Registration for BIO’s Fall IP Counsels Committee Conference is NOW OPEN!

Ah, Autumn. A time for pumpkin spice lattes, cozy sweaters, soup, and updates in the biotech patent space.

That’s right, registration for BIO’s Fall IP Counsels Committee Conference is NOW OPEN! Our Fall meeting will take place November 13-15 in Annapolis, Maryland.

Photo Credit to visitannapolis.org

BIO’s IP Counsels Committee Conference is THE place to get the most relevant information and updates on the latest issues in the biotech IP sector. Organized by in-house practitioners, it is the premiere event for corporate biotech patent counsels. We provide opportunities for education, policy discussions, networking, and offer the most up to date information in the field.

Our agenda, details for registration, and other info can be found here. 

Now grab your sailor suits and come join us!

BIO World Congress Agenda Shows Industrial Biotech Diversifying, Differentiating, Disrupting, Disintermediating

This July, industrial biotech returns to its largest and grandest stage at the BIO World Congress, which convenes in Montreal on July 23rd through the 26th, and the plenary program offers convincing proof that the industry is diversifying fast into chemicals, nutrition, packaging, personal care, Every day, it is touching the consumer more and more directly in a shift away from pure bulk commodities and policy chat and into differentiated end-user product and packaging experiences that speak to customers whether they are looking for more sustainable products or novel performance.

Show me the Money

The pitch to Wall Street comes up first on July 24th when the World Congress opens the plenary program with “Why Bet on Renewables? Attracting Private Capital for Renewable Chemical Commercialization”. The investor panel features Brian Baynes, Partner, Flagship Pioneering William Byun, Principal, Conchubar Capital Advisory and Pavel Molchanov, Senior Vice President and Equity Analyst, Raymond James & Associates.

The Flava Brigade

But the pitch to Main Street will come quickly in view — and you’ll know it’s not your Dad’s industrial biotech when the focus shifts to “Biotech and the Future of Food Ingredients, Flavorings, and Personal Care” and the speakers include Andreas Birmoser, Senior Vice President Strategy and Business Development, Stora Enso Biomaterials, John Melo, President and Chief Executive Officer, Amyris , Markus Pompejus, Vice President White Biotechnology Research North America, BASF Corporation, and Jill Zullo, Vice President, Bioindustrials NA, Cargill.

The Fuel Disruptors

Fuels will be in evidence early on July 25th, but it’s all advanced technology and advances around the globe in “Second Generation Biofuels Poised for Big Wins,” with Pramod Chaudhari, Executive Chairman of Praj Industries Ltd., Marc Delcourt, Chief Executive Officer, Global Bioenergies, Jonas Markusson, Innovation and Product Development Manager, SEKAB, Hermann Pengg, Head of Renewable Fuels & Lifecycle Analysis Department, Audi AG, Mario Pennisi, Chief Executive Officer, Life Sciences Queensland, and Mena Salib, Manager of Aircraft Noise and Emissions, Air Canada.

Telling the Story

With product experiences more likely to touch the consumer through advantaged and differentiated brands, a new plenary session we’ve not seen before on the stage debuts on the 25th, “Effectively Communicating the Benefits of Industrial Biotechnology”, with Herman Betten, Global Head of Public Relations, DSM, Melody Bomgartner, Senior Business Editor, Chemical & Engineering News, Doris de Guzman, Senior Consultant – Bio-Materials, Tecnon OrbiChem USA, Stephan Herrera, Vice President, Strategy and Public Affairs, Evolva, and Sylvie Latieule, Director, Info Chimie Magazine.

Big Things Come in Sustainable Packages

The World Congress turns back to the the “Revolution in Biobased Products and Packaging” — a second plenary session on July 26th aimed at the emerging world of biomaterials and taking into account the changes in packaging. We’ll see Thijs Rodenburg, Chief Executive Officer, Rodenburg Biopolymers, Michael Saltzberg, Global Business Director, Biomaterials, DuPont Industrial Biosciences, Gustavo Sergi, Renewable Chemicals Business Director, Braskem, Puneet Trehan, Material Innovation and Development Leader, IKEA and Bob Walsh, Senior Vice President, Energy Sector, Intrexon.

Takeaways from the World Congress line-up this year?

