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  • 25 Jun 2020 4:55 PM | Anonymous member

    by Life Science Newswire | Jun 24, 2020 | BiotechnologyCorporate, Finance & Investor | 0 comments

    Caption: The flagship building for the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and its associate companies, located at 601 Genome Way, Huntsville AL. Collaborative work between Foresight Biosciences and Van Heron Labs will take place in Suite 4104 at this site.

    Houston, Texas, and Huntsville, Alabama have served as epicenters of innovation for decades, partnering to push boundaries, upend limitations, and put mankind on the moon. In a strategic new alignment, Van Heron Labs, a startup formed in Houston, will begin working alongside Huntsville’s Foresight Biosciences to continue the tradition.

    Both company’s current founders, leadership, and support teams are dominated by Texas and Alabama natives with many current and former students of state institutions (Auburn, U.A.H., U.A.B., U.H., Rice, U.T., U.T. Health, W.T.A.M.U., T.A.M.U.). Van Heron Labs is also named in honor of the late James Van Heron, a widely admired Alabama native holding several microbiology degrees from Auburn University. Together, the two southern companies will take aim at surpassing the boundaries in a burgeoning field: biotechnology.

    Foresight Biosciences are leaders in glycoscience and enzymatic assay development. Their innovative technologies advance glycobiology research and improve the production of glycoprotein therapeutics. The current production of biologics is not only complex and costly, but also plagued with common issues, e.g. high immunogenicity, poor shelf-life, which hinder protein-based drug development. Foresight’s proprietary platform revolutionizes therapeutic protein production to yield higher quality biologics by inducing protein modifications necessary to create more effective human biopharmaceutical therapies. Foresight, aptly named, has also positioned themselves to continue applying their dynamic platform and broad interests to advance our understanding in fields ranging from the metabolic basis of human disease, to microbial ecology and evolution, to human stem cell research, and even agriculture; complemented by the on-going work of Van Heron Labs.

    Van Heron’s mission is to reframe our understanding of organismal and cellular performance. They have created a novel pipeline that uses genetic analysis to design a customized procedure for optimizing metabolism for a particular organism or cell, maximizing growth and product output. A completely bootstrapped company, Van Heron Labs is primed to explode on the biotechnology scene due to the versatility of its technology. Their platform has the potential for astounding flexibility, ranging from increasing the production of valuable cellular products, to directly selecting for organisms in complex nutritional environments, to even other more niche applications spanning nearly every industrial, medical, and research sector. Van Heron Labs has yet to decide what they will disrupt first. However, they feel confident that the mentorship and opportunities that will come from pairing with an experienced company such as Foresight will prove to be a priceless advantage.

    The strength of this partnership’s lies not only in the two companies’ shared multi-disciplinary vision for the future, but also in the complementarity of their two technological platforms. Foresight, like many companies who utilize cellular products, relies on the fidelity of the culture media they use. While industry standards for culture media have largely stagnated of late, Van Heron Labs aims to enhance standard media with their customized formulas that robustly increase a cell’s capabilities and therefore the quality of high-value cellular products. This provides the perfect opportunity for Van Heron Labs to add substantial value for Foresight, while simultaneously demonstrating viability at industry scale. The partnership offers mutual benefits for both companies and the field of biologic production as a whole.

    As of now, prospective collaborative projects will be dynamic and will aim to impact and ameliorate fields like drug and enzyme discovery, development and production as well as industrial fermentation, bioremediation, cell culture, and beyond. Both companies are currently using their platforms to develop technology to help battle COVID-19. In anticipation of continuing collaborative work with Foresight, Van Heron Labs plans to move a significant portion of their laboratory operations from the Texas Medical Center in Houston to the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology located in Huntsville, Alabama this month. However, VHL also plans to maintain a strong presence and activism within the Houston entrepreneurial ecosystem, which the company cites as the catalyst for the birth and growth of the company. Van Heron Labs hopes that this will be the first of many collaborations between Huntsville and Houston the two cities spearhead the growing life-science entrepreneurship movement in the southern U.S.

