Stem cell models of human spine development unveiled

Drug Target Review | January 15, 2020

Scientists have created the first lab-dish models of the cellular clock, where each ‘tick’ stimulates the formation of the vertebra, which uses stem cells derived from adult human tissue. Over 20 years ago, Olivier Pourquié’s lab at Harvard University, US discovered a cellular clock in chicken embryos where each ‘tick’ stimulates the formation of a structure called a somite that ultimately becomes a vertebra. Now, Pourquié has led one of two teams to create the first lab-dish models of the segmentation clock that use stem cells derived from adult human tissue.

Spotlight

You may have heard of glyphosate as it is a chemical that is approved to be used in herbicides. But did you know that it could lead to cancer!! Glyphosate is a chemical chelator that binds tightly to minerals. Therefore when applied on crops as a herbicide it removes minerals from the food we eat which cause mineral deficiency which is linked to cancer.


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MEDICAL

AXIM Biotech Develops Rapid Quantitative Tear Test for MMP-9, An Inflammatory Biomarker of Dry Eye Disease

AXIM Biotech | March 10, 2022

AXIM Biotechnologies, Inc (OTCQB: AXIM) (“AXIM Biotech,” “AXIM” or “the Company”), an international healthcare solutions company targeting dry eye disease (DED), today announced that it has successfully developed a rapid quantitative tear test for MMP-9, an inflammatory biomarker for Dry Eye Disease. Dry Eye Disease, though widespread, is under-diagnosed, in part because symptoms do not always correlate with objective signs. It has a highly variable symptom profile at different stages of the disease, and there is often a discordance between signs and symptoms. A patient can have severe symptoms yet show no sign of ocular surface damage, while others have advanced ocular surface damage, yet report no symptoms. This lack of correlation between clinical signs and symptoms of Dry Eye Disease makes diagnosing and treating patients a challenge. Often times, inflammation is present before the clinical signs of Dry Eye Disease. The challenge has been in early detection of inflammation. Matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), an inflammatory biomarker consistently elevated in the tears of dry eye patients, may accelerate early diagnosis when detected. The central role of inflammation in ocular surface disease is widely recognized, but our ability to measure this in the clinic has been limited to the InflammaDry test that measures tear matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) levels and provides a positive/negative result around a threshold of 40ng/ml of MMP-9. This 'yes or no' report has clinical value, but it is limited. Currently available MMP-9 testing does not detect a reduction in tear MMP-9 levels until the concentration drops below 40ng/ml and thus may miss clinically significant improvement that did not reach that threshold.” Dr. Joseph Tauber, AXIM’s Chief Medical Officer. The clinical benefits of the quantitative test for MMP-9 as a tool for accurate diagnosis of Dry Eye Disease and subsequent treatment include more accurate pre-surgical and post-surgical outcomes. Post-surgical complications, such as corneal wound healing, is facilitated by identifying dry eye prior to surgery. The availability of quantitative tear MMP-9 testing would be a significant advance in our ability to measure the degree of inflammation affecting our dry eye patients, allowing for more objective classification of their disease, Equally important would be the ability to measure improvement in control of inflammation that is the goal of many of our therapies for ocular surface disease, including pharmaceuticals, thermal pulsation treatments and even light based therapies.” Dr. Joseph Tauber. Some reports indicate that nearly half of all U.S. adults experience dry eye symptoms and 33% of patients in eye care clinics present with complaints about dry eye. Given the size of the market, AXIM made the strategic decision to develop a test for MMP-9 to assist in early detection of Dry Eye Disease. Together with our Lactoferrin and IgE Tests and now with the addition of our MMP-9 Test, AXIM will be positioned to corner the market for Dry Eye Disease diagnostic testing.” John Huemoeller, AXIM’s CEO. About AXIM® Biotechnologies Founded in 2014, AXIM® Biotechnologies, Inc. (AXIM) is a vertically integrated research and development company focused on improving the landscape for diagnosis of ophthalmological conditions such as Dry Eye Disease (DED) through rapid diagnostic tests. Additionally, it owns IP and has conducted research on SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) rapid neutralizing antibody tests to detect levels of functional neutralizing antibodies that are believed to prevent SARS-CoV-2 from entering the host cells, as well as for oncological indications.