First of all, it’s worth noting that there is hardly a speaker on stage whose organization is not multi-national in character or at least based entirely outside of North America. Industrial biotech is spreading around the globe and there’s a capital W in “World Congress” this year. Also worth noting that one-half of the plenary sessions take on renewable chemicals and biomaterials this year in some form — fuels are still in the foreground for many players — but the focus on materials and on products that more permanently sequester carbon is patently on view.

We also note the rise of big-budgeted major players and technologies in advanced states of technical readiness — there’s been quite a shift from the R to the D — players like Cargill, DuPont, DSM, IKEA, SEKAB, Air Canada, BASF, Stora Enso, and Braskem are clear evidence in the plenaries. Not to mention listed industrial biotech companies like Evolva, Intrexon and Global Bioenergies.

Finally, we note a shift away from the tradition of policymakers and consultants talking up the promise of industrial biotech and the opportunities they see for market access and decarbonizing the economy. The themes have changed from role-definition and roll-call to roll-out, roll-up. and roll-on — and that’s a potent and welcome sign of the times.

This article first appeared in Biofuels Digest, May 15, 2017 and is reprinted with permission, http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2017/05/15/bio-world-congress-agenda-shows-industrial-biotech-diversifying-differentiating-disrupting-disintermediating/.
©2017 Biofuels Digest. All rights reserved.

BIO World Congress Agenda Shows Industrial Biotech Diversifying, Differentiating, Disrupting, Disintermediating

This July, industrial biotech returns to its largest and grandest stage at the BIO World Congress, which convenes in Montreal on July 23rd through the 26th, and the plenary program offers convincing proof that the industry is diversifying fast into chemicals, nutrition, packaging, personal care, Every day, it is touching the consumer more and more directly in a shift away from pure bulk commodities and policy chat and into differentiated end-user product and packaging experiences that speak to customers whether they are looking for more sustainable products or novel performance.

Show me the Money

The pitch to Wall Street comes up first on July 24th when the World Congress opens the plenary program with “Why Bet on Renewables? Attracting Private Capital for Renewable Chemical Commercialization”. The investor panel features Brian Baynes, Partner, Flagship Pioneering William Byun, Principal, Conchubar Capital Advisory and Pavel Molchanov, Senior Vice President and Equity Analyst, Raymond James & Associates.

The Flava Brigade

But the pitch to Main Street will come quickly in view — and you’ll know it’s not your Dad’s industrial biotech when the focus shifts to “Biotech and the Future of Food Ingredients, Flavorings, and Personal Care” and the speakers include Andreas Birmoser, Senior Vice President Strategy and Business Development, Stora Enso Biomaterials, John Melo, President and Chief Executive Officer, Amyris , Markus Pompejus, Vice President White Biotechnology Research North America, BASF Corporation, and Jill Zullo, Vice President, Bioindustrials NA, Cargill.

The Fuel Disruptors

Fuels will be in evidence early on July 25th, but it’s all advanced technology and advances around the globe in “Second Generation Biofuels Poised for Big Wins,” with Pramod Chaudhari, Executive Chairman of Praj Industries Ltd., Marc Delcourt, Chief Executive Officer, Global Bioenergies, Jonas Markusson, Innovation and Product Development Manager, SEKAB, Hermann Pengg, Head of Renewable Fuels & Lifecycle Analysis Department, Audi AG, Mario Pennisi, Chief Executive Officer, Life Sciences Queensland, and Mena Salib, Manager of Aircraft Noise and Emissions, Air Canada.

Telling the Story

With product experiences more likely to touch the consumer through advantaged and differentiated brands, a new plenary session we’ve not seen before on the stage debuts on the 25th, “Effectively Communicating the Benefits of Industrial Biotechnology”, with Herman Betten, Global Head of Public Relations, DSM, Melody Bomgartner, Senior Business Editor, Chemical & Engineering News, Doris de Guzman, Senior Consultant – Bio-Materials, Tecnon OrbiChem USA, Stephan Herrera, Vice President, Strategy and Public Affairs, Evolva, and Sylvie Latieule, Director, Info Chimie Magazine.

Big Things Come in Sustainable Packages

The World Congress turns back to the the “Revolution in Biobased Products and Packaging” — a second plenary session on July 26th aimed at the emerging world of biomaterials and taking into account the changes in packaging. We’ll see Thijs Rodenburg, Chief Executive Officer, Rodenburg Biopolymers, Michael Saltzberg, Global Business Director, Biomaterials, DuPont Industrial Biosciences, Gustavo Sergi, Renewable Chemicals Business Director, Braskem, Puneet Trehan, Material Innovation and Development Leader, IKEA and Bob Walsh, Senior Vice President, Energy Sector, Intrexon.

