A 96 well robot is dispensing a liquid into a 384 well dish

GenQual and R-Pharm collaborate to deliver predictive diagnostics for novel anti-IL-6 antibody for autoimmune diseases

Seattle, WA, San Francisco, CA and Moscow, Russia, 2016-May-25 — /EPR Biotech News/ — R-Pharm and GenQual are pleased to announce a new collaboration focused on the development of novel predictive diagnostic tools in the area of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Autoimmune diseases.

The GenQual proprietary real-time PCR platform, when applied to the genes that are involved in the manifestation of several autoimmune diseases, allows us to detect and assess single nucleotide polymorphisms. Here, allelic determination is used as potential predictor of the treatment response by the novel anti-IL6 antibody, which is currently in development by R-Pharm.

GenQual Founder and CEO Jonathan Mirich said, “This partnership is exciting for GenQual as we advance in our goal to deliver predictive diagnostic tools for the treatment of autoimmune disorders. We are very excited about the possibilities in this space and are thankful to have quality partners in R-Pharm.”

R-Pharm CEO Vasily Ignatiev indicated the importance of the Autoimmune diseases as an area of the development and growth for R-Pharm, as well as the development of novel diagnostic tools aimed to increase the level of predictive response and efficiency of the upcoming treatment paradigm.

About GenQual
GenQual develops proprietary biomarker diagnostics for autoimmune and oncology indications.  Our personalized medicine products are designed to facilitate early disease detection and diagnosis, and to improve treatment approaches at the molecular level.  GenQual is a privately-held corporation based in Seattle, WA area, USA.

About R-Pharm
R-Pharm is a private Russian pharmaceutical company founded in 2001. It employs over 3,500 highly qualified specialists in 60+ branches. R-Pharm operates in Russia and CIS, USA, Germany, Japan, Turkey/MENA.

The company is involved in R&D, manufacturing (finished dosage forms, biotech and chemical APIs), marketing, sales and distribution of innovative pharmaceutical products in hospital/specialty care therapeutic areas.

R-Pharm collaborates with major international pharmaceutical companies and universities in the fields of drug discovery, development, clinical trials, manufacturing and commercialization.  The company operates several  GMP compliant manufacturing sites in Russia and Germany, research, BD/licensing and marketing affiliates in Japan, Germany, Turkey and US.

Marketed portfolio and pipeline features drugs used in oncology, hematology, autoimmune diseases, HIV, HCV, neurology, diabetes, cardiology, as well as antibiotics, contrast media and anesthesia agents.







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Nu-Tek Bioscience Announces Availability of Pea Peptones

Allergen free Peptones for the use in probiotic cultures

Minnetonka, MN, 2016-May-10 — /EPR BIOTECH NEWS/ — Nu-Tek’s Pea Peptone is an excellent alternative to Dairy and Soy Peptones for the production of probiotic cultures. Consumers with known food allergies rely on ingredient labeling for guidance. An Allergen Control Plan is a critical component of a food ingredient manufacturer’s safety initiatives. It not only protects the health and confidence of the consumer, but also the reputation and financial success of the company.

An advantage of allergen management strategies include ingredient selection that eliminates allergens without negatively affecting the performance of the product. Formulating growth media using Nu-Tek Pea Peptone provides such an advantage. Nu-Tek Pea Peptone HPP-A is an excellent source of natural nitrogen and necessary growth factors needed for optimum probiotic culture fermentations.

Our Kosher Pea Peptones are obtained through enzymatic hydrolysis of Animal free and Non-GM pea protein. Pea protein hydrolysates do not require special allergen labeling. Independent university trials have shown excellent growth performance results that compare favorably with soy peptones. In addition, peptones have been shown to improve fermentations versus yeast extract “only” growth media. Today at Nu-Tek Bioscience announced immediate availability of Pea Peptones, enabling developers of probiotics to either enhance their current culture growth rate.

Pea Peptones

Pea Peptones Availability
Pea Peptones is an update driven by customer feedback and is part of Nu-Tek Bioscience’ continuing development of new technologies.

Founded in 2008, Nu-Tek Bioscience LLC is the worldwide manufacture and developer of specialty Peptones that have been designed to enhance Cell growth. The company offers a wide range of Peptones and Yeast Extracts.

For more information, press only:
Cyndi Mueller

For more information on Pea Peptones:

Austrianova expands its business area

SINGAPORE, January 26, 2016 — /EPR BIOTECH NEWS/ — Austrianova announced today that, having completed the set up of austrianova logoits new GMP facility, it is now offering clients a GMP cell banking (Master Cell Bank and Working Cell Bank) as well as a “Fill and Finish” service for cell therapy products, in addition to its encapsulation services and technology. Austrianova is able to offer the production of Master Cell and Working Cell Banks (MCB and WCB) at the size scale required for early (phase 1 and 2) stage clinical trials at highly competitive prices using its state of the art isolator based production facility, assuring that the highest quality standards are adhered to. The company can also fill bulk cell product into syringes or vials in its GMP facility. This new cell banking and filling service is called GMP4Cells. MCB’s and WCB’s are required for all cell therapy products such as stem cell therapies as well as biologics produced from cells such as vaccines, antibodies, recombinant proteins etc. Similarly, many companies, including those developing stem cell lines and products, are seeking high quality economic fill and finish for relative small lots.

“We see this as a natural add-on to our already established Cell-in-a-Box® cell encapsulation technology for which we have recently set up a GMP manufacturing facility in Thailand. This kind of MCB and WCB production as well as “Fill and Finish” services for cells are, however, stand alone services. Although these services are generally available to all customers, they should allow start up companies and academic based cell products, vaccines etc to enter clinical trials in a quality assured manner but at lower cost that other, more conventional, cell banking companies offer” stated Walter H. Gunzburg, Chairman and CTO of Austrianova.

“In addition to our state of the art facility, Austrianova offers services that comply with major international regulatory agencies using a customized German/Swiss based quality assurance system. Our team has many years experience with regulatory agencies around the world and has taken cell therapies into clinical trials” said Brian Salmons, CEO.

More information about the GMP4Cells cell banking but also the Cell-in-a-Box® and the related Bac-in-a-Box® encapsulation services can be found on our newly revamped website www.austrianova.com.

About Austrianova:
Austrianova, part of the SG Austria Group, is a biotech company with a global footprint and headquarters in Singapore. Austrianova utilizes a novel and proprietary technology for the encapsulation of living mammalian (Cell-in-a-Box®) and bacterial (Bac-in-a-Box®) cells. Cell-in-a-Box® protects the encapsulated cells from rejection by the immune system, allows cells to be easily transported, stored and implanted at specific sites in patients. The technology, which has been proven safe and efficacious in clinical trials carried out in Europe, allows companies to develop any kind of cells as a one-for-all living pharmaceutical. Bac-in-a-Box® is a similar protective device adapted for encapsulation of probiotic bacteria where it has human food and animal feed applications due to its ability for extending storage under lyophilized conditions and protection in stomach acid.

