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Codagenix, Inc. has entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with Stony Brook University, through the Research Foundation for the State of New York, to commercialize a platform technology to develop a pipeline of live attenuated vaccines against viral infections in people and animals. The technology relies on software to re-design the genomes of potentially harmful viruses to make them safe and effective vaccines. The technology stems from research in the laboratory of Eckard Wimmer, PhD, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology. The lead indication for vaccine development generated is a vaccine against Seasonal Influenza slated for Phase I human clinical trials in 2017.
Dr. Wimmer, along with Steffen Mueller, PhD, Codagenix President and Chief Science Officer, and J. Robert Coleman, PhD, Codagenix Chief Operating officer, worked as colleagues for years in Dr. Wimmer’s laboratory examining and experimenting with the genes of viruses. By collaborating with Stony Brook scientists Bruce Futcher, PhD, in the Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology, and Steven Skienna, PhD, in the Department of Computer Science, they discovered a way using gene manipulation and computer algorithms to “re-code” the genes of viruses. This re-coding process makes viruses extremely weak and thus ideal candidates as ultra-low dose attenuated vaccines.
The licensing agreement enables Codgenix to develop and potentially market next generation vaccines using software-based gene design and whole viral synthesis to create low-dose, attenuated virus vaccines. The company expects to use this design to first test its vaccine against influenza; however, there are plans for human testing of their Zika and other vaccine candidates. Codagenix is also in partnership with a large agricultural company to make vaccines using the technology for companion and agricultural animals.
The technology has been shown to be effective against numerous viruses including ZIka, Dengue, and RSV all of which are in preclinical testing. The development of this pipeline of vaccines can be seen in numerous scientific papers since 2008, including a paper in Science, PNAS, National Biotechnology and most recently in 2015 in MBIo.
Read Stony Brook University’s full press release here.
Vitatex, a Stony Brook-based biotechnology company located in the Long Island High Technology Incubator, has announced that it was awarded an SBIR Phase I/II Fast Track contract in September 2015 from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for its Vita-Cap™ CTC Capture and Preservation tubes. A modification to exercise the option for a two-year SBIR Phase II of the contract was executed on June 8, 2016.
Vitatex Inc. provides proprietary invasive circulating tumor cell (iCTC) enrichment technology and products to develop revolutionary cancer genetic and cell tests. These “liquid biopsies” focus on next generation sequencing (NGS) detection, gene expression profiling and flow cytometry and have recently been adopted by the clinical laboratory community to characterize cancer cells and/or their RNA/DNA in blood samples non-invasively and serially, and to acquire genetic alternations and drug resistance information, which have the potential to replace tests run on surgical biopsies.
Clinical metastasis of solid tumors is linked to blood-borne dissemination of viable tumor cells in the circulation and clinical instrumentation is now available to isolate, enumerate, culture, generate metastatic mouse models and perform molecular analyses on these circulating tumor cells (CTCs). However, CTCs are fragile and tend to degrade within a few days when collected in standard blood collection tubes.
“The functional CTC preparation tube is designed to collect, enrich and preserve the viability/functionality of cancer cells in blood all within a closed system” said Wen-Tien Chen, PhD., Chief Scientific Officer of Vitatex. “The goal is to define conditions of Vitatex CTC preparation tubes for capturing and preserving cancer cells in the blood of patients with breast, ovarian and other types for up to 96 hours of transit.”
Specific terms of the contract were not disclosed.
iCell Gene Therapeutics, a CFB client company, has announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Orphan Drug Designation for its chimeric antigen receptor engineered T-cells directed against the target protein CD4 (CD4CAR) for the treatment of peripheral T-cell lymphoma (PTCL). The Orphan Drug Designation program provides orphan status, and associated development incentives, to drugs and biologics intended for the safe and effective treatment, diagnosis or prevention of rare diseases or disorders that affect fewer than 200,000 people in the U.S. Read more about the designation and company here.
Codagenix, a CFB client company, has announced that it has been awarded a $99,710 Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to commence the development of an influenza vaccine for swine. Codagenix will apply its next-generation platform technology to construct a vaccine against influenza viruses that infect swine, which, according to the USDA’s 2014 Census of Agriculture is a $22.5 billion industry here in the United States. Read more here.
Rosyln Heights, NY-based Ortek Therapeutics announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has awarded a patent for new methods to use new compositions to prevent or treat drug-resistant bacteria and suppress body odor.
U.S. Patent 9,370,476, was issued to The Research Foundation of State University of New York, an Ortek licensing partner, and is directed to topical application of a zinc and arginine-based composition. Ortek holds exclusive international licensing rights to this patent, which was developed at Stony Brook University. Ortek has a long-standing relationship with Israel Kleinberg DDS, PhD, DSc, who led the development of this new technology and is the Director of the Division of Translational Oral Biology at Stony Brook University.