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Companies in Stem Cell Therapies

Geron, spinal cord injury

ViaCyte, diabetes, US$10.1 million from CIRM

Blubird Bio, beta-thalassemia, US$9.3 million from CIRM

StemCells, Alzheimer’s US$20 million from CIRM; spinal cord injury US$20 million from CIRM, stocks rise 148% this year.

Osiris, graft-vs.-host disease (GvHD) in children, approved by Canadian regulator Health Canada

Pluristem Therapeutics, aplastic bone marrow, IPO $30 million, shares up 44%.

Cardio3 BioSciences therapy, heart failure, Phase III in Belgium permitted.

TiGenix, cartilage repair in the knee, commercial production; autoimmune, Crohn’s disease Phase III; quarterly revenue up 152% as reported in Oct, 2012.

Advanced Cell Technology, degenerative eye condition, advancing clinical trials in the US and EU.

New Products to be released at next month’s ASCB annual conference in San Francisco: human mRNA-iPS cells, iPSCs with fluorescent markers, neural pregenitors derived from mRNA-iPSCs.

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Friday, November 23rd, 2012 iPSCs and other stem cells, Open Forum No Comments

Allele Biotechnology Announces New advance in production of human stem cells

This week in the journal Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group) scientists from Allele Biotechnology describe an important advance in the generation of stem cells capable of producing all the different tissues of the human body. In an article entitled “Feeder-Free Derivation of Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells with Messenger RNA,” Allele’s scientists present the fastest and safest method yet for converting ordinary human skin cells into “induced pluripotent stem cells” (iPSCs).

The scientific efforts were led by Dr. Luigi Warren, whose pioneering work on “footprint-free” reprogramming using messenger RNA was the foundation for Allele’s breakthrough. Through the united efforts of Dr. Warren and the scientists at Allele Biotechnology, his technique was re-engineered to increase cell conversion efficiency and eliminate any use of potentially unsafe reagents, while substantially reducing the time and effort needed to make stem cells. Dr. Warren believes that because of its advantages this technology “should become the method of choice for iPSC cell banking.”

According to Dr. Jiwu Wang, corresponding author on the paper and CEO of Allele Biotechnology, “This advance in stem cell derivation will enable both fundamental scientific research and clinical applications which has been the mission of Allele Biotechnology from its inception.”

Allele Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a San Diego-based biotechnology company that was established in 1999 by Dr. Jiwu Wang and colleagues. A research based company specializing in the fields of RNAi, stem cells, viral expression, camelid antibodies and fluorescent proteins; Allele Biotechnology has always striven to offer products and services at the cutting edge of research.

Allele Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Jiwu Wang, Ph.D., 858-587-6645 Ext 3
President and CEO
iPS@allelebiotech.com
fax: 858-587-6692
www.allelebiotech.com
Press release by BusinessWire. Also see Yahoo!News, Reuters, The Herald, etc.

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Opportunities for business with Allele Biotech

Allele Biotech is known for staying on the edge of biological research fronts when it comes to developing new technologies into useful tools. Our research also has far-reaching implications and potential applications outside of the traditional biomedical research reagent field. Some of these technologies were the results of researchers interacting with the Allele scientific team, who wanted Allele to help realize their potentials. If you are interested in investing, co-developing, or trading in our areas of expertise, please email us at oligo@allelebiotech.com.

1) A novel method of discriminating and/or detecting mismatched polynucleotide populations in a sample, or determining the relative abundance of the species contained in the sample based on the changes in the relative ratios following a critical treatment. This technology, subject of a current patent application, can provide great benefits in polynucleotide-based diagnosis.

2) A technology on how to utilize the light-absorbing capabilities of certain light-absorbing proteins against damaging lights, or in cosmetic or beauty products. It is also a subject of a filed full patent.

3) Products that relate to detecting swine flu with novel antibodies of high specificity and stability. The antibodies have been tested in academic molecular biology labs in ELISA and strip formats.

4) Nanotechnology products that can be immediately applied to prevent citrus diseases on farms.

5) Enzymes as additives to animal feeds that help farm animals digest. The product is already being sold in certain regions.

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Wednesday, February 8th, 2012 Allele Mail Bag, Customer Feedback, Open Forum No Comments

Solving the world’s problems with new biotechnology

The ability to isolate, create, synthesize, or artificially evolve living organisms towards desirable phenotypes may be increasingly important for solving many of the problems the world is facing. Such problems may include creating renewable energy using biowaste, finding biocontrol products that kill food-spoiling fungi “organically”, or assaying pathogens in the field using synthetic biological detection systems. With the arrival of synthetic biology, “it is possible to design and assemble chromosomes, genes and gene pathways, and even whole genomes”, according to the J. Craig Venter Institute. That is, if you know which genes or gene pathways you would need to put into the synthetic genome that would lead to the desired traits. So far, most published synthetic biology work involves bringing in transcription factors from a non-host source to set up an artificial network like circadian oscillators, showing that it can be done and it is interesting.

Through the process of evolution biological systems aptly self-engineer favorable traits in order to survive, but these changes require millions of years to manifest. However, there are quicker adaptations to environmental cues, such as developing antibiotic resistance, which can be achieved through a small number of mutations in hundreds or even dozens of generations. The question is how to harness this kind of adaptation for new strains that can be used as products with defined purposes? As a first requirement, you must have an assay for identifying the wanted mutants or method for augmenting their subpopulation, which is not necessarily easy and normally takes some clever designs to establish. Since evolutionary success in nature results from continuous “rounds” of gene mutagenesis, expression and selection, an evolution in the lab should ideally proceed with continuity. Previously, each round of mutation and selection takes a few days to complete. Recently, Esvelt et al. in David Liu’s lab at Harvard demonstrated one way of doing in vitro continuous evolution, by creating a lagoon of mixed E. coli and phages. By continuous dilution of the phage population through outflow, those phages that remain in the pool with properties that help them propagate in the host bacteria will have a better chance to regenerate and accumulate mutations towards the design of the assay [1].

Another aspect of natural evolution is that it occurs in a heterogeneous environment separated into niches of subpopulations with uneven stress levels. Although most evolutions with human intervention were conducted in a homologous population under the same stress and selection, a spatially complex environment may speed up evolution. This may not be easy to imagine, but if a mutant acquires some level of resistance to its environmental stress level and has a chance to move to join a population under higher stress, its relative fitness will likely increase. In addition, in a smaller population in the niche under higher stress, the mutant with marginally beneficial properties acquired under lower pressure can take over more quickly. This was demonstrated by Zhang et al. who showed that with a gradient of antibiotics applied to an array of microwells interconnected through tiny channels, new resistant strains can evolve in less than a day. Without the gradient, or separate the interconnected niches into discrete wells, no resistant populations could be obtained [2].

With more understandings like these and equipped with large scale gene synthesis, chromosome assembly, and deep sequencing technologies, we should see increasing numbers of human-made organisms serving special needs for food, health, energy, and the environment. Synthetic biology or artificial evolution won’t solve all the world’s problems, but if applied effectively and diligently, they can certainly help with many critical aspects as the technology “coevolves” with the environment.

[1] Kevin M. Esvelt, Jacob C. Carlson, & David R. Liu. “A system for the continuous directed evolution of biomolecules” Nature 499, 2011.
Qiucen Zhang, Guillaume Lambert, David Liao, Hyunsung Kim, Kristelle Robin, Chih-kuan Tung, Nader Pourmand, Robert H. Austin. “Acceleration of Emergence of Bacterial Antibiotic Resistance in Connected Microenvironments” Science 333, 2011.

New Products of the week: Modified UTP (Pseudouridine-5´-triphosphate), and Modified CTP (Methylcytidine-5´-triphosphate) for in vitro transcription of mRNA.

Promotion of the week: Friday special this week, buy 2 GFP-Trap get 1 free. Email the code “2+1GFPTrap” after placing your order of 2 GFP-Trap beads (0.25ml or 0.5ml scales only).

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Making a difference for those in need

This month 4 major pharmaceutical companies, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi-Aventis; all agreed to lower the cost of critical vaccines for developing countries. They have all done this as a part of the international vaccine alliance GAVI. The companies have severely slashed the prices of vaccines for diseases like rotavirus, a disease that isn’t prevalent in developed countries but causes more than half a million deaths per year. The model GAVI uses is one where vaccine costs are drastically lowered in developing countries, and this cost is offset by raised vaccine prices in developed countries.

GlaxoSmithKline has also reported that they are very close to developing an anti-malaria vaccine, which would be the first of its kind. This clearly shows a dissent from common pharmaceutical business practice, since Malaria is virtually wiped out in most developed countries. GSK has no hope of recouping costs for this vaccine by having patients in developed countries pay a premium for vaccination; but this has not deterred their efforts. Rather they have pledged to make on a 5% profit of the sale of the vaccine which will go toward future anti-malaria drug research.

Pharmaceutical companies are often viewed in a negative light for their practice of charging a premium for new drugs. However, the research, development, trials, and further clinical trials required to bring a drug or vaccine to market are all very costly, somewhat justifying a new drug’s high cost. Unfortunately this means there is no market for new drugs to combat diseases in developing countries as they cannot afford to compensate drug companies accordingly for their development costs. This is the key flaw in GAVI’s model, so it is great to see GSK is unhindered by this fact.

Everyday people who work in the biotech field strive to make a difference and help humanity through their research. Through the work of organizations like GAVI this research can ideally be utilized by all, and not just by those who can afford it.

New Product of the Week: High quality Anti-GST Tag (GST.B6 / G2R) Monoclonal Antibody for detection of GST-fusion proteins, ABP-MAB-GT003.

Promotion of the week: Save 10% on Allele-In-One Mouse Tail Direct PCR buffer when you email promo code GENOTYPENOW to oligo@allelebiotech.com

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Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011 Open Forum No Comments