2020-01-08| Asia-Pacific

Weekly Cover: The 4th Asia Microbiome Conference

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The 4th Asia Microbiome Conference

The human gut hosts a vast array of microbes collectively known as the microbiota, or intestinal flora. It is believed to play an important role in human health in areas such as brain function and the immune system. Yet, the importance of gut microbiota wasn’t revealed until the last decade. The gut microbiome is now a rapidly moving field of research. The impact of gut microbial communities on human health is widely perceived as one of the most exciting advancements in biomedicine in recent years.

Hosted by Toolsbiotech, Institute of Biological Chemistry, Academia Sinica, National Taiwan University Hospital, and Taipei Medical University, the 4th Asia Microbiome Conference was held at Academia Sinica from January 3-4. Experts and scholars shared the latest trends and research in the related field.

Ever since the discovery of new pathogenic mechanisms, we human are facing several conceptual challenges and also embracing new opportunities in the field of infection prevention. For instance, Koch’s postulates, the four criteria defined to link relationships between microorganisms and diseases, is no longer the case in many new findings; the development of medical microbiology, such as the application of fecal microbiota transplant (FMT), to restore colony balance; The advent of panomics, which refers to an emerging complex and diversified field of molecular biology, combining genomics, epigenetics, proteomics, metabonomics, and macrogenomics, even environmental sociology, is now all the rage.

WuXi STA Launches Large-Scale Oligonucleotide Manufacturing Facility

Nucleic acid drugs have gradually become a hot area in the global innovative drug industry. Many of them have been approved by the U.S. FDA in recent years. STA Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., (WuXi STA) – a subsidiary of WuXi AppTec, announced on January 3 the opening of its large-scale oligonucleotide active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) manufacturing facility in Changzhou, China. The new facility, with over 30,000 square feet, will manufacture oligonucleotide APIs up to 1 mol/synthesis run, empower customers accelerate new drugs to market, and better meet the increasing demand of its’ customers. This milestone marks WuXi STA’s establishment of a comprehensive one-stop platform to support the process R&D and manufacture of oligonucleotide APIs from preclinical to commercial. It enables customers around the world to advance promising new oligonucleotide therapies more rapidly to market for the benefit of patients.


About WuXi STA

STA Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of WuXi AppTec (WuXi STA), is a premier Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO), offers efficient, flexible and high-quality solutions for Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs).


BeiGene Announces Closing of Amgen Global Strategic Oncology Collaboration and Equity Investment

BeiGene, Ltd., a commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of innovative molecularly-targeted and immuno-oncology drugs for the treatment of cancer. On October 31, 2019, Amgen announced that it has completed its purchase of an approximately 20.5% equity stake in BeiGene. On January 2, 2020, Amgen completed purchasing approximately USD 2.8 Billion of the company’s shares. Under the terms of the collaboration, BeiGene continue the commercialization and development in China of Amgen’s three oncology medicines, XGEVA® (denosumab), KYPROLIS® (carfilzomib), and BLINCYTO® (blinatumomab). BeiGene and Amgen will collaborate to advance 20 investigational oncology assets in Amgen’s pipeline, with BeiGene leading development and commercialization in China.

Leap Therapeutics and BeiGene Announce Agreement for Cancer Treatment DKN-01

DKN-01, Leap Therapeutics ‘s most advanced clinical candidate, is a humanized monoclonal antibody targeting the Dickkopf-1 (DKK1) protein, a Wnt pathway modulator. DKK1 has an important role in tumor cell signaling and in mediating immuno-suppressive tumor microenvironments. The blockage of DKK1 is critical in patients with esophagogastric, hepatobiliary, gynecologic, and prostate cancer.

On January 3rd, BeiGene granted option to develop and commercialize Leap’s DKN-01 in the Asia Pacific Region, excluding Japan.

Under the terms of the agreement, Leap will receive an upfront cash payment of USD 3 million from BeiGene in exchange for granting BeiGene an option to an exclusive license to develop and commercialize DKN-01. Leap is eligible to receive payments from BeiGene based upon the achievement of certain development, regulatory, and sales milestones for a total deal value of up to $132 million. Additionally, during the option period, Leap has agreed to study the combination of DKN-01 and tislelizumab. Leap plans to evaluate DKN-01 with tislelizumab in approximately 40 patients with second-line gastric cancer (GC) / gastroesophageal junction cancer (GEJ) whose tumors express high levels of DKK1 to build upon the the positive clinical experience of DKN-01 in combination with PD-1 inhibitors in these patients.

In addition, Leap plans to evaluate the combination of DKN-01 with tislelizumab and chemotherapy in approximately 20 patients with first-line GC/GEJ. Leap expects to initiate these clinical trials in the first half of 2020.

About Leap Therapeutics

Leap Therapeutics, Inc., is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing novel targeted immuno-oncology therapeutics.


About BeiGene, Ltd.

BeiGene, Ltd. is a commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative molecularly-targeted and immuno-oncology drugs for the treatment of cancer.


Japan Develops Platelets that can be Transfused to Anyone

Platelet preparations are required for patients with diseases such as thrombocytopenia and or ones who suffer bleeding disorder. About 5% of such patients experience ineffectiveness of platelet, while the transfused platelets did not function, caused by the destruction of platelets by the immune cells.

Researchers from Kyoto University and Kumamoto University, led by professor Hiroyuki Eto, combined gene editing technology to destroy the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) of iPS cells and then cultivated platelets that can be transfused to anyone. This technology is expected to be used to treat platelet transfusion ineffectiveness in the near future.


Bukwang and Sanofi-Aventis Korea to Co-promote Hypertension Medicine

Aprovel is the treatment of renal disease in patients with hypertension and type-2 diabetes mellitus. Aprovel contains the active substance irbesartan. CoAprovel is a medicine that contains two active substances, irbesartan and hydrochlorothiazide. It is used in adults who have essential hypertension that is not adequately controlled by either of the two substances alone. Bukwang Pharmaceutical and Sanofi-Aventis Korea signed the agreement on Dec. 13. Under the agreement, Sanofi-Aventis Korea and Bukwang will co-manage marketing and sales of Aprovel and CoAprovel to local hospitals and clinics. The joint sales of the Aprovel family will serve as a driving force for the company in achieving 200 billion won in 2020 sales.

About Bukwang Pharmaceutical Bukwang

Pharm.Co.,Ltd. is a Korea-based company principally engaged in the manufacture of pharmaceutical products, such as antidiabetic agents, neuropsycho-therapeutic agents, analgesics, anti-inflammatory agents, antirheumatic agents, etc.


About Sanofi-Aventis

Sanofi-Aventis is a French pharmaceutical company founded in 2004 through the merger of Sanofi-Synthélabo SA and Aventis. Sanofi-Aventis focuses primarily on the development and sale of prescription medications, and is now one of Europe’s largest pharmaceutical firms.





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