Global Roundup: Sweden’s Cellink Rebrands as BICO and Other News
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Sweden’s Cellink AB has rebranded to BICO, the world’s first Bio-Convergence company. BICO is the parent company overseeing the 11 subsidiaries, including Cellink Bioprinting.
This transition is expected to enable BICO and its subsidiaries to innovate through the group’s shared bio convergence agenda, which entails investments in bioengineering, technology development, product design and UX as well as sales and marketing. BICO was initially founded in 2016. Since then, BICO has seen exponential growth including expansion to more than 900 employees over 11 subsidiaries, as well as sales and distribution in more than 65 countries in over 2,000 laboratories. The subsidiaries that are a part of BICO will keep their names and operate as individual companies.
Through the combination of Bioprinting, Biosciences and Bioautomation, BICO will be able to enable its customers and researchers to improve people’s health. The company will be focused around five central areas, including the enabling of safer and accessible organ transplants, utilization of cultivated tissue from human cells to eliminate unnecessary animal testing, faster development of more affordable medicines, more personalized medicines, as well as faster and less expensive diagnostics to fight infectious diseases.
“In five years, we have built a world-leading group that offers something truly unique – a bio convergence revolution”, Erik Gatenholm, president and chief executive officer of BICO said in a statement. “As the company has continued to grow, we saw limitations to make radical change in the industry at our customers’ laboratories with just one product. We realized that our customers needed more and better technologies, products, solutions, and workflows for the most optimal outcome where we together can create the most change. I am proud to introduce BICO to the world and look forward to continuing to push the boundaries of science to create the future of health.”
Elsewhere around the globe:
ELRIG – The U.K.-based European Laboratory Research & Innovation Group announced program details for Drug Discovery 2021, which takes place Oct. 19-20. The meeting returns as a face-to-face event aimed at engaging discussions regarding future directions in preclinical drug discovery. The program includes insightful sessions on new approaches in infection biology diseases, advances in biomarkers and diagnostics, approaches to drugging RNA, innovative screening and strategies to enhance drug discovery, disruptive technologies, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias as well as leading research from the British Pharmacological Society.
University of Birmingham – Researchers from the University of Birmingham in the U.K. confirmed the speed, accuracy and simplicity of a novel, highly sensitive testing method for COVID-19. The test can be deployed at entertainment venues, airport arrival terminals, and in remote settings where clinical testing laboratories are not available. Both PCR and LAMP tests detect viral RNA, which can be present in extremely low levels in swabs taken from the mouth and nose. These tests use a two-step process which involves first converting to RNA to DNA, a process called reverse transcription, and then ‘amplifying’ the material many times over so it can be detected in the sample.
AlzeCure Pharma – Sweden’s AlzeCure Pharma AB is presenting an abstract about its NeuroRestore neurology platform, its link to BDNF/TrkB signaling and potential therapeutic role in depression at the ENCP 2021 conference in October. The abstract, titled Characterization of positive allosteric modulators of TrkB for the treatment of depression, includes results from studies that show how substances from the NeuroRestore project have had potent effects in various preclinical models linked to depression. Also, the results show that these substances bind to the receptors for the neurotrophin BDNF, so called TrkB receptors, and stimulate the signaling of this system. This biological system has been linked to depression, and the support for this hypothesis has recently been further strengthened, and new scientific findings indicate that many of the classic antidepressant drugs available today actually mediate their effect via BDNF/TrkB, the company said.
ProBioGen – Germany’s ProBioGen signed a license agreement for the use of the AGE1.CR.plX vaccine platform to develop its lead vaccine. The agreement was signed with Nobelpharma. Designed as true suspension cell line, the AGE1.CR.pIX grows in chemically defined medium and is free of any adventitious agents. This allows cultivation in large bioreactors with reduced lead times and thus a more controlled production process in closed systems.
RetroBrain R&D – Also based in Germany, RetroBrain R&D, a digital health company, achieved a new milestone with the preventive training programs “memoreCare” that uses the memoreBox. The memoreBox is a gesture-controlled game console with digital health training, which was developed especially for seniors in the context of prevention and health promotion in care facilities. A 2020 evaluation showed that the physical and cognitive performance of the users was strengthened.
Origin Therapeutics Holdings – Vancouver-based Origin completed a non-brokered private placement of $6,550,000. The proceeds will be used investments in private, early-stage companies in the growing psychedelics sector.
Biotage – Based in Sweden, Biotage is expanding its production capacity of large-scale flash columns by 300%. Biotage is now helping pharmaceutical companies and contract manufacturers’ scale up lipid production for COVID-19 vaccines. A new, bespoke production facility is now operational at the Biotage site in Cardiff, U.K. The newly opened production facility will enable Biotage to meet the increase in demand for this mRNA market segment, without any disruption to existing clients already producing APIs, fine chemicals, natural products or in other markets.
ERS Genomics – Ireland’s ERS Genomics announced a non-exclusive license agreement granting Iowa-based CET access to ERS Genomics’ CRISPR/Cas9 patent portfolio. CET supports research organizations at the interface of stem cell research and preclinical drug discovery. CET’s portfolio includes its proprietary induced pluripotent stem cell technology, which is both virus- and oncogene-free to improve cell line genetic stability, safety, and reproducibility in drug discovery workflows for cell and gene therapies. The license from ERS Genomics will allow CET to develop, manufacture and commercialize next generation stem cell lines using CRISPR/Cas9 technology. Financial details of the agreement are not disclosed.
StageZero Life Sciences – Toronto-based StageZero will acquire all outstanding shares of Clinics Operations Limited, a provider of specialist clinical services across Europe and North America. The deal provides StageZero with full access to Care Oncology’s network of oncologists and physicians across the United States and positions the company to take advantage of the multi-billion dollar emerging global market for liquid biopsy diagnostic tools and the strong trend toward telehealth and early-disease diagnostics.
Abivax SA – France’s Abivax SA announced a Phase I study of ABX464 has been approved in Japan. The trial is required as part of the common clinical development plan to confirm the pharmacokinetic (PK) profile of ABX464 in Japanese subjects. Given positive results of this Phase I study, Abivax will be able to include Japanese patients in its global phase 3 clinical development program of ABX464 for the treatment of ulcerative colitis. Treatment of the first subject is expected to occur at the end of September 2021. The enrollment is planned to be completed in February 2022 and the study results would then be available in the second quarter of 2022.
OncoHost – Israel-based OncoHost was awarded the Best Practices Technology Innovation Leadership Award in the AI-based precision oncology industry by Frost & Sullivan. The award recognizes a company that has introduced the best underlying technology for achieving remarkable product and customer success while driving future business value.