BioSpace Global Roundup, July 25
OSE Immunotherapeutics – France-based OSE Immunotherapeutics said its DC TARGET project has been selected by the French National Research Agency to receive a grant of up to €800,000 following the “AAPG 2019” call for proposals assessment process. The aim of this program is to identify new targets of interest expressed by myeloid cells (tumor-associated macrophages, myeloid-derived suppressive cells, dendritic cells). These suppressive immune cells play a major role in both tumor immune escape and in their invasive process. In order to discover new targets of therapeutic interest in the tumor microenvironment, the role of each cell will be characterized in depth by single-cell RNAseq (scRNAsed – Cellenion) and gene editing. The Bioinformatics platform is expected to be an essential tool to analyze the thousands of data points generated by the bioanalysis technologies used and to define immunological signature deconvolution. Once the targets identified and clinically validated, OSE Immunotherapeutics will focus on translation of the research study findings through the development of specific monoclonal antibodies that are able to block the deleterious targets identified.
Cytena – Germany-based Cytena, a specialist in single-cell technologies, established its subsidiary Cytena Bioprocess Solutions in Taiwan. Cytena Bioprocess Solutions is developing an innovative technology, which enables considerable reductions in time and increases in efficiency for cell line development. Cytena Bioprocess Solutions will focus on providing bioprocess solutions for pharmaceutical companies and leading research institutes. These solutions are based on an innovative microbioreactor called C.Bird. The C.Bird is the first microbioreactor to combine early-stage cell culture screening, monitoring and optimization. This enables customers to save several weeks of cell line development by selecting the right clones or cell cultures very early in the process. Jonas Schoendube, chief executive officer of Cytena in Germany, said with its new R&D-focused company, Cytena wants to strengthen its global market position and open up new application areas and target markets.
Open Pharma Research – Based in Cambridge, U.K., Open Pharma Research, a platform for information exchange and networking in the life sciences, is announcing the launch of an international congress: the Lab of the Future Congress. The congress will take place in November at the Wellcome Genome Campus in Cambridge. The Lab of the Future was set up to provide access to the people and resources for life science companies to continue thriving in a rapidly-evolving world. Key events will include a plenary session on the changing R&D landscape and a panel on the role of technology as an enabler. In addition to these panels, a major exhibition will showcase the work from the key service companies in this space.
Medtronic – Ireland-based Medtronic and Viz.ai, the emerging leader in applied artificial intelligence (AI) in stroke care, have partnered to accelerate the adoption of Viz.ai’s new technology, which helps synchronize stroke care and decrease time to treatment, potentially improving outcomes for patients. Viz.ai’s technology uses artificial intelligence to identify suspected large vessel occlusion (LVO) strokes and automatically notify specialists. The Viz.ai software connects to hospital computed tomography scanners and alerts stroke specialists within minutes that a suspected LVO stroke has been identified, sending the radiological images directly to their smartphones where they can be viewed. Every two minutes someone in the U.S. has an LVO, but only an estimated 15 percent receive a potentially lifesaving mechanical thrombectomy, a minimally-invasive procedure that removes blood clots. A Viz.ai study in two centers showed that in 95.5 percent of true positive cases, its technology alerted the stroke specialist earlier than the standard of care, saving an average of 52 minutes.
BIA Separations – Slovenia-based BIA Separations announced a collaboration with AveXis, a Novartis company, to enhance the commercial purification process for its gene therapy pipeline, beginning with Zolgensma, a spinal muscular atrophy therapy approved earlier this year. BIA was selected as a result of its expertise in viral and DNA purification, particularly adeno-associated virus (AAV), and chromatographic technology for the purification and analysis of biomolecules, the company said.
DionyMed Brands – Based in Toronto, DionyMed Brands, a multi-state cannabis brands platform, closed the acquisition of select assets from MM Esperanza 2 LLC’s 1.83 acre Los Angeles cannabis campus, including retail, distribution, manufacturing and cultivation licenses. The cost of the deal was $13 million in cash and $6 million in DionyMed Series A shares. The Los Angeles cannabis campus provides DionyMed with a Southern California direct-to-consumer fulfillment center capable of supporting up to 600 cannabis delivery drivers and a dispensary storefront, distribution facility and manufacturing hub.
Allergan – Ireland-based Allergan announced a voluntary worldwide recall of Biocell textured breast implants and tissue expanders. Allergan is taking this action as a precaution following notification of recently updated global safety information concerning the uncommon incidence of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) provided by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Biocell saline-filled and silicone-filled textured breast implants and tissue expanders will no longer be distributed or sold in any market where they are currently available, Allergan said in its announcement. Allergan will provide additional information to customers about how to return unused products.
Cognetivity Neurosciences – London-based Cognetivity (https://www.cognetivity.com/) has teamed up with researchers from Cambridge University to develop a dementia detection tool that uses images of animals to stimulate key brain responses. It requires patients to respond to 100 photos - which are displayed on an iPad in rapid succession - and select whether each contains an animal or not. The human response to animals is a process fine-tuned over millions of years of evolution and incites a hardwired fight or flight response that has been found to engage key areas of the brain which are affected by dementia. Artificial intelligence is used to analyze patient responses and is able to detect the very earliest signs of the disease - commonly 10-15 years before visible signs would normally be recognized. The research behind the test has recently been published in Nature.
Olon S.p.A. – Olon, based in Milan, Italy, started the construction of a new GMP manufacturing facility at its microbial CDMO facility located in Capua, Italy. The construction of this new GMP facility is associated to a long-term strategic partnership with a large pharmaceutical company. The engineering project is designed to support the manufacture of multiple products, up to commercial scale.
Dassault Systemes – France-based Dassault announced a five-year extension of its collaboration with the FDA to develop a new digital tool to enable more efficient regulatory review of cardiovascular and medical devices. Researchers hope the first-of-its-kind process will increase industry innovation and pave the way for an efficient path for patients to access safe, effective new treatments for the world’s leading cause of death – heart disease.
Volpara – New Zealand-based Volpara signed an agreement to sell Screenpoint Medical’s Transpara products to breast imaging clinics in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Asia. Transpara is designed to assist radiologists with the reading of mammograms. Mark Koeniguer, Volpara’s chief commercial officer, said Volpara sees Transpara as “perfect complement” to its Volpara Enterprise and Volpara Live! image-quality-management products.