Health/Life Sciences

Life sciences information roundup: Seagen expands; biotech vet Q&A; algae capsules for intestine bug; extra

Life Science Washington CEO Marc Cummings at Life Science Innovation Northwest 2022. (Red Box Pictures Photo / Scott Eklund)

The Life Science Innovation Northwest 2022 meeting was live and in person this week in Seattle. Hundreds of researchers and entrepreneurs mingled at the city’s convention center, attending panels on everything from the science of cell therapy to the state of biotech funding in the current bear market.

The meeting launched with a conversation between former Juno Therapeutics executives Hans Bishop and Steve Harr, who both went on to co-found Sana Biotechnology. The Seattle company went public last year in the biggest IPO ever for a preclinical biotech company. GeekWire covered the chat and spoke with Bishop and Harr in an interview afterwards.

The meeting is hosted each year by the trade group Life Science Washington, which has a new CEO, Marc Cummings. I interviewed Cummings on stage at the meeting. He talked about how to strengthen the industry and bolster the workforce, and the priorities of his organization for the future.

Read on for these headlines and more of the week’s life science news in the Pacific Northwest.

— Juno Therapeutics vets Steve Harr and Hans Bishop on building startups, working with tech, and more

— Life sciences industry in Washington state: New trade group chief on sustaining growth and bolstering workforce

This women-led VC firm wants to address ‘a huge gap’ in funding for women’s health startups

Biotech giant Seagen reveals plans for 270K square-foot manufacturing facility near Seattle

— Univ. of Washington researchers design and build custom machines from proteins

— Vancouver, Wash.-based biotech Absci opens new AI Research Lab in New York City

The algae spirulina at Lumen Bioscience. (Lumen Photo)

More Pacific Northwest life science news below:

  • A single dose of the vaccine for human papillomavirus works just as well as the standard three-dose regimen, opening the door to greater access worldwide, according to a study led by UW global health professor Ruanne Barnabas.
  • The dog aging project, which profiles how dogs age and tests whether the drug Rapamycin can extend lifespan, was featured in the Seattle Times. The funders of the University of Washington project include a consortium of tech entrepreneurs.
  • Seattle’s Lumen Bioscience completed a phase 1 study of its capsules for C. difficile infections, produced with green algae. The algae are engineered to make three antibody-like proteins that neutralize a C. difficile toxin, along with an enzyme that degrades the cell wall of the microbe. The trial data showed that the treatment made it to the right place in the gut and that the therapeutic proteins were stable in the body, according to a press release. The company also recently published its preclinical data in a preprint and its approach in Nature Biotechnology. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has green-lit a phase 2 trial.  

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