Check Up: Almost half a billion US dollars raised to bring back mammoth, dodo, and Tassie tiger
Health & Biotech
Health & Biotech
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You’ve probably heard about Colossal Biosciences’ plans to bring the Tasmanian tiger and woolly mammoth back to life; now it’s betting on another extinct creature, the iconic dodo.
The Dallas-based company has just raised a massive US$150m Series B funding to restore the dodo, in addition to the US$225m it raised in 2021 and US$60m in 2022 to revive the other two extinct creatures.
The flightless dodo was last seen in 1662 in the island of Mauritius, before it was wiped out of its native ecosystem due to hunting and human settlement.
Over the last 50 years, the world’s bird population has declined by more than 3 billion, and is now facing a dire future.
Meanwhile, Colossal has already made significant progress in its quest to revive the mammoth.
The company has sequenced and publicised two of the highest quality reference genomes to date for the African and Asian elephant, from which it will artificially derive pluripotent stem cells for the mammoth.
Colossal has also refined and verified the list of identified mammoth-specific genes as targets for editing.
Tens of thousands woolly mammoths once roamed across ice age grassland across Europe, Asia, and northern parts of North America.
Similar to the size of today’s African elephants, the mammoths began to die out when global temperatures warmed and mossy tundra began to replace grasses, depriving them of food.
Meanwhile, Collosal is also progressing on its quest to revive the Tasmanian tiger or thylacine.
The last Tassie tiger died from exposure at the Beaumaris Zoo in Hobart on September 7th, 1936.
Thylacine numbers dwindled when European settlers who arrived in Tasmania in the 19th century saw the native animal as a threat to their livestock.
There are numerous techniques for genetic engineering, with the most common and widely used being the one used by Collosal called CRISPR.
CRISPR relies on a family of DNA sequences found in the genomes of prokaryotic organisms such as bacteria and archaea. The sequences are derived from DNA fragments of bacteriophages that had previously infected the prokaryote.
With CRISPR, scientists can manipulate genes in more precise ways such as adding a new segment of DNA or editing single DNA letters.
In oncology, CRISPR is being used to detect specific targets, such as DNA from cancer-causing viruses and RNA from cancer cells.
Currently, CRISPR is also being used to study other conditions including high cholesterol, HIV, and Huntington’s disease.
The most contentious issue concerning genetic engineering technology like CRISPR centres on human germline editing, because changes can be passed down to future generations. Studies have shown it can induce site-specific DNA mutations in human DNA.
On the ASX, a company focusing on genomics is Genetic Technologies (ASX:GTG).
The company produces genomics-based tests for health, wellness and serious disease through its geneType and EasyDNA brands.
GTG is set to launch the first Comprehensive Risk Test for breast and ovarian cancer in the US.
Botanix rose more than 33% after a broker, Euroz Hartleys, says it sees a huge upside for Botanix Pharma, putting a Speculative Buy call on the company with a target price of 27c vs the current price of 8c.
Euroz believes Botanix could get an FDA approval in Q3 after the US agency said the Sofpironium Bromide New Drug Application (NDA) submitted by Botanix last September is now formally under review.
In the meantime, an FDA mid-cycle review is due to be completed in Q1, which means we will get further feedback on the progress of the FDA review.
“BOT remains very cheap and continues to trade at a significant discount to peers, this is despite the company making solid progress with its lead asset Sofpironium Bromide amongst other recent positive news,” said the broker.
PYC surged after it announced the submission of an Investigational New Drug (IND) application with the US FDA for its lead drug candidate, VP-001.
The FDA has a period of 30 days to review an IND application.
In the event the IND is accepted, VP-001 will be the first investigational drug candidate with the potential to modify the course of Retinitis Pigmentosa type 11 to progress into clinical trials.
Tali rose after announcing the successful certification and approval of its new product, ReadyAttentionGo!, as a TGA’s class I Medical Device.
ReadyAttentionGo! is intended to be used as a cognitive trainer available on a tablet to develop the cognitive function of attention in children between the ages of 3‐10.
Children can use the product while playing digitised and gamified tasks under the direction of a healthcare professional.
In February, Race received human ethics approval for the initial observational stage of a planned interventional Phase 1/2b cardioprotection clinical program using lead drug, Zantrene.
This observation trial is the first step in advancing the cardioprotection opportunity for Zantrene in the clinic.
In addition, Race has also initiated a new collaboration to understand how Zantrene protects the heart in chemotherapy.
The company has begun a new collaborative research project with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (USA) to study Zantrene at the molecular level.
EZZ has entered into a tripartite agreement to escalate its anti-ageing, gene research and immunology capabilities.
The company announced that it has signed a strategic partnership with leading multinational pharmaceutical companies GMP Pharmaceuticals (GMP) and Natural Innovations Group (NIG).
The partnership aims to develop and bring new products and wellness solutions to the market worldwide.
Under the agreement, the three companies will focus on new, world-leading opportunities in gene research, anti-ageing and immunology by leveraging NIG and GMP’s existing scientific research capabilities.