Takeaways from the World Congress line-up this year?

First of all, it’s worth noting that there is hardly a speaker on stage whose organization is not multi-national in character or at least based entirely outside of North America. Industrial biotech is spreading around the globe and there’s a capital W in “World Congress” this year. Also worth noting that one-half of the plenary sessions take on renewable chemicals and biomaterials this year in some form — fuels are still in the foreground for many players — but the focus on materials and on products that more permanently sequester carbon is patently on view.

We also note the rise of big-budgeted major players and technologies in advanced states of technical readiness — there’s been quite a shift from the R to the D — players like Cargill, DuPont, DSM, IKEA, SEKAB, Air Canada, BASF, Stora Enso, and Braskem are clear evidence in the plenaries. Not to mention listed industrial biotech companies like Evolva, Intrexon and Global Bioenergies.

Finally, we note a shift away from the tradition of policymakers and consultants talking up the promise of industrial biotech and the opportunities they see for market access and decarbonizing the economy. The themes have changed from role-definition and roll-call to roll-out, roll-up. and roll-on — and that’s a potent and welcome sign of the times.

This article first appeared in Biofuels Digest, May 15, 2017 and is reprinted with permission, http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2017/05/15/bio-world-congress-agenda-shows-industrial-biotech-diversifying-differentiating-disrupting-disintermediating/.
©2017 Biofuels Digest. All rights reserved.

One Health for the 21st Century

In remarkable ways, the embracing of the One Health concept over the last decade has resulted in a dramatic shift in the discussions, practices, polices and partnerships that link the health of people, animals and our shared environments. In part, One Health has benefited from many innovative, collaborative efforts well underway and years in the making.  In other ways, the efforts have been focused on improving on 20th Century approaches and meeting 20th Century goals rather than boldly leading us into the 21st Century.  While the movement has had positive effects, the challenge remains to expand stakeholder engagement in One Health and think more broadly about where opportunities for impact may lie.

One Health is not only about infectious diseases; non-transmissible diseases, the health of plants and animals, the quality of our water and air, and the safety of the environment in which we live, share, and depend all fit within the rubric. But since infections shared among animals and people account for nearly two-thirds of human infectious diseases, and the majority of these are from wildlife, “low-hanging fruit” for collaborative benefits can be found at the human/animal/environment interface of infectious diseases and even pandemics.  The environment and how we interact with it is key because we know that the leading drivers of disease emergence in humans result from activities such as land use change, food production systems, and trade and travel.  This reality reveals the need to embrace a wider range of civil society and private sector partners and indicates the valuable role that the biotechnology sector can play.

We now have the ability to predict where outbreaks are most likely to happen and under which circumstances, thus we can take action to reduce risk and mitigate adverse outcomes.  As with earthquakes, we can identify areas of higher risk, and we can engineer solutions to mitigate impact.

One Heath action requires the efforts of more than just policy makers, academics and practitioners. It is dependent on engagement, and often leadership, from civil society and the private sector.  Fire safety serves as good analogy.  Fire fighters don’t just put out fires, they engage the community in fire prevention.  School children are taught safety, buildings and products are designed and manufactured to be fire safe.  Companies sell smoke detectors and fire extinguishers to private citizens.  Data crunchers map out tax delinquencies as a predictor of arson.  Health in the 21st Century requires this same whole of society effort and requires the creation of opportunities for the inclusion and engagement of a wide range of actors to participate.  In essence, this is the heart of the One Health concept.

Dr. Karesh is scheduled to speak at BIO’s 2017 International Convention in San Diego on Monday, June 19, as part of BIO’s “One Health Day” programming.  This unique half-day session provides an opportunity for attendees to engage in discussions around the promises of One Health innovations to help us better heal, fuel and feed the world.

One Health for the 21st Century

In remarkable ways, the embracing of the One Health concept over the last decade has resulted in a dramatic shift in the discussions, practices, polices and partnerships that link the health of people, animals and our shared environments. In part, One Health has benefited from many innovative, collaborative efforts well underway and years in the making.  In other ways, the efforts have been focused on improving on 20th Century approaches and meeting 20th Century goals rather than boldly leading us into the 21st Century.  While the movement has had positive effects, the challenge remains to expand stakeholder engagement in One Health and think more broadly about where opportunities for impact may lie.

