BlackRock and QLS Advisors | July 19, 2022
BlackRock and QLS Advisors LLC, a life sciences technology and advisory firm, have announced a partnership through BlackRock Systematic to develop data-driven investment solutions to help accelerate biomedical innovation. The partnership will leverage the firms’ combined Research and Development and investment experience, directing funding toward public and private companies that have the potential to create transformative therapies while seeking to earn attractive investment returns for clients.
Biomedicine is at an inflection point: breakthrough therapies—with the potential to extend longevity and improve quality of life—are emerging at an ever-increasing pace. Funding these therapeutic development programs has the potential to deliver attractive investment returns, but as biomedicine has grown more complex, so have the risks to investors.
QLS has developed proprietary technology for estimating the probability of success of clinical trials, a key driver of financial performance, and systematically incorporating these forecasts into fundamental valuation models and portfolio construction algorithms. Their approach applies machine learning techniques to a multitude of predictive factors including therapeutic characteristics, clinical trial design features, disease-specific characteristics, and drug company track records.
This methodology, coupled with BlackRock Systematic’s global platform, proprietary analytics, and more than 35 years1 of data-driven investment experience, presents a differentiated approach to investing in life sciences companies.
“BlackRock’s partnership with QLS applies sophisticated quantitative investment technologies to the intersection of finance, academia, and life sciences. QLS brings an industry-leading approach to investing in life sciences that complements the work that BlackRock Systematic is doing in our actively managed portfolios. We expect this will create compelling, differentiated solutions that can deliver attractive returns for our clients while providing funding for life-changing therapies.”
Rich Kushel, Head of the Portfolio Management Group BlackRock
Andrew Lo, QLS Co-founder and Professor of Finance at the MIT Sloan School of Management commented: “We founded QLS to improve the way financial resources are allocated to emerging therapies, with the goal of lowering the cost of capital in this important sector. With BlackRock, we gain a partner who is a recognized leader in data-driven investing and shares our passion for delivering investment returns with positive outcomes for society. We’re thrilled and honored to join forces with a firm that has such a strong and trusted global brand, broad network, and access to world-class investment resources.”
BlackRock and QLS have also assembled a Scientific Advisory Council comprising renowned academics, medical doctors, and inventors. The Council will support sourcing, due diligence, and value creation through the members’ vast networks and decades of experience as industry leaders in their respective fields. The Council is expected to include
Dr. Robert Langer, Institute Professor, MIT Department of Chemical Engineering, and founder of over 40 biotechnology companies including Moderna.
Ms. Lita Nelsen, retired director of the MIT Technology Licensing Office; now consultant in technology licensing.
Dr. Larry Norton, Senior Vice President, Norna S. Sarofim Chair in Clinical Oncology and Medical Director of the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Past President of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, ASCO David Karnofsky Awardee, FASCO, FAACR.
Dr. Richard H. Scheller, Chairman of Research and Development BridgeBio. Board of Directors BridgeBio, Alector, 23andMe, DICE and others. Former Executive Vice President Research and Early Development Genentech and former HHMI Investigator and Professor Stanford University Medical School.
Dr. Phillip A. Sharp, Institute Professor, MIT Department of Biology, geneticist and molecular biologist who co-discovered RNA splicing, co-founded Biogen and Alnylam, and the recipient of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
About BlackRock Systematic
BlackRock’s systematic investment platform brings together BlackRock’s community of systematic investors across equity, fixed income, and factor-based strategies. Systematic portfolios combine cutting-edge technology, scientific research, and human insight in the relentless pursuit of investment performance. With over 35 years of experience and nearly 200 professionals across the globe managing over US$200 bn in client assets as of March 31, 2022, BlackRock Systematic partners with clients to deliver quantitative alpha-seeking and factor-based investment solutions for the whole portfolio.
About QLS Advisors LLC
QLS Advisors LLC is a life sciences technology and advisory company based in Cambridge, MA, dedicated to fostering biomedical innovation. QLS employs a unique blend of fundamental and quantitative tools to help clients manage risk, assess reward, and develop investment and financing strategies for portfolios of healthcare-related assets.
Nucleai and Sirona Dx | July 14, 2022
Nucleai, a leader in AI-powered spatial biology transforming precision medicine by unlocking the power of pathology data, and Sirona Dx, a leading provider of multiomic single-cell analytical services, today announced a collaboration to advance the discovery of novel spatial biomarkers in solid tumors. The partnership combines Nucleai’s powerful AI spatial analytics platform with Sirona Dx’s leading multiplex assay development expertise to identify novel spatial signatures in high-plex assays that predict response to therapy and inform treatment decisions. Through this strategic collaboration, Sirona Dx will provide Nucleai and its customers with a CRO partner that will enable the deployment of AI-based diagnostic algorithms to support biopharma clinical trials.
Nucleai’s robust computational AI-powered spatial biology algorithm supports various image modalities and cancer indications, offering a highly customizable, deployable solution across the drug development ecosystem. These capabilities earned Nucleai the position of one of the top 10 spatial biology companies in 2022.
“Multiplex imaging technologies have improved rapidly over the years; however, identifying actionable insights from all the data collected remains immensely challenging. This powerful synergy between Sirona Dx and Nucleai is very exciting as it will allow us to identify actionable spatial signatures that can predict response to immunotherapy.”
