UK Scientists Speed up Brain Cancer Diagnosis with AI

Labiotech.eu | November 05, 2019

A technique combining a blood test with artificial intelligence (AI), developed by the UK company ClinSpec Diagnostics, could help to prioritize which patients need to be scanned for brain cancer. A team led by researchers at the University of Strathclyde and the University of Edinburgh, UK, trialed the technology on blood samples from 400 people suspected of having brain tumors. The researchers used an existing technique called infrared spectroscopy to screen 20,000 chemicals in their blood, and then used AI to identify the chemicals that signal a brain tumor. The test correctly identified 82% of the patients that would go on to be diagnosed with brain cancer. Patients flagged with this brain cancer test can be prioritized for confirmatory brain scans, and their diagnosis might take just two weeks. In current practice, it’s difficult to diagnose tumors from patients’ symptoms, and the process can take up to two months, with multiple visits to the doctor. The blood test is being developed by Brennan’s collaborator, the UK company ClinSpec Diagnostics. While other groups are working on cancer tests using infrared spectroscopy and AI, ClinSpec’s test is the most advanced, according to Brennan.

Spotlight

Glowing animals and plants seem to be all the rage these days. A biotechnology company based out of St. Louis recently unveiled a commercially available plant that is entirely auto luminescent.


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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Persephone Biosciences Closes $15M Seed Financing Round

Persephone Biosciences | July 20, 2022

Persephone Biosciences Inc., a synthetic biology company reimagining patient and infant health through the development of microbiome-based medicines, today announced that it has closed a $15 million seed financing round. The round was co-led by First Bight Ventures and Propel Bio Partners, and included investments from Y Combinator, Fifty Years, Susa Ventures, American Cancer Society’s BrightEdge Fund, Pioneer Fund, and ZhenFund among others. “This financing is a significant milestone for Persephone and the culmination of years of thoughtful engagement with forward-thinking investors and individuals who are committed to the vast potential of our platform and technology. We plan to deploy this capital to further expand our research and clinical programs across a range of therapeutic areas, as well as pursue new collaborations. With our ARGONAUT study ramping up, it is an exciting time for us. We are grateful for the support of all our stakeholders and their commitment and confidence in our vision.” Stephanie Culler, CEO and Co-founder of Persephone Biosciences Persephone was founded to leverage a unique understanding of the microbiome as a therapeutic approach for a number of indications, including infant health and oncology. The company’s ARGONAUT trial (NCT04638751) is the largest study ever conducted in the U.S. to identify biomarkers for cancer treatment and prevention by mapping the gut-immune axis. In December 2021, Persephone announced that Janssen Biotech, one of Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, would collaborate with the company on the colorectal cancer patient arm of ARGONAUT, and on an arm of additional healthy individuals with varying cancer risk. Then in April 2022, Persephone announced a collaboration with Ginkgo Bioworks to enable the synthetic biology tools needed to develop the next generation of microbial therapies. About Persephone Biosciences Persephone Biosciences is pioneering the use of synthetic biology for the development of microbial products that impact patient and infant health. Persephone is building an end-to-end platform to industrialize the development of engineered cells that restore health to damaged human ecosystems. The company was founded in the summer of 2017 by synthetic and metabolic engineering pioneers, Stephanie Culler, Ph.D., and Steve Van Dien, Ph.D.

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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

Taiwan Startup Molsentech Ultra-high Sensitivity Biomedical Detection Technology Leaps Onto Global Stage