One Health is not only about infectious diseases; non-transmissible diseases, the health of plants and animals, the quality of our water and air, and the safety of the environment in which we live, share, and depend all fit within the rubric. But since infections shared among animals and people account for nearly two-thirds of human infectious diseases, and the majority of these are from wildlife, “low-hanging fruit” for collaborative benefits can be found at the human/animal/environment interface of infectious diseases and even pandemics.  The environment and how we interact with it is key because we know that the leading drivers of disease emergence in humans result from activities such as land use change, food production systems, and trade and travel.  This reality reveals the need to embrace a wider range of civil society and private sector partners and indicates the valuable role that the biotechnology sector can play.

We now have the ability to predict where outbreaks are most likely to happen and under which circumstances, thus we can take action to reduce risk and mitigate adverse outcomes.  As with earthquakes, we can identify areas of higher risk, and we can engineer solutions to mitigate impact.

One Heath action requires the efforts of more than just policy makers, academics and practitioners. It is dependent on engagement, and often leadership, from civil society and the private sector.  Fire safety serves as good analogy.  Fire fighters don’t just put out fires, they engage the community in fire prevention.  School children are taught safety, buildings and products are designed and manufactured to be fire safe.  Companies sell smoke detectors and fire extinguishers to private citizens.  Data crunchers map out tax delinquencies as a predictor of arson.  Health in the 21st Century requires this same whole of society effort and requires the creation of opportunities for the inclusion and engagement of a wide range of actors to participate.  In essence, this is the heart of the One Health concept.

Dr. Karesh is scheduled to speak at BIO’s 2017 International Convention in San Diego on Monday, June 19, as part of BIO’s “One Health Day” programming.  This unique half-day session provides an opportunity for attendees to engage in discussions around the promises of One Health innovations to help us better heal, fuel and feed the world.

Life After Start-Up Stadium: SyntheX, Inc.

For the third year, the BIO International Convention will host the 2017 BIO Start-Up Stadium Empowering the Cutting-Edge Companies of Tomorrow, Today – an exciting and interactive experience where investors provide live feedback and judge 5-7 minute pitches presented by start-up biotech companies. The Start-Up Stadium accepts applications from early-stage companies with breakthrough technologies, and invites investors and state and regional affiliates to engage and explore mutual opportunities. Participating companies receive access to BIO One-on-One Partnering™ and educational sessions making their experience at BIO like no other.

Maria Soloveychik, Co-Founder and CEO of SyntheX, Inc.

This is the third in a series of guest blogs highlighting Start-Up Stadium success stories as told by former participants. Today we spoke with 2016 Alum, Maria Soloveychik, Ph.D., Co-Founder and CEO of SyntheX, Inc.

BTN: Can you tell us about your start-up?
SyntheX, Inc. is a San Francisco based therapeutics company founded in 2016. SyntheX utilizes its novel platform technology to select for peptides and create peptidomimetics to drug previously ‘undruggable’ targets, relying on the concept of synthetic lethality to treat cancer.

BTN: Was the Start-Up Stadium platform able to assist you in gaining visibility?
The Start-Up Stadium was an excellent platform for gaining visibility. You get to share your science and start-up with experts and investors in the biotech space AND receive valuable feedback and advice. We met great people in the audience and have even maintained relationships with a few judges.

BTN: Did you receive constructive live feedback at the Start-Up Stadium from stakeholders and subject matter experts?
I was asked several interesting questions regarding our platform and early assets. In their assessment, the panel made good suggestions in relation to alternative business models focused on licensing and partnering. They also provided great feedback on our deck and presentation style.

BTN: How have you implemented any feedback to achieve success and continued growth?
After Start-Up Stadium, the feedback received was incorporated into all presentations and meetings. I have also gone on to discuss various business model structures with advisors and experts in the industry – which later shaped our partnering meetings and internal work prioritization.

BTN: Were your BIO One-on-One Partnering™ meetings successful? Did they generate valuable connections with potential for meaningful partnerships?
The BIO One-on-One Partnering™ meetings were a major highlight of Convention! We had a very packed schedule, but had the opportunity to meet with big and mid-sized pharmas as well as CROs. These talks were excellent for understanding their interests and obtaining advice, as well as assessing a potential fit for a future partnership. We are actively communicating with several companies we met through partnering, and have established meaningful relationships with several CROs and fellow start-ups.

