Health/Life Sciences

Life Sciences Information: Manufacturing services in Spokane and Seattle space; offers, funding, and extra

The Allen Institute’s Human Immune System Explorer. In this application, different types of immune cells are clustered by their gene activity. (Allen Institute Image)

Here’s a rundown of the top life sciences and health news across the Pacific Northwest this week.

  • Sana Biotechnology will build a cell therapy manufacturing facility in Woodinville, Washington, nixing earlier plans to locate the facility in the Bay Area.
  • Allen Institute researchers released the “Human Immune System Explorer” to promote open, collaborative research on the human immune system.

Read on for these headlines and more life sciences news in the Pacific Northwest.

— Sana Biotechnology to build manufacturing facility in Seattle area, switching from California

— Allen Institute and Google team up to build platform exploring the immune system

— Seattle biotech startup backed by Gates Foundation launches trial for snail fever vaccine

— Cambia Grove healthcare innovation hub in Seattle rebrands to health policy center

— ProfoundBio, led by Seagen veterans, raises $70M

The glymphatic system is thought to clean the brain during sleep and is featured this week by several news outlets. The system is shown here in a mouse brain. (Jeffrey Iliff Image)

Deals and funding:

  • Jubilant HollisterStier inked a $149.6 million contract with the U.S. government to expand capacity at its Spokane-based plant, which supports COVID-19 vaccine and therapy manufacturing.  
  • German-Houston cell therapy company Immatics signed a deal with Bristol Myers Squibb, which bases its cell therapy and immuno-oncology hub in Seattle. The two companies will partner on developing two “off-the-shelf” cell therapies.
  • Washington Research Foundation awarded Seattle Children’s investigator Shannon Oda a $250,000 commercialization grant to improve T cell therapies. WRF also pledged $1 million to the UW’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship.
  • Amazon Web Services donated more than $1 million of server time to the UW’s Institute for Protein Design to train the institution’s RoseTTAFold software, which predicts the three-dimensional shape of proteins.

Tech moves:

  • Sana Biotechnology hired Snehal Patel, former head of cell therapy manufacturing at Bristol Myers Squibb, to lead its manufacturing operations. Meanwhile, Sana’s head of technical operations Stacey Ma moved to Gilead.
  • GentiBio hired Neely Mozaffarian as chief medical officer.
  • William Watt is now president of Astellas Venture Management.
  • Proprio appointed venture capitalist and surgeon Linda Maxwell to its board.

Podcasts and Posts:

  • The Brain Electrophysiology Lab in Eugene, Ore., was featured by Oregon Public Broadcasting and The Washington Post. The lab is developing a headband to improve sleep, previously also spotlighted by GeekWire.
  • Brotman Baty Institute investigator Lea Starita was featured in a podcast showcasing her work on human genetic variation.
  • Seattle-area high school student Pinyu Liao’s short documentary on antibiotic resistance was accepted into the World Health Organization’s film festival.
  • The Institute for Health Metrics spotlighted its international data on gun violence, showing how the U.S. is an outlier.
  • Nature Computational Science spoke with Institute for Systems Biology investigator Sean Gibbons about his three bachelor’s degrees, his work on the microbiome, and his advice to young LGBTQIA+ scientists.
  • Wavely Diagnostics CEO Arna Ionescu outlined how advances in smartphone technology and shifts in healthcare delivery models enabled her company, which “couldn’t have existed two years ago.”  Wavely is developing an app to detect ear infections.

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