Weekly Quick Hits (BHCR) – Week of August 28, 2023

This past week saw companies in the region making news for big federal funding to explore the link between addiction and decision-making, while other researchers helped wrap up a major genetic breakthrough that will inform the future of life science worldwide. Companies and funders also announced more funding and progress toward the marketplace. Happy Labor Day!

By Sam Hopkins | September 1, 2023

Quick Hits is BioBuzz’s weekly round up of all the life science news you don’t want to miss, in your region of interest. Don’t miss a beat; SUBSCRIBE to our weekly Quick Hits newsletter via LinkedIn (BioHealth Capital Region, Greater Philadelphia, Research Triangle Park) or get it delivered to your inbox every week.

Funding, Awards and Collaborations 

UMD Researchers Get $1.9 Million from NIH to Study Drug-Seeking Behavior

Two University of Maryland Department of Psychology investigators, Prof. Matthew Roesch and Asst. Prof. Anna Li, are exploring the use of epigenetic manipulation to address changes in brain function caused by addiction. The federally-funded neurobiological research could lead to new pharmaceutical approaches to strengthening the ability of recovering addicts to avoid the temptation of drug abuse and the consequences of relapse. 

Vet-Owned Polaris Genomics Lands $500k in TEDCO Funds

TEDCO’s Venture Funds is putting half a million dollars into Polaris Genomics, a biotech company based in Maryland that is working to “make invisible conditions visible.” The company will use the funds to advance its innovative technology that uses machine learning and genomics to enable PTSD diagnosis via blood test. The $500,000 award comes through the State Small Business Credit Initiative program.

New Products

Northwest Biotherapeutics Seeks UK Authorization for Glioblastoma Treatment

Northwest Biotherapeutics, a Bethesda company focused on immunotherapy oncology products, announced its plans to submit a UK Marketing Authorization Application by mid-October, 2023 for its DCVax-L glioblastoma treatment. Glioblastoma is an aggressive brain tumor type and has a 7% five-year survival rate. Northwest Biotherapeutics has completed a Phase III trial for newly diagnosed Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), and it has also conducted a Phase I/II trial for DCVax-L for advanced ovarian cancer.

Research Roundup

JHU and NIH Researchers Lead Completion of Y Chromosome Sequencing

The genetic code of the Y chromosome has finally been fully sequenced by a team of more than 100 researchers from institutions including the NIH’s National Human Genome Research Institute, which led the initiative, and multiple co-authors from Johns Hopkins. The breakthrough means that scientists can now see the entire genome for the first time, improving future studies of human DNA and providing groundwork for advances in personalized genomics and other genetic medicine approaches.