Austrianova Singapore Pte Ltd,
#05-19 Synapse,
3 Biopolis Drive,
Singapore 138623
Tel +65 6779 3867
Fax: +65 6268 4671

Austrianova Thailand Co., Ltd,
141 INC2 Building D, Room 401-404
Thailand Science Park,
Paholyothin Road, Klong 1,
Klong Luang, Pathumthani 12120,





BOC Sciences Released Analytical Support Services

Long Island City, New York, January 15, 2016 — /EPR BIOTECH NEWS/ — Thursday of this week (January 14, 2016), BOC Sciences officially launched its analytical support service, aiming to provide all-round custom services on the base of its present services in pharmaceutical field.


The analytical service of BOC Sciences covers a wide range in almost every aspect of drug discovery from impurities identification, purity level testing, to right equipment suggestion for compound preparation with the aim of providing the best solutions for research conduction and maximizing the outcome with less waste in both time and cost.

Analysis service on inspecting the quality of compounds before, during, and after researches including their purity level, structure and degradation testing, final chemicals analysis, even involved equipment suggesting are available.  “The launch of analytical service is an upgrade of the present customer services like drug design, compound manufacturing, but making the analysis outstand to meet pure needs in this aspect, with which the companies that carry out researches in a single direction can benefit from our comprehensive expertise network.” Said Daylen, the director of the newly funded business department, “and we will continue to optimize our professionalism in the field to serve more clients in such tailored needs.”

Besides, the analytical support (http://www.bocsci.com/analytical-support.html) additionally includes but not limited to mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic resonance, and X-ray crystallography. Other technologies like chemistry synthesis and bioconjugation involved analysis needs can be also met at BOC Sciences

With the development of pharmaceutical industry, numerous studies and researches on material and new formulation are undergoing, the appearance of BOC Sciences’ analytical support services can be considered as an outsource route for companies that are not willing to spare more time and budget on some sub-matters, and such custom services can contribute to a purer research with no further distraction while obtain the highest level of expertise in related matters.

This form of analytical service will get furtherly developed as the general environment put more emphasis on the idea that professional problems should be done by professional people with the best result while keep efficient.

About BOC Sciences
BOC Sciences (http://www.bocsci.com) is original a chemical supplier on APIs, natural compounds, chiral compounds, inhibitors, GMP products and many other chemicals. But in recent years, the company gradually takes more effort on providing related custom services like synthesis, drug discovery and so on to be a comprehensive products and services supplier in the field.

PR Contact

Linna Green

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Regenexx Announces the Publication of “Orthopedics 2.0 – How Regenerative Medicine and Interventional Orthopedics will Change Everything” on Amazon Kindle

Broomfield, CO, February 02, 2015 — /EPR BIOTECH NEWS/ — With more than 40,000 downloads, “Orthopedics 2.0 – How Regenerative Medicine and Interventional Orthopedics will Change Everything” is now available on Amazon Kindle. The third edition of the top-selling e-book is being offered as a free download through Jan. 6, 2015.

Written by Dr. Chris Centeno, this e-book delves into the human musculoskeletal system and explains how everything works together in concert to maintain our physical wellbeing. When a single component in this chain is damaged, it can lead to a cascade of joint, spine and connective tissue problems, resulting in chronic pain.

Using the Regenexx SANS approach, Orthopedics 2.0 walks you through a series of tests and exercises that you can do on your own to better understand where your own body is struggling to maintain proper stability and alignment, explaining the possible reasons and long term implications along the way. Orthopedics 2.0 also explores how Regenexx is pioneering the new field of Interventional Orthopedics, where the use of regenerative biologic treatments, such as adult stem cell therapy and platelet rich plasma, are being used to help repair and strengthen damaged tissues, as opposed to invasive surgeries that often remove important tissues when a joint or the spine becomes damaged.

With hyperlinks to more detailed information, related studies and commentary, this book condenses a vast amount of data and resources into an enjoyable and entertaining read.

About Regenexx
Since its genesis in 2005, Regenexx has been a world-leader in the use of adult stem cell treatments for orthopedic conditions, providing non-surgical, biologic therapies delivered with high accuracy through a needle. Regenexx has collected and published more data on stem cell patients than any other company and are dedicated to reinventing orthopedic care to help patients avoid invasive surgery.

Featured on television and media outlets such as the Doctors TV show, ABC News, Good Morning America and many others, Regenexx is taking orthopedic stem cell therapy to an exciting new level.

For more information about this e-book or to talk with a Regenexx Liaison, please call 888-525-3005 or email info@regenexx.com. Visit Regenexx online at:http://www.regenexx.com/

Contact-Details: Regenexx
Contact: Mark Testa
403 Summit Blvd., Suite 201
Broomfield, CO 80021
Phone: 888.525.3005
Email: info@regenexx.com
Web – http://www.regenexx.com/

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VTU Technology and Research Corporation Technologies (RCT) entered into a development and commercialization agreement

VTU Technology to offer unique combination of technologies for the high-level production of proteins with human-like glycosylation using Pichia GlycoSwitch®

Tucson, Arizona and Grambach, Austria, December 03, 2014 — /EPR BIOTECH NEWS/ — VTU Technology and Research Corporation Technologies (RCT) announced today that they have entered into a development and commercialization agreement for VTU to combine both companies´ Pichia pastoris protein production technologies. Pichia GlycoSwitch® – a new expression system for the production of glycoproteins with human-like glycosylation patterns – and VTU´s yield enhancing Pichia pastoris expression platform are now available in one package from VTU. This unique combination of technologies acting synergistically is of great benefit for customers as it leads to a high performance production platform for recombinant glycoproteins with superior product yields and uniform Man5 – or other human-like glycoforms.

Under the terms of the agreement, RCT grants VTU Technology access to RCT´s Pichia GlycoSwitch® expression system for combination with VTU´s in-house high-yielding Pichia platform featuring different proprietary technologies such as AOX1 promoter libraries suited for both methanol-induced and methanol-free production. VTU Technology is now offering the combined technology suite as part of the company´s expression strain and corresponding bioprocess development contract services portfolio.

“We are delighted to offer Pichia GlycoSwitch® engineered with our broad portfolio of Pichia tools in this partnership with RCT and I am convinced that our yield enhancing technologies will give GlycoSwitch® an exciting extra edge for the production of glycoproteins with Man5 – or other human-like glycoforms”, states Thomas Purkarthofer, Ph.D., Head of Business Development of VTU Technology.

“Our partnership with VTU Technology brings together two technologies that will enable customers to uniquely tailor the glycosylation of their target protein and explore new biological functions. We are looking forward to working with VTU Technology to expand the potential of proteins manufactured in Pichia GlycoSwitch®”, states Kurt R. Gehlsen, Ph.D., Vice President and CSO of Research Corporation Technologies, Inc.

About Pichia

Pichia pastoris is a yeast widely used for recombinant protein expression. As a microbial eukaryotic organism, Pichia combines the post-translational modification systems similar to those found in mammalian cells, with the ease of use/manipulation of E. coli. Decades of processes development have been focused on efficiently growing Pichia to extremely high cell densities; and multiple generations of molecular biology tools have been created to engineer strains to produce tens of grams/liters of a recombinant protein product. Pichia can secrete high levels of properly folded, functional proteins into a simple, defined medium for easy purification. There have been more than 20,000 publications on the use of Pichia for the production of more than 5,000 proteins, with more than 70 products manufactured in Pichia on the market today. Pichia products include enzymes manufactured in 200,000-liter fermenters and two FDA-approved therapeutics.

Pichia GlycoSwitch® is a recombinant protein expression system that broadens Pichia’s applications to glycoproteins where N-linked glycosylation is important for biological function. Pichia GlycoSwitch® offers researchers the ability to control the glycosylation (sugar addition) of recombinant glycoproteins and explore the role of protein glycosylation and various glycan structures on protein function. Pichia´s typical high-mannose glycan patterns can also be eliminated to reduce immunogenicity caused by the unwanted hyperglycosylation. The Pichia GlycoSwitch® system consists of patents, strains and vectors that are useful for making proteins with a number of different human-like glycoforms.

For additional information about Pichia, please visit www.pichia.com.

About VTU Technology

VTU Technology, a leading contract research and development company, offers the broadest toolbox and most versatile technology platform available for Pichia pastoris recombinant protein expression / production enabling highest productivities delivering up to 22 g/L of secreted protein within a few weeks development time. VTU Technology´s powerful Pichia pastoris protein expression technology is based on its optimized gene design and cloning strategies, proprietary AOX1 promoter libraries & in-house expression platform and high-throughput screening & cultivation regime, combined with excellent know-how in fermentation and downstream process development.

Headquartered in Grambach/Graz, Austria, VTU Technology is a private company and a subsidiary of VTU Holding, an Austrian enterprise that combines several technology and engineering companies in chemistry, pharma & life science as well as power and fuel industry. For additional information about VTU Technology, please visit www.vtu-technology.com.

About RCT

RCT is a Tucson, Ariz.-based technology investment and management company that provides early-stage funding and development for promising biomedical companies and technologies. RCT focuses on technology investments with origins from universities and research institutions worldwide. RCT’s technology portfolio includes platforms and tools that support the discovery, development and manufacturing of therapeutics. Current platform technologies include Pichia and E.coli protein expression systems and novel protein binding scaffolds. To learn more about RCT, see www.rctech.com and www.pichia.com.


VTU Technology and RCT announce partnership
VTU Technology and RCT announce partnership
RCT Color logo
RCT Color logo
VTU technology rgb
VTU technology rgb

For more information

Thomas Purkarthofer, Ph.D.
VTU Technology GmbH
Phone: +43 316 4009 4017
Email: thomas.purkarthofer@vtu.com

Kurt R. Gehlsen, Ph.D.
Research Corporation Technologies
Phone: 520-748-4460
Email: kgehlsen@rctech.com

ViroCarb’s anti HIV Crowd Funding Campaign

Toronto, Canada, December 01, 2014 — /EPR BIOTECH NEWS/ — ViroCarb Inc. has launched a worldwide crowd funding campaign to promote the development of its new HIV infection inhibitor.

WORLD AIDS DAY – Make a donation to save lives from AIDS! Support new treatment development at: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/funding-a-new-therapy-against-drug-resistant-hiv/x/9240077

Despite the great progress made in HIV/AIDS treatment, there is still an urgent need for new drugs, particularly for people who have had to abandon existing treatments due to HIV drug resistance and side effects.

The current treatment of HIV/AIDS involves the use of three or more drugs from five main general classes, used in combination. While this antiretroviral therapy (ART) has helped to reduced morbidity and mortality from AIDS, long term toxicity and the emergence and transmission of drug resistant HIV strains limit the effectiveness. Thus, despite therapy which can render this a chronic, rather than acute fatal infection, development of new drugs to prevent infection and overcome drug resistant strains, is increasingly urgent.

ViroCarb Inc. is developing a novel technology that addresses infections by drug resistant HIV strains. Developed from the identification of a new, natural resistance factor against HIV infection by scientists at SickKids and Canadian Blood Services, ViroCarb’s inhibitor works against a previously overlooked target on the virus to block HIV from entering human cells, the very first step in the infection. It works against all HIV strains.

Funds are needed to aid in moving forward to support preclinical studies; therefore ViroCarb Inc. has started an international crown funding campaign to carry out these HIV model studies needed before conducting clinical trials.
Please support this new way to block HIV.

Contact-Details: Dr. Mario Huesca
479 Simonston Boulevard.
Thornhill ON.
L3T 4M4 Canada

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ViroCarb;
Website: http://www.virocarb.com


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HD Biosciences, Co., Ltd. and E. J. Corey Institute of Biomedical Research Reached Agreement for Drug R&D Collaboration

HD Biosciences Co., Ltd. (HDB) and E. J. Corey Institute of Biomedical Research (CIBR) announced that they have reached a risk-sharing agreement on collaborative drug discovery and development in the therapeutic areas of infectious diseases, metabolic diseases, and oncology. This joint effort will focus on both international and Chinese markets to provide innovative medicines for unmet healthcare needs. The agreement includes lead candidate selection pre-clinical development, IND filing, clinical trials, and NDA approvals. Both companies will share financial returns from any successes or products launches.

“We are delighted to enter this partnership. The collaboration will leverage HDB’s extensive capabilities in preclinical drug discovery and development, and create long term potentials for the company.” stated Xuehai Tan, Ph.D., President & CEO of HDB. “In combination of CIBR’s expertise in drug development, we are confident to deliver novel drug candidates over the next few years, and to make this partnership a success.”