Avi Veidman, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Nucleai
Sirona Dx is recognized as the original pioneers of spatial biology, having launched the first spatial-omics CRO service to biopharma in 2018. Today, their technology-agnostic, spatial biology suite includes the leading multiplexed imaging platforms and combines deep technical expertise required to develop high-performance multiplexed assays as large as 50 markers. Sophisticated multiplexed tissue imaging capabilities contributed to their selection as a Top 10 CRO of 2021 by Medhealth Outlook.
“We are delighted to announce a partnership with Nucleai,” said Andrew Brown, Ph.D. Chief Commercial Officer at Sirona Dx. “Nucleai’s AI-driven analytical capabilities are exceptional. Our combined expertise in multiplexed tissue assay development, data generation and state-of-the-art analysis will unlock new spatial insights and accelerate the spatial biology revolution in precision medicine.”
Nucleai is an AI-powered spatial biology company with a mission to transform drug development and clinical treatment decisions by unlocking the power of pathology data. Nucleai provides pharmaceutical companies, contract research organizations, and diagnostics laboratories with a state-of-the-art AI platform to improve clinical trials and clinical decision-making.
About Sirona Dx
Sirona Dx is a technical, CLIA accredited CRO, founded in 2016 to accelerate the pace of immunotherapy and targeted therapy development. With a leading-edge menu of specialized high complexity, single-cell proteomics and genomics services, Sirona Dx supports exploratory biomarker programs and advanced precision medicine initiatives to deliver safer and more effective treatment solutions.
Porton Advanced Solutions | August 29, 2022
Porton Advanced Solutions.announced a strategic cooperation with Suzhou Royaltech Med Co., Ltd. This strategic collaboration will further integrate the resources and capabilities of both parties, jointly promote the establishment of microbial vectors used for gene therapy and mRNA drug platform technology, and accelerate the R&D process of bioinnovative drugs.
Porton Advanced provides an end-to-end gene and cell therapy CDMO service platform covering plasmids, cell therapy, gene therapy, oncolytic virus, nucleic acid therapy and viable bacteria therapy. Suzhou Royaltech focuses on the development of vaccines for tumor immunotherapy with its proprietary technologies, and fast transition from clinical to market . Its R&D pipeline covers the attenuated non-integrated Listeria platform, mRNA platform, and cell therapy platform. All these platforms are in the leading position not only in China but also abroad, and have a complete layout of invention patents.
"We are very pleased to enter into this strategic collaboration with Royaltech. The core management team of Royaltech is from the top pharmaceutical companies, with an average of 15 years of R&D and management experience and is advancing an internationally competitive R&D pipeline. Porton Advanced's end-to-end gene and cell therapy CDMO platform with rich project experience and comprehensive quality system will help Royaltech the development of Listeria and mRNA drugs, push its R&D pipeline in a quick, efficient manner, and accelerate the development and implementation of innovative drugs, so that good medicines can benefit the public earlier."
Dr. Yangzhou Wang, CEO of Porton Advanced
Dr. Chun Xu, Chairman of Royaltech, said: "As a Biotech company, we are grateful to work with Porton Advanced, a very professional CDMO company, to jointly build a unique Listeria and mRNA tumor vaccine platform technology, and constantly develop leading tumor immunotherapeutic biological drugs in China and abroad."
About Porton Advanced Solutions
Established in Suzhou Industrial Park in December 2018, by its parent company Porton Pharma Solutions Ltd. Porton Advanced has built a CDMO platform integrating plasmid, cell therapy, gene therapy, oncolytic virus, nucleic acid therapy and microbial vectors used for gene therapy providing end-to-end services from cell banking, process development and analytical development, cGMP production to final Fill and Finish , investigator-initiated clinical trials (IIT), investigational new drugs (IND), clinical trials to commercial production. Porton Advanced is dedicated to support sponsors advance their GCT drug development and market launches.
Porton Advanced focuses solely on gene and cell therapy services. Built on the professional experience of its cohort of world-class professionals, as well as on the successes of its parent company, Porton Advanced insists on "Customer First" and the tenet of "Compliance, Expertise, Focus, Open Collaboration". With its key focus on protecting IP for its sponsors, through its comprehensive project management and quality systems, Porton Advanced strives to bring gene and cell therapy products to the clinic and the market through its quality CDMO services, and help bring the best medicine to the public sooner.
Headquartered in Suzhou Industrial Park, Suzhou Royaltech Med Co., Ltd. was founded in July 2016. In July 2017, a wholly-owned subsidiary, Shanghai Royaltech Co., Ltd. was set up in Shanghai International Medical Zone. As a high-standard innovation center of biological drugs, Shanghai Royaltech focuses on CMC development of innovative tumor vaccine, and fast clinical application of up-to-date cell immunotherapy.
Since establishment, Royaltech has submitted several patents for invention to the State Intellectual Property Office. It focuses on the development of innovative tumor vaccine, and fast clinical application of up-to-date cell immunotherapy. Its R&D pipeline covers mRNA, oncolytic virus, bacteria, AAV, cell therapy platform and so on. Its core management team is from top universities in US and top 10 big pharma, with an average of 15 years of R&D and management experience. Our scientists have excellent capability on molecular biological engineering, target discovery and verification, pre-clinical R&D, quality control and assurance, and clinical trials of cell immunotherapy. On the strength of our rich experience on target biomarker, target discovery and verification, and global multicenter clinical trials, we are advancing an internationally competitive R&D pipeline.