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A view on
7 minutes | May 21, 2021
Episode 11: Season 1 recap
It’s the season finale for A View On, the Lonza podcast. Over the past 12 months of our initial run, we have brought you a series of conversations exploring the new pharma and biotechnology trends. We spoke to Lonza and the industry experts and discussed exciting topics, such as exosomes, stem cells, drug product testing, bioprinting, and much more. In the latest episode, the podcast host, Lonza’s Martina Ribar Hestericová, recaps the highlights from this season and looks forward to later this year for what is coming up in the next season. Interested to learn more? Visit our dedicated podcast site on www.lonza.com/a-view-on and don't forget to subscribe!
7 minutes | Mar 30, 2021
Episode10: Phage Therapy
Devouring Bacteria: How Phage Therapy Is Shaping Antibacterial Treatments of the Future In this episode we speak with the CEO of BiomX, Jonathan Solomon, about producing and using phages to test and treat various diseases and conditions. Until very recently, treating a condition such as acne with an army of microscopic bacteria-destroyers known as phages—bacterial viruses that target and kill specific bacteria—would have seemed highly unlikely. However new research linking acne to an imbalance in the skin’s microbiome has opened the door to innovative treatment approaches. That’s where the biotech company BiomX comes in. Uniting powerful computational science with the inherent capacity of phages to destroy specific bacteria, BiomX creates natural and synthetic phage therapies for some of the most troublesome bacteria-related health issues: acne, atopic dermatitis, cystic fibrosis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and even colorectal cancer. For acne the company has developed a successful cocktail of three different phages to treat the condition, with phase 2 testing close on the horizon. BiomX’s developments in phage therapy promise to change the way we treat imbalances in our microbiome, with potential health benefits for large swaths of the population. Curious to Know More? To learn more about BiomX, listen to the conversation with Jonathan Solomon on this episode of A View On: Phage Therapy. KEY TERMS: Bacteriophage (also known as a phage): A virus that attacks and devours only bacteria (‘phagein’ in Ancient Greek means to devour). Bacteriophages are bacteria-specific, which is both an advantage and disadvantage in manufacturing treatments. Fun fact: taken altogether, bacteriophages are the most numerous entity on the planet. Phage cocktail: Since a phage targets and destroys only one type of bacteria, treatments for complex ailments necessitate a mixture, or cocktail, of different phages to be effective. Phage fermentation: Although destructive, unwanted phages can grow during fermentation processes for wine-making and milk production, fermentation is nevertheless the optimal way to produce phages for therapeutic uses. Computational (science): Computer modelling of the phage and its potential interaction with specific bacteria (known as in silico testing) allows researchers to develop phage cocktails more efficiently and with a greater chance of success.
17 minutes | Feb 24, 2021
Episode 9: A view on streamlining the cell and gene therapy manufacturing
Delivering Personalized Therapies: Streamlining the Supply Chain for a New Generation of Treatments In this episode, we speak with Amy DuRoss, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Vineti, about the challenges facing "just-in-time" manufacturing and delivery of personalized therapies—and the solutions her digital startup provides. According to Amy DuRoss, the COVID-19 vaccine distribution has exposed existing deficiencies in the entire pharmaceutical supply chain. This situation echoes, albeit on a far smaller scale, the distribution complexities of delivering cell and gene therapies (CGT). Unlike more traditional treatments, CGT requires the extraction of live cells from a patient or donor to then be delivered to a manufacturer and make it back to the patient in a timely manner. Her company Vineti "introduces a new level of fidelity, control, and transparency" into the personalized drug delivery process, streamlining CGT distribution through a novel digital orchestration platform. Based on an astute understanding of the behavior of care providers, specialized couriers and CGT manufacturers, her company has developed a software infrastructure that supports this exponentially complex delivery process. By facilitating Good Manufacturing Principles for all required stakeholders in the advanced therapy process, the Vineti platform ensures regulatory compliance and maintains both Chain of Identity and Chain of Custody from cell collection to manufacturer and back to the patient. Curious to Know More? Take a listen to this episode of A View On: Streamlining Cell and Gene Therapy Manufacturing to learn more about Vineti. At the end of the discussion, as a bonus for our listeners, Amy DuRoss offers insight into some of the difficulties encountered in the COVID vaccine rollout, and how it parallels the complexity of the supply chain for CGT. KEY TERMS: Personalized medicine and therapies, such as cell and gene therapies (CGT), treat patients on a much more individualized basis. They require an unprecedented level of automation and navigation because the materials used to prepare the end product are raw cells originating from a donor or a patient. Good Manufacturing Principles (or Practices), GMP for short, are practices that ensure adherence to the guidelines put forth by regulatory agencies. They apply to any manufacturing industry but reach an unparalleled level of complexity in CGT production due to the implication of health care providers in the cell extraction and donor matching processes. A digital orchestration platform such as Vineti's uses the power of data management and user experience design to organize and execute an effective supply chain system in the face of exceptional complexity and strict regulations. Chains of Identity and Custody in the pharmaceutical supply chain are the cornerstones of regulatory compliance, whereby each step in the process and each individual involved is transparently identifiable in order to reduce the risk of contamination and to eliminate fraud. With CGT production, the process of extracting the raw materials for the treatment directly from the patient or donor multiplies the Chains of Identity and Custody, exponentially increasing the supply chain complexity.