BTN: Although no longer eligible to participate in the Start-Up Stadium, will you be returning the 2017 BIO International Convention?
I would love to return this year, but unfortunately, there is a scheduling conflict for 2017. It is likely that we will attend the 2018 BIO International Convention. The BIO One-on-One Partnering™ meetings are such an excellent and organized way to meet with potential partners, and the events around the conference are a great collegial gathering of the biotech community.

About: SyntheX is a therapeutics company that disrupts cellular communication pathways to target proteins that are inaccessible via canonical screening technologies. We use a proprietary drug design approach and our in-vivo screening platform, ToRPPIDO, to identify compounds that disrupt protein-protein interactions (PPIs) – in a fast, efficient, and highly specific manner. We take advantage of synthetic lethality to develop compounds that target particular “Achilles’ heel” PPI in specific pathologies. We are currently developing inhibitors for a series of specific and previously undruggable targets. Our lead stabilized peptide inhibitor drugs, STX101 and STX105, block PPIs within the BRCA2 pathway, effectively mimicking a BRCA2 mutation and downregulating recombination. To learn more, visit: www.synthexlabs.com.

Life After Start-Up Stadium: SyntheX, Inc.

For the third year, the BIO International Convention will host the 2017 BIO Start-Up Stadium Empowering the Cutting-Edge Companies of Tomorrow, Today – an exciting and interactive experience where investors provide live feedback and judge 5-7 minute pitches presented by start-up biotech companies. The Start-Up Stadium accepts applications from early-stage companies with breakthrough technologies, and invites investors and state and regional affiliates to engage and explore mutual opportunities. Participating companies receive access to BIO One-on-One Partnering™ and educational sessions making their experience at BIO like no other.

Maria Soloveychik, Co-Founder and CEO of SyntheX, Inc.

This is the third in a series of guest blogs highlighting Start-Up Stadium success stories as told by former participants. Today we spoke with 2016 Alum, Maria Soloveychik, Ph.D., Co-Founder and CEO of SyntheX, Inc.

BTN: Can you tell us about your start-up?
SyntheX, Inc. is a San Francisco based therapeutics company founded in 2016. SyntheX utilizes its novel platform technology to select for peptides and create peptidomimetics to drug previously ‘undruggable’ targets, relying on the concept of synthetic lethality to treat cancer.

BTN: Was the Start-Up Stadium platform able to assist you in gaining visibility?
The Start-Up Stadium was an excellent platform for gaining visibility. You get to share your science and start-up with experts and investors in the biotech space AND receive valuable feedback and advice. We met great people in the audience and have even maintained relationships with a few judges.

BTN: Did you receive constructive live feedback at the Start-Up Stadium from stakeholders and subject matter experts?
I was asked several interesting questions regarding our platform and early assets. In their assessment, the panel made good suggestions in relation to alternative business models focused on licensing and partnering. They also provided great feedback on our deck and presentation style.

BTN: How have you implemented any feedback to achieve success and continued growth?
After Start-Up Stadium, the feedback received was incorporated into all presentations and meetings. I have also gone on to discuss various business model structures with advisors and experts in the industry – which later shaped our partnering meetings and internal work prioritization.

BTN: Were your BIO One-on-One Partnering™ meetings successful? Did they generate valuable connections with potential for meaningful partnerships?
The BIO One-on-One Partnering™ meetings were a major highlight of Convention! We had a very packed schedule, but had the opportunity to meet with big and mid-sized pharmas as well as CROs. These talks were excellent for understanding their interests and obtaining advice, as well as assessing a potential fit for a future partnership. We are actively communicating with several companies we met through partnering, and have established meaningful relationships with several CROs and fellow start-ups.

BTN: Although no longer eligible to participate in the Start-Up Stadium, will you be returning the 2017 BIO International Convention?
I would love to return this year, but unfortunately, there is a scheduling conflict for 2017. It is likely that we will attend the 2018 BIO International Convention. The BIO One-on-One Partnering™ meetings are such an excellent and organized way to meet with potential partners, and the events around the conference are a great collegial gathering of the biotech community.

