NextRNA Therapeutics | March 02, 2022
NextRNA Therapeutics, a biotechnology company unlocking the potential of non-coding RNAs to develop transformative therapeutics, announces its launch with $9.3 million in seed financing and a $46.8 million Series A led by Cobro Ventures and Lightchain Capital, with additional participation from Circle Alternative Investments, Evans Capital, Jefferies, Rivas Capital, and Willett Advisors. Proceeds will be used by the company to augment its target and drug discovery engine, expand its pipeline, and advance lead programs.
The vast majority of DNA is copied into RNAs that do not make proteins. These RNA molecules, called “non-coding RNAs,” play essential roles in cells by interacting with and modulating the activities of proteins. These interactions can drive pathogenic processes in multiple disease areas, including oncology, immunology, and neurology. Non-coding RNAs, in particular long non-coding RNAs, and their interacting proteins therefore represent a vast and untapped class of novel therapeutic targets.
“NextRNA is uniquely positioned to be the leader in non-coding RNA-directed medicines. We have established a robust target and drug discovery engine to systematically identify disease-relevant long non-coding RNAs and their interacting proteins. By developing selective small molecules to drug these interactions, we plan to translate discoveries of non-coding RNA targets into a robust pipeline of transformative therapies across multiple disease areas.”
Dominique Verhelle, Ph.D., MBA, co-founder, chief scientific officer, and interim chief executive officer, NextRNA
NextRNA was established based on pioneering work by Carl Novina, M.D., Ph.D., at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. “By understanding the interactions between long non-coding RNAs and specific proteins, we can decode the function of long non-coding RNAs and apply it to create medicines,” said Dr. Novina, co-founder of NextRNA.
Since its founding in January of 2021, NextRNA has established its initial team, built out the target and drug discovery engine, and advanced two small molecule programs in oncology and immunology.
“NextRNA is at the forefront of innovation in the field of non-coding RNAs,” said Todd Kaloudis, Managing Director at Cobro Ventures. “There is growing excitement around the potential of non-coding RNA-directed medicines, and we are pleased to have such an experienced team focused on NextRNA’s vision of bringing transformative therapies to patients.”
About NextRNA Therapeutics
NextRNA is a biotechnology company with a mission to translate pioneering science into transformative therapeutics for the benefit of patients. The company is leveraging its proprietary technology platform to systematically identify disease-relevant non-coding RNAs and their interacting proteins, and to develop selective small molecules to drug these interactions. NextRNA investors include Cobro Ventures, Lightchain Capital, Circle Alternative Investments, Evans Capital, Jefferies, Rivas Capital, and Willett Advisors.
Orbit Discovery | March 08, 2022
Orbit Discovery a ground-breaking peptide discovery company is pleased to announce the commencement of a partnership with WuXi AppTec, a leading global provider of R&D and manufacturing services that enable the global pharmaceutical and healthcare industry.
Orbit will combine its leading peptide discovery platform and experience with WuXi AppTec’s downstream capabilities. Specifically, Orbit gains access to WuXi AppTec’s expertise in peptide optimisation, peptide production and manufacturing to help its Partners obtain clinically relevant data packs and materials in a rapid timeframe. Orbit will also utilise other capabilities within WuXi AppTec, in particular their expertise in cell line and assay development and biophysical analysis.
Incorporating these capabilities into the Orbit platform will enable functional assays to be developed against a wider range of targets, facilitating direct functional screens using novel bead-based technologies and microfluidics.
This is the first strategic technology link Orbit has penned since its formation in 2016. The partnership underlines the commitment of the new management team to deliver ground-breaking technology and broader capabilities to the Partners engaged in applying the Company’s technology for the discovery of peptide therapeutic leads.
“We aim to move Orbit to the forefront of peptide discovery, and relationships such as this help us leverage expertise that would take far longer to grow organically. We see the partnership with WuXi AppTec as being a key relationship and a great asset to our current Partners, and Partners of the future.” He added: “We see particular value in the development and manufacturing platform of WuXi AppTec, that will enable us to generate peptides at small or large scale that incorporate chemical modifications to facilitate peptide optimisations and the journey towards a therapeutic candidate.”
Dr Neil Butt, Chief Executive Officer of Orbit Discovery
MediPharm Labs Corp. | February 24, 2022
MediPharm Labs Corp. a pharmaceutical company specialized in precision-based cannabinoids, is pleased to announce it has completed a US FDA DMF for pure natural CBD API. The DMF will enable MediPharm to supply approved API to pharmaceutical companies currently conducting late-stage research. The cannabis-based drug opportunity is predicted to be over USD$25 billion by 2025, and there are over 20 strong novel cannabinoid-based drugs currently in the late-stage research process. These projects will all require pharmaceutical approved API if commercialized. MediPharm has already shipped good manufacturing practice ("GMP") CBD for development purposes to multiple established pharmaceutical companies.