Molsentech | July 29, 2022

With its impressive achievements, Molsentech has been selected by the TTA Global Challenge sponsored by Taiwan's Ministry of Science and Technology to participate in US BIO 2022, poised to leverage its introduction to the US market as a stepping stone to leap further into the global stage. The company has successfully launched an electrical based detection system employing ultra-high sensitivity biomedical detection technology that can be applied in various disease detection from an early stage including SARS-CoV-2. Founded in Taiwan, the world's leading semiconductor hub, Molsentech's pivotal breakthrough was its development of a 100% semiconductor-based biosensor platform which offers valuable application in the field of healthcare for disease detection. The core technology is called Bio-FET which allows biosensors to analyse liquid-form samples by measuring the electrical signal changes caused by the interactions between detection targets and bio probes modified on the surface of biosensors. Patented in the United States, Taiwan, and China, the technology overcomes one of the biggest challenges in the industry when dealing with samples in liquid forms, interpreting the samples in 5 minutes to give immediate results. Molsentech's bio-FET technology remains new to the biotech industry; hence, at the beginning, it mainly played a supporting role for the mainstream detection techniques, validating the detection results provided by such tests as PCR and ELISA thanks to its ultrahigh sensitivity. During COVID-19 pandemic, the Molsentech SARS-CoV-2 test chip was granted emergency use authorization (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration to use in the manufacturing of the novel SARS-CoV-2 test kits that resulted in faster testing process and higher accuracy. This demonstrates the capability of bio-FET technology to work independently as a bio technique for molecular diagnosis. Consequently, more cooperation is under negotiation between Molsentech and other leading biotechnology companies, including but not limited to Taiwan-based ones As its technology is now available for commercial use on a global scale, Molsentech intends to further expand its presence in the global market, first into the United States, a country with the most advanced healthcare ecosystem to bring its technology and products to the next level. "Fortunately, we got a chance to set our footprint in the United States, that would pave the way for Molsentech to move forward. We will definitely seize this opportunity to introduce how our technology can help more people," stated Dr. Chia-Jun Chu, CEO of Molsentech. The company reported a revenue of 1 million TWD and has conducted more fundraising activities in Taiwan and the United States. About Molsentech Established in Taiwan in 2014, Molsentech serves the mission of inventing an innovative biomedical platform that provides non-invasive and real-time detection of minimum pathogens. The core team includes leading experts from the Quantum Electronic Laboratory at Academia Sinica who possess exclusive skills and experience in the semiconductor industry especially with chip design/fabrication, probe molecules modification and automation bio-sensor system integration. With its continuous efforts and commitments to high product quality and innovation, the company has been rewarded with various prestigious awards and recognitions.

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MEDICAL

OliX Pharmaceuticals Subsidiary mCureX Announces mRNA Technology Collaboration with ToolGen for Rare Eye Disease

OliX | June 20, 2022

OliX Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a leading developer of RNAi therapeutics, today announced that the Company’s subsidiary mCureX Therapeutics, Inc. has recently signed a contract for joint research with ToolGen, Inc. to advance the development of gene therapy for rare eye diseases, leveraging mCureX’s mRNA technology. mCureX, specializing in mRNA vaccines and therapeutics, and ToolGen, having expertise in therapeutic gene-editing technologies, have been in active discussions since their signing of memorandums of understanding in August 2021. The two companies plan to conduct gene corrections in ocular tissues using mCureX's mRNA technology and ToolGen's CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology for the treatment of rare hereditary eye diseases. mRNA-based CRISPR/Cas9 is a powerful platform that could potentially lead to the development of treatments for incurable diseases, Once we clinically validate the technology, we plan to expand the indications of treatments to various non-hereditary eye diseases as well.” Sun Woo Hong, Ph.D., chief executive officer of mCureX. About OliX Pharmaceuticals Inc. OliX Pharmaceuticals is a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company developing therapeutics against a variety of disorders by down-regulating the expression of disease-causing genes based on its own proprietary RNAi technology. The Company’s core RNAi platform, asymmetric siRNA (asiRNA), is a unique gene silencing technology based on RNA interference (RNAi), which is considered the most efficient gene silencing technology. Utilizing this proprietary asiRNA technology, OliX has developed cell penetrating asiRNA (cp-asiRNA), a therapeutic RNAi platform to effectively target diseases locally, such as hypertrophic scarring, dry and wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), subretinal fibrosis, and neuropathic pain. OliX has also developed another therapeutic RNAi platform, GalNAc-asiRNA, to target a variety of liver diseases. About ToolGen Inc. ToolGen is a biotech company with the CRISPR/Cas9 core technology in gene-editing. ToolGen's mission is to provide customers with innovative human gene/cell therapies and gene-edited animals or plants. ToolGen's research and business are based on ToolGen's CRISPR/Cas9-essential patents. ToolGen is the first patent filer successfully demonstrating a CRISPR/Cas9 application in eukaryotic cells in the world. ToolGen's CRISPR patents have been registered in ten countries, including the United States, Europe, China, Australia, and Japan.

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Spotlight

Glowing animals and plants seem to be all the rage these days. A biotechnology company based out of St. Louis recently unveiled a commercially available plant that is entirely auto luminescent.

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