About: SyntheX is a therapeutics company that disrupts cellular communication pathways to target proteins that are inaccessible via canonical screening technologies. We use a proprietary drug design approach and our in-vivo screening platform, ToRPPIDO, to identify compounds that disrupt protein-protein interactions (PPIs) – in a fast, efficient, and highly specific manner. We take advantage of synthetic lethality to develop compounds that target particular “Achilles’ heel” PPI in specific pathologies. We are currently developing inhibitors for a series of specific and previously undruggable targets. Our lead stabilized peptide inhibitor drugs, STX101 and STX105, block PPIs within the BRCA2 pathway, effectively mimicking a BRCA2 mutation and downregulating recombination. To learn more, visit: www.synthexlabs.com.

#BIO2017: A Peek at Pavilions | Sub-Saharan Africa

Breaking Buzz is BIO’s newest blog series that reaches across the globe to bring you an insider’s preview into the hottest international and partnering trends coming to San Diego for the BIO International Convention.

The Fastest-Growing Continent You Thought You Knew

The African continent is currently home to seven of the world’s top-ten fastest-growing economies; and by 2050 (just 33 years from today!) is projected to represent 26% of the global population.

Let that sink in for a minute.

There are 54 countries within the continent which spans more than 11.7 million square miles – second only to Asia both in percentage of land on earth, and population; it is home to over 1.2 billion people many of whom are now referred to as the world’s fastest-growing middle class. And get this: World Economics, a research organization that measures global economic activity, reports that the African continent has surpassed Europe and the Americas in real GDP growth when measuring by continent, from 1961 to 2015.

So what’s a continent to do with so much potential? Breaking Buzz asked Jennifer Dent, President of BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH) just that and she says, it all starts at the BIO International Convention.

“We brought in the first African delegation to the Convention from Nigeria in 2014. The next year, six countries came, and we had the first Africa Pavilion. Last year in San Francisco we had 16 African countries present. But this year in San Diego we will have 24 countries from the African continent and upward of 30 delegates – and for the record, these aren’t just any delegates. The delegates at the pavilion have real authority, so expect action.”

She is referring to Ministry of Health officials and advisors representing several countries, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Côte d’Ivoire; and high-level decision makers from academic, non-profit organizations, and life science companies. Collectively they represent 24 of the African continent’s 54 countries and share a common mission: to engage biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and life science companies in meaningful initiatives, programs and partnerships to impact global health.

The quality of attendee is a direct reflection of recent findings reported by the World Bank who had this to say about Africa: Fostering public and private investment in infrastructure has become a priority to the African continent, [so] with well-targeted capital investments and policies fostering competitiveness and productivity, Africa’s larger and younger work force has the potential to transform the continent.

Jennifer Dent, President BVGH

“Think about what’s important to industry” says Dent; “they’re looking for growth opportunities in markets across the globe, and as the World Bank reveals, Africa has made considerable progress in its infrastructure development and emerging market status. While these countries have grown and prospered, however, so have non-communicable diseases like cancer and diabetes gown in prevalence; these aren’t just markets for anti-malarials and other anti-infectives anymore.”

To enter the African market, Dent stresses that partnerships will be critical to obtaining the in-depth knowledge of the continent’s infrastructure, politics, and disease landscape; that’s where the Convention comes into play and why she’ll be launching a new initiative in San Diego this year.

The African Access Initiative  will be launched on Wednesday at the BIO International Convention in San Diego; it is an integrated package of programs, activities, and partnerships designed to address the primary barriers to cancer treatment in Africa. The AAI will create new business models and tap into company products to establish access to cancer medicines and biologics. The program will augment the African Organization for Research and Training in Cancer which is furthering research relating to cancers prevalent in Africa and facilitating and supporting training initiatives in oncology for health-care professionals. AAI will also support leading cancer researchers dedicated to building clinical trial networks, and determining how genetics affect the types of cancer prevalent to the area.

Two groups from Kenya, incubator Villgro Kenya, and the Kenya National Innovation Agency whose Chairman Professor Reuben Marwanga will also be present, are both working toward the development of a better ecosystem to support innovation and innovators in the country.

“That’s a lot,” says Dent enthusiastically, “and we have just scratched the surface. There are many milestones being reached in Africa, and taking it all in can be a challenge; which is why we’re presenting a one-hour media event at BIO to overview each of the 24 countries and their primary areas of therapeutics.”

