Global Roundup: Ginkgo/Microba Autoimmune Pact and New Parkinson's Data

Ginkgo Bioworks Lab_Ginkgo Bioworks

Courtesy of Ginkgo Bioworks

Australia's Microba Life Sciences and Ginkgo Bioworks forged a partnership to identify single-strain, live bacteria product (LBP) candidates against autoimmune diseases.

The partnership aims to identify single-strain, live bacteria product (LBP) candidates against autoimmune diseases. The collaboration will build on Microba's precision approach to LBP development with an in-depth evaluation of the company's strains using Ginkgo's high throughput, automated screening capabilities. 

Ginkgo will provide high-throughput screening for Microba's proprietary library of human microbiome-isolated strains. The goal will be to improve treatment for autoimmune diseases such as lupus, psoriatic arthritis and certain autoimmune liver diseases.

"We believe the human microbiome currently represents a missing piece in the treatment of major chronic diseases, and as a result a number of microbiome-based therapeutics are progressing through clinical development globally" Luke Reid, chief executive officer of Microba said in a statement. "Ginkgo's high throughput screening automation combined with our novel data-driven approach to therapeutic discovery from the microbiome can potentially accelerate development of breakthrough new drugs for autoimmune diseases." 

The partnership combining Microba's biobank and Ginkgo's anaerobic development capabilities is expected to run for approximately two years. In connection with the enterprise between the two companies, Ginkgo plans to invest $3.5 million in Microba.

Elsewhere around the globe:

NeuroDerm Ltd: Israel-based NeuroDerm announced positive, long-term data for Parkinson's disease-aimed asset ND0612 at the American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting. Data showed ND0612 treatment has remained safe and well-tolerated over the long term in people with Parkinson's disease experiencing motor fluctuations.

Pharma Two B Ltd: Also based in Israel, privately-held Pharma Two announced a presentation of positive Phase III data from its study assessing P2B001 in Parkinson's disease. The data suggest that P2B001 can significantly improve motor symptoms and daily function without triggering side effects such as daytime sleepiness, orthostatic hypotension and hallucinations associated with higher doses of dopamine agonists. P2B001 is a novel once-daily combination of extended-release formulations of a low dose dopamine agonist, pramipexole, as well a low dose MAO-B inhibitor, rasagiline. If approved, P2B001 may offer therapy with an improved benefit risk ratio between efficacy and safety for Parkinson's disease patients.

Evonetix Ltd.: Based in the United Kingdom, Evonetix was granted a patent in Europe that covers its proprietary thermal control technology for DNA synthesis, as well as the design and manufacture of its silicon chips. This is a key step in the strategy to develop a benchtop DNA synthesis platform, to change how DNA is accessed, made, and used.

Cell Guidance Systems: The U.K.'s Cell Guidance Systems and Manchester, England-based BIOGEL, entered into a collaboration to launch PODS-PeptiGels. The new kit combines the benefits of two existing innovative cell culture technologies - synthetic peptide hydrogels (PeptiGels) and a range of sustained release growth factors (PODS) - to provide a reproducible and highly adaptable environment for 3D cell culture. PODS-PeptiGels combines Cell Guidance Systems' POlyhedrin Delivery System and Manchester BioGel's biologically relevant hydrogels. The kit allows researchers to mix and match to suit the aims of their research by selecting from more than 70 growth factors and combining with hundreds of combinations of hydrogels, each with mechanical and biomimetic "tuneability."

Artios Pharma Limited: Also based in the United Kingdom, Artios Pharma announced its ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3-related Inhibitor, ART0380, has progressed into a Phase Ib dose expansion study targeting ATM-deficient tumors. ART0380 is being developed for the treatment of a broad range of cancers. The company will make a poster presentation at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting that features biomarker and pharmacokinetic data supporting the clinical dose selection of ART0380.

