NCBiotech News

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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.

Leon DeJournett, M.D., chief medical officer and founder of Ideal Medical Technologies in Asheville, N.C., has been leading the development of an innovative technology for controlling blood sugar (or glucose levels) of patients in the intensive care unit (ICU). The company’s FUSION system has already demonstrated exciting positive results in its first clinical trial. 

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).

A staple of the Watauga County corporate community has been selected large business of the year by the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce.

MOLTOX Molecular Toxicology, Inc., which produces pre-clinical research products for toxicology testing, will be formally recognized on Wednesday, January 10, during the 8th Annual High Country Economic Kickoff Luncheon. Also receiving awards are Baker Forge & Tool (small business of the year) and Mountain Elite All-Star Cheer & Tumbling (startup business of the year).

Morrisville-based Liquidia Corp., which is pursuing final regulatory approval for Yutrepia, its treatment for pulmonary arterial hypertension, has secured two agreements that will give the company an additional $100 million in capital.

Ad Astra Diagnostics (AAD), developer of rapid diagnostic systems, has received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its QScout™ rapid-result hematology system. The system provides fast, point-of-care white blood cell counts (WBCs), neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio, and differentiates the number and percent of five types of mature WBCs as well as immature granulocytes, according to a recent company announcement.

Millions of Americans are at risk for anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction to medicines, foods, bee stings, insect bites, dust, latex or other substances. And up to 25% of those at risk have not been diagnosed.

People who have an anaphylactic reaction require a fast emergency treatment to reverse potentially life-threatening symptoms such as difficulty breathing, swelling of the throat and tongue, rash, nausea and shock. 

The road to the commercial contraceptive market is a “constant battle,” admits Michael O’Rand, Ph.D. 

For nearly a decade, O’Rand’s company Eppin Pharma Inc. has been traveling the long and expensive path of developing a drug that has the potential to completely transform family planning: a male birth control pill. 

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?

A recent article, “Bibliometric analysis of global research trends in adeno-associated virus vector for gene therapy (1991-2022),” published earlier this month in Frontier in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, recognized R. Jude Samulski, Ph.D., as the most cited and co-cited expert for AAV gene therapy advancements.

Novozymes and Chr. Hansen this week announced their future name: Novonesis. 

“The name reflects the beginning of an era of biosolutions where Novonesis will unleash the full potential of biological solutions and generate significant value for all stakeholders and society at large. The announcement of the name marks an important milestone towards uniting the two companies,” according to a news release announcing the new name. 

Raleigh-based Helixomer, a pre-clinical, drug-development company created at North Carolina State University, has won a $2 million federal grant to advance a pair of novel drugs to regulate bleeding and clotting in patients.

Morrisville-based NightHawk Biosciences is changing direction – and business strategy.

The company has announced the divestiture of its biodefense subsidiary, Elusys Therapeutics, and other related assets to become a pure play large molecule biomanufacturing contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO). That means growing and expanding its new Scorpius Biomanufacturing business.

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