Here’s a rundown of life sciences and health news across the Pacific Northwest this week.
- DNA sequencing companies TwinStrand Biosciences, based in Seattle, and Singular Genomics have paired up to develop ultra-sensitive tests to detect rare gene variants. One application is detection of “minimal residual disease” in cells and tumor DNA in the bloodstream.
- Seattle’s Umoja Biopharma and TreeFrog Therapeutics are combining technology to make new cell therapies from human induced pluripotent stem cells, blank-slate cells that can be nudged into different cell types. Umoja has a way to turn these cells into therapeutic immune cells, and TreeFrog can grow them in large amounts.
American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) abstracts:
- People from age six months to 49 years will be assessed in a study asking how well COVID-19 vaccines protect against illness, especially in children, and how the immune system responds after infection. The multi-center study will enroll 3,500 people in the Seattle and Portland areas.
- Cell therapy company Sonoma Biotherapeutics has the green light from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for an early-stage trial of its biologic SBT115301. SBT115301 is designed to eliminate highly active immune cells present in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, in preparation for treatment with cells derived from immune-calming “regulatory” T cells.
- Researchers at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and their colleagues assessed isoflurane, a common anesthetic. The gas inhibits a key protein complex in mitochondria, the cell’s energy-producing factories, leading to effects on neurons.
- Baker, head of the UW’s Institute for Protein Design, and his colleagues penned a review article in Nature exploring how to design efficient enzymes from scratch.
New manufacturing center:
- Swiss biomanufacturing giant Lonza has expanded its facility in Bend, Ore., adding a new center focused on improving delivery of oral or inhaled small molecules.
Closed for business:
- Washington state attorney general Bob Ferguson won $500,000 for people who had paid for unproven stem cell treatments from a company that ran the Seattle Stem Cell Center, which is no longer allowed to market such treatments.
Events and deadlines: