MEDICAL

Sosei Heptares' COVID-19 Program Identifies Potent Broad Spectrum Anti-Viral Small Molecules for Further Development

Sosei Heptares | November 21, 2020

Sosei Group Corporation ("the Company") (TSE: 4565) announces a progress update for its R&D program focused on the design and development of novel drugs targeting the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and to treat COVID-19. The program was initiated in April 2020. To date, the Company has applied its world-leading structure-based drug design (SBDD) capabilities and cutting-edge technologies to precision-design new inhibitors of the SARS-CoV-2 Mpro protease, which plays a crucial role in viral replication1-4. The Company is also aiming to leverage the highly conserved structure of the SARS-CoV-2 Mpro protease as a basis for the design of novel oral small molecules against predicted future variants of SARS-CoV-2 and other related human viruses.

Spotlight

Scientists are genetically engineering plants to detect environmental hazards. Neal Stewart, a lead researcher on the project, says the plants will react to things like mold, radon gas, or high levels of dangerous organic compounds. Stewart told Science Update the goal is to create an on-off switch in the plants’ DNA. This means its cells would react to exposure of a chemical by producing a signal like a fluorescent protein visible by black light. There are a number of benefits to using a plant instead of an electronic device to monitor your personal space. Popular Mechanics pointed out that plants, unlike home assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, “are not connected to the cloud and definitely can’t hear what you’re saying.”


Other News
CELL AND GENE THERAPY

Genomics Testing Companies and Laboratories Combine Efforts to Establish the CardioGenomic Testing Alliance

CardioGenomic | March 23, 2022

Several leading genomics companies and laboratories, including Illumina, Fulgent Genetics, Invitae, GeneDx, and PerkinElmer Genomics, have formed the CardioGenomic Testing Alliance (CGTA), a collaborative group aimed at raising awareness and utilization of genomic testing in cardiology. CGTA will inform healthcare providers and other stakeholders to the value of such testing to assure adherence to existing guidelines from professional medical societies, inform medical management and cascade testing, and improve clinical outcomes. The companies forming this coalition believe in extensive clinical utility of cardiogenomic testing. Their combined efforts to increase awareness and utilization of cardiogenomic testing will show the positive outcomes genetic testing can have on patients." Melissa Dempsey, genetic counselor at Illumina and CGTA chairwoman. Genomic testing in cardiology is a powerful tool that can identify those at-risk for specific cardiac conditions, such as arrhythmias, cardiomyopathies, and congenital heart malformations. According to the American Heart Association, "genetic testing is informative and useful for the clinical management of various inherited cardiovascular diseases such as cardiomyopathies, arrhythmic disorders, thoracic aortic aneurysms and dissections, and familial hypercholesterolemia."1 Sudden cardiac arrest can often be the first symptom of an inherited cardiac condition.2 The Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndromes (SADS) Foundation reports that up to 49% of victims of sudden cardiac death had a significant family history that should have triggered diagnostic testing, and cascade genetic testing reveals an average of 8.9 additional affected family members.3 Genetic testing is one of the essential steps in the diagnosis and treatment of families with SADS conditions." Alice Lara, president of the SADS Foundation. Despite evidence and major professional society recommendations, utilization and awareness of cardiogenomic testing remains low. CGTA will strive to inform healthcare providers about the current guidelines for the appropriate use of genetic testing in cardiology. Working with key stakeholders, CGTA will identify logistical barriers to testing and develop educational resources to address these barriers for providers and for the public.

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MEDTECH

Salipro Biotech Receives European Patent for Antigen production

Salipro Biotech | February 09, 2022

Swedish biotech company Salipro Biotech AB announced that the European Patent Office has granted a further European Patent to the company, No. EP 3 043 814 B1 entitled "Antigen and method for production thereof", following the approval of the US-member of this patent family already in 2018 under US Patent 10,159,729 B2. The patents cover the composition-of-matter, methods and uses of the company's novel antigen technology, strengthening Salipro Biotech's proprietary platform technologies for the discovery and development of next-generation therapeutics against challenging drug targets such as GPCRs, ion channels and transporters. "We're constantly increasing our collaborations, partnerships and licensing agreements with major pharma companies on a wide range of challenging drug targets. Expanding our already strong patent portfolio further will enable us to increase the value of such collaborations for our partners as well as moving towards building our own discovery pipeline." Maria Knudsen, Business Development Director at Salipro Biotech AB Jens Frauenfeld, CEO, comments: "We're excited about this important milestone that provides additional protection for our core technologies. The market for therapeutic antibodies, vaccines and biologics is ever expanding. Securing these patents protects our innovative platform and further strengthens our position by supplementing our foundational and follow-up patents that have already been granted to Salipro Biotech in many countries, including US, EU, China and Japan." About Salipro Biotech AB Salipro Biotech AB is a privately held biotech company focused on unlocking challenging drug targets for the development of next-generation therapeutics. The company is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden with a fully owned IP portfolio that covers the Salipro® platform technology for the stabilization of membrane proteins.

