DIAGNOSTICS

Provectus Algae Expands into New Large-Scale Microalgae Biomanufacturing Facility

Provectus Algae | August 28, 2021

Provectus Algae, an Australian biotechnology platform company specialising in the biomanufacturing of high-value compounds for a wide array of industries using microalgae, announced they will be expanding into an additional large-scale manufacturing facility.

“Since closing our seed round last year, we have been in full swing growing the team, developing products and building capacity with our proprietary production system. We are now in a strong position as we push into this next phase of the company's growth”

Located in Noosaville, Australia, the new site is expected to be operational by the end of 2021 and will complement the company’s existing facility to deliver new algae-made products to the market. The new facility will support the production of a high-performance food colouring which is currently in late stage of development. Once completed, the facility will have a 200,000 litre production capacity and expanded R&D operations to support early-stage product development and partnerships for the Food & Beverage sector. Provectus’s inaugural pilot facility will subsequently be converted to support the commercial production of a separate high-value product that is currently undergoing product testing. The company expects further expansion in the near term with plans for a supplementary 1 million litre facility already underway to support the commercialisation of multiple products already in the company development pipeline.

Provectus has engaged global food & beverage companies to craft a tailored development pipeline of products most relevant to the strengths of the company’s biomanufacturing platform. The flexibility of the company’s unique platform approach is evidenced by the speed at which lead products have moved through the development pipeline to commercial readiness.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg for Provectus Algae. The stage of development we are now at with our production platform gives us a clear line of sight to deliver some really exciting products to the food and beverage marketplace,” said Nusqe Spanton, Founder and CEO of Provectus Algae. “What we are able to achieve for our commercial partners is simply not comparable to any other offering in the marketplace. Thanks to algae, we are able to benefit from a 3.5-billion-year head start in producing some of the world’s most coveted ingredients.”

The Provectus platform addresses supply chain challenges by providing end-to-end services from product development to large-scale biomanufacturing. Importantly, the manufacturing platform is able to go from bench to industrial-scale seamlessly with a continuity of their novel production technology.

“Since closing our seed round last year, we have been in full swing growing the team, developing products and building capacity with our proprietary production system. We are now in a strong position as we push into this next phase of the company's growth,” Spanton added.

ABOUT PROVECTUS ALGAE
Provectus Algae is an Australian biotech company that programs algae to produce the world's most valuable specialty ingredients. By accelerating nature, their team is able to optimise unique microalgae to produce a whole new range of natural products, in a process described as “precision photosynthesis”. Using next-generation techniques the company has also developed a synthetic biology stack that complements and competes with existing production platforms to deliver high-performance and sustainable products.

Spotlight

CRISPR Therapeutics was preparing to treat patients using its gene editing tool later this year But the Biotech company is hitting a snag. Namely: The Food and Drug Administration. The FDA just put a hold on one of the first trials to test CRISPR gene-editing in humans. The trial had hoped to look at how gene-editing may affect patients with sickle cell disease. The trail was to be conducted by CRISPR Therapeutics in conjunction with Vertex Pharmaceuticals. It is on hold "pending the resolution of certain questions that will be provided by the FDA."


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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MEDTECH

Sequence Bio announces Discovery Collaboration Agreement with LEO Pharma

Sequence Bio | April 08, 2022

Sequence Bio, a Newfoundland and Labrador-based discovery biology company, announced today that it has entered into a collaboration agreement with Danish dermatology specialists LEO Pharma, for use of Sequence Bio's proprietary discovery platform to identify novel dermatologic drug targets. Under the terms of the three year agreement, Sequence Bio will perform multi-omic analyses of samples from powered discovery cohorts across multiple dermatologic indications. LEO Pharma will leverage insights generated under this collaboration to build robust evidence in support of new potential approaches that significantly impact dermatologic conditions. We are delighted to enter this collaboration agreement with Sequence Bio to further accelerate LEO Pharma's ambition to identify novel dermatologic drug targets, LEO Pharma is relentlessly committed to making pioneering advances in dermatology research and bringing new treatments to patients faster." Thorsten Thormann, Vice President of Research & Early Development in LEO Pharma. We are excited to work with LEO Pharma on their mission to positively impact millions of lives through medical dermatology, This collaboration aligns with our strategic priorities to expand the potential of our discovery platform to power life-changing medicines in areas of unmet medical need across the globe." Dr. Richard Leach, Chief Strategy Officer of Sequence Bio. About LEO Pharma LEO Pharma is a global company dedicated to advancing the standard of care for the benefit of people with skin conditions, their families and society. Founded in 1908 and majority owned by the LEO Foundation, LEO Pharma has devoted decades of research and development to advance the science of dermatology, and today, the company offers a wide range of therapies for all disease severities. LEO Pharma is headquartered in Denmark with a global team of 5,800 people, serving millions of patients across the world. In 2021, the company generated net sales of EUR 1,339 million. About Sequence Bio Sequence Bio is a commercial-stage biotechnology company based in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. The company's platform leverages Newfoundland's founder effect to power discovery cohorts for novel target identification across numerous disease indications. Sequence Bio collaborates with the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, and partners with leading pharma and biotech to help accelerate the development of new medicines for global unmet medical need.

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CELL AND GENE THERAPY

Brooklyn ImmunoTherapeutics Added to ICE Biotechnology Index

Brooklyn ImmunoTherapeutics, Inc. | December 18, 2021

Brooklyn ImmunoTherapeutics, Inc. on exploring the role that cytokine and gene editing/cell therapy can have in treating patients with cancer, blood disorders, and monogenic diseases, announces that Brooklyn has been added to the ICE Biotechnology Index following the December 20, 2021 reconstitution. “The continued recognition of Brooklyn among key biotechnology indices is encouraging and we continue to believe that our value proposition and approach to our business are being rewarded with these inclusions. We look forward to beginning the new year strong and are grateful to be included among the key players in the biotech sector,” Brooklyn’s Chief Executive Officer and President Howard Federoff, M.D., Ph.D The ICE Biotechnology Index tracks the performance of qualifying U.S.-listed biotechnology companies classified within the Biotechnology Sub-Industry Group of the ICE Uniform Sector Classification schema, which is a multi-asset class industry classification taxonomy developed by ICE. The index includes companies that are engaged in the research and development of therapeutic treatments but are not focused on the commercialization and mass production of pharmaceutical drugs. The index also includes companies that are engaged in the production of tools or systems that enable biotechnology processes. About Brooklyn ImmunoTherapeutics Brooklyn is focused on exploring the role that cytokine, gene editing, and cell therapy can have in treating patients with cancer, blood disorders, and monogenic diseases. Brooklyn’s most advanced program is IRX-2, a human cell-derived cytokine therapy, studying the safety and efficacy of IRX-2 in patients with head and neck cancer in Phase 2B. In a Phase 2A clinical trial in head and neck cancer, IRX-2 demonstrated an overall survival benefit. Additional studies are either underway or planned in other solid tumor cancer indications. Brooklyn has multiple next-generation cell and gene-editing therapies in preclinical development for various indications including acute respiratory distress syndrome, solid tumor indications, as well as in vivo gene-editing therapies for rare genetic diseases.

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MEDICAL

Pancreatic Cancer Cells Harness Normal Tissue Turnover to Build Protective Barriers

NYU Langone Health | April 05, 2022

In the presence of pancreatic tumors, certain immune cells break down structural proteins into molecules that trigger the building of dense tissue, a known barrier to therapy, a new study finds. Led by researchers from NYU Grossman School of Medicine, the study revolves around the dense protein meshwork that supports organs and helps to rebuild damaged tissue. Collagen protein fibers, the major component of the mesh, are continually broken down and replaced to maintain tensile strength, and as part of the wound healing process. Past studies have shown that immune cells called macrophages contribute to a process called desmoplasia, which is caused by the abnormal turnover and excessive deposition of collagen that insulates pancreatic cancers. In this environment, macrophages are also known to engulf and break down collagen through the action of a protein called the mannose receptor (MRC1). Publishing online April 4 in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences, the current study found that the degraded collagen increased the amount of arginine, an amino acid that is used by the enzyme nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) to produce compounds called reactive nitrogen species (RNS). This, in turn, caused neighboring, supportive stellate cells to build collagen-based meshes around tumors, say the study authors. Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, with a five-year survival rate of 10%. Pancreatic cancer remains difficult to treat in large part due to the extensive network of fibrotic tissue around tumors. This network not only blocks access by therapies, but also promotes aggressive growth. For the current study, experiments showed that macrophages grown in dishes of nutrients (cultures), and converted into their cancer-tolerant setting (M2), broke down far more collagen than macrophages that attack cancer cells (M1). Further, the team confirmed with a series of tests that M2 macrophages have higher levels of enzymes that generate RNS, such as iNOS. To confirm these findings in live mice, the team implanted stellate cells that were either "pre-fed" with collage, or maintained in an unfed state, into the flanks of the study animals along with pancreatic cancer cells. The team observed a 100 percent increase in the density of intra-tumoral collagen fibers in tumors derived from cancer cells co-implanted with stellate cells pre-treated with collagen. Importantly, the study showed for the first time that macrophages near pancreatic cancer cells, not only take in and break down more collagen as part of scavenging for proteins that feed abnormal growth, but also are changed by the scavenging, such that their energy processing system (metabolism) is rewired and signals for fibrotic buildup. Our team uncovered a mechanism that connects collagen turnover to the building of a treatment-resistant environment around pancreatic tumors, As this dense environment is a major reason why pancreatic cancer is so deadly, a better understanding of links between protein scavenging and the building of protective barriers will be needed to improve the treatment of this devastating malignancy." Bar-Sagi. Kimmelman has financial interests in Vescor Therapeutics, and is listed on patents pertaining to KRAS-regulated metabolic pathways, redox control pathways in pancreatic cancer, targeting GOT1 as a therapeutic approach, and the autophagy control of iron metabolism. Kimmelman is on the scientific advisory board for Rafael/Cornerstone Pharmaceuticals, and consults for Deciphera and Abbvie. Bar-Sagi is on the Scientific Advisory Board of Rafael/Cornerstone Pharmaceuticals and Samumed LLC, and is also on the board of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. These relationships are being managed in keeping with the policies of NYU Langone Health.

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Spotlight

CRISPR Therapeutics was preparing to treat patients using its gene editing tool later this year But the Biotech company is hitting a snag. Namely: The Food and Drug Administration. The FDA just put a hold on one of the first trials to test CRISPR gene-editing in humans. The trial had hoped to look at how gene-editing may affect patients with sickle cell disease. The trail was to be conducted by CRISPR Therapeutics in conjunction with Vertex Pharmaceuticals. It is on hold "pending the resolution of certain questions that will be provided by the FDA."

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