A Podcast Series produced for and with LifeScience ORG
Molecular Microbiologist and Podcast Producer, Dr David Kirk, talks to the people behind early-stage translational life science across Europe whose innovative research today may be the blockbusters and game-changing technologies of tomorrow.
Episode length: 12-15 Minutes
More sustainable process development of cultivated meat with Dr Will Milligan of Extracellular
Cellular agriculture or cultivated meat - often mistakenly called "lab-grown meat" - is now coming into its own with the first products nearing market readiness. Many of these companies now face the daunting task of scaling their innovation. Because most CDMOs for animal cell growth are geared toward the health sector, costs are much higher for bioprocessing than they need to be for the relatively less-stringent food sector when it comes to regulatory needs.
Will Milligan founded https://www.extracellular.com/ (Extracellular), based in Bristol in the UK, as the first CDMO and innovation partner for cellular agriculture. With a background in mechanical engineering - and coming from a family of farmers - Will believes the solution to making cellular agriculture affordable, sustainable, and available requires innovation partnership for scaling up product development within the sector.
In this episode of BioInnovation Spotlight, Will discusses the unmet needs underlying the cellular agriculture sector and the challenges faced by cultivated meat products in scaling up and getting to the market. Extracellular is based at and supported by https://sciencecreates.co.uk/ventures/ (Science Creates) in Bristol.
Invading solid tumour castles with bacterial Trojan horses, with Dr Pedro Correa de Sampaio of Neobe Therapeutics
Our immune system is like an army, constantly fighting to keep invaders at bay. When faced with solid tumours, that army is at a major disadvantage. Tumours can build walls around themselves making it hard for the immune cells to penetrate and subsequently target the cancerous cells.
https://www.neobetherapeutics.com/ (Neobe Therapeutics), a spinout of https://deepscienceventures.com/ (Deep Science Ventures) and https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/ (Cancer Research UK), is looking to an old idea of using bacteria to treat solid tumours by coupling this with the precision tools of synthetic biology. Their bacteria aim to slip behind the walls of these solid tumours and, like a Trojan horse, precisely attack them from within - tearing down the walls for the army of the immune system
In this episode of BioInnovation Spotlight, we chat with Neobe founder Dr Pedro Correa de Sampaio about why he moved from academia to entrepreneurship to tackle problems in cancer treatment, and why he believes this technology could be the solution.
Building an international sequence library under the Nagoya Protocol with Basecamp Research
Since 2014, the Nagoya Protocol has protected the intellectual property of genome sequences by ensuring their countries of origin are entitled to full ownership. Rather than triggering a wave of global genome sequencing and licensing deals, the Protocol seems to have done the opposite - genome exploration for the bio-industry has been stymied for fear of getting bogged down in red tape and legal issues.
One company aims to change this. Basecamp Research, co-founded by long-time friends Dr Glen Gowers and Dr Oliver Vince, was established to work with the Nagoya Protocol. They aim to build a massive sequencing library that will not only help bio-businesses and researchers gain new insights but also help biodiversity guardians in their conservation work.
In this episode of BioInnovation Spotlight, we talk to Glen and Ollie about their unique business model, how they get around the legal minefield of an international treaty, and their method of managing as co-founders, co-CEOs, and friends.
Turning Cold Tumours Hot with Engineered Macrophages with Dr Simon Bredl of UHZ
Solid tumours can be roughly classified into two groups - hot and cold. Hot tumours experience inflammation and are susceptible to drugs like checkpoint inhibitors, and so are more treatable than cold tumours. Cold tumours are just the opposite - they actively dampen the immune system, reducing the effectiveness of cells like macrophages by turning them from the pro-inflammatory M1 type to the anti-inflammatory M2 type.
https://www.usz.ch/team/simon-bredl/ (Dr Simon Bredl) discovered a unique feature of macrophages in a mouse model of HIV. Their macrophages behaved strangely, switching to the pro-inflammatory M1 type when given an anti-inflammatory signal. While investigating their potential for HIV treatment, Simon realised these cells could be used to target cold solid tumours - and potentially turn them hot.
In this episode of BioInnovation Spotlight, Simon tells us the story of how an HIV research model led him to pursue cancer treatment and the potential impact these cells could have in cell therapy treatments for hard-to-treat cancers like Triple Negative Breast Cancer.
Simon's work is in collaboration with https://www.usz.ch/en/ (University Hospital Zurich) and the https://www.usz.ch/en/clinic/comprehensive-cancer-center-zuerich/ (Comprehensive Cancer Center Zurich), and supported by Gebauer Stiftung, Lotte und Adolf Hotz Sprenger-Stiftung, the Claudia von Schilling Foundation for Breast Cancer Research, OPO-Stiftung, Stiftung zur Krebsbekämpfung, and http://www.stiftungmedbiol.novartis.com/index.html (Novartis Foundation for medical-biological research).
Developing Diagnostic Decision Tools for IVF Clinicians with Dr Ana Lobato Pascual of IVF Fit
In-vitro fertilisation is a costly treatment involving a long patient journey where patients must receive regular injections of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). The dosage of FSH is critical to treatment success - too much or too little can result in failure. Currently, the method for calculating each patient dose varies between clinics, with no clear standard or objective diagnostic tool.
IVF Fit was founded by Dr Ana Lobato Pascual from the University of Oslo, where she and her clinical research group developed a blood test to help accurately inform how much FSH should be administered to a patient based on biomarkers. This personalised approach to IVF treatment resulted in OptimOva®, a diagnostic decision-making tool for clinicians.
Ana shares her story and the journey of IVF Fit so far. IVF Fit is supported by https://www.innovasjonnorge.no/en/start-page (Innovation Norway) and https://www.uio.no/english/research/strategic-research-areas/life-science/innovation/spark/ (SPARK Norway).
Dual-Action T Cell Receptor Therapy for Solid Tumours with Katrien Reynders-Frederix of Pan Cancer T
Despite the successes of therapies like Kymriah and Yescarta against blood cancers, solid tumours remain difficult to treat. Finding appropriate molecular targets such as cancer-specific receptors is an ongoing challenge, while the physical environment of a solid tumour also plays a role in suppressing immune responses within it. That said, immunotherapy/cell therapy, like chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) and T cell receptor (TCR) therapies, has shown amazing promise in treating cancer patients where traditional therapies have failed.
https://pancancer-t.com/ (Pan Cancer T) is a spinout from https://www.erasmusmc.nl/en/cancer-institute/patient-care (Erasmus MC Cancer Institute) in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. They are developing dual-action TCR cell therapies, a next-generation treatment for solid cancer that targets both the tumour and the immunosuppressive environment that they present.
In this episode of BioInnovation Spotlight, Katrien Reynders-Frederix talks about the novel approach to TCR therapy at Pan Cancer T, her personal journey from biology to business, and why she wants to make a difference for patients.
Pan Cancer T was founded by Prof. Reno Debets and Dr Dora Hammerl, and is supported by Thuja Capital, Van Herk Ventures, and Swanbridge Capital.