    For more information please visit and

    To read more about HudsonAlpha’s mission and vision, as well as the innovative work being done on the campus, please visit

    About Foresight Biosciences: Foresight Biosciences provides technology for glycobiology research with an emphasis on creating tools and in vitro technologies to advance protein-based drug development. We are focused on providing benchtop assays for glycoprotein fingerprint analysis, enzymes and convenient kits for identifying, repairing, and modifying protein glycosylation. In addition to our current product portfolio, we are working to develop recombinant expression systems that yield products with human-like surface glycosylations. The end goal is to improve treatments and ultimately prevent human diseases.

    About Van Heron Labs: VHL is a platform technology service that uses a proprietary pipeline to determine the nutrient substrates needed for optimal biosynthesis and growth across organisms and cell types. The one-of-a-kind technology can be deployed for virtually any application which involves or harnesses living cells or bio-matter. VHL is currently focused on addressing speed and scale challenges, particularly for the production of key bio-products. VHL’s platform can be leveraged as a competitive advantage for microbial or cell culture, the production of biologic drugs, enzymes, and other high-value natural or recombinant  products.

  • 24 Jun 2020 8:23 AM | Anonymous member

    June 24, 2020 (Huntsville, Ala.) – The Muscogee (Creek) Nation (MCN), the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and HudsonAlpha Health Alliance, have begun a collaboration to bring health and education programs with a focus on genetics and genomics to the tribe. The integration of genomic information in precision medicine is rapidly advancing health care, as an individual’s genome carries important information about disease risks, potential responses to therapy, and appropriate medications. By building programs that integrate genomics into the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Department of Health (MCNDH), its citizens and patients will gain access to these advances. 

    In keeping with tribal leadership’s commitment to improving access to quality and advanced education programs, the collaboration will also provide MCN students and educators access to the latest in genomic science educational tools and classroom support, as well as opportunities to explore careers in biotechnology and genomic medicine through a variety of workforce programs.

    The MCN genomic health program, through a collaboration with the Health Alliance, will involve the implementation of comprehensive clinical genetic testing to citizens receiving care at MCNDH. This will include clinical decision support for MCNDH physicians, access to the Health Alliance’s Genome Gateway portal for electronic delivery of genetic test results, and test-specific education for patients and physicians. The program will be managed with strict adherence to the tribe’s privacy standards, quality protocols and supervision for the purpose of improving health outcomes for MCN citizens.  

    “This exciting program creates a critical bridge between the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and the advanced genomic science and education programs at the HudsonAlpha Institute. We think this program will serve as a new collaborative model that will give MCN a leadership position in Native American health initiatives, empowering their citizens to participate in the biotechnology revolution, while maintaining tribal autonomy,” said Devin Absher, PhD, Director of Genomic Health at HudsonAlpha.  

    “The Muscogee (Creek) Nation Department of Health takes pride in its history of innovation, from being the first tribe in the country to own and operate community hospitals to collaborating with an internationally recognized research institution to improve healthcare delivery for our citizens. This partnership with HudsonAlpha provides a real-world solution to address the significant health disparities our citizens face and will enable us to improve health outcomes for generations to come,” said Shawn Terry, Secretary of Health for the Muscogee Creek Nation.


    About Muscogee (Creek) Nation: The Muscogee (Creek) Nation is the fourth-largest federally recognized tribe in the United States, headquartered in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. MCN has more than 89,000 citizens.