12 minutes | Dec 16, 2020
Episode 8: Exosomes
Exosomes Know Where To Go: Using the Body's Own Cell-to-Cell Communication Network for Diagnostics and Drug Delivery We speak with Uwe Gottschalk, the Chief Scientific Officer of Lonza, about how a better understanding of exosomes is leading to new treatments and diagnostic technologies. According to Uwe Gottschalk, the exosome revolution is already in full march. As researchers begin to identify how these cell-generated, nano-sized delivery drones function in the human body, novel drug delivery prospects are emerging, including applications for cancer, neurodegenerative diseases and spinal cord injury recovery. Perhaps even more exciting is the role exosomes will play in diagnostic applications in the near future, wherein a liquid biopsy, based on a blood sample, would detect cancer or other diseases both more easily and in a more timely fashion than traditional biopsies. One of the many challenges is the ongoing task of defining the manufacturing protocols and processes for this new biotechnological paradigm. Even so, the field is abuzz with new discoveries, trials and general optimism about the potential of these microscopic extracellular delivery vehicles.Curious to Know More?Lonza's Chief Scientific Officer gives us his expert insight into exosome research and application in this special, in-house episode of the podcast "A View On." KEY TERMS:Exosomes are nano-sized delivery vehicles generated by all eukaryotic cells. They are between roughly 30 and 120 nanometers large and originate when endosomes, or intercellular vesicles, are released into the blood, milk or tissue. They then become messengers and surrogates for the original cell. Their surface markers represent a location code and spread through the extracellular space in the body to communicate with other cells and deliver packages.Extracellular vesicles (EV) are particles released from cells that cannot replicate but otherwise behave like the surrogate cells from which they originate. While there is some overlapping in definition between exosomes and EVs—all exosomes are extracellular vesicles but not vice-versa—exosomes are defined by their size (30 to 120 nm) and their biogenetic origin.Liquid biopsy: As with a traditional biopsy, a liquid biopsy is a test to diagnose and monitor diseases that uses a blood sample instead of a tissue sample. As a liquid biopsy is not restricted to one tissue or part of the body, the test is less invasive, cheaper and even more precise.Messenger RNA (mRNA) as a cancer biomarker: Recent research has proven that mRNA from a blood test can be analyzed to find cancerous and pre-cancerous tumors throughout the body. As exosomes transport and stabilize the otherwise highly unstable mRNA, they could be targets for early detection and treatment in the near future.
