More News! Targeting tuberculosis, light-activated drugs, cancer immunotherapies and more…

Try as we might, we can’t cover all the biotech news out there! Here’s a roundup of more biotech news that didn’t make the cut over the last week.

Science

  • In an attempt to improve diagnosis and treatment for people with rare diseases, the European Commission launched a knowledge-sharing platform to allow data-sharing across different countries.
  • Spanish researchers showed it is possible to focus the action of drugs using infrared light, something which could allow clinicians to focus a drug’s action to a certain part of the body.
  • Researchers from Lund University in Sweden demonstrated that an extract from the ebony cap mushroom, Pseudoplectania nigrella, could be used to create a new antibiotic to fight tuberculosis.
  • A blood test for tuberculosis that is able to detect the disease at an early stage, developed by the University of Leicester and PBD Biotech, is entering clinical trials in the UK.
  • Dutch biotech Mimetas, alongside academic researchers in the Netherlands, has grown kidney tissue derived from human kidney stem cells in microfluidic chips, offering an alternative to animal testing to trial the toxicity of new therapies.

Clinical trials

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  • Endo International, an Irish biopharmaceutical company, showed injections with an enzyme extracted from the bacterium Clostridium histolyticum are effective and safe for cosmetic treatment of cellulite in two phase III trials.
  • After entering the billion-euro club last summer, Autolus is moving forward with testing and manufacturing its CAR T-cell therapy with early trial results due to be announced later this month and a manufacturing deal with the UK’s Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult.
  • OSE Immunotherapeutics’ first-in-class cancer immunotherapy targeting solid tumors will soon start phase I testing, triggering a €15M milestone payment from partner Boehringer Ingelheim on enrollment of the first patient.
  • Finnish biotech Forendo Pharma’s candidate drug for treating endometriosis achieved good safety results in a phase I study and will now progress to more advanced clinical testing.

Regulations and funding

  • Merck has succeeded in getting a 13th CRISPR patent, this time in Canada covering CRISPR-Cas9 Nickase technology.
  • Spanish biotech Algenex has raised €4M to help develop new vaccines and biologic drugs, primarily for use in animals.
  • SOM Biotech, based in Spain, has closed a €7M financing round to continue identifying new therapeutic options from drugs that are already on the market, with a focus on orphan diseases of the central nervous system.

Collaborations

  • UK-based Iksuda Therapeutics has signed a deal to license fellow UK biotech Femtogenix’s technology to help it build better antibody drug conjugate cancer therapies for hard-to-treat tumors.
  • Owlstone Medical, a UK-based company developing breath-based diagnostics, is partnering with the University of Manchester on a €292,000 grant to develop better asthma diagnostics.

Images via E. Resko

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