This week in drug discovery (21-25 February) 

News round-up by DDW’s Megan Thomas for 21-25 February, 2022 

This week’s drug discovery news reflects breakthroughs across therapeutic areas with a focus on collaboration not just between scientists and institutions, but also businesses and regulatory organisations.

1. New human beta cell model enables discoveries in diabetes research 

Human Cell Design, a biotechnology company focused on generating translational human cellular models, has launched Endoc-BH5 to “open up entirely new scientific avenues in diabetes studies”, the company says.   

2. Collaboration identifies antibody drug candidates using AI   

Antiverse has partnered with a top 20 pharma company and has been successful in identifying antibody candidates for a target of interest, with greater diversity (2.3x) and accuracy compared to alternative bioinformatics pipeline selection methods. 

3. Scientists engineer bacteria for more robust biotechnologies  

Researchers from the Universities of Bristol and Hamburg have engineered bacteria with internal nutrient reserves that can be accessed when needed to survive extreme environmental conditions. The findings pave the way for more robust biotechnologies based on engineered microbes. 

4. Collaboration to develop AAV vectors for diabetes gene therapy 

PerkinElmer’s SIRION Biotech business and the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) have agreed to jointly develop new generation adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes gene therapy in the pancreas. 

5. Scientists uncover unique immune cell surveillance mechanism 

Researchers at the Francis Crick Institute and King’s College London have identified how specialist immune cells, called gamma delta T cells (γδ T cells), sense the body’s status quo, enabling them to assess the health of surface tissues and even protect against cancer-causing DNA damage. 

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