    About HudsonAlpha: HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is a nonprofit institute dedicated to developing and applying scientific advances to health, agriculture, learning, and commercialization. Opened in 2008, HudsonAlpha’s vision is to leverage the synergy between discovery, education, medicine, and economic development in genomic sciences to improve the human condition around the globe. The HudsonAlpha biotechnology campus consists of 152 acres nestled within Cummings Research Park, the nation’s second largest research park. The state-of-the-art facilities co-locate nonprofit scientific researchers with entrepreneurs and educators. HudsonAlpha has become a national and international leader in genetics and genomics research and biotech education and fosters more than 40 diverse biotech companies on campus. To learn more about HudsonAlpha, visit

  • 23 Jun 2020 2:28 PM | Deleted user

    Livia Jojo to Spend Summer & Fall Supporting the Alabama Bioscience Community  

    BIO Alabama welcomes it’s third student intern and second Master of Biotechnology student into it’s summer internship program, a program for college students who are intrinsically curious about Alabama’s bioscience industry and are motivated to promote the intellectual and innovative capital that make our state a premier place to invest, start, and grow in bioscience. 

    Livia Jojo, a Master of Biotechnology student at The University of Alabama at Birmingham, was recently accepted to BIO Alabama’s summer internship program. She will continue her internship into the fall to assist with BIO Alabama’s annual conference. 

    “Expanding my experience and learning more about business operations, marketing, and public relations is why I chose BIO Alabama for a summer and fall internship,” said Livia Jojo. “Since March, I’ve had the opportunity to work in a laboratory fine tuning my knowledge, skills, and abilities. Now I’m ready to expand and broaden the scope of my KSAs.”  

    Jojo will spend her summer and fall researching, planning, and implementing the communications and outreach for BIO Alabama’s annual conference including the management of project timelines and the creation of communication and creative assets. The conference theme is a continuation of BIO Alabama’s mission - to connect the Alabama bioscience community. Jojo will liaise with sponsors, presenters, and registered attendees to ensure they have an incredible experience while connecting with bioscience peers around the state and regionally. 

    “While the look and feel of large gatherings is still uncertain - one thing is certain, Alabama’s bioscience community has responded in jaw-dropping ways to a global pandemic,” said Sonia Robinson, Executive Director of BIO Alabama. “Our annual conference will provide an opportunity to share the stories of innovation, breakthrough, and success more broadly and we’re thrilled to have Livia on board to help us spread the word and create an exceptional show that will ultimately connect, educate, and inspire our conference attendees.” 

    BIO Alabama provides remote internship opportunities throughout the year and is currently accepting resumes for it’s fall internship program.  In addition to BIO Alabama, a number of bioscience companies across the state welcome interns. Interested students may contact BIO Alabama for more information. Bioscience companies who have available internships are encouraged to send internship opportunities to BIO Alabama for assistance in promoting those opportunities to partner colleges and universities.  

    Interns support the executive director in further connecting our bioscience ecosystem. Internships with BIO Alabama are for college credit and follow the college or university's internship guidelines including minimum hour requirements and deliverables. 

  • 22 Jun 2020 12:16 PM | Deleted user

    Share Your Expertise and Insight with the Alabama Bioscience Community; Deadline July 17 

    This fall, from October 5-9, the Alabama bioscience community will come together for the annual BIO Alabama conference. While the look and feel of large gatherings is still uncertain, one thing is certain - BIO Alabama is looking for the best speakers to INSPIRE, EDUCATE, and CONNECT our researchers, scientists, startups, manufacturers, and medium and large bioscience companies.  

    During this conference, BIO Alabama will amplify the innovative work of our members, partners, and the broader Alabama bioscience community. This call for sessions is open to all researchers, scientists, and business leaders working to change the way we feed, fuel, and heal our world. Whether you are directly or indirectly involved in translating science for the greater good, we invite you to submit a session proposal.

    The conference theme is a continuation of BIO Alabama’s mission: CONNECTING THE ALABAMA BIOSCIENCE ECOSYSTEM

    Hybrid approach to planning: As you prepare your proposal, keep in mind that BIO Alabama’s annual conference may have virtual and in-person components. Conference dates may expand beyond Oct. 7-8 and include more opportunities during the entire week of Oct. 5-9. More details will be shared as we get closer to the date and with guidance from evolving pandemic public health guidelines.