9 minutes | Nov 24, 2020
Episode 7: Microbiome
Bugs as Drugs: Harnessing the Therapeutic Potential of the Microbiome Lukas Schüpbach, the CEO of Bacthera, and Gemma Henderson, Bacthera’s Head of Project and Portfolio Management, speak to Lonza about creating pharmaceuticals from the human microbiome. The human microbiome, comprised of trillions of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and archaea, is unique to each individual and develops over the course of lifetime, stabilizing once we reach adulthood. Despite the widespread understanding that this microbiome is a key component to our health, there are currently no commercially available live biotherapeutic products (LBPs). There is, however, an increasing amount of scientific evidence that using live biotherapeutic products to promote a vigorous microbiome can improve general physical health and positively impact quality of life by targeting diseases such as obesity, diabetes, inflammatory bowel syndrome and cancer. The biopharma company Bacthera is manufacturing and testing these difficult-to-produce anaerobic bacteria treatments that could improve metabolic functions and have anti-inflammatory effects. Alongside manufacturing, Bacthera is meeting the challenging delivery process to harness the therapeutic potential of the microbiome through easily administered, encapsulated pills.Curious to Know More?Listen to the conversation between Lonza and Bacthera in this episode of the podcast "A View On." KEY TERMS:Microbiome: The extremely diverse ecosystem of hundreds, sometimes thousands of different species of microbes found in and on the human body. Microbial biodiversity is key to a healthy microbiome. A poor microbiome is linked to diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, cancer and possibly some central nervous disorders.Live biotherapeutic products: These pharmaceutical products, LBPs for short, are unique because their active substance is actually a living organism. that has been identified as showing promise in treating one or sometimes several diseases.Enclosed process: The manufacturing of LBPs necessitates special equipment and expertise since many of the microorganisms are anaerobes and spore-forming organisms. To ensure a robust process with high yields, the manufacturing must be entirely enclosed so that these strains are not exposed to oxygen.Entrinsic strict delivery: As some microbes would not make it to the intestine by way of stomach acids, Bacthera has access to a proprietary technology that encapsulates the microbe to ensure targeted and precise delivery.
10 minutes | Oct 15, 2020
Episode 6: Gene editing
Since the arrival of Crispr in 2009, gene editing has made its way into labs. Its groundbreaking importance was acknowledged through the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Expanding gene editing for medical treatments, Cellectis focuses its 20 years of experience on developing cancer immunotherapies.Curious to Know More?Cellectis CEO André Choulika explains the technology of allogenic gene editing they invented in this episode of the podcast "A View On."
10 minutes | Sep 21, 2020
Episode 5: Therapy administration and its safety
In 2016 Lonza established its Drug Product Services (DPS) to realize this supply chain model for its partners and clients. Since then the DPS has grown to a workforce of over 250 experienced experts focused on safety, efficacy and quality. To ensure that Lonza’s pharmaceuticals perform as expected in real-world situations, the DPS team simulates the entire administration process until certain the patient will receive the correct dose of the highest quality.
9 minutes | Aug 19, 2020
Episode 4: Cannabinoid science
Cannabinoids are emerging as a treatment option for autoimmune and other immune-related diseases thanks to their modifications as synthetic derivatives. Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals has widened the potential application of cannabinoids by designing cannabidiol and cannabigerol derivatives that have a greater effect on the endocannabinoid system and can interact with receptors and pathways from other biosystems. Alain Rolland, COO of EHP, talks about using cannabinoids for unmet medical needs.
10 minutes | Jul 19, 2020
Episode 3: Mesenchymal stem cells for COVID-19 treatment
Mesoblast CEO Dr. Silviu Itescu speaks to Lonza about the company’s advanced portfolio of anti-inflammatory allogeneic cellular medicines including remestemcel-L, which is currently being evaluated in a U.S. Phase 3 randomized controlled trial for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), the principal cause of mortality due to COVID-19 infection.
9 minutes | Jun 28, 2020
Episode 2: Cell-penetrating peptides for cancer treatment
One of the limitations of cancer therapy is off-target activity, which often has devastating effects on patients’ life quality. A novel strategy pursued by Cybrexa Therapeutics uses treatments specifically targeting solid tumors by taking advantage of one of their universal biomarkers – acidity. By using cell-penetrating peptides bearing an anticancer cargo load, their platform brings the treatment directly inside tumors, leaving healthy cells alone and minimizing bystander killings.
8 minutes | Jun 22, 2020
Episode 1: Bioprinting
Scientists have been printing cells for decades, but with the arrival of 3D bioprinters, getting printed tissue models to behave like living tissue has proved elusive. That is why angiogenesis and vascularization are two holy grails of 3D bioprinting. Allevi is not stopping at Earth-bound breakthroughs. The US company has also secured funding for simultaneous bioprinting experiments on the International Space Station.
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