Contraceptive gels, artificial hearts, psychopath genetics, and more …

Try as we might, we can’t cover all the fascinating biotech news that is out there. So chill out, enjoy the last days of summer, and check out what we wanted to cover over the last week. 

Clinical trials 

  • The French medical device company Carmat has received approval to resume clinical trials in patients with heart failure in Denmark after refining the manufacturing of its artificial heart device.

Collaborations

  • A collaboration between Swiss biotech ADC Therapeutics and the US diagnostics company Freenome aims to develop tests for biomarkers that could help ADC Therapeutics to identify blood cancer patients that will best respond to its candidate drug in a phase II trial.
  • German biotech Velabs Therapeutics is expanding an existing collaboration with the Japanese company Chiome Bioscience to develop antibody drugs. These antibodies will target proteins called G protein-coupled receptors, which are involved in many diseases, but are hard to target using current drugs. 
  • The French company MedinCell has partnered with the US veterinary company Cornerstone Animal Health to develop injectable long-acting drugs to treat acute pain in pets.

Regulations and Finance

  • The Scottish company MGB Biopharma has raised an undisclosed sum to fund the development of antibiotics to treat infections by drug-resistant Clostridium difficile
  • The Danish startup Cirqle Biomedical has raised €1.6M to fund the preclinical development of a contraceptive biopolymer gel that causes none of the hormonal side effects that accompany current female contraceptives.   
  • The UK life sciences incubator Biocity has invested an undisclosed sum in the UK startup Kinomica to fuel the development of diagnostics technology that stratifies patients in cancer clinical trials. The company’s technology detects proteins in patient biopsies that are labeled with chemical groups called phosphoryls in a process called phosphorylation, which is often abnormal in cancer and other diseases.
  • The Danish startup ADCendo has received a loan of €1.3M (DKK 10M) from the Danish incubation initiative BioInnovation Institute. ADCendo will use the money to develop antibody-drug conjugate therapies treating cancer by targeting a cell surface protein called uPARAP.

Scientific research

  • Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB, Germany, have developed the first retina-on-a-chip technology, which could provide a more accurate and faster way of testing treatments for retinal diseases than using animals or retinal organoids.
  • An international team of scientists in Germany, South Africa and Tanzania have developed a chemical method for making sunscreen chemicals from cashew nut shells, which could be less toxic and more sustainable than current petrochemical sunscreen ingredients.
  • Researchers based in Finland and Sweden found genes whose abnormal expression was linked to violent psychopathy, including genes in the opioid system, which process social and reward stimuli in the brain. The research team suggested that psychopathy could be treated by drugs that are already used to treat drug addiction such as naltrexone.

Image via E. Resko

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