“Working with HDB gives CIBR a unique opportunity to showcase its strength in innovative drug discovery and development,” said Wuyi Meng, Ph.D., President of CIBR. “This partnership further demonstrates CIBR’s commitment in the betterment of patient’s lives by bringing forward novel medicines. We will collaborate closely with HDB to accelerate the progress of our collaborative programs”

About HD Biosciences Co., Ltd.
HD Biosciences Co., Ltd. is a Shanghai-based, biology-focused preclinical drug discovery contract research organization (CRO). The company offers comprehensive service platforms around target validation, plate-based pharmacology, hit identification and lead discovery, therapeutic antibody discovery, in vivo pharmacology, as well as other research and development services. The company currently collaborates with eight of the ten largest pharmaceutical companies in the world and has established strategic partnerships on many key R&D areas with impacts to their portfolios. The strong scientific expertise, high quality and consistency in deliveries, constantly meeting or exceeding expectations, has earned the company a great reputation in the industry, and helped the company to build its widely recognized leadership in preclinical contract research services.http://www.hdbiosciences.com

About E. J. Corey Institute of Biomedical Research
Located in the Jiangyin High-tech Industry Development Zone in Jiangyin, Jiangsu, E. J. Corey Institute of Biomedical Research (CIBR) is a non-profit research organization founded by Nobel laureate Prof. E. J. Corey with the support from Jiangyin and Jiangsu government. CIBR is committed to scientific research in the broad biomedical field and to the development of novel therapeutics to meet the unmet medical needs of patients. In addition to its strong internal research and discovery capabilities in biomedical research and drug discovery, CIBR has established solid external capabilities in translational medicine and molecular toxicology to support drug development. Under the guidance of Nobel laureate Prof. Corey, CIBR is well poised to contribute to the discovery and development of novel medicines. http://www.cibrnobel.org

Contact Details:
HD Biosciences
Ms. Jessie Yang
Email: yangxiaojie@hdbiosciences.com

Dr. Jiaquan Wu;
Email: jwu@cibrnobel.org


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Axcellerate Pharma, New Jersey aims to become a market leader in high-value, niche offerings to the US life sciences industry

Axcellerate Pharma establishes CMO/CRO and API manufacturing facility in New Jersey, US. Focus will be small molecule and biologics PR&D, innovative technology platforms, filling vial and bag operations, peptide synthesis, oligonucleotide production and related areas.

Axcellerate Pharma LLC (“Axcellerate”) is a JV set up by TCG Lifesciences USA LLC, an affiliate of TCG Lifesciences Limited, a leading CRO engaged in drug development and clinical trial services; with Dilip Mehta, Founder & CEO of PANORAMA Consulting and Engineering, Inc., a leading developer of lab scale to GMP manufacturing facilities; and Alfagen Pharma LLC, an affiliate of AlfaGene Bioscience, Inc., an innovative biotechnology company. The facility houses state-of-the-art technology/equipment/ infrastructure and is supported by leading industry personnel from each of the partner firms.

“We will initially target specialized CMC and CMO activities that are time sensitive and high value in nature, that are desirable to be located geographically close to our clients. Axcellerate intends to leverage the strong scientific talent pool, end-to-end capabilities and PR&D/intermediate production facilities of TCG Lifesciences Limited in India to support its operations. This opportunity represents another significant milestone for TCG Lifesciences’ continued expansion,” commented Swapan Bhattacharya, Managing Director of TCG Lifesciences “as this strategic alliance will expand TCG Lifesciences’ geographic footprint and enable us to service clients in the US with a local presence while being supported globally”.

Dilip Mehta, CEO and co-founder of Axcellerate commented “we will engineer the facilities to provide the highest level of efficiency, technology and cost effectiveness to our customers, given PANORAMA’s broad involvement and experience in all facets of the pharma/biotech sector. We are pleased to join hands with TCG Lifesciences, who will bring in the scientific and technical know how and expertise in the cutting edge areas of drug discovery and development.”

“AlfaGene Bioscience has developed proprietary assay platforms in a range of therapeutic indications and has a scientific team with extensive experience in biologics and biomedical research. We also have a network of global relationships in the API arena to bring to bear for the success of Axcellerate”, remarked Mayur Doshi, President and CEO, AlfaGene Bioscience.

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HD Biosciences and Anchor Therapeutics Form Collaboration for Co-marketing Pepducin-mediated GPCR Technology

HD Biosciences Co., Ltd (HDB) and Anchor Therapeutics, Inc. today announced that they have formed a strategic collaboration to co-develop and co-market Anchor’s proprietary pepducin technology and provide novel drug development solutions to global pharmaceutical companies with drug discovery efforts focused on G-protein coupled receptors (GPCR).

Pepducins are proprietary lipidated peptide modulators for GPCR signaling. They may stabilize receptor conformation, promote or inhibit dimerization, and modulate interaction of GPCR with signalosome. As a strong research tool, pepducin technology enables high throughput screening (HTS) campaigns for the identification of special class of compounds and allosteric ligands, facilitates biophysical studies via stabilization of GPCRs in different activation states and functionally de-orphanizes GPCRs to provide tools for interrogation of pharmacology in vitro and in vivo.

As a key component of HDB’s plate-based pharmacology service capabilities, GPCR assays and screenings is one of the most active research and development areas that attracts global clients and partners in drug discoveries. With over 200 recombinant GPCR cell lines in house, some of which are orphan receptors, combining a variety assay formats with pepducin technology allows HDB to enhance its capabilities for supporting hit identification, lead discovery and receptor selectivity profiling. The collaboration is also designed to provide broader exposure and accessibility of pepducin technology across pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries through HDB’s global client base. HDB’s clients will gain unprecedented access to not only the pepducin screening platform but also HDB-Anchor’s joint expertise in GPCR research.

“Anchor’s pepducin technology has provided a novel approach to search very special GPCR related compounds that have potential to alter the receptor functions. We believe this technology will be very valuable in GPCR related drug discovery.” commented Dr. Xuehai Tan, President and Chief Executive Officer of HDB. “As one of the global leaders in biology focused contract research services, HDB emphasizes on innovative and scientific driven technologies in order to deliver extra value to our clients. The partnership between HDB and Anchor is a perfect example to demonstrate our commitment to grow the expertise and strengthen our leadership in GPCR R&D.” Dr. Tan continues his comments.

“Anchor Therapeutics is extremely pleased to partner its pepducin technology with HD Biosciences, one of the leading companies providing state of the art high throughput screening services to pharmaceutical and biotechnology clients,” said Thomas J. McMurry, PhD, Anchor’s Interim President. Dr. McMurry continued, “Through this collaboration, Anchor and HDB will expand the validation of pepducin high throughput screening probes in order to provide HDB’s clients with access to innovative screens designed to facilitate access to novel small molecule pharmacophores.”

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LC Sciences Launches Online Searchable Knowledgebase

LC Sciences, LLC, a leading provider of microRNA analysis services, today announced the launch of a new online searchable knowledgebase that researchers can use to locate technical information on the company’s website. This announcement comes on the heels of the launch of LC Sciences’ re-designed company website last week. The knowledgebase contains technical information in the form of application notes, technical bulletins, customer publications, presentations, reviews of seminal publications in the field, etc. This documents database contains over one thousand entries and encompasses a wide range of research fields; from plant science to neuroscience. Additionally, all entries have been carefully meta-tagged to improve search results.

