COVID-19 Latest News

Sanofi, GSK Report Positive Trial Data for COVID-19 Vaccine

In April 2020, Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and French drugmaker Sanofi entered a partnership to develop an adjuvanted recombinant COVID-19 vaccine, aiming for regulatory clearance in the second half of 2021. However, their plans suffered as a Phase 1/2 trial yielded mixed data. Results showed that the vaccine failed to elicit a robust immune response in people over 50 years despite promising results in the 18-49 age group. Nevertheless, the recent Phase 2 Trial has rekindled market hopes for the duo. On May 17th, the companies announced encouraging interim results showing that the vaccine candidate achieved strong rates of neutralizing antibody responses in all age groups (18 to 95 years old), similar to those observed in recovered COVID-19 patients. “Our Phase 2 data confirm the potential of this vaccine to play a role in addressing this ongoing global public health crisis, as we know multiple vaccines will be needed, especially as...
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Sanofi, GSK Report Positive Trial Data for COVID-19 Vaccine
Asia Insight

WuXi Biologics and WuXi STA Establish Joint Venture to Advance Bioconjugates

Shanghai-based companies, WuXi STA, a subsidiary of WuXi AppTec, and WuXi Biologics are establishing a joint venture to provide end-to-end contract development and manufacturing of bioconjugates, including antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs). On May 14th, both companies announced the founding of WuXi XDC, a CDMO that will develop antibodies or other biologics, chemical payloads and linkers, and the bioconjugated Drug Substance (DS) and Drug Product (DP). “I am very honored for the opportunity to lead WuXi XDC. By leveraging both the robust capacities and state-of-the-art technologies of WuXi Biologics and WuXi STA, WuXi XDC will further increase its unique presence in the bioconjugates industry to enable global partners as they build their innovative ideas into transformative new treatments for patients worldwide," said Dr. Jimmy Li, newly appointed CEO of WuXi XDC. Dr. Li has extensive experience in biologics process development, scale-up, and cGMP manufacturing at Diversa Corporation (now BASF), Tanox, and Genentech....
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WuXi Biologics and WuXi STA Establish Joint Venture to Advance Bioconjugates
Event Feature

A Glance at Gene Therapy Advances in Cancer

In the virtual ASGCT21 meeting, a panel discussion focused on the preclinical and clinical updates of gene therapy interventions in cancer. Co-chairs Rayne Rouce, M.D., and Renata Stripecke, Ph.D., moderated a conversation on the latest developments in cancer therapies. The panelists comprised of: Jack Roth, M.D., University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Marcela Maus, M.D., Ph.D., Massachusetts General Hospital Paola Grandi, Ph.D., CG Oncology Cliona Rooney, Ph.D., Baylor College of Medicine TUSC2 - An Attractive Candidate for Gene Therapy in Lung Cancers Dr. Jack Roth presented a candidate for systemic immunogene therapy for lung cancer. Tumor suppressor candidate 2 (TUSC2) is an ideal candidate with reduced expression in most lung cancers, associated with a poor prognosis. It is an attractive candidate for gene therapy because preclinical studies have shown that it is a multi-kinase inhibitor, selectively induces apoptosis in cancer cells, and activates immune response by upregulation of IL15...
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A Glance at Gene Therapy Advances in Cancer
Feature Technology

Laronde Launches to Disrupt the Industry with Programmable Circular RNA Therapies

Since its founding in 2000, Flagship Pioneering, one of Massachusetts' largest venture capital firms, has launched numerous companies. A remarkable one among them is Moderna, which back in 2012 secured $40 million to transform an innovative idea into life-saving mRNA therapeutics. Flagship has now once again bet on an RNA molecule that it asserts as a new class of medicines. After four years of working behind the scenes, on May 10th, the Cambridge VC unveiled Laronde, a startup that develops a novel, engineered version of naturally occurring long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) called Endless RNA™ (eRNA). Dr. Diego Miralles, who recently joined Flagship Pioneering as CEO-Partner and has taken over the reins as Laronde's CEO, is excited about the technology. "Protein therapeutics are huge in terms of therapeutic modalities like peptides, proteins, and antibodies. However, they are expensive, difficult to make, and cumbersome to administer. With eRNAs, we have a therapeutic...
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Laronde Launches to Disrupt the Industry with Programmable Circular RNA Therapies
Feature

ASGCT21 Highlights: Present Trends and Future Directions of Gene and Cell Therapies in Immuno-Oncology

Over the last decade, several blockbuster immunotherapies have received FDA approval. During the virtual ASGCT meeting, experts reflected on the current trends and future directions of gene and cell therapies in immuno-oncology. Engineering T Cells to Better Recognize Cancer Cells  Current immune checkpoint therapies try to release the breaks of the T cells to fight cancer. Most of these therapies target either CTLA-4, which prevents T cell activation at the lymph nodes or PD-1/PD-L1, which downregulates T cell activity in the tumor microenvironment. However, in most cancer patients, there are no T cells stuck at either of those points. Dr. Antoni Ribas from UCLA spoke of the concept of adoptive cell transfer (ACT) of genetically engineered T cells. He and his collaborators have been working on several aspects to improve this type of therapy. Dr. Antoni Ribas,  UCLA Some of the approaches they use are as follows: They exploit the...
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ASGCT21 Highlights: Present Trends and Future Directions of Gene and Cell Therapies in Immuno-Oncology
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INTERVIEW

