Week of July 10, 2023

This week, we spotlight the use of the DNA segment, known as CRISPR, for HIV treatment. We also delve into the initial public offering plans of two biotech firms. Additionally, we look at a data-driven approach to precision health and a newly Food and Drug Administration-approved miniature insulin pump. Lastly, we examine recommendations for boosting the UK’s competitiveness in life sciences.

Each week we highlight five things affecting the life sciences industry. Here’s the latest.

Scientists at Temple University and the University of Nebraska Medical Center conducted a study using CRISPR gene editing combined with long-acting antiretroviral therapy to fight the HIV virus in mice. Results showed that the treatment eliminated HIV in around 60% of HIV-infected mice, an improvement from 29% reported in 2019. Although the virus rebounded in some cases due to limitations in drug delivery systems, the researchers aim to refine the approach and enhance its effectiveness in eliminating and preventing the spread of HIV.

Two biotech companies, Apogee Therapeutics and Sagimet Biosciences, have announced their pricing plans for IPOs in what to date has been an almost non-existent biotech IPO market. Apogee aims to raise around $228 million, with potential to reach $263 million if underwriters exercise their option to buy additional shares, while Sagimet plans to raise $66.3 million, potentially reaching $76.7 million with underwriters’ full share purchase option. Apogee intends to use the proceeds to fund clinical trials and research for its monoclonal antibody program, while Sagimet plans to further develop its oral pill for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis through Phase 2b and pivotal Phase 3 trials.

Verily Life Sciences is positioning itself as a leader in precision health by using clinical and nonclinical data to determine the best interventions for individuals or communities. Verily received a $1 billion investment last September to support its life sciences portfolio, and in January, it underwent a restructuring. The company aims to unlock health care data silos and focus on precision health by integrating research, care and precision risk, while leveraging artificial intelligence and data science to drive better outcomes.

Tandem Diabetes Care has received FDA clearance for its Mobi insulin pump, which is claimed to be the smallest automated insulin delivery system in the world. The pump, holding 200 units of insulin, is approximately half the size of Tandem’s flagship t:slim devices. The pump incorporates Tandem’s Control-IQ technology, which adjusts insulin delivery every five minutes based on blood sugar readings. While the Mobi pump is cleared for use by individuals aged six and older, the Control-IQ algorithm has only been authorized for people with Type 1 diabetes. However, Tandem has conducted a study showing its potential benefits for individuals with Type 2 diabetes as well.

Imperial College London has released reports suggesting ways to enhance the UK’s competitiveness in biopharmaceuticals, medtech and telecommunications. The reports highlight the need for innovative, collaborative regulatory environments, anticipation of digital technology advances, and increased innovation productivity through targeted policy interventions. For the medtech sector, recommendations include improving post-Brexit regulations, encouraging National Health Service adoption of innovative devices and providing specific funding. For biopharmaceuticals, the focus is on regulatory clarity, fostering the emerging data science sector and improving financial support for promising small companies.

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