Bakar Labs | April 19, 2022
Bakar Labs, the incubator at UC Berkeley's Bakar BioEnginuity Hub (BBH), announced today a unique collaboration with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to accelerate the application of new technologies for the treatment of cystic fibrosis. The CF Foundation is sponsoring a "Golden Ticket" competition at the new incubator and is encouraging companies with emerging technology in gene editing, gene delivery, and gene therapy/gene insertion that may work in CF to apply. Applications open Monday, May 2.
Up to three potential winners will be provided lab space and facilities at Bakar Labs. In addition to lab and office space, companies will have access to the extensive resources of the CF Foundation, including scientific experts and advice, lab/research tools and techniques, an extensive patient registry, clinical trial design support, and a Therapeutics Development Network of over 90 clinical trial sites in the US.
Working with the CF Foundation entirely fits with the spirit of entrepreneurship to benefit society, Our double bottom line at Bakar Labs emphasizes public good on an equal basis with the potential for profit."
Regis Kelly, PhD, OBE, director of Bakar Labs and executive director at QB3.
This collaboration is inspiring, Students and professors will see the potential of entrepreneurship fused with the resources and mission of a major patient advocacy organization. It will be a tremendous example that could well spur partnerships in a broad range of areas."
David Schaffer, PhD, executive director of BBH.
Schaffer is Hubbard Howe Distinguished Professor at UC Berkeley, with appointments in the departments of chemical and biomolecular engineering, bioengineering, and molecular and cell biology.
A focus on entrepreneurship for the public good is now widely seen by many philanthropies and investors as a valuable and effective complement to their support of academic scholarship. The CF Foundation has achieved global admiration for its support of disease-related research efforts, not only by scientists in academic labs but by entrepreneurs in startup companies.
About the Bakar BioEnginuity Hub
The Bakar BioEnginuity Hub empowers fearless founders — and founders in the making — to realize bold solutions to our world's most pressing problems. Focused on people working at the convergence of the life sciences with the physical, engineering, and data sciences, the Bakar BioEnginuity Hub provides the intellectual, entrepreneurial, and community resources needed to learn and then to launch their own ventures. The Bakar BioEnginuity Hub is located on the UC Berkeley campus in the stunning Woo Hon Fai Hall.
About Bakar Labs
Bakar Labs is the flagship life science-focused incubator at UC Berkeley's Bakar BioEnginuity Hub. Operated by QB3, Bakar Labs provides extensive equipment, lab and office facilities, and a community of like-minded entrepreneurs to helps startups grow. Bakar Labs can support as many as 50 early-stage companies from around the world focused on translating life science based innovations that promise to improve human health.
Aanika Biosciences, | February 25, 2022
Aanika Biosciences, an emerging biotech company using microbial based technologies to protect the safety and security of our food system, announced today it has received acceptance into the Bermuda Monetary Authority’s (BMA) Innovation Hub. The program will allow reinsurers to explore how the application of Aanika’s traceability and prevention technology can help reduce the magnitude and size of claims while lowering premiums and expanding protection for the food and agriculture industry.
Reinsurance is an almost $500 billion global industry that allows insurance carriers to offload portfolio risks to reinsurers and hedge funds. Aanika estimates its technology could help in the underwriting of nearly $100 billion in premiums linked to contamination, recalls, crop insurance as well as non-safety related claims linked to ESG practices and general product liability. Bermuda is one of the largest hubs for the reinsurance market in the world and the center of innovation in the space.
Prior to co-founding Aanika, CEO Vishaal Bhuyan spent more than a decade in finance focused on investing, managing and co-authoring multiple books on insurance-linked derivatives related to human longevity, overfishing and water scarcity.
“Climate change will wreak havoc on our food system – potentially accelerating contamination outbreaks, diseases and natural disasters that are damaging and outright destroying crops around the world. ,” says Bhuyan. “ The insurance industry is not yet equipped to handle the volatility of risk and magnitude of loss - and is operating with a massive blind spot.
In recent years insurers have adopted machine learning, satellite data and blockchain technologies to increase efficiency and more accurately price risks, but this will be the first use of synthetic biology to better prepare and protect themselves and their policyholders.”
The proof-of-concept initiative approved by the BMA will enable Aanika to partner with insurance carriers to develop ‘test policies’ for the U.S. food and agricultural market that mandate applying the microbial technology in their supply chain. This improved ability to distinguish identical commodities from each other will increase transparency throughout the claims process beyond what is possible with digital technologies alone.
Aanika co-founder and Chief Science Officer Dr. Ellen Jorgensen says this is a unique and unprecedented opportunity to unlock the potential of synthetic biology.
“We need stable, scalable, actionable solutions now to build a more resilient global food supply, which means finding inventive ways of looking at the problem,” says Dr. Jorgensen. “The Aanika science team has developed a way to adapt nature to meet this challenge, and it will be exciting to see how leveraging it in an unconventional way like reinsurance can have immediate as well as long-term benefits.”
By tapping into the reinsurance industry, Aanika will be able to commercialize biological innovations in ways that have never been done before. Aanika’s goal is to capture a fee on every policy that is essentially microscopically tethered to the product while using its growing pipeline of “secondary functions” to further enhance the stability and shelf life of said product – reducing the probability and magnitude of a claim.
About Aanika Biosciences
Aanika Biosciences was co-founded in 2018 by Vishaal Bhuyan after he personally experienced the consequences of ordering fresh, ethically sourced seeds and receiving stale, contaminated products instead. He made it his mission to create a safer food supply by finding a way to track, trace and authenticate products. Aanika’s customized microbial-based tags help companies gain valuable insights about their supply chains, help their customers make better consumption choices, and create a more sustainable world.
