitoa Systems has started deloying its near-patient Monkeypox test in selected clinics in Africa. Anitoa is prepared to deliver its Monkeypox test solution world-wide when the need arises. Anitoa's Maverick line of multiplex real time PCR devices are lab-accurate, fast, portable and calibration-free. They can operate on battery power (including car battery) and takes up very little bench space. Maverick qPCR instruments are built on Anitoa's proprietary CMOS biosensor technology. They have been used widely for on-site testing of food, environment samples and agriculture products due to its rugged all solid-state design, small form factor, and lower operation cost. Anitoa's Monkeypox detection solution is part of an on-going program at Anitoa to develop tests to help combat a series of neglected tropical diseases in low resource settings. These tests currently include IVDR tests for Dengue, Yellow Fever, and Malaria We are closely monitoring the situation of Monkeypox infections around the world and tailoring our test solutions to the needs of the people affected." Zhimin ding, CEO of Anitoa Systems, LLC About Anitoa Anitoa Systems, a medical device technology start-up established in 2013 with headquarter in Sunnyvale, California, develops highly integrated and portable bio-sensor devices for molecular detection, based on its unique CMOS image sensor-based fluorescence and chemiluminescence molecular imaging. By replacing the traditional bulky and costly photon-multiplier tube (PMT) and CCD-based optical sub-systems, Anitoa's ultra-low-light CMOS sensor technology enables a new generation of compact and inexpensive molecular testing platforms targeting infectious, oncology and cardio-vascular markers. Anitoa manufactures its qPCR instruments and test kits in Hangzhou, China and Fremont, California.

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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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DIAGNOSTICS

NEOGEN® and Gencove Launch InfiniSEEK™ -- The First Whole Genome and Genotyping Sequencing Solution for Cattle Breeders

NEOGEN | May 16, 2022

NEOGEN® Corporation (NASDAQ: NEOG) and Gencove, the leading low-pass whole genome sequencing and analysis software company, today announced the launch of InfiniSEEK™, an innovative, cost-effective solution for whole genome sequencing and targeted SNP analysis. Combining NEOGEN's world-class genomic solutions and services with Gencove's low-pass sequencing and analytics software, the solution can deliver genomic insights to help advance cattle breeding programs worldwide. NEOGEN offers innovative, high quality, value-added genomic technologies to the agrigenomics industry, With the launch of InfiniSEEK, our customers now have a data-rich, cost-efficient way to get genome-wide sequence data, specific genetic traits, and parentage markers simultaneously with excellent accuracy to characterize cattle across the world. We are excited to add this new solution to NEOGEN's portfolio." Dr. Jason Lilly, NEOGEN's Vice President of International Business. Gencove developed a process that simultaneously yields low-pass whole genome sequencing and high coverage genotyping at pre-selected loci in a single molecular reaction, InfiniSEEK is NEOGEN's first commercial product built on the Gencove software and analysis platform, and we are thrilled it will be deployed through NEOGEN's best in class genomics offering services." Dr. Joseph Pickrell, co-founder and CEO of Gencove. With InfiniSEEK, the industry now has a platform to: Minimize selection bias by sequencing more or all of a population Discover new traits impacting desired phenotypes Reliably manage more than 400 bovine genetic traits and conditions InfiniSEEK has been rigorously validated, and results demonstrate low-pass genome-wide sequencing to be greater than 99 percent concordant to deep whole-genome sequencing and can offer even higher, clinical-grade accuracy at specific regions of interest. About Gencove With additional opportunities to improve human health and the challenge of feeding the world's growing population, demand for genomic information has skyrocketed. To meet the need, Gencove combines low-pass whole genome sequencing (reading the DNA at shallower depths) with a proprietary software-as-a-service computation layer. The result is a high-throughput, cost-effective, accurate sequencing and analysis solution. As evidence of the technology's value, the company has hundreds of customers, and the largest genomics service providers in the world partner with Gencove. About NEOGEN NEOGEN Corporation develops and markets comprehensive solutions dedicated to food and animal safety, operating with the intention to "everyday, protect the people and animals we care about." The company's Food Safety segment markets dehydrated culture media and diagnostic test kits to detect foodborne bacteria, natural toxins, food allergens, drug residues, plant diseases, and sanitation concerns. NEOGEN's Animal Safety segment is a leader in the development of genomic solutions along with the manufacturing and distribution of a variety of animal healthcare products, including diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, veterinary instruments, wound care, and disinfectants, as well as rodent and insect control solutions.

