BioSpace Global Roundup, Nov. 7


Akeso Pharmaceuticals – Sweden’s Akeso Pharmaceuticals will open a new facility in Guangzhou, China, based on GE Healthcare Life Sciences’ FlexFactory platform. The new facility will be designed for efficient and cost-effective manufacture of recombinant biologics, the company said. The FlexFactory platform will speed up the company’s access to antibody production in support of Akeso’s pipeline of biopharmaceuticals, including therapies for the treatment of cancer, auto-immune diseases, arthritis, and Crohn’s disease.  The FlexFactory will be located on Akeso’s manufacturing site in Guangzhou Knowledge City. This becomes the 21st automation-integrated FlexFactory platform provided by GE Healthcare Life Sciences in China, and the 64th FlexFactory supplied globally to manufacturers of biopharmaceuticals. Akeso Pharmaceuticals is a joint venture between Akeso Biopharma and the Guangzhou Development District. The FlexFactory will support the company’s aim to expand its operations to large-scale manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals, with an initial focus on bispecific antibodies. Akeso’s plant is expected to be operational by end of 2020 and create up to 150 jobs upon opening.

TTP Ventus – Micropump manufacturer TTP Ventus, based in the U.K., announced the introduction of a range of new pumps that extend performance, delivering higher flow rates, higher pressures, and longer lifetimes. This opens up new product innovation possibilities for applications including microfluidics research, medical diagnostics, therapeutic devices and wearables, the company said.

PhoreMost Ltd – U.K.-based PhoreMost and Sentinel Oncology announced an expansion of their collaboration to accelerate the progression of SOL686, a novel allosteric Polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1) inhibitor through preclinical development and IND enabling studies for the treatment of Glioma. Mitotic PLKs are widely recognized as playing crucial roles in disease causing pathways, including K-Ras mutant cancers. Traditional approaches to drugging PLK enzymes have focused on targeting their active site; however this tactic has been hindered by toxicity-associated adverse events. The program between the two companies has demonstrated a promising combination of specific drug-like properties, mode of action and target validation data obtained so far, PhoreMost said.

Mirada Medical – Artificial intelligence software developer Mirada Medical announced additional global installations of DLCExpert, the world’s first commercially available AI-powered auto contouring software for cancer treatment planning and the only system with over one year of clinically proven use. U.K.-based Mirada’s advanced software products targeting cancer care are in clinical use at more than 1,400 hospitals worldwide. Its breakthrough DLCExpert AI system has been recently deployed at multiple global centers of clinical excellence including Moffitt Cancer Center, Mayo Clinic, UMC Groningen, and The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, the company announced.

Cobra Biologics – U.K.-based Cobra Biologics will be acquired by Cognate BioServices, a leading US-based cell therapy CDMO. The acquisition will create a global cell and gene therapy manufacturing services platform for both clinical and commercial products. The combined company will provide an integrated supply chain for their clients and expand their global capability to provide better and more scalable solutions to support their clients.

CARMAT – France-based Carmat, a company designing an artificial heart, published an update on its PIVOTAL trial that showed positive results with the first 11 patients taking part. The primary endpoint of the study, corresponding to 6-month survival with the bioprosthesis or a successful transplant within 6 months after device implant, was achieved in 73% of the first 11 patients enrolled in the PIVOTAL study, the company said. By comparison, this rate was just 50% during the feasibility study with four patients. The numbers are 54-62% for the only total artificial heart currently on the market and 46%-68% for mechanical biventricular circulatory support systems, Carmat said.

SciRhom GmbH – Germany-based SciRhom announced the development of first-in-class antibodies against iRhom2, a key modulator of several major pro-inflammatory signaling pathways, including TNF-alpha signaling. The company said it is now in position to pursue the development of monoclonal antibodies against iRhom2 for the treatment of major autoimmune diseases. iRhom2 is a protein that controls the tumor necrosis factor-alpha-convertase, a set of molecular scissors that activates several crucial signaling pathways, including TNF-alpha (tumor necrosis factor-alpha) and other disease-related signaling. From these promising results, SciRhom has identified iRhom2-specific antibodies that block TNF-alpha release by TACE and is currently advancing the preclinical development of its first-in-class anti-iRhom2 antibodies towards IND-enabling studies.

Sphere Fluidics – U.K.-based Sphere announced the optimization of the Cyto-Mine Single Cell Analysis System through integration with Peak Analysis and Automation’s (PAA) automated plate handler, S-LAB The addition of S-LAB to the Cyto-Mine provides researchers with a further streamlined solution for single cell analysis in biopharmaceutical workflows. According to Sphere, combining automated micro-plate handling with the Cyto-Mine offers a simple solution to minimize hands-on involvement and reduce timelines in antibody discovery and cell line development, the company said. By replacing manual barcode scanning of multi-well microtiter plates and plate loading in the final picodroplet dispensing phase of the Cyto-Mine, the integration of S-LAB increases user flexibility, overall throughput and efficiency.

International Medical Solutions – Toronto-based IMS and Eastern Health signed an agreement to optimize peer learning for Medical Imaging, along with an option to deliver future peer learning programs to all of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Eastern Health plans to use IMS Peer Learning to create unique peer-learning cases that can be shared anonymously for peer feedback and subsequent review.

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