About Bermuda Monetary Authority
The Bermuda Monetary Authority (Authority or BMA) regulates Bermuda’s financial services sector.
The Authority was established by statute in 1969. Its role has evolved over the years to meet changing needs in the financial services sector. Today it supervises, regulates and inspects financial institutions operating in the jurisdiction. It also issues Bermuda’s national currency, manages exchange control transactions, assists other authorities with the detection and prevention of financial crime, and advises Government on banking and other financial and monetary matters.
Light Bio | April 18, 2022
Light Bio, Inc., a company that is creating bioluminescent plants for home and garden, and Ginkgo Bioworks (NYSE: DNA), the leading horizontal platform for cell programming, today announced a collaboration to leverage Ginkgo's plant cell assays for bioluminescence engineering. Through the agreement, Ginkgo aims to help improve the luminescent output and efficiency of the enzymes within Light Bio's glowing ornamental plants.
The scientists at Light Bio have discovered a new type of bioluminescence mechanism and are using synthetic biology to engineer plants to efficiently emit light. The original light emission pathway Light Bio uses in its glowing plants comes from bioluminescent mushrooms, and the company is now focused on expanding its engineering capabilities to support the creation of glowing plants.
We are excited to collaborate with Ginkgo toward additional multifold output and efficiency improvements powered by Ginkgo's plant cell engineering capabilities across both individual enzyme and metabolic pathway improvements, Light Bio has already achieved strong light emission results on our glowing plant luminescence to date."
Keith Wood, CEO, Light Bio.
Nothing captures the wonder of biology quite like seeing glowing plants in person, Our platform enables developers to imagine with biology and to design all types of cells, from bacteria and yeast to mammalian and plant cells. We're so excited to bring this unique application onto our platform and to help Light Bio bring the magic of glowing plants to people."
Jason Kelly, CEO, Ginkgo Bioworks.
About Light Bio
Light Bio creates novel biodesigns in living light. Through consumer-led applications of synthetic biology, Light Bio is opening new markets with products that have never existed before. Led by a team with deep experience in the development and commercialization of bioluminescence products, the company is sustained by its proprietary technologies backed by a strong patent portfolio.
About Ginkgo Bioworks
Ginkgo is building a platform to enable customers to program cells as easily as we can program computers. The company's platform is enabling biotechnology applications across diverse markets, from food and agriculture to industrial chemicals to pharmaceuticals. Ginkgo has also actively supported a number of COVID-19 response efforts, including K-12 pooled testing, vaccine manufacturing optimization and therapeutics discovery.
Emmaus Life Sciences, Inc. | April 12, 2022
Emmaus Life Sciences, Inc. (OTQXC: EMMA), a commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company and leader in the treatment of sickle cell disease, today announced the launch of an innovative full-service telehealth solution with its strategic partners, including Asembia LLC, US Bioservices Corporation and UpScriptHealth. The telehealth program capitalizes on the expansion of telemedicine in the U.S. to afford patients and providers on-line access to Endari®, the company's prescription-grade L-glutamine oral powder, for the treatment of sickle cell disease.
The launch of our full-service telehealth solution reflects our stated commitment to make Endari accessible to sickle cell patients in need and we are excited to be launching the program, Our solution will allow patients to see a doctor without leaving home, thereby eliminating unnecessary travel time and expense and the risk of infection that can occur with hospital visits. Eligible patients will be able to receive a same-day physician authorization and prescription for Endari and to have the prescription delivered to their homes within just a few days. As the telehealth solution grows, we are optimistic that it will help us to reach new patients and add meaningful revenue for Emmaus."
Yutaka Niihara, M.D., M.P.H., Emmaus' Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
According to a December 3, 2021 report from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), available at the HHS website at https://www.hhs.gov, the share of Medicare visits conducted through telehealth in 2020 increased 63-fold, from approximately 840,000 in 2019 to 52.7 million. The report noted that telehealth was particularly helpful in offsetting potential foregone behavioral health care and that states with the highest use of telehealth in 2020 included Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Connecticut. Other industry sources suggest that the trend toward telehealth accelerated in 2021 and is likely to be sustained.
We believe that affording patients and telehealth prescribers access to Endari in a quick and convenient way will improve their experience and potentially increase adherence rates, We look forward to working with our strategic partners on this important project."
George Sekulich, Senior Vice President of Global Commercialization of Emmaus.
About Emmaus Life Sciences
Emmaus Life Sciences, Inc. is a commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company and leader in the treatment of sickle cell disease. The company currently markets U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Endari® (L-glutamine oral powder) indicated to reduce the acute complications of sickle cell disease in adults and children 5 years and older. The company is also engaged in the discovery and development of innovative treatments and therapies for certain rare and orphan diseases as well as those affecting larger populations, such as diverticulosis.
About Sickle Cell Disease
There are approximately 100,000 people living with sickle cell disease (SCD) in the United States and millions more globally. The sickle gene is found in every ethnic group, not just among those of African descent; and in the United States an estimated 1-in-365 African Americans and 1-in-16,300 Hispanic Americans are born with SCD.1 The genetic mutation responsible for SCD causes an individual's red blood cells to distort into a "C" or a sickle shape, reducing their ability to transport oxygen throughout the body. These sickled red blood cells break down rapidly, become very sticky, and develop a propensity to clump together, which causes them to become stuck and cause damage within blood vessels. The result is reduced blood flow to distal organs, which leads to physical symptoms of incapacitating pain, tissue and organ damage, and early death