NCBiotech News

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Millions of consumers know Bayer as the aspirin company. Some even know it’s the Alka-Seltzer company. Investors know it as the German pharmaceutical, life sciences and agricultural giant that bought Monsanto in 2018.

Now Bayer is buying a bigger bite of plant technology developed by Pairwise, a North Carolina gene-based ag tech company, to expand its reach into the grocery food chain.

North Carolina-based Advanced Medicine Partners has announced a new financing agreement led by Deerfield Management, with additional support from ARCH Venture Partners and other investors. Once complete, this latest funding round of $32 million will bring the total direct investment in Advanced Medicine Partners to $60 million since its separation from Jaguar Gene Therapy.

The Foundation Fighting Blindness has awarded Opus Genetics, a Research Triangle Park drug development startup focused on inherited diseases of the retina, $1.7 million in funding to help advance two preclinical therapy candidates.

A Swiss contract research organization, Solvias, is establishing a cell- and gene-therapy (CGT) testing center in Morrisville, where it plans to employ more than 170 people by the end of 2025.

New research funded in part by the North Carolina Biotechnology Center shows that bioengineered platelets can be used to stop bleeding and enhance wound healing in animal models of trauma.

Two bioscience companies with operations in Durham are teaming up to discover new cancer therapies.

The collaboration between Boston-based Aktis Oncology and Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Company is aimed at developing radiopharmaceuticals for a range of solid tumors using Aktis’ novel mini-protein technology platform.

Duke University spinout Tune Therapeutics is rehearsing the overture of its avant-garde therapeutic platform targeting chronic Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) that could also upend many more chronic disease treatments.

Tune, which is jointly based in Durham and Seattle, is one of a small group of gene therapy companies developing a new technology known as epigenetic editing.

High school students across the country can now easily and affordably perform cutting-edge gene editing thanks to the new CRISPR in a Box educational kit. Burlington-based Carolina Biological Supply Company has entered into an exclusive partnership with the ChristianaCare Gene Editing Institute to manufacture and distribute the educational tool.

CRISPR in a Box allows students to use CRISPR like a pair of “molecular scissors” that cuts DNA at specific locations and delete sections or replace them with other sequences.

Gene therapy legend R. Jude Samulski, Ph.D., co-founder and chief scientific officer of Asklepios BioPharmaceutical (AskBio) since the company was established in 2001, is leaving the CSO job but remaining on the company board.

AskBio announced that Mansuo Shannon, Ph.D., becomes CSO effective today. Shannon joins AskBio from Prevail Therapeutics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Eli Lilly and Company, where she also served as CSO.

National Resilience, Inc. (Resilience), a technology-focused biomanufacturing company dedicated to broadening access to complex medicines, announced the expansion of the company’s clinical and commercial drug product manufacturing capabilities across its network, which includes a biomanufacturing plant in Durham the company acquired in 2021. 

In 2023, North Carolina attracted several life sciences investments, continued developing a trained workforce for the growing industry, and won national accolades as a top place to do business.

“2023 was a year of expansion for North Carolina’s life sciences ecosystem with major forward momentum to ensure the state has the necessary infrastructure and engagement to enable its future success,” said Laura Rowley, Ph.D., North Carolina Biotechnology Center’s vice president of life science economic development.

Durham-based Locus Biosciences has received $23.9 million in funding from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to begin a blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial of its CRISPR-enhanced bacteriophage therapy, LBP-EC01. The product kills targeted bacteria by irreversibly destroying their DNA while leaving the many species of beneficial bacteria in the body unharmed.

The ELIMINATE trial will evaluate LBP-EC01 for treating urinary tract infections caused by drug-resistant E. coli.

Jaguar Gene Therapy – which arrived in North Carolina in 2021 – is creating a new company to manage its chemistry, manufacturing and controls (CMC) capabilities.

Durham-based gene editing company Precision BioSciences has cut a second deal in six months involving its leading off-the-shelf CAR T candidate, Azercabtagene Zapreleucel (azer-cel).

North Carolina’s booming biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry will need at least 8,000 new workers by the end of 2026.

Will the state be able to provide that workforce? And how so?

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