"The filing of a US DMF further advances MediPharm toward its ultimate objective of becoming a dominant supplier of API to pharmaceutical companies. This is a high value, high margin opportunity, and with the only purpose-built facility in North America to receive a domestic GMP licence specifically for the extraction of natural cannabinoids, MediPharm is positioned to capture share in this growing market. In the short to medium term, the DMF unlocks new sales channels and will enable us to further leverage the investments made to date on our high-quality pharmaceutical manufacturing platform. Over the longer-term, it ensures the Company is positioned as the go-to cannabinoid partner for pharmaceutical companies around the world."
Bryan Howcroft, CEO, MediPharm
About MediPharm Labs
Founded in 2015, MediPharm specializes in the development and manufacture of purified, pharmaceutical-quality cannabis concentrates, API and advanced derivative products utilizing a Good Manufacturing Practices certified facility with ISO standard-built clean rooms. MediPharm has invested in an expert, research driven team, state-of-the-art technology, downstream purification methodologies and purpose-built facilities with five primary extraction lines for delivery of pure, trusted and precision-dosed cannabis products for its customers. Through its wholesale and white label platforms, MediPharm formulates, develops (including through sensory testing), processes, packages and distributes cannabis extracts and advanced cannabinoid-based products to domestic and international markets.
SurGenTec® | March 03, 2022
SurGenTec®, a privately held spine and orthopedic technology company based in Boca Raton, FL, announced that it has received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for ION™ Screw, its proprietary stand-alone spine fixation implant. This unique device can be used to treat a variety of pathologies throughout the spine from C2-S1. The patented ION implant is the smallest posterior fixation implant cleared for spine surgery – smaller than the size of a dime – and can be placed through a tiny incision with minimal tissue disruption. ION screws are enhanced with Nanotex™ surface technology designed with bony interdigitation in mind. ION provides patients with a treatment option between conservative care and major interbody fusion in the algorithm of care.
“The ION screw technology truly changes the game for spine surgery. Patients are looking for options outside traditional bulky metallic devices such as pedicle screws and interspinous plates. This minimally invasive option provides excellent fixation with zero profile. It’s a non-intimidating solution for patients that need to undergo a spine surgery procedure. We are thrilled to announce the addition of ION to our portfolio. Our team has put years into pre-clinical research and development to create this truly novel spinal fixation option. Our team managed to create a ‘micro’ implant with a unique surface technology that provides fixation without the need for cumbersome implants,” added Greenhalgh.
Travis Greenhalgh, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of SurGenTec
ION can be used in a variety of open or true minimally invasive surgery (MIS) applications including facet fusions, adjunct to decompressive procedures, the treatment of adjacent level disease or to provide added stability with interbody fusions. The ION facet screw system instruments were designed to minimize tissue trauma and incision size while delivering the ION implants to the surgical location. "The ION system is a great fit for the ambulatory surgery center environment by providing a cost-effective solution for physicians looking to minimize trauma while still providing a high level of spinal care to patients. Patients are demanding access to a more efficient operating environment with less risk of illness and disease transmission," said Andrew Shoup, Chief Operating Officer of SurGenTec.
“ION represents a tremendous paradigm shift in the ability to treat my patients suffering from chronic degenerative lumbar conditions more definitively and less invasively,” said Dawood Sayed M.D., Division Chief and Professor of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine at The University of Kansas Medical Center in reference to the recent FDA cleared ION facet screw system. “Traditionally, our patients with chronic back pain from lumbar degenerative disc disease, spondylosis, and spondylolisthesis are offered temporary relief with injections and ablations or invasive open surgical procedures. ION bridges an important gap for patients and physicians seeking less invasive options for these debilitating conditions. I am very honored to be amongst the first in the world to offer this remarkable treatment at our medical center,” continued Sayed.
Unlike other spinal fixation options, the ION has zero profile above the bone which may prevent soft tissue contact and the potential for irritation. The implants may be packed with bone graft prior to and after insertion to help facilitate fusion while providing an opportunity for bone to bridge over the implant and prevent implant migration.
“Using the ION system was intuitive and safe. It allowed me to provide a less invasive solution than I would have typically provided. The standard of care is changing, and ION offers a simple solution to advanced spinal conditions,” said Dr. Raphael Roybal M.D., orthopedic spine surgeon Coral Gables, FL.
SurGenTec is a privately owned medical device company based in Boca Raton, Florida that is focused on unique technologies for the orthopedic and spine fields. SurGenTec develops and manufactures innovative products with patient and surgeon safety in mind. SurGenTec looks to launch ION immediately, with plans in the future of obtaining CE mark to market overseas. The vast pipeline of unique implants, instruments, biologics and ancillary solutions will continue to develop through a high level of internal research and development. SurGenTec currently has multiple products lines to market which are sold within the US and internationally. In 2018 and 2020, SurGenTec received the Spine Technology Awards for their ALARA™ target needle system and 3D Graftrasp presented at NASS.