Jim Greenwood, BIO President and long-time Africa advocate will open the event at 10:45 on Tuesday morning, the first full day of the Convention. Also in attendance will be the European Commission’s Deputy Head of Unit, Health Directorate Dr. Philippe Cupers who will introduce the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership.

The event will take place in the African Pavilion where you can visit 24 countries in one hour. No frequent flyer miles earned, but hey, what an efficient way to travel.

Filed under: Events, , , , , , , , , , , ,

#BIO2017: A Peek at Pavilions | Sub-Saharan Africa

Breaking Buzz is BIO’s newest blog series that reaches across the globe to bring you an insider’s preview into the hottest international and partnering trends coming to San Diego for the BIO International Convention.

The Fastest-Growing Continent You Thought You Knew

The African continent is currently home to seven of the world’s top-ten fastest-growing economies; and by 2050 (just 33 years from today!) is projected to represent 26% of the global population.

Let that sink in for a minute.

There are 54 countries within the continent which spans more than 11.7 million square miles – second only to Asia both in percentage of land on earth, and population; it is home to over 1.2 billion people many of whom are now referred to as the world’s fastest-growing middle class. And get this: World Economics, a research organization that measures global economic activity, reports that the African continent has surpassed Europe and the Americas in real GDP growth when measuring by continent, from 1961 to 2015.

So what’s a continent to do with so much potential? Breaking Buzz asked Jennifer Dent, President of BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH) just that and she says, it all starts at the BIO International Convention.

“We brought in the first African delegation to the Convention from Nigeria in 2014. The next year, six countries came, and we had the first Africa Pavilion. Last year in San Francisco we had 16 African countries present. But this year in San Diego we will have 24 countries from the African continent and upward of 30 delegates – and for the record, these aren’t just any delegates. The delegates at the pavilion have real authority, so expect action.”

She is referring to Ministry of Health officials and advisors representing several countries, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Côte d’Ivoire; and high-level decision makers from academic, non-profit organizations, and life science companies. Collectively they represent 24 of the African continent’s 54 countries and share a common mission: to engage biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and life science companies in meaningful initiatives, programs and partnerships to impact global health.

The quality of attendee is a direct reflection of recent findings reported by the World Bank who had this to say about Africa: Fostering public and private investment in infrastructure has become a priority to the African continent, [so] with well-targeted capital investments and policies fostering competitiveness and productivity, Africa’s larger and younger work force has the potential to transform the continent.

Jennifer Dent, President BVGH

“Think about what’s important to industry” says Dent; “they’re looking for growth opportunities in markets across the globe, and as the World Bank reveals, Africa has made considerable progress in its infrastructure development and emerging market status. While these countries have grown and prospered, however, so have non-communicable diseases like cancer and diabetes gown in prevalence; these aren’t just markets for anti-malarials and other anti-infectives anymore.”

To enter the African market, Dent stresses that partnerships will be critical to obtaining the in-depth knowledge of the continent’s infrastructure, politics, and disease landscape; that’s where the Convention comes into play and why she’ll be launching a new initiative in San Diego this year.

The African Access Initiative  will be launched on Wednesday at the BIO International Convention in San Diego; it is an integrated package of programs, activities, and partnerships designed to address the primary barriers to cancer treatment in Africa. The AAI will create new business models and tap into company products to establish access to cancer medicines and biologics. The program will augment the African Organization for Research and Training in Cancer which is furthering research relating to cancers prevalent in Africa and facilitating and supporting training initiatives in oncology for health-care professionals. AAI will also support leading cancer researchers dedicated to building clinical trial networks, and determining how genetics affect the types of cancer prevalent to the area.

Two groups from Kenya, incubator Villgro Kenya, and the Kenya National Innovation Agency whose Chairman Professor Reuben Marwanga will also be present, are both working toward the development of a better ecosystem to support innovation and innovators in the country.

“That’s a lot,” says Dent enthusiastically, “and we have just scratched the surface. There are many milestones being reached in Africa, and taking it all in can be a challenge; which is why we’re presenting a one-hour media event at BIO to overview each of the 24 countries and their primary areas of therapeutics.”

Jim Greenwood, BIO President and long-time Africa advocate will open the event at 10:45 on Tuesday morning, the first full day of the Convention. Also in attendance will be the European Commission’s Deputy Head of Unit, Health Directorate Dr. Philippe Cupers who will introduce the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership.

