Global Roundup: BICO Group Snaps up Biosero and its Software Solutions

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Sweden’s BICO Group, which was formerly known as Cellink, is snapping up Biosero, a leading software provider for automated workflows and laboratory connectivity. The $165 million acquisition will allow BICO to offer fully automated and connected workflow solutions from its current portfolio, as well as with Biosero’s software solutions.

Biosero is based in San Diego and employs 75 people. The company offers software solutions, which enable seamless laboratory automation for connected and smart workflows. These solutions are expected to make a significant impact across all BICO’s core industrial ecosystem of cell line development, multi-omics, tissue engineering and diagnostics.

BICO said these “cross-business synergies have the potential to unlock large orders related to automated workflows.” Following the acquisition, BICO said it plans to invest $20 million over three years to accelerate Biosero’s commercial agenda to expand to new geographical markets.

 “At BICO we are committed to leveraging our Bio Convergence technologies to develop smart, automated, and sustainable solutions for our customers, and in turn revolutionize the healthcare industry. With Biosero we take a significant and strategized step in expanding our portfolio with combinatorial smart software systems to enable automated workflows,” Erik Gatenholm, chief executive officer and co-founder of BICO said in a statement. “The Biosero software platform will serve as a glue to our impressive portfolio of hardware instruments and solutions, tying together the great hardware technologies we have acquired over the years. Through improved efficacy and efficiency this leads to better and faster decision making for our customers and contributes to solving the modern healthcare challenges we face.”

Elsewhere around the globe:

Metrion Biosciences – Based in the U.K., Metrion Biosciences Limited and Belgium-based Bioqube Ventures, a specialist European life sciences investment firm, forged a collaboration backed by Bioqube Factory Fund I, to incubate a drug discovery research project targeting autoimmune diseases. Bioqube and Metrion will advance a lead series of previously identified highly potent and selective small molecule inhibitors of the human Kv1.3 potassium ion channel in order to enable further development. Activation of this voltage-gated ion channel in effector memory T-cells is thought to be an early and necessary step in the development of auto-immune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus nephritis, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis and many others.

Mesoblast Limited – Australia-based Mesoblast received feedback from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regarding a planned Phase III study of rexlemestrocel-L in patients with chronic low back pain (CLBP) due to degenerative disc disease (DDD) refractory to available therapies, including opioids. In the U.S., there is excessive use of opioids in this patient population, with more than 50% of U.S. opioid prescriptions being for the treatment of CLBP. Treatment with non-opioid medications continues to be a major unmet medical need and focus. A key objective is to demonstrate reduction in pain and opioid usage and position rexlemestrocel-L as a potential opioid-sparing agent.

UCB – Belgium-based UCB announced positive top-line interim analysis results from the Phase III BE MOBILE 2 study, which is evaluating the efficacy and safety of bimekizumab in adults with active ankylosing spondylitis. The BE MOBILE 2 study met its primary endpoint, as measured by the proportion of patients who achieved the Assessment of SpondyloArthritis International Society 40 (ASAS40) response at 16 weeks. ASAS40 improvement was 40% relative to baseline. The study also met all ranked secondary endpoints, including significant improvements with bimekizumab over placebo at week 16 in patient-reported disease activity and the nocturnal spinal pain score. BE MOBILE 2 is one of two Phase III studies evaluating bimekizumab across the full spectrum of axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA) disease, which includes both ankylosing spondylitis and non-radiographic (nr)-axSpA.

Variational AI – Vancouver-based Variational AI partnered with the University of British Columbia and adMare BioInnovations to develop a novel SARS-CoV-2 Main Protease (3CLpro) inhibitor as a potential against all variants of concern. The COVID-19 drug discovery program is funded by Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster, which is supported by the Canadian Ministry of Innovation, Science and Industry.

Xeltis – Based in The Netherlands, medtech company Xeltis announced it implanted the first-ever restorative synthetic hemodialysis access grafts in patients. The company said several patients with kidney failure or advanced kidney disease requiring dialysis have been successfully implanted with the aXess grafts as part of a European first-in-human trial. The aXess grafts enable early puncturing, or initiation of the dialysis, shortly after implanting. Over time, they are designed to turn into living blood vessels, as their porous micro-structure get colonized by the patient’s own tissue.

Ji Xing Pharmaceuticals Limited – China-based Ji Xing and Cytokinetics expanded an ongoing collaboration to develop and commercialize omecamtiv mecarbil for the proposed treatment of heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) in Greater China.

ITM Isotope – Based in Germany, ITM Isotope Technologies Munich SE and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Oganisation extended their partnership by entering into a long-term licensing agreement that will have ANSTSO continue producing n.c.a.177 Lu for the Australian and New Zealand markets by utilizing ITM’s unique production technology. N.c.a.177 Lu is used as a radiopharmaceutical precursor in Targeted Radionuclide Therapy, a novel treatment regimen in precision oncology.

Osivax – France’s Osivax announced promising results from a Phase IIa study of OVX876, a broad-spectrum influenza vaccine candidate. OVX836 targets the internal nucleoprotein (NP), a highly conserved antigen that is far less susceptible to mutations and would, potentially provide universal protection. OVX836 exhibited an excellent safety profile for all tested dose-levels and demonstrated a strong and long-lasting NP-specific cellular immune response after one intramuscular injection. Although the study was not designed to measure clinical efficacy, a first signal of protection against influenza symptoms in the 180µg arm was observed, the company said.

Menarini Group– Italy-based Menarini has licensed Karyopharm Therapeutics’ Nexpovio, a first-in-class, oral Selective Inhibitor of Nuclear Export (SINE) compound. Menarini received exclusive rights to commercialize Nexpovio for the treatment of oncology indications in the European Union and other European countries, including the United Kingdom, Latin America and other key countries. In exchange, Karyopharm will receive an upfront payment of $75 million and is eligible to receive up to an additional $202.5 million in future milestones.

Gedea Biotech – Swedish women’s health company Gedea Biotech announced it has received funding for a research project with the Centre for Translational Microbiome Research at Karolinska Institutet (KI), for its lead product, pHyph, a vaginal tablet for topical treatment of bacterial vaginosis (BV). The project goal is to better understand the microbial etiology of bacterial vaginosis (BV) and factors associated with successful, antibiotic-free treatment with pHyph.

Avacta Group – England’s Avacta Group said its AffiDX SARS-CoV-2 antigen lateral flow test has received a CE mark for use as a consumer self-test in the U.K. and EU. The AffiDX SARS-CoV-2 antigen lateral flow self-test will be marketed by Medusa Healthcare under the brand name “MeduFlow.”

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