Francis Mojica, the Spanish Scientist Who Discovered CRISPR

labiotech.eu | April 08, 2019

Contrary to popular belief, Francis Mojica was the first person to discover the CRISPR mechanism and give it its name. He told me how the discovery came about, discussed the wide potential of the gene editing tool and shared his favorite CRISPR application. You’ve likely heard of CRISPR/Cas9, a gene editing tool that has taken the world by storm. Although it’s far from being the first tool to edit DNA, CRISPR technology makes gene editing much easier and faster than before. In the last few years, its use has become ubiquitous in labs around the world. CRISPR/Cas9 is used to speed up drug discovery and the creation of animal models to study all sorts of diseases. But the application everyone is avidly expecting and throwing money at is using CRISPR to cure human diseases. The first clinical trials have already started, and their results will reveal whether CRISPR can fulfill these big expectations.

Spotlight

As plastics continue to enter the environment, understanding their global impact is vital to addressing microplastic pollution. Since its emergence as an environmental and potential human health threat, researchers have strived to develop tools for accurately measuring microplastics in environmental and food matrices using FTIR-based techniques and automated data handling. This study examines the current status of methods of microplastic quantification and identification and presents the analysis of microplastics smaller than 10 microns in a sample of soil from a marina using FTIR imaging, combined with a free software program, MPhunter.

Spotlight

As plastics continue to enter the environment, understanding their global impact is vital to addressing microplastic pollution. Since its emergence as an environmental and potential human health threat, researchers have strived to develop tools for accurately measuring microplastics in environmental and food matrices using FTIR-based techniques and automated data handling. This study examines the current status of methods of microplastic quantification and identification and presents the analysis of microplastics smaller than 10 microns in a sample of soil from a marina using FTIR imaging, combined with a free software program, MPhunter.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Pharma Tech Holdings SA Obtains a Capital Commitment Agreement of CHF 30 million from Global Investor LDA Capital

Pharma Tech | August 09, 2022

Pharma Tech Holding SA announced it has secured a CHF 30 million investment to support its portfolio investments from LDA Capital Ltd, a global investment group with expertise in cross border transactions including the agriculture, Agri-tech, and CBD industries. Established in 2019, PTH is a Swiss based holding company, which invests into innovative businesses with high technological value and scalability potential, mainly in Switzerland and Europe, with a focus on the health-tech, Agri-tech, and functional food. This investment will allow PTH to mainly invest and support its portfolio company Blue Sky Swisse SA a JV between PTH and listed company IGEA PHARMA NV IGPH - ISIN NL0012768675. BSS focuses on the extraction of natural active principles from vegetable matrices, vegetable waste, and renewable sources to deliver B2B products under the form of CBD oil, Terpenes and Waxes. The factory located in Biasca, will be built to the state of art of extraction technology by super critical CO2 and will be energy self-sufficient through the use of solar photovoltaic panels and district heating. BSS will grant for highest CBD quality also due to a proprietary extraction process, starting from the farming performed under strict control and culminating with the immediate freezing of the flowers after harvest, with the target to also sell “all natural” formulations to increase bioavailability thus enhancing the possible applications. Last, but not least, BSS will invest in the agricultural raw material chain and will create an aeroponic green house in Ticino, to deliver a high quality GMP Pharmaceutical CBD oil. LDA Capital agreed to commit an amount of up to CHF 30 million in cash within a maximum of three years. This Capital Commitment will be released based on drawdowns by PTH, that PTH has the right to exercise at its sole discretion. “We’re thrilled with this partnership and are so glad that LDA Capital recognizes the value of PTH and its portfolio company, with the aim of creating one of the most innovative hub for health-tech, agri-tech and functional food,” Sabina Del Nigro, CEO at PTH About Pharma Tech Holding Pharma Tech Holding SA is a holding company based in Lugano, Switzerland, which invests into innovative businesses with high technological value and scalability potential, mainly in Switzerland and Europe, with a focus on the health-tech, Agri-tech, and functional food. About LDA Capital LDA Capital is a global alternative investment group with expertise in cross border transactions worldwide. Our team has dedicated their careers to international & cross border opportunities having collectively executed over 250 transactions in both the public and private middle markets across 43 countries with aggregate transaction values of over US$11 billion.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

ILC Dover Becomes a Provider of Ascent / Entry Spacesuits for Boeing's Starliner

ILC Dover | May 27, 2022

ILC Dover, the leading provider of spacesuits since the Apollo era, announced that it was selected to be one of two providers of Boeing's Ascent/Entry Suit for the company's Commercial Crew Program and has developed a bespoke AES spacesuit for CST-100 Starliner crews. "We are proud to utilize our expertise to create a new AES for the Starliner spacecraft. Having worked with the Boeing team on the Starliner's landing airbags, which provide a safe, cushioned arrival to Earth from space, we understood the importance of delivering another quality product for this program." Patty Stoll, President of Space Systems and Engineered Solutions at ILC Dover The Boeing AES is based off ILC Dover's commercial Launch, Entry, and Abort suit, SOL™. ILC Dover worked with Boeing to tailor SOL for the Starliner spacecraft to provide protection for astronauts during the most critical phases of spaceflight, including launch, docking, re-entry and landing. With over 50 years of spacesuit experience, the AES suit was designed to provide maximum mobility to operate, enter and exit the spacecraft, as well as provide protection for astronauts in case of an emergency. "Our success is measured by those we've helped return to Earth safely for over 50 years of space travel and we will continue to provide spacesuits and soft solutions that will keep astronauts safe in the harsh environment of space," said Stoll. Working with ILC Dover's in-house fashion designer, the cover layer of the spacesuit was designed with a unique look for Starliner crew members. A replica of the Starliner AES will be on display on Florida's Space Coast at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex's new attraction called Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex. ILC Dover and Boeing worked with Adam Savage, television personality and longtime special effects designer and fabricator, to create the replica. About ILC Dover ILC Dover is a world-leader in the innovative design and production of solutions for biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, medical device markets as well as a leading supplier for the space industries. Our customers will attest to our relentless dedication to high value products, advanced technology, and responsive service, as our visionary solutions have improved efficiency while safeguarding people, product, and infrastructure in hazardous conditions through flexible protective solutions since 1947.