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Interview

The Transformative Potential of Gene Therapies for Hemophilia

Hemophilia is an inherited blood disorder where victims suffer from uncontrolled bleeding post injuries. The major forms of the disease, Hemophilia A and B, are characterized by the genetic deficiency of factors VIII and IX, respectively. Of all the diverse therapies available, gene therapy holds incredible promise with its ability to cure the disease via a single-dose administration. Although safety and durability are the biggest hurdles for the field, “advances in gene therapy have been a terrific transformational change,” says Dr. John Pasi, an expert who has been closely involved in the design and development of clinical trials for new gene therapies. Dr. John Pasi is a Professor of Haemostasis and Thrombosis at Barts and the London School of Medicine...
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The Transformative Potential of Gene Therapies for Hemophilia
Interview

How the ICT Industry is Poised to Transform Healthcare? – An Interview with AUO President Frank Ko

Smart medical care and remote medical care have always remained a long-term vision, but they have rapidly progressed in the past five years. The COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated this field’s transformation and application by reducing crowded wards and unnecessary contacts. Frank Ko, President & COO of AU Optronics (AUO), has played a vital role in transforming AUO from a display supplier to a solution provider. GeneOnline had the opportunity to interview him and gather his views through the perspective of smart healthcare and the ICT industry. AUO has been a key player in the medical field for several years, especially in providing medical displays, including high-end displays for diagnosis, endoscopy, surgery, X-ray, or PPE diagnostics. AUO is an important...
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How the ICT Industry is Poised to Transform Healthcare? – An Interview with AUO President Frank Ko
COVID-19 Interview

Prof. Han van den Bosch: The Mammoth Task of Vaccinating the World

As COVID-19 continues to snowball into a massive health and economic concern, the world is anxiously anticipating a vaccine. While Russia's vaccine was approved in August, several biopharma giants worldwide have progressed their candidates to Phase III evaluations in a rush to deliver them at an unprecedented speed. Yet, "vaccine development is one thing, vaccination is another," says Prof. Han van den Bosch, a seasoned veteran in the vaccine development space. Dr. van den Bosch is an emeritus professor of "International Public Health" at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. He has held top management posts in the industry in global R&D and has been instrumental in developing vaccines for various diseases. We invited him for a discussion to obtain expert...
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Prof. Han van den Bosch: The Mammoth Task of Vaccinating the World
Asia Insight Feature Interview

Building a Biomedical Value Chain and Accelerating the Development of the Biomedical Industry

Interview with Hsi-Wen Tsai, Director of the Incubation Center, NHRI   Currently, there are more than one hundred incubation centers in Taiwan, which mainly provide resources for startups and small to medium-sized enterprises in their early stages of development. Those resources include spaces, instruments, technology, capital, business-related services, management consulting, etc., to reduce their initial start-up cost and risk. Most incubation centers are set up within the universities and government agencies. Among them, the Incubation Center of the National Health Research Institutes (NHRI) has immense experience in focusing on the biotechnology and biomedical sector and has played a vital role in developing Taiwan's biomedical industry. Foundation of NHRI’s Incubation Center "During the year 2000, Taiwan's biotechnology and biomedical industry were...
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Building a Biomedical Value Chain and Accelerating the Development of the Biomedical Industry
Interview

The Profound Impact of Duplex Sequencing: An Interview with Jesse Salk, CEO, TwinStrand Biosciences

Despite the recent progress in targeted cancer therapies, the frequent development of drug resistance has proved to be a major hindrance. Rare mutations acquired by a small population of cells could benefit tumorigenesis and be cancer’s ticket to back door entry. However, identifying them is a challenge owing to the high error rates of current sequencing tools. A powerful sequencing method dubbed ‘Duplex Sequencing’ could significantly minimize this problem. By sequencing both strands of individual DNA molecules, Duplex Sequencing can identify ultra-low frequency mutations with a 10,000-fold higher resolution. We interviewed Dr. Jesse Salk, CEO of TwinStrand, to learn more about the technique and its potential in advancing cancer research.   From Concept to Reality The foundation of TwinStrand Biosciences...
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The Profound Impact of Duplex Sequencing: An Interview with Jesse Salk, CEO, TwinStrand Biosciences
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INDUSTRY

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Homology Medicines Presents Proof-of-Concept Data for New Antibody Gene Transfer Platform

Homology Medicines is a clinical-stage company that aims to cure rare diseases using gene therapy and nuclease-free gene editing approaches. It is notable for HMI-102, an investigational phenylketonuria therapy delivered …

ASIA INSIGHT

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WuXi Biologics and WuXi STA Establish Joint Venture to Advance Bioconjugates

Shanghai-based companies, WuXi STA, a subsidiary of WuXi AppTec, and WuXi Biologics are establishing a joint venture to provide end-to-end contract development and manufacturing of bioconjugates, including antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs). …

TECHNOLOGY

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Laronde

Laronde Launches to Disrupt the Industry with Programmable Circular RNA Therapies

Since its founding in 2000, Flagship Pioneering, one of Massachusetts’ largest venture capital firms, has launched numerous companies. A remarkable one among them is Moderna, which back in 2012 secured …

NORTH AMERICA

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FDA Authorizes Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 Vaccine for 12 to 15 Year Olds

On May 10th, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded the emergency use authorization (EUA) of Pfizer/BioNTech’s BNT162b2 to prevent COVID-19 in teens and adolescents. The agency amended the …

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