Study reveals best use of wildflowers to benefit crops on farms

Phys.org | October 16, 2018

With bee pollinators in decline and pesky crop pests lowering yields, sustainable and organic farmers need environmentally friendly solutions. One strategy is to border crops with wildflower plantings to attract pollinators and pest predators. But scientists have suggested that such plantings may only be effective when farms are surrounded by the right mix of natural habitat and agricultural land.
For the first time, a Cornell University study of strawberry crops on New York farms tested this theory and found that wildflower strips on farms added pollinators when the farm lay within a "Goldilocks zone," where 25 to 55 percent of the surrounding area contained natural lands. Outside this zone, flower plantings also drew more strawberry pests, while having no effect on wasps that kill those pests.

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Angel Yeast Partners with PhaBuilder to Open PHA Factory

Angel Yeast | July 27, 2022

Angel Yeast a globally listed yeast and yeast extract manufacturer, has inked an agreement with Bejing PhaBuilder Biotechnology Co., Ltd in Yichang, Hubei province to build a large manufacturing base for polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) in the city. The pair will set up a joint venture company to drive the application of synthetic biology in the biotechnology industry. PHA is a polyester produced naturally by microorganisms. The biodegradable and biocompatible properties of PHA make it highly sought-after in fields such as biomedical material and biodegradable packaging material. "This collaboration with PhaBuilder marks a milestone and a significant step forward for Angel Yeast in synthetic biology. At Angel Yeast, we are very keen on innovation and exploration of new landscapes in the industry. This project is also part of our efforts to be an international and professional biotechnology company," Tao Xiong, chairman of Angel Yeast He added that the partnership is expected to forge a new venture in bioeconomy, fuel innovation in synthetic biology, and drive the expansion of the global market. Guoqiang Chen, the founder of PhaBuilder, added that by working with Angel Yeast on the initiative, major inroads have been made in converting technology breakthroughs into industrial programs for synthetic biology. "The new production line of PHA with the capacity of 30,000 tons will certainly bring more advanced technologies, new services and products for the industry and consumers. It will also create a 'greener' lifestyle. We are thrilled to see it happen," said Chen. In addition to synthetic biology, Angel Yeast has also been exploring cutting-edge development in biological agriculture. According to the company, it will be engaged in a project to produce animal feed through biological fermentation. Angel Yeast will invest some 120 million yuan to build the manufacturing center with an annual capacity of 50,000 tons. The project is estimated to start in August 2022 and to be completed in September the next year. One highlight of the project is that it uses Distillers' Dried Grains with Solubles (DDGS) as one raw material to produce yeast culture products. As a new category, yeast culture products will diversify the company's animal nutrition products lineup. About Angel Yeast Founded in 1986, Angel Yeast Co., Ltd specializes in the production of yeast and yeast derivatives. Its product range includes baker's yeast and ingredients, Chinese dim sum and seasoning, savory yeast extract, human health, animal nutrition, plant nutrition, distilled spirits and biofuels, microbial nutrition, and enzymes.

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MEDICAL

Pfizer Completes Acquisition of ReViral

Pfizer | June 10, 2022

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) today announced the successful completion of its acquisition of ReViral, a privately held, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering, developing, and commercializing novel antiviral therapeutics that target respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). ReViral brings to Pfizer a portfolio of promising therapeutic candidates, including sisunatovir, an orally administered inhibitor designed to block fusion of the RSV virus to the host cell. Sisunatovir has been granted Fast Track designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It significantly reduced viral load in a phase 2 RSV human challenge study in healthy adults and is currently in phase 2 clinical development in infants. The development program for sisunatovir is expected to continue in both adult and pediatric populations. A second program is focused on the inhibition of RSV replication targeting the viral N protein. The lead candidate in this program is currently in phase 1 clinical development. We are excited to bring ReViral’s promising investigational treatments for RSV into our anti-infective pipeline at Pfizer. This acquisition further demonstrates our commitment to advancing pioneering science – both through our in-house expertise and our work with leading, innovative companies – with the goal of delivering new breakthroughs to patients suffering from serious infectious diseases, We believe these therapeutic candidates – and the scientific expertise that has advanced their development – will complement our ongoing work to help combat RSV infections, and we look forward to welcoming our new colleagues to further support these endeavors.” Mikael Dolsten, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer and President, Worldwide Research, Development and Medical of Pfizer. RSV is a respiratory pathogen, which can lead to severe and life-threatening lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) in high-risk populations, including young children, immunocompromised individuals, and older adults. It is estimated to cause infections in approximately 64 million people, resulting in about 160,000 deaths, globally each year. Currently, treatment options for RSV are limited, with care management focused primarily on supportive measures for people with the illness. About Pfizer: At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly improve their lives. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacture of health care products, including innovative medicines and vaccines. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with our responsibility as one of the world's premier innovative biopharmaceutical companies, we collaborate with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world.