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PHARMA TECH

Silverback Therapeutics and ARS Pharmaceuticals Announce Merger

Silverback Therapeutics and ARS Pharmaceuticals | July 22, 2022

Silverback Therapeutics, Inc. and ARS Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced that the companies have entered into a definitive agreement under which ARS will merge with Silverback in an all-stock transaction. The combined company will focus on the potential regulatory approval and commercialization of neffy, ARS’s investigational epinephrine nasal spray for the treatment of Type I allergic reactions including anaphylaxis. The combined company is expected to have approximately $265M in cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities at closing. Upon stockholder approval, the combined company is expected to operate under the name ARS Pharmaceuticals and trade on the Nasdaq Capital Market under the ticker symbol “SPRY.” The merger is currently expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2022. Type I severe allergic reactions are serious and potentially life-threatening events that can occur within minutes of exposure to an allergen and require immediate treatment with epinephrine, the only FDA-approved medication for these reactions. While epinephrine autoinjectors have been shown to be highly effective, there are well published limitations that result in many patients and caregivers delaying or not administering treatment in an emergency situation. These limitations include fear of the needle, lack of portability, needle-related safety concerns, lack of reliability, and complexity of the devices. There are approximately 25 million people in the United States who experience Type I severe allergic reactions. Of those, only 3.3 million currently have an active epinephrine autoinjector prescription, and of those, only half consistently carry their prescribed autoinjector. Even if patients or caregivers carry an autoinjector, more than half either delay or do not administer the device when needed in an emergency. ARS designed neffy to provide injection-like absorption of epinephrine, in a small, easy-to-carry, easy-to-use, rapidly administered, and reliable nasal spray device. With its needle-free administration, neffy may help eliminate the anxiety and hesitation associated with using an autoinjector. “We are extremely pleased to announce this proposed merger with Silverback, which we believe enables ARS to maximize the paradigm-changing opportunity of neffy. neffy is on the cusp of achieving what has not been possible before – the ability to deliver epinephrine with comparable pharmacokinetics to an intramuscular injection, but with a simple to administer nasal spray. We have completed a comprehensive registration program with neffy and based on a favorable pre-NDA meeting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”), we are preparing to submit our New Drug Application (“NDA”) in the third quarter of 2022. This merger positions ARS and our experienced team to execute on the potential launch of neffy in 2023 by providing the requisite capital needed for launch. ARS was founded with a mission of solving many of the issues that patients and caregivers express about their epinephrine autoinjectors. Today is an important step toward bringing this novel treatment to patients and caregivers to improve their treatment options for these serious and potentially life-threatening allergic reactions.” Richard Lowenthal, M.Sc., MSEL, co-founder and chief executive officer of ARS Data across three registration studies supports that neffy should meet all clinical endpoints recommended by regulators and that its pharmacokinetics are within the range of approved efficacious epinephrine injection products. In addition, neffy has been well-tolerated to date with more than 500 individuals having received at least one dose, and many with repeat administration. The majority of adverse events in clinical trials were mild in nature and comparable to injection products. Based on the totality of data, ARS is preparing to submit its NDA for neffy for use in adults and pediatric patients who are 30 kg or greater in the third quarter of 2022. If approved, ARS is planning to launch neffy in the United States in 2023. “This transaction represents the result of a thorough and thoughtful strategic review process by Silverback,” said Laura Shawver, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Silverback. “ARS is an exciting late-stage company with compelling clinical data demonstrated with neffy, a path to near-term commercialization in a large and dissatisfied market, and an expert team with proven experience in launching and commercializing market-leading nasal spray products, such as NARCAN. I believe we have found the optimal partner to provide value for our stockholders, and even more so, the potential to transform treatment for millions of people with or at-risk for Type I severe allergic reactions.” About the Proposed Merger Under the terms of the merger agreement, assuming that Silverback’s net cash at closing is $240 million, Silverback equity holders are expected to own approximately 37% of the combined company and pre-merger ARS equity holders are expected to own approximately 63% of the combined company on a fully-diluted basis on a treasury stock method. The percentage of the combined company that Silverback’s equity holders will own as of the close of the transaction is subject to certain adjustments as described in the merger agreement, including the amount of Silverback’s net cash at closing. Upon closing of the transaction, Silverback will be renamed ARS Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and will be headquartered in San Diego, California. Richard Lowenthal, M.S., MBA, will serve as chief executive officer and president of the combined company. The merger agreement provides that the Board of Directors of the combined company will be comprised of ten members, including seven from ARS and three from Silverback. The merger agreement has been approved by the Board of Directors of each company, and the transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2022, subject to approvals by the stockholders of each company and other customary closing conditions. About Silverback Therapeutics, Inc. Silverback Therapeutics, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on leveraging its proprietary ImmunoTAC technology platform to develop systemically delivered and tissue targeted therapeutics for the treatment of chronic viral infections, cancer, and other serious diseases. Silverback’s platform enables the strategic pairing of proprietary payloads that modulate key disease modifying pathways with monoclonal antibodies directed at specific disease sites. Silverback Therapeutics is located in Seattle, Washington.

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