“Having served the microRNA research community for the past nine years, we’ve accumulated quite a large library of reference documents such as application notes and related customer publications. This new resource offers the community a simple, user friendly search interface that makes it easier for them to locate the information they’re looking for within that library.” – Chris Hebel (Vice President of Business Development, LC Sciences)

The knowledgebase is freely accessible to all at: http://www.lcsciences.com/Knowledgebase/

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Innovative Drug Discovery Business, Biosortia Pharmaceuticals, Lands Two Health Care Veterans

Kurt Dieck formerly SVP of Strategy and Business Execution at Cardinal Health, will lead early stage drug discovery business at Biosortia Pharmaceuticals. Dieck was named President and CEO in November 2012 and has quickly identified other key executives, including Dr. Guy Carter, former Natural Product head at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, as his Chief Science Officer. In conjunction, other collaboration partners have joined the team, including NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), NCI (National Cancer Institute) and key universities, to strategically accelerate the development of novel drug leads in the therapeutic areas of cancer, infectious diseases, inflammation and neurological disorders. Biosortia Pharmaceuticals has seen promising early results with dozens of novel compounds having already been requested, and are under evaluation with NCI and Eli Lilly.

Dieck has spent nearly 30 years in healthcare, including 18 years at Arthur Andersen as a global equity partner and then 10 years with Cardinal Health, a Fortune 20 public company, as a senior executive; there he worked with a broad spectrum of partners, including brand pharmaceutical manufacturers, throughout the supply chain. Dr. Guy Carter has over 30 years of experience working in pharmaceutical R&D, primarily in the discovery and development of microbial natural products. He previously was the leader of natural products drug discovery at Wyeth Research, as head of the Chemical Technologies Department.

“Kurt and Guy make a great team. Their complementary Pharma experiences and backgrounds create great opportunities to accelerate Biosortia’s objective to become the premier, aquatic natural products company with a primary focus in drug discovery,” says Ross Youngs, Biosortia’s Founder and Chairman. “Kurt and Guy bring a wealth of research and business experience along with deep industry relationships in building successful Pharma partnerships. Everyone involved with this young biotech is excited about the future.”

Industry observers have commented that late-stage R&D pipelines are not providing Pharma with the desired revenue growth the market is expecting. Therefore, large Pharma is evolving the way it performs R&D in order to optimize efficiency and to boost patent cliff defenses. These changes require shifting from relying solely on in-house chemistry-based R&D to acquiring and licensing external technologies and natural products based compounds in various stages of development. Biosortia’s ability to supply novel, highly active and potent compounds with drug-like characteristics will increase the productivity and success rate for Pharma as well as reduce the overall cost of the discovery process. The cost to discover, develop and launch a new drug is estimated to reach nearly $3B per drug by 2015. Biosortia’s business model is designed specifically to support Pharma’s needs.

“With nearly unlimited microorganisms (3.7 nonillion), the aquatic environment and its consortia represent an extraordinary opportunity…a new frontier, to access extremely potent and chemically diverse secondary metabolites with drug-like properties with unique mechanisms of action never researched before,” said Dieck. In describing the opportunity, Dieck goes on to say, “Biosortia is on the cutting edge of natural product discovery
and has the capabilities to deliver on its aspiration. Our powerful natural products research team, led by Dr. Guy Carter, in partnership with NOAA’s Dr. Peter Moeller, a leader in aquatic natural products research, has the experience and know-how to decipher the complex unexplored environment in a very efficient manner leveraging all the current state of the art instrumentation. The need for more efficient and effective approaches to drug discovery has never been more important. Biosortia’s innovative technologies, deep research skills and key relationships will efficiently provide thousands of unique natural products as candidates for drug discovery at a time when Pharma is in critical need for “high quality shots on goal.”

“Aquatic microbial consortia are a rich source of metabolically active organisms including microalgae, bacteria, fungi and their secondary metabolites,” states Carter. “Owing to the competitive nature of their habitat, chemical investigations of microbial consortia reveal unique structurally diversified natural products that are responsible for signaling and self-defense that have potential as therapeutics with novel mechanisms of action. Since they have been pre-optimized by nature, these compounds are typically closer to a drug candidate than a synthetic lead, thus requiring less optimization and shorter time when found as ‘hits’ in screening programs.”

The team has also focused on agreements with strategic collaboration partners as vital components to the strategy. Biosortia has recently entered into several collaboration agreements with NOAA, Analyticon and exclusive harvesting relationships, just to name a few. Several others will be advanced by the end of January. Biosortia’s cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with NOAA’s Center for Human Health Risk at Hollings Marine Laboratory provides a 5-year framework for research and development regarding the analysis and purification of novel bioactive compounds. According to NOAA’s Technology Partnerships Office, “Success will result in the commercial development of new and unique chemical compounds from the sea which have benefits to human health, either through disease prevention or new treatments for disease.”

Dr. Peter Moeller, NOAA’s Research Scientist who leads the Toxins Natural Products Program stated after analyzing fractions of Biosortia’s biomass, “Coupling NOAA’s mission of characterizing toxins affecting environmental and/or human health with Biosortia’s drug discovery focus turns one man’s toxin into another’s chemotherapeutic. The microorganisms analyzed in the Biosortia biomass identified more unique activity than I have seen in my 30 year career. The volumes achieved from a single harvest delivered an equivalent of 30 years of accumulation. This could materially change the landscape for natural products drug discovery research.”

As of December 31, 2012, Biosortia has identified more than 30 bioactive candidate compounds (hits) from a fresh water eutrophic lake consortium. Therapeutic areas of focus include treatments for cancer, infectious diseases, inflammation and neurological disorders. In addition, more than a dozen of its patent protected compounds are in initial evaluation stage within Eli Lilly’s Open Innovation Drug Discovery Program.

Dieck states, “Looking forward, it is with great optimism. We have a great team built around mutual respect, deep experience, and a desire to succeed and make a difference. We are aligning with the right partners and collaborators to execute our strategy with speed and discipline to provide Pharma with much high quality & diverse compounds vs. “me-too” drugs than they have had in the past 10 years. We are excited about what this company can accomplish, not only for its shareholders but also for the millions of people who have been diagnosed with various forms of chronic diseases who are looking for Pharma to identify better ways to help them extend their lives or live a more productive life. Biosortia can play a big role in identifying compounds that can help Pharma achieve these goals. I am looking forward to the challenge and opportunity to build an industry leading drug discovery company.”

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Microtissues® Inc. and Sigma-Aldrich® Sign Worldwide Supply and Distribution Agreement for the 3D Petri Dish®

Microtissues® Inc. announced today the signing of a Supply and Distribution Agreement with Sigma-Aldrich® Corporation (Nasdaq: SIAL) for the worldwide sales and marketing of the 3D Petri Dish®, a new technology for the culture of living cells in three dimensions (3D). Invented at Brown University, the 3D Petri Dish® maximizes cell-to-cell interactions critical for replicating the function of natural tissues and organs. Shown in numerous peer reviewed papers to work with over fifty different cell types, including cell lines, primary cells and stem cells, the 3D Petri Dish® has applications in cancer research, drug discovery, toxicity testing and regenerative medicine.

“Researchers are rapidly recognizing the importance of 3D cell culture and its ability to reliably mimic in vivo function” said Brian Morgan, Director of Business Development, Microtissues® Inc. “The 3D Petri Dish® creates a natural 3D environment without artificial scaffolds and we’re excited that this distribution agreement will bring our unique and innovative line of products to the worldwide research community.”

Unlike the conventional plastic Petri dish where cells are grown as a thin layer on the surface of the dish, the 3D Petri Dish® forms 3D aggregates of cells. Spheroid size is controlled by the number of cells seeded and hundreds of uniform sized spheroids are formed in a single pipetting step. Spheroids are formed in a well ordered array in a stable platform suitable for long term culture. All spheroids are positioned on the same optical plane making them easy to image (phase contrast, fluorescent). Spheroid size is controlled by the number of cells seeded and a mixture of cells forms mixed spheroids, suitable for investigating tumor-stroma interactions. Spheroids can be grown from single cells, applicable to the study of cancer stem cells. For histology, Western blots and RT-PCR, spheroids are harvested by simply inverting the 3D Petri Dish®. No need to dissolve or digest the gel. The 3D Petri Dish® is a new fundamental tool for the world wide industry of life sciences research.

About Sigma-Aldrich®: Sigma-Aldrich® is a leading Life Science and High Technology company whose biochemical, organic chemical products, kits and services are used in scientific research, including genomic and proteomic research, biotechnology, pharmaceutical development, the diagnosis of disease and as key components in pharmaceutical, diagnostics and high technology manufacturing. Sigma-Aldrich® customers include more than 1.3 million scientists and technologists in life science companies, university and government institutions, hospitals and industry. The Company operates in 38 countries and has nearly 9,000 employees whose objective is to provide excellent service worldwide. Sigma-Aldrich® is committed to accelerating customer success through innovation and leadership in Life Science and High Technology. For more information about Sigma-Aldrich®, please visit its website at www.sigma-aldrich.com.

About Microtissues® Inc: Microtissues® Inc. is a privately held company located in Providence, RI, advancing technologies and applications of 3D cell culture. Microtissues®, Inc.’s products are designed to serve the needs of researchers in a wide range of areas including cancer research, stem cell biology, toxicity testing, developmental biology, drug discovery, regenerative medicine and tissue engineering. Microtissues®, Inc. has an exclusive worldwide license from Brown University to US and international patent applications on the 3D Petri Dish®. For more information on Microtissues®, Inc., please visit www.microtissues.com.

Sigma-Aldrich and Sigma are trademarks of Sigma-Aldrich Co. LLC registered in the US and other countries. Microtissues and 3D Petri Dish are registered trademarks of Microtissues, Inc.

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Is it a Moment or an Abuse: the Boom of iPSCs Research after 2012 Medicine Nobel Prize

On Creative Biomart website, we can read a report about the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine regarding the two winners. They bring hope for organ or tissue repair for human or even for rejuvenation, i.e. for long life through induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).

Since the first appearance in 2006, iPSCs became the hit and focus. But there are still lots of unknowns waiting for us before achieving the ideal status. Thus, numerous scientists, researchers and businessmen are struggling and investing for that goal. Here are some examples:

On Dec. 5, 2012, Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) and the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) announced today the launch of StemBANCC, a new academic–industry partnership that unites ten pharmaceutical companies and 23 academic institutions. Initiated and coordinated by Roche and managed by Oxford University, StemBANCC aims to use human induced pluripotent stem cells as research tools for drug discovery with the goal of using this ground-breaking new technology to develop human disease models and enhance drug development.

On Oct. 29, 2012, on the PANS Journal there is an article about Cartilage tissue engineering using differentiated and purified induced pluripotent stem cells.

On Oct. 4, 2012, on Cell Stem Cell, there is a report with the title be Genome Sequencing of Mouse Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Reveals Retroelement Stability and Infrequent DNA Rearrangement during Reprogramming.

On Jan. 30, 2012, on the PANS Journal, there is a report about modeling hepatitis C virus infection using human induced pluripotent stem cells, which make the individual and tailor therapy further.

Above are only a small part of such studies. People still wonder does it is the moment or an abuse on the iPSCs research. When someone reviewed one of the winners, Shinya Yamanaka, about his opinion on the challenge of iPSCs research, he said, “I have two research directions, the first is to establish human iPSCs bank that comply with clinical application standards. The second is to study the cell mechanism of iPSCs regenerating. And I think the current threat is still to be the safety problem as good research respects both scientific and ethical standards.”

But no one deny the great potential of iPSCs.

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Sprint Bioscience Strengthens Its Cancer Metabolism Portfolio

Sprint Bioscience, a Swedish company developing oncology therapeutics targeting cancer metabolism, announced today that it has raised money to strengthen its drug discovery portfolio.

The investment by Första Entreprenörsfonden and Almi Invest will enable the company to continue to build a pipeline of drug discovery projects within cancer metabolism.

“We are investing in Sprint Bioscience because we consider their entrepreneurial drive and their particular skills in drug development to be key success factors for the changing environment of the future pharmaceutical industry. Sprint Bioscience’s business strategy involves out-licensing or collaborating at an early stage of drug discovery to ensure that projects are developed with a focus on current and relevant market needs,” says Rune Nordlander, partner at Första Entreprenörsfonden.

Sprint Bioscience is a company founded by experienced drug hunters with an ambition to improve the drug discovery process. “We believe in small organisations with effective working procedures and collaborations throughout the sector,” says the company’s CEO and co-founder, Dr. Anders Åberg.

“Sprint Bioscience has developed an efficient, fragment-based drug discovery (FBDD) platform that can take parallel projects from initial idea to active molecules tested in cell-based systems in a very short time” Anders Åberg continues. Our goal is to align the early phase in the laboratory with pharmaceutical companies’ needs.

Targeting the metabolism in tumours provides exciting opportunities to develop drug therapies with novel mechanisms of action. This could be used to overcome the resistance that many cancer cells develop to current treatments.

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Sichuan Agricultural University and LC Sciences Uncover the Epigenetics of Obesity

In a new study published online in Nature Communications, researchers from Sichuan Agricultural University and LC Sciences report the miRNAome in porcine adipose and muscle tissues. The report provides a valuable epigenomic source for obesity prediction and prevention and furthers the development of pig as a model organism for human obesity research1.

Scientists now know that the genetic code alone isn’t responsible for adult phenotype or even the offspring of these adults. Epigenetics refers to changes in gene expression affecting phenotype that don’t involve changes to the DNA nucleotide sequence itself, and yet are heritable. DNA methylation, histone modification and microRNA (miRNA) expression are examples of epigenetic mechanisms that have recently been identified as important regulators of gene expression in many biological systems.

