In the NEWS
AstraZeneca (AZN) announced a collaboration with Cancer Research UK to launch a center of excellence in genetic screening, cancer modelling and big data processing aimed at accelerating the discovery of new cancer medicines.
During the announcement of the news, Mene Pangalos, the firm’s Executive Vice President, Innovative Medicines & Early Development, said, the best science doesn’t happen in isolation, which is why AstraZeneca is committed to advancing innovative science through collaboration. This new center of excellence with Cancer Research UK will combine their expertise in functional genomics and CRISPR technology for the discovery of new biological pathways and for accelerating the development of new cancer treatments.
The Functional Genomics Centre will further develop CRISPR technology to better understand the biology of cancer, creating biological models that may be more reflective of human disease, and advancing computational approaches to better analyze big datasets. These approaches are designed to inform new druggable targets in oncology by using clinical insights to better understand cancer its mechanisms of resistance to treatments.
Knowing the functional genomic drivers of disease enables scientists to more accurately select the right drug targets and increase the probability of success in the clinic.
Dr. Iain Foulkes, Cancer Research UK’s Executive Director of Research and Innovation, said: “We’re delighted to collaborate with AstraZeneca on this exciting new initiative which will give leading Cancer Research UK scientists and our alliance partners access to the latest in CRISPR technology. As we move into an era of personalized medicine, we’ve reached a turning point in our ability to harness powerful technologies in the pursuit of targeted cancer therapies. We hope that this will translate into urgently needed new therapies for patients with hard to treat cancers such as lung, pancreatic, esophageal and brain tumors.”
At the Centre, scientists will have access to the next generation of CRISPR libraries for silencing or activating every gene in the genome through an extension of the existing collaboration between AstraZeneca and the Wellcome Sanger Institute.
A separate collaboration between AstraZeneca and the California-based Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI) will aim at using CRISPR to uncover genes and disease pathway mechanisms involved in DNA Damage Response (DDR) identifying potential therapeutic strategies for DDR inhibitors including combinations in oncology.
Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading cancer charity; dedicated to saving lives through research. It is pioneering work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer and has helped save millions of lives. It has been at the heart of the progress that has seen survival in the UK double in the last forty years.
Together with its partners and supporters; Cancer Research UK’s vision is to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured. For further information please visit, www.cancerresearchuk.org.
The Wellcome Sanger Institute is one of the world’s leading genome centers. Its research findings, generated through its own research programs and through its leading role in international consortia, are being used to develop new diagnostics and treatments for human disease. To celebrate its 25th year, in 2018, the Institute is sequencing 25 new genomes of species in the UK.
For further information please visit, www.sanger.ac.uk or follow @Sanger institute.
IGI is a non-profit, academic partnership, between UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco, that supports collaborative research projects across the Bay Area. The IGI’s mission is to develop and deploy genome engineering to cure disease, ensure food security and sustain the environment for current and future generations. As pioneers in genome editing, functional genomics and other cutting-edge technologies, IGI scientists continuously push the boundaries of science.
Tomorrow Starts Today
On August 15, 2016, under this title, we wrote that AstraZeneca has invested another $140 million in Moderna Therapeutics, which already had around $1 billion in cash. We wrote that Moderna develops drugs based on the messenger RNA (mRNA) molecules. In its press release, at that time, AstraZeneca said that the new investment, part of a preferred-stock financing, lifted its stake in Moderna to 9 percent. AstraZeneca first invested in Moderna in 2013.
Messenger RNA (mRNA) carries the recipe for making proteins inside the body. Using it as a medicine could offer a new way to tackle many hard-to-treat diseases; from cancer to infections, to heart and kidney disorders.
It is suggested that mRNA serves as software that can be injected into the body to instruct ribosomes (the “3D-printers” found inside cells) to churn out the desired proteins.
We mentioned, at the time, that Moderna has strategic agreements with: Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN), Merck (MRK), and Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX).
AstraZeneca is plunging deeper into genetics by collaborating with great accomplishing institutions. The collaborations, as we read above, aim at using the gene editing CRISPR technology, other gene-related technologies and products, to the best of their capacities towards advancing the diagnosis and treatment of diseases at their root-origin, i.e., the genes.
One of the technologies the firm is interested in is the mRNA platform which builds on the finding that: modified mRNA can train the body’s cells to produce nearly any protein, from native proteins to antibodies and other innovative structures, which can have therapeutic effects both within and outside the cells.
This is what Moderna Therapeutics (MRNA) is building its numerous pipeline products from, including treatments and vaccines for numerous diseases that impact countless lives.
In the previous short article that we posted two years ago on Moderna, we wrote, “Moderna’s products are still at an early stage. Preclinical is where the firm’s products are at this time. However, in case Moderna becomes publicly-traded, we will be the first to invest in it moderately at first, then to accumulate according to the firm’s news and accomplishments.”
Since our promise was made in 2016, some of Moderna’s products have moved from the preclinical to the clinical trials while other products have been added. And, guess what? on December 6, Moderna raised over $600 million in biotech’s largest initial public offering to date. The firm sold around 26.3 million shares, at $23 a share. The offering was larger than expected and valuing the company at around $7.5 billion.
In the Stock Market
|The Stock Exchange||NASDAQ|
|Market Cap||$6.03 Billion|
We decided to do exactly what we promised two years ago; we added Moderna to our Portfolio for moderate investing. We will then accumulate the stock on weaknesses and following good news.