The event will take place in the African Pavilion where you can visit 24 countries in one hour. No frequent flyer miles earned, but hey, what an efficient way to travel.

Filed under: Events, , , , , , , , , , , ,

BIO 2017 Innovation Zone Company Snapshot: NuvOx Pharma

The next big medical breakthrough may start in a small business with a big idea. Recognizing the potential and promise of early-stage companies for addressing unmet medical needs, the BIO International Convention will once again host the Innovation Zone on the exhibit floor of the San Diego Convention Center, June 19-22. Eighty emerging companies will showcase biotechnology breakthroughs in drug discovery, diagnostics, and other therapeutic platform technologies.

The Innovation Zone was created through a partnership with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) with the intent to group Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)-funded companies together on the exhibit floor of the BIO International Convention. The SBIR program provides U.S. federal funding to small businesses engaged in research and development with demonstrated potential for commercialization. Companies are rigorously vetted through the NIH and NSF SBIR review process prior to receiving the funding.

Today we spoke with Innovation Zone exhibitor, John McGonigle, Business Development Associate at NuvOx Pharma, which is supported by NIH’s SBIR program.

BTN: What is your company’s lead product or technology?
NuvOx Pharma is developing a nanotechnology platform of therapeutics to treat life-threatening diseases characterized by hypoxia. The Company has clinical programs in cancer (Phase II), stroke (Ib/II) and sickle cell disease (Phase Ib).

BTN: How has the NIH’s SBIR program helped your company grow?
The NIH’s SBIR program has been instrumental in the development of NuvOx Pharma. For example, our oncology program was started by an NCI SBIR Phase I grant to help us reformulate an EMEA approved ultrasound contrast agent as a stable emulsion for oxygen delivery.  A Phase II NCI SBIR grant supported IND enabling animal studies, and helped us show that the drug can raise tumor oxygen levels to make tumors more sensitive to radiation therapy. We completed a Phase Ib/II clinical trial in brain cancer, and the FDA has allowed our IND for a Phase II clinical trial in this indication. We have applied to the NIH for a Phase IIb SBIR Bridge Award, which would match investor funds to support the Phase II clinical trial. In addition, the Company has received Phase I SBIR/STTR grants to develop nanotechnology products for heart disease (endocarditis and myocardial infarction) and cancer (pancreas and breast).

BTN: What are the upcoming milestones and long-term priorities for your company?
Long term, we recognize that hypoxia can be life-threatening in many medical conditions, including some of the biggest killers in the world such as cancer, stroke and heart attack. We intend to save lives by using our nanotechnology to deliver oxygen to hypoxic tissue more effectively than red blood cells. We have animal data showing improved outcomes in cancer, stroke, myocardial infarction, sickle cell disease, hemorrhagic shock, and traumatic brain injury.

Short term, we have several major milestones coming up in the next year. We are on track to start the Phase II clinical trial in oncology this fall.  We have an active Phase Ib/II clinical trial in stroke and we should have the first randomized data from that trial within the year.  We are on track to start a Phase Ib clinical trial in sickle disease this summer.  The NHLBI has recently funded a study in heart attack in pigs, which could provide the data needed to file an IND for a clinical trial in that indication.

BTN: What do you hope to gain out of your participation at the 2017 BIO International Convention?
We are seeking investors to help us develop our drug assets and corporate partners to help us develop our nanotechnology products.

BTN: Tell us something about your company that investors might not know…
$100M was spent developing the core technology for a diagnostic indication – as an ultrasound contrast agent.  It was used in 2,200 patients, and approved in Europe, but never marketed due to competitive pressures. NuvOx was formed to reposition the technology for its oxygen delivery ability. We have devised new formulations with the support of the NIH.  We have tested the nanotechnology products in multiple models – oxygen delivery and/or therapeutic effect has been shown in 26 peer-reviewed publications, many of which were supported by NIH funding, in particular by the NCI and NHLBI.  We have expanded the IP – and have 5 patents issued, 1 patent allowed and 12 patents pending.  The FDA regulates the technology as a Biologic, allowing 12 years exclusivity for a first in class indication – and we are the only technology in clinical trials in our class.  We would like to thank the NIH for its forward-thinking and continued support.  Feel free to stop by NuvOx Pharma’s kiosk in the NIH’s Innovation Zone at BIO San Diego if you would like to learn more.