Obesity is a huge problem worldwide. Recently, the World Health Organization reported that obesity levels doubled in every region of the world between 1980 and 2008, spurring rates of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and cancer that now account for almost two out of three deaths globally. It has become evident that epigenetic factors, such as D N A methylation and miRNA expression, have essential roles in obesity development.

Now, a team led by Researchers at the Institute of Animal Genetics and Breeding, Sichuan Agricultural University, China has used a pig model to investigate the systematic association between epigenetic regulators and obesity. Pigs are an excellent model system to study obesity due to their similar physiology to ours including: metabolic features, cardiovascular systems, and propor­tional organ sizes . The researchers generated a genome-wide D N A methylation map as well as miRNA expression and gene expression maps for adipose and muscle tissues from three pig breeds living within comparable environments but displaying distinct fat levels.

The miRNA expression portion of this project was supported by team members from LC Sciences’ Hangzhou, China lab. LC Sciences is a specialist in miRNA sequencing and expression profiling and has previously collaborated with the group from Sichuan Agricultural University. In 2010 they performed a comprehensive search for porcine miRNAs that extended the repertoire of pig miRNAome to 777 unique miRNAs and enabled an atlas of miRNA regulation functions and networks to be constructed which has laid the groundwork for future miRNA studies in pig models2. Additional collaborations with the group include investigations of miRNA expression in porcine gonads3 and human breast milk4. LC Sciences has worked with other agricultural groups in China as well, including: Huazhong5, Yangzhou & Nanjing6 Universities on their porcine miRNA studies.

In the current study, numerous miRNAs having known or potential roles in obesity were identified. Additionally, the researchers found a differentially methylated region in males compared with females. This region is located in the promoter of a miRNA cluster that includes adjacent miR-99b, let-7e and miR-125a. Although no previous evidence exists for a direct relationship of these three miRNAs to obesity, the key functions and targets of these miRNAs potentially contribute to sexual differences in obesity development.

Dr. Qiulei Lang, Head of LC Sciences operations in Asia commented, ”miRNA has been a focus of LC Sciences’ since 2005. Back then we realized its importance and so have tailored our capabilities to support agricultural customers worldwide in their miRNA research. A proprietary RNA-Seq data analysis pipeline that was developed by LC Sciences enabled us to make sense of the tremendous amount of small RNA sequencing data that we generated in this study.”

That data analysis shows global epigenetic similarity and difference among breeds, sexes and anatomic locations. The epigenetically regulated regions in promoters are highly associated with obesity development via expression repression of both known obesity-related genes and novel genes. This comprehensive map provides a solid basis for exploring epigenetic mechanisms of obesity.

Dr. Mingzhou Li from Sichuan Agricultural University , said, “The domestic pig is of enormous agricultural significance and provides valuable models for human obesity research. Recently, epige­netic factors, especially DNA methylation and miRNA regulation have gained a greater appreciation as an alternative perspective on the aetiology of complex diseases. Although little is known about the transcription start site of primary miRNA transcripts, our results suggested that DNA methylation in 5′ upstream of stem-loop precursor could have a role in transcriptional silencing of mature miRNA. ”

In the modern industry, pigs have undergone strong genetic selection in the relatively inbred commercial lines for lean meat production, or in some cases, for adipose production, which has led to remarkable phenotypic changes and genetic adaptation, making these breed lines a perfect model for comparative studies.

Principal Investigator Ruiqiang Li from Peking University, said, “This work will serve as a valuable resource for future functional validation, promoting further development of pig as a model organism for human obesity research, as well as maximizing the economic benefits in producing high quality pork.”

About Sichuan Agricultural University – Sichuan Agricultural University (S IC AU) is a university located in Ya’an city, Sichuan province, China and part of the “Project 211”, specialized in biotechnology and agricultural sciences, and as well as offering degrees in physical science, engineering, economics, management, veterinary medicine, liberal arts, pedagogy and law. For more information, please visit www.sicau.edu.cn.

About LC Sciences – LC Sciences is a leader in miRNA discovery and profiling offering flexible services and delivering high quality results based on our innovative µParaflo® custom microarray platform and the latest next-gen sequencing technologies. We have developed complementary bioinformatics tools necessary for extracting biological and functional information from large microRNA and miRNAome data sets. LC Sciences provides microfluidic made-to-order microarrays and delivers the most up-to-date genomics application tools for advancement in basic science and applied biomedical fields. For more information, please visit www.lcsciences.com.

    1. Li, M. et al. (2012) An atlas of DNA methylomes in porcine adipose and muscle tissues. Nat Commun [Epub ahead of print]. [ abstract ]
    2. Li, M. et al. (2010) MicroRNAome of porcine pre- and postnatal development. PLoS One 5, e11541. [ article ]
    3. Li, M. et al. (201 1 ) Repertoire of porcine microRNAs in adult ovary and testis by deep sequencing. Int J Biol Sci, 7(7), 1045-1055. [ abstract ]
    4. Zhou, Q. et al. (2012) Immune-related Immune-related microRNAs are abundant in breast milk exosomes. Int J Biol Sci, 8(1), 118-123. [ abstract ]
    5. Luo L. et al. (2010) Microarray-based approach identifies differentially expressed microRNAs in porcine sexually immature and mature testes. PLoS One 5(8), e11744. [ article ]
    6. Zhou B, Liu HL, Shi FX, Wang JY. (2010) MicroRNA expression profiles of porcine skeletal muscle. Anim Genet 41(5), 499-508. [ abstract ]

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Advinus, SignalChem Start The Multi-Year, Multi-Target Collaboration On New Anti-Cancer Drugs

Advinus Therapeutics, a research-based pharmaceutical development company promoted by the TATA Group, and SignalChem Pharmaceuticals, a British Columbia-based drug discovery company, have started working on 15 programs based on SignalChem’s proprietary Kinase platform for targeted therapies in oncology. Each program is being developed with corresponding diagnostics and tracers for patient selection and biomarkers for follow up offering the right treatment to the right patient at the right time. The companies have received a very high level of interest from pharma companies to license and collaborate on the programs and therefore see a rapid progression to the clinic.

Dr. Rashmi Barbhaiya, CEO and MD of Advinus said– “This collaboration is an exemplary model of polycentric and globally networked innovation for enhancing probability of success, reducing timelines, and focusing on cost-effective partnerships to bring innovative medicines to the market. This collaboration would also leverage leading edge biomedical research of British Columbia research institutions and Advinus’s capabilities and infrastructure to translate biomedical research discoveries into potential life saving drugs.”

Dr. Jasbinder Sanghera, CEO of SignalChem said – “This is a path-breaking partnership that leverages SignalChem’s extensive biology and kinase expertise and Advinus’s end-to-end capabilities of medicinal chemistry, lead optimization, preclinical development and early-clinical development capabilities to rapidly and efficiently advance new anti-cancer drug candidates into human clinical trials.”

