LONDON – A large scale U.K. study looking at the impact of COVID-19 vaccinations on antibody responses and new infections in 373,402 people in the general population has shown a single dose of vaccine cut infections by 65%. Symptomatic infections fell by 74% and infections with no reported symptoms by 57%, 21 days after receiving the first dose of either Astrazeneca plc’s or Pfizer Inc./Biontech SE’s vaccine.
LONDON – Startup company Glucomodicum Oy is preparing to commercialize a new technique for the needle-free monitoring of blood glucose levels, applying the principles of magnetohydrodynamics to noninvasively extract interstitial fluid through the skin.
Versant Ventures has closed three new funds with an aggregate raise of $950 million to allocate to the next wave of innovative startups across North America and Europe. The money is new, but everything else is more or less unchanged. “It’s the same strategy, same team, same geography, same operational model,” Versant chairman and managing director Brad Bolzon told BioWorld.
Prenetics Ltd. is working with Oxford University researchers again to develop molecular diagnostic testing for the new COVID-19 variants, six months after it acquired Oxsed Ltd., a University of Oxford University spinoff to enable rapid airport testing. On April 19, Hong Kong-based Prenetics inked a multimillion-dollar partnership with the University of Oxford and Oxford Suzhou Center for Advanced Research (OSCAR) to upgrade the molecular testing technology Oxlamp for infectious diseases.
DUBLIN – In keeping with the record-breaking year for biotech fundraising across the globe, the Swiss biotech sector also scaled new heights in 2020, with aggregate investment of CHF3.4 billion (US$3.7 billion), according to the newly published Swiss Biotech Report 2021. It represents almost a threefold increase on the CHF1.2 billion total it logged in 2019.
LONDON – The EMA’s safety committee has concluded that unusual blood clots with low blood platelets are a rare side effect of Johnson & Johnson Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccine and that a warning should be added to the label. The decision is based on all available evidence, which currently consists of eight reports from the U.S. of serious cases of thrombosis, one of which was fatal. All cases were in people under 60 years of age, and within three weeks after vaccination, the majority in women. One case occurred during the clinical trials.
Koelis SAS reported the first successful procedures for its platform in 3D fusion imaging-guided focal ablation of prostate cancer at the Clinique Nantes Atlantis in Saint-Herblain, France. These first procedures take place against the background of a multicenter prospective clinical trial starting on the Koelis platform. This includes eight European urology centers, of which six are in France, with data being stored in a dedicated registry.
Chicago-based public benefit corporation Neopenda LLC secured the CE mark for its wireless, wearable vital signs monitor and picked up $1.4 million in new funding led by Assiduity Capital and the Sorenson Impact Foundation. The organization developed Neoguard to monitor critically ill infants in resource-poor regions, but adapted it last year to meet the monitoring needs of adult patients with COVID-19. The CE mark approval covers adult, pediatric and neonatal patients.
Lumicks BV raised $93 million in a series D financing led by new investors Farallon Capital Management and Lauxera Capital Partners. The proceeds are earmarked for expansion of the Lumicks’ product pipeline and for commercialization of its Z-Movi cell avidity analyzer.
Organoids cultured from patient-derived colorectal cancer cells have been used to demonstrate for the first time that tumors which have developed resistance to the full range of existing treatments, across chemotherapies, targeted therapies and immunotherapies, retain a requirement for Werner helicase (WRN) for survival. WRN has a key role in the maintenance of genome stability, but although loss of WRN is known to initiate synthetic lethality in DNA mismatch repair deficient colorectal cancer, studies into the effect of inhibiting that helicase have to date been limited to a handful of cell lines.