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MEDICAL

BioCina announces opening of new GMP plasmid DNA manufacturing suite

BioCina | June 14, 2022

BioCina, a leading contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) today announced that the company has expanded its CDMO service offering to include the manufacture of plasmid DNA (pDNA) in a new dedicated GMP suite. The suite is equipped with up to 300 L single use fermentation capacity and suitably scaled downstream processing equipment. To complement GMP manufacturing, a broad range of analytical methods have been developed to support in-process, release and stability testing of pDNA products. This is a very important and timely addition that will best enable BioCina to work with its industry partners to further develop RNA vaccines and therapeutics as well as cell and gene therapies. BioCina's decision to expand its service offering into pDNA development and manufacturing was driven by the global increase in demand for GMP grade pDNA fueled by the exponential growth in vaccines and therapies on the RNA platform as well as strong growth in the cell and gene therapy markets. These factors, combined with the CDMO industry's dearth of capacity and access to high-quality cGMP pDNA manufacturing expertise, made this a clear path forward underscored by BioCina's depth of experience in microbial manufacturing. With our extremely strong history of quality in manufacturing, an exemplary regulatory inspection history, and our customer-centric business approach, BioCina is in a strong position to add significant value to companies working in the RNA and gene and cell therapy space that are struggling to find reliable and collaborative outsourcing partners. The addition of GMP pDNA services is a natural extension of our existing traditional biologics offering and provides another avenue for growth by supporting the development and manufacturing of these innovative vaccines and therapies." Ian Wisenberg, Chief Executive Officer of BioCina. With its well established expertise in the production of microbial derived biologics, BioCina is ideally suited to address the increasing global demand for GMP plasmid DNA. Whether used as a raw material in the production of viral vectors or mRNA vaccines, or as the active ingredient for plasmid gene therapy or DNA vaccines, we look forward to partnering with innovators to assist in progressing many exciting therapies." BioCina Chairman, Rick Hancock. About BioCina BioCina Pty Ltd. is a multi-product biologics contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), focused on the development and cGMP manufacture of microbial-based biological pharmaceuticals, including proteins, pDNA, mRNA, vaccines and biosimilars, from early development through to commercialization. The BioCina Adelaide facility, formerly the Pfizer/Hospira plant, has a physical footprint of almost 60,000 ft2 for GMP manufacturing, process development, warehouse, and administration. The team has over 35 years of experience and extensive capabilities in microbial process development and manufacturing, with expertise from early process development to commercial manufacturing. BioCina has an enviable history manufacturing biological products approved for commercial use by the US-FDA, EMA and Health Canada, including the manufacturing of API for use in all stages of clinical trials. Licensed for GMP manufacture by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), BioCina is the only GMP manufacturing facility of its kind in Australia that has successfully passed a US-FDA inspection. BioCina is a Bridgewest Group portfolio company.

