It’s News Roundup Time! Biofuels, AI, Spinal Implants, and More …

Try as we might, we can’t cover every bit of biotech news out there. So relax, and have a read of everything else that happened this week. 

Clinical trials

  • A cell therapy for the rare metabolic disorder metachromatic leukodystrophy, developed by the UK biotech Orchard Therapeutics, was shown to work equally well using cells stored in freezers as when using fresh cells in the first four patients to take part in a phase II clinical trial. Orchard will apply for US and EU approval of the cell therapy next year, and its cold storage approach is intended to reduce the need for patients to travel for their treatment.

Finance

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  • The UK company C4X Discovery has raised €8M in a placing of shares on the UK Alternative Investment Market to fund its drug discovery programs for inflammatory and neurological diseases, including Parkinson’s disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
  • The Israeli AI company Pepticom has raised a Series A round of €4.5M to fund the development of AI technology to discover new peptide drugs for Alzheimer’s disease and metabolic diseases.
  • The Swedish hair loss biotech Follicum has received a grant of €700,000 from Eurostars, an EU program dedicated to funding small enterprises, to finance the preclinical development of a drug for type 1 diabetes.

Collaborations

  • The French biotech company Alaxia has joined an EU consortium called inhaled Antibiotics in Bronchiectasis and Cystic Fibrosis to accelerate the development of its first-in-class inhaled antibacterial treatment for infections resulting from the buildup of mucus in cystic fibrosis. 
  • The US firm NeuroRecovery Technologies has merged into the Dutch company GTX medical to form a company that develops spinal cord implants that amplify the electrical signals from the brain, improving the recovery of patients with spinal cord injury. 
  • The German biotech Evotec has launched a partnership called LAB555 with the Israeli venture fund Integra Holdings and the Israeli technology transfer company Yissum to make it easier for academics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to spin out companies based on new drug candidates.
  • The UK company Bicycle Therapeutics has expanded its collaboration with the UK venture capital fund Dementia Discovery Fund to also include the Oxford Drug Discovery Institute, with the aim of developing Bicycle’s modified peptide drugs for the treatment of dementia.

Academic research

  • An international team of scientists has identified a method for making cancer cells more vulnerable to chemotherapy. The method involves blocking a molecule called FSP1, which rescues cancer cells from a death process called ferroptosis, a common mechanism invoked by chemotherapies.
  • A group of synthetic biologists at the University of Manchester, UK, has developed a way to produce biofuels more cheaply than current methods by modifying the genome of bacteria found in seawater.

Image via E. Resko

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