The collaboration was announced by B.C. Premier Christy Clark during her visit to India who said – “This is what our Jobs Trade Mission is all about – helping local companies make connections that will allow them to do business in India. We have an innovative technology and life sciences sector in B.C., which has a lot to offer India to support its economic growth. The partnership between Advinus and SignalChem will benefit people around the world.”

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CYTOO Raises 10 M$ (7M€) in Series C Round

CYTOO SA, a company that specializes in cell-based assays, is pleased to announce the closing of a series C funding round of USD 10M (EUR 7M). New investors, Sham and Entrepreneurs Fund (EF), led the round. Existing investors AURIGA Partners and Jacques Lewiner, co-founder and president of the supervisory board at CYTOO, also participated.

CYTOO will use the financing to fully exploit its fast growing business within the global market of cellbased assays and screening, and bring the company up to profitability. Having the potential to lead the next innovation wave in cell-based drug discovery and in vitro toxicology, CYTOO is already on the radar screen of several key industrial actors.

“We are very excited about joining CYTOO as it enters a new phase in its development,” says Olivier Szymkowiak, Chief Investment Officer at Sham. “There is an exceptional opportunity for CYTOO to revolutionize the cell culture for low and high throughput applications,” added Maciek Drozdz, Investment Manager at EF and future Supervisory Board member.

Leveraging its exclusive technology of adhesive micropatterning, CYTOO’s products and services bring robustness, sensitivity and powerful quantification to cell-based assays, high content analysis and cell screening for the life science research market.

CYTOO holds an exclusive worldwide license from the Institut Curie and the CNRS (The French national scientific research center) for the adhesive micropattern patent portfolio, as well as license agreements with Harvard University (USA) and CEA, the largest government-funded technological research organization in France.

“This funding represents a strong achievement in the young history of CYTOO: the company has now the financial means for turning its technological advantage into a commercial success. A shift that the company has already initiated with the commitment of existing investors and our support through the expertise of Jacques Mallet, partner at Auriga Partners” added Franck Lescure, partner at Auriga Partners and member of the supervisory board at CYTOO.

François Chatelain, CEO of CYTOO, commented: “I am excited to lead the company and thrilled to close our series C financing round with a renowned international venture capital investors syndicate. We are welcoming Entrepreneurs Fund and Sham who bring their high level experience in building up successful biotech and medtech companies, we are also pleased with the continued commitment of our historical investors. Together we are looking to move our business and technology onto the next level of growth.”

CYTOO was advised for its capital raising by Silver Ocean Ventures’ Managing Partner Dr John Tchelingerian.

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GenQual Announces Initial Closing Of Its First Preferred Equity Funding Round

GenQual is pleased to announce initial closing of its first preferred equity round. Financial terms were not disclosed. This inaugural funding round allows GenQual to pursue proof-of-principle testing for its companion diagnostic approach for IL-6 mAb and other JAK/STAT inhibitors for autoimmune diseases and oncology indications. GenQual aims to prospectively identify responders for clinical-stage therapeutics to improve drug trial response rates and improve chances for drug approval. The round remains open for further funding.

GenQual Founder and CEO Jonathan Mirich said, “This funding round allows GenQual to pursue its business development goals to deliver companion diagnostics for very expensive IL-6 monoclonal antibody treatment for autoimmune disease, chiefly rheumatoid arthritis, as well as certain oncology indications. It allows us to extend collaborative agreements for proof-of-principle testing. We are very excited about the possibilities in this space.”

About GenQual
GenQual develops proprietary biomarker diagnostics for autoimmune and oncology indications. Our personalized medicine products are designed to facilitate early disease detection and diagnosis, and to improve treatment approaches at the molecular level. GenQual is a privately-held corporation based in the Seattle area.

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Michigan Institute of Urology, P. C. to Perform Clinical Trial Using Cellay, Inc’s Same Day OligoFISH® Probes for Prostate Cancer

St. Clair Shores, Michigan and Cambridge, Massachusetts – Michigan Institute of Urology, P. C. (MIU) and Cellay, Inc. today announced that MIU will exclusively perform a clinical trial for prostate cancer using Cellay’s Same Day OligoFISH® probe panel. Data from this trial will be included in Cellay’s premarket approval (PMA) application for submission to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This novel, non-invasive screening test is designed to detect chromosomal abnormalities in prostate cells obtained in a urine sample after a digital rectal exam. This investigational use test uses fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) technology to detect chromosome gains and losses which have been associated with prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in males in the United States, and there are approximately 200,000 new cases diagnosed annually and 38,000 deaths per year. However, due to inaccuracies of the current screening method, the PSA blood test, more than 600,000 invasive biopsies are performed annually. The ability to differentiate non-aggressive from aggressive, metast atic prostate cancers has been a continuous clinical and diagnostic challenge. Cellay expects that the clinical trial will demonstrate that its rapid non-invasive, Same Day OligoFISH® panels will improve diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment using a cost effective, patient friendly assay.

Alphonse M. Santino, M.D., CEO and a Founder of MIU, noted, “MIU is pleased to be the exclusive clinical trial site for Cellay’s Same Day OligoFISH® probe panels for prostate cancer for its PMA submittal. Our relationship with Cellay reinforces our commitment to the people of Michigan to provide the most effective diagnosis and treatment for urological disorders and disease. This is an important relationship for us and our community, since African-Americans are 3.5 times more likely to develop prostate cancer than the rest of the male population. Moreover, this group presents with the aggressive type of prostate cancer at an earlier age with higher rates of mortality.”

“Cellay appreciates that MIU has committed to serve as exclusive site for the clinical trial of our Same Day OligoFISH® probe panels for prostate cancer. MIU’s physicians’ group is recognized as one of the nation’s premier urology practices and sets the standard for diagnosis and treatment of urologic disorders. Cellay welcomes MIU’s support and participation in this novel clinical trial,” said Ed O’Lear, President & CEO of Cellay.

About Michigan Institute of Urology
As one of the oldest and largest sub-specialty Urology practices in Michigan, MIU is dedicated to providing its patients the most up to date, state of the art urologic care. Its specialists have joined MIU from the most respected research universities and hospitals in the United States.

About Cellay
Cellay is a privately held, manufacturer of Same Day OligoFISH® probes for high complexity, physician owned laboratories, which contract with Cellay to manufacture and supply individual probes or multiple probes of the laboratories’ choice pursuant to FDA and Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) regulations. Cellay is registered with the FDA.

About FISH
FISH is an established cytogenetic technique that is used to detect and localize the presence or absence of specific DNA sequences on chromosomes. FISH uses fluorescent probes that bind to only those parts of the chromosome with which they show a high degree of sequence complementarity. Same Day OligoFISH® probes were introduced in 2007 and hybridize extremely fast with much higher analytical sensitivity and penetrability in cells and tissues than traditional probes.

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