Neuro-Bio Ltd.: Oxford, England's Neuro-Bio announced its new drug candidate effectively treats the signs of neurodegeneration in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. Data from the study of NBP14, which is designed to combat neurodegeneration, was published in Alzheimer's & Dementia: Translational Research & Clinical Interventions. Intranasal treatment for six weeks resulted in a marked decrease of brain amyloid and, after 14 weeks, improved cognitive performance comparable to that of normal mice. The results underscore the effectiveness of Neuro-Bio's drug candidate and represent a remarkable step toward treating Alzheimer's disease in humans.

Aalto Bio Reagents: Ireland's Aalto Bio Reagents has committed itself to develop diagnostic targets for 15 of the world's biggest health risk pathogens, as identified by the World Health Organization. The pathogens the company aims to target include the nipah virus, oropouche virus, Ebola, Hendra virus, Lassa virus, Crimean Congo fever, Chikungunya, Zika and others.

Arrayjet: Scotland's Arrayjet introduced Mercury, a new core range of five instruments for ultra-low-volume liquid dispensing used for a wide range of microarray and microfluidics applications within the pharmaceutical, diagnostic and life science workflows. Arrayjet's high-speed microarray printers harness patented, non-contact inkjet technology for printing multiplex array-based assays onto slides, point-of-care devices, biochips and microplates. The technology has the versatility to print any biological sample onto any substrate.

Sequana Medical NV: Sequana Medical, which is based in Belgium, completed the implantation of the alfapump system in patients participating in the POSEIDON study. The alfapump will be used for the treatment of recurrent or refractory ascites due to liver cirrhosis. Of the 71 patients enrolled in the pivotal cohort, 40 were implanted with the alfapump.

eTheRNA ImmunotherapiesAnother Belgium-based company, eTheRNA immunotherapies NV has moved its R&D group to a new location in the city of Gent. The new R&D facility is in the Zwijnaarde Science Park, where a cluster of biotech companies are located. The site includes state-of-the-art laboratories together with allied services. The increased capacity available will allow eTheRNA's research departments to enhance their investigations on a variety of mRNA and lipid nanoparticles for R&D applications, which are expected to result in improved control and faster production cycles.

ViGeneron GmbH: Germany's ViGeneron announced a target-specific strategic collaboration and option agreement with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. The companies will aim to develop and commercialize a gene therapy product based on ViGeneron's novel engineered recombinant adeno-associated virus vectors (vgAAVs) to treat an inherited retinal disease (IRD). Under the terms of the research collaboration, Regeneron and ViGeneron will create and validate vgAAV-based therapeutic candidates for one undisclosed IRD target.

Lumicks: Based in the Netherlands, Lumicks is strengthening its DSM platform with a new software platform dubbed "Lakeview," which is designed to simplify data analysis by researchers. Lakeview is a turnkey, integrated software suite that enables users to easily manage, view and analyze data on biomolecular processes made possible with the C-Trap instrument.

EryDel SpA: Italy's EryDel is presenting late-stage data from its Phase III ATTeST trial in Ataxia Telangiectasia at the American Academy of Neurology meeting. The study assessed the efficacy and safety of monthly infusions of intra-erythrocyte dexamethasone sodium phosphate in patients with AT. EryDel uses red blood cell technology to encapsulate small and large molecule therapeutics in patients' red blood cells. This novel development allows drugs to get inserted into the red blood cells and immediately infused back into the patient.

Awakn Life Sciences: Based in Toronto, Awakn completed the first phase of its new chemical entity development program in its pipeline to treat a broad range of substance and behavioral addictions. Awakn established drug discovery assays with the potential to facilitate lead optimization activities. This is an essential first step on the pathway of developing new, faster-acting, and safer entactogenic therapies for the market.

BetterLife Pharma: Across Canada in Vancouver, BetterLife has obtained additional positive data confirming the anti-depressant activity of its lead compound 2-bromo-LSD (BETR-001) in preclinical models of depression. The study assessed the anti-depressant activity of BETR-001 on depressive-like behavior of mice in a forced swim test. The amount of time mice spent immobile (a depression-like behavior) was significantly reduced 24 hours after treatment with a single dose of BETR-001 compared to the untreated control group. BETR-001 is a second-generation Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) derivative that is believed to mimic the therapeutic potential of LSD without causing psychedelic effects, such as hallucinations.

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