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MEDICAL

Anixa Biosciences Announces the Initiation of its Ovarian Cancer CAR-T Phase 1 Trial at Moffitt Cancer Center

Anixa | March 31, 2022

Anixa Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: ANIX), a biotechnology company focused on the treatment and prevention of cancer and infectious diseases, today announced the initiation of a Phase 1 trial evaluating its novel chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy in ovarian cancer. The CAR-T approach used for Anixa's therapy is known as chimeric endocrine receptor T-cell (CER-T) since the target of the engineered T-cells is an endocrine receptor. The Phase 1 trial at Moffitt Cancer Center will evaluate the safety and efficacy of Anixa's therapy in patients with ovarian cancer. Anixa holds an exclusive, worldwide license for the technology, which was developed at the Wistar Institute. While CAR-T therapy has shown efficacy in some hematological tumors, reproducing the same results with solid tumors, such as ovarian cancer, has proven challenging. One of the reasons for this difficulty is that effective CAR-T therapy needs a specific antigen to recognize that is only present on target cancer cells in order to avoid negatively affecting healthy cells. The CER-T therapy being evaluated in Anixa's Phase 1 study differs from traditional CAR-T in that it targets the follicle stimulating hormone receptor (FSHR), which research indicates is exclusively expressed on ovarian cells in healthy adult females. We are thrilled to have partnered with world-class scientists at Moffitt Cancer Center to advance our CER-T platform and feel that this partnership provides a critical opportunity to make a significant impact on the treatment of solid tumors, We strongly believe that our unique targeting approach differentiates our CER-T platform from traditional CAR-T approaches and that CER-T has potential to work in solid tumors where other therapies have failed." Dr. Amit Kumar, President, CEO and Chairman of Anixa Biosciences. CAR-T therapies are rapidly becoming an important player in cancer therapy, and our lab has developed a technology that has the potential to target tumors by using an existing biological mechanism that is well understood. If our CER-T approach is successful, it could serve as a model for future targeted CAR-T therapies in other cancer types. The goal in cancer therapy has always been to kill cancer cells with limited damage to healthy tissue, and we look forward to seeing how this CER-T therapy may be able to accomplish that in solid tumors, which have historically proven challenging to eradicate with cell therapy." Jose R. Conejo-Garcia, M.D., Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Immunology at Moffitt Cancer Center and co-inventor of the CER-T technology. About Anixa's CER-T Approach (Follicle Stimulating Hormone Receptor-Mediated CAR-T technology) Anixa's chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) technology approach is an autologous cell therapy comprised of engineered T-cells that target the follicle stimulating hormone receptor (FSHR). FSHR is found at immunologically relevant levels exclusively on the granulosa cells of the ovaries. Since the target is a hormone (chimeric endocrine) receptor, and the target-binding domain is derived from its natural ligand, this technology is known as CER-T (chimeric endocrine receptor T-cell) therapy, a new type of CAR-T. About Anixa Biosciences, Inc. Anixa is a clinical-stage biotechnology company with a number of programs addressing cancer and infectious disease. Anixa's portfolio of therapeutics includes a cancer immunotherapy program being developed in collaboration with Moffitt Cancer Center, which uses a novel type of CAR-T, known as chimeric endocrine receptor T-cell (CER-T) technology, and, with partner MolGenie GmbH, a COVID-19 program focused on compounds targeting the Mpro enzyme of SARS-CoV-2, which is largely conserved across all recently identified variants like Delta and Omicron. The company's vaccine portfolio includes a novel vaccine being developed in collaboration with Cleveland Clinic to prevent breast cancer – specifically triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), the most lethal form of the disease – as well as a vaccine to prevent ovarian cancer. These vaccine technologies focus on immunizing against "retired" proteins that have been found to be expressed in certain forms of cancer. Anixa's unique business model of partnering with world-renowned research institutions on clinical development allows the company to continually examine emerging technologies in complementary fields for further development and commercialization

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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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Spotlight

Scientists are genetically engineering plants to detect environmental hazards. Neal Stewart, a lead researcher on the project, says the plants will react to things like mold, radon gas, or high levels of dangerous organic compounds. Stewart told Science Update the goal is to create an on-off switch in the plants’ DNA. This means its cells would react to exposure of a chemical by producing a signal like a fluorescent protein visible by black light. There are a number of benefits to using a plant instead of an electronic device to monitor your personal space. Popular Mechanics pointed out that plants, unlike home assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, “are not connected to the cloud and definitely can’t hear what you’re saying.”

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