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Novartis Expands Foothold in Gene Therapy With New Acquisition

By Eduardo Longoria On October 29th, Swiss firm Novartis announced its acquisition of Vedere Bio with an upfront payment of $150 million and the possibility of another $130 million in milestone payments for a total price tag of $280 million.  By adding Vedere to its portfolio, Novartis now has a new platform for AAV (adeno-associated virus)-based delivery of gene therapies along with two pre-clinical optogenetic gene therapy programs for the treatment of IRDs (Inherited retinal dystrophies) and geographic atrophy (a type of dry age-related macular degeneration).  Novartis is trying to cultivate itself in the gene therapy space by harnessing AAVs, chimeric antigen receptor T-cells (CAR-Ts), and clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR).  Vedere’s technology that Novartis has acquired is designed to work by delivering light-sensing proteins to specific retinal cells via intravitreal injection of AAV delivery vectors, stimulating the targeted cells to sense and transmit information to the visual...
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Novartis Expands Foothold in Gene Therapy With New Acquisition
News In Brief

Novartis Inks Deal with Molecular Partners for a Novel Way to Take Down COVID-19

By T. Chakraborty, Ph.D. Pharma giant Novartis is spending $69 million upfront to acquire two experimental drugs (MP0420 and MP0423) from Molecular Partners (MP) for combatting COVID-19. The drugs which fall under the proprietary DARPin therapeutics can be produced for mass consumption and include multiple target binding sites to prevent viral escape via mutations, the possibility for subcutaneous administration, and a long half-life for sustained activity.  The agreement in the future could translate into an extra $165 million if Novartis procures both drugs based on the results from trials. However, MP will have to let go of royalties to help alleviate costs in low-income countries.  Apart from the collaboration with AveXis for developing a COVID-19 vaccine candidate, this is the first major step taken by Novartis in this pandemic to bring a drug to the market. Although this deal might have the potential to deliver relief to millions affected by...
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Novartis Inks Deal with Molecular Partners for a Novel Way to Take Down COVID-19
North America

FMI’s Liquid Biopsy Test Adds 3 Companion Diagnostic Indications for Advanced Ovarian, Breast and Lung Cancers

By Ruchi Jhonsa, Ph.D. Circumventing the need for invasive procedures, liquid biopsies are increasingly becoming an important option to decide about the presence or absence of cancer. This method extracts circulating cell-free DNA in the blood to detect key mutations associated with certain cancers. It is popular with the patients who can do the test at the convenience of their house and obtain test results, which have better reproducibility than tissue biopsies. In August, the USFDA approved Foundation medicine’s FoundationOne Liquid CDx, a liquid biopsy test covering all solid tumors that are qualified under Medicare and are eligible as per the centers for medicare and Medicaid services national coverage decision memo criteria. Now the test is available for three more indications following the agency’s backing. The new indications are for Piqray (alpelisib) in advanced or metastatic breast cancer, Rubraca (rucaparib) in advanced ovarian cancer and Alecensa (alectinib) in a certain...
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FMI’s Liquid Biopsy Test Adds 3 Companion Diagnostic Indications for Advanced Ovarian, Breast and Lung Cancers
Feature

Availability of C2N’s First Blood-Based Diagnostic Marks Breakthrough in Alzheimer’s Disease

By Rajaneesh K. Gopinath, Ph.D. On October 29th, Missouri-based C2N Diagnostics announced the clinical availability of PrecivityAD™ blood test, an innovative and highly sensitive blood test that enables the early detection of Alzheimer's Disease (AD). This announcement marks a breakthrough in the field since AD is hard to diagnose and harder to treat. Approximately 5.8 million people in the US alone are currently living with this age-related, progressive neurodegenerative disorder. Although several drugs are currently in clinical trials, there are no approved treatments yet. Several years ago, AD diagnosis involved the extensive use of cognitive tests, but that has changed since the advent of imaging techniques such as positron emission tomography (PET), Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and Computerized tomography (CT). In some cases, a spinal fluid test is also conducted using the patient's Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) samples. AD is characterized by several phenotypic outcomes such as aggregation of amyloid-beta (Aβ) peptides that...
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Availability of C2N’s First Blood-Based Diagnostic Marks Breakthrough in Alzheimer’s Disease
Asia Insight

Drawing Millions in Investment, RemeGen is Ready to Bag 514m in IPO

By Tyler Chen On October 28th, China-based biopharma company, RemeGen announced the plan of its initial public offering. The number is estimated to receive would make it one of the largest IPO in the world in 2020 for a biopharma company. As listed in the IPO documents, RemeGen will release 76.5 million shares at 50.3 to 52.1 HKD apiece in HKEX on Nov. 9 and is expected to raise approximately 514.5 million USD, surpassing Everest Medicine and Genor Pharma. Also, RemeGen has signed deals with 19 cornerstone investors, locking up 222.7 million dollars in advance. Those 19 cornerstone investors include Fidelity International, BlackRock, LAV Amber, Lake Bleu Prime Healthcare Master Fund, Matthews Funds, Hillhouse Capital, OrbiMed, GIC, Janchor Partners Pan-Asian Master Fund, Hudson Bay Master Fund, Cormorant Asset Management, Vivo Capital Fund IX, Sino Biopharmaceutical and so on.   Plans of IPO Proceeds For future plans of the proceeds, RemeGen...
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Drawing Millions in Investment, RemeGen is Ready to Bag 514m in IPO
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INTERVIEW

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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
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INDUSTRY

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Scorpion Therapeutics Scores $108 Million Series A Funding for Oncological Research

By Eduardo Longoria On October 26th, Boston-based Scorpion Therapeutics, a just-hatched fledgling company, announced the closing of a $108 million Series A financing. The investment was led by Atlas Ventures, …

ASIA INSIGHT

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Drawing Millions in Investment, RemeGen is Ready to Bag 514m in IPO

By Tyler Chen On October 28th, China-based biopharma company, RemeGen announced the plan of its initial public offering. The number is estimated to receive would make it one of the …

TECHNOLOGY

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Can Your Smartwatch Help You Manage Asthma Better?

The future of healthcare is precision medicine which combines patient clinical data, analytics and data science. Huge strides have been made in collecting critical information from patients to provide them …

NORTH AMERICA

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FMI’s Liquid Biopsy Test Adds 3 Companion Diagnostic Indications for Advanced Ovarian, Breast and Lung Cancers

By Ruchi Jhonsa, Ph.D. Circumventing the need for invasive procedures, liquid biopsies are increasingly becoming an important option to decide about the presence or absence of cancer. This method extracts …

TODAY IN HISTORY

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