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Iveric Bio and DelSiTech Enter Exclusive Agreement for Development of Sustained Release Zimura®

IVERIC bio, Inc. | July 06, 2022

IVERIC bio, Inc. and DelSiTech Ltd, announced an exclusive global license agreement providing Iveric Bio with the right to develop and commercialize new formulations of Zimura® using DelSiTech’s silica-based sustained release technology. As part of Iveric Bio’s lifecycle expansion plan for Zimura, the Company is committed to developing sustained release technologies for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). These technologies potentially could address patients being treated for geographic atrophy (GA) and intermediate AMD. “We are thrilled to collaborate with the DelSiTech team on investigating additional sustained release formulations for Zimura with their drug delivery expertise and advanced technology and look forward to evaluating a sustained release formulation in GA and potentially earlier stages of AMD. Previously reported post-hoc analyses from GATHER1 suggest that Zimura may have the potential to impact AMD in early stages before atrophy occurs in patients. We believe Zimura, which is a chemically synthesized RNA aptamer, is amenable to injectable sustained release formulations.” Pravin U. Dugel, MD, President of Iveric Bio “As a leading developer of long-acting controlled release formulations for small molecules and biological entities, we are excited about collaborating with Iveric Bio on bringing innovative solutions to patients living with AMD,” stated Lasse Leino, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of DelSiTech. “We are inspired by the opportunity to leverage our drug delivery technology to potentially help AMD patients early and improve their treatment experience.” “This agreement underscores our commitment to invest in lifecycle initiatives for Zimura,” said Glenn P. Sblendorio, Chief Executive Officer of Iveric Bio. “We are excited about the possibilities to expand Zimura into earlier stages of AMD and potentially allow for a next-generation treatment to help patients with GA.” “We are proud to bring our competencies into this promising alliance and contribute to Iveric Bio’s mission to address unmet needs for patients,” said Dr. Frederic Dargelas, Head of Business Development and Alliance Management for DelSiTech. Under the terms of the license agreement, Iveric Bio will pay DelSiTech an upfront payment of €1,250,000, as well as development and commercial milestones and royalties on net sales of licensed products. In addition to working with DelSiTech, Iveric Bio plans to explore the potential for Zimura in earlier stages of AMD by initiating a clinical trial studying the current formulation of Zimura in patients with intermediate AMD in the fourth quarter of 2022. The development strategy in this indication is subject to global regulatory feedback from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other regulatory authorities, which Iveric Bio plans to obtain before initiating this trial. About Zimura GATHER1 and GATHER2 Clinical Trials Iveric Bio previously announced that GATHER1, the Company’s first Phase 3 clinical trial for Zimura (avacincaptad pegol) for GA, met its pre-specified primary efficacy endpoint with statistical significance. The most frequently reported ocular adverse events in this trial were related to the injection procedure. The Company expects topline data for GATHER2, the Company’s second Phase 3 clinical trial for Zimura for GA, to be available in the third quarter of 2022, approximately one year after the enrollment of the last patient in the trial plus the time needed for database lock and analysis. If 12-month results from GATHER2 are positive, the Company plans to submit applications with the FDA and the European Medicines Agency for marketing approval of Zimura for GA. There are no FDA or EMA approved treatments available for patients with GA. About Zimura Zimura is an investigational drug product and has not been approved for use anywhere globally. Zimura is designed to target and inhibit the cleavage of complement protein C5 and the formation of its downstream fragments, C5a and C5b. By inhibiting the formation of these fragments, Zimura is believed to decrease or slow the chronic inflammation and cell death associated with the retinal aging process by decreasing the formation of membrane attack complex (MAC) and inflammasome activity, thereby potentially avoiding or slowing the degeneration of retinal pigment epithelial cells. This potential mechanism is the rationale for Zimura as a potential therapy for GA and earlier stages of AMD. About Iveric Bio Iveric Bio is a science-driven biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of novel treatments for retinal diseases with significant unmet medical needs. The Company is committed to having a positive impact on patients’ lives by delivering high-quality, safe and effective treatments designed to address debilitating retinal diseases including earlier stages of age-related macular degeneration. About DelSiTech DelSiTech Ltd., located in Turku, Finland, is the leading technology specialist in biodegradable silica-based controlled release of small molecule drugs, biologics, and viral vectors. It develops and commercializes its proprietary, drug delivery technology in collaboration with a number of pharma and biotech companies to turn their ideas into novel drug products.

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In the end, you need to be rewarding your sales reps with more than just money if you want to keep them motivated and if you want your sales compensation plan to deliver on its promises.

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