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DIAGNOSTICS

Exothera announces industrial scale AAV manufacturing collaboration with LogicBio Therapeutics and Polyplus

Exothera | June 15, 2022

Exothera SA today announced a collaboration with LogicBio® Therapeutics and Polyplus-transfection® SA. for the development of a highly scalable AAV manufacturing platform with a capacity from 200 L to 2,000 L. Adeno-associated viruses (AAV) are non-enveloped, non-pathogenic viruses largely used as drug delivery vectors for biotherapeutics, like gene therapies and vaccines. Although the application of AAV is spreading rapidly, the industry is struggling to find cost-effective manufacturing strategies to reach clinical and commercial scales. The collaboration among Exothera, LogicBio, and Polyplus aims to focus on the scale-up of a transient transfection-based AAV serotype 8 (AAV8) manufactured in suspension cell culture. The consortium selected the Allegro™ stirred tank Single-Use Bioreactor (from Pall) as a suspension culture device due to its scalability and single-use features. The project aims to assess reproducibility and comparability between the different scales of suspension bioreactors, up to 2,000 L bioreactor scale. Exothera will provide state-of-the-art production space, process development expertise and access to the latest enabling technologies. LogicBio will support the initiative with its mAAVRx™ plasmid technology and its AAV expertise. Polyplus will provide transfection reagent expertise with FectoVIR®-AAV for a smooth scaled-up GMP-eligible process development. Exothera's team is proud to work with the experienced teams at biotech companies like LogicBio and Polyplus. The success of AAV-based therapeutics requires a change in the manufacturing paradigm and through this collaboration, we aim to enable a new approach to consistently scale AAV manufacturing." Hanna Lesch, Chief Technology Officer at Exothera: " We are excited to collaborate with Exothera, an emerging leader in the CDMO industry and with Polyplus, a long-time transfection partner, for implementing an AAV manufacturing process at 200L scale and above. We believe our proprietary mAAVRx™ plasmid technology could dramatically help to improve manufacturing yields and consequently reduce AAV manufacturing costs. We are hopeful that the work done under this collaboration will be an important step forward in making gene therapy products accessible for a greater number of patients.". Matthias Hebben, Global Vice President, Technology Development at LogicBio. We are delighted to scale up AAV Viral vector Manufacturing processes to larger bioreactor volumes with innovators in the industry like Exothera and LogicBio. At Polyplus we aim to improve gene-therapy viral vector manufacturing economics by increasing titers in the upstream processes using novel transfection reagents like FectoVIR®-AAV. The collaboration will use a combination of state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies, innovative plasmid technologies and scalable transfection reagents which will make gene-therapy viral vector therapies affordable". Roel Gordijn, Chief commercial Officer at Polyplus. Exothera specializes in the industrialization of vaccine and gene therapy processes. It has recently performed successful viral vector manufacturing scale-up studies in adherent and suspension cell systems helping its clients to reach the clinical trial scale. Additionally, the team is operating and continuously improving its own GMP manufacturing platform, exoREADY, for viral vector-based gene therapies and vaccine production. About Exothera SA Exothera is a viral vector CDMO (contract manufacturing and development organization) using standard and innovative bioproduction platforms to rapidly deliver affordable viral vector-based vaccines and cell and gene therapies. As a Univercells company, Exothera capitalizes on novel manufacturing technologies and best-in-class bioprocessing expertise to provide custom-made process optimization and GMP clinical and commercial production of viral vectors. Based on its extensive technology expertise, Exothera selects technologies to optimally answer customer needs for cost-effective and agile viral vector manufacturing and provides QC services and analytical development. About LogicBio® Therapeutics LogicBio® Therapeutics is a clinical-stage genetic medicine company pioneering genome editing and gene delivery platforms to address rare and serious diseases from infancy through adulthood. The company's genome editing platform, GeneRide®, is a new approach to precise gene insertion harnessing a cell's natural DNA repair process potentially leading to durable therapeutic protein expression levels. The company's gene delivery platform, sAAVy™, is an adeno-associated virus (AAV) capsid engineering platform designed to optimize gene delivery for treatments in a broad range of indications and tissues. The company's proprietary system, mAAVRx™, aims to overcome some of the current limitations of AAV manufacturing by optimizing the transfection process to improve yields and product quality. The company is based in Lexington, MA.

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Spotlight

The development of cutting edge cancer treatment that uses the immune system is hinged on a better understanding of the tumor microenvironment (TME). The TME provides valuable context for understanding what subtypes of immune cells are present and how to exploit their position and ultimately destroy the tumor cells. Immuno-oncologists are at the forefront of cancer treatment, but the field is evolving fast, and so it is imperative to stay sharp with the latest visualization and analysis techniques.

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