    DEADLINE: July 17, 2020

    All Session Proposals are due by 5:00 p.m. CST on July 17, 2020.

    Policies Governing Submission of Company Presentation Proposals:

    • Proposals will be evaluated on their novel and topical content.

    • All speakers listed on the proposal must be aware that they are being considered, eligible, and willing to participate as a speaker if the program is selected.

    • Presentations may have a visual component that may be projected for all session attendees to view (ex. PowerPoint presentation, graphs, charts, video, etc.). However, this is not required.

    • BIO Alabama reserves the right to edit any submitted materials for promotional purposes.

    • Sessions may be scheduled at any time during the conference. Speakers must be available to present.

    • Submissions promoting specific product brands and/or companies will not be considered.

    • Incomplete proposals will not be considered.

    • You do not have to be a BIO Alabama member to submit a session proposal.

    • BIO Alabama does not provide a speaker honoraria. We will consider reimbursement for travel or housing expenses.

    • BIO Alabama reserves the right to schedule presentations as virtual on-demand, virtual interactive, or in-person.

    • BIO Alabama reserves the right to cancel a session at any time.

    Tips for preparing your proposal:

    Share your company story, an innovative approach to solving a specific scientific or business problem, details about your pipeline and work, your business objectives or inspirational stories of success. Areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

    • Infectious Diseases and Vaccines

    • Innovative Companies and Researchers

    • Next Generation Biotherapeutics

    • Personalized/Precision Medicine

    • Regulatory Innovation

    • Digital Health/ MedTech

    • Genomics/Genetics

    • Access to Capital

    • Ag/Food/Industrial Bio

    • Economic Development

    • International Trade 

    • Corporate Best Practices

  • 19 Jun 2020 10:09 AM | Anonymous member
    COVID-19 has caused a serious dip in Main Street economies all over the country, but we're seeing some signs of recovery. We want Alabama to not just recover itself, but help the country recover and build better systems for the future. And, we want you to be a part of it!

    With the help of our partners around the state, we are pivoting Alabama Launchpad's Cycle 3 2020, and applications are open. You can get all the details here.

    We're focusing on FOUR sectors:
    • SECTOR I: COMMERCIAL, RETAIL, LIVE EVENTS: How do we use innovation to enjoy our lifestyles again?
    • SECTOR II: HEALTHCARE: How do we make our healthcare centers in both rural/urban centers and workforce more resilient and adaptable?
    • SECTOR III: EDUCATION: How do we use this opportunity to reinvent education?
    • SECTOR IV: INDUSTRIAL/MANUFACTURING: How do we optimize Alabama's industrial sectors for efficiency - and safety?
    This is a response to crisis and a call to action. We want to see your ideas for new companies, new products, and innovations for this new normal. Applications are open until July 16, and we hope to see yours!

    Apply here.

    Thank you to our partners in Reignite Alabama: 

  • 18 Jun 2020 9:58 AM | Anonymous member

    Fast Track™ offers alternative option to current COVID-19 reagents

    Scientists at iXpressGenes, on the campus of HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, have engineered a new reagent, critical to pathogen detection testing. It’s a DNA polymerase, derived from a deep-sea organism (hyperthermophillic marine archaeon), well-suited to couple with RT-PCR reactions. The enzyme, named Fast Track™ has a longer half-life, higher fidelity, and greater extension and binding efficiency than the commonly used Taq DNA polymerase and others. Fast Track makes the amplification activity of pathogenic DNA more stable and specific. 

    A DNA polymerase is important to molecular diagnostics because the process depends on a rapid amplification of genetic material, and the polymerase catalyzes that step, starting the process.  

    DNA polymerase is one of the reagents that has been difficult to source during the COVID-19 pandemic and has limited the number of tests performed. Members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force working group contacted Dr. Joseph Ng, President of iXpressGenes to discuss the urgency of reagent availability. iXpressGenes optimized its recipe and manufacturing process to help diagnostic companies meet the demand. 

    “The critical component comes from a hydrothermal vent (a sea floor fissure) at the bottom of the ocean floor that Dr. Owen Garriott harvested from a deep sea trip we took several years ago. We were looking for a microorganism that could help solve industrial challenges,” said Dr. Ng, a close friend and colleague of the late Dr. Garriott. “This particular enzyme has evolved over millions of years to replicate DNA at very high temperatures. We have further modified it and we’ve ramped up production to help support the COVID-19 crisis.”

    The product is offered on the company’s website,


    Photo caption: Dr. Joseph Ng, President, iXpressGenes, Inc.

  • 17 Jun 2020 9:00 AM | Deleted user

    A $1.5 million gift to the HudsonAlpha Foundation by Miguel “Mike” Loya, a Texas businessman and HudsonAlpha supporter, has established the first endowed faculty chair at HudsonAlpha Institute for BiotechnologyRichard M. Myers, PhD, Institute president and science director, has been appointed as the M.A. Loya Endowed Faculty Chair in Genomics.

    “Over the years, I have seen HudsonAlpha take enormous strides in Alzheimer disease research, and I want to continue the momentum by supporting the Institute’s neurological research projects,” Loya said. “My family has a personal connection to these devastating diseases and I want to make sure HudsonAlpha can continue their work to find answers.”

    As the eldest of seven siblings, Loya came from modest means in El Paso, Texas, on the border with Mexico. He went on to graduate with a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at El Paso. He received his MBA from Harvard and started his career in the oil industry.

    Recently retired, he served as the president of Vitol, Inc., one of the world’s largest oil trading companies for nearly two decades. Both Loya’s mother and grandmother had Alzheimer disease, which led to his interest in neurological disease research.

    “Mike has once again demonstrated his commitment to HudsonAlpha and neurological disease research by providing this generous gift to the Institute,” said Myers. “His positive impact will continue for generations to come, and we are grateful for his generosity.”

    Loya previously supported the HudsonAlpha Foundation Memory and Mobility Program to study neurological diseases with a $1M gift. As recognition of that gift, the Institute’s cafe was named the Anita Loya Cafe in his mother’s honor.

    “This is the first endowed faculty chair position for HudsonAlpha,” said Elizabeth Herrin, HudsonAlpha Foundation Director of External Relations. “Endowed faculty chairs provide the necessary funding to advance research and discovery and are critical for retaining and attracting top talent. We are very grateful to Mike for this gift.”

    The HudsonAlpha Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Institute, has created the opportunity to name endowed faculty chairs, such as the M.A. Loya Chair, as a way for donors to make an investment in the Institute to ensure its sustainability. In addition, endowed faculty chairs help increase faculty retention and recruit new talent. For more information, please click here.


    About HudsonAlpha: HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is a nonprofit institute dedicated to developing and applying scientific advances to health, agriculture, learning, and commercialization. Opened in 2008, HudsonAlpha’s vision is to leverage the synergy between discovery, education, medicine, and economic development in genomic sciences to improve the human condition around the globe. The HudsonAlpha biotechnology campus consists of 152 acres nestled within Cummings Research Park, the nation’s second largest research park. The state-of-the-art facilities co-locate nonprofit scientific researchers with entrepreneurs and educators. HudsonAlpha has become a national and international leader in genetics and genomics research and biotech education and fosters more than 40 diverse biotech companies on campus. To learn more about HudsonAlpha, visit

  • 5 Jun 2020 9:49 AM | Deleted user

    As most summer camps and educational opportunities have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is helping students, educators and the public continue learning with online opportunities. 

    “Once we made the difficult decision to cancel all in-person summer activities, our Educational Outreach team quickly went to work developing an exciting schedule of virtual programs and experiences,” said Dr. Neil Lamb, vice president of Educational Outreach at HudsonAlpha. “Activities are available, and registration is underway, for a diverse offering of enriching, engaging and fun programs.”

    Middle school students

    Starting June 8, HudsonAlpha is offering Science Shorts: Summer Adventures, free online activities and experiments to try at home. Science Shorts is a series of fun, independent adventures geared towards middle school-aged kids, but available to all ages. There will be a new topic posted each week, from curdling milk to exploring outside as a backyard biologist. Visit for access.

    Young professionals

    HudsonAlpha will offer a new, free online professional development seminar series beginning on June 8. The BioTrain Professional Development Seminar Series will cover topics including professional etiquette, career advice (resumes and interview skills), ethics and more. The sessions hosted by HudsonAlpha’s Educational Outreach team are designed for college students, but open to anyone interested in a science career or looking for professional advice. Visit to register and learn more.

    In addition, HudsonAlpha Spark, a program for busy professionals, has moved online. Join the Spark community at to receive updates and information on upcoming sessions of Genomics and Java and Science After Hours. 


    Teachers have a unique opportunity to continue professional learning with HudsonAlpha this summer. HudsonAlpha Beacon is a program to help educators find life science content from a distance.

    These virtual opportunities provide ways to explore and interact with genetics, biotechnology, and the wider world of science. Experiences will include multi-day online workshops that combine synchronous and asynchronous learning, opportunities to tune in to researcher talks, and webinar-style training on newly-developed resources. More information and registration at

    Public outreach

    Life-long learners also have a unique place at HudsonAlpha this summer. Dr. Neil Lamb, PhD, Vice President for Educational Outreach, continues to break down difficult science topics for the public through his popular blog and video series. View all of the new and past content at

    Summer is a great time to continue learning, and HudsonAlpha continues to offer opportunities and engaging activities to bring life science content to all learners. For more great summer resources and activities, like and follow HudsonAlpha on FacebookTwitterLinkedinInstagramVimeo and Youtube.

  • 4 Jun 2020 12:24 PM | Deleted user

    Singh is Scientific Founder of Yuva Biosciences

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala., June 4, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Yuva Biosciences, an anti-aging startup based on technology developed by one of the world leaders in mitochondrial sciences, Dr. Keshav K. Singh, is pleased to announce that Dr. Singh joined the Science of AgingSM faculty, a platform owned and run by Allergan Aesthetics Medicine R&D.

    (PRNewsfoto/Yuva Biosciences, Inc.)

    Allergan Aesthetics selected an elite group of globally-known thought leaders in the field. The Science of AgingSM was born out of a desire to bring the latest developments from the field of aging to the aesthetics arena and explore how these discoveries could potentially translate to aesthetic medicine.

    Dr. Singh commented, "I am honored to join Allergan Aesthetics' efforts to assemble pioneers in the 'healthy aging' field to find new insights to help accelerate research and product development and bring exciting new products to market."

    Yuva Biosciences plans to develop products based on Singh's breakthrough research on mitochondria and their role in reversing skin aging and loss of hair, as he has successfully demonstrated already in mice which has garnered national and international recognition because of its potentially broad application. Yuva Biosciences was selected as the most recent UAB Faculty Startup of the Year, as Dr. Singh is the Joy and Bill Harbert Endowed Chair and Director of Cancer Genetics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

    About Allergan
    At Allergan Aesthetics, an AbbVie company (NYSE: ABBV), we develop, manufacture, and market a portfolio of leading aesthetics brands and products. Our aesthetics portfolio includes facial injectables, body contouring, plastics, skin care, and more. With our own research and development function focused on driving innovation in aesthetics, we're committed to providing the most comprehensive science-based product offering available. For more information, visit

    About Yuva Biosciences (
    Yuva Biosciences is an anti-aging company harnessing the cutting edge of mitochondrial science to develop cosmeceuticals as well as pharmaceuticals targeted at aging-related hair loss, wrinkled skin, and reduced energy. The Company's Scientific Founder and Chief Scientific Advisor, Keshav K. Singh, Ph.D., is a world leader in the field of mitochondrial biology and genetics and its role in health, disease, and aging. Dr. Singh is the Joy and Bill Harbert Endowed Chair and Director of Cancer Genetics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the founding editor-in-chief of the Mitochondrion journal published by Elsevier. Yuva Biosciences is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama.

    Cision View original content to download multimedia:

    SOURCE Yuva Biosciences, Inc.

  • 4 Jun 2020 12:20 PM | Deleted user

    DiscoveryBioMed, Inc. (DBM, announces a new unit of its contract research organization (CRO) services business called Sentirix formed based upon our continuing 5-year collaboration with world-renowned, Philadelphia-based Monell Chemical Senses Center.

    "The name, Sentirix, is derived from the Latin word sentire ‘to feel in a sensory way,’" explained Dr. Erik Schwiebert, Ph.D., CEO of DBM. "Our logo showcases the name and illustrates a taste bud with a tastant molecule binding to the pore of the taste bud." A trademark application has been filed.

    Sentirix aims to provide the most relevant model of human taste sensory pathways for the purpose of understanding taste sensation, characterizing taste profiles of pharmaceuticals and food ingredients, and identifying naturally-derived taste modulators. Specifically, Sentirix uses human taste bud epithelial cell (hTBEC) platform technologies developed by DBM from the prior patented work of Drs. Hakan Ozdener and Nancy Rawson at Monell. DBM has licensed the technology from Monell, while continuing to collaborate scientifically on the development of these niche human cell platform technologies.

    Over time, DBM has optimized hTBEC technologies by multiple and different genetic methods, and has established specific cultures that are useful for investigating bitter, sweet, or salty taste pathways. DBM’s expertise in extracellular ATP signaling and in epithelial ion, solute and water transport physiology has also been of significant value to the development of specialty bioassays of and growth formats for hTBECs. "These primary and immortal hTBEC culture platforms are remarkably easy to grow, expand into larger numbers for medium-throughput screening, and respond functionally to many different types of taste stimuli," explained Dr. Grace Salzer, Ph.D., Senior Scientist and Business Development Specialist at DBM. "We believe we have developed a technology that both the food, beverage, and flavor industry sectors and BioPharmaceutical drug developers will have significant interest in utilizing for multiple applications pertaining to taste."

    DBM has already established proof-of-concept that bitter-responsive hTBEC platforms can be used to discover, validate and profile bitter blockers, small molecules that mask the bitter taste of BioPharmaceutical medicines. Bitter taste blockers discovered in DBM hTBEC screens also blocked the taste of bitter medicines in a subset of human subjects. "This example demonstrates that what we are doing on the benchtop also works in the human mouth," said Dr. John Streiff, Ph.D., DBM’s Chief Chemistry Officer.

    DBM has developed the tools to create customizable cell lines and assays tuned to meet varying client needs. Cell lines can be derived from single donors or pooled donors. Assays are tuned to different taste modalities, and cell response can be measured by multiple indicators. Sentirix will operate as a unit within DBM in Birmingham, AL; and, future labs for human sensory studies and for formulation chemistry are envisioned. "This unit fits within our unique niche human CRO services offerings, and it has been a fruitful commercial-academic collaboration with Monell from the start," declared Dr. Schwiebert.

    About DiscoveryBioMed, Inc. is in its 13th year of operation as a life sciences and biotechnology company focused on leveraging normal and diseased human cell platform technologies for its CRO services business and for its R&D programs. DBM is located in Birmingham, AL where it is leading an effort to build a critical mass of biotechnology companies in a new hub of the Deep South.

    The Monell Chemical Senses Center is an independent nonprofit basic research institute based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1968, Monell‘s mission is to improve health and well-being by advancing the scientific understanding of taste, smell, and related senses, where discoveries aid improving nutritional health, diagnosing and treating disease, addressing smell and taste loss, and digitizing chemosensory data.

    View source version on


    Dr. Erik M. Schwiebert, Ph.D.
    Company: DiscoveryBioMed, Inc.
    Phone: (205) 918-8138

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