Tech+Bio Weekly Highlights
ALSO: AI in Cancer Drug Discovery (interview); Novel Anemia Treatment via Gen AI; Revitalization in the Biotech IPO Arena; Hitting a New High in AI Docking
Hi! I am Andrii Buvailo, and this is my weekly newsletter, ‘Where Tech Meets Bio,’ where I talk about technologies, breakthroughs, and great companies moving the biopharma industry forward.
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Now, let’s get to this week’s topics!
Weekly drug discovery and biotech highlights 👇
🔬 BREAKING NEWS: Eli Lilly and its subsidiary Akouos announced positive Phase 1/2 trial results of AK-OTOF gene therapy for genetic hearing loss, showing significant hearing restoration within 30 days in participants.
The trial, presented at the Association for Research in Otolaryngology 2024 MidWinter Meeting, marks a major advancement in gene therapy for hearing loss, with AK-OTOF receiving Orphan Drug and Rare Pediatric Disease Designations from the FDA.
“Gene therapy fails more often than it seems the field sometimes wants to admit. But when it works — damn, it really works,” tweets Jason Mast, STAT News
🔬 AlphaFold identifies hundreds of thousands of new psychedelic molecules, potentially aiding antidepressant development, showcasing the tool's effectiveness in drug discovery compared to traditional experimental methods.
🚀 Tr1x, a new San Diego-based biotech, raises $75M to develop regulatory T cell (Treg) therapies for autoimmune conditions, planning to initiate multiple clinical trials later this year, focusing on graft-versus-host disease and inflammatory bowel disease.
🔬 Stuart Schreiber, co-founder of the Broad Institute, launches Arena BioWorks, a new research institution aimed at streamlining translational research from basic studies to drug development, funded by over $500 million from private financiers.
🔬 Insilico Medicine discovers novel AI-driven PHD inhibitor for anemia treatment using Chemistry42 AI platform, published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.
💰 S. Korea-based Mirae Asset Capital Life Science launches a $50M US biotech fund, focusing on oncology, immunology, cardiovascular, metabolic diseases, CNS, ophthalmology, and genetic diseases, including AI and machine learning tools for drug discovery.
📈 CG Oncology sets IPO plans to raise up to $209M, focusing on advancing their bladder cancer treatment, cretostimogene.
📈 Kyverna Therapeutics, developing novel CAR-T therapeutics for autoimmune diseases with their anti-CD19 CAR-T construct, is rumored to file for an IPO soon, advancing clinical trials for lupus nephritis, myasthenia gravis, and multiple sclerosis.
💰 Myrobalan Therapeutics receives $24M in Series A funding to develop neurorestorative therapies targeting multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, and other neurological conditions, focusing on G-protein receptor antagonists, colony-stimulating factor-1 inhibitors, and TYK2 inhibitors to combat neuroinflammation.
💰 S. Korean Pan Orion invests $415M in Korean biotech LegoChem Biosciences, becoming the largest shareholder. LegoChem, known for its ConjuALL technology in ADC therapies, collaborated also with J&J and Amgen, expanding Orion's foray into biopharmaceuticals.
🚀 Jaguar Gene Therapy creates Advanced Medicine Partners, a spinout specializing in manufacturing cell and gene therapies. Backed by Deerfield Management and Arch Venture Partners, the new company will support Jaguar and other biotech clients, showcasing expertise in adeno-associated virus production.
🔬 Taxes-based Enzolytics partners with Khalpey AI Lab to advance organ regeneration and longevity research, leveraging AI for aging and organ failure analysis. This collaboration aims to identify new biomarkers and therapeutic targets, focusing on multi-omic testing and AI algorithms in precision medicine.
🔬 Vivtex Corporation and AI Proteins enter a strategic R&D collaboration to develop novel, oral biologic therapies for inflammatory diseases, leveraging Vivtex’s GI-ORIS™ technology and AI Proteins’ miniprotein design to target TNFR1.
🚀 UK-based “tech-first” biotech CellVoyant has launched and raised £7.6 million in seed funding to speed up the development of novel cell therapies using AI.
Event Date: March 13, 2024 - March 14, 2024
Location: Switzerland, Congress Center, Basel;
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Announcement: We have launched a YouTube channel to provide a place for uploading and managing videos.
I will see how it goes, and I may also start a podcast here on Substack; let me know in the comments if audio format is preferred.
Here is the first videocast from the series “Where Tech Meets Bio“:
Navigating the Crossroads of AI and Oncology: A Deep Dive with Lantern Pharma's CEO, Panna Sharma
The development of oncology drugs faces significant challenges, including a high failure rate (97%) in clinical trials, due to complex genetic interactions, emerging drug resistance, and limitations in preclinical models.
Clinical trial designs often lack specificity, failing to consider genetic factors unique to cancer types, resulting in trials without biomarker integration being 12 times more likely to fail.
To address these issues, Dallas-based Lantern Pharma (NASDAQ: LTRN) utilizes the RADR® AI platform, which applies machine learning to analyze genomic and transcriptomic data, enhancing the understanding of drug mechanisms, identifying patient-specific therapeutic responses, and optimizing clinical trial designs.
In this deep dive interview, Panna Sharma, the CEO of Lantern Pharma, offers an insightful look into the company's progression in the challenging fields of cancer research, drug discovery, and the use of artificial intelligence. Sharma, with his diverse background that includes leading a cancer diagnostics company and a stint in investment banking, discusses Lantern Pharma's expansion from a small, budding team to a formidable force in the oncology sector, now managing 14 cancer indications and advancing three drugs into clinical trials.
He highlights pivotal moments in his career, such as taking Cancer Genetics public in 2013 and joining Lantern Pharma in 2018, leading up to a successful public fundraising effort in mid-2020 that raised about $96 million. The conversation also ventures into the establishment of Starlight Therapeutics, focused on brain cancer research.