George Soros and Bill Gates team up to buy a UK diagnostics company.

The couple and their foundations will spend around $ 41 million to turn Mologic into a “social enterprise” aimed at expanding access to cutting-edge medical technology, the company announcement On Monday. Launched in 2003, Mologic came from the father-son team of Mark and Paul Davis, the latter of whom helped create one of the first home pregnancy tests.

“Mologic’s transition to a social enterprise is a deliberate, logical and natural step for a company focused on delivering affordable diagnostics and biotechnology to places that have been underserved by the relentless pursuit of profitability,” said Mark Davis, who is also CEO. in a report. – Max Gelman

Anti-Rejection Drug Gets FDA Clearance for Lung Transplants

An anti-rejection drug previously used to prevent organ rejection in liver, kidney and heart transplant patients has been approved by the FDA for lung transplant patients as well as on Friday.

Prograf has been approved for use in combination with other immunosuppressive drugs. The approval is the first and only for a drug to prevent rejection of a lung transplant.

Approval was granted on the basis of a non-interventional and purposeful study using real world data. Data have been collected on all lung transplants in the United States, and data from randomized controlled trials of Prograf in other settings have provided confirming evidence, the FDA said.

“A dramatic improvement in outcomes was observed in lung transplant patients receiving Prograf as part of their immunosuppressive drugs compared to the well-documented natural history of a drug transplanted without or with minimal immunosuppressive therapy,” the release states. FDA press. – Josh Sullivan

AstraZeneca’s pneumonia candidate under license agreement

Aridis Pharmaceuticals will be exclusively Licence AstraZeneca’s suvratoxumab candidate for advanced pneumonia.

Suvratoxumab, which recently completed a phase II trial, will complement Aridis’ phase III pneumonia program for AR-301. Both candidates are targeting the S. aureus stump.

As part of the deal, AstraZeneca will become a shareholder in Aridis and retain future “first to trade” rights for the program license.

In this phase II trial, suvratoxumab reduced the relative risk of pneumonia by 32% in 196 patients with a reduction of 47% in those over 65 years of age. The drug has also been associated with a substantial reduction in the length of care needed in the ICU and hospital. – Kyle Blankenship

Rational design for protein degradation? Austrian deep learning start-up launches

Despite all the promises of PROTAC and molecular glues as a class, there is still a lot to be done on how individual protein degraders are discovered.

Christophe trummer

This is according to Christopher Trummer, a former bioinformatics consultant who noticed, while doing contract research for various biopharmaceutical companies, that there was really no rational approach to designing molecules capable of grabbing targets. and mark them for disposal. Identifying the right ones was always a matter of trial and error.

“Usually if you use brute force methods, high throughput screening – even if you partner with [what are considered] the cheapest CROs, right – you’d end up in at least half a million or a million for screening, in the PROTAC zone, maybe 2,000, 3,000 compounds, something like that ” , did he declare. “So it’s very, very expensive.”

Together with his friend Jakob Hohenberger, who has a background in technology, Trummer began to explore a solution imbued with deep learning. The result was Celeris Therapeutics, whose Celeris One software promises to predict protein-protein interactions and docking specifically for applications in targeted protein interactions.

Jakob Hohenberger

It was enough to attract applications from Big Pharma and biotech companies, said Trummer, one of whom has already agreed to a partnership.

The team of 15 is currently based in Austria. While Celeris plans to maintain a presence here – and to grow even further by building a wet lab later this year – Trummer, the CEO, plans to move to Silicon Valley soon to be closer to investors as well as scientists and potential partners.

True to its European roots, Celeris has however maintained modest funding. After APEX Medical increased its pre-seed funding to 1.6 million euros ($ 1.89 million), the biotech is targeting 5 million euros for the funding round.

“We sincerely believe that these machine learning-based simulations will streamline the way early-stage drug development is carried out and ultimately benefit worldwide,” wrote Gordon Euller, general partner at APEX, in a report. -mail.

The goal, ultimately, is to operate as the cash-rich AI player Exscientia, which lends its technology to its clients but also pursues discovery and development internally. – Amber pliers

Opioid Alternative Launches PhII Trial in Bunion Surgery and Tummy Tuck

Vertex has launched a Phase II proof of concept study in acute pain after bunion surgery, the company announcement On Monday. He will begin a phase II pain study after abdominal surgery in the coming weeks.

Carmen Bozic

The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies will evaluate its selective inhibitor of NaV1.8, VX-548, and will include a hydrocodone / acetaminophen bitartrate reference arm. The small molecule has been shown to reduce neuropathic pain and musculoskeletal pain in previous clinical trials. If Vertex reaches VX-548, it could be a potent, non-addictive alternative to opioids.

“NaV1.8 is a genetically and pharmacologically validated target and we are excited about the potential of VX-548 as a new class of effective pain treatments without the limitations of current therapies, including the potential for opioid dependence.” , Executive Vice President Carmen Bozic said in a press release.

The results of the study are expected by the first quarter of 2022. – Josh Sullivan

French biotech PEP-Therapy extends its A series

A few months after the close of its $ 3.4 million Series A funding round, Paris-based PEP-Therapy has investors looking a little deeper into their portfolio.

PEP-Therapy raised an additional $ 3 million in a Extension of the A series, bringing its total transport to $ 6.4 million. The company is working on what it calls Cell Penetrating & Interfering Peptide (CP&IP) technology, designed to penetrate cells and specifically block relevant intracellular protein-protein interactions. Its lead candidate PEP-010 is currently in a Phase Ia / b trial for advanced solid tumors.

“We are delighted to have finalized this round of funding via an attractive balance of dilutive and non-dilutive funds from new, diversified and high-quality investors who will bring expertise and new perspectives to support our development,” said CEO Antoine Prestat in a press release. – Nicole De Feudis


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