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RESEARCH

Lunaphore and Indica Labs announce partnership to provide complete technology solution for spatial biology and image analysis

Indica Labs | May 13, 2022

Lunaphore, a Swiss life sciences company developing technology to enable spatial biology in every laboratory, and Indica Labs, a leading provider of computational pathology software and services, today announced a partnership to co-market an end-to-end solution that combines Lunaphore's flagship COMET™ spatial biology platform and Indica's HALO® and HALO AI™ digital pathology image analysis software. Lunaphore's COMET™ platform provides superior multiplex staining and image acquisition capabilities facilitating the automated detection of up to 40 separate spatial markers per tissue slide without human intervention. In contrast to other spatial biology solutions, COMET™ works with off-the-shelf, label-free antibodies and is designed to provide researchers with flexibility for their workflow. COMET™ has a wide range of research applications across immuno-oncology, neuroscience, and infectious diseases. Indica Labs' industry-leading HALO® and HALO AITM software enable fast, AI-based quantitative analysis of whole slide images. In combination with the COMET™ platform, the HALO Highplex FL module allows researchers to quantify an unlimited number of fluorescent markers and cell phenotypes defined by their biomarker expression. HALO Spatial Analysis and HALO AI deep learning classifiers are used in combination with Highplex FL to explore the distribution and spatial relationships between different cell phenotypes in the context of the tissue, such as tumor and immune cells. This additional spatial data is particularly important in immuno-oncology and neuroscience disease research. We are excited to partner with Lunaphore to address the growing needs of our research customers for highly multiplexed assays, Combining Lunaphore's superior multiplexing technologies upstream with our powerful AI-based analysis downstream, together we provide a streamlined workflow for high dimensional imaging and image analysis." Steven Hashagen, CEO of Indica Labs. Our partnership with Indica Labs is another key aspect of our strategy to combine our COMET™ technology with industry-leading image analysis technologies, Indica Labs' solutions are used by a large set of researchers in the field, thanks to their ease of use and analysis capabilities. Combining Indica's solutions with the class-leading capabilities of COMET™ will help us pursue our shared goal of making tissue image analysis easier and more accessible to labs around the world." Deborah Heintze, Chief Marketing Officer of Lunaphore. About Lunaphore Lunaphore Technologies S.A. is a Swiss company born in 2014 with the vision of enabling spatial biology in every laboratory. Lunaphore has developed a game-changing chip technology which can extract spatial proteomic and genomic data from tumors and transform any simple assay into multiplex spatial biology without complexity. Lunaphore empowers researchers to push the boundaries of research to ultimately develop the next generation personalized therapies. About Indica Labs Indica Labs is the world's leading provider of computational pathology software and image analysis services. Our flagship HALO® and HALO AI™ platform facilitates quantitative evaluation of digital pathology images. HALO Link™ facilitates research-focused image management and collaboration while HALO AP® enables collaborative clinical case review. Our Pharma Services team leverages all our image analysis platforms to partner with you to advance tissue-based research, clinical trials, and diagnostics.

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DIAGNOSTICS

Evonetix Granted Patent for Technology Enabling Thermally-Controlled DNA Synthesis

evonetix | April 04, 2022

EVONETIX LTD (‘Evonetix’), the synthetic biology company bringing semiconductor technology to DNA synthesis, today announced it has been granted patent EP3551331B1 in Europe for its proprietary thermal control technology for DNA synthesis, as well as the design and manufacture of its silicon chips. This patent extends Evonetix’s IP portfolio and is a key step in the Company’s strategy to develop a benchtop DNA synthesis platform, to change how DNA is accessed, made, and used. Evonetix’s novel approach to parallel DNA synthesis is underpinned by precise, independent, control of temperature at thousands of individual synthesis sites across the surface of a silicon chip. In contrast to conventional approaches, which use acid deprotection to control the synthesis cycle, Evonetix uses thermal control with semiconductor-based arrays. This offers greater accuracy and selectivity to deprotect sequences at the correct point to add the next nucleotide and remove mismatching sequences. Thermal control of DNA synthesis enables highly parallel synthesis and gives the ability to work through sequences that are hard to synthesise using conventional techniques and to remove errors during the assembly of gene sequences through temperature mediated error removal. There is currently an unmet need in the synthetic biology industry for long, accurate, DNA sequences, and the ability to remove errors during assembly allows researchers to achieve longer strands of DNA, and run applications such as gene synthesis, CRISPR screening, and protein engineering. Securing this patent to cover our core technology adds further strength to our IP portfolio and underlines Evonetix’s position as leaders in our field. Our technology will give researchers the capabilities of service centres in their own lab, accelerating the advancement of synthetic biology and opening new possibilities in this exciting market.” Matthew Hayes, Chief Technology Officer at Evonetix.

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Cellarity Expands Leadership Team to Continue Evolution of a Breakthrough Platform to Encode Biology and Purposefully Create New Medicines

Cellarity | February 11, 2022

Cellarity, a life sciences company founded by Flagship Pioneering to encode and simulate human biology to reimagine the way we create medicines, announced today the expansion of its executive leadership team with three key appointments. As Chief Scientific Officer, Laurens Kruidenier, Ph.D., will lead the continued evolution of Cellarity’s platform and pipeline and oversee cross functional integration across all aspects of computation, drug creation, and optimization. As Chief People Officer, Anna O’Driscoll will lead the development of human resources and talent development strategies to enable the fast growth of Cellarity and make the company a top place to work for talent. As Senior Vice President and Head of Data and Software Engineering, Parul Doshi will spearhead the development of a leading and scalable data infrastructure to support the entire drug creation and development process. “We are building a transformative company and bringing together a strong team of people with a track record of making things happen. Laurens is not only an exceptional translational scientist, with experience and success advancing primary research into clinical-stage programs, he is also a team and company builder, helping integrate and mature drug discovery platforms.” Fabrice Chouraqui, Ph.D., CEO of Cellarity and a CEO-Partner at Flagship Pioneering Dr. Chouraqui continued, “Anna brings deep experience in talent and leadership development in the biotech industry, and she is known for her passion to positively impact the employee experience. Parul not only brings broad expertise in data infrastructure across the entire pharma value chain, from preclinical and clinical to tech operations and commercialization but also hands-on expertise in software engineering. I am excited that these top leaders have joined us at this pivotal time as Cellarity grows our team, advances key programs, and scales a pipeline of important new therapeutics.” Cellarity has developed unique capabilities to encode biology and model computationally the changes that occur between health and disease to design breakthrough medicines. Cellarity's transformative approach to drug creation looks beyond an individual molecular target to understand the complex biological network of cellular changes that underlie the start and progression of a disease. Built at the confluence of systems biology, single cell data, and machine learning, the Cellarity platform leverages a more complete view of cell biology to purposefully create drugs. Since all diseases stem from a disorder at the cellular level, Cellarity’s approach can be applied to virtually every disease and uncovers new biology and treatments that are unlikely to be found through target-based discovery. “Despite the tremendous progress the industry has made in advancing medical treatments, most diseases do not have curative therapies, and there are thousands of conditions that lack treatments,” said Dr. Kruidenier. “I’m impressed with Cellarity’s drug creation engine, which looks beyond the single target and embraces the full complexity of human disease. I look forward to working with the team to realize the truly transformative nature of the Cellarity platform and advance into the clinic novel medicines in diverse therapeutic areas to meet a wide range of patient needs.” Laurens Kruidenier, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Kruidenier has more than 25 years of experience in discovery research, both in academic settings as well as in the life sciences industry and a track-record of success in drug discovery and development, driving research programs into clinical study and integrating teams and technologies for growth and scale. Prior to joining Cellarity, Dr. Kruidenier was Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) at Prometheus Biosciences, a precision medicine company in the immune-mediated disease space. At Prometheus, he helped mature the company from an early, seed-stage Cedars-Sinai-spinout into a Nasdaq-listed, platform-driven portfolio company with three active Phase 2 clinical trials. Previously, he held the roles of Vice President of Discovery at Second Genome, where he was responsible for a portfolio of microbiome programs and Head of GI Immunology Research at Takeda Pharmaceuticals, where he was responsible for developing the global discovery research and business development strategy into inflammatory diseases of the bowel. Earlier in his career, Dr. Kruidenier held various positions at different discovery units at GlaxoSmithKline, where he led preclinical teams and projects in immuno-inflammation, epigenetic, and protein degradation drug discovery. He completed his post-doctoral training at the University of London and holds an M.Sc. in medical biology from Utrecht University and a Ph.D. in mucosal immunology from Leiden University. His research has resulted in multiple publications in top tier scientific journals, including Nature. Anna O’Driscoll, Chief People Officer Ms. O’Driscoll has more than a decade of experience in human resources and was most recently Vice President of Human Resources at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, where she worked in roles spanning R&D, Commercial, Corporate Functions, Learning and Development, and Employee Relations as Alnylam evolved from a research organization to a leading biotech company. Prior to Alnylam, she was Head of Talent Strategy and Process at Shire and in the Human Resources Leadership Development Program at Johnson & Johnson. Ms. O’Driscoll graduated with an MBA from the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts and a bachelor’s degree in marketing and languages from Dublin City University. Parul Doshi, Senior Vice President, Head of Data and Software Engineering Ms. Doshi has more than twenty years of experience in information technology (IT) and software engineering and was most recently Head of IT & Digital for Takeda’s Vaccine division. She spent the past 16 years at Takeda, in roles of increasing seniority across several divisions of the company. She notably led the IT programs to launch oncology products NINLARO® and ALUNBRIG® as well as the consolidation of the Vaccines Business Unit to Cambridge, Massachusetts and integration of ARIAD Pharmaceuticals post acquisition. Prior to Takeda, Ms. Doshi worked as a developer at Patni Computer Systems, servicing major companies such as Fidelity Investments and LEGO®. Ms. Doshi graduated with an MBA in information technology and finance from Savitribai Phule Pune University, and a bachelor’s in economics and applied statistics from the University of Rajasthan. About Cellarity Cellarity's mission is to fundamentally transform the way medicines are created through the development of the first full stack digital cell. Founded by Flagship Pioneering in 2017, Cellarity has developed unique capabilities combining high-resolution data, single cell technologies, and machine learning to encode biology, model interventions, and purposefully design breakthrough medicines. By focusing on the cellular changes that underlie disease instead of a single target, Cellarity’s approach uncovers new biology and treatments and is applicable to a vast array of disease areas. The company currently has programs underway in metabolic disease, hematology, immuno-oncology, and respiratory disease. The company has raised $123 million as part of a Series B funding round with contributions from funds and accounts managed by Blackrock, The Baupost Group, Banque Pictet on behalf of their clients, and eight other investors alongside Flagship Pioneering. About Flagship Pioneering Flagship Pioneering conceives, creates, resources, and develops first-in-category bioplatform companies to transform human health and sustainability. Since its launch in 2000, the firm has, through its Flagship Labs unit, applied its unique hypothesis-driven innovation process to originate and foster more than 100 scientific ventures, resulting in more than $140 billion in aggregate value. To date, Flagship has deployed over $2.6 billion in capital toward the founding and growth of its pioneering companies alongside more than $19 billion of follow-on investments from other institutions. The current Flagship ecosystem comprises 42 transformative companies, including Axcella Health (Nasdaq: AXLA), Codiak BioSciences (Nasdaq: CDAK) Denali Therapeutics (Nasdaq: DNLI), Evelo Biosciences (Nasdaq: EVLO), Foghorn Therapeutics Indigo Ag, Kaleido Biosciences (Nasdaq: KLDO), Moderna (Nasdaq: MRNA), Omega Therapeutics (Nasdaq: OMGA), Rubius Therapeutics (Nasdaq: RUBY), Sana Biotechnology (Nasdaq: SANA), Seres Therapeutics (Nasdaq: MCRB), and Sigilon Therapeutics.

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Spotlight

You may have heard of glyphosate as it is a chemical that is approved to be used in herbicides. But did you know that it could lead to cancer!! Glyphosate is a chemical chelator that binds tightly to minerals. Therefore when applied on crops as a herbicide it removes minerals from the food we eat which